Grafting Fruit Trees – A Step by Step

A couple of years ago, on our yearly trip to Israel to visit family, we met a local farmer who came to do some maintenance work on my mother-in-law’s fruit trees.

I started following the guy like a lost puppy, and what do you know? He took me in

After that day a couple of years ago, I wrote the post 4 Techniques of Grafting Fruit Trees which is one of the most successful posts on the blog.

And I get why… Grafting is a tricky business. There are so many benefits to grafting, and people had been grafting fruit trees for years, but there are so few people who know how to do it and so many things that can go wrong, it’s like making cheese, you have to practice and practice and practice until you get it right.

This is why it’s so valuable to learn it first hand from someone that has a ton of experience.

So today is your lucky day! Our last visit to Israel was right in grafting season and we got to tag along to a day of grafting and fruit trees maintenance and I am sharing it all here with you!

But let’s start at the beginning…

What is Grafting?

To graft means to join two living trees from the same family into one by uniting a shoot or a bud with a standing tree.

What are the Benefits of Grafting?

In my post 4 Techniques of Grafting Fruit Trees , I give a couple of examples of situations when you’ll want to graft another tree on your existing tree, those might help you understand the benefits below much better so make sure you check them out.

There are so many benefits for grafting… Obviously, the main benefit that comes to mind is having two (or more) different kinds of fruits on one tree, like, an orange and a lemon, or two (or more) different verities of fruit on the same tree, like, green apple and red apple.

Since you still have just one tree it means you still have to take care of just one tree. You don’t need additional space, you don’t need to water more, you don’t need to fertilize another tree or prune another tree, yet at the end of the day, you’ll get two different kinds of fruits.

Grafting also saves you waiting time. When you plant a new tree, it will take it a few years to start producing a nice amount of fruit for you. When you graft on an existing tree you’ll have fruit ready for picking in just a couple short seasons.

Grafting can also save a sick or broken tree. You will see this in the tutorial below… What we did is used the trunk and roots of a tree that was not producing anymore to support a new tree.

Another benefit for grafting is fighting insects and diseases. If your tree is suffering but you know of another verity that is doing much better in your area, you can graft the new verity on your tree to help it produce better.

Also, some trees have a female and a male tree and you have to plant both in order for them to pollinate each other and produce fruit, this is called cross-pollination. Pears, plums, and pecans are among the trees in this group. So in this case, you can graft a female on a male or a male on a female and you will have one tree that can pollinate itself. Magic, huh?

Which Tree on Which Tree?

This is where experience comes in… Basically, you have to remember that the trees you join have to be from the same family for them to successfully “communicate”.

For example, trees within the prune family such as peaches nectarines, and plums can be grafted together. Those can also be joined with an almond tree since it is from the same family.

Verities of olives can be grafted on to one another. Verities of apples or apples and crabapples can be grafted together.

You will have to make sure you check each combination before you graft.

The best way, though, is to ask someone with experience. If you have grafted before and you know of a successful combination, please list it in the comments below, hopefully, it will save someone a whole lot of work.

When to Graft?

You can’t just graft anytime of the year.

It has to be done at the end of winter just before spring. It has to be done before the tree starts to bud when the branches are still completely bare.

You want to do this on a sunny day but not a hot day. We want plenty of light but not a lot of heat.

Here in the South, it will probably be best to graft somewhere in the end of February or the beginning of March. Pay attention to when your fruit trees usually start to bud and pay close attention to the weather.

Ok, so this is the basics, now, let’s get out to the field and see how it’s done…

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

The first tree we grafted was my mother-in-law’s olive tree. A couple of years ago, it was split in the center because of a load of snow and since then it stopped producing.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

Here is another look of the trunk. It was split almost all the way to the bottom.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

So in this case, grafting was done in order to save the tree. Instead of pulling the tree out or just cutting it down and wasting the space, we took advantage of the already established root system and grafted a new olive verity on this existing tree.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

The first step was clean-up. We needed to cut the tree past the point where it split and prepare it for grafting.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

Raik worked with a small chainsaw to cut off a little bit at a time…

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

All the way down past the split…

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

We didn’t want to cut more than what we had to.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

This tree had another big branch that came from the trunk. We could have left it and have the tree producing two kinds of olives, but since my mother-in-law didn’t like the olives this tree produced, we shortened this branch as well and prepared it for grafting.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

Ok, that’s it. Now we are ready to start.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

Raik has his own olive grove that he is caring for for years, so he brought with him a few young branches from one of his trees.

It is VERY important that you graft branches from a tree that you know or from someone that you absolutely trust. You want to make sure you graft a healthy tree so you don’t damage your own tree and that you graft from a tree that you know has a great production of healthy and delicious fruit.

It will be a shame to do all this work and find out in a couple of seasons that you grafted from a tree that does not produce well.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

This is the one we will work on first…

See the tiny bud between the branch and the leaf? We want to make sure we don’t damage it because this is where the new tree is going to grow from.

 

 

To be Continue……..

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Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots | Most Productive Vegetables for Containers

 

 

Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots

 Tomatoes

 

Tomato in pot

Without a doubt, tomatoes are the most productive vegetables you can grow in pots. Tomatoes need ample sun (5-6 hours minimum). The pot size depends on the type of tomatoes you are growing. In containers, growing dwarf varieties of determinate type is best. You should also try cherry tomatoes for higher yield.

Beans

beans in container

 

Most of the beans are climbers or bushier type and they grow upward. They are productive in pots and are easy to grow. You can grow them on a trellis near a wall and within weeks, you will get a green wall of beans running across the trellis. For growing beans you need a sunny place, and a pot that is minimum 12 inches deep (the bigger the better) and a strong trellis like structure for support. Since beans fix the nitrogen most of the vegetables that require more nitrogen are good to grow underneath them. If you’re growing beans in a very large pot you can grow summer savory, kale, or celery with them.

 Lettuce

 

lettuce in container

 

Lettuce grows up quickly and you will have the opportunity to harvest them multiple times throughout the growing season. As lettuce is a cool season crop, you’ll have to decide what is the right time for its growth according to your climate, usually, seeds are started in spring. But if you live in a warm climate, grow lettuce in winter.

For growing lettuce, choose a wide planter rather than deep (6″ deep is enough). When planting, make sure to leave space of at least 4 inches between each plant. Remember, leaf lettuces can be grown more closely than head lettuces. Use well draining soil and do shallow and frequent watering to keep the soil slightly moist always.

Peppers and Chilies

how to grow bell pepper in pots

Peppers and chillies are super productive and excellent candidates for growing in containers. They look great in pots and need a sunny and warm place to thrive. If you keep the pot in a sunny spot and provide right soil and fertilize the plant time to time it will fruit heavily. A large pot that is at-least 12 inches deep is optimum.

Cucumber

 

cucumber in pot

How to Grow Cucumbers Vertically

Choosing Container and Trellis

If you’re growing cucumbers vertically in containers, prefer large containers that are about at least 12 inches deep and wide. How many cucumber plants you can grow in such a container depends on the variety you are planting. A vining variety grows tall and send long roots, whereas bushier varieties are short.

Trellis Size

Choose a 5 to 6 feet tall trellis that is sturdy and doesn’t topple. If growing climbing varieties use “A frame trellis” so that the plant crawl up and down from it easily.

Propagation and Planting Cucumbers

Sow seeds directly onto the desired spot or in small pots. Cover them with about 2 cm of soil. Once the seedlings germinate and have a few leaves, transplant the healthiest ones into a bigger pot or on the frost free ground in spring or summer when soil temperature is around 70 F (20 C). If you live in tropical or subtropical climate, you can grow cucumber year round.

Cucumber plant is a heavy feeder like tomatoes, prepare your soil well before planting by incorporating decomposed manure and compost.

Requirements for Growing Cucumbers Vertically

Position

Cucumber loves a warm and sunny exposure that is less windy. It does not tolerate temperature below 50 F (10 C). Optimum temperature to grow cucumbers fall in the range of 60 – 95 F (15 – 35 C).

Soil

It prefers well drained, loose and deep soil, rich in organic matter and neutral in pH.

Watering

Regular and deep watering is the key of productive harvest, when growing cucumber. It is due to the high water content of its fruits. While watering, avoid wetting the foliage as it may encourage fungal diseases.

Mulching

Mulch around the base of plant to improve moisture retaining ability of soil.

Fertilizer

At the time of planting add all purpose slow release fertilizer in soil. Once the plant starts to flower, side dress the plant with aged manure. Also apply balanced liquid fertilizer at that time according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Diseases and Pests

Cucumber plants particularly suffer from anthracnose, powdery mildew and in pests look out for aphids.

Harvest

When and how to harvest cucumbers?

Cucumbers are ready for harvest in 60 to 90 days after seed sowing, depending on the variety. Pick cucumbers when they are developed enough, do not let the fruit to overripe.

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Green House @ 1

How to build a small cheap and easy greenhouse 

 

Material List for 28 foot by 15 foot greenhouse, sorry, with pvc, the greenhouse has to be small.

5 20 foot pieces of 5/8 inch rebar (cut in 1/3’s to about 6 foot lengths)

7 20 foot lengths of 1 inch schedule 40 PVC with a small (3/16-¼ inch) hole drilled dead center, at 10 feet

2 20 foot lengths of 1 inch schedule 40 PVC (cut into 20 inch pieces)

84 feet of ½ schedule 40 PVC cut into 4 foot lengths.

About 80 feet of 2X4 treated wood

4 teated 8 foot fence posts

40X24 feet of UV stabilized polyethylene

60 2 ½ inch fence staples

greenhouse_posts

1. Start by stretching a string along where you want the two long sides of the greenhouse to be. Then pound in your 6 foot long pieces of rebar every 4 feet in a straight line leaving 48 inches protruding from the ground. It is important that they be vertical and within ½ inch of the 48 inch target. If you plan on graveling the floor, put it down as soon you have figured out where the greenhouse goes.

side_clip_of_greenhouse

2. Nail on 2X6 runner to the rebar stakes. This will give you something to nail the polyethylene onto later. You can use 60 2 ½ inch fence staples. (In the picture left we put the PVC on before attaching the 2X6. This was a pain as you had to hold up the PVC while you nailed the rebar.)

3. Slide the 20 inch pieces of PVC over the rebar stakes. * make sure no sharps are exposed: wire ends, rebar, rough pipe, etc. It will latter tear the plastic.

greenhouse_ribs

4. Place the 20 foot pieces of PVC on the rebar stakes. (Don’t put it all the way down on one side and then do the other. Have friend do one side while you do the other, both a little at a time. *When you first slide the pipes on, the holes you drilled MUST be horizontal (parallel to the ground). Wait about an hour and you will not be about to twist the pipe to correct the problem. The vertical rebar will bend inward as the PVC flexes. This grabs the rebar and locks up the PVC .

wire_thru_hole

5. Now you can slide the wire through the holes in the PVC and then through the eight four foot pieces of PVC along the roof.

wire_tie

* This side wall and top tie is VERY,VERY important. If the walls can separate snow or even hail will collapse the structure. The greenhouse will stand up to about a foot (2 foot?) of snow with the ties, two inches without them. If the frame stays together the snow will slide off, if the structure pulls apart the snow can build up to a weight of a 1956 Buick. This greenhouse will not support a Buick on it.

side_wire_greenhouse

6. To keep the ribs of this greenhouse from shifting horizontally wire the four foot lengths of PVC pipe with copper or baling wire. Make sure you wrap the wire so the PVC is forced inward not outward.

staple_and_tack

7. Finally you need to build the two end walls with doors. You should put a door on both sides as it will vent better. Either use 10 foot vertical posts (4X4) buried 3-4 feet for doorway frame or 8 foot posts with bracing back to runners(as shown). The two end walls have to be well built and cannot be floppy. They have to stay vertical so the PVC cannot separate. The door needs to be tight enough so that gusts of wind cannot inflate your greenhouse.

finished_end_of_greenhouse

8. Last of all have someone help you, one person on each side, slide the plastic over your rib cage. Attach each end by rapping the end of your plastic around pieces of lath and then nail the lath to the triangular end walls and to that long 2X6 along the bottom. Ta Da! A green house! You can make it look a lot classier. Ours is just functional.

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INDOOR PLANTS @ 2

Bird of Paradise Plant

 

Strelitzia-nicolai-10-237x2668190627451_404e5cb745_b

Strelitzia

White Bird of Paradise Plant

A Bird of Paradise Plant is a slow growing plant with large paddle- shaped leaves that resemble those of a Banana Plant. Even indoors, a Bird of Paradise Plant can easily reach a height of 6ft.-7ft. This plant has no stem and the leaves, sometimes 3ft or more in length, emerge from a central frond. After about 4 or 5 years, a Bird of Paradise  Plant(Strelitzia Reginae) may, on rare occasions, produce an exotic orange/red flower that resembles the head of a crane. The Strelitzia Nicolai or White Bird of Paradise will produce a blue/white version of this flower. Flower production is much more frequent when a Bird of Paradise Plant is used as an outdoor plant.

Indoor plants @ 1

Aloe Vera

An Aloe Vera Plant is a drought resistant succulent plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors. Medicine Plant is the nickname given to an Aloe Vera Plant because the sap from its leaves soothes minor skin irritations and burns. This makes an Aloe Vera Plant a great plant for a sunny kitchen.  An Aloe Vera Plant has long, narrow, plump leaves with little spikes along the edges, so be very careful when handling it. An Aloe Vera Plant can be used as either a table plant or, when larger, a floor plant.

800px-Potted_Aloe_vera_plant-256x192

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