Tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers and kale are all typical produce you'll find growing at the Cedaredge Community Garden. Now, heritage apple trees are also taking up residence.
Four rootstock apple trees from a local nursery were recently transplanted into a new section of the garden with assistance from Bob Morris, of Red Mountain Ranches. Next season after these rootstocks are established Morris will splice from his heritage apple trees and graft onto the new ones in the garden. The garden plans to hold a grafting gathering where he'll demonstrate the process.
The idea to start an orchard section of the garden began when Dea Jacobson, now president of the garden, saw another orchard receive a grant to grow heritage trees that have survived for years.
"When looking at the best things to grow, it's important to look at survivability, especially through drought years," she said. From there the interest spread among members and Larry Claxton asked Morrison to participate, since he has some old heritage varieties of apple trees on his property.
"I think it's a good project to preserve some history," said Morrison. He plans to graft multiple varieties on a tree. One tree on his property has five different varieties in one.
The area designated for the trees is new, as the garden leases land from the town. Since their lease renewal is up, discussions on plans for the growth of the garden are sure to happen.
According to Jacobson, depending on the support for an orchard, they may eventually have different types of trees, not just apples, in the garden. Part of the garden's mission is to reflect the agricultural heritage of Surface Creek, so planting heritage trees fits well. Grants may even be available since it's a historic project.
"It's great to see these heritage trees that have survived the droughts over the years, just like the people," said Jacobson.
Jacobson represented the garden at the Rural Philanthropy Days. "There was interest by the funders I met with in this project and they will be watching what unfolds as it moves forward," she said.