It is time for the finest Kent vintage to start being savoured. I have delighted in my first litre bottle of Kent apple juice freshly made in 2009. Pure Discovery apple juice from Broomfield Orchard, CT6 7BA (01227 362279). Do get some if you can, and they have more apple varieties as the season progresses.
When we moved into our house the garden had old fruit trees. We tried to nurse them through, but they struggled to produce much fruit, and after a couple of years we removed them and have replaced them with 3 small apple trees. Modern rootstock allows several small trees to be fitted into small gaps. By choosing 3 different types, which in theory fruit sequentially, we have a succession of apples. Our chosen trees in theory all keep, so from about September to about Christmas we live off our own apples. At present each tree only produces 20-30 apples, but little by little the crop increases year by year. Also small trees means there will never be a need to have long ladders to go picking, or to wait for windfalls. If I ever won the lottery one of the things I would love to do would be to buy an orchard.
The fruit garden at Yalding Organics, near Maidstone is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. It is well worth a visit if you get the chance.
I have been reading The Apple Book by Peter Blackburne-Maze. I recommend it especially for its insightful history of apples. Thanet is blessed with several good historical blogs,
to name but two. I do not aspire to imitate them but thought this information on page 56 of the Apple Book might be of interest.
Mr. Tucker was gardener to a Mr. J Slater in Margate where grape growers faced mildew problems in the 1840s. He mixed flower of sulphur with lye and water and applied it to vines affected by mildew. It worked like a charm and was the original and rather crude form of lime sulphur, a fungicide that was manufactured until the 1980s.
A footnote in history for a Thanet man inventing chemicals for food production. Thankfully this is no longer produced and organic production goes from strenght to strength.