Garden Tips - October 2017- Deborah Carney

We love gardening advice from our friend, Paul Parent. The below is from the Paul Parent Garden Club newsletter of October 5th.

His publications have some wonderful reference material - to go to his full site and see the other topics click here.

Apple picking is upon us and a great way to have family time! 

If you love fresh apples, now is the time to begin picking them. I thought I would give you some ideas of what to look for and how to handle them. First of all, always select apples that are firm, that have a clean skin and are free from bruises. Fresh native apples come in so many colors, it hard to determine when they are ready for picking by their color while on the tree. When you go apple picking always ask the farmer what types of apples are ready for picking that day. My wife and her sister and I go apple picking every year and we ask the farmer for his help and he gives us several additional tips.

Pick one apple from the row of apples you select and taste the variety you want to pick to see if the taste is what you want. We picked 7 different varieties of apples so I won't have to see the doctor for at least a week now--and I did eat most of the sample apples I picked that day. Next he told us to pick the apples on the tips of the branches first, as apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center. Now grab the apple with one hand and twist the apple off the branch by rolling the apple upwards of the branch and give it a good twist. Don't pull down on the apple or you will break part of the branch containing next year's flower buds, so the tree will be damaged and have less fruit on it.

If two apples are growing together side by side, twist them in different directions and they will come off very easily. Do not climb on the tree, as this time of the year the branches are full of fruit and you will damage the branches with your weight. You could also fall from the tree--and that will not be fun, either. Never shake the branches of the tree, because you could damage the tree and many of the apples will fall to the ground and spoil. Nobody wants apples on the ground, right? Apples with a stem on them will keep longer when in storage so, twist--don't pull. And one last thing--place the apples in your bag; don't drop or throw them into your bag, as bruised apples will go bad faster.

When you get home, place the apples in a cool place like your basement or garage and they will keep longer. Warm rooms will make apples ripen faster and they will also spoil quicker, so keep them cool. Do not wash them until you're ready to eat or cook with them, as they have a protective coating on them that washing will remove. If you're storing your apples for winter use with squash, turnip, beets, and carrots, they will do very well together but keep potatoes away.

All vegetables give off ethylene gas while in storage but potatoes more so, and it will force the apples to go bad faster. Never keep apples near a flower arrangement because the gas they produce will put the flowers to sleep. My first year in college I took a floral design course and my college roommate put his lunch in the cooler with the flowers, unknown to my teacher. He forgot his lunch that contained an apple in the bag over the weekend, and on Monday when we went back to class most of the flowers had begun to go bad; no lunches ever went into the flower cooler again after that.

Here is a question for you: are apples apples and good for both eating and cooking? Actually, apples are broken down into 3 categories; eating, cooking and all-purpose apples. Eating apples typically have more sugar in them; they are larger in size, and the skin is thinner, softer, and easier to digest. They also do not store as well or as long in your basement.

Cooking apples have less sugar in them, they have more of a tart taste, they store well in your basement--and for a much longer time--they have a thick and strong skin to help hold moisture in them and the flesh of the apple is less likely to get soft when cooking. Nobody likes a mushy apple pie! All-purpose apples are good for both fresh eating and cooking/baking. Use early apples for cooking while still firm or they will not hold up. Here is a list of what I picked last week and why.

MCINTOSH
This is a crispy red apple with bright white flesh and a refreshing sweet flavor. It is the number I selling apple in the northeast. The apple is crispy and filled with juice making it the perfect snack for the fall. McIntosh apples originated from Saint Lawrence valley of Canada - Introduced in 1820 - Bright red skin with a bit of green and a bright white flesh. Fruit size is small, medium, and large. Great for fresh eating, and cooking. It will store for a month or more when kept cool. Harvest in mid to late season.

CORTLAND
One of the more successful McIntosh off springs. Cortland has all the usual characteristics, including sweetness and marvelous flavor. Nice colorful apple that is crispy and filled with juice making it perfect for snacks for the fall. Cortland originated from Geneva, New York research center - Introduced in 1915. Bright red and yellow skin with white flesh. Fruit size is medium, and large. Great for fresh eating and cooking. Harvest mid to late season. Will keep for a month or more when kept cool.

GOLDEN DELICIOUS
Undoubtedly one of the most important apple varieties of the 20 th century, both as a commercial crop and in its own right as a breeding stock for many other varieties for good and flavorful fruit in the home grown market. Golden Delicious originated in West Virginia - Introduced in 1890. Bright golden yellow skin with white to cream flesh. Fruit size is medium to large. Great for fresh eating and cooking. Harvest late in the season. Will keep for 4 to 6 weeks when kept cool.

RED DELICIOUS
This is one of the most famous American Apple varieties, a sport of the Delicious apple known for its bright red color and unusual shape. The fruit is flavorful and crunchy when eaten fresh. Originated in Madison County, Iowa - Introduced in 1880. Bright red skin with white to cream flesh. Fruit size is medium to large. Great for fresh eating and cooking. Harvest late in the season. Will keep for 4 to 6 weeks when kept cool.

MACOUN
Another Mac apple style variety hybrid for flavor and considered one of the better American apples today. A firm apple, great for snacks and its Flavor is very unique and tasty. Originated in Geneva, New York research station - Introduced in 1920. Bright red and yellow skin with white to light green flesh. Fruit is medium to large. Harvest late in the season. Great for fresh eating. Will keep for 4 to 6 weeks when kept cool.

HONEYCRISP
HoneyCrisp is a crispy and predominantly sweet modern variety from the U.S. This apple is specifically grown for a cold climate market and cold northern states. It is the best apple for a cold climate. Good flavor, sweet to taste, and nice and juicy. Originated in Minnesota by the University of Minnesota - Introduced in 1960. Red and yellow skin with white to cream color flesh. Medium to large fruit. Harvest mid to late in the season. Great for fresh eating. Will store for 4 to 6 weeks when kept cool

JONATHAN
A classic American Apple and widely regarded as one of the best. Jonathan is very Flavorful with good sweet and sharp tasting apple. The tree is precocious and productive tree in the U.S. Originated in Connecticut - Introduced in 1808. Bright red and yellow skin with white flesh. Small to medium size fruit. Harvest in late season. Great for fresh eating and cooking. Will keep for 4 to 6 weeks when kept cool

NORTHERN SPY
This apple is widely grown, an American apple Heirloom variety with very large fruit and firm flesh. The apple is very aromatic and has high vitamin C content. Trees grow well in a cold climate. One of my favorite apples. Originated in Rochester, New York - Introduced in 1840. Fruit is beautiful and streaked with bands of red and yellow. The flesh is white to cream in color. This is a big apple and fruit get very large. Great for eating fresh, cooking, juice or cider. Harvest late in the season. Keeps very well for 3 months or more when kept cool.

BALDWIN
A very popular old American apple variety and widely grown for the culinary market. This is one of the original apples eaten by the colonies during the 1700's and it is a great winter storage apple. Great flavor and sweet tasting fruit come from this tree. Origin is Boston, Massachusetts - Introduced in 1750. The skin of the fruit is red and yellow and the fruit is white to cream in color. The fruit is medium to large Harvest late in season. Great apple for fresh eating, cooking and juice or cider Keeps very well up to 3 months or more if kept cool.

JONAGOLD
This apple is very good and popular apple for eating and commercial use. Its good flavor was inherited and its good qualities from its parents Jonathan and Golden Delicious. Eaten fresh it is sweet and sharp to taste. Originated in Geneva, New York research center- Introduced 1943. The skin is bright red and yellow with white to cream flesh. The fruit size is large. Great for fresh eating, cooking, juice, and Hard Cider. Harvest late in the season. Good keeper 6 to 8 weeks when kept cool.

EMPIRE
Empire is one of the best McIntosh hybrids apples, with a good sweet flavor and very easy to grow. Its parents are McIntosh and Delicious and Empire has all its best traits including taste. Originated in Geneva, New York research center. Introduced in 1945. The skin is red and yellow with a nice white to cream flesh. The fruit is small to medium in size. Wonderful for fresh eating. Harvest late in the season.

GRANNY SMITH
This is the most recognized apple in the world because of its shape and unique color. The Granny Smith apple is Perhaps Australia most famous export. It is also sold all over the world, no other apple can claim that. Originated in Australia - Introduced in 1860. The skin is bright green and the flesh is white. The fruit size is uniform and medium. Eat it fresh, or cook with it to enjoy its sweet flavor. Harvest late in the season. It will keep 3 months or more when kept cool.

GALA
One of the most widely grown apple variety that we have today and it has a sweet and pleasant flavor. It is one of the best winter keeper apples that we have today. If you never had one you should and it is the number 2 selling apple in the world. Gala is a cross between Golden Delicious and Kidd's Orange Red. Originated in New Zealand - Introduced in 1940. The skin is red and yellow and the flesh is white to cream. The fruit is medium in size. Great for eating, and juice. Harvest mid to late in the season. A great keeper 3 months or more.

COX ORANGE PIPPIN
This is the benchmark in apples and from a good tree, in a good year it can achieve exceptional flavor. This is one of the first apples from Europe to be brought into the U.S., also a good partner to use to produce new varieties of apples. Origin is England - Introduced in 1825. The skin is yellow with red streaks and the flesh is white. The fruit is small to medium. Great for fresh eating, juice and hard cider Harvest in mid to late season. It will keep for 6 to 8 weeks when kept cool.

LADY APPLES
The lady apple is an old French apple variety with good aromatic flavor and many decorative uses as the fruit is small. The flavor is very good and has many uses in the kitchens. This is one of the oldest apples known to man. Originated in Bretagne, France - Introduced 1628. The skin is red and green with pure white flesh The fruit is small, less than 2 inches. Eat these apples fresh, cooking and juice and cider. Harvest in late season. Fruit will keep for 1 to 2 months when kept cool.

FUJI
Fuji was developed in Japan but it's an all American cross of Red Delicious and Rolls Janet. A very attractive modern apple that is crisp, sweet, and full of flavor. One of the best eating apples we have today. Originated in Japan - Introduced in 1962. The skin is red and yellow with white flesh. The fruit is medium in size. Eat fresh for its flavor. Harvest very late in the season. Fruit will keep for 3 months or more.

Have a great Fall … Deb (October 2017 Horticultural Newsletter)
References: Paul Parent October 5, 2017 Newsletter
For additional tips and information visit Paul's website click here