A frost warning may be in effect in your area this week!
If you’re a bit indecisive or simply like the idea of having a number of different apple varieties on one tree, multi-grafted apples are the answer.
Just by planting two multi-grafted apples you can harvest 8 different apple varieties and have a continuous supply of fruit beginning in August and continuing right through into October – weather permitting, of course.
One suggestion that I would make is to use metal tags to label the trees, or at the very least, take some notes and photographs of your apples so that you know which apple varieties are which. Most of us believe that we will remember the names of the apples and where they are located on the tree, but – if you are like me – your memory might not be quite as sharp as you think it is from one year to the next!
Multigraft Tree #1
• Compact variety with yellowish-green fruit that is washed with red. Good for both fresh eating and cooking. Usually ready to eat in August.
• Light green fruit with red stripes. Discovered in Manitoba and super cold hardy. Great fresh and cooked.
• Smaller fruit. Pale green striped with red. Good for fresh eating and cooking. From Battleford Saskatchewan
• Yellowish-green skin with bright red blush and stripes. Mildly sweet fruit. Very good for fresh eating. Matures in late August.
Multigraft Tree #2
• One of the very best tasting apples. Honeycrisp are juicy, crispy and grown commercially. They are often found on grocery store shelves.
• This is a hardier cousin of the venerable ‘MacIntosh’ apple. It shares much of the same delicious flavour of the MacIntosh but is tends to be smaller.
• See above!
• One of my favourite apples, Norkent is crispy with a great balance of sugar and tartness and is one of the best dessert apples for the prairies.
• Heyer 12 originated as a seedling from Russia and serves as the rootstock. It is very tough and produces yellow fruit that is a bit. Excellent for juice and sauce but its main attribute is cold hardiness.
My Dad was a bit of a "Johnny Appleseed". He loved nothing better than planting trees (not just apples) and planted thousands of them over his lifetime.
Before he moved to the farm, back in the '50s, the land he purchased was pretty much stripped clean of trees to make way for crops like alfalfa and barley. But Dad knew that trees were invaluable for trapping snow during the winter and providing shelter for heat loving vegetable crops. He also knew that trees reduced soil erosion and provided habitat for wildlife.
Today, while most of that farmland has been converted to houses, some of Dad’s shelterbelt trees remain, providing shade and beauty for residents and visitors alike.
People would often ask Dad about which tree was his favourite and he would just say, “All of them”.
And all of them was a heck of a lot of trees.
A frost warning is in effect and we've received a lot of phone calls from people asking about what can stay outside and what needs to come in. Here's our quick guide:
- Apples: A light frost will not affect the apples and may even make them sweeter. Barring a severe September storm, leave your apples on the tree until they are ripe (mid- to late- September for most late bearing apples).
- Beans and Peas: Will not tolerate frost. Harvest these guys and eat them up!
- Beets, Carrots, Onions, Potatoes: Protected underground, these vegetables do fine in a light frost and their flavour may even improve with the cold. That said, harvest them before the ground freezes.
- Chard, Kale, and Cabbage: These plants should all survive a light frost. Cold temperatures will even intensify the colour and flavour of chard, and may sweeten cabbage.
- Corn: Corn is frost sensitive. If your corn is ready, pick it now. If it is not yet ready to harvest, cross your fingers and hope for the best. A hard frost will reduce the shelf life of corn to 3 to 4 days.
- Lettuce and Salad Greens: Cold will affect the look and texture of lettuce and salad greens, but they can survive a light frost. If you’d like, harvest the tops of the lettuce and see if they come back afterwards.
- Tomatoes and Peppers: Harvest any ripe tomatoes and all peppers. Unripe tomatoes are bit more complicated. If you’re feeling cautious and would rather not deal with any stress, harvest them all now—ripe or not.
If you’re feeling daring and if the forecast cooperates for the next day or two, you may be able to get away with bringing the tomato vines close to the house (preferably on the south side of the house) and covering them with some light bed sheets to protect them from the frost.
However, if the forecast dips below -2°C, the tomatoes will probably end up covered in frost anyways even with these precautions. Keep an eye on your local temperature, and harvest the unripe tomatoes if necessary. Green tomatoes can be ripened inside on sheets of newspaper.
- Pumpkins, Squash, Zucchini, Cucumbers: Cucumbers, zucchini, and summer varieties of pumpkin and squash should be harvested now, wiped dry, and cured in a hot, dry room for a few days to improve shelf life.
Properly cured, they may store for a few weeks. Avoid storing these fruits on concrete or metal surfaces as it can cause them to rot.
Thin skinned cucumbers will not store as well and should be eaten within a few days.
Some pumpkins and squash are "winter varieties" and can store very well if properly cured. Harvest any mature “winter variety” gourds before a frost (they will have a nice tough skin when mature) and do your best to protect the immature ones by covering them with a sheet. Immature gourds will not ripen off the vine or once the vine has died, so protecting them and hoping for the best is the best strategy. Be careful not to crush the vines.
We had a few more questions about how to get rid of apple maggot so we made a video: