A wonderful apple for the visually minded, the Gala apple is rosy-cheeked with a naturally waxed skin that can be polished to a shine. The Gala apple is also a great kid’s apple, sweet and very low in acidity. However, the aroma is in the malic acids, which is why the Gala apple is not a great apple for real apple connoisseurs: the taste is not very pronounced and the care is quite “special”, see the following care instructions.

Care Instructions

  • Plant in a slightly moist, well drained, humus rich soil
  • When planting, incorporate compost and mature manure
  • Water extra after planting until established
  • Later, in the event of a longer drought, water additionally, especially in the fruit set
  • Cut young tree into shape depending on variety and growth habit
  • Commercial varieties in particular must be carefully observed, as they are often susceptible to disease
  • Mostly to certain diseases, about whose treatment information should be obtained in advance
  • Fertilize adult tree spring and fall according to breeder/dealer recommendation
  • Apple trees need regular fruit and maintenance pruning and pruning when they are too old

Particularities:

  • The Gala apple needs a warm and sunny spot
  • An all-round sunny location so that all the apples turn red
  • And careful pruning that lets light into the tree everywhere
  • The apple trees of the Gala apple variety grow only moderately
  • But oriented towards the top
  • The branches are comparatively long and reach considerable diameters
  • The wood of these strong branches is quite brittle and tends to break
  • With the Gala apple, you should therefore regularly use the pruning shears
  • Otherwise, too long, well-stocked fruit wood could break under its load
  • Gala apples may need to be additionally thinned out while the fruit is ripening

The pruning of a Gala apple has to be done with foresight, because it bears fruit on the one-year-old and two-year-old wood.

fruit and harvest

A ‘Gala’ apple has a cream to golden yellow background which, when ripe, is covered with a dense web of intense red colour. The shell is smooth and coated with a natural layer of wax, Gala can be polished until it shines and sparkles.

Gala flowers in the middle of the apple season, comparatively long, and is ripe between the beginning and end of September, depending on the location. Or from the beginning to the end of September, because the Gala apple is “picked through”. This term usually stands alone in fruit-growing instructions: ” Pick through!”, but describes the complete opposite of a “sole activity”, namely multiple work: With the Gala apple, the sunlit apples ripen first, then the apples that were shaded by them. The Gala apple is thus harvested several times in succession, first the upper fruits and then the fruits that are no longer shaded by these upper fruits. Whether a Gala apple develops a beautiful color and above all a beautiful red color depends more than with many other apples on the fact that the fruit is exposed to the sun during the growth phase.

The tree usually bears profusely, the first harvest can begin when apples that are already well red in color fall off the stalk easily after turning. If you spot a green background colour, these apples may still be left hanging, green in Gala is a sign of insufficient ripeness.

The Gala apple is diploid, during fertilization a maternal and a paternal set of chromosomes unite in the new cell nucleus and produce genetically well-equipped offspring. When pollinating other apple trees, Gala passes on mixed, rich “gene packets”.

Gala is limited self-fertile. It should be tested whether the fruits achieve satisfactory qualities when there are few or no pollinators nearby. There are always reports of experience, according to which fruits produced by self-pollination leave something to be desired in terms of development and/or taste flat, the available gene pool does not always seem to be completely sufficient.

The Gala apple can be stored until December and should also be stored for at least two weeks in order to be able to fully develop its aroma, which is not strong anyway. When the apple has reached maturity, it stays in this “state” for weeks or months; Gala should taste well into February/March.

You can harvest the same amount of Gala’ apples every year because the variety does not tend to alternate.

taste and calories

Gala apple apples are small to medium-sized, round to conical in shape, and resemble each other in a manner that is sometimes almost clone-like. The “flesh” is creamy white to light yellow, firm and juicy, the taste is not very aromatic but very sweet.

The Gala apple is known as a children’s apple, dessert apple, cake apple; However, it is often classified as “too sweet” in “official baking tests” (see, for example, werden.lvwo-bw.de/pb/,Lde/671074). Children usually see things differently … which doesn’t help taste-trained adults to get over the fact that the Gala apple is classified as “too sweet” because it has little acid, because the aroma is in the malic acids.

The Gala apple has only approx. 4% acidity and therefore little chance of ending up in the top places at an apple tasting – in apple taste competitions, the apple varieties have a good chance, the fruits of which have a high sugar content with a high content connect to malic acids.

Like all apples, the Gala apple has comparatively few calories, a full 58 in 100 g (kJ/100 g 240.7, ∅ apple 60).

The calories come mostly from carbohydrates and mainly from the sugars, which are 12-14% of a ripe Gala apple. About 1% fiber is still there and possibly a few carbohydrates from starch that has not yet been converted into sugar (the more, the unripe the apple). Apples contain three different sugars: Between 55% and 75% fructose, the rest is mostly glucose and a tiny bit of sucrose. The sugar content of an apple, like the acidity, depends primarily on the variety.

Descent, susceptibility to disease and resistance

Gala apple is a New Zealand cultivar, a cross between ‘Kidds Orange Red’ and ‘Golden Delicious’. It was carried out in 1934 by breeder HJ Kidd, but the Gala apple was not named and marketed until long after Kidd’s death in 1945: It was not until 1965 that the 200 small ‘Golden Delicious’ offspring inherited from Kidd were examined to such an extent at the New Zealand Institute for Breeding Research that some varieties were brought onto the market.

Not particularly successful: The ‘Telstar’ apple is only available in the “National Fruit Collection UK” (probably as seeds). No. 2, ‘Freyberg’, could have been a better ‘Golden Delicious’: easy to grow and high yielding, not quite as pretty, but a marvel of aroma in comparison. This is exactly why ‘Freyberg’ only came onto the market as a popular variety, in commercial cultivation it would have made serious competition for Golden Delicious (it was not possible to determine how the market launch was prevented).

In addition to the two popular varieties, the Gala apple for commercial apple growing was presented – and probably didn’t really knock anyone’s socks off at first. Because Gala only gained importance in the market in the 1970s, when several mutants with a clear red color attracted the attention of customers. One of these mutants is ‘Royal Gala’, the Gala apple descendant that is almost the only one to be found on the market today.

Most traditional apple growers would have preferred to forego these unsuccessful cultivars; together with the ancestor ‘Golden Delicious’: This cultivar is largely responsible for the fact that in intensive cultivation today “they spray till they drop”. The popular ‘Golden Delicious’ is therefore not so popular with breeders with specialist knowledge (in pomology, not in chemistry). ‘Golden Delicious’ not only needs a lot of heat, fertilizer and care, but is also highly susceptible to all sorts of diseases. The fact that the fascinatingly fertile breeding variety is still being crossed again and again, even though it is already represented (several times) in the pedigree, is dangerous inbreeding for real breeders and only makes the problem worse.

The Gala apple is, so to speak, “susceptible to disease through breeding”, highly susceptible to powdery mildew (Podosphaera leucotricha), “normally susceptible” to fruit tree canker, apple scab and fire blight, which must be reported.

Commercial varieties and “real apples”

Care requirements, taste, susceptibility to disease: In this context, it should once again be clearly emphasized that the Gala apple is one of the commercial varieties used in commercial apple cultivation and that these commercial varieties today have to be distinguished from “real apples” from a horticultural point of view.

The commercial varieties are also omnipresent on the hobby gardener market, because the mass trade has for some time switched to selling the young plants, which are inexpensively produced in greenhouse landscapes, to private customers. Ideal for companies that combine market power with the pursuit of profit, but a threat to the survival of the old German apple varieties. The commercial varieties represent only a tiny group of apple varieties; the apple varieties belonging to this group are not considered to be particularly tasty, particularly nutritious, or particularly resistant to diseases.

This is how it came about: the regional apple variety once stood in the garden and on the local meadow orchard; Pastors, teachers, pharmacists acted as pomologists and had some special apple specialties in the garden (which benefited the whole town). Shortly before the Second World War, the first self-service shops swept over to us from the USA, and in the post-war period discounters were added until the four largest food retail companies (Edeka, Rewe, Schwarz Group with Lidl, Kaufland, Metro Group) had a market share of around had reached 85 percent and dictated to the suppliers which products should be produced.

Not in favor of the variety of apple varieties, the trade has strict requirements such as machine sortability, transportability, storability, a beautiful red color and a very low purchase price. The fruit grower must produce high yields of uniform goods, which he can only achieve by reducing the variety range and “intensive production”. “Intensive production” is the counterpart to “intensive agriculture” with plants that are just as profitable and tradable, but highly sensitive and demanding.

Hundreds to thousands of apple varieties (there used to be around 10,000 worldwide) were reduced to a handful – the retail market consists of Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Red Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith and Elstar (and a few percent of other apples). Gala occupies a special position among these varieties in that the variety does not belong to the German commercial varieties. Gala does not enjoy variety protection from the Federal Plant Variety Office, but is cultivated in Germany in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance on the Marketing of Cultivation Material of Vegetable, Fruit and Ornamental Plants (Cultivation Material Ordinance – AGOZV).

Whether it is an imported or a German commercial variety, the standard varieties restrict genetic diversity to such an extent that expert breeders have long expressed concerns. In fact, the current commercial range only thrives when given enough chemical help – sprayed up to 30 times per season. When the CMA (Central Marketing Society of the German Agricultural Industry) assures that pesticide residues are far below the specified limit values, that is very reassuring – until you understand that the CMA is talking about limit values ​​for individual pesticides and the overall load through several plant protection products applied to an apple is neither discussed nor examined. ‘Gala’ is definitely one of the apple varieties along with ‘Braeburn’, ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Granny Smith’ and ‘Jonagold’

If you want to plant a house apple that convinces with its individual aroma, high nutritional value and good resistance, you don’t have to limit your selection to the few varieties grown for intensive cultivation. You can also look around at the few hundred old apple varieties, some of which have adapted quite specifically to their regional environment over the course of thousands of years. Help with such a project is available directly from our government, which takes care of the preservation of old varieties through the Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants (Julius Kühn Institute, JKI). In 2007, the German Fruit Genebank (weren.deutsche-genbank-obst.jki.bund.de) was founded to ensure the long-term and efficient use of fruit genetic resources in Germany and to ensure their availability.

Conclusion
The Gala apple is sweet and firm, red and juicy and is particularly popular with children. It is less popular with adults who have already dealt with the variety of German apples, and the ‘Gala’ lacks any flavor. Whether the cultivation of the rather difficult and susceptible variety is an option for a home garden depends decisively on whether there are children living in the house by the garden.

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