A Guide To Growing Bramley Apples

Is there anything better than growing your own apples and using these for tasty snacks, desserts or even as part of a meal?

We don’t think so and we think it’s a joy that everyone should experience at least once if they can.

The good news is, growing apple trees has become very popular even in domestic settings and it is one of the easiest fruits to manage.

In particular, Bramley apples – also known as the ‘King of cooking apples’ – can be a wonderful addition to any garden, and as a result, any kitchen.

But how do you go about planting, growing and harvesting your own Bramley apples? Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to tell you.

Start with planting

You might be wondering how you get started with your apple trees. Do you just go out and buy a pack of seeds like you would with most other plants?

Unfortunately, it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

Sure, you can germinate apple seeds from scratch but this takes weeks to ensure that they stay at the right temperature and the right moisture. Plus, the germination rate is usually pretty low; in most cases, less than 30%.

That is why most apple trees will come from an heirloom or open-pollinated plant.

So, for the best results, it’s a good idea to find a local supplier and buy yourself a potted, already-established Bramley apple tree for you to tend.

When and where to plant your trees

The best time to plant your new Bramley apple tree(s) is between November and March. There is a little wiggle room on either side of this, provided you don’t plant them during the hot, dry summer months.

Where you plant them within your garden can also impact their success. Your trees need lots of sunshine, though a little shade won’t do them any harm, especially in the hotter afternoons. They also like to be in a warm and sheltered spot that is protected from strong winds and late frosts.

When you’re first establishing your tree, this can take a while and you may wish to train them against a wall or fence. That being said, they can be planted on the lawn provided it is not too shady.

Caring for your trees

There are several things you can do to care for your Bramley apple trees and ensure you get the best harvest. We recommend:

  • Keep your trees well watered, especially those in pots. This is particularly important during the hot summer months
  • When planting your trees, use a good quality soil-based compost and you can top this up if required
  • You should also apply slow-release fertiliser and mulch to help retain moisture for your trees
  • Your trees may need regular pruning, particularly in the early stages
  • Once they are more established, they may need less radical pruning, but be sure to remove any diseased, dead, damaged or dying branches as you see them
  • It is also worth removing any branches that are crossing over one another which may lead to future damage

If you follow these tips and make sure that you check, water and prune your Bramley apple trees as required, you are more likely to have a successful and tasty crop.

Picking and storing your apples

Providing you’re taking care of your trees, you should start to see your apples appearing in May. However, these will take a little while to ripen and become ready to eat.

From late August you’ll start to see your apples really taking shape and colour, and they can be picked from around October to November time. Just make sure they don’t get over-ripe, you should pick them before then.

Bramley apples are a high-quality fruit and this means they can be stored through the winter months in the right conditions.

So, once you’ve harvested your apples, you should store them in a cool but frost-free environment, making sure that it is also a humid space. If you have a big enough fridge (or a spare fridge in the garage) this can be the ideal place.

When picking your apples, try your best to keep the stalks intact as this helps them to last longer.

Providing the conditions are right, you can keep your apples as they are until around January time. If you can resist cooking them all up before then, that is.

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