I did indeed make a lot of crosses this year ha ha. It seemed like crossing or collecting pollen was all I got done for quite a while. The original list was 46 parents and over 200 crosses. I didn’t do all those. Some I didn’t do at all and others I added as I went. It was more of a reminder list for the field. I leaned heavily on late hanging crosses. Mostly late hangers with other late hangers. The definition being that they hang on in good edible condition, ripening late, to at least December.
This year I got to use a bunch of my own crosses as parents. As an example of how my dummy version of apple breeding works, I have one small yellow seedling, nicknamed Ice Princess that I had off the tree on new years day in 2019. It is super crisp, (like crisp on top of crisp!), in a way reminiscent of some fine grained crabs. As far as I know, it is Grenadine x Golden Russet, so I crossed it with with late hangers, Russets, red fleshed apples, and very crisp apples. If an apple has more than one of those traits, such as Pink Parfait= very crisp, red flesh, hangs late, I’m going to make extra of that cross. Or a hedgerow apple I found, March Hedge, that hangs past February. It is super crisp, also yellow and very late ripening/hanging. Ice Princess got used on a lot of stuff, but another interesting cross is My Jewel, a late hanging/ripening apple that can taste very strongly of artificial banana. It has good, pretty crisp texture. Ice princess has had hints of banana, so mixing these two seems like a no brainer. Even though I don’t really like banana flavored apples lol, but i’ts just too compelling. Besides, then I can name it Banana Ice, which will make people that grew up in the 90’s think of Vanilla Ice and chuckle. And who (but me) wouldn’t want to try an apple named Banana Ice!
Other traits I tried to gang up in crosses are russets, very highly flavored apples, red flesh (even if the apple doesn’t show it, but I know it’s in the ancestry), early, crab apple ancestry and Scab resistance. Again, if I can combine desired traits, I’ll tend to make more of those crosses.
Some parent groups are:
Late Hanging: Allen’s everlasting, Sam Young, March Hedge, Pink Lady, Pink Parfait, My Jewel, “katherine”(unknown what the real name is), Becca’s Crab (M. prunifolia), Ice Princess, A january ripening russet seedling grenadine x ?), Grenadine x ? 11/12, Ingram, Whitwick Pippin
Early, meaning only the best ripening August or earlier- William’s Pride, Chestnut Crab, Trailman, July Red, Twang (my William’s Pride x Vixen seedling), Kerry Pippin, and an August Ripening open pollinated Wickson seedling nick named “August Wickson” that I’m still assessing. August Wickson went on Chestnut, Centennial, Twang and Trailman to combine Crab ancestry with Earliness. I bet one of those at least will turn out awesome.
Red Fleshed: I have left Grenadine and Rubaiyat mostly behind in favor of my own seedlings. Most of these show red flesh to a large extent, but some, like ice princess, don’t show any, or very little, but are used because I know one ancestor is RF. My seedlings (quotes are working names)- “Appleoosa” (Gren x Lady Williams), Black Strawberry (prob Grenadine x King David), “Blood Prince” (Rubaiyat x King David, “Ice Princess”, “Big Red” Grenadine x Golden Russet, Hard Candy Cider (Grenadine x Lady Williams strong fruit candy flavors), Cherub (Wickson x Rubaiyat), Grenadine x ? 11/12 (probably Lady Williams pollen parent), Not my seedlings- Pink Parfait, Wiilliam’s Pride, Pendragon
Exceptionally high, rich or complex flavor: Whitwick Pippin, My Jewel, Hard Candy Cider, Black Strawberry, Sam Young, Golden Russet, Sweet 16, Ross Non-pareil, Allen’s Everlasting. I think I’m forgetting some, but I crossed a lot of these with each other to see what happens. I think that is a good idea to chase high flavor. I’m pretty sure if we do that, some truly mind blowing apples will result. Most intense here are probably in order, My Jewel, Hard Candy Cider and Sweet 16. That is just quantitatively speaking, not complexity or character. Many are late hangers as well and I think there is high potential to breed super late ripening apples with intense, complex flavors.
This year I have lots of new seedlings fruiting, and many of the new ones are more varied crosses of dessert apples than the first stuff I pollinated back in 2011. Also, quite a few of the maypole crosses are fruiting, mostly those that show the columnar trait, which seem to be a little more precocious. Getting a really good apple off a columnar tree would be something to write home about. I think they are MP x Wickson, MP x Chestnut Crab and MP x Pink Parfait. Fingers crossed!