Grafting at Clam Bay Farm

While we're still impatiently awaiting our apple rootstock order here at the orchard, grafting began this week for our friends at Clam Bay Farm. They grow a variety of crops from wine grapes to honeyberries, and--taking the hint about the absence of true cider apples on Pender--have decided to expand their orchard. We were there with our grafting knives sharpened and some prime cider variety scionwood on-hand.

With the combined help of Dan (Clam Bay), Lana, Laura-Leigh and my dad, about 80 trees were grafted and 20 remaining rootstock were potted as-is to await a summer graft using local scionwood. We used what is known as a "tongue and whip" graft: matching, oblong angled cuts are made on both a piece of scionwood and a rootstock, and then a slit is cut on both so that the two pieces fit together like a puzzle. The tiny green cambium layer on both is matched up as best as possible (it requires a 30% match to "take"), and then a stretchy, biodegradable tape is wound around the graft (top right photo).

Sound confusing, but there's a book for that. If you're interested in grafting a few of your own, one of the horticultural experts Matthew and I learned to graft from, Richard Hallman, highly recommended The Grafter's Handbook by R.J. Garner as a place to start.