I thought I was done adding trees to our apple orchard until Winter hung around too long, leaving me too much time to research and dream about heirloom apples and home pressed cider.  Well really, I should have known I wasn’t done – with gardening and growing are we ever really done?

Last Spring we added four new apple trees to our small orchard, and I had anticipated adding just one or two more this year.  That is, until Winter hung around forever, and until, I saw a video about saddle grafting your own apple trees.  Suddenly the possibilities were endless – any apple variety of my choice on any rootstock of my choice; goodness gracious, talk about exciting!

I found a very helpful list of heirloom apple varieties to choose from which helped me to narrow down my choices of scion wood to purchase.  Scion wood is a dormant young branch of the variety of apple that you want your tree to produce.  Another helpful list I used was all about apple rootstock, explaining the pros and cons of the various rootstock available.

I ended up choosing Geneva 30 rootstock from Cummins Nursery. For scion wood I choose Oriole, Golden Russet, Cortland, Roxbury Russet, and MN 1734, available from Maple Valley Orchards and Nursery.  The cost per tree comes out to $12.00, about a third or less of the price for purchasing them bareroot.  What remains to be seen is if I have saved ANY money at all; perhaps I’m overly optimistic about the success of grafting my own apple trees – it could end up to be money down the drain or in the compost heap.  Until my hopes are completely dashed, I will be dreaming about apple cider, apple dumplings, and apple tart in just a few short years …….

Is anyone else planting heirloom or cider apples, and what varieties did you plant?

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