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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Whetting Your Appetite For Some Apple Grafting

Those of you who made it to the CA Rare Fruit Growers meeting on the 14th got a real treat.  Several grafts were demonstrated with many talented and good experts in attendance.

A word in defense of the Swiss Army Knives that the one grafter was so adamantly against: both the current president and past president of the chapter swear by the Swiss Army knives as much as I do.  If any of you go into grafting professionally you might want to consider a more expensive knife, Tina is a good brand name, but expect to pay up to four times more for a Tina than a Swiss Army knife and not one has ever closed on the fingers of any one I know.  Although I do love the Opinel knife as well - and while it does have a wonderful locking mechanism, I have found it broken many times when I have loaned my knife to someone who does not appreciated that feature.  They've been able to close it, not on their fingers, thank God, without too much difficulty.

As in all things, "your mileage may vary."

A Good Interview 
As we learned on Saturday, this is a less-desirable graft
that is usually found on commercially produced trees.

From Seed Savers Exchange, here is an interview with their head orchardist for their heirloom apple collection.

In Other News
I was able to order about $50 worth of "Warm Season" Apples from the east coast.  Some of these ought to do well here while others will be somewhat unhappy in our climate.  But, we won't know until we try. SO, the great experiment is on!  Each of you will get to graft one or more "regular apple" - from my howling deficit a couple of weeks ago has come a plethora of varieties.  I have a couple of Braeburns and Fugis, I have a bag of Gordons and I have a bag of White Pearmain.  From those, each of you will make two grafts - you may choose which kind of grafts you make - they must be different.

And then I have these from Big Horse Creek Farm, from which you may choose one and take that one home, if you are able. It would please me greatly if you would send an email reporting on the tree once in a while - especially if the tree does really well!  I also want to know the ones that don't do that well.  We are building a database on these trees. You may use the grafting tool on these if you wish.  Look up their descriptions of each apple on the web site (above) and make a couple of choices - there will only be ONE scion of each variety listed below.

The List: 
Brushy Mt. Limbertwig
Carolina Red June
Cranberry of North Georgia
Crow Egg 
Keener Seedling
King Luscious
Summer Champion 
Whiter Winter Permaiin (we have 12 more of these)
Yellow Bellflower 

We will be grafting on March first.  Seeds are this Sunday's topic.


Addendum 18 February 2015:  This is some excellent reading to add to your list, A Radical Orchardist?  A little off our topics, but definitely worth the time to read!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Upcoming Schedule Notes Plus NEW Scionwood!!!

Just a reminder that we are meeting for our 'field trip' to the California Rare Fruit Growers this coming Saturday (the 14th).  The meeting is from 10 to noon at the Veterans Memorial Building, the south west corner of Overland Avenue and Culver Blvd. Lot's of free parking.  Sorry it's on Valentine's Day, but I don't get to choose what days they meet.  
This is totally worth the time you'll spend. This organization is one of a select few that I support with my membership - I've learned so much in these meetings and I hope you do too!  

Sadly, I am being forced to change the syllabus in a manner that is less than optimum. When we meet on the 22nd, we are scheduled to do grafting, which makes sense having just come from the CRFG's scion exchange, but I have learned that my rootstock order will not come in until after the 22nd, so we will flip the syllabus schedule:  we will do seeding on the 22 and grafting on March 1st.  It is not ideal, but that's the deck we have to play with.  

I have scions for some choice apples this year, including, at present, Gordon, an old fashioned apple that is hard to find these days (one of the first of the Southern California apples) and White Pearmain (storage apple from England in the 1600's -unless you LOVE sour, this is not an apple to eat off the tree!).  I am ordering three rootstocks per student - this means, if you wish, you can graft up to 3 apple trees! You will be allowed to take one of your own grafts home.


PS THIS JUST IN!!  Big Horse Creek Farm is shipping a dozen 'warm season' varieties to us from the East Coast!  These are warm season varieties in their world - man of these have never been tried on the west coast.  This will be a wonderful opportunity for us to perhaps discover varieties that have never been tried here and might be a whole new discovery.  I've got to work out how we will use these valuable scions, I'll will post the list of them on this blog soon - you'll need to look up Big Horse Creek Farm's website to get the descriptions

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