Parenting with pests, parrots and parasols.

I know the whole slow food movement is so ‘in’ right now but this is just ridiculous. Would you wait four years for a perfect apple?

For four years I have dreamed of a glut of crisp apples to eat and bake with. And for four years now i am still waiting…

So this post is somewhat of a promise for things to come.

Written here in black and white for all to read, i publicly declare that

There will be edible apples of our tree this year…. THERE WILL

That first year in caring for our apple tree, we were like first time parents. Optimistic, full of excitement and somewhat deluded of the real challenges ahead.  I was so deliriously excited to see the first apples appear that I chose to skip the paragraphs in the books that dutifully gave the firm advice that all fruit should be removed in that first year. How could one remove all those perfect looking apples?  Not being one blessed with patience i left them all on.

20131124-202707.jpgThe result?

The fruit grew lovely for a short time before the tree became overrun with a fungal disease of some sort and I ended up with zero apples.

Never mind, lesson learnt – move on to the next year.

The second year was going well. We were like second time parents. Still excited, optimistic but a little more grounded and open to some challenges. I was ready for the possibility of fungal disease and was prepared for action. But i was blind sided by the sun. It bit with a real vengeance that summer and my precious babies were burnt by that intense fire ball.

Result?

Each apple had a brown, burnt, rotting top and I ended up with zero apples

The third year was going great guns. We were pros! I had a umbrella ready for those hot days and the tree being more mature was larger and healthier than the previous years.  We were on a winner for sure… apple pies here we come.

The summer months rolled by and by late February we were ready to bite into crispy fresh apples…..

The anticipation bought the whole family into the kitchen as we sliced the first segment off an apple. Holding our breath we all peered excitedly at the apple before noticing something odd. It seemed to be seething with life. It appeared to be moving…..it WAS moving. Seething with wiggly blasted maggots! My heart quickly deflated – FRUIT FLY!

Each apple we sliced into was the same.

Results for our 3rd year attempt at growing apples?

A Big fat Z-E-R-O

This year the tree is full of fruit. Even so i am trying not to get too excited.

As a cheap option to conquer the fruit fly i tied a paper bag around each new fruit as it develops, leaving the still flowering blossoms for the bees

20131124-202730.jpgThis morning we walk out and what do I see? Bloody King Parrots pecking through the paper bags to get to the fruit! My apples seemed doomed. It’s like watching a David Attenborough doco and painfully watching and having to except all the perilous endings that mother nature devises for the small and weak.

But i will not sit by and let it happen.

So, out with the old sewing machine and a few hours work later cutting up curtain lace and i have what I hope is a fruit fly and parrot proofed tree. Little bags that will serve as a fortress against these pesky pests

20131124-202606.jpg20131124-202658.jpgHopefully if they work, the weather is kind and the apple gods are shining down on my backyard I will have some apple recipes to share….

…but please don’t let there be a hail storm!

Do you have any advice or experiences with growing apples? Please pass on your words of wisdom – i need it! 

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