Apple Day

Apple Day

Apple Day: A Celebration of British Fruit and Veg

This year Apple Day falls on Monday 21st October. Started in 1990 by Common Ground, “Apple Day was intended to be both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too.”

It gives us a great opportunity to celebrate autumn and the harvest, and to get your pupils to be more enthusiastic about eating fruit and vegetables. Apple Day activities take place across the UK and are organised by the Women’s Institute, National Trust, Wildlife Trust and many more organisations, including schools and colleges.

Questions to Engage Your Class

  1. How many varieties of apples can you name? Varieties available in the UK (but not necessarily British) include: Braeburn, Bramley, Cox, Royal Gala, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Jazz, Golden Delicious, Kanzi.
  2. Where do apples grow? On trees, in an orchard
  3. Have you ever been to an orchard?
  4. Can you name fruits and vegetables that are grown in the UK and are ready for eating in autumn? Apples, pears, blackberries, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kale, leek, onion, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, spinach, turnips, damson, elderberries, quince, artichoke, beetroot, celeriac, marrows, runner beans, swede, sweetcorn.
  5. What is your favourite fruit/veg?
  6. Do you grow fruit or veg in your garden/allotment/community space?

The Importance of Orchards

Orchards are a vital part of the British landscape. There are many benefits:

  • They provide a place where people and nature work together to create abundant harvests
  • Established trees produce fruit year after year with little human intervention
  • They create vital green spaces in towns and cities
  • Fruit trees can help people to overcome poor diets and sedate lifestyles by providing fresh fruit to eat and the physical activity involved in growing and harvesting
  • They give us a space to learn from nature and pass on traditional skills
  • They are an important haven for wildlife, including conservation priority species such as the dormouse, lesser spotter woodpecker, great crested newt, noble chafer beetle, orchard tooth fungus and the mistletoe marble thrush

How Apple Trees Grow

The growing of apple trees can be complex to explain to younger pupils. Why not try our simplified, child-friendly explanation?

If you were to plant a pip from your break-time Pink Lady Apple, the apples on the tree that you grow probably wouldn’t look or taste anything like your original apple. This is because apples need a pollinator to reproduce. A pollinator is an insect, bird or small mammal that takes the pollen from one tree to a flower on another. This means that the pips in your fruit are a mixture of the two different trees and is potentially a brand-new variety of apple.

To reproduce our favourite apples, without mixing them with another tree, growers had to find a way of cloning the original tree. To do this, they use a technique called grafting. The original Bramley Apple tree was planted over 200 years ago in Nottinghamshire. Every single Bramley Apple ever eaten, and every Bramley Apple tree ever grown, originated from that single tree. By 1944, there were over 2 million Bramley Apple trees! The original tree is still standing and producing fruit today.

Apple Activities for Your Class

Apple Printing

Cut apples in half, dip the flat side into poster paint then print onto your paper. To create a lovely autumnal picture, use yellow, orange, red and brown paints. You could also use fallen leaves to print onto your picture too.

Bobbing for Apples

Bobbing for apples is a popular traditional game played at Halloween and Bonfire Night parties. Half-fill a large bowl with water and add in five or six apples; there should be enough room in the bowl and enough water for the apples to move around easily. Pupils should take it in turns to ‘bob’ for an apple, using only their mouths – no hands allowed! Make sure you have plenty of towels handy to help pupils to dry off and mop up any splashes.

Growing Apple Trees from Seeds

  1. Spread a layer of cotton wool (in sheets or cotton balls) into a tray
  2. Mist the cotton wool with water so that it is damp (but not soaking wet)
  3. Pull the cotton wool apart slightly to break up the fibres then nestle the seeds into the top of the cotton wool 1-2 inches apart
  4. Place the seed tray in a bright area in indirect light
  5. Mist the cotton wool daily or whenever it starts to dry out, make sure it doesn’t get too soggy
  6. When your seedlings form roots and the first leaves it’s time to pot them up
  7. Gently separate the cotton wool from the seedlings, it’s fine to leave some around the roots to avoid damaging them
  8. Fill a 2-3 inch pot with potting soil and make a hole in the centre with your finger
  9. Place the seedling into the hole so that the roots are covered and the stem and leaves are above the soil – push the soil around the seedling to secure it
  10. Water the seedling with a gentle mist whenever the top of the soil feels dry.
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