Last minute items


My trees look like trauma victims. They’re hacked up, taped together. They’re part of my dastardly grafting scheme. A few weeks—maybe even a month ago—I went to the scion exchange held by the California Rare Fruit Growers Association . Fruit geeks. My people! I knew I was in heaven when I overheard two fruit lovers comparing sapote tasting notes. I know a little about fruit, but nothing what these people know. Which kind of pear tastes the best (Buerre Blanc), which mulberry scions–pieces of branch that can be grafted onto a tree–to get (“Alba”), how to cleft graft a Green Gage plum.


I took about 25 scions home, stuck them in the fridge and promptly forgot about them. But now I’m going on a quick trip to the East Coast, I have a million things to do and so I spent today grafting. Onto the Persian Mulberry, onto the persimmon, onto the plum, onto the Granny Smith apple tree which hasn’t burst yet.

The idea is to match up the cambium layers of the little twiggies with some judicious cuts. Then you wrap them tightly together with parafin. The idea is the tree, in a burst of springtime good will, will think the little scion is an injured part of itself. It’ll send forth energy and heal the wound, thus bringing the two branches together. The graft looks like a pucker on the branch once it has healed. I’ve successfully grafted an Orange Pippin onto my apple tree before, but no word on the fruit yet, it can take up to three years before you get fruit. Still, there’s something satisfying about fooling the tree.

Here’s what I did:
Moro persimmon onto a rootstock
Alba or white mulberry onto a Persian
Black Arkansas onto a Granny Smith
King David onto a Granny Smith
Buerre Blanc onto a Comice pear
Johanna onto a Comice pear
Green gage onto a Santa Rosa (probably won’t work)

I’m just hoping ONE of these takes.

P.S. View from my desk.

7 responses to “Last minute items

  1. What a coincidence. I finally got around to trying to graft my scions and when I came back inside, Bloglines showed me your post. It’s been almost a month now since the Scion Exchange and I didn’t store my scions in ideal conditions so I’m worried they won’t take.

    It sounds like you might not be in town for the CRFG local chapter meeting, but in case any of your local readers are interested, the subject will be “What grows where in the Bay Area”. We’ll all be sharing our experiences with what fruits and what varieties have thrived for us in our various microclimates. Further information is on our local chapter blog.

    Glad you enjoyed the exchange! Get in touch. I’d love to schedule you to talk to our group some time this year…

  2. Oh yeah…I wanted to add that which fruit is “best” is a highly subjective matter. It’s easier to talk about which fruit does best in a certain climate than it is to say which of those that grow in a certain climate tastes the best. For instance, I like Morus nigra varieties better for taste than Morus alba. It’s too bad because my Morus alba ‘Pakistan’ gives berries 4 inches long! However, I picked up some scions of ‘Oscar’, which is supposedly an alba and it’s very highly thought of. So we’ll see.

  3. Novella Carpenter

    hey megan;
    cool–are you spidra then? i got your invite to the what grows where and i’ll be back in time for it! really looking forward…will you find me?–i wear orange glasses and look INSANE.
    p.s. i love that the crfg folks are opinionated.

  4. Yeah, “Spidra Webster” is my art name, internet name, deejay name… I used to use it on Blogger but ever since Google took it over I can’t figure out how to get back to my old skool Blogger profile…

    I’m six feet tall with shoulder length dark brown hair. Irish skin and freckles. Wish I’d spotted you at the exchange. I was looking forward to meeting you.

  5. Hi Novella- I know you’re busy, but you are tagged anyway. Love your blog, I still want to meet you and talk about stuff, and check out
    http://cityfarming.blogspot.com
    thats me.

  6. BallerinaGurl

    fascinating stuff! My Grandmother used to do that on her property and it became the most glorious estate of orchards in San Diego (Vista- it’s still there even though she isn’t)I was always in awe of her skills. I would love to see how the fruit makes out! Best of luck on that one. Makes it easy when you enjoy it and the mystery of it all. Creation is amazing to watch indeed!

  7. Novella Carpenter

    ballerinagurl: sometimes i dream of orchards in all these abandoned lots. there’s something about all those trees in one big cluster. with some beehives! thanks for reading.
    moonbear: great site! a fellow urban farmer!

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