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How to Graft Fruit Trees

A LITTLE RAIN DIDN’T STOP THESE GRAFTERS!

Following a long, dry spell in the Southern Highlands, the skies opened and sent down a torrent of rain on the 17th August, the day we had scheduled our grafting workshop. Surprisingly, it didn’t deter this hardy bunch. All twenty participants turned up in their wet weather gear ready for action.
Explaining the grafting process

We crowded under our new, covered pergola for a bit of theory on why we might want to graft fruit tree varieties (to maintain heritage varieties, or graft onto rootstocks that dwarf the tree size for ease of management, or to top graft an old tree with new varieties, or even to multi-graft several varieties onto one rootstock to create a longer picking season for yards with limited growing space).
Time to start grafting

After demonstrations of various grafting techniques we practised using budding and grafting knives on some hazelnut tree prunings. I was holding my breath at this point of proceedings in case, despite demonstrations on how to avoid accidental severing of digits, there was a need to phone for an ambulance. All went well – emergencies averted! We were also fortunate to have some grafting pliers on hand – the omega cut as well as a commercial top grafting tool kindly loaned to us by experienced local orchardist, Ray Thiessen. Some people were determined to conquer the grafting knife, whilst others were pleased to have the ‘safer’ option of the grafting tools.
The job is easier with the right tools

By this time it was PIZZA time – a hot lunch was certainly the order of the day! Members of the community garden had been busy in the background making dough (Jo) and preparing pizza toppings (Cath). John and Kathi tended the fire and cooked the pizzas whilst Dini and Charlotte helped as gophers. Wood-fired pizzas have a beautiful flavour and were well-received. It was still raining!
Moving onto the next grafting job

Then we moved onto the ‘real’ thing. Participants selected from a wide range of locally-sourced scion whichever variety of fruit tree they wished to graft onto their complimentary rootstock. We had the option of four dwarfing rootstocks for apples, a dwarfing rootstock for pears and quinces and semi-dwarfing rootstocks for stone fruits and cherries. It was great watching people work in pairs to help bind the graft union with the grafting tape – probably the most difficult (and critical to the success of the operation) part of the grafting process.
Delicious woodfired pizza for lunch

By 2.30pm, (it was still raining) people were ready to head home to thaw out in front of the fire. It had been a successful day and we are hoping that by spring there will be lots of young, grafted fruit trees sprouting leaves at the participant’s homes. If the scion takes successfully to the roots, these trees will continue to grow on through summer, after which the grafting tape can be removed to allow continuing development of the young fruit tree.
Delicious woodfired pizza for lunch

If not, we are planning a summer budding workshop (it should have stopped raining by then!) at Moss Vale Community Garden for those participants whose rootstocks had survived but the graft union with the scion hadn’t. Budding gives us a second opportunity to re-use the original rootstocks and insert a bud of the variety we were hoping to graft.
A grafted apple tree ready to be planted.
WATCH THIS SPACE!

 

Spring Open Day 2013 – All Welcome!

Moss Vale Community Garden invites you …..

 to our spring open day 

no-dig garden demo and

pizza lunch from the wood-fired oven

Where:  9-13 Railway Street,  Moss Vale

When:   Sunday  20th October, 2013 from 11.00am

Cost for pizza lunch:  $5 members,  $8 guests, $10 family  (please RSVP if you would like to come along so we can organise catering)

No Dig Garden demo commences around 11.30am followed by lunch.

All welcome!!!

Our new Solar Pergola, solar panel and productive garden beds.

Our new Solar Pergola, solar panel and productive garden beds.

 

 

 

World Environment Day 2013 Launch At MVCG

Awaiting the guests arrival at the World Environment Day launch
Awaiting the guests arrival at the World Environment Day launch

The theme this year for World Environment Day was Think Eat Save, encouraging us to think about how we, as individuals, can curb the high levels of food waste and environmentally damaging Foodprint we experience in the developed world.

To highlight local programs supporting this theme, Joe Stammers of Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Environment and Sustainability department organised almost a week of activities starting with this launch on Wednesday 5th June (World Environment Day)

Meeting and greeting our local Mayor and Councillors and distinguished guests
Meeting and greeting our local Mayor and Councillors and distinguished guests

 

and culminating on Sunday 9th with the Australian Premiere screening of the film, “Symphony of the Soil”.  In between there were tours of local food producing properties, including Jo Dodd’s 1/4 Acre Farm in Mittagong and Jill Dyson’s famous Foodpath Market Tour.

To demonstrate the Think Eat Save theme, Moss Vale Community Garden provided directly from the beds the bulk of the seasonal fresh food (prepared by chef John Shelley) for lunch served to the Mayor, Wingecarribee Councillors, Shellharbour Councillors and other guests.  No food miles here.  Just food metres!

Gourmet food from MV Community Garden beds

Gourmet food from MV Community Garden beds

And no throw away paper plates and cups to end up in the ever-expanding waste stream!  Just keeping it simple.

Mayor Arkwright with Clr Whipper, Shellharbour Councillor and Sandra Menteith cutting cake
Mayor Arkwright with Clr Whipper, Shellharbour Councillor and Sandra Menteith cutting cake

After the cutting and consuming of an amazing cake, our guests had to move on to their next engagement and the team of dedicated volunteers (that make up the regular Garden membership) washed up and sent the food scraps over to the worm farm demonstration that Rosina was about to start.

Now you can find us at Moss Vale Markets!

Oli and Joy chatting to local market goers.
Oli and Joy chatting to local market goers.

Since April, Moss Vale Community Gardeners have been having a stall at Moss Vale Markets on the fourth Saturday of the month.  It is proving to be a great way for locals to find out more about our community garden and what we do there.  We would like more people to get involved with our growing activities, our organic gardening and support for all cultural activities relating to good, fresh local food.  We also enjoy the preparation and eating of fruit and veges from garden to plate – can’t get fresher than that!

Why not come down and visit us at the markets.  We sell seedlings of food crops and potted edible species plus excess produce from both the community garden as well as from the gardens of locals and members.  Last market we had apples, potatoes, cape gooseberries, spinach, spring onions and pumpkin.  We even had jars of both raspberry and fig jams.

You never know what treasure you might find.  At the very least, you will be met with a smile from one of our members.

The sun brought out the market goers - including Dennis.
The sun brought out the market goers – including Dennis.

 

PENROSE HARVEST FAIR – APRIL 2013

Here we are at the Penrose Harvest Festival, enjoying a warm, sunny day whilst we chat with visitors to the fair and sell our seedlings and fruit trees.  It was a great day with lots of activities and entertainment throughout.  Lunch was a pizza cooked in the large wood-fired pizza oven (almost identical to the one at Moss Vale Community Garden and built by the same artisan – Manuel Alves).

We shared a site with Bundanoon Community Garden, who kindly loaned us a gazebo for the day and who sold lots of tickets in a raffle in which third prize was a selection of vege seedlings from our gardens and which raised money for both of our community gardens.  Many thanks to the Bundy group who diligently sold lots of raffle tickets.

Jill demonstrated how to create a worm tower in your vege garden to breed worms exactly where you want them – right there in the middle of the garden bed.  Very easy and very successful, so long as you feed them some kitchen scraps and wet shredded paper from time to time and give them some shade through the hottest months.  This worm tower looks like a red and white pine mushroom often seen growing wild in our district underneath radiata pine trees.

Side by side with Bundanoon Community Garden at the Penrose Harvest Fair
Side by side with Bundanoon Community Garden at the Penrose Harvest Fair