Best of the Best in zone 3 or 4a

So you don’t cook it at all. Just mash and stir?

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yep! preserves all the goodness! instructions on the pectin package are that simple.

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Here is my list of items-

Hardy Kiwi- no luck. Tried for years and can’t get it to work. My mom is in zone 8 and they grow like a weed there. I have a coworker who has a bunch and he has some impressive vines, but they have never flowered. I’m giving up on these.

Arctic kiwi- it does well. Likes moderate shade. I got a few kiwi fruit last year. Will replace all the hardy kiwi with Arctic kiwi.

Blueberries- it’s probably just the soil, but even when I amend it, they just aren’t that agreeable. Some get cold frostbite. I’m giving up on these.

Evans cherry- grows well. Moose seems to like it too. No fruit yet.

“Romance” series sour cherries- so far growing really nice. No fruit yet.

Aronia (Viking)- great!!

Arctic strawberry and woodland strawberry- I had many different cultivars from the strawberry seed store. I didn’t mulch them properly and nearly all except 1 plant died. Now I have the one remaining super cold tolerant plant that will re populate the garden.

Zone 5 rated plants- all dead, don’t even try.

Saskatoon bush- seems to do well. Way easier to grow than blue berries!!

Elderberry- I have both american and European varieties. The American ones all died? Ranch, adams, Bob Gordon, wylewood…they are supposed to be cold hardy but it hasn’t been my experience. I’m going to give up on American elderberry. The European elderberry have survived, but are really slow coming out of winter. I will see how they do this year. Not impressed.

Cranberry bush- seems to thrive in crappy soil and cold.

Honeyberries- I have about 19 different varieties. So far no fruit. I have nasty soil so that is to blame. They are bullet proof though!!

Gooseberry- incredible plants!! Some of the first to bloom and flower.

Arctic raspberry- ground cover. Tough. No fruit yet.

Currant- seems to do ok in poor soil. Will get more

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I think there are over 150 varieties of apple that do well here in Alaska. The hardiest ones can even scrape a living in zone 1. Here’s a list http://www.apfga.org/fruit_varieties/ My favorite so far is Prairie Magic. The problem with apples is that the tree may be hardy enough but if they can’t ripen fruit by mid September they may as well be ornamental plants, the winter will destroy the entire crop just about every year.

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i have 5 of the Swedish bred cultivars of arctic raspberries planted all over under my bushes and trees. they have spread like crazy and flowered but no fruit in 3 yrs. tried to fertilize them. not fertilize them, nada. only thing fertilizing them does is make them spread faster. here in my crappy rocky clay all cane fruit do well. blueberries and honeyberries do well. in in year 4 with my romance cherries. all are full of blooms. should be a good year. we’ll see. any currants/ gooseberries grow wicked good in ground. apples grow well if planted in mounds or raised beds. any strawberries grow great but need alot of work to thin but berries are good. rhubarb are the most bullet proof thing i think i grow.

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Why do you think the Arctic raspberry doesn’t set fruit? I have read that multiple times now.

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For starters they need a cross pollinator of a different variety. If a different one is not present there will be no fruit.

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Where’s the love for all the great varieties of apples, plums or even some of the pears that us northerners can grow. Oh yeah I also haven’t heard any grapes mentioned either.

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I thought the same thing. Other than Somerset, no one has mentioned any of Elmer Swenson’s grapes. Elmer was solidly in zone 4a, and created quite a list of varieties that thrive there and even further north. The University of Minnesota has added quite a few more. And there are heirloom V. labrusca types that fit the bill as well. Grapes I have grown through zone 4 almost 3 winters: Moore’s early - really my favorite Concord type. BlueBell - a U of Minnesota introduction from the 1930s. Elmer’s grapes: Kay Gray (a little off the beaten path flavor wise, but a productive, bullet-proof grape; Edelweiss; Petite Pearl (not sure this is commercially available - it was his first seedless variety that he thought good enough, but I don’t know that it was actually release - it’s a parent of Somerset) and of course Somerset itself.

If you want to grow grapes in Zone 4 and maybe 3, and haven’t succeeded or don’t know where to start, you want this: book..

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i have 3 different cultivars from Hatmanns and 2 different cultivars from honeyberryUSA. they are all interplanted together and my reg raspberries are right next to them. pollination isnt a issue. emailed Mr. Hartmann himself and he couldnt give me a answer why. they are in full sun and are blooming like crazy right now. see bees all over them. raspberries grow like weeds here.

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planted king of the north and marquette grapes in unamended mounded soil last year. both put on about 7ft of growth. this spring both vines were dead and havent resprouted yet. it cant be the cold as we only got down to below 0 a handful of times. not sure what happened there.

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Last year I planted Valiant and King of the North. Valiant came from local stock, so the plant was properly acclimated to our environs and made it with flying colors. The King of the North came from a nursery, meaning it came from the lower 48 and thus it had the potential, but still needed to go through the stress test of our winter. It had over 50% winter kill but next year it should know what’s what and perform better.

On a side note; if you are in an extreme zone your best chances are to source local growers. Things shipped from the lower 48 are acclimated to fairer winters and may not make the transition. My 5’ Kuban comet died back to 3 inches above the graft… Now the tiny branches that grew from that area are as resilient as they can be but the thing looks more like a bush than a tree :-\

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the grapes both came from a z4 nursery in upstate n.y. ive grown out plenty of plants from much warmer growing zones than me and havent had a problem. they were so healthy also. planted in spring as well so had plenty of time to acclimate. they stopped growing by late jully so they should have had plenty of time to harden off.

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Our problem up here, and a good example of extreme zone environment, is that we often get a meltdown in the middle of January where the day temperature can hit 40’s for a week. This is often followed by temperatures dropping into sub zero for a month. Plants that don’t know better and attempt to wake up right then and there end up dead. Plants that grow here (and their children) remember through the magic of epigenetic memory and know better than to try to pull that stunt.

There are also plants that while otherwise hardy enough elsewhere, just can’t deal with that curve ball and thus consistently fail to make it in our area.

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luckily our heavy snowfall buffers events like that and keeps everything asleep. once the snow is gone, growth explodes in a short amount of time.

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On a test year we could get no snow coverage, meltdown in January, followed by -25f. And of course howling winds when it is that cold :frowning_face: On an easy winter it may just hit -20f for a short while with enough snow to insulate everything. Heck this year we didn’t even get the meltdown.

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its very rare we get a meltdown here in the middle of winter. maybe a few weeks of above freezing but not enough to melt all the snow. in low snow years weve been lucky to not have real bad cold snaps. your situation makes it hard to grow anything unless you have the buffer of a greenhouse. overly hardy plants will be the first to come out of dormancy during a warm spell. i thought we had it bad.

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We used to get a “January thaw” fairly frequently in southcentral WI. That hasn’t proven to be an issue here in central MN

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luckily us either, but these unusally warm winters are concerning even though a welcome reprive.

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Sorry to read about your struggles with these fruits. I agree for Redfree is kind of bland. I love my apples; Liberty, William’ s Pride, Pristine, Godlrush. Waiting on lots of other cultivars to fruit. Evans fruits A LOT for me

. Like, way too much. I think it keeps the tree from growing bigger and the cherries are great, big, delicious. Somerset for me: same than Evans. LOTS of grapes. But it’s planted agains’t my south facing wall and I’m guessing it’s just the best location for it. Poor sandy soil sound like a hustle… Did you watch videos or read on the topic of “back to eden”'s method? Heavy mulching seems to be a solution for many. Consorts sounds great! I planted Titania last year (after reading here that black currants are great). I added Ben Connan this year. Someone in my neighbourhood has a row of clove currants. I walked by this spring, when in full bloom; WOW, what a beautiful scent! Too bad european black currant don’t have the same showy yellow flowers and wonderful perfume. I wish you a great fruit season this year!

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