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

Experiments with grafting

Pear cleft graftThis week's lunchtime series is a little unusual.  I usually either titillate you with a topic I feel (semi-) expert on, or highlight the most interesting facts from a book.  But topworking my pears was so educational (and photo rich) last week that I decided to bring you along and let you walk through the process with me.

I have to admit, though, that I'm far from an expert at grafting.  I've taken a couple of workshops and read a few websites and chapters on the topic, but I'm still very much learning.  I'm also experimenting with ways to graft without buying the tools and supplies most grafters think they need since I figure if I went out to find the official tools for every project I wanted to try on the homestead, we wouldn't have room for them even in our huge barn.

Which is all a long way of saying that I hope those of you with more experience will chime in this week and point me in a different direction if you think I'm going astray.  And, as for the rest of you with even less experience than me, take this series with a grain of salt --- this is the way I did it, not necessarily the way you should.

Get your spring garden off to a good start with tips from my 99 cent ebook.

This post is part of our Grafting Experiment 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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Glad to see this! I'm almost at max capacity for my yard's trees... so I've started fantasizing about visiting orchards, thieving some compatible twigs, and adding some extra fruiting branches to my existing stock.

I find it intimidating though so I definitely need your photo encouragement.

Comment by Eliza @ Appalachian Feet Mon Mar 5 23:26:27 2012
I know what you mean about reaching maximum capacity but wanting to keep experimenting! Hopefully this lunchtime series will inspire you.
Comment by anna Tue Mar 6 08:05:32 2012
I heard in passing that there is a group of people in LA that call themselves Gorilla Grafters. They go around grafting fruit branches to public trees. I love that idea.
Comment by Kathleen Olsen Tue Mar 6 10:52:50 2012

Kathleen --- I'm not sure how I feel about guerilla grafting. On the surface, it sounds awesome, but fruit trees require a lot of upkeep if you want them to produce well. I wonder how well the grafts take and whether the necessarily unpruned and unfertilized trees bear.

In the end, I tend to think guerilla grafting is a lot like seed balls --- both might look better on paper than they work in reality.

Comment by anna Tue Mar 6 16:20:46 2012

I may not understand the lunchtime series - where are the dozen pictures you mentioned on G+?

I am very excited to peruse once I have discovered their location... And kudos on creating your own tools!

On Guerrilla Grafting - does it really matter if the modified tree is exceptionally productive? Three pieces of free local fruit in a season is better than zero. And I suspect planting seeds in the minds of individuals who notice the fruit is the real purpose.

] j [

Comment by Jeremiah Wed Mar 7 00:08:28 2012

Jeremiah --- The way my lunchtime series' work, there's a new post every day at lunchtime during the work week. So, this is just the intro post --- if you hang out at the blog's main page, you'll see Tuesday's post had eight pictures of twigs, and they'll keep coming through the week. :-)

My take on guerilla grafting is one of the reasons I think I wouldn't write a very good philosophy of homesteading book --- I'm not keen on ideas that just open people's eyes and don't make real food happen. Like I said, I'm a fuddy duddy....

Comment by anna Wed Mar 7 07:04:40 2012

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