Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Germplasm  Resources Information Network is a web server providing germplasm (a collection of genetic resources of an organism) information about plants, animals, microbes and invertebrates. It's the internet part of the National Genetic Resources Program who's goal is to acquire, characterize, preserve, document, and distribute germplasm of  all lifeforms important for food and agriculture production.

As you have probably figured out I got the above explanation from their website. It's run by the United States Department of Agriculture. It's a massive program most of which is "way over my head" but I learned from various fruit related message boards that you can request scion wood from their malus "apple" department. They have an orchard in Geneva NY that maintains over 8,000 varieties of apple trees for breeding purposes. Many of the apple varieties are inedible crabapples valuable for their disease resistant genetics that can be used in breeding new varieties of apples with disease resistant traits. What originally sparked my interest in GRIN was learning of their collection of apple trees from Kazakhstan. In the 1990's scientists from the USDA traveled there to collect scion wood from the wild apple malus sieversii which through genetic testing was determined to be the "mother" of all domestic apples. The thought of growing apple trees from scions gathered in the birthplace of the domestic apple here in my Allegheny Mountains orchards seemed it fit right into my thoughts on growing rare heirloom apples and disease resistant wildlife apples so I've spent months on their website learning the characteristics of these rare apples.

I also found some late season crabapples that should make wonderful wildlife food during the winter months.

Along with these apples I also will be ordering scion wood from various nurseries and individuals of other rare apple varieties. These will be grafted onto the 75 rootstocks I have ordered and also onto the numerous wild apple trees that are growing here on the farm. My  grafting will start in April right after Thicket and I have enjoyed chasing the migrating woodcock as they make their was through my coverts.  Yes it's going to be a busy spring............and I can't wait !!!

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