Special Guest Entry today from Rick, here is an excerpt on the report we are preparing about the Mongolian Permaculture project:
The skill of grafting was introduced with the intention of using it on two levels:
Firstly, grafting vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and chili can be grafted easily.
The benefit of grafting are multi-layered; superior cultivars are not necessarily tough. Stronger, cold, disease or pest-resistant rootstocks can be grafted on to. Grafted plants are more productive, grow faster, produce more, and produce earlier.
Tomato cultivars and cherry tomatoes are both produced as seedlings. Some cherry tomatoes are grown out as future seedstock. Cultivar seeds can be collected from fruit at the end of the season.
The second intention is to bring apple cultivars to Mongolia.
There are wild apple trees growing here able to tough out the conditions. For a very low start-up cost, a number of varieties that match the seasonal length could be introduced. This could perhaps be extended to other fruits as suitability is explored.
Tomatoes and other vegetable crops grafted were introduced first as their effect is more immediate and tangible to co-operative members.
Apples will take at least 3 years to produce fruit and 6 years to produce in decent numbers.
I believe it is worthwhile to build these skills now and be well into preparation for deteriorating conditions.