I have probably just done one of my least favourite gardening jobs. It feels kind of criminal to be taking off apples when they seem healthy, but this is a good time of year to thin apples out so that the tree can concentrate on growing really good ones and not be over burdened with undersized fruit that we wouldn’t want to eat anyway.
Thinning out ensures only healthy fruit stays on the tree and has lots of room to grow. It’s an easy task, even if it does sometimes mean sacrificing a few for the good of the many.
Start with those that are obviously damaged or diseased, and then those that are still very small. Next thin each spur down to ideally one apple, or maybe two if they’re on opposite sides.
As one would when harvesting, gently squeeze and twist the individual fruit, so as not to disturb the others. Sometimes they make the decision for you and fall off anyway.
So despite my ‘waste not want not’ view of gardening, I think I have helped the crop along nicely. And I have some lovely additions to the compost pile!
Next was a bit of light summer pruning, with the help of the BBC Gardeners World blog. This popped up on my news feed this morning, so my plan to tackle the trees today seemed even more serendipitous.
Slightly more of a technical challenge, but well worth doing as it helps to let in lots of sunlight and fresh air to the middle of the tree to prevent disease and help fruit to ripen up.
So a productive morning. Luckily I had some nice company too.