Apple Babies

The tropics of Africa do not have seasons like we know them; instead life is governed by the rainy season, which consists of the short rains and the long rains. 

The long rains in Sierra Leone start in June, and that is the planting time also if you expect your trees to live through their first year.  Shipping via air freight can still take between 8-14 days and they may spend some time in a sweltering tropical cargo warehouse, and so it is best for the trees to be dormant; but where do you find dormant Anna and Dorsett Golden apple trees in June?

My strategy is to sprout apple trees from seed in January, bud graft them by late April, strip the leaves in mid-May, and refrigerate them for two weeks before shipping.  In order to do this I have to sprout them in a mini-greenhouse over a heat mat, and also give them a few hours of extra light with a grow-light.  We’ll see how they do out in the garden bed with cooler soil temperatures (in the 60’s).

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