Autumn is the time to harvest apples and pears. Perhaps one of the most recognisable autumn harvests, apart from squash! Seeing apple trays, making your favourite apple pie from fruits harvested from your garden or a local orchard, or even foraging out on walks is such an autumnal delight. Here's how and when to harvest apples and pears.
Apple and pear varieties to harvest
Many varieties of apples and pears, from larger trees to smaller types, can be grown in a container for a smaller space.
- For apples - ‘Discovery’ is a well-known early variety, which can often be picked in late August. Then ‘D’Arcy Spice’ is a later variety, which tends to be best harvested in November. ‘Falstaff’ is ideal for containers.
- For pears - ‘Conference’ is the most well-known variety, and ‘Concorde’ is great for UK climates. For a pear in a pot, try ‘Colette Everbearing’.
Ways to grow apples and pears
With just a few tips, they are very easy to grow. Winter is the best time to plant bare-root apple trees, they are cheaper to buy, and you’ll find wide varieties available. However, container-grown plants will have an instant impact and are generally available from October through March. The rootstock will impact the ultimate size, so do ask in store for more information. Pot-grown trees can be planted all year but need much more water to help them settle in. Grow them in moist, well-drained soil with full sun, although partial shade is fine too. Mulch each year.
How to know when to harvest apples and pears
Apples and pears do ripen at slightly different times depending on the variety you are growing. Also, the changing weather conditions can mean a later or earlier harvest, depending on the summer and autumn weather. So if you have space, planting different varieties to extend the harvesting time is ideal. However, October is usually the time when most varieties are ready, and it’s so exciting! You will know when they are ready because, with a slight twist, they come off the branch with ease. If the stalk doesn’t come away with the fruit, they are not ready to harvest.
Ideas for your harvest
There is much to make, from apple pie with cinnamon to a homemade apple crumble! Apples in smoothies, chopped with peanut butter or dipped in hummus are all delicious. How about baked pears in a maple syrup sauce or a pear tart? The options are endless. And remember: homemade always tastes better. Bake an apple pie for your grandma, or get creative with savoury pear and goat cheese bites when you have friends over.
For further growing tips and a selection of plants, visit us in store.