I have been away from my trees in Warkworth for some weeks now, so sorry for the silence. I will be returning to them in a few days and I will have photos and updates. From what I hear the outcome of my grafts may not be so promising….
Haere mai! Over the coming weeks I will be grafting a selection of NZ heritage fruit trees. The plant material that I will be using comes from varieties brought here by our ancestors, the NZ pioneers, and selected by home gardeners for their taste, adaptation to the Northern bioregion, particular uses in the kitchen, pest/disease resistance, nutritional density and suitability to home production. Other varieties available in nurseries all originate from the mainstream orchard industry, commercial lines that are bred for size, shape, colour and production, only suited to their commercial growing region, that have becoming weak over years of dependence on chemical fertilisers and sprays.
Seedling trees are important to keeping the genetic diversity of our plants and I plan to set aside an area of our property particularly for these experiments, as you never know what wonderful type of fruit you may discover. Although when it comes to setting up an orchard for income and in the search for your family’s food security, grafted trees are initially more reliable and will bear fruit years earlier.
I am relatively new to grafting. This will be my first season giving it a go, and I fear I may have taken on a bit of a major task. I have sourced so much plant material, and so can’t bear to waste any, that I have ended up with a list of 30 plums, 28 apples and 13 pears to be grafted! I am sure to have plenty surplus and will have them available for sale next May, which is tree planting time.
As I get set up I will be posting progress reports and information on the different varieties I am grafting, their uses and ripening times etc.