Starting an orchard

I spent the day at the Peninsula Fruit Club’s grafting show. I picked six varieties of apples, focusing mostly on very early and very late types, with just a few mid-season fruits. Mike Shannon did the Yellow Transparent graft – I really want to grow that apple so I was glad to have a very experienced grafter do it for me. Next I sat through a grafting video, scribbling notes madly. Then I spent an hour at the grafting workshop as a patient member showed me how to do a tongue and groove graft and helped me out when I got stuck. “Be one with the tree,” he said, half-jokingly, and I muttered “be one with the tree” to myself as I worked. I used the grafting knife I bought at the event so I could get used to it.

This is such a dedicated club. These folks volunteered their time not just at this event but in preparing the scion wood at home and ordering in the supplies. They didn’t charge admission at the door either. They’re patient and generous individually and as a group.

I also got a kiwi and a fig scion. Since those need to root in a sterile medium and called for rooting hormone, I went by Valley Nursery in Poulsbo to pick up supplies, and also to check out their spring sale. I got a box of metal tags while I was there so I can label the trees.

Tomorrow I’m going to do the grafts I didn’t finish today. I’m planning to grow them in pots until we rehabilitate the weedy clearing behind the garage designated for the orchard. I guess we’ll need to put up some more deer netting too.

One of the club members commented to me that it will be three to five years before these trees bear fruit. It’s comforting to be planning something so positive that far into the future. Trees put human lifespans into perspective.

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