Hopefully the Weather is beginning to break now. Things should begin to accelerate after the full moon on the 24th April. 

John hard at work in his Garden
John hard at work in his Garden

John (my horticultural partner in crime) and I decided to have a go at grafting some new Apple Trees. Normally the prunings from the winter cut get dumped. Whilst sitting huddled around the wood burner in the Farm kitchen, back in January, the rain and hail lashing at the windows. Discussing the coming year. We decided to have a grow at grafting some trees. I ordered some rootstocks from Buckingham Nurseries and sat back to wait for them to arrive.

Just a few weeks back they arrived. We heeled them in to wait for the buds to start breaking, which they did just over a fortnight ago. So we decided to bite the bullet and have a go. We had been waiting for our Greek friend Panos to come over and give us some advice and instruction, but he took poorly, so we decided to crack on alone. 

We had decided to both take a slightly different approach when it came to preparing the scions. I chose to wrap mine in a damp cloth and fix a plastic band around them and then leave them out in a sheltered place til they budded. John wrapped his in plastic and put them in the fridge. Mine started budding first, we took this as a sign to begin.

One wet and windy Friday a couple of weeks back, we tucked ourselves into John's work shed up at the farm and spent the next couple of hours farting about as only old codgers can. Of course being the kind of gardeners that we are, we roped in whatever came to hand rather than go out and spend money. We found some adhesive tape in an old first aid kit. This proved to be invaluable as it was made of cotton and we were able to create some tension around the graft. Next, to seal the graft from water ingress we used that sticky plumbers tape. Both had been knocking around  for some time, but were perfectly serviceable. All the tools had been given a good rub with some Alchohol wipes that were in the kit, too. 

Preparing a scion for grafting
Preparing a scion for grafting

It took us a good few hours in the cold. We were both wrapped up but the workshop was bloody freezing. We had 14 to do. We pressed on and got them done. To reward ourselves we had a late lunch of Bacon and Eggs, washed down with a panad or two. Coffee for me Tea for John.

I took mine home wrapped in the same cloth in the same plastic bag. It would be a couple of days before I got the chance to pot them up. Enlisting the aid of Amber, my eldest daughter,  this task was completed successfully. We used a mixture of FYM, John Innes #1 and some Jack's Magic compost, into 30 litre pots. Once they were in, a layer of hanging basket compost was added to the top to help with water retention. Once it begins to heat up I shall add a layer of stones to slow down evaporation. Up here at the heady height of 240m above sea-level, during May, June and Early July, the daytime temperatures often climb into the 80's (Fahrenheit that is). Half way through July. Just as the school holidays start it begins to rain, peaking mid August and not dissipating until Mid-September. Just after the end of the School Holidays. The Sun makes a welcome reappearance. Usually 'til just before half-term ?

It's my plan to keep them in pots and feed them some of my patented, home made liquid feed - more on that in another post, when my comfrey plot is ready to harvest. Mmmm. Nice big juicy Apples. Last years' from my starter tree, were gorgeous.

It's now just over a fortnight since they were potted up. In spite of the high winds, rain, hail and snow, they seem to be thriving and happy little buds are swelling. Today, although there is still a cold wind, the Sun has made its first appearance for some time. 
Happy Days.