And more nursery space is created! Jayanti and I have been setting up very cost effective nursery space for fruit trees. Down the road at a local outlet store, are vast numbers of untreated wooden pallets that are usually picked up and taken to the landfill if I’m not mistaken… Anyway, we have decided to RECYCLE, and use these well made strong and most importantly, FREE, wooden pallets for the fruit trees. Amazing materials, following sustainable principles of recycling and reusing.
We decided to sheet mulch over the grass where we chose to place the pallets. First we cut the grass back a bit with a sickle, put down a layer of cardboard, covered the cardboard with local woodchips, and then placed the pallets on top of the mulch, making sure they were level by adding some rocks or cinder blocks under certain corners to adjust the levels.
After practicing a “Wedge Graft” on some Pidgeon Pea twigs while watching Jayanti graft over 20 White Sapote fruit tree keiki (Hawai’ian for “seedling”), it was then my turn. I felt confident enough after lots of observation and hands-on practice with some twigs, to make two wedge grafts, which turned out great, although not so easy… It’s all about getting the right angle, it has to be perfect in order to fit together on the Rootstalk. I have lots of practice to do still. I wouldn’t necessarily call my first to cuts perfect, so we’ll see if the grafts heal and begin to sprout. Hopefully they’ll take and I’ll get to plant these two beautiful White Sapote trees and someday get to eat their amazing fruit!
Grafting is something that I have dreamed of learning for a while now. After coming to terms with the actual definition and explanation of what grafting is and why it is done, I now am much more activated and ready to learn to graft fruit trees!
I spent a big chunk of the day last week learning how to graft. Previously, I got to watch Jayanti graft some Avocados, but today was going to be different. He acquired some “Scionwood” from a White Sapote tree nearby and intended on grafting a bunch of them, and leaving just two for me to graft. Scionwood is the term given to a cutting taken from a tree of choice, usually a preferable fruit bearing tree. The base of this cutting is then cut in a certain geometric shape which fits on your “Rootstalk” a special way. These cuts are then sealed together with plastic tape until they heal together and begin to grow as one tree, which will then bear the same fruit as the tree that the Scionwood was taken from, kind of like natural cloning. The Rootstalk is the term given to a seedling tree that is either the same or related species as the tree you acquired the Scionwood from. This is generally sprouted to about 2 feet tall before it is grafted.
- Freshly mixed potting soil and some new Mulberry cuttings!De-seeding Mangoes, Star Apples, and Avocados to plant for Rootstalks, to be grafted to later on once they sprout and grow to be a foot or two in height.
- Once the seeds are washed and cleaned of fruit scraps, they are freshly planted as soon as possible.After planting these Avocado seeds, they are watered and then mulched with woodchips. This is to mimic the natural system of a forest floor; the mulch acts as a living blanket, protecting the fragile soil from the intense heat of the sun, reducing evaporation and the need to water as much. It’s incredible how much water and money are saved when mulch is applied to both potted plants and plants in the ground! MULCH IT!
Working with Jayanti these past few weeks has been an exciting adventure, he has so much to share and so much experience that he brings to the table. A basic principle that I’ve learned, is that having good soil, is everything. So, we began by creating a healthy and diverse potting mix, which usually consists of 1/3 volcanic cinders locally harvested from the enormous volcano we live on, 1/3 peat and 1/3 locally sourced organic compost.
I am back on Maui for the Summer, and am finishing my last 12 college credits through an internship with a very skilled and knowledgeable Permaculturist named Jayanti Nand. Jayanti is a certified Arborist and specializes in fruit tree propagation and care. I am helping him transform and expand his nursery for the next few months. I hope to gain experience with nursery systems including a solid skill base with propagating fruit trees and setting up and maintaining nurseries using organic, holistic practices.
More updates to come!
Ahui hou! 🙂