An Alameda Garden: Scenes from a Scion Exchange

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Scenes from a Scion Exchange

The California Rare Fruit Growers really know how to throw a scion exchange. Maybe due to the change in venue from San Francisco to Berkeley or maybe because of the public's increased interest in edible gardening, this year's exchange seemed to draw an even larger crowd. And I doubt anyone was disappointed. As usual, there were tables overflowing with bags of fruit tree cuttings, organized by fruit type and labeled with variety. Around the perimeter of the room there were tables with rootstocks or supplies to purchase and experienced fruit growers to ask all the questions you can think of.

My goal was very simple this year: I just wanted cherry cuttings to graft to my Ranier cherry tree. I went with a list of potential cross-pollinators and came away with three varieties to try--Black Tartian, Black Republican, and Van. For the cost of a $4 donation and another $1 to purchase some more parafilm to do the grafts, I may finally get some cherries!

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  1. Is grafting hard? How's you learn how to do it?

  2. Fern,

    Grafting isn't hard but I think there is usually a bit of trial and error involved. One of the trickiest parts is making the cuts correctly without cutting yourself! I learned how to do it in a propagation class. I think it helps immensely to be able to see it demonstrated before you try it yourself, but you can always just grab a book from the library and jump in and try it. You can check out an earlier post I did that gave some details:

  3. One of those cherries was mislabeled: it should be Black Tartarian. I have one growing in my garden in Alameda, and it is a wonderful cherry.

    I usually go to the Sebastopol scion exchange, because we have friends up there who we don't get to see often enough. It's my chance to find rare apple varieties. But this year I want to get some plums.

  4. Another key element to success is to not climb the trees you've grafted on to. When I was a kid, my Dad participated in the RFGC scion exchanges and our tree climbing propensities ruined many of his efforts!


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