Grafting onto Almonds

I´m sure you´ve heard of the wonderful book Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart? Hopefully my book City Slicka to Spanish Chica, if it ever comes to print, will be an equal success and best seller, but I digress. Well, today we were Grafting onto Almonds.

Local Old Boy Domingo, King of the Fruit Tree Grafters (well, around these parts at least) came round and grafted some apricots and local peaches onto an almond tree we had given up for dead last year.

Big Man cut it right down to see if there was any hope and lo and behold, it sprouted. We have another almond tree which gives us plenty of almonds, so we decided to see if a little hard graft would pay off.

Start by stripping out leaves from branches but leaving the shoots up the branches intact
Nip off the top of the branch you are grafting onto and remove the outer “skin” of the branch

It´s a complicated process, although he made it look easy as you have to find a branch and the piece you graft on of the same size, it can take a few goes.

A tube (rather like a tiny section of a straw) is cut from the plant you will be grafting onto the host tree. It needs to include a little bud. Then it has to be slid off its own branch intact…tricky stuff.
Slide it on…carefully now!
Make sure it´s secure
The End Result…a job well done

Now we have to wait until about August, when we should be able to see which grafts have taken. Fingers crossed for success.

Celi over at The Kitchen´s Garden recently took us round her garden. Inspired by this, and as I had my camera in hand, I thought I´d show you a little more of our olive grove. We only have about 30 olive trees, it´s a piece of land of about 2500sqm but we are slowly planting fruit tress, and this is also where our chickens free range.

View to “my” mountains and the neighbours´ very posh chicken house

The overhead cables are not great, but in the campo it´s the only way to get electricity to the houses.

View out from olives across neighbour´s field to busy downtown!

I´ve realised that the shots are mainly out from the olives, but an olive grove is an olive grove. And here´s a gratuitous shot of the pesky olive flowers that cause so much suffering to people like me with hayfever.

Perhaps I should have asked Big Man to take a shot of me with my big sunglasses on and my Michael Jackson style breathing mask…that would have been quite entertaining!


74 thoughts on “Grafting onto Almonds

  1. How beautiful!
    I met an old man in France once, who was about 99 and had been a French train driver in Algeria before WW2. He was still growing about 2 acres of fruit and vegetables and had just given up a much larger plot. I was amazed at how much fruit he had grafted together, not to mention very impressed. Good luck with yours 😉

    1. What a great story – hope we have as much luck as him! We can certainly learn a lot from the older folk, the traditional ways have worked well for so long, why change them?!

      1. He was quite amazing and as bright as a button! Most of those traditions are common sense and have been learnt by trial and error – I’m sure we all have a lot to learn from people who have spent a life time living off the land using traditional methods.

  2. Fascinating shots of the grafting. It looks a bit fiddly for me, but you’ve got an expert there, it seems. People talk about doing it here, with vines as well as fruit trees, but I’ve never seen it done. I hope they take and you get lots of fruit from you once dead almond tree! Sorry you can’t enjoy the olive flowers, as I do, because of your allergy, but the olives will be nice at the end of the season!

    1. Thanks for sharing this process, Tanya. Hubby is wanting to graft a different plum variety onto one of the plum trees we have. My Dad taught me to do grafting a little differently so it will be a novelty to try this way.

      1. Hi Diane, I´ve never seen it done like this before – was more familiar with inserting slivers into the trunk and then binding them. It will be interesting to see if we get results!

    2. Thanks Teleri, I really enjoyed watching it. Ive seen vine grafted before where they seem to place another vine into the main branch and seal it with wax. This was very different. And yes, I can bear the hayfever as I think of the olive and the oil to come 🙂

  3. Fascinating to see and read about the grafting techiniques, it’s lovely to see this knowledge and experience in action.
    And your olive grove looks perfect and delightful, I could sit under one of the those trees with a book….. I also get hayfever, but I don’t think the olive flowers are a problem. Hope the Jacko look soon goes!!

    1. It was really interesting, I´d never seen it done like this before. As for the hayfever, I used to get it in the UK, but it was fine with an anti histamine. When I got to Spain I thought I´d developed some deadly flu strain until they tested me to find I was severely allergic to olive pollen! Damn…but am on a programmme taking drops for 5 years (am only into year 2 though) which should rid me of it 🙂

      1. We weed, dig, plant, harvest…whatever they need on the day and whatever my son has patience for! It’s a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm, so we pay for a share before the season starts. Volunteering is not obligatory 🙂 but we like to get out there and help and socialize!

  4. Thank you for the shouts darling and oh my goodness, how I love your views, and olive groves are just so romantic. Speaking of romantic who was that fellow with the fantastic face doing the grafting..I bet he has a story! your shots were great! c

    1. Doesn´t he have a face that has “lived” a life? He is one of the local goatherds, they mostly have those lived in faces as a result of so much time outdoors, and he has a wonderful dog who follows him everywhere, even running behind his truck when he goes out at night for a drink…she turns up at the bar to meet him! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  5. How clever! We need to learn these things from the ‘older generation’ before we lose the skills altogether.
    Sorry about your hay fever – I too am a sufferer – hope things improve soon.

    1. The traditional methods can certainly teach us a thing or two. Although I love the spring, I long for the end of June to come when the olive flowers will have fully popped open and shed all their pollen…I feel like I have flu every year for 2 months, not much fun 😦

    1. Thanks Kate – the old boy was laughing at me when I said I´d pop down and check out the tree every day…he said I´d need to be a little more patient!

  6. Brilliant! It’s the ultimate “making soup” – to use a “once thought dead” tree to host new life. I *love* this!! Keep us posted as the season goes on, OK? Mmmm…

  7. I’ve heard of grafting like this, but never seen it – thanks so much for posting it!
    That’s another skill I’d love to add to my repetoire…someday!
    Believe it or not, olive pollen is even a problem here. Two decades ago, some idiot decided that the Russian Olive tree, and Autumn Olive were the perfect landscape plant…Not so much, it turns out. The wood is weak, and they break in the winter, and they’ve become downright invasive, crowding-out native shrubs in wild places. That’s before we even get to the pollen! It gives me fits, too, and there’s so much in the air, it stains my white car yellow…And we can’t even get real olives out of the deal… 😦

    1. How bizarre about those strange olive trees you have round your way – even though I suffer badly and the pollen gets everywhere, at least we get delicious olives and olive oil at the end of it! Hope you don´t suffer too badly with the allergies 😦

  8. Hi Chica,

    I was just watching a tv show about this recently too – there was an old apple tree which bore nasty, slushy fruit every year so they were grafting “good” fruit-bearing brances onto it. It was so fascinating.

  9. I think grafting is one of the most magical garden tasks. I’ve never tried it, but there are lots of enthusiastic grafters out by us, even a guerilla grafter who grafts fruit trees on to the wild pears in the forest! I loved looking at your garden, too. It is so beautiful. I hope your hay fever gets better though. I just had mine (grasses) and it was pretty bleary stuff.

    1. A guerilla grafter?! My that sounds like fun! Glad you enjoyed the post…I hate the hay fever but at least I know I´ll benefit from the olives eventually 😉

  10. Your home and land is just beautiful…thank you so showing up around. I hope your grafts take. My husband and I went to classes on grafting but have never tried it.

  11. Hahaha! Loved this post Chica. Youve given me a good giggle. can’t wait for the book. It will be a huge success! I adore all the wonderful pictures of your property. So beautiful.

  12. Amazing. He looks like an amazing character, and what skill!!!! I wish you luck with your almonds.

  13. Gorgeous. Can’t think why you’d want to move out of the city though, (snort). All that open space, greenery, wonderful locals, sunshine, working from home, kitchen glory. Awful. Just awful!

    Fingers crossed for the grafts and a continuation of life for the old almond tree.

  14. My Grandpa was forever trying his hand at grafting. Obviously he wasn’t very successful or I’d be mentioning the trees/plants he grafted. 🙂

    Really enjoyed the tour, Tanya, even if it was lacking your MJ impersonation. Can you moonwalk, too?

    1. I think grafting is a tricky thing to do. We´ve been looking at the tree and it looks like a few have definitely taken. And as for the moonwalking…only after a few too many glasses of vino!

  15. So those are the little suckers that have me sneezing all night and day?! Ever single year in May… You have a beautiful olive grove! Mmmmmmm and your very own delicious olive oil.

  16. Wow, that’s a pretty tricky & incredible process, that grafting, and your photos illustrated it well! Love the glimpses into your world Tanya! And I for one would love to see you in your sexy sunglasses, hand-sewn mini skirt and breathing mask…I’m sure I’m not alone.

  17. Thank you for this post. I am trying to graft my bitter almond trees with peach scions. Old Boy Domingo IS King. I take it he is Spanish rather than an indolent expat.

      1. He is an absolute hero! 🙂 I am still waiting to see if my cleft and splice grafts take – peach onto almond. Thanks for an excellent blog.

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