Basket of Apples

The typical backyard has an apple tree or two. The apples usually all come on at once and are often best for one use, such as baking or eating fresh, but not ideal for multiple uses. Imagine if you could, on one tree, have apples ideally suited for eating, baking, pies, dehydrating, juicing and saucing. Envision red, green, yellow, maroon, gold and multi-colored apples on the same tree. Now stretch the ripening period throughout the apple season from late July into November and you begin to see the possibilities the skill of grafting can provide you. And that’s just apples…

We live in a time where botanists and plant collectors can quickly travel the world to find suitable trees and shrubs that greatly increase the abundance, as well as the season, of locally grown fruit. All too often, however, some of the better varieties drop off the market, leaving the fortunate few who ordered these plants during the window of availability with such wonderful fruit. Another common situation is when one finds an excellent unnamed variety of fruit in the wild or on an old homestead. Once this plant dies, it’s gone forever. Still another common ailment is a simple lack of space in one’s yard. Grafting is a simple solution to these and many other problems.

In the age of smart phones, Skype and Facebook, a growing majority continues to lose touch with the basics of real world food production, water supply and other necessities. While technology and entertainment may have their place, there will never be a substitute for getting outside and growing our own food. Grafting is a specialty skill that empowers gardeners to enter the elite realm of horticulture. Whether creating a small nursery to give away plum trees at Christmas, ensuring future generations can taste that heirloom pear from Uncle Robbie’s abandoned orchard or simply creating that 30-variety apple tree, the time spent learning to graft is an investment in our future.

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