This is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com.
I have another exciting episode for you today. I’m here in my front yard garden, and as
you can see, I grow lots of vegetables. I got sugar snap peas and snow peas coming in
right now, they’re absolutely delicious. Actually thinking about doing an episode on
those guys and just harvesting those and bricks and the quality of your harvest and how to
improve it. But today’s episode’s not gonna be about that. What I decided to shoot
today is about some unique and exotic fruits that I’m growing that you could possibly
grow too. Some of these are really cool. Actually, one of them is fruiting for the first time.
So I’m actually really excited about that. So along with all the vegetables that are
a lot more labor intensive, because you’ve got to plant them and tend to them usually
every year, my fruit trees and my shrubs and vines, you plant them ones and take care of
them, and they’re produce for you year after year with relatively little maintenance. And
of course depending on the tree or vine itself, some plants are more disease and pest resistant
than others. So what I’m going to do today is take you around my yard and show you just
some of the unique fruit trees that I’m growing and you can possibly grow too. So
come along. This is probably one of my favorite fruit
trees here. This is an evergreen tree often used as a landscape or decorative tree because
it keeps its deep green leaves year round. But for me, this is a very valuable tree,
because it produces fruits in what I call the shoulder season. What is a shoulder season?
Well, the shoulder season is like right after summer, where we got a dry spell of not much
fruit being produced because it’s getting too cold. These guys are just about ripening
up about that time, right when the rains come. So they’re quite delicious to have after
all the delicious summer fruits. These guys are called feijoa or pineapple guava. They
make some nice, delicious fruits that I have past episodes on if you want to learn more
about them. But this time of year, right now, they’re
actually in the flowering stage. Let me go ahead and show that to you guys. These trees
are in South America and they will do well in a subtropical climate. Northern California
is probably the perfect climate for these guys. And these guys make these nice beautiful
flowers. And I have about four trees in the grounds and a few in nursery pots. These flowers,
besides being beautiful, you can also actually eat the petals here—and I have shown this
before in past videos. And you can eat the petals and it’s best to eat the petals when
they’re a little bit soft. These ones are a little bit hard, so they’re not gonna
be super good. So let’s go up to this one. This one’s getting a little bit softer,
so you just want to carefully pick the petals off when they’re soft and you can just pop
them in your mouth. It’s like almost as sweet as candy. You have a nice fruity flavor
but it’s not as sweet as the fruit. And this does not negatively impact the fruit
products by just eating the petals. And while you’re doing that, you may want to get a
little bit of pollen on your fingers and pollinate some of the other fruits around here.
So now that I’m charged up, let’s go over and take a look at some more fruit trees.
Now we’re at one of my fruit trees that I plants, I don’t know, several years ago.
Maybe like three years ago. It hasn’t ever produced fruit until this year, and I just
noticed it the other day, and I’m so happy it’s finally producing for me so I can taste
what these guys taste like. So the second time. I have them before at Copiah—it’s
actually a cool place in Napa that closed down. They had all raised bed edible vegetable
gardens and a lot of fruit trees too, but the funding got yanked.
None the less, this is called the sweet goumi. Is a Eugenia tree. It’s actually native
to China and Japan and Russia, those places like that. It makes these little fruits here.
This is not an evergreen, so it did lose its greens, but it came back in full force and
now it has tons—it flowered and now it have tons of fruits, as you can see. These guys
get to be like a tree-slash-shrub, depending on how you train them. This has actually gotten
quite large, maybe topping off at eight feet. And you can see I have lots of fruit now.
These guys are astringent. So if you just pick these off, it’s like you’re eating
a hichea persimmon, the acorn ones that if you just try to pick and eat it, it’s gonna
be nasty. It’s gonna suck all the saliva out of your mouth and not be really good.
So what you need to do, you really need to let these guys ripen up. As they ripen up,
they get larger—and we’ll so you that in a second—but also the astringency kinda
goes away and it’ll be like a sweet, tart flavor, and boy are they gonna be delicious.
Especially because I’m growing these guys in rock dust, they’re gonna be extra sweet.
Luckily enough, we got a random one here. You can see like most of the little fruits
are like this big and they’re this big and not so big. But here’s one right over here,
you can see it’s ripening up. And, man, that thing is at least double the size of
the ones next to it. Nice and red, but—oh man! It’s even getting soft! But you don’t’
want to pick these until they’re absolutely ripe. Maybe I’ll… It’s not quite right
yet, not slipping off the vine too easy. So I’m gonna let that stay on there and maybe
I’ll do a taste test for you on another day. So I’m really excited about this guy—oh,
and this guy is hardy to Zone 5, so you guys that live in Zone 5 can grow these, which
is really cool. Another things that’s really cool about this, that’s exciting, is that
this is a nitrogen fixing plant. So what does that mean? That means this pulls nitrogen
out of the air, fixes it in the root zone, and fixes it into the ground. So this may
also improve your soil structure. So not only can you have fruits, but you’re also gonna
improve your soil structure with the sweet goumi tree.
Next, let’s talk about a few vines that I have growing on here. Behind me is my garage
wall, and as you can see, I have a bamboo trellis and I have all these grape vines growing.
Now grapes should be in direct, full sun for highest yield and highest production, but
I just thought I’d plant these here, because after all, I’m in wine country and want
to grow some grapes. And it does produce a little bit, but not nearly as much as if it
was in full sun. That being said, it does actually fill this up quite fast so I don’t
have to look at my ugly garage wall. This is currently making some fruit here, and this
is what the little small grapes look like when they’re just forming, and those will
all be little bunches of grapes. Besides the grape vines, which are pretty
common, I have some more uncommon vines over yonder on another trellis. So let’s check
that out next. Next is another area of my house where I have yet another bamboo trellis
and I’m growing up it. These guys, actually, I got last year at the California rare fruit
growers plant sale, and they were probably about this tall. I planted them, and they
didn’t really do much over the winter. Although they did survive, which is nice. They did
over winter because they’re a more hardy variety of the passion flower. But these guys
also make the edible passion fruits. So this guy’s already climbed up and reaching the
top of the trellis and beyond, and it’s flowering right now. So you can see we got
all these flower buds, and then they open up to make these beautiful flowers that will
hopefully get pollinated and soon enough I’ll be eating my own homegrown passion fruit.
Now we’re in my backyard, and for you longtime viewers, this is an update regarding my avocado
tree. This is a Mexicola avocado, and you can see it’s actually quite tall. I’m
standing on the fence, and it’s actually doing quite well. I think I did cover it the
first winter, but after that, I’ve just left it uncovered to hopefully harden up and
make it more tolerant of the cold weather. Because I don’t want to keep covering it
up every year and babying my plant. It needs to ship up or shape out—it that right? Anyways,
this guy is a—did flower earlier when I was still too cold, and they got burned and
they didn’t make it. But it looks like it is still currently flowering and hopefully
this year it will actually get pollinated and I’ll have some avocadoes here. Once
again, this is probably pushing the limits and you probably could grow this everywhere
around here—closer towards the bay where it doesn’t get so cold in the winter time,
you definitely could, and the avocadoes like to be well drained. And actually I’m in
clay soil here, so we dug an incredibly large hole to plant this so hopefully this guy won’t
succumb to root rot one of these days. I got my fingers crosses. My sweet goumis
are fruiting and maybe by avocado will too this year and that’d be awesome.
Another tree that I actually planted from seed many years ago—it much be like six/seven
years ago, I just lost track. For me, it just let everything grow and whatever it does,
it does. I don’t really keep track of these things. But this guy’s huge now. It’s
getting bigger every year. It fruited for the last time like last and now it’s putting
on even more fruit. And these are just some random loquats that I found—that I harvested
off a tree and I came and ate them and I dug a hole and spit the seeds out. So I don’t
know what variety this is—and normally loquats are fairly small. But my loquats, because
I’ve enriched this with compost and rock dust—and this is an unnamed variety, so
I have no clue what it is—these guys are actually getting quite huge and these are
significantly larger than the ones that I originally picked to eat. And these guys are
only gonna get larger because these guys aren’t even nearing being ripe yet. So this is getting
the size of a crabapple. Totally insane. The loquat is used as a landscaping tree.
Because as an evergreen, it keeps its nice leaves year round and it’s actually a beautiful
tree in itself. Unfortunately, it’s actually right next to my apricot tree and I don’t
see any—oh, man! There’s a ton of apricots up there too. But they’re kinda growing
together, but that wasn’t supposed to happen. But they’re coexisting peacefully—just
like we all should on earth. To finish off this episode, we’re gonna
go in the greenhouse and share with you some things I got growing and fruiting right now.
One of which is right here, this is actually called the tamarillo. This is called tree
tomato. Wow, actually nice tropical in my greenhouse. It’s nice and warm, but moist.
But this is a tree tomato, and this guy needs to be grown in the greenhouse here year round,
especially in the winter. Wouldn’t survive the temperatures outside. But here in my unheated
greenhouse, it actually does quite fine. Although I’ve had a bug infestation—so I need to
release some beneficial insects inside here. In addition, what we growing are these guys
and I did have another episode on this. These are called babacos and the babaco fruit, usual
times. I’m happy to say this one looks like it’s ripening up really well in the nice
warm weather, because it has previously ripened up in colder weather. So I’m gonna let this
ripen up until it’s completely ripe, and maybe it’ll be a little more sweeter than
tart as it was last time. These are related to the papaya, and they’re seedless. They’re
a hybridized non-fertile. So basically, all you gotta do is hack off a branch and plant
it, and it’ll grow into a new tree. So I’m waiting for these guys to ripen up.
But the other thing that grew all winter that I have a ton of, as you can see right here…
This has grown literally as a weed for me here in this unheated greenhouse. These guys.
These guys—whoops—are called poha berries, also called Incan berries, also called golden
berries. And these guys are sold in like health food stores. They basically sell them dried,
and they’re supposed to be a superfood and all this stuff. But, you know what, I want
to tell you guys that you can grow your own superfoods—mm…also called physalis. Quite
good if you let them ripen up all the way when the paper—it’s kind of like a tomatio—paper
gets dry, the inside gets nice and yellowish orange, they’re nice and ripe. They’re
gonna be mostly sweet, little bit of tart. You pick them unripe, then they’ll be mostly
tart, kind of like a tomatio and you can use it in sauces. I like to eat them fresh when
they’re completely ripe and my ground is literally just littered with them. Here’s
another one. They ripen the best up when it’s warmer outside. They tend not to ripen up
quite as far when it’s colder. But these did ripen up all through the winter time.
Man that was a good one. The last plant I want to share with you guys
today is right here. It’s along the back of my house, and this is not necessarily a
sunny location. It’s kind of north facing underneath an eave overhang. It gets some
afternoon sun, but not any morning sun. And even in this poor location that I probably
couldn’t grow vegetables too well, I’m growing raspberries actually quite well. And
you can see here they’re putting on flowers and they’re generation some little fruits
here, and I recently had a question regarding raspberries. Do you need to stake or trellis
them up? You don’t need to stake or trellis up anything. The plants inherently know what
to do and they’re gonna do what they want. You can trellis and stake things if you like
to make harvesting easier, not to get stuck with all the stickers on the raspberries.
But generally, we put a couple pieces of reap bar, just tie some string between them to
keep the raspberries back. Because what will happen is these’ll get so tall and fold
over, and then the raspberries will dunk near the ground and the snails will get them before
I get to eat them. So that’s not too fun. But nonetheless, the message today is to look
into some unique and exotic fruit trees, vines, and shrubs that you can grow in your area
to supplement your vegetables. They’re much lower maintenance, easier to take care of,
and in some cases can be very beneficial, such as the sweet goumis that will actually
enhances the nitrogen or build your soil. So it might be good to even plant those in
between your vegetables and build your soil with those, much like peas or beans would.
So hopefully you guys enjoyed this episode. Once again, my name is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com.
We’ll see you next time, and keep on growing.