It is quite amazing how you can grow an apple in even the smallest of gardens. There are some fantastic self-fertile apples that will produce fruit on their own without another apple being present and by growing on a dwarf rootstock (M27) can even remain in a large container for many years.
It is difficult to beat the taste of home-grown English apples, you can eat them at the perfect time and the transport may only be a few metres, not thousands of miles from Fiji and elsewhere. You also know of how few pesticides you have used.
One of the best varieties is ‘James Grieve’; its apples can be eaten straight from the tree or used for cooking in crumbles and pies. It fruits easily with pale yellow green apples with plenty of juice. It is perfectly acclimatised to this country and is one of the best varieties for the north.
Apples are easy to grow in full sun or partial shade with moist but not waterlogged soil. They can be trained against a wall, as a centrepiece to the garden (MM106 rootstock) or even in large tubs on the patio. Giving them plenty of feed increases the quality of the apples.
To reduce pest problems use a grease band wrapped around the trunk from late October to prevent the flightless female moths from getting into the tree to lay their eggs the following year.
Although self-fertile apples can be grown on their own, consider growing other fruit nearby; brambles can add extra taste to crumbles whilst plums can be great with apples in pies and chutney.