MENDOCINO Co., 1/29/20 — It may be the middle of winter, but the days are getting longer, and spring will arrive before you realize it — which makes February the perfect time to start preparing new fruit trees and veggie starts for this coming year.
One place to get your hands on some fruit trees, cuttings, seeds, starts, or skills is the free, annual Winter Abundance Gathering which has been held in Boonville for the last 36 years. The day-long event is held at the fairgrounds, and is full of workshops with local experts sharing information about tree and vine propagation, seed saving, grafting, growing produce, and more, with opportunities to exchange plants and take some home with you.
The Winter Abundance Gathering will be held this year on Saturday, February 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the fairgrounds in Boonville. Here’s an announcement from the organizers with a schedule, with the schedule:
Winter Abundance Gathering
Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 9 AM to 4 PM at the Fairgrounds in Boonville
Seed, Scion & Cutting Exchange,
Classes, and Hands-on Fruit Tree Grafting
Admission, classes, seeds, cuttings, scion wood
Free classes all day on tree & vine propagation; how to grow your own food; and how to save seeds of all kinds of food plants. You can purchase fruit tree rootstocks cheaply here and then graft your own trees from the free scions. Come spend the day with local green thumbs who understand the unique climate zones and soils of our bioregion. You can purchase an inexpensive organic lunch, snacks, and beverages at the event. Sign up for a free hands-on grafting class, held throughout the day, where you can try out and even purchase a grafting knife. Please bring your favorite seeds and scions, and plants to share.
Warren Pear & Magness PearMagness and Warren are two of the finest flavored and most disease-resistant pear varieties available. Magness was bred by USDA for disease resistance, a cross between Comice and Seckel. Those who grow the two pears side by side generally agree that they are sisters if not identical. Highly recommended by all of us who grow Warren or Magness locally.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS — Rain or Shine
9:00 – 4:00 Open tables – Scions, seeds, cuttings and selection advice
9:30 – 10:30Class – Mark Albert: Scionology – The crash course on making your own trees & vines from scions, rootstocks, cuttings, seeds. Basics of scion selection, grafting & budding, and rootstocks.
10:30 – 12:00 Class – Marc Robbi: Growing under Cover, What a Greenhouse can Do for You – The benefits of greenhouse growing in our Mendoterranean climate, and mitigating greenhouse problems
10:30 – 2:00Grafting Hands-on clinics hourly – local grafters share their techniques. You try out new knives on real wood. Buy our knife if you like it. Or bring your grafting knife to get a tune-up. Sign up at the registration table.
12:00 – 1:00Lunch for sale – organic, made by Anderson Valley Girl Scout Troop 10597 to fund community service projects, camping and adventure trips.
1:00 – 2:15 Class – Seed Saving – with Matt Drewno, Victory Gardens for Peace
2:15 – 3:30 Class – Patrick Schafer: Advanced Grafting, Budding, Top-working old or young trees, Q & A
Seed Exchange: Seeds from local growers with local seed savers on hand. Bring your own saved and labeled seeds to share. Glass jars are good. We supply free seed envelopes.
Scion Exchange: Free scions will be available all day, with local experts on hand. Please bring labeled scions of your favorite fruit trees – especially the gems that are proven here. New varieties and your own seedlings are also welcome. If the varietal name is unknown, just label with your name, phone, brief description. Best scions are cut from the lower portion of the longest, straightest new shoots. Cut scions 8-12” long and clear bag them. Cuttings for rooting should be 12-18” long and bundled. Store them damp and cold on the north side of a building, or refrigerate. Cut dormant scions now or ASAP instead of waiting until the last moment in this unpredictable season. Our dormancy period is short, so picking scions early is best, especially the Prunus. We’ll have free bags and labels.
Scionology Class: The first class is basic but densely packed with information: When and how to cut, store, and label a scion or a cutting to root. How to assess the scions on the scion tables. Which plants are easiest by which method. How to make a simple bottom heat box, for cuttings and for seed germination. Why some cultivars are better in our climate zone. Why different grafts are better for different seasons and situations. The reasons and methods of the different rootstocks. Previously manager of an avocado & citrus tree nursery in Santa Barbara, Mark packs 45 years of propagation tricks into a one hour class.
Advanced Grafting: Patrick’s class in the afternoon focuses on techniques and strategies for specific plants, how to top work trees to other varieties, summer chip budding, and answers your individual questions. Patrick is a nurseryman, sells hardy palms, loquat, feijoa, and native persimmon, and he’s an expert on all local fruit.
Grafting Hands-on Clinics throughout the day: We have found that the hands-on class helps you to learn grafting and builds your confidence with the knife in your hand. We’ve purchased different kinds of grafting knives for you to try out. Our demo grafting knives can be purchased after the last clinic. Or bring your own knife for us to assess and sharpen for you. The clinics focus on basic techniques and the feel of the knives on real scionwood. Each of the volunteer teachers may teach their own style, since there are many ways to successfully graft. Let Barbara know if you want to teach one of these short classes at a specific time slot. There will be a sign-up sheet for each clinic at the registration table to keep the class size sane. There may be two clinics running simultaneously if needed.
Marc Robbi’s Class: Marc currently runs 3 greenhouses and uses them for many things: growing his own food, nursery production, and a mother-tree haven for his online business, Fruitwood Nursery. His farm is 5 hours north of Boonville in the heart of the Klamath River country outside of Orleans, yet he has a surprisingly similar climate to our own! He and his wife Corrina grow over 1,000 varieties of temperate and subtropical fruiting plants and other perennials right on their homestead, and sell many of them through their website in the form of propagation material or rooted cuttings and divisions. They also started and ran Rolling River Nursery for years before selling it a few years back to the good folks at Planting Justice, in Oakland.
Seedsaving Class: Matt Drewno from Victory Gardens for Peace Seedbank, a project of Ecology Action located at the Stanford Inn in Mendocino, will lead a class on seedsaving that will cover basic to advance techniques. This class will be relevant for beginner seedsavers as well as those with more experience.
Rootstock sales: We sell over 500 tree rootstocks of major fruit types, for a few dollars each. We try to choose the best rootstocks for our climate and soil. Some years there are specific rootstock scarcities, due to crop failures, disease and extreme weather.
Plant share: Everyone is welcome to use our venue to give away or swap plants. Due to Sudden Oak Death and other root pathogens, please minimize the attached native soil. Try to use soilless potting mixes if possible, or bring plants bare root, gently washing native soil off dormant plants. Moist pine wood shavings (sold in bags as animal bedding) are best for packing roots and scions. Wet newspaper also works short term.
Trees & plants & seeds for sale by local tree and seed companies, who are invited to come and sell. No charge to vendors.
Food sales by local non-profit group: Lunches, snacks, beverages. Proceeds will help AV Girl Scout Troop 10597 to fund community service projects, camping and adventure trips. Please bring your own plate, utensils, & cups. A Winter Farmers’ Market will be set up for sales too.
This is a free public service event conceived by Mendocino Permaculture. It has grown and evolved over the last 37 years, with a lot of help from our friends. Our costs are funded only by rootstock sales and donations. There is no charge for admission, classes, seeds, cuttings, or scion wood.
This workshop is co-sponsored by Mendocino Permaculture, Anderson Valley Adult School, and Anderson Valley Foodshed, with volunteer help from the Master Gardener program of U.C. Cooperative Extension.
We appreciate volunteers for several aspects of the event. The Master Gardeners have joined our effort the last couple years, and that has been great! The Anderson Valley Foodshed, with non-profit sponsorship by the Cloud Forest Institute, is also on board. Call Barbara to see where more volunteers are needed. Feel free to pass on our email flyer to friends and to e-bulletin boards. Grafters are welcome to show us how they do their grafts, whether in a clinic or pick your own spot and set up. Everyone’s local knowledge is helpful at the scion tables. This event is above all a celebration of the plant world where everyone is invited share what they know.
About the Boonville Fairgrounds venue. We use two buildings. The classes will be in the dining hall. The scion and seed tables will be in the Library/Arts and Crafts Building. Rootstock sales, tree sales and plant exchange will be under the large eaves overhanging the library building. We are using only the front parking lot and street parking on Hwy 128 near the fairground entrance. Vehicles that arrive before 9 AM will be allowed into the grounds to drop off plant material or supplies. The AV Community Library is open for its regular hours, 1:30 – 4:00 PM and their used book-sale table. Paperbacks 25¢, hardbound 50¢ and a bag for $5 – bring your own bag. This is a rain or shine event – we have enough indoor space and roof cover for all of us to be sheltered should the weather turn rainy.
Please do not bring your dog. It is a Fairgrounds rule.
For more information, call Barbara/Rob at (707) 895-3897, Richard 459-5926, or Mark at 463-8672.
The latest information will be posted on the AV Foodshed website.