Thursday, 20 September 2007

Bumper Apple Crop?

The Reading Evening Post reported on 18/9 as follows:-

"Gala Day for Apple Growers

The English apple crop is more than 10 per cent bigger than last year because of the summer rain, growers said today.

English varieties are hitting stores this week, around seven days earlier than last year. Producers have reported record crops of English Gala and English Braeburn apples.

But shoppers are confused about which apples are domestically produced and which are imported, according to English Apples and Pears Ltd. Research found that around 40 per cent of people did not know when the English apple season begins. And 76 per cent think Granny Smith's are English, when they come from France and Australia."

The shoppers aren't the only ones who are confused, though my confusion is quite different! Since I live in Reading, you'd think that my apple trees would be subject to the same weather and climate - and yet I have to report a strange difference in my apple trees this year! My Worcester Pearmain tree is in line with the other English apple growers and has a bumper crop this year, with apples very much bigger than ever before. My Lord Lambourne tree has cropped much the same as usual but, for the first time in 59 years two of my apple trees (the Cox's Orange Pippin and the Beauty of Bath) had not a single bud of blossom on either of them and therefore, of course, have no apples at all. Both these trees are very healthy and are producing prolific growth. My theory is that we had a heatwave in April when the blossom would have been formed but I would be glad to hear of any other possible explanation - fewer bees last year perhaps? So can anyone solve this mystery for me?

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