Debbie was invited to speak at the Garden Organic Annual General Meeting on Saturday 22nd May. She told people about the community orchard and the meeting was very interested in our hopes and aspirations. There was a lot of interest shown in our efforts to grow trees from scratch, a process known as grafting.
This is what is done if you want to be sure to create a tree with the same characteristics as another. So for example, you have a tree on your allotment plot that is disease free and very productive, but you don't know what it is, as the tree was already there and not labelled. To make a new tree you graft (join) a cutting from the tree you have with the rootstock of a disease free plant to make a new tree. Using rootstock like this means you'll be sure to get trees that are a suitable size for your location.
In March 2010, we held a grafting workshop at our allotment site and made around 60 trees. Some were taken by participants to plant elsewhere, but the majority were planted out on the orchard. By early May most had taken - which means we have lots of trees to plant along the fence line as horizontal cordons in November-March.
29th May Work Day
The Saturday was a bit of a wash out - but a few of us made a day of it on Sunday instead. There was a skip on the allotment site and we dug out 9 wheelbarrows worth of rubbish, rubble, glass, and metal from the bottom end of the orchard. Its a bit like an archeological dig - you don't know what is going to be discovered next!
We hope that the worst of the rubbish has now been removed and future work days will be about tackling weeds instead. Watch this blog for details of up and coming work days.