I was asked to start a topic on carob, which I’ve been studying for 6 years now. Just to save on typing, I’ve already written a lot on Twitter, which I collected on a website: http://wke.lt/w/s/ZGp0z
Carob is native to the Mediterranean so it can be grown in places with a Mediterranean climate and in some cases even in desert climates on the edge of those. That means the Mediterranean, parts of the Middle East, parts of the US, Chile, Australia, and South Africa. It will be interesting to see how this changes as greenhouse gases affect our climate regions. I suspect carob will be a great crop to bet on because it can take drought and hot temperatures (although not much humidity).
I’ve studied carob street trees in CA for 6 years. I’ve been growing a couple plants of my own for 4 or so years. But I still feel I have so much to learn about growing carob, particularly about grafting it.
There are a lot of reasons I think it’s not more popular. It’s a bit of a “shortstop” plant. It does a lot of things well. It provides broadleaf shade without a big water investment. It can take heat and can often take down to 20F without getting killed. The fruits have a great shelf life and can be eaten off the tree or processed into LBG, carob powder, carob syrup, or even used to make alcohol. The trees have a real gnarled beauty to them, in my opinion, but can also be pruned into hedges, and are even used in bonsai! And it makes a beautiful red hardwood that is highly sought by wood turners and sculptors. That seems like a pretty good deal to me!