Seed, Scion and Cutting Exchange

Mendocino Permaculture’s 37th AnnualWinter Abundance Gathering

Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 9 AM to 4 PM
at the Fairgrounds in BoonvilleSeed, Scion & Cutting Exchange, 
Classes, and Hands-on Fruit Tree Grafting
Admission, classes, seeds, cuttings, scion wood  

All Free
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. The taste is rated as best in most comparison tastings. Those who grow the two pears side by side generally agree that they are sisters if not identical. They are pollen sterile, so need other pears for pollination. Highly recommended by all of us who grow either locally. 
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS — Rain or Shine9:00 – 4:00  Open tables – Scions, seeds, cuttings and selection advice 

9:30 – 10:30  Class – 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 – 2:00  Grafting 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 – 1:00  Lunch 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 down. 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. 

Agritourism, Fruit and Flower Farm

Our off grid, hand built Farmhouse is now available for group rentals. It’s wonderful for retreats, family reunions. Separate private spaces, catered or not. The house has five bedrooms plus a bunkhouse . It sleeps 14 plus areas for camping.

Our rustic farm kitchen has room for many including our large hand milled redwood table seating twenty.

Garden Work- January in Northern California


I always want to shout out to everyone- This is the time ! These are the moments to create everything you want in your garden for spring, right NOW ! What you do right now determines how your garden will do and look all year.

It is time to plant, and transplant new shrubs and bare root trees and roses. It’s also when balled and burlap conifers get shipped from Oregon and Washington. They are available right now in your nurseries. Think hard about how you want your garden to look this year. Are there plants you want to add ? Divide ? Is the winter form and structure pleasing in your garden ? Do you want more evergreens ? Are you happy with the shapes and heights of your plants ? Do you need help pruning ?

It’s time to cut back, prune, fruit trees, roses, all deciduous shrubs and trees. I’m planting and dividing perennials for spring and summer color and bloom. In our Northern California climate, growth usually begins in early February, seeds can be ordered for planting then. Mulching all the beds with a thick layer of compost ( amending the soil should be done at least once a year). I often put chips all over the perennial beds and this thick mulch, now too. Or if I have spring annuals in place mulch those beds too. Fruit trees benefit from a thick layer of compost, then chips just make sure the base is not covered. The compost helps decompose any fungus trapped in leaves on the ground. I also start putting out an organic all purpose fertilizer now. I like the California Organics 7-10-7 . I only need to apply it once a year because of all the compost I also add.
You might want to put in irrigation under the chips, so you don’t have to see the unsightly lines, that has to be done now too. If you’re really on top of it you can check irrigation, but I usually wait till March for that.

On our homestead, we do a lot of cleaning up with fires now. Areas where we fell trees for firewood, or trees just fell, can be handled easily this way.


Local small farms are important

Good Farm Fund awards grants to 14 Mendocino County farms

By: Erick O’Donnell

The Good Farm Fund, an agricultural grant program sponsored by North Coast Opportunities, awarded $20,000 worth of grants this week to 14 small farms throughout Mendocino County.

The grants will fund small infrastructure projects that will allow farmers to increase food production and, hence, revenue and profit, helping them to overcome steep economic obstacles on their way to self-sufficiency, said Caroline Radice, who sits on the program’s steering and grant committees.

With high land prices, farmers face a high barrier to entry, and the cost of investing in capacity-building projects can further impede the ability of small farmers to establish themselves in the capital-intensive business of agriculture, she said.

The Good Farm Fund will fully bankroll some projects and partially fund others, with matching grants or financing from other sources, she said.

Members of the grant committee were reluctant to let any projects go without financial support, so they decided to spread funds over as many projects as they could while ensuring other funding sources would cover the shortfalls, ultimately approving grants for 14 out of the 16 projects, she said.



A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles roll
ed into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.


Organic Garden Maintenance

Organic Garden Maintenance

If you are having a maintenance service maintain your grounds and gardens, pay attention to whether or not they are routinely using Round Up. If you have a gravel driveway and it has not been recently replaced, you are likely to be getting weeds there. If the drive is brown and there’s no green at this time of the year, the gardeners are probably spraying it monthly with round up. Also the area near your house, the first two feet around the building is it brown ? This is also a typical place to spray Round up. Pathways, rock areas, even weeds in garden beds are also commonly addressed by this herbicide
When Round Up, glyphosate, first hit the market, it was advertised to be out of the soil within twenty four hours of application. This has been disproved, but many still believe the original claims. Round Up has been declared a carcinogen and is very toxic. We don’t want to use this here, do we ?
I believe after thirty seven years of estate gardening that Round Up is not the way to go. I have been maintaining large and small gardens for more than ten years without any chemicals. It takes slightly more time, but it is so worth it, for the homeowner and the gardeners health, as well as the earth.
When the ground is covered with plants or wood chips, this helps to keep the garden weed free. Drip systems watering only the area around the plant helps too. Adjusting your view to realize you will have a mowed gravel driveway, not just rock. Some other expectations might have to be adjusted, but it can still look great and the cost doesn’t need to be more.


New Local Blog Mark Gross

My friend Mark Gross, a long time writer for the Washington Post has started a local blog. He is excited and ever so curious about the area, so he’s finding the inner sanctum and writing about it.

He told me he would help me host a local party. I have a hard time throwing planned parties and I hadn’t had one in years. I can do spontaneous parties and baking days were often like parties here.

Anyway, it ended up being one of the worst storm nights of the year. Power out everywhere, trees down, Hwy 1 closed. But everyone came ! We managed to fit almost thirty people in here comfortably, while Dennis baked roasted lamb in the brick oven.

Check out his new blog.
discovering oz without a tornado taking me there