The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Alternative orcharding tips

Winslow Homer grafting

I'll end this week's lunchtime series with a couple of scattered tidbits from Organic Orcharding that caught my interest but which I couldn't seem to fit into a coherent post:

  • Logsdon lists several "unusual" fruits (which are now relatively usual, like persimmons, mulberries, and figs).  But he gives a very good warning: Before planting unusual fruits, take a few minutes to find out why they're unusual.  For many of us, the old standbys might make more sense.
  • When growing experimental seedlings, Logsdon recommends letting each seedling grow for one year, then heading it back to eighteen inches.  This prompts the tree to fork.  Let one fork grow normally to test the seedling rootstock, but graft a known variety onto the other fork.  That way, if the seedling isn't worth eating, you can just lop off that half of the tree and enjoy the good fruits from the other half.  (This is an especially handy tip if you're playing along with my apple-seedling experiment.)

I hope that's enough to prompt you to hunt down a copy of the book and give it a read.  Maybe it's even in your local library?

(And, as one final side note, the image at the top of this post is a wood engraving based on a drawing by Winslow Homer, titled "Spring Farm Work -- Grafting" and published in Harper's Weekly, April 30, 1870.)

This post is part of our Organic Orcharding lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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"Let one fork grow normally to test the seedling rootstock, but graft a known variety onto the other fork." That is brilliant, isn't it.

Comment by Michael Sat Dec 14 14:27:55 2013

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