For anyone in the Atlanta area, there’s a fruit & nut tree giveaway today/this afternoon, one of the people organizing this asked for it to be shared:
I’m too far north for the S Florida/Puerto Rico/Caribbean thread, but also a lot farther south than N Georgia. My lowest temp is similar but I get fewer chill hours (only about 400 on average). I’m right where the 8b/9a border line is drawn in north central Florida with usually a dozen or so freezing nights over a winter.
Hey folks, we just joined the forum. What a treasure trove of info here!
Me and my partner are playing around with a variety of fruits outside of Athens, Georgia.
In the ground we have: blueberries (16), plums (3), apples (5), nectarine (1), pawpaws (2), maypops (too many), bananas (3 plus pups), figs (6), and strawberries (wild and domestic).
We also maintain a garden. I’ve begun a Muskmelon grex this year I’m pretty stoked about.
We have a lot more woodies in containers or air prune beds waiting to planted out.
Learning as we go, and very thankful there’s so many regional fruit growers on here to learn from and with.
Welcome to the forum @gentledispositions. You are absolutely right, there is a treasure trove of information here. Thanks to the hard work of @scottfsmith and others it remains both free and add free.
I’m in extreme west Georgia with a nearly identical climate and soil as Athens. I’m very curious about which apples, figs, and plums you are growing. Apples have been a huge challenge for me, while figs and plums have been relatively easy up until this year’s hard late freeze. Also curious about your pawpaws.
Our small orchard is just coming into year two, so not much to report I’m afraid. But growth has been solid. The usual issues popping up, most recently cedar rust. Some of the cultivars are doing fine with it so far though. We have Arkansas Black, Anna, Yates, Dorsett, Sundowner going now. All on m111 rootstock. The sundowner is getting creamed by rust, and I’ll prob take it out this fall tbh.
Our in-ground pawpaws come from two sources, and as best as I can tell are straight species not cultivars. We have them planted on east side of a young oak for afternoon shade. They are doing well I think, if a little slow. But we’re patient! We have a couple dozen one year olds in pots and (hopefully) 100 seeds waking up in an air prune bed.
I’m excited about trying more plums. We have Bruce and two of the AU types. I’d really like to get into some of the Chickasaws.
Oh, and for figs we have cuttings going from all sorts of trees…Chicago hardy and brown Turkey mostly. Many unknown! The ones in the ground got zapped this February from the false spring we had. Back to the ground…resprouting good though.
Is there anything in particular you’d like to know? Again, we’re only a few years into this, so I’m all ears if you have any insights!
As far as apples go, if you are willing to use synthetic sprays, two myclobutanil fungicide sprays have knocked out cedar apple rust for me. However, various summer rots, insects, squirrels/possums, and birds have really hammered my apples. This thread Scott's Apple Experiences Through 2022 is probably the best source of info on growing apples in a hot and humid climate. Locally grown goldrush is my favorite apple I’ve ever had, but it gets glomerella leaf spot/bitter rot in it’s half shaded, humid location.
@coolmantoole probably knows more than anyone in the world about Chickasaw plum cultivars, and he’s in Georgia. You may want to check out the Plums and Other Stone Fruit for the Hot and Humid South (USA) facebook group he runs. Chickasaws have grown great and fruited well for me most years, but this year’s late freeze took almost all of them out. Plum curculio is a real problem but there are solutions. See Does anything stop plum curculio?. Brown rot can also become a problem, but again there are solutions.
My figs, including a 25-30 year old improved celeste, had all leafed out and were also hammered by the late freeze, and then ambrosia beetles, but are also resprouting. LSU gold had about half of its mature wood survive, compared to improved celeste (very little), chicago hardy (none), brown turkey(none), italian honey (none) and olympian (none). Over several years improved celeste has far outperformed everything else in production.
Big thanks for these insights and resources. This is exactly why I joined this forum. I’ve heard and read about the many (ongoing) battles trying to grow stone crops and apples around here, but it’s good to know there are ways to maintain orchards that can tolerate the myriad of issues. (Bummer about your recent troubles though, but hope the trees rebound and the the squirrels move on!) I’ll be following up with your suggestions and leads, no doubt. Much appreciated!
Eastern NC, zone 8.
Only bought my house last year so everything’s new and under evaluation. Roughly four dozen species and varieties of fruits either in the ground, in pots, in seed packets, on order, or on my to buy list, along with a handful of nuts.
I’ll be posting evaluations as I get fruit and/or the plants fail on me. Two, both annuals, I can already report on:
Success: pepino dulcé, which I grew last year. The plant does well here, is quite ornamental, and while it takes forever to start fruiting, once it does it produces well. Underripe, the fruit tastes like cucumber and melon rind. Ripe, they get soft, sweet, very juicy, and taste like melon. Very pleasant and a carefree plant. Recommend.
Mixed: queen of malanco yellow tomatillo. Extremely productive and quite early even for a tomatillo. The fruits, however, are very prone to spoilage. I estimate I lost about half to some kind of brown rot before they ripened (not that it really mattered, there was so much). The ripe fruit was subacid, surprisingly sweet for a tomatillo, and had a nice texture once the husk was removed and washed. The flavor was intense, fruity, and borderline weird. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. Roasted, however, they made for an absolutely heavenly, if overpowering, salsa amarilla. As a bonus, hummingbirds loved the flowers. Worth trying if you want something different.
Not really considered fruit but also tested out last year: aji dulcé, biquinho, and Trinidad perfume peppers. Aji dulcé was lackluster. Biquinho was amazingly productive, early, tough, and really unique tasting. Ripe it was sweet, not spicy, and flavorful with a fruity pepper taste that’s hard to describe but very particular, if a bit one note. Unripe they were a little spicy and oppressively flavorful. Pungent, floral, black peppery, maybe a little sour, and also that particular biquinho flavor. Super crunchy. Very good, and amazing pickled. Trinidad perfume was very mildly spicy and tasted like a decent habanero with a solid dose of lemony citrus. Aromatic. Very agreeable, balanced and nice. My new favorite pepper.