Yes it is definitely feeling autumnal now. So first this week some apples.
Crab apples. This tree was packed with blossom earlier in the year and we have some fruits but not as much as other years. They are also a bit scaby.
2. Another apple – this time an eater – a Bardsey. Again very few fruit but one of the few which has fruited this year (we had a very late frost).
3. Chilli peppers in the greenhouse. I just had one plant, but it has a good crop so I will probably dry them.
4. Caterpillar damage on the brassicas – mostly in the polytunnel. The netted beds outside are generally okay.
5. Now this one is puzzling. This is purple sprouting broccoli which isn’t relay supposed to produce broccoli till spring – so is it just very confused or did I plant it too early? I shouldn’t complain though as I will enjoy eating it.
6. And finally two of our seven chicks . They are growing quick.
After a week with little rain, the wet weather has returned and so my own garden is showing little new, bar a little aster. However, I was at the biodiversity day at Enniscoe House today near Crossmolina, Co Mayo, giving a talk on pollinators and managed to get a few wet photos from their lovely walled gardens – they have a formal garden and vegetable area.
A rather weathered dahlia.
2. I have this Japanese anemone but their’s (unlike mine) was putting on a great display of flowers despite the rain.
3. A lovely sunflower
4. Rosehips – not sure what the rose is but the hips were quite big and long (and a little blurred!).
5. There was still roses in flower too.
6. And finally apples – they had a quite a few varieties.
We enjoyed our first apples in late August, and we’ve recently been harvesting our late apple varieties .
There are three varieties – Annie Elizabeth*, Pixie and Katja. We (my children, husband and I), did a taste comparison of each. All four of us voted the Annie Elizabeth as our favourite. It being the sweetest of the three; our vote may just indicate we all have a sweet tooth! In fact, the Pixie apples were very similar in flavour but were very firm. So we’ve put these into store. The Pixie is also a smaller apple. An ideal size of a children’s lunchbox.
The Katja apples have a good sweet flavour too. The flesh shows some pink flushes, and is softer than either the Annie Elizabeth or Pixie.
In terms of cropping, both the Katja and Pixie have given a reasonable crop for the size of tree. In fact, it is the best crop we have had from the Pixie. The Annie Elizabeth however had a much heavier crop last year, compared to this year. So we will savoured the few apples we did have and hope that next year it will return to it’s bounty of the 2016 season.
It always pays to grow a couple of varieties of fruit tree, as we have certainly found they all have good, and bad years.
*Interestingly Annie Elizabeth is listed as a cooking apple on many websites. The Victorian Nursery website (UK) does say it is so sweet it doesn’t require sugar. So I am not sure we have it properly labeled. I double checked in my garden notebook and it is definitely listed as Annie Elizabeth and was planted in 2006, but it could be the original label was incorrect.
Another frosty Friday though they tell us things may get milder next week. The blackbirds have been enjoying the windfalls and some of the apples that remained on the tree (I picked the rest yesterday). I think the frost has softened the skin making it easier for them to get at the juicy insides and of course the frost is preventing them finding worms and other things so the apples are proving very popular. Yesterday there were ten blackbirds and today I counted twelve along with two lovely fieldfares. A robin and chaffinch are occasionally dropping by to see what they may find too. Unfortunately, the zoom of my lens doesn’t work so this is the best I can do in terms of photos!
Yesterday they were all eating happily but today some arguments are breaking out – probably because supply is dwindling. Thankfully with a good apple harvest this year it is nice to share them.