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 Who was Granny Smith? 
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:30 pm
Posts: 16
Post Who was Granny Smith?
Noticed this and found it somewhat interesting:

http://ask.yahoo.com/20051207.html


Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:23 pm
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 2:59 am
Posts: 9
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I'd like to know too, this sounds like the sort of thing I ponder on but would only admit to one of my gardening friends, my husband would wonder why on earth I needed to know. I'm often told that I am full of useless pieces on information! Angela


Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:52 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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This info’s consistent with the link above, only more detailed.

The Granny Smith Apple, from: http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/ryde/msherwood.htm

“Thomas and Maria Smith, like their neighbours, were orchardists. From the earliest days of European settlement the district of Ryde had enjoyed a reputation for fruit growing. Oranges, apricots, grapes, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, apples and pears all flourished. Some orchardists specialised in fruit varieties of their own raising, including seedling apples. One such was the Granny Smith. The earliest account of the origin of the Granny Smith appeared in the Farmer and Settler of 25 June 1924, in an article by Herbert Rumsey, a Dundas orchardist and local historian. He interviewed local fruit-grower Edwin Small who recalled that in 1868 he and his father had been invited by Maria to examine a seedling apple growing by a creek on her farm. She explained that the seedling had developed from the remains of some French crab apples grown in Tasmania. The Granny Smith is today recognised as a fixed mutation or 'sport'.”

I’ve a “Stark Brothers Spur” Granny Smith tree; the buds grow closer together on spur varieties thus they’re more compact, or ‘tighter’ trees. It’s easily my latest ripening apple, though the Braeburn (half Granny!) is a close second. My Granny’s hang on until the raccoons get them... or me. The apples have a think waxy coat that must add to their storage life. I’ve still not brought any of ‘my’ scion wood to our Exchange, because of the serious patent warnings from Stark Bros.

This trees is not been overly productive, but that’s fine with me, there’s always enough, and it’s never needed thinning (in 15 years), and the apples have good size due to less competition. I also use it as my “bitter” apple when pressing fresh apple juice – along with Brambly Seedling. It’s best to offset sweet apples with some tart; Cider makers search for bitter apples.

Granny’s are great, and from what I just read (which finally answered ‘my’ trivia question) - it’s thee apple it is on The Beatles Apple Records :wink:

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Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:35 am
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
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Location: SW Washington
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Thanks Viron. Are you using "bitter" and "tart" as synonyms? Or is that why you put "bitter" in quotes?

The reason I ask is that I generally avoid fruits with a description of "bitter" because I usually don't like bitter.

In my mind tart means sour like a lemon. Bitter means a nasty lingering off taste like grapefruit pith or bitter melon.

I dont remember any bitter taste in the store-bought Granny Smiths I had as a child. I don't think I've tasted one in over 20 years though. That's why I was wondering if you were using "bitter" to mean anything that compliments sweet.


Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:08 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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My 'own' descriptions for sure! I know what you mean by “bitter” ... or maybe astringent? "Sour" reminds me of ‘not ripe,’ and maybe "tart" best describes the G-Smith. "Puckery" comes to mind (though my spell-checker’s never heard of it) as I imagine biting into a Brambly Seedling - a ripe one at that! And the Cider Boys I know are looking for far more complexity in their ‘bitter varieties’ than a G-Smith provides. It's just that that's the best I can do around here to offset, or as you say, "Compliment" the sweets.

Interesting story (I hope): in the same hole my Granny Smith resides once stood this homesteads most magnificent apple tree. The Hummingbirds certainly loved it, perching in mass while awaiting their turn at our feeders - and we likely left it a few years longer for that reason alone... But there finally came a day I decided to replace its puckery-sour-bittery-too-tart malformed seedling apples with a 'real' apple tree - the spur Granny Smith. I dug for days on that root ball, mechanization was decades away! But after I began grinding and pressing my apples into juice, and getting the best reviews after blending some (here we go again?) tarter varieties in (which I preferred as well) I’ve been scrambling every year to come up with what that old (seedling?) tree would have provided in mass. Tart apples – ‘countering’ the sweetness of Golden Delicious, while providing a more complex blend of flavor esters... too late.

Though I always perk-up listening to our Cider Boys chatter on about some coveted "Bitter" variety they've located… I’ve never devoted the space to such. And it's really getting bad when you start secretly hoping for the demise of some orchard item... so as you can replace it with a whim :roll:

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Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:08 am
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 2:59 am
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Thanks for the info on Granny Smith I will now be able to bore some moe of my friends with this little know beice of information. The other apple that is a surprise in the taste department is the Golden Delicious. We have come to expect a soft and rather tasteless apple from France. However, heer in Plymouth, the West of England, the fruit is crisp and flavourful apparently due to the colder temperature here it swetens the fruit. The trouble with mine is that they do not grow very big.


Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:42 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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England - Zneet! Golden Delicious have been a favorite of mine since I worked at an industrial plant in Milwaukie (Ore.) and made friends with a neighbor who'd let me pick one of his Golden Dels. on my breaks; or with whom I'd visit with during my lunch. Bordering an industrial park, his back yard orchard was an inspiration to me. And so were those Golden’s... funny thing, they didn't have to reach that color to be quite good. Fruit starved, I'd begin eating them ASAP! I've a tree of my own now, and they remain eatable longer, and hang on their long stems longer than any of my apples. Mid-season to late - they're great!

It's hard to find a firm one in our grocery stores either... Likely picked for color, they've begun to mellow by then. And unlike a pear, storage doesn’t do them any good. Mine almost always set too heavy, thus they're 'smaller' than 'store boughten.' I spend more time per square foot thinning them than any of my apples ... though my Gravensteins can give them challenge. To me, part of their appeal is that tart / sweet blend they have early on, which fades to the more bland (overly) sweet-side as they mature.

And Plymouth, in West England... I'm gonna look that up. Maybe I've watched too many "Britcoms," but England holds a lot of charm to me. And I often think of "England" when I bite into one of my Ribston Pippins; [http://www.vintagevirginiaapples.com/apples/ribston.htm] "the apple of the landed gentry."

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Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:25 am
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Thanks for replying, Oregon. It looks like I'm zone 6 too. Plymouth is on the South west coast and is where the Pilgrim Father's sailed from to the States. We are experiencing unusally stong winds at the moiment which is every bit as damaging as the frosts. The frosts will stop some time this month but it is risky planting out bedding plants in case we have one somewhere sheltered is fine though. How is your weather at the moment? We ae told global warming is to blame for the winds and the cutting down of the Brazilian rain forests has also altered our weather.


Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:45 am
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
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Location: SW Washington
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That USDA Zone feature seems to give a different result than just about any other Zone mapping I've seen. From every other source I'm of the impression that Vancouver, WA 98683 is generally Zone 8, not Zone 6 as this calculator reports. Surprisingly it lists a Portland, OR 97218 as Zone 8. Those are about 10 miles apart and the same elevation. They also both show as 8 on the actual map printed there.

The calculator from the Arbor Day foundation says zone 8. http://www.arborday.org/treeinfo/zonelookup.cfm

They also show how the map has been changing over time between 1990-2006 (global warming?) http://www.arborday.org/media/mapchanges.cfm

I'd be interested in learning more context for each map and calculator especially regarding the criteria they use for setting the map. What period of time do they use when they say "average low temperature"? I'm assuming that is the lowest temperature recorded in the year, averaged over several years.

Why is it averaged? Doesn't it only take 1 year to kill your tree? It seems like a more useful value might be something like the absolute lowest temperature likely to be encountered over a 10 year period with a 90% confidence.


Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:57 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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Yes, Plymouth. Here are a couple statements that struck me about your area: "The South West region is largely rural, with many small towns and villages; a higher proportion of people live in such areas than in any other English region." Charming! And: "The earliest known settlement in Plymouth dates back to 1000 BC." Amazing! English/American history out my way is infantile in comparison... We're still Pioneers! Can you imagine, the first grafted fruit trees didn't arrive here until the middle 1800's? But our Willamette Valley is so rich, and we're protected by our Coast Range of mountains. My Father lives on our coast, on the other side of these mountains, and the winds give him all kinds of problems growing. Wind & Deer - no thanks...

My experience with "English apples" has been interesting; with all the history of apples (if not their rootstock) stemming from England, I'd jump at the chance to eat, plant, or graft one. But with time, I learned that 'over here' they were midseason apples, but with your cooler climate, they were the best that would ripen. A passed friend of English heritage had always pointed out her orchard favorites to me; and yes, every apple's good in its prime, but we'd have another month left in the growing season in which the richest of apples would then ripen. I've since reminded myself of that whenever I'm into a book that touts only English apples. ...though I'll keep my Ribston Pippins (actually, hers)!

We've an unseasonable cold spell going on right now. Where I'd have mowed the lawn by now, I haven’t yet made the effort. I planted Fava beans as a cover crop yesterday, started soaking some parsnip seed, and may put my beets and carrots seed in this evening -- on the full moon! We've had two hard freezes, about 28 degrees (you do the Celsius) each time. I've had 7 different plums in various stages of blossoming; I hope we get a balanced crop. The buds on several new grafts are pushing, if ever so slow... But down in my secluded little canyon, wind is rarely a problem; other than the storm that took down 10 fir, maple, and alder trees last winter - of which I'm going to continue sawing up when I pull away from this keyboard.

Unfortunately, humanity rarely has a positive effect on nature; and perhaps the worse conditions get, the deeper our denial? I feel sorriest for the innocent inhabitants of earth, they'll never know what hit them … but then neither did the dinosaurs. Keep planting trees~

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Last edited by Viron on Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:47 am
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 2:59 am
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Hello Oregon,
Good to chat, you may be zone 6 but your plums are flowering before mine the buds are just breaking, also on the pears but not that I've noticed on the apples. You suffered quite a storm last winter, it's a shame to lose trees they are a part of the dignity of the landscape.
We do farenheit and celsius but wouldn't get really below 5 or 6 celsius they don't show the equivalent on the t.v. weather forecast but they do show farenheit and celcius in the summer when it gets hot.
You know more about Plymouth than I do I didn't know about the 1000 B.C occupation of Plymouth, though I should as there are the remains of several stone age villages in Dartmoor National Park, just north of the city. I like to walk with a group of friends and we stopped to have our picknic there.
You've made me curious about Ribston Pippins I shall have to see where I can get hold of one to try I wonder if it's like cox's orange pippin. I have a woolbrook pippin which has a pippin flavour but it is inclined to rot on the tree and each year I say I'm going to chop it down but then I haven't the heart. We have pet pigs, miniature ponies and donkeys who all appreciate the fruit in fact the pigs get drunk if they have too many apples they stagger up the garden swaying from side to side it's quite comical.
Of course the pheasants and wasps get some too and one of our dogs, we can't leave pears in the fruit bowl on the table she eats them all! It was a while before we knew why they were going so quickly then we found stalks all over the floor and a dog that kept asking to go out.
We haven't had any plums yet as the trees aqre young well actually they are 10 years old but the donkeys keep eating the branches, the whole tree if I let them. One of the pigs climbed a young apple tree for the apples and broke it in half, a Winston, it is/was lovely. So you see we plant one for us and one for the animals. They've got a good sense of smell that particular pig, daisy, is blind.
I have neversoaked parsnip seeds, obviously you find this is a good way to plant can you tell me why? The subject of planting by the moon is one I would like to try my mother gave me a booklet on it which I have filed away for the future the trouble is this is the future and I have got arthritis in most parts of my body now so gardening is challenging.
I'm away for a week or so now so thanks for the contact, Angela


Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:18 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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Plymouth; yes, a good chat (can't talk fruit constantly can we?) ...you had me and my girls laughing -- apple drunk pigs! ...apart from snapping apple trees in half. ...Now mine are lobbying hard for pigs! I've considered them, but wouldn't have the heart (or lack of) to eventually do what needs doing. Sorry here ... I'm being asked from behind if "That's why we'd have them?" "And not for their cute pinkness and curly tails?"... Maybe I shouldn't let them in on this stuff ;-) Now I'm being told about the miniature ponies on the way to school, "One just had a baby," "And it was only this high (hand one foot above the floor)!" I've considered a donkey, to help drag trees from the woods and a large garden cart; though we're more seriously considering chickens... but I'm just a city kid from Portland -- what do I know about farm animals?

My Daffodils are just past their peak; we're a bit higher than the surrounding valley, including Portland. We envy everyone else's 'early blooming' fruit trees, but of course ours eventually do the same. But like I said, it's been cold! And you're right about loosing majestic trees, of any kind; but it's amazing how fast their 'holes' seem to fill in ... as you forget they were ever there. And I did get some of them cut and split into 'firewood' today. That storm was one long night - without power, listening to the cracking concussions of large trees slamming against the ground around us. And it's extra ugly when a big one takes down a couple 'smaller' ones with it. But we've already planted around 25 Western Red Cedar trees (my favorite indigenous tree) in every new opening!

"We do farenheit and celsius but wouldn't get really below 5 or 6 celsius they don't show the equivalent on the t.v. weather forecast but they do show farenheit and celcius in the summer when it gets hot." ... like when American tourist are around? You don't get below freezing..? The coldest I've seen it 'out here' was 5 degrees Fahrenheit, well below freezing. In fact, it killed my first fig trees to the ground, so I potted the 'roots' and they grew back. We rarely get below the teens, and that's plenty cold for me -- I've webbed feet - not furry!

I've never been to "Europe" (let alone England, or Britain). I'd be a real freaky tourist; wanting to run my fingers through the soil, feel the bark of trees, breath the country air, nibble & sniff unfamiliar leaves, pick fruit, feel stones, climb trees, talk to anyone with a garden, and wander the country side while losing my fellow tourists (if my family) ... visit experiment stations and hang out in garden centers - too!

Guess you're gonna have to sneak onto the estate of some Landed Gentry to try those Ribston Pippins..? Actually, they're a parent of the Cox Orange! Had I not grafted a Ribston all over a tree of mine, I'd have likely planted a Cox Orange tree; but I later heard there's several problems with the Cox's (that I can't remember off hand). But guess what, if you leave the Ribston's on the tree too long, they rot from the core out. I've always wanted to feed my excess apples to the local horses and cows (haven't seen any pigs), but after a neighbor warned me about how easily 'modern (because they're apparently not used to eating apples) animals' choke on apples, I've avoided it. Too bad, but the deer never choke.

Never chop down a young healthy apple tree, graft it over to something else. And if the grafts don't take, so what - the tree will send up suckers from the limb that are better candidates to graft than the origional limb. And you've got a fruit eating dog! That'll probably add a few years to its life..? A couple years ago I was finding persimmon caps (stem tops) inside my garage; that meant the entire persimmon had been eaten. I couldn't imagine a mouse, or even a rat accomplishing that. There were more and more such caps every day... Well, the kids had befriended an hungry neighbor dog, and she liked persimmons! In fact, I'd watch her eat raw corn, raw (sweet meat) squash - then gobble succulent figs off the lowest branches. We suggested they increase her food servings.

I've never planted parsnips, but my Dad's the Parsnip King of his neighborhood (he's the gardener of the family!). I nearly cleaned a plate of his fried parsnips on my last trip to the coast. I read that their seed takes a long time to germinate and that soaking it, as you would alfalfa sprouts, then planting it out when the roots are a quarter inch long works best. Made sense to me, and I'd like to get as many as I can! …I was pretty-much joking about the full moon... though my Dad has planted by it in the past. Actually, I think it's best to plant on an increasing moon, not a waning one... but really - I don't think it makes any difference -- we'll see?

I'm not looking forward to arthritis... but I'm doing as much as I can before it strikes! Sounds like you'll be away -- I've always wanted a "British Pen pal" :)

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Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:59 pm
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
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Location: SE Portland
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Just wanted to throw in "Kingston Black" as THE cider apple, at least for hard cider. And I believe I saw some at the Scion Exchange, but I didn't want to plant an apple I could only drink, not eat. It's classified as a "bitter-sharp," and it makes the best classic dry cider.


Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:16 pm
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