Just wanted to give a quick update on our grafting adventure so far. My dad and I grafted ten pears on OHxF333 and twenty-five apples on G41. Major credit and appreciation to my dad, who volunteered to do the knife work. (I'm planning to practice up for next year.) All were cleft grafts, done over a couple of days in the second week of April and planted out in our "nursery" about a month later. The rootstock was from Grandpa's and the scions were from a variety of places: Singing Tree, Hocking Hills, Maple Valley, Fedco, and one other - Northwest Cider Supply?
Between beginner's luck and rookie mistakes, we seem to be doing ok so far - nearly twenty leafing out, and a few more showing smaller signs of green. We had pretty cool weather up until the last two days, and I suspect that may have been slowing some things down a little.
Our big setback so far resulted from me putting the bench grafts in pots that turned out not to drain well enough. Which I'm kicking myself for, of course, but in addition to being a total novice with grafting, I am pretty much a total novice with gardening in general, so chalk it up as a learning experience, I guess. The pears bore the brunt of my education: a number of them started to poke out growth and then had it die back. However, a few are showing a little green again now, so hopefully they'll hang in there and maybe a couple of others will follow. (Most of the rootstocks seem to have survived, so I'm thinking it's more of a question of whether they can recover fast enough to feed the scions in time.)
Our apples did not have the same drainage problems and consequently have been doing quite a lot better. Grafts of Hoople's Antique Gold and Kidd's Orange Red have been two of the standouts so far. The Hoople's has just been doing great: got going early and kept going strong, with the greenest, cleanest growth of the whole bunch. The Kidd's exceeded my expectations (and to be honest, my just desserts): this was a graft that we did using a scion I had left out on the porch overnight on the total runt of our rootstock litter, and yet it took and has been chugging along admirably.