Getting to know your apples

We often extol the benefits of keeping a fruit tree diary, to get to know your trees better. We think it’s so important that our Monthly Growing Program members get a Fruit Tree Diary when they join the program!

This can be really helpful if you are trying to diagnose a problem with your trees, for example an apple tree that doesn’t set fruit might not have a polliniser that flowers at the same time nearby.

So in the interests of showing you what we mean, here’s what our apple varieties look like at the beginning of October.

Golden delicious, at balloon blossom stage.


Jonathan, a bit more advanced than Goldens…


Granny Smith is just past full bloom. You can see there are a few flowers where the petals have already fallen off (called shuck fall). Granny Smith is a great polliniser for lots of other varieties, but only if they flower at the same time! You can see there are still a few flowers not open yet, but within a few days this variety will be past its prime.


Pink Lady, almost at full bloom


Gravenstein are just starting to swell. This stage is called ‘early pink bud’.


Bramley are slightly later, this is pink bud…


Cox’s Orange Pippin are at about the same stage as Bramley, just waking up!


Snow apples are significantly more advanced, at full bloom.


Continue reading “Getting to know your apples”

Welcome to our farm


One of the fantastic things about technology, when it’s used for the forces of good, is it lets us communicate easily with each other.

As farmers, we’re really interested in making stronger connections between what we do, and the people who eat (ie everyone!) But we need to do it in a way that fits in with our farming work. So being able to blog using our smart phones, while we’re at work on the farm, lets us form a dynamic, intimate link with anyone who wants to read our story.

If we haven’t met before – Hi! We’re Hugh and Katie Finlay, and we help people to grow their own organic fruit with our business called Grow Great Fruit.

hugh_katie_5Meet our constant farm companions – the dogs. They love us, we love them, and they provide us with endless entertainment, but useful? Not so much. This is their typical attitude…


We run Grow Great Fruit from our farm at Harcourt, in central Victoria (that’s in Australia). The farm is called Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens, it’s certified organic, and we grow about 5,000 fruit trees, including cherries, apricots, peaches and nectarines, plums, apples and pears. As you can imagine, we’re pretty busy farming, as well as running workshops and supporting our Grow Great Fruit members!

Here’s Hugh running a Compost Tea workshop yesterday…


We love it, but we sometimes feel like we’re farming in a bubble, because so many people don’t really know what goes on in the day to day world of farming, or understand what’s involved in producing food and getting it to your table. Hence…the blog!

So, welcome to the joyous, miraculous, interesting, diverse, sometimes frustrating, and at times sort of dull world of a small organic farm in rural Australia.

We hope you enjoy the ride with us.