The work began back in late July when Jody cleared the weeds out of the orchard. Climbing nightshade have taken over in there and requires vigilance to keep it at bay.
From there we began thinning apples. Apple trees tend to produce many many little apples. The trick to getting larger fruit is to thin your apple crop. When we came upon a clump of say 5 apples growing together, we would pull approximately 3 of them off the tree, leaving 2 behind. Those 2 apples will receive all the nutrition that the original 5 would have received and grow into larger apples.
At the end of August our first apples matured. There seemed to be a large amount of apples that had fallen under one particular tree so we began taste testing. Happily we discovered this tree is a Yellow Transparent, otherwise known as an August Apple. It produces soft yellow apples with a tart flavour. How did we know what kind of apple it was? We considered that the trees in our orchard were likely planted around the time this house was built. Basically some time in the last 100 years. You won't find these apples at your local supermarket so we needed to find a source that listed heritage varieties. AppleManFarms lists heritage varieties and talks about varieties that are common in the maritimes and was a big help to us. We still haven't been able to identify all the varieties on our property but we're getting there. Identification requires a lot of items to be addressed. The size, shape, taste and colour of the apples are important. But other qualities such as bloom time and tree shape are considered as well. In the coming year I hope to more carefully document each of our trees so we'll be that much closer to a positive identification.
|These apples ripened in late October and were extremely tasty. Unfortunately we haven't been able to identify them.|
|Many apples too high to reach fall to the ground and are damaged by bruising, bugs, slugs and birds. It means a lot of clean up!|
|On the right you can see the stump from a former apple tree. There was only a couple feet between that tree and its neighbour.|