- Author: Brenda Altman
Two springs ago while shopping at a big box store in Vallejo in the pre-Covid era, I purchased a Gala apple tree sapling with its roots wrapped up in a bag. In my mind, I was already crunching into a crisp juicy apple. I was eager to take it home and transfer it to a 7-gallon bucket. I filled the bucket with planting soil and placed in a sunny spot in the garden.
I carefully water the tree and watched it grow. In late summer I found a nice sunny spot in my garden where the tree could get 6 hours plus of sun and dug a 7-gallon hole in the clay. I made it twice the diameter of the little sapling and deep enough so the crown would be above the surface. It grew and grew and the next spring many new leaves and branches appeared but no flowers. Gala apple trees can grow as high as 25 feet or if you get the dwarf type 10 feet.
This spring I got excited as I noticed new buds appearing on the tree. Sure, enough they were flowers! I was going toger apples! How many I did not know. I figured a half dozen or more but I was wrong the tree gave me a dozen-plus apples! Galas are self-pollinating so there is no need to buy another apple tree.
I sampled the apples once they started to change color. The young apples were crisp with just a tinge of sweetness and tartness. As they got redder the flavor grew more intense. Gala apples have a good storage life. Put in a cool place and chomp on them a month later! They will just burst with flavor. Gardening takes patience, it takes time. But if you work at it, you will be rewarded.
I can't wait for next spring to see how many more apples I'll get. I will remove the smaller apples growing next to a larger apple in the hopes of getting bigger apples but fewer apples. I will also prune some of the lower branches.
Sometimes you can find real bargains at a big box store. Do your research before you buy and select the saplings that look promising. If the tree is not already established, I prefer to transfer trees to a seven-gallon container and let the roots develop before I commit them to the ground.
For more information:
ucanr.edu gala apples