My Backyard planting experience (Part 2) - Zone 4a/b Quebec, Canada


Hungryfrozencanuck, those are the only varieties I have so far. I’ve shared them with alot of people and half prefer the swenson red, surprising to me as while its delicious the Somerset still wins hands down in my opinion. I wouldn’t get rid of my Brianna as it has a very unique flavor that has a hint of pineapple to it and I’m hoping to make my own wine from this one with this years harvest combined with last years. I should have 20 to 30 lbs, maybe enough for a gallon or two? Never tried making any before… They grown it at vineyards around here and it’s good in wine and as fresh fruit.


I’m not sure about that if they are laid down and heavily mulched, or is the zone rating because of days to maturity?

I have Suffolk Seedless, Somerset Seedless, and Vanessa that have all fruited this year. I have them in an unheated greenhouse, and it gets just as cold under that plastic as outside so this winter it was -38C. The greenhouse is to extend the season so I can get them to ripen. The mulch was very thick though, about 2 feet deep.


I’ve lost many marginally zone hardy plants last winter and im done trying to grow anything that isn’t z3 hardy. i buried my z5 PAF blackberriesin straw. and still lost them. my z4 goumi froze to the ground and never resprouted. from now on if it isn’t rated for z3 I’m not planting it. i know regular concord makes it here even tho. its z4 hardy.


If you have Concord surviving you absolutly have to try Somerset. It is 0.5-1 zone hardier and ripens 6-8 weeks earlier. It is also the most delicious fresh grape I have ever tasted.


whats the taste like? i like slightly tart , acidic grapes. don’t like most store bought grapes as they’re too sweet for my taste. i also like a sour tart green grape. i also like consort currants right off the bush. :wink:


Well then Somerset is NOT for you. Sucker is like 25 brix, tastes like strawberries.


well i like strawberries too but grapes i like them acidic and tart like concord.


You need a pesticide licence to spray kayolin clay ???


Regulations state that pesticide sold in quantities greater than 1kg require a license. Here they only sell Surround in 12.5kg bags = requires a pesticide license! Boooooo!!


Huh…I guess if it’s labeled as a pesticide then it’s a pesticide…but it is still just Kayolin clay…I believe it is also sold in health food stores and eaten (in small quantities…/controversial) as a detoxifier and also used as a beauty skin mask…someone somewhere probably makes pottery from it…sounds like it works wonders from what I have read on this site…nice to know if I ever have to resort to it as I don’t want to ( will not be) using any dangerous chemicals myself.


Needs to be the Surround WP as they are magnetically centrifuged to all be same size or you clog your sprayer.


Great post ! You like the Titania flavour off the bush compared to the other varieties ?There does not seem to be much agreement between fruit varieties as advertised, and peoples own experience with them , once grown at home. I wonder if you could tell me a bit about your chums. It looks like you source your plants from the same places I do, and there seems to be some confusion about the form (tree or bush) and colour of the fruit of the chums. My Sapalta (Whiffletree)are definitely tree form and dark almost black fruit inside…that one seems to be squared away…but my Kappa (from Whiffletree) is also tree form, thinner less robust trunk, but otherwise the same…with about 3 feet of trunk before it begins to branch. I have yet to taste an ideal example of the fruit due to conditions/ripeness, but they seem to be about as good as Convoy (i will get to Convoy in a second)., but are they Kappa ? I would describe the fruit as dark purple inside and out ( for example, a bit more bluish compared to sapalta but similar colour ?). I have 6 “Manor”.(Whiffletree)…all of which spread from down low, bush form…they are more or less the same colour on the outside, but only one has fruit that is dark red inside…the others are light green when ripe. Obviously something is mislabelled, and I thought it was the green ones , but I am now wondering…the red one is less astringent and sweeter…so although it would make more sense that only one was mislabelled rather than 5 others…I think the red one is the true Manor and the others are something else…Oka?, Dura,? I really don’t know. I have 3 upright tree/bush form Convoys(Whiffletree) that look like yours…fruit are fire engine red and yellow inside and decent…not quite as good quality as Sapalta but very very close. My Compass(Whiffletree) is also tree form with fruit that looks like Convoy but veryslightly darker red on the outside, and very astringent skin…I planted it as a pollenizer but it has ooze and I have just decided to chop it at ground level, I don’t need another pollenizer. I just planted 2 Opata (one from Whiffletree and one from Hardy Fruit Trees) this year so I don’t know if they will be true to description (form) , …too early to tell ,they are just whips and how the fruit will compare to advertised description and to other fruits I am growing. Does any of this sound messed up?. I noticed you have several items from GB nursery, which I no longer will deal with for several reasons…and I have a “gold star” plum which is growing and has been pruned back several times over the past few years and had just a few flowers this last season…no fruit…I would not be surprised to find out that this “proprietary” item is a turnip.


Any updates on your plums? Any fruiting this year?


Thanks so much for your post, it was invaluable for me. I’m living in Ottawa and my orchard is entering it’s 3rd season so it’s great to hear about what worked and didn’t work for you in this climate. All the best for your 2020 season!


7 years in I have yet to taste a decent chum for ANY of my plants. Pollination sucks and they get HAMMERED by Plum Curculio which destroys any that actually pollinates. I think form is based on your rootstock. Mine are rooted cuttings and they are definitely more bush type than tree type. Mine are more of an open vase and after 7 years are about 4’ high and 6-8’ wide. If you put on Myrobalan or Marianna 2624 you will probably get a more tree like form.


Yeah, need to find time for 2018, 2019 writups. Yest got some plums but large majority are destroyed by Plum Curculio then as soon as the rest are just about ripe the raccoons get them… More to come.


HFC, good to hear your voice again. Please do share a 2018 and 2019 write up with us. I gather not all your news is good, but I think it would be beneficial for those of us in zone 4 struggling with you.


Hi HungryFrozenCanuk in 4b…I must admit that I am less enthusiastic about chums than I was in their first years, but that is largely because of my management (across all of my stuff, not just chums) and because I have planted so many more promising plums since then…though I have yet to taste most of them…I will say that I still strongly recommend the Sapalta…when dead ripe they are a gorgeously dark purple/red (almost black) and rich colour with a very plummy/almond taste to match and very sweet…and at that point, the astringency of the skin is quite minimal…they are however a tree form and naturally dwarfish, so very easy to manage with or without pruning…i prune mine in order to open them up and let sun in but also to beef up the size and reduce the number of branches. The scent in the spring is fantastic…like sweet candy…and they started producing fruit the year after I planted them…in fact all of my chums did except the Convoy…it is slower growing and longer to get established…while all of the other chums are spreading bush form and get up to 12 feet if they like their placement…the Convoy is sort of in between bush and tree. The Sapalta and Kappa are definitely tree…with a single trunk and then spreading from 3or 4 feet up…the others are spreading almost from ground level bushes…however the Convoy is very upright in form so although it is multi-trunk bush it takes on a sort of tree like form…and again the fruit are decent. I think I mentioned I had some mislabelled chums which I am not happy with. If I lived in 4b I would definitely give those 2 a try…are you getting flowers ? there a lack of pollenators when they are flowering, I can see that being an issue as that is almost the case here in 5b…try setting out some mason bee houses and flies and bumble bees can also be helpful…honey bee activity…even if it is warm enough( which is often the problem, it usually isn’t) is not that strong…and I have hives here…honestly the honey bees are more interested in weeds like mustard and with asparagus and random weeds…I was so surprised to see that they are not all over my plums chums and other fruit ( though they do like the haskaps) Curcullio was a problem last season, but prior to that they did not bother my chums much. I would look into Curcullio predator bugs and see if cleaning up around the trees or even temporarily adding a black plastic or other mulch might help. …
with the bugs and disease you never know what the season will bring


What do you know of the Goldstar ? I have had mine in the ground for probably 5 years, my geese have gone at it and I have pruned it back as a result to keep tidy and diseases out…so I am guessing it has a well established root system that must be at least up to the task of supporting what is above ground…just saw a few flowers for the first time last year but no fruit…i am wondering by the look of it…somewhat reddish hue to the bark and very thorny…if it is just a glorified prunus Americana ? …or was it ever purported to be anything more…has anyone tasted the fruit…i have long since declined dealing with that organization after the silent treatment I received about poor grafts and dying trees with my calville blanc d’hiver and some hybrid plum which I can no longer recall what it was (“bury the grafts” was all Ken ever said…after that…silence)so I don’t feel that they stand behind their stuff…also whats with the astronomical and ever rising prices !!!>?? ridiculous.


you are right…i forgot that the Sapaltas are on P. Americana…and I think my Kappas are on Mustang…but Mustang is a chum itself so why is it tree form while Im sure that some of the Manor (bush form) also say they are on P.Americana…will have to check that .