Feeling fruitful: October is an important month for planning in the garden
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“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” - it’s certainly a passage which is springing to mind at the moment - the mornings are shrouded with mist, and there’s a real nip in the air before the sun properly comes up.
It’s the kind of weather where it’s impossible to know what to wear in the garden - when you go outside it feels chilly, but as soon as you start working it gets warm pretty quickly and you find you’ve put too many layers on! This month is one of the most important of the year when it comes to planning in the garden, as it’s the best time for getting your spring bulbs in the garden before the earth gets too cold. One of my friends has just moved to a new house and is working on getting her garden sorted - I explained to her all of the different bulbs she could buy to give overlapping and continual colour in the garden between January and May, when the summer plants would start to flower.
My mind has been mainly on apples over the last week or so. My daughter has just started to eat solid foods - or rather pureed solid foods, and something which is proving very popular is apple. I have to say that I’m delighted with how well she is taking to both fruit and vegetables, but the apple is particularly seasonal at the moment, and I will be picking apples from our own tree over the next week or so.
I planted the tree a couple of years ago, mainly to try to grow mistletoe in the tree - sadly the mistletoe doesn’t seem to have taken, but the apples most certainly have! When they first started to appear I thought they would be very small, and not worth eating, but they have dutifully continued to grow, and are now a very decent size for picking!
October 21 has been the date to celebrate Apple Day nationally since it was first recognised in 1990. Many places organise special events to celebrate the humble apple - with different species displayed, and apples cooked in lots of different ways to show the versatility of the fruit. More recently, farms have been celebrating Apple Day on other dates throughout October, and locally Apple Day was celebrated in Tewin on the 8th this year, but up and down the country farmers will be harvesting their apples, as well as people who have grown apples in their own gardens. Some people now have their apples made into apple juice as a way to enjoy them for longer and so they don’t have to try to store them themselves. In some places communities have a community apple press where it is possible to take your apples to have them made into juice, or to contribute to a ‘village’ apple juice - a great way to get neighbours together and ending up with a lovely bottle of freshly pressed juice or two to go home with for your efforts.
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Apples are something which never seem to go out of fashion - a staple item in packed lunch boxes of both children and adults alike, and with so many different varieties it’s easy to see why!
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