The early varieties of dessert apples
will be ready for picking this month—"Beauty of Bath," "Irish Peach" and
"Gladstone.: These must be picked and used as soon as they are ripe or they
lose flavour. Not all the fruit ripens at the same time, so it is worth
while going over the trees at intervals of a few days. There is one right
way—and many wrong ways—of picking apples. The sign of ripeness is the case
with which the stalk parts company from the twig. Take the base of the apple
in the palm of the hand, then raise it until it is horizontal. If it parts
easily, it is ripe. If it fails to come away easily, let it gently back to
its original place and leave for a few days. The great joy about early apple
varieties is that, unlike Cox's Orange Pippin and other late kinds, they do
not have to mature after picking, and it is the owner's pleasure to eat them
Such delights may be especially welcome if, on
going over your apple trees, you find that some apples have rotted. This is
probably due to Brown Rot, a disease that destroys many tons of apples every
year, and also affects plums. pears, quinces and cherries. Much of this loss
can be prevented. The disease starts as a mere spot, where a slight bruise,
cut or insect puncture has been invaded by disease spores, carried by wind,
rain or insects. The spot gradually spreads into a soft brown patch, and at
the same time small swellings under the skin break through as yellowish or
buff-coloured growths — or pustules — usually in concentric circles.
These diseased fruits produce a crop of spores, which are carried to other
fruits by flies and wasps. And so it goes on—an endless vicious cycle that
can only be checked by strict hygiene on the part of growers.
Collect from apple and plum trees and
under the trees, all fruit that shows the slightest sign of the disease.
Burn it. Go over the trees, especially the soft-wooded varieties
of apple such as "Lord Derby" and "James Grieve," and cut out all dead or
dying spurs along with any cankers. Collect and burn. Keep an eye open in
the winter for "mummied" fruit left on the trees—gather and burn it.
Special care is necessary when picking apples for
storing. Brown Rot is liable to set in wherever there is a wound or bruise,
and a favourite place of entry is the slight wound made if the stalk is torn
out. So pick with the stalks on. Do not attempt to store any fruit showing
signs of the disuse. It will spread. And clean up under the trees. It is
from mummied fruit on the trees and from rotten apples lying about that the
first spore invasion usually starts.
Summer fruiting Raspberries should be pruned as
soon as the last fruit has been picked. Cut out all the canes that have
borne fruit. Cut them right down at ground level. leaving no snags to become
resting and breeding places for pests and diseases. Burn all cut-out canes.
If your canes are supported by wires, tie up the new canes, 5 or 6 in.
apart, with raffia or soft string.
The same sort of treatment should be given to
Blackberries and Loganberries. Cut out fruited shoots and thin out weak new
growths, and any showing purplish spots (signs of the disease Cane Spot).
Keep about 6 or 8 of the strongest shoots and tie them in.