r ranson

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since Feb 05, 2015
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An insomniac misanthrope who enjoys cooking, textile arts, farming and eating delicious food.
Left Coast Canada
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Recent posts by r ranson

I would love to hear more.

I'm hoping to start on that plot in a week or two - once the frosts start to let up a bit.

Rain usually ends May first (and starts up in October) so I need to get to work on that plot soon. 
1 day ago
These are some pictures of my Halda ribbon spool.  I only have one of these.  For the machine to work properly, I need two, otherwise, the ribbon won't automatically reverse.

The people over on typewriter talk have been absolutely brilliant at helping me get this machine working again. 
3 days ago
One thing about ribbons is that the spools that come with the machine may be specific to that machine.  Don't toss your spools. 

I've noticed that the typewriter ribbons come on spools that don't fit my machine, but the ribbon is the right size, so I've been winding new ribbon onto the old spools. 
3 days ago
Sounds like a great book.  Just the kind of thing we love to see here.

Here's a link to some ways you can promote your book here on permies. 

One of the things many authors do is to get your book on the book review grid

3 days ago

David Livingston wrote:Just to give an example this year I have tried to root graft pear on to hawthorn , it's an idea I found on the net . Hawthorn is a weed here so I have given it a try . Will it work? who knows. how much did it cost? pennies  how long did it take ? 30 mins including finding my tools and getting clean at a time of year when it's too wet and cold to do much else
If it works I will have three full size standard trees :-)
The idea is you graft the pear on to hawthorn then put it in a pot , when it takes put the plant in the ground with the graft below the soil so the tree can develop it's own roots

See we could all do this
We have everything to gain ( and apples ) and nothing to loose



My grandfather did pear onto hawthorn a few times.  The hawthorn grew slower than the pear, so it was a funny looking tree.  But great harvests and very drought tolerant. 

I like your idea of root grafting.  I'll have to try this one day.

I also like the idea of diversifying rootstock.  Talking with the local fruit nursery where they graft and sell several hundred varieties of fruit, the biggest problem they are having is that they only have access to two or three varieties of apple rootstock.  These are all clones.  The worry is that if a disease comes through, it will wipe out most of these trees because of the lack of genetic variation. 

Growing rootstock by seed can help reduce this problem.  Each tree has a different genetic mix and will be susceptible or hardy to different things than it's neighbour.   If we definitely want a specific tree, we graft after the second winter, but my preference is to wait and see what kind of fruit the tree creates.  If I don't like it, I graft or bud.

I can imagine a community where everyone saves the seeds from their fruit.  Plants them, then has grafting parties.  Those with land can hoast the trees for those without.  Or maybe semi-centralized centre(s) for seedlings.  Increase the number of fruit trees while increasing the economies of scale (lots of people working makes the job go faster and they can help each other improve technique) while giving the people three new skills (seed saving, seed planting, grafting) and some food (because what's a party without food?)
4 days ago
I want to say how much I like the idea of increasing fruit and food production in a community.

I also love the idea of getting two harvests out of one. 

The first harvest is the fruit. 
The second harvest is in increasing the skill-bank in the community. 

Perhaps the reason we have so little food production in the community is that we have so few people who know how to create, harvest, and use fresh food. 

Looking at similar projects that have been successful in our local community, I think that a big part of their success is that they give something back to their volunteers.  They give back new skills and with that, the empowerment to grow their own food.
4 days ago

S. G. Botsford wrote:

It takes practice to graft.

If I do 5, two of them take.  If I do 25 fifteen of them take.  If I do 100, 70 of them take.

It takes time to set up and clean up. 

If it takes half an hour to find your knife, set up a work table, and where is the grafting tape! and 10 minutes at the end, that that 40 minutes is amortized over the 5 you are doing or the 100 I am doing.

I think your method is different than mine. 

My knife is in my pocket.  The secateurs are on a shelf above my farm shoes.  So is the tape.  Basically, as I put my shoes on, I stick the tools in my pocket.  I've never really timed how long it takes to put my shoes on, but I think it's less than 40 minutes.  Not sure I understand why one needs a work table, but there's one just inside the garage if you like, another 30 seconds. 

That's under a minute to set up.  It takes me longer than that to find a matching pair of socks in the morning (life is so much easier if I don't bother with matching socks.)

I'm also concerned your strike rate is so low.  Is that what people usually get?  I've never taken the time to compare my results with others so I don't really know what people 'expect' to get when grafting.  If a graft or bud doesn't take, I'm surprised and sad. 

The economy of scale:  I've been involved on the outskirts of several large projects to improve food security in our city.  Several of them start so big that they alienate the individuals they are trying to reach.  Our transition movement was a bit like this.  They had a similar idea to the OP with nut trees.  Go big, plant hundreds, get specialists to help increase the nursery stock.  Very much of the same sort of idea.  It didn't go well.  But other projects that start small with a dozen or so people, and grew from there to be huge movements with hundreds of volunteers, these are still around and thriving.  They don't use specialists to achieve results, they train their volunteers to do the grafting and whatever else is needed.   They are providing more than just food.  They are fostering and encouraging vital skills in the community.  Skills we are at great risk of losing if we start believing that it can only be done by a professional.  I like this very much!

As for Patents/production rights or whatever, I would choose from the thousands of fruit varieties that don't have this issue. 

Chances are an unpatented fruit from local trees will be tastier and better suited to local conditions than one that is designed for mass market grocery store conditions and long transportation chains. 

If I was doing this, I would go to some of the first farms in our area and choose a couple of dozen trees with different kinds of apples (maybe 4 cider apples, 5 short storing, a dozen long storing, and the rest in cooking apples) and use those varieties.  Most of these trees are about 100 years old and are grown from seed so I would feel confident that 1) patents are not an issue, and 2) they are well suited to our local climate. 

4 days ago