With the bark still lifting and the sap still flowing, we have already knocked over all our budding for the season!
That must be a first. It feels like we’re always rushing at the wrong end of the season to bud tough old buds to sleepy seedlings that are ready to go dormant for the season.
But not this time! Perfect conditions spurred on by a relatively mild summer and diligent attention from Merv means the sap is still flowing and the seedlings are in really good shape to ‘take’ the buds that we have been putting in.
The only thing left to bud (and which we all slightly dread) is the citrus rootstocks. They are deadly sharp, with thorns as big as a nail, and the only way we can safely bud them is with elbow length thick gloves on!
Our experiments with growing citrus rootstock from seed has had varied success. The ones that have survived are looking great, but something (earwigs? slaters? rabbits?) seemed to really enjoy eating the shoots as they germinated. So the row is a bit patchy.
We’re probably pushing the boundaries of where citrus can grow happily, but it’s fun learning and getting creative with how to do it here. The ones that did succeed will be some seriously hardy trees!
Again we’re experimenting with some multi grafted trees. After their popularity last year, we thought we’d better do a few more. There are gorgeous combos of peach and nectarine on the same tree, as well as multiple types of plum and plum/apricot combos.
We’ll be opening up orders for the trees as soon as we’ve done the count and worked out how many of which types of trees we have ready, and then July will be the time to come and collect your trees, once they’ve lost all their leaves and gone dormant.
Now that its preserving season, we’ve also started collecting seeds to sow for next years budding. We’re collecting up peach and nectarine seeds first, then we’ll move on to apple, pear and finally quince seed. Plum cuttings, we’ll take at some point in there too and maybe some more experiments with figs, loquat, olives, feijoa and grapes! Those seeds and cuttings we’ll store outside in sand, keeping them moist until we are ready to plant them in late winter.
But for now, with the budding (almost) done, we can relax a little and enjoy walking down the rows of healthy, vibrant trees singing from the rain!