The Apple Orchards on the family farm estate is starting to come to life.
After the late frosts, we were a bit worried that it could have damaged the delicate buds before they bloomed. Luckily, it appears Mother Nature has smiled kindly on us!
When I first started working at Colcombe House, I thought there were only 3 or 4 stages to fruit growth. How wrong I was! There are 10 stages of bud to blossom alone – read on to find out how your apples grow.
1. DORMANT BUD
The first stage of an Apple’s life starts as a ‘Dormant Bud’. It’s waxy woody coat protects the delicate bud from elements such as frost until the weather improves.
2. SILVERTIP BUD / MOUSE EAR
The second stage is a ‘Silver Tip Bud’ as fuzzy little hairs sprout to protect the bud as it begins to open and sprout leaves. We think these little buds look like mouse ears!
3. GREEN TIP BUD
Next, the bud bursts at the tip, and the delicate green foliage of the leaves can be seen poking through at the very end. It is the timing and quantity of this bud that tell us what kind of year we can expect.
4. HALF INCH GREEN
As the weather warms up the leaves begin to unfurl and the apple orchards begin to come alive with flecks of copper and green. We are always quite nervous this time of year in case there is a late frost!
5. TIGHT CLUSTER
Once the leaves have unfurled, they reveal a delicate silver furry cluster that will slowly separate out and then continue to grow into beautiful pink buds.
6. LATE PINK
As the leaves lose their protective fuzzy winter coat, and the cluster branches out, the delicate bright pink buds can be seen poking through the foliage.
7. KING BLOOM
King Bloom is the first flower in a cluster to open. Often the largest apple yielded from that blossom cluster and looking like a crown, we can see why it got its namesake.
After the ‘King Bloom,’ the rest of the blossoms in each set begin to unfurl one by one until the orchards are completely decorated with pink and white blooms!
9. PETAL FALL
Once the blooms have had time to be pollinated, the petals begin to fall. They coat the orchard ground with a glorious dusting of white and pink blossom. It is a beautiful sight to behold!
10. EARLY FRUIT SET
This is the stage we really care about as it is the time when we will know how many blooms were successfully pollinated. This count tells us how many apples we can expect from each tree come harvest!
Finally, once all the early fruit sets have formed we begin to see the fruitlets start to swell and grow. They will continue to plump up throughout the summer until they become ripe apples in autumn.
10. EARLY FRUIT SET
If there are too many fruitlets on the apple tree it can cause stress. We watch our orchards carefully and cut off any excess growth by hand. This prevents over-cropping to improve the quality of fruit.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to recent research, fruits from trees that have been pruned or thinned during the fruitlet stage have higher concentrations of polyphenols. These naturally occurring chemicals are important to human health and nutrition.
Finally, after a year’s hard work, and plenty of sunshine and rain from Mother Nature, the apple orchards are ready for harvest.
All of our trees come to harvest at different times, depending on their climate conditions, weather, variety, and the way we have nurtured them with trickle irrigation and natural fertilizer such as seaweed.
All this talk of apple orchards has made us thirsty!
To say thank you for reading until the end, use coupon code:
for 10% off your next order!
Treat yourself to the fruit of our labor today!
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