This isn’t precisely a foul 12 months for apples – the fruit are as scrumptious and wholesome as ever – however it’s definitely a skinny crop. There are far fewer in my backyard than final 12 months, though that was a bumper harvest and it’s regular for apples to develop sparingly within the 12 months following an exceptionally massive crop.

Final 12 months we made quite a few bottles of scrumptious apple juice, saved a whole lot of unblemished fruit and nonetheless had lots left over to feed our pigs; this 12 months I might be treasuring each single apple and making an attempt to retailer as many as potential.

The key of storing apples is to deal with them with the identical delicacy as eggs. This means of care begins with the choosing. 

Monty Don shared his advice for storing apples as he claims home-grown apples are better than the ones in the supermarket. Pictured: Monty harvesting his apples with Nellie

Monty Don shared his recommendation for storing apples as he claims home-grown apples are higher than those within the grocery store. Pictured: Monty harvesting his apples with Nellie

By no means knock them off with a stick or allow them to fall to the bottom; as an alternative, gently take every fruit within the palm of your hand, raise it to the horizontal, twisting barely, and whether it is ripe it’ll come away gently in your hand. If not, decrease it again down and check out once more the subsequent day.

Place your apples rigorously right into a basket and retailer them in a cool, darkish place – which, ideally, must also be barely humid. Garages, sheds or cellars are good so long as they are often saved freed from rodents, which is likely to be tempted to eat the fruit.

House-grown apples are incomparably higher than those within the grocery store. Business apples are chosen primarily for his or her skill to journey and look appetising moderately than their style. 


Q When is the most effective time to purchase a fig tree, can it’s grown in a container and, if that’s the case, what compost ought to I take advantage of?

Elaine Rixson, Norfolk

A You should buy a fig at any time as they’re often offered in a container moderately than naked root. It might probably spend its life in a container, though you could have to repot it because it grows. Use a peat-free compost combined with horticultural grit.

Q Regardless of common feeding, my 15-year-old blueberry pot plant produces solely very small fruit now. Are you able to assist?

Tony Moon, East Sussex

A I believe it could be beginning to outgrow its pot and so taking on inadequate vitamins or water to assist wholesome fruit. Strive placing it in a pot that’s somewhat bigger, and change the outdated compost with a peat-free ericaceous compost.

Q What ought to I do with my lemon timber over winter?

Maureen Turner, Bedfordshire

A Lemons want safety from frosts however would discover the home too heat, so place in a shed or cool porch. Water solely about as soon as a month, and spray with a mister each few days.

Write to Monty Don at Weekend, Every day Mail, 2 Derry Road, London W8 5TT or e-mail Please embody your full title and deal with. We remorse Monty can’t reply to letters personally.

They’re decreased to a bland uniformity, though the apple is among the many most numerous fruits on the earth, with over 6,000 varieties.

Having a number of your personal apples for baking, stewing, making into pies or crumbles and simply munching is an actual deal with. You don’t want a lot house both – apples develop very properly as bushes, espaliers, cordons and step-overs with out affecting the scale of the fruit.

The approaching months are the most effective time to plant an apple tree. Style as many fruits as you may, then select which you want finest. The web is the place to seek for the much less frequent varieties and there are various good suppliers on the market. 

Naked-root timber are typically cheaper, set up extra rapidly and include a a lot wider alternative, however backyard centres will all the time provide apple timber in a container and these are simpler to deal with and can do completely properly.

You will want two as a result of no apple tree is actually self-pollinating. Apples are subdivided into pollination teams, with the earliest flowering in group one and the most recent in group eight. 

Bushes from adjoining teams will pollinate one another, though having two timber from the identical group is the best choice.

They do finest on wealthy however well-drained soil in a sunny however sheltered place. Dig a large however not too deep gap – the intention is to encourage the roots to unfold horizontally as rapidly as potential. 

Don’t add compost or manure – the dearth of it’ll inspire the roots to develop past the planting gap. Plant the tree in order that the junction of the trunk and roots is barely above soil stage, which is able to encourage the roots to unfold and keep away from the chance of them being too moist. 

Stake securely, angling the stake at 45° into the prevailing wind. Water generously, then mulch the floor properly after planting. 


Monty said Rosa moyesii (pictured) is tough and will grow almost anywhere but will do best in sun on well-drained, rich soil

Monty mentioned Rosa moyesii (pictured) is hard and can develop virtually wherever however will do finest in solar on well-drained, wealthy soil

Autumn is a time to glory in rosehips, and none are extra dramatically ornamental than these produced by Rosa moyesii. The plant itself is doubtlessly a really tall shrub – the arching stems can attain 4 metres excessive – that produces single, blood crimson flowers with golden stamens. 

These then create the flask-shaped fruit, which begin out a deep orange and progressively get brighter, and they’re going to keep on the plant properly into winter. Like all species roses, R. moyesii is hard and can develop virtually wherever however will do finest in solar on well-drained, wealthy soil. 


Wallflowers go completely with tulips in spring, and younger crops – which could be purchased cheaply – will bloom subsequent March or April if planted now. They do finest in alkaline soil and in full solar. Plant firmly 30cm aside, in the reduction of straggly crops and pinch out flowers that seem earlier than spring.