Last weekend St Mary’s Community Centre saw a keen collection of Abundancers
gather to learn the art of apple and pear grafting. The glorious spring sunshine,
daffodils and chirping birds offered an obvious first answer to the question ‘so, why
do we graft?’. On a weekend like this it was hard to think of anything more apt than
bringing new fruit trees to life!
Over the weekend more than 20 people learnt the whys and hows of this method of
propagating fruit trees, which is done to be sure of the quality and type of fruit we
get from the trees.
First of all we sharpened up our Stanley knife skills on practice branches, before
setting about the real rootstock and scions. We grafted these together using what’s
called the ‘whip and tongue’ method. This involves some surprisingly intricate
blade-work and probably a little more concentration than goes along with the other
important tasks of chatting and tea drinking!
We worked with a fantastic collection of apple and pear scions, lovingly collected
from across Sheffield, Coed Hills in south Wales, and an organic orchard in Somerset.
The almost overwhelming number of different scions was a reminder of just how
narrow our commercial range of fruit varieties has become. But by the end of the
weekend it was great to see that we had grafted at least one new tree for each of
these varieties. It will be a few weeks before we know how many have taken, but
hopefully a good number will go on to become fully grown fruit trees. Watch this
space for news of how the trees get on over the spring time!
We will also now be looking for homes for the fruit trees, so if you are interested in
buying or fostering a fruit tree drop us an email at email@example.com.