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.