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February 21, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 21, 2006

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22 - CAPE GAZETYE - Tuesday, Feb. 21 - Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 G,,RDEN & FARM Sussex Master Gardeners to hear presentation on hurricanes and nor' easters ., " : " : StevenBillupsphoto Nature Center manager speaks to Gardeners Richard Julian, manager of the Seaside Nature Center at Cape Henlopen Park shows a Pow- erPoint presentation on various activities, trails and programs available at the park. Julian is role at the park is to develop and execute the interactive programs at the park. He is striving to provide the public with the best possible experience, promoting awareness and apprecia- tion of all that the park has to offer. Sussex County Master Garden- ers and Delaware Cooperative Ex- tension for both Delaware State University and the University of Delaware are celebrating 20 years of educational services with a pre- sentation open to the public. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 1, at the Sus- sex County Research and Educa- tion Center, located on Route 9 in Georgetown. The speaker will be Dr. Wendy Carey, Coastal Processes/Coastal Hazards specialist, who has been with the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Ser- vice since 1999. In her presentation, Carey will provide an overview of hurricanes and nor' easters, beginning with an explanation of the weather pat- terns that create these powerful storms. She will also explain the haz- ards they present to both coastal and inland areas, as well as ac- tions that can be taken to become better prepared in the event of a coastal storm. Included in her talk will be a discussion of the Great Atlantic Coast Ash Wednesday storm that struck Delaware March 6-8, 1962. "My goal is to encourage people to make some preparations now rather than waiting until a major storm threatens the area,, Carey said. "The types of things people can do now include assembling a dis- aster supplies kit, knowing the evacuation route and the location of storm shelters, and learning how to protect homes and proper- ty from wind and flood damage." Dr. Carey holds a doctorate and a master's degree in marine stud- ies from the University of Delaware and a bachelor's degree from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. She has developed and partici- pated in many programs designed to increase awareness about coastal processes and hazards and serves as a liaison between re- gional, state and local resource management agencies, coastal communities and the public on coastal issues. The evening begins with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m., fol- lowed by the lecture at 7 p.m. The cost is $5 per person. Ad- vance registration is required by calling Sharon Webb at 856-2585, Ext. 540. Discover the J-,,,)ts of Granny Smith apples It's February. It's cold. Not much fruit if any in our gardens. But there in the refrigerator are bright, crisp apples. Apples that have stayed firm and juicy for months. It was this very keeping ability to stay fresh for long periods that led these peculiar gree'v'dpples on their long journey from a case of "waste not, want not," to become one of the premier apples of our day. This apple began with a woman named Mafia, .the daughter of con- victs who were exiled to Australia. In 1868 Maria found a small apple seedling growing out of a pile of discarded apples. A local fruitgrower, Edwin Small, said that in 1868 he and his dad were asked to come by Maria's to take a look at a seedling apple tree on her farm. Maria explained that this tree was growing by a creek where she had tossed out some French crab apples from Tasmania. The ap- ples on this seedling tree were medium to large, with a waxy, grassy-green skin covering crisp, juicy, white flesh. They com- GARDEN JOURNAL Paul Barb, ,no bined a faindy sweet with a bit of tartness, so they were good for cooking. Indeed when cooked in- to pies these sprightly apples held onto their texture and never got mushy. Maria's green apple was a success, and even won prizes at local fairs. But most importantly, and the reason we even know of this apple from Australia, is that these seedling apples were not only quite firm, but very bruise resis- tant with an excellent shelf life. They were, in the parlance of the trade, excellent shippers. And shipped they were. Incredibly by the turn of the century these apples were sent by boat from Australia across several oceans to Great Britain and later to America. The apples were named after Maria, who as a midwife in New South Wales delivered so many babies that she was known as "Granny Smith." The name stuck and today the tart green apples are known as "Granny Smith." The Granny Smith apple tree is available from many local nurs- eries or by mail from nurseries such as Miller's (5060 West Lake Road, Canandaigua, NY 14424- 8904 or by phone at 800-836- 9630) or Stark Brothers. (www. or by mail at Stark Brothers, P.O. Box 1800, Louisiana, MO 63353.) Granny Smith trees are very vigorous, with good productivity. They are annual bearing with a compact but spreading shape. The trees resist cedar apple rust. Not surprising given its down under heritage, the Gmqmy Smith needs a long season to fully ripen, about 170 to 210 days from bloom to harvest. They are hardy in USDA Zones 6 though 10, though with luck you can get them to ripen in Zone 5. Even when Granny Smith ap- ples are grafted onto semi-dwarf rootstock they can grow into sub- stantial trees so late winter prun- ing to stay truly semi dwarf. Granny Smith is not a self-polli- nating apple tree, so you will need another apple variety nearby for cross-fertilization. Granny Smith trees flower in mid-April so even flowering crabapples will polli- nate them. To plant your Granny Smith ap- ple tree, choose a sunny location and dig holes wide enough to fit the roots without bending them. Usually a hole 18 inches deep and 18 inches in diameter will be ade- quate. Spread the roots out in the hole, fill the hole and gently tamp the soil down. This will insure root- to-soil contact so that the roots will not dry out. Water the newly planted apple tree with at least 2 ;-...,:.; .-,, :.., ,.:,.:.., gallons of water. Be sure that the graft union is above the soil line. The graft union is a slight bulge or healed wound about 10 to 18 inches above the highest roots. Keeping the graft union above ground will prevent the variety from rooting and defeat the purpose of a sepa- rate rootstock. Wrap screening or hardware cloth loosely around the base of the trunk to prevent animals from chewing the bark. The trees should begin to bear fruit in just a few years. Soon enough you will have a great apple for eating out of hand as well as an excellent dessert ap- ple that can be made into apple- sauce, apple butter, pies and cider. When asked about her amazing apple tree, Granny Smith, well aware of the stigma of having convicts for parents, said, "Well, it's just like God to make some- thing useful out of what we think is rubbish." Address questions or comments to Paul Barbano c/o The Cape Gazette.