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New things we're all growing (or attempting to) winter '15/spring '16

7 years ago

Around December of each year is one of the most exciting time for me, because I'm planning well in advance, what to grow or experiment with next. In the southeastern usda zone 8b swamp lands, it can be tough to get things to grow. We're too far north for subtropicals and tropicals, too far south for cherries and hazelnuts, and too far east for all kinds of blights and stuff like that, not to mention bordering on swampland that floods a few times just about every year. However, I'm moving forward with tropical and subtropical stuff, for container and greenhouse growing.

So far, I've gotten myself a few clearance items from the local garden center: 30 gallon barbados cherry, 30 gallon pink guava, phalsa berries, and a 1 gallon 'Mexican' guava. I've also mail-ordered biriba, atemoya, black sapote, lychee, carob trees, Chilean guavas, strawberry guava, and lemon guava.

From seeds and tubers, I've sprouted longans, pomelos, Japanese sweet potatoes, two varieties of taro/malanga, red-fleshed dragon fruit, carambola, jackfruit, splendor potatoes, nagaimo, name blanco, avocados (for grafting), and yellow Jamaican yam. I'm 'attempting' to sprout: Okinawan sweet potatoes, rambutans, phalsa, barbados cherry, white dragon fruit, Peruvian apple cactus, sapodilla, mango ginger, sancoya, red custard apple, sugar apple, purple star apple, blackberry jam fruit, soursop, Mexican cream guava, seeds from a really sweet red-fleshed grapefruit I ate the other day, purple sugar cane, honey mangoes (for grafting?), and probably a few things I've forgotten. I haven't had much luck with the Okinawan purple sweet potatoes and believe they must have been treated with some anti growth stuff before hitting the markets. So, not a lot of hope there. I also got some cuttings from a sweet cassava tree I'm trying to root.

For tropical/subtropical stuff, after warmer weather hits, I'll probably be looking at some of the following tropical/subtropical plants: mamey sapote 'magana', sundrop, araza, strawberry tree (muntingia calabura, not arbutus unedo), pitomba, Siamese sweet pomelo, madrono, peanut butter tree, various dwarf mangoes, malay apple, rose apple, katuk, pandan, lemongrass, Okinawa spinach, yellow dragon fruit, grumichama, Malabar spinach, moringa, longevity spinach, dwarf plantain, Of course, if some of my seeds don't sprout, I will probably be looking for some live versions of some of those things as well.

Earlier this year, I bought eight different varieties of bananas and two supposedly cold-hardy varieties of avocados. So, I'm still waiting to see how well they handle our hard freezes. I also acquired a Pickering condo mango for free, but it's coming inside during frosts.

For non-tropical/subtropical stuff, I've so far gotten a gold azarole and another late-blooming honeyberry. I'm planning to get NA (nova, bob gordon, wyldwood) elderberries, a few European (haschberg, samyl, sampo, etc) elderberries, a blue crown passionflower, several varieties/colors of prickly pear cactus, a few (kokuso, Illinois everbearing) mulberries, a hybrid chestnut, a nishimura wase persimmon, tea plants, various figs, various (coco, honey jar, ga 866, sugar cane) jujubes, and a few maybes are: tropic gold apricot, Japanese raisin tree, dwarf kousa dogwood, and a few more paw paws.

If people look at those lists and think 'wow, are you really getting all of those things,' my answer to that is that I've never gotten everything on my want list. I've had Chilean guavas on my want list for a few years, and I saw them selling out fast at the nursery I usually shop at. Same for the gold azarole. So, I made an order I didn't even plan. You may have a two or three month window to order bare root plants, but probably only a month, maybe less, for the most in-demand plants. This nursery also got Japanese raisin trees in just two days ago, and today, they're down to their last 1. I got in contact with them two days ago, to see if they could add it to my current order, but they are on break apparently. There's no way I would make a new order, spend an extra $20+ on shipping, just for that one tree. So, I'll probably lose out.

As for the tropical and subtropical stuff, I'm still doing my research on them. It's new territory for me. If I get half of the listed types of plants going before winter 2016, then I'll be happy. There are always more things to look forward to each year.

For the vegetable and raised hugelkultur bed gardens when warm weather comes, I'll probably focus on corn, pole and bush beans, okra, cucumbers, Virginia peanuts, potatoes and sweet potatoes, culinary ginger, mango ginger/turmeric, yellow turmeric, sunchokes, and a little of this and a little of that. A lot of my raised beds will be getting some added sand before the season starts, for better drainage.

Well, what's everyone else growing (or planning to grow) for winter 2015/spring 2016? Hope everyone has a great new year! Stay safe.

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