Growing apples in the tropics

Not all apple timber want the mountains to flourish. Some just do high-quality on balconies, and have gotten fashionable in low-altitude cities like Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru

When multimedia artist Vivek Vilasini returned to his residence after a seven-day quarantine in a Bengaluru resort, he discovered a pleasant shock ready for him. The two-year-old Anna apple plant on his balcony had borne fruit in his absence. His Granny Smith plant had additionally blossomed. “The COVID-19 gloom vanished with that one sight,” exclaims Vivek who shared the fruit along with his household and his pleasure on social media.

“A silent revolution is taking place,” says Noushad Parvez, Research Associate, Dissemination and Social Diffusion Department of National Innovation Foundation, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Three kinds of apples — Anna, Dorsett Golden and HRMN-99 aka Hariman — are being grown at low altitudes (under 3,000 ft) and excessive temperatures (45°C) throughout the nation, as they require solely 150-200 hours of cool circumstances per 12 months in comparison with high-altitude apples that want 1,000 or extra hours under 7 levels Celsius. “Progressive farmers and some organisations have been conducting trials across 29 states for the last five years and we are getting very encouraging results,” says Noushad.

Temperature proof

The seeds of this innovation return to 1999, when Bilaspur-based farmer Hariman Sharma found a fruit-bearing apple seedling in his courtyard. He developed the low-chill selection HRMN-99 (named after him) with strategic grafting, presumably with plum. The Apple Man of India, as he’s identified, acquired recognition from all quarters together with an award from the President in 2017.

Initially there was some doubt about its validity, recollects surgeon Dr KC Sharma from Jammu who has been offering HRMN-99 saplings to growers throughout the nation. “How can apples grow in summer, was the big question. We undertook a top-down route to popularise it.” He approached folks “in high positions”, and inspired them to plant the selection in their residence gardens. Fifty-four vegetation had been despatched to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The experiment was validated when apples grew on these vegetation.

“It can be grown anywhere in India, says Sharma. “It is growing on balconies of Mumbai buildings in 300-litre plastic drums with proper drainage. It is growing from Kerala to Manipur. Our slogan is one plant in each house.”

Noushad factors out {that a} related undertaking in the 1970s had failed and so “these trials and their success is inflicting nice thrill amongst farmers. The Kashmiri apple is harvested in September and eaten by the 12 months from chilly storage. The low-chill apple is harvested in June. A plant bears fruit in the first two years and, because it matures, the fruit dimension grows and weighs nearly 180 gm. It yields develop higher as nicely. The plant can thrive in temperatures as excessive as 40 levels Celsius. With the proper packaging a

nd practices, this can be a hopeful time for the low-chill apple.” Noushad is monitoring and addressing the challenges confronted by farmers.Rupesh T Sonawane, who’s popularising the fruit in Maharashtra with nice success, says he has provided “almost 50,000 plants to various farmers and farms. The first harvest of 200 kilograms from a farm near Pune was sold during the lockdown at ₹80/kg. Many WhatsApp groups connect the low-chill apple orchards.” Rupesh is nurturing 1,800 vegetation at Talegaon in Pune district, and is worked up about the dimension, color and weight of the fruits — 60% crimson in color, 200gm every and the dimension of a Kashmiri apple.

The harvest down South

In 2014, horticulturist Dr Venkatapathi Reddiar grew 5 apple timber as an experiment on his farm at Koodapakkam close to Puducherry, to show that apples may develop in the subtropics. Kendre Balaji, a progressive farmer in Asifabad, Telangana, took up an analogous problem with 10 vegetation in 2015. He now has over 500 timber and was feted by the Chief Minister Okay Chandrashekar Rao. “Each tree bears 30-40 fruits that weigh between 180-200 gm each. I am now looking to go commercial.”

An excited Vivek is wanting ahead to the apples fruiting at his meals forest in Munnar, Kerala, the place he has planted 10 timber. He cites Science — which incorporates local weather change and plant migration — as a motive for this success. “Many plants from the Himalayas are found in the Palani Hills and in Munnar. Some plants need a bit of cold to activate them. Apples adapt. After Anna has borne fruit, I am sure I am in for more surprises,” he says, hoping to ask apple lovers over to style his harvest quickly.

For apple seedlings contact: Hariman Sharma farms 0941867209; NIF: 0276461131/32 or

The Mysore apple

It is believed that, round 300 years in the past a range known as the Mysore apple grew in abundance in the metropolis state and was patronised by the Maharajah. With Anglo- Mysore wars, the patronage ended and it misplaced its recognition.

Old timers in Bengaluru bear in mind the apple orchards of Lalbagh with nice fondness.

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