Please excuse me for a moment whilst I brag about the size of my ‘Howgate Wonder’ apples.
The two rather superb1A little bitter pit aside… specimens above were grown on the stepover apple tree on our main allotment plot. These were the only two fruits that the tree produced this year, growing back-to-back from the same blossom cluster. Not ideal, because the narrow, protected gap between the tops of the two fruit provides a safe haven for woodlice, slugs and other pests to get in and cause all sorts of mischief; I was tempted to remove one of them back in June, but decided to let them both grow.
Here’s how they looked on the tree, before I had to pick them on Wednesday, due to a bit of pigeon-damage that was likely to lead to brown rot if I’d left them any longer:
And here they are after I’d evicted the woodlice and brought them home for a thorough wash and polish:
I weighed them and they’re over half a kilo each, with the larger of the two coming in at 567g. Not too shabby.
If it wasn’t for the holes in the skin I’d be very tempted to bake these – there’s no sign of codling moth infestation, so they should be good down to the core – but I think I’ll end up stewing them instead.
We grow ‘Howgate Wonder’ apples at work – in the heritage orchard at Ordsall Hall, which is where the scion that this tree grew from was cut – and I think there might be one or two fruits coming along that are even larger. We’re leaving them on the tree as long as we can, or as long as the squirrels let us, so I’ll try to grab the biggest and weigh it before it goes into the scratter for juicing.
How about you? Do you grow ‘Howgate Wonder’, and if so how have yours been this year? Or do you grow any other mega-sized apples – ‘Bramley’s Seedling’, ‘Blenheim Orange’, ‘Monty’s Surprise’, anything like that? What’s your personal best? Do please let me know, via the comments.
- 1A little bitter pit aside…
I grow the Isle of Wight apple up here (near Darlington) from a tree I grafted 5 or 6 years ago on a dwarf root stock; it is 4ft 4ins tall.
This year I’ve had a bumper crop of 23 large apples but bitter pit is prevalent, but they bake well and some will be used in my wife’s mincemeat.
Hi John – that sounds fantastic. Small trees on dwarfing rootstock can be incredibly productive, ideal for a back garden. Bitter pit has been a big problem down here in Manchester as well – cold May, dry June, wet July, dry August – but it’s not too bad once you’ve peeled the affected skin and flesh away. Enjoy your baked apples and mince pies!