April in the Orchard

montys surprise appleThree apple trees left to pick – Monty’s Surprise (pictured), Mother, Tydemans Late and one pear – Winter Nellis. These late ones are the keepers, so make sure they are properly ripe first. This is a real knack and I talked about this recently, so won’t repeat myself. Overripe and they’ll go mushy in storage (especially pears), underripe and they’ll wither.

A few important tips:

  • Store varieties separately.
  • Pack in boxes with newspaper between each row.
  • Undersize apples and apples with any blemish should be on the top row so you use them up first.
  • Store in a dark cool place.
  • Eat your apples in the order they are ripe – ie early’s first (they don’t keep), midseasons now (were eating Captain Kidd and Cox’s Orange) and leave the late ones for last because they will keep the best.

Passionfruit, Tamarillos and Feijoas are doing well under all this sunshine. As long as you have been able to keep up the moisture to them you’ll have a lovely crop too.

I prefer to let my passionfruit drop before picking. Then I leave them to wrinkle up a little in the bowl before eating. If you have more than you can eat I recommend setting up a Trade Me account – the price of passionfruit is always astounding. Either that or freeze the pulp.

Think about how you are going to protect your young citrus and subtropicals this winter. I’ll be recycling the strawbale seats from the festival as walls around them. The rotten straw will be perfect for spring mulch. A seat, a fence, then mulch – we like multi-purpose a lot.