Last year I bought 23 acres of land in the southern part of France near the Dordogne. Two-thirds of the land is forest - oak, scots pine, chestnut. In the middle of it all is a valley which runs towards the south. That land is pasture. It was grazed but for the last 7 years nothing has been grown on the land.
This is where I want to plant some trees - all kinds of fruit and nuts - whatever I can grow that is edible. I've mostly been preparing the land to plant trees this coming winter although I have planted a few monkey puzzle trees and pomegranates, kiwis and raspberries which I had available. (Btw, the monkey puzzles grow much better in the forest than they do out in the pasture. Squirrels are usually a problem with growing nuts in the forest but I know from experience that the squirrels can't get monkey puzzle nuts until they hit the ground. The way to collect the nuts is to hit the cones with a long stick in the autumn and knock the nuts to the ground and collect them before the squirrels come).
I can't afford to fill the valley with grafted trees and besides I've noticed that the valley is full of microclimates and I don't know which variety of which fruit will do well where. So I'm thinking of this as a strategy - just plant mostly rootstocks throughout the valley and then graft different varieties onto the rootstocks and see which work best. Perhaps I can try several varieties on one rootstock and them remove the least useful.
I'm new to this and I haven't seen this strategy mentioned anywhere so I'm wondering if there's something perhaps obvious to experienced people that I'm missing with this plan.
John, I think is a great idea. I recently bought 400 antonovka seeds to do basically the same thing. I also take lots of cuttings from trees. Between seeds, cuttings, and transplants, you can create a great number of trees for next to know money. Best of luck to you.
I bought a ton of grafted trees that died by the root stocks survived. I've tried grafting onto them several times but it is HARD. Maybe it's me. My husband says it's because I suck at grafting. But yeah, I think grafting root stock in a greenhouse controlled environment is probably a thousand times easier than trying to graft something out on the plains. I speak as a plains dweller myself.
I'm not super experienced with grafting or picking out trees either (it's on the to-do list) and you might have already considered this but different varieties of rootstock are also going to be more/less suited to the different microclimates. I've been looking at rootstock options recently and there are rootstocks that are more/less drought resistant, or tolerant to swampy areas, etc.
I hope if you decide to go through with this project that you post what you find out!
☙ use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without ❧
posted 1 month ago
Maybe the problem with grafting it on the prairie was wind? Here, it is not a windy place and this enclosed valley is really sheltered.
I'll certainly try a variety of rootstocks.
There are hawthorns dotted about that I've read you can graft pears onto. I'll give that a shot. I have a couple of varieties of pears and some Asian pears I grew from seed.
You may have just won ten million dollars! Or, maybe a tiny ad.
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work