It rained hard here Saturday, 1.60 inches (40.6 mm) in a short period of time, with some hail. I didn’t see any hail damage in my garden, but I missed the rain itself because I was with Soma northwest of Columbus, Ohio at a grafting seminar put on by the Ohio Paw Paw Growers  Association (OPGA). We could tell it had been  a gully washer when we returned because of the gravel from peoples’ driveways that was washed onto the main  road.

While we were at the seminar, we got to see a lot of different grafting techniques and even did a whip and tongue graft on a paw paw that we got to keep.

whip and tongue grafted paw paw

After doing the graft itself, we bound it together with grafting rubbers (like a rubber band cut open) to hold the graft together and then wrapped it with Parafilm to prevent it from drying out.

The idea is that to propagate a desirable cultivar one can graft scion wood from it onto hardy rootstock.  If one tries to grow new plants from seed of a cultivar, due to genetic variability it is common to get inferior specimens.  So an existing tree is used or rootstock is grown from seed and then a scion grafted onto  it.

Soma has started lots of paw paws from seed and came home with scion wood from named cultivars that he will graft onto his seedlings, resulting in superior paw paws.

We also plan to plant black walnuts next fall as soon as they drop from the tree and when they have grown to pencil size, hopefully by the second summer, we will top graft them with scion wood saved from my Carpathian walnut and 10 years from now serve out walnuts to all the attendees of the Festival of Inspiration. Any walnut can be grafted onto any other walnut.

Soma saved scion wood this past winter from my Carpathian and plans to top graft existing black walnuts with them this year. This is the time to do it.

There are numerous grafting techniques and my brain got full to overflowing seeing guys doing examples of different kinds, I hope I can retain most of it. Information on grafting  is available on the internet but seeing it done and being able to ask questions makes learning a lot easier. Guru sadhu sastra.

I got a neat toy I bought for $40, the purchase  of which benefited the OPGA. It is a nut picker that rolls over the ground and gathers nuts or even apples. See here for a better description.

There was also a nut cracker on display that I am lusty for. I had gathered a lot of black walnuts and butternuts last fall but rarely eat them because they are so difficult to get out of the shell.

The maker of the nutcracker is old school and doesn’t have a website but can be called at 417-548-7428. You will  need to send a check. They are $60 plus shipping.  There are cheaper Chinese knockoffs but the guy who owned the one I saw said those don’t hold up, they are made of inferior metals. I actually stopped writing this post to search where to get the original and am buying one.

The Master Cracker nutcracker

The Master Cracker

We also got some good contact info for buying nut, paw paw and persimmon trees so when devotees start ordering them for their own properties or to donate to the temple we will have good sources for named cultivars.