Tag Archives: Adam

Grafting: Apples and Pears, 2014

Sometimes things go “almost” exactly as planned

DSC_0026These cuttings were taken from an apple tree of the variety “Duchess of Oldenburg” last winter, and grafted onto semi-dwarfing rootstock in the spring.

Blossoms on grafted cuttings are very unusual in the first year.  Usually a grafted tree will grow a stem in the first year, branches in the second year, then blossom and bear fruit in year three or four.  I’m not sure what happened here, but it makes for a curious photograph.

Most of the other 40 apples and 5 pear trees I grafted this year have a more conventional appearance.  That is, they are either alive or dead.  Below, scion-wood from the apple variety “Akane” was double whip-and-tongue grafted onto M9 rootstock.


The whip-and-tongue graft has been quite successful for me.  A strong union is formed over the first year, allowing the grower to handle the young trees (re-potting, planting etc) without worrying about breaking the graft.  Below, this “King of Tompkins County” apple is pictured one year after grafting, with the paraffin tape removed.


About 80% of this spring’s grafts were successful.  That leaves me with plenty of trees, but sadly missing some of the varieties I had hoped to cultivate.  Perhaps a trade is in order…next spring I will have yearling apple trees available (all my varieties are good) if anyone can provide me with cider apple and perry-pear scion wood.



Welcome to THE CELLAR

Adam & Pearl (8 Weeks Old)

My name is Adam. I’m a scientist.

In an expanding and rapidly moving world, that means I’m always learning something new, and collaborating with those uniquely qualified to teach me. Lately I’ve become a protein chemist (my day job), a gastronomist, a husband, a homeowner, an orchardist, and a cider-maker.

I’m most comfortable communicating in equations, diagrams, and long paragraphs of technical prose. This partnership with my wife, Elizabeth, offers a new challenge in an unfamiliar medium: photographs and videos that are as vivid and illuminating as my own experience. I consider this blog a cutting-edge laboratory notebook, logging the inconclusive but ongoing experiment of my life.

So, since this appears to be a kind of abstract, I should probably let you know what to expect:

  • Delight at success, otherwise humor.
  • Excessive amounts of context- allusions to ancient history, conjecture about the distant future, examination of microscopic mechanisms and macroscopic repercussions.
  • An aesthetic that reflects joy in the moments the natural world cooperates with human designs.
  • Newly grafted apple trees, dormant, standing straight in even rows.
  • Flasks and beakers left in mild disarray, my attempts to tame a wild yeast.

Upstairs, in The Kitchen (coming soon!):

  • “Fillets of sole stewing in the juice of tangerines / Slices of green pepper on a bone white dish” (Robert Hass, Song)

And, in my contributions to spousal site All the Dark Rooms:

  • Scratched and paint-flecked antique mahogany, stripped, then smoothed and stained and tacked back around my kitchen doorway… where it belongs.