Monthly Archives: August 2016

Apples

Apple JG 1s

James Grieve apples

As mentioned in my last post, we have a small apple tree in the garden. It’s now the fourth summer after it was planted and, much to my surprise, it has produced an excellent crop. I’m surprised because the weather was pretty miserable when it was in flower and there was hardly a pollinator to be seen, but it seems at least one must have sneaked into the garden when I wasn’t looking.

It’s a triple tree, meaning that three different types have been grafted into the same stem – James Grieve, Cox’s Orange Pippin and Katy. In its first year, we had one apple – a James Grieve. In its second year, it produced a couple of Katy apples. Last year, we had about a dozen James Grieve. This year, the whole tree produced so many baby apples that I had to thin them out! This is exciting for me because it’s the first year that the Cox has bothered to produce and I’m looking forward to the results!

Today I decided to pick the James Grieve. Over the past 2-3 weeks, we’ve had a few fallers, both Cox and James Grieve,¬† most of them with worms inside. Everything worth saving on these has ended up either in the stew pot or in fruit crumble, along with several of the Cox that I picked early because I could see the worm holes. This morning, though, I found two perfectly good James Grieve apples on the lawn. Apparently, the tree got stressy after yesterday’s heat and decided to start throwing its apples about. So, since they bruise so easily and appeared to be ripe, I decided not to wait for a repeat performance. According to the internet, they aren’t supposed to be ready until September, but I don’t think my tree knows this. It did exactly the same last year.

Today’s pickings? Eighteen apples weighing a combined total of 6lb. Not bad for a little tree. Here it is:

Apple Tree 2s

Triple apple tree

The picture was taken in mid July. It’s mostly the James Grieve that you can see, though there are some Cox’s Orange Pippin behind. We have about twenty of those still left on the tree.

The Katy only¬† has three apples. This is because it hasn’t grown very much and is the smallest part of the tree. However, all three apples are a good size.

And how do the James Grieve taste? Well, I’m happy with them just as they are, but the experts on the internet say they should be used for cooking when picked early and I think my husband would concur. It would seem that not all of us sit eating chunks of cooking apple when we are supposed to be putting them in the pot…

Mysterious goings on

The night before last, somebody came into the garden and dug up one of my carrots. Just one. Which they left next to the hole so that the garden gastropods could have a nice feast. I found it there yesterday afternoon.

So now I have a curious mystery to solve: Who did it? And why?

I mean, the vegetable garden is in full view of the street and I’ve often thought that anyone wandering past could quite easily help themselves to tomatoes (last year) or beans (this year) if they had a mind to. All they’d have to do is reach out their hand. Then there’s the little apple tree. They’d have to be slightly more adventurous to reach that, but it wouldn’t wholly surprise me if we woke up one morning and found that someone had taken it into their heads to pinch some apples or knock them all off the tree for the sheer hell of it. But they haven’t. Instead, I’ve had several people stop by and say how well everything is doing and what a good idea it is to have a vegetable patch in the front garden. (We don’t have a back garden). Or they tell me how pretty the vegetable patch looks with the flowers as well or how good grilled courgettes taste – have I tried them?

And now, to cap it all, I’ve had a carrot very carefully dug up for me!

Why?

It makes no sense. If, for example, it was a four-footed beastie, why didn’t they eat it? Are my carrots really that bad?

Interestingly, my next door neighbour has had the odd plant dug up in the night as well. Again, no damage. Just dug up and left. For no reason. (Or none that we can see).

It’s all very mysterious.

These aliens that supposedly carry out experiments, are they not very good at putting things back when they have finished with them?

Did my carrot not pass quality control?

Have they signed a secret agreement with the gastropods as part of their plan for world domination?

That must be it. I mean, I also have a scab on my knee. Not just a little scratch, but a proper scab, as if I’d grazed it somehow. It’s even a bit sore if I kneel on it. Yet I have absolutely no memory of how it got there.

It’s the aliens! It has to be the aliens! They must have been in a hurry when they brought me back…

Unless it was the garden gnomes, just trying to be helpful?