Fun in a January garden setting anyone? Can you have fun in a January garden setting? Of course you can -- provided you like working outside in cold weather. If that's not quite your cup of tea -- well -- a hot cup of tea does help take the winter sting away somewhat.
January in the garden is a busy time. There are things to prune back. There are things to plant. There's always an annoying patch of weeds to take care of. And January happens to be the perfect time to add to your fruit tree collections.
|Flavor Supreme Pluot Scion|
I've been planting fruit trees in the Bird Back 40 for seven plus years so far. Usually it's one or two trees. But sometimes -- like last year -- it was three pear trees in a Backyard Orchard Culture setting. Point is? I'm starting to run out of room. I'm not quite there yet -- but there will come a day when it will be awfully tough to cram yet another fruit or citrus tree in the Bird Back 40.
So what does a fruit fanatic do when he or she runs out of room? Plant them in the neighbor's yard without them knowing it!
|Flavor Finale Pluot Tree-Bird Back 40|
No -- that's never a good idea. Especially if you want to keep your good neighbors on a "good neighbor" basis. The best way to add fruit to a yard already full of delicious fruit offerings is to graft different varieties of fruit onto trees that are already growing.
I've been quite successful with the pluot tree -- as profiled last year with The Tree That Bethany Built. And -- true to her word -- my work-friend came through again this year with a selection of pluot offerings that had not been added to my rather Frankensteinish Flavor Finale Pluot Tree.
|Last Year's Successful Grafting Results|
Did you think the Tree of 40 Fruit was impressive? How about the Tree of 40 Pluots? Now -- I'll be honest. I'm not quite there yet. I may never be there. But thanks to Bethany's kind offering of scion wood -- the Flavor Finale now holds grafts for the Splash and Flavor Supreme pluots.
If there's one thing I can brag about, it's this: Bill Bird can graft pluots. It's idiot proof. I can't graft a peach, cherry, apple or nectarine worth a hoot. But when it comes to pluots? I am the Flavor King of grafters. That's because it's really hard to screw up a pluot tree graft.
|Handy Dandy Grafting Tool|
As the author of numerous grafting failures -- just trust me on this.
I will get more experience with other grafting efforts -- and soon I might add. As luck would have it, the Sacramento Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG) holds its annual scion exchange tomorrow at a new location in Carmichael.
What are scions? Scions are essentially nothing more than sticks that have been harvested from various fruit trees around California. You like peaches? Nectarines? Are cherries your bag? How about apricots? Do plums tempt you? Does the letter A make you think of apples?
|Sacramento CRFG Scion Exchange 2010|
At the scion exchange you'll find hundreds of scion offerings featuring varieties that you've probably never heard of. Do you want a Tree of 40 Peaches? Tree of 40 Cherries? The scion exchange can make it happen.
The event has moved because it basically outgrew the old location on Branch Center Road. That room would get so crammed with fresh fruit enthusiasts that it could be a challenge to move from place to place. Although I haven't visited the new location yet, I'm told by "those in the know" that I'll like it.
That said -- this years Sacramento CRFG scion exchange will be held Sunday (TOMORROW), January 18th at the La Sierra Community Center, Smith Hall. It's located at 5325 Engle Road in Carmichael. Anyone and everyone with an interest in growing fruit is welcome. Admission is $5. Doors open to the public at 10:30 sharp -- which should get you home just in time for the start of the NFL Championship Games.
Hey, we've got to keep the important stuff in perspective here -- even if my beloved San Francisco 49ers missed out on the dance this year (so long Jim Harbaugh).