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Hard graft in the orchard

About 35 people enjoyed a rare sunny day in a Ketton orchard last Saturday learning about the ancient skills of grafting scionwood onto rootstocks as has been done for over 2,000 years. They learned that this is the only way to produce some of the rarer local apple varieties that were developed and popularised by the famous Stamford nurseries of Mr Brown and Thomas Laxton. The workshop combined the basic theories of grafting and pruning, followed by a series of practical demonstrations and plenty of hands on practice. So all the participants managed to take home at least two or three new apple trees, as well as all the confidence to start both formative pruning on young trees and regenerative pruning on those tall, straggly neglected trees.

The grafting and pruning workshop organised by Stamford Community Orchard Group (SCOG) has now been organised annually for 4 years and enabled over 100 people to propagate and prune their own fruit trees, saving money and local heritage varieties. The local charity exists to encourage people to plant more local varieties of apple trees and to keep traditional orchards alive and productive. All the evidence shows that the area of traditional orchards and number of local varieties for sale has been declining since the war especially due to international competition for the trade with supermarkets. However the renewed interest in cider and local fruit has recently reversed this trend.

The workshop will be repeated next February so sign up now if you want to plant and care for more apple trees. So please get in touch for more details about this workshop and other forthcoming workshops, talks and visits. Tel: 01780 720 521or Email:

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