Grafting is so much fun in the doing, and so enjoyable eating a range of fruit off one tree. With apples they can get into what is called biennial bearing – a heavy crop one year, nothing much the next. In a small garden that is a serious problem. By grafting, it is possible to have a range of fruit coming in at various times of the summer/autumn. The photo here shows peas good non such on black prince apple – just a small branch, flowering when the rest of the tree has finished flowering.
About 30 keen folk gathered for a grafting day at Ballybroom – Dave and Virginia’s river side property near the Selwyn Bridge on Bealey Road. We ran one last year, and sure enough there were plenty of folk keen to learn and get practical experience.
The proof is in the pudding and now, some weeks on, we can find plenty of grafts growing.
Folk were handed a 5 page handout, with tips, photos, further information and background – but the heart of the day was sharp knives and plenty of trees to practice on.
Folk really enjoyed the day, and have gone on to do their own grafting. Nourish ran a grafting day last year – perhaps this will become an annual event… and maybe we will add budding for those keen to have a crack at that. Timing is everything with budding it seems.
Labels are really important. The group were shown the benefits of drinking – out of a can at this point, then cut the can up with an old pair of scissors, write on the soft Aluminium can with an old biro, force a hole through and use a strong, long cable tie – refer below, so you can remember what and when. But hey, it works with no labels – just surprises. I like having date and who from and what written on the label. The tape is special grafting/budding tape – it has a small amount of adhesive and is very easy to work with… but plenty of folk have found that electrical tape works well also.
Here’s the end result of grafting granny smith a few years ago – a crop on a tree that wasn’t going to crop this year… The main tree is Splendour, looking like it is in an off-year.