Well, yesterday was the day for the apple grafting workshop over in Fleming county. On entering the building they gave us one each of M7 and G202 rootstock, with a choice of another one of these. I chose another M7.
The class started at 8:30, with an overview of apples and a bit on other tree fruits, with an emphasis on various apple rootstocks. Then we had a little tutorial on whip and tongue grafting. After that, the speaker opened up a big sack with all kinds of scions in it. At first, he offered up some local varieties, which I’d never heard of. Then he started to lay out other better known varieties, like Suncrisp, Enterprise, Mutsu, Gala, Fuji, Goldrush, Snapp Stayman, York, and so on.
He then let us loose to pick 3 scions to put on our rootstocks. Even though we already have them, I thought I’d get another Suncrisp and Goldrush stick, and a Snapp Stayman, which is a red sport of the Stayman Winesap, which I really like.
Since I hadn’t grafted before, I only had time to do one, the Goldrush. I packed the other rootstocks and scions in a wet paper towel, and bagged them to do later.
I think I did a decent job on my first graft, but it was a lot of cutting and whittling trying to get the cut pieces lined up properly. Then I had to do the second cut (tongue?), which means cutting towards you. I was very careful with this step, but got the cuts done. After wrapping it tightly with tape, and trimming off the scion I was done.
After that we had a quick tutorial in pest and disease controls, with a list of recommended sprays, wildlife control, and some more talk about apple varieties.
We then had a very nice Italian lunch with pasta and salad, and then some tasty homemade apple pie, delicious!
The next part involved driving out to a local orchard for some more info on wildlife and rodent control, such as various traps, and then a demonstration of a propane cannon, which is supposed to be good to keep birds off your crops. Quite loud, but not real efficient in my view.
Then the first speaker took us over to a grove of old apple trees and gave us a demonstration on pruning. It seemed to be quite a severe job, but after he was done, I admit it looked much better. After that I was able to pick his brain on some fruit related issues, and then I headed home about 4pm.
I was tired when I got home, but it was worth the hour drive over there and the $10 fee. Quite enjoyable and informative.