One of the great parts about being a volunteer at A Taste of Paradise Farm is the opportunity to learn new things. Recently, Tim demonstrated, to volunteers and staff, how to graft citrus branches onto root stock. Over the last few years, we had grown some stock plants from organic lemon seeds we had collected from our own trees. When the new plants were big enough, Tim selected some appropriate branches off one of our orange trees and showed us the technique of cutting, slicing, inserting and taping these cuttings onto the stem of the lemon plants.
It was interesting to discover that any citrus can be grafted onto the lemon root stock. You can actually graft several different citrus types together on the one stem and come up with some very interesting plant combinations. We hope to be able to offer these for sale at the markets one day. Meanwhile, after several months the newly grafted shoots are looking like they have taken and will grow into healthy trees. Now we just need to train the new grafts to become the main stem and soon they will be ready to plant out.
The organic citrus trees we have at the farm have started to produce fruit in the last few years. We have lemons, oranges, grapefruits and finger limes which are offered for sale at the markets when they are ripe. Our mandarin and lime trees are not quite ready yet.
The citrus fruit offer us another opportunity to showcase healthy food to the young people attending our programs. The youngsters also like to help us harvest the fruit when it is ripe and can appreciate the value of having fruit growing in the garden and how good it tastes straight off the tree.