YORKTON - What is your favourite variety of apple? While there are many delicious apples out there, our favourites have always been McIntosh and Spartan. But sometimes they are not easy to find! Do you ever wonder why?
It’s an interesting question, and if you start reading about it to find out why some varieties are more common in the produce department, you will find many answers to that question.
Some common reasons why some varieties of apples are more prevalent than others are that consumer tastes have changed: some like smaller apples, sweeter apples, crunchier apples, apples that aren’t quite as crunchy, and part of it is that on-going interest to try something new.
From the apple growers side, they have to consider which apples produce the best, have the most uniform size and color, will transport well and keep their fresh-picked look without bruising, and which will stay crunchy.
Did you know that the University of Saskatchewan has been breeding apples since the 1920’s, with focus on developing apples that can adapt and survive prairie cold; developing apples that have delicious fruit quality, and developing apples that will store well.
Home apple growers, once they have determined that they have room for an apple tree, must find the best spot for the tree to grow. Apples like and need full sun to produce to their potential, with well-drained soil being ideal. Once again, gardeners need to be patient; apple trees won’t produce fruit the first year, and might take several years to get established. You need more than one tree for pollination, either in your yard or neighborhood.
Now the question: which apple tree to choose? Visit gardening.usask.ca/gardening-advice and you’ll find bushel baskets of apple information. Including suggested apple varieties.
There are several that have been developed of the U of S, such as “Prairie Sensation” which is described as “sweet with great flavour, firm, crisp and juicy”. Another variety, “Autumn Delight”, is listed as “very juicy and sweet, firm and crisp…can be picked after frost, increases the sweetness.” A variety called “TreasurRed” has apples similar to Macs, but is a tree that might be very well-suited to city yards, since it is a “columnar tree”. This list of apple tree suggestions has other varieties that might be familiar to you: Westland, Battleford, Dolgo, and Rescue. One of the trees listed is “Fall Red”. We have this tree, and it has been an amazing specimen, with heavy crops every second year, and large, crisp fruit that is just delicious.
Another apple factoid: in 2021, Canada produced 351,565 metric tons of apples, most coming from British Columbia and Quebec, the two provinces that have the largest number of fruit farms.
When it comes to apples, there is a tree and a taste to suit everyone! Maybe 2023 is the year you might add an apple tree to your garden! Apples are a wonderful addition, and keep in mind that there are dwarf apple trees such as “Prairie Magic” that grow to only eight feet high at maturity, perfect for smaller yards.
The first meeting of the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will be on Wednesday, March 15 at 7:00 PM at the Yorkton Public Library. This will be our first meeting of 2023,
everyone is welcome. Be sure to visit our website at www.yorktonhort.ca and see what is new with the group. Thank you to our friends at YTW for their great work.
“Life begins the day you start a garden.” Chinese proverb. Have a nice week!