The Chronicle -

By Dana Merryday
Chronicle Columnist 

Swap yer seeds 'n' scions

 

March 14, 2019

Photo provided.

Grafting a scion to rootstock.

When you look at a seed catalog, everything looks good. It is like a dream book! But what grows well in one place may not flourish where you happen to live.

That is why it is best to get your seeds and fruit trees locally from proven winners that have a good track record of producing well in our particular soil and climate.

Well this Saturday, you will have a chance to do just that as well as pick up some great advice from local food producers. It is the Seed Exchange and Scion Swap which will be happening Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Cottage Events Venue, 2915 Row River Road.

The event is free and there will be a variety of things to engage in. Local farm vendors will have their winter stock for purchase. There will be expert advice and help in learning grafting techniques as well as quality rootstock and grafters for sale at the modest price of $2. There will be the seed exchange and free scions available.

Ideally you will bring your own offerings to add to this community propagation fair. Organizers are asking that you bring named varieties of prolific, healthy, unsprayed, organic, cuttings of fruit trees and berries. Apple, plum, pear, peach, grape, fig, berries will all be welcome. And seeds of favorite vegetables and flowers that you have had success with will also be welcome.

Ideal scion wood should be 1-year-old wood. Avoid any wood or portion of wood that is older. Wood should be straight and have a lot of vegetative buds (narrow buds). This varies among species.

Avoid any wood with spurs (fruit/blossom). Wood should be about the diameter of pencil and 14 to 18 inches long. Make the cut with sharp pruning shears and store the scions in the refrigerator with a damp (but not too wet) paper towel or wood shavings and in a plastic bag.

You can store bud wood for several months if kept cool and moist. Temperature around 34 degrees keeps the wood dormant.

This event is a collaboration between the Agrarian Sharing Network and many local volunteers. The origins of the local exchange began several years ago at the Coast Fork Feed Store where owner Dale Smith and Marjory House had our first seed exchange.

It was so popular that it had to move next door to the Cottage Grove Armory to accommodate the crowds. This year the bathroom renovations there caused a venue change. House says that they have decided to set the event permanently to the third Saturday in March.

Members of the South Lane Farmers' Market as well as Master Grafter Matthew Molyneaux, Fonta Molyneaux, Andrea Mull and sponsor Coast Fork Feed Store, are all contributing their knowledge and support to make this a true community happening.

In speaking with chief organizer Marjory House, she told me the motivation of this event and the others connected with the ASN, is food security and sovereignty. When plants acclimatize to an area, they are much more likely to be a resilient, dependable source of food for that area.

Grow it local and keep it local!

House encourages gardeners to let some of their plants go the whole cycle and go to seed (saving it for the next crop and to share) rather than pulling it up and pitching it into the compost after harvesting.

The organizers of Agrarian Sharing Network used to host the Lane County Propagation Fair, the largest organics-focused such event in the country. Having grown out of the Permaculture Guild's Spring Seed Exchange it got bigger than those doing the event were comfortable with.

While on one hand, they were delighted to see so many people coming out and taking advantage of the Fair, they missed the personal contacts and information exchange that were no longer possible since the event had grown to such proportions. So for the past two years they have had numerous smaller events in cities throughout Oregon and Washington.

Members of the network, a 100 percent volunteer based group, spend countless hours gathering fruit tree scions, organizing and distributing them to the various events under their umbrella.

Leftovers are grafted and sold to help defray costs. So if your fruit trees took a beating from the Snowpocalypse this propagation fair might be the very place for a new start.

Come join the fun and see what is available, talk to some plant people, learn about grafting and bring something to swap or not, there is sure to be an abundance.

For more information or to volunteer: [email protected], and for videos and more info on how to, https://springpropagationfair.com/ or Agrarian Sharing Network on Facebook.

See you at the Cottage Events Venue this Saturday and let's exchange something!

Dana Merryday can be reached at 541-942-7037, 205 [email protected]

 
 

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