What unusual fruit are you growing in the Vancouver area?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by pmurphy, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. pmurphy

    pmurphy Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I was just out in my gardens harvesting the Poncirus trifoliata - with every intention of making a marmalade out of them - and started wondering what edibles other people are growing in their gardens.

    Here are a few weird and unusual fruits that will grow here in Vancouver:

    Poncirus trifoliata aka bitter orange 'Flying Dragon'
    * good for juicing or marmalades
    IMG_2576.JPG

    Holboellia coriacea aka sausage vine or china blue vine
    * tastes pretty bland and has an odd creamy texture
    IMG_2579.JPG

    Actinidia chinensis aka gold kiwi 'Sunshine'
    * yellow fleshed and sweet they are entirely edible, including the skin
    IMG_2580.JPG

    Mespilus germanica aka 'Breda Giant' medlar
    * once the fruit has bletted they have the taste and consistency of apple sauce
    IMG_2583.JPG

    Let me know what you are growing...
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    Pmurphy, do you know where you can buy the gold kiwi variety? I've never seen them for sale, and I thought that the patent holder was deliberately withholding the plants from sale to the public.
     
  3. pmurphy

    pmurphy Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    You can't.
    I was able to purchase three 24" tall plants out of the US about 6 years ago and shortly after that grower was no longer selling them.
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Not what you're asking about, but I've seen the small smooth-skinned kiwi fruits at my local green grocer this year. They have one of those plants at UBCBG in the food garden, seem to do well around here.
     
  5. pmurphy

    pmurphy Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Mostly like one of the varieties of Actinidia arguta - I harvested enough of mine ('Issai', 'Ken's Red' and a third unidentified variety) to make 9 jars of jam this year.
     
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  6. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    Pmurphy, regarding what we're growing, I'm trying out Acca/Feijoa sellowiana. I purchased a (probably three year old) seedling plant last year, along with a packet of seeds. The bought plant and 16 new seedlings survived last winter quite well with some mulch for protection, and I sprouted 14 more seedlings this year for planting in a less sheltered location. The idea is to let natural selection identify the hardiest of the seedlings. Do you or anyone else on this forum have any experience with this species, which is supposed to have very tasty fruit but probably needs more summer heat than our climate provides.
     
  7. pmurphy

    pmurphy Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I actually know of a local gentleman who gets fruit from his plants but he is not a member of this forum. If you want to PM me I can speak with him and pass along your contact info.
     
  8. Faye M

    Faye M New Member

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    Hello Feijoa grower,
    How are your plants doing 3 years later? Any fruit yet? Any advice about how to position them? Might they fruit best against a south facing wall? Or is there no need for that?
    Thank-you!
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    There are long-growing plants at Royal Roads, I don't know if they ever get to fruiting stage. Might want to check with the horticulturists there.
     
  10. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    My Feijoa plants received a real hardiness test this past winter, with a low of -15.3C at YVR and -13C on my backyard thermometer. All of the unsheltered plants lost all or almost all of their leaves, and the two lightly sheltered plants (mulch around the bases) lost fewer leaves. So far, I can't tell if any of them actually survived because there is no sign of opening buds. I'll know more after the weather warms up in May. None have bloomed so far.
     
  11. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    Here is an update on my Feijoa experiment. Another bad cold spell last winter (-13.5C at YVR, -12C at home) damaged all of my plants to some extent, though not as badly as the previous winter. I protected the plants with floating row cover material, but that resulted in a significant number of broken limbs when the snow piled up on top and then got soaked by rain. Nevertheless, all 20 of the plants that I retained for this year survived and have grown well.

    One of the two plants nearest the south side of our house had a single blossom last year, and the same plant had six blossoms this year. No other plants bloomed. I hand-pollinated the blossoms as they appeared, although no cross-pollination was possible. I did move pollen from one flower to another. Surprisingly, all of the blossoms appear to have formed normal, though small, fruit. The blossoms opened rather late: early July, and I didn't think that the fruit would ripen even if it developed. Well, the fruit looks large enough now to be full-sized; and it appears to still be ripening, since the killing frosts that affected my garden in October did not seem to affect the Feijoa plants. I've read that the fruits can ripen as late as December; so, I'll leave them on until they drop (a sign of ripeness) or until the arrival of a cold arctic air mass.
     
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  12. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    @vitog can you specify, when your feijoas leafed out? And how tall is the plant that bears fruit?
    I would like to try growing feijoas and this information would help me to decide, if the idea is viable in my climate or not.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  14. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    @Sulev, I didn't make a note of when the first new leaf buds opened last spring. The leaves are, of course, evergreen; so, the first new leaves are not very noticeable. However, it wasn't obvious that they arrived much later than other evergreen broad leaves.

    The fruit-bearing plant is about 1.6 m tall, with about 0.5 m of new growth this year. Keep in mind that two bad winters in a row had a negative effect on growth, but this plant was the least affected of all my plants due to its sheltered location near the south wall of our house.

    I think that feijoas need protection at temperatures below -10C, and I still don't know if the fruit will ripen in our cool summer climate. If you decide to try them, your best choice would be to buy one or two named New Zealand cultivars that ripen early. These were not available when I started my plants.
     
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  15. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Thank you, @vitog !

    Then it seems, that feijoas are too tall for my conditions, because I can only protect ca 1.5 m (maybe up to 2 m, in a good year with plenty of snow) tall plants. Figs, for instance, are OK. But AFAIK, feijoas don't like heavy pruning each year.

    Here it is vital, that trees put their fresh tender growth out late, not sooner than in May. If feijoas can do that, and still bloom and bear fruit, then this was pretty promising.

    About availability of varieties the situation is pretty sad here. I haven't found any sellers of feijoa plants in Estonia, despite searching since 2019. Even fruits are sold here very seldom. I tried to grow feijoas from seed, but these seeds looked immature (too skinny) and did not germinate. I liked the taste of these fruits, despite it was obvious, that they were picked too early. In my climate I can probably protect fruits from early frosts until the beginning of November, so the season would be critically short even for the earliest varieties.
     
  16. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    @Sulev, I don't think that feijoas mind being heavily pruned. All of the plants that lost their top growth during the winter of 21/22 grew back the following summer, most of them quite vigorously. Also, they are very easy to grow from seed and to transplant. I got my seed from a supplier in the US, but I see that there are plenty of sources in the EU. However, the length of your growing season does seem inadequate. You would probably have to grow them in a greenhouse to have any hope of ripe fruit. They can be grown in containers as well.
     
  17. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    I suppose, that it is more important to consider how old branches bear fruit. Figs, for instance, produce main crop on the current season's sprouts. Plums don't.
    If a tree starts blooming after getting 1.5 meters tall, then it is pretty hard to protect it from winter frosts in my climate. But as you mentioned, that you grew your feijoas from seed, then maybe from cuttings they start producing sooner (when they are not so tall) and I can grow bushes, that are propagated from cuttings, in ground? Worth to try!

    I think I'll do another attempt with a seed from store bought fruit and keep the feijoa in a container first, if this sowing attempt is successful. I've read, that feijoas come pretty true to type from a seed, so if I'll get a tasty fruit, then there are pretty good chances, that the offspring will bear tasty fruit also. If I manage to overwinter some seed grown feijoas, then I try to source some earliest varieties from abroad. The thing is, that shipping costs are pretty high here, and it is not wise to buy tender plants from abroad before I at least have some positive experiences, that they can survive here. Feijoa plants aren't expensive, at least where I have found they are offered. But shipping may add more than 50 € per plant, and this is not fun, considering, that postal service is very slow here and there is high risk, that living plants would die during shipping.

    The growing season here is most probably too short to fully ripen feijoas, but AFAIK feijoas aren't like figs, that don't ripen after picking.
     
  18. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    I recently read that feijoas flower and bear fruit on the lower part of the previous year's growth, which agrees with the locations where I've seen flowers. This means that it should be pretty easy to prune them as bushes and still obtain fruit.
     
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  19. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Thanks, @vitog! That helps a lot!
    I was under impression, that heavy pruning reduces fruit bearing and fruits mostly appear on a new growth..
    A quote from the link above (by @Ron B):
    If a relatively fast growing tree would need light pruning to encourage more fruit due to encouraged growth, then it usually means, that this tree would grow out of my protection capabilities too fast.
    It is pretty common, that heavy pruning reduces fruit bearing.
    If feijoas mostly bear fruit on the previous year's growth, then similar pruning scheme like the scheme for pruning breba fig varieties might work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2023
  20. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    I am growing a pomegranate shrub in a large tub on my south-facing balcony. In the summer it's fine on the roof deck but it needs to be on the balcony for shelter over the winter, where I can cover it and put incandescent Christmas lights under the cover if we have the same kind of hard freezes we had last year. No flowers yet, but in the past I had one that flowered and fruited (the fruits were small but made lovely Christmas ornaments when dried and spraypainted). This one is probably too young yet.
     
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