Frankentree

IMG_9985I recently came across Steven Edholm’s great homesteading blog. He writes excellent information-packed posts about many of the subjects I also dabble in: gardening, seed-saving, pruning, grafting.

In particular, I was amazed at his efforts – you might also say obsession – to collect, grow, and evaluate hundreds of old apple varieties. And he doesn’t have a big orchard to work with – instead he grafts many varieties onto a single tree. The most extreme example of this he calls his “Frankentree” – it sports well over 100 different grafted varieties.

Each of these grafts yields only a few apples. Enough to assess its qualities and determine whether it’s worth growing more of a particular variety. Reading the tasting notes, I was keen to try some. I emailed Steven and in short order I received a package with a cornucopia of scions:

In another stroke of luck, I have access to graftable trees through my involvement with City Fruit. So this weekend I started creating a couple of Frankentrees of my own, grafting 20 varieties. Now it’s fingers crossed that all the grafts take and result in fruiting branches in a few years.

Pomology is fascinating and can be quite addictive. I don’t plan to take it to the extreme like some folks do – but I’m excited at the prospect of experiencing apple varieties that are hundreds of years old and not available for purchase in any store.

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