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

hungryfrozencanuck
April 19, 2016
last modified: April 19, 2016

I am starting a new thread as my last thread (http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/1503388/my-backyard-planting-experience-so-far-zone-4a-b-quebec-cana)
was getting pretty long.

So far it appears that everything has survived winter but it
is a bit early to say for sure.

First frost was Oct 16, 2015 which was nearly 1 month later
than 2014 which helped give everything time to enter dormancy before winter hit
in full force. The winter was long but
not particularly severe. Minimum
temperature was -32 Celsius and we maintained a good snow cover through the
coldest parts of late winter. Total
snowfall for winter 2015/2016 was 203 cm.
We had record snowfall on Feb 16 of 52 cm.

Annual thaw started 2 weeks earlier than the last couple
years with melting happening March 28 with near full melt on April 1 with
crocuses coming out of the ground.

We had a setback on April 9 with 1 foot of snow and -12C
temperatures.

Final melt around April 12-13 with crocuses starting
flowering.

April 16 Jostaberries and Currants had bud swelling, my
rhubarb is starting to send up shoots and I grafted all my new apple scion wood
(thanks to Konrad for the trades and O'Keffe Grange Orchard for purchased wood.

Scions were: Apples: Norkent, Prairie Sensation, M360,
Calville blanc d’hiver, Fireside, Ashmeads kernel, Williams pride and WolfRiver.
Plums: Nigra, Mount
Royal, Green Gage and M800.

Size of the wood from O'Keffe Grange Orchard in the photo below.

April 17 – I wired up all my grapes (I am growing 4 trunks
up onto a Geneva
double curtain trellis. I leave 2 trunks
up all winter and I lay 2 trunks down for snow cover to test hardiness) and I
did my first prune to 5 buds on all spurs (when terminal buds start to swell I
will prune down to 2 buds on each spur as this delays bud break by 1-2 weeks to
help avoid late frost damage). Last year
I noted that the trunks left up had bud break 1-2 weeks delayed compared to the
trunks that were laid down AND while the protected trunks lost their fruiting bud
in a May 23 frost the exposed non-protected cane had its fruiting buds survive
to flower and produce fruit. This looks
like it will be the same story this year. My Concord
seedless pruned ends are bleeding from the vine left down (protected) while the
vine that was left up is dry even though green wood is exposed. Somerset
cut ends were bleeding from both protected and exposed trunks.

You can see my 5 bud spurs below.

I also took cuttings of Titania, Ben Sarek, Jostaberries and
my Mulberry. All were exposed to rooting
horomone and then just stuck in pots buried in the ground. I scored above buds on Northbrite, Kenko and
Taylor Apple to try and force primary scaffolds where I want them. I also pulled up my Concord grape and potted
it because I am running out of room in my rows and think that Concord may not ripen in my climate. Instead I am going to plant Bluebell in its
place.

April 19 – I received my Whiffletree order. As usual their service is excellent. I only ordered Tiben Black Currants from them
this year and they were shipped on the 18th and arrived on the 19th.
Well packaged, wrapped in plastic with
moist cardboard cuttings and HUGE plants with massive roots. They appear to be 3 year old plants. Price was $15.95 each and $26 shipping.


Now I am just waiting for Valiant, Bluebelle and Swenson Red
grapes and 10 Anonovka apple rootstock from Cornhill nursery which I have
scheduled to arrive after my vacation in early May. I also
have a bunch of seedling trees from treetime.ca for a erosion control project I
have in a bush property. Work remaining
is to plant all that stuff when it arrives. Bench graft some of the Anonovka rootstock and
plant them. Graft some Konrad plum scionwood
once my plums start shooting leaves and prune my plums at the same time (I
prune them very late to avoid dieback during late freezes). So far shaping up to be a great season and I
have fingers crossed for my first apples, grapes, cherries, haskasps and
perhaps some plums/chums in addition to increased crops of currants,
gooseberries, blueberries and raspberries.

More to follow as the season progresses.

Comments (48)

  • David Joly (zone 4a to 4b, Québec)

    Great post, thanks !

    I am also in Québec zone 4a or 4b, in Lanaudière. Most of our trees were ordered from Pépinière Ancestrale (they're the best !! I like their 1.5 year trees: not too big, not too small) and some from Hardy Fruit Trees (very small trees and expensive, but they have great cultivars) and Whiffletree (excellent service, trees are great, maybe a little too big sometimes !!).


    All the trees seem to be doing well with no apparent winter injury, except for Shinseiki and Hayatama asian pear planted last spring. Other asian pear (Kenko, Taylor apple pear) from Whiffletree planted last fall are looking good. As you told, winter was not bad for trees, but we had warm weather in december and I was afraid that trees would think it's already spring :oP !! Even small paw paw trees seem to be ok.


    David

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Hi David. Welcome to the northern fruit optimists club! It's always nice to meet another one of us so we feel less alone up here watching people talking about their first nectarines nearly ripening. Consider updating your profile with your plant list or starting a post about your growing experience. Sounds like you are in your first 1-2 years of planting?

  • David Joly (zone 4a to 4b, Québec)

    Yeah, I'll take time to do it ! It's nice to see other people growing fruit trees in cold climate. I've been told by so much people that fruit trees are cannot be grown in our climate (most of the time by people who did not try or tried 30 years ago with who knows which cultivars...).


    We started planting trees on fall 2014. We acquired our house and land in summer 2014 (about 4.5 acre, most of it on a south slope next to a river on a great rich soil that was "improved" for some years by horses from the previous owner). The first winter was soooooo coooold ! But we lost only 1 asian pear and 1 plum and some trees had winter damage (it looks like most of our cold-damage trees were the biggest and oldest (3 years-old) that we planted on preceeding fall).


    We should have some apples and plums + some berries this year, so I will surely report my growing (and tasting) experience !

  • jessica4b

    Hungry: How are the grapes doing now? I'd love to see pictures of Swenson Red.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Swenson Red was only planted this spring so no fruit for 1-2 more years. However, here are a couple teaser photos.

    Somerset Seedless is doing well. Ready to eat at 23 brix in 1st to 2nd week of august but I am letting hang longer as apparently gets redder and sweeter.

    Here is my "Polar green" from Green barn. Obviously not a green grape. Turning purple early august but still not ripe.

    Will have Petite Jewel, Concord Seedless and Pink Pearl as well this year but they are all later grapes.

    Note that these grapes are all protected by Organza bags to keep the birds/bugs away. http://www.yourorganzabag.com/organzabag.htm. I used Moss Green as they are not visible in the foliage. I used the 6x9 bags but are they are a bit short for long grapes. Perfect for plums and apples and small bunches of grapes. I think they would work awesome for peaches as they breath very well but keep the bugs/birds out. After 3 months exposed to environment they still look new.


  • jessica4b

    Wow, these grapes look so nice. My Adalmiina's are getting nice too, but they have so many seeds... Same for my Buffalo's. I didn't get any Somerset. Thinking of replacing all of them... Lol. Are your Polar green seedless?

  • jessica4b
    Adalmiina in green, person who sold it told me it was very good as a table grape...I disagree.

    They are far from ripe, but already have many big seeds and a thick, sour slip skin. Juicy and sweet already. Definetly only good for wine. Buffalo blue are interesting because they are disease resistant and ripen almost a month earlier than concord.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    The ''Polar green'' which are actually purple have a slip skin and vestigial seeds (kind of jelly like). Seem to be ripening 2 weeks after Somerset. For me Somerset is an amazing winner. Depending how my other early grapes taste I might haul out 1-2 vines to plant more Somerset. They ripen first week of August but 2 weeks later are still hanging very well and tasting amazing. I brought some in to work and everyone says they are the best grapes they ever tasted and are asking for tips how to grow in their backyards. Strawberry flavours are the most common taste description.

  • jessica4b

    Wow! I thaught I had Somerset as well, but today, I tasted a couple of grapes : full of big seeds and no "strawberry" there. I think mine is not Somerset.... So disapointed! :(

  • ubro

    Is it possible to graft over a well established grape to a new variety? Or is it better to just pull it out?

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Ubro, very good question. One I am actually considering as well. I think I want to get rid of that "Polar green" and will probably need to pull Catawba as well. I planted it due to historical reviews and interesting sounding flavor profile. It was listed as a "late" variety but following further research I see it ripens 2-3 weeks AFTER Concord so I don't think I will every get ripe grapes in my climate! Crap! I wish every plant would list ripening vs 1-2 known varieties to allow for better planning.


    I am leaning towards digging out as much as I can instead of grafting because with my climate I think die-back will be a not rare occurrence and would prefer to simply trust regrowing new trunks from the base as opposed to have to let new shoots grow 1 year then re-graft the next. Too much work.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Ok, so I have a day off so I will continue my summary of the
    year so far. This will be my more in
    depth annual report. For detailed info
    on first leaf and flowing information on my plants you can see my
    Gardenregister page at:

    http://www.gardenregister.com/garden/hungryfrozencanuck/1/

    I strongly suggest everyone here set up an account and enter
    their own data. Imagine if we had an
    accurate listing of hardiness, flowering dates, harvest dates ect that can be
    searched by zone and location! The
    framework is there, we just have to provide the data.

    As mentioned earlier the winter was much easier than that of
    2014-2015. Of additional benefit was the
    nice gradual transition to winter last fall as well as the extreme gradual arrival
    of spring which allowed for a late breaking of dormancy. That said during the melt we had morning
    temperatures of 1 degree Celsius while 7 days later we had daytime highs of 29
    Celsius! So for example while last year
    my rhubarb crown break was May 1, this year it was May 10th, the grape that had
    first leaf May 9 last year was May 21 this year and my Kappa chum which flowered
    May 9 last year flowered May 21. So
    roughly a 2 week delay compared to spring 2015.

    So now for the big report:

    Apple - Pristine Bud9-
    DR (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree) –
    Survived. No dieback. Single flower.


    Apple - Redfree Bud9-
    DR (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree) –
    Survived. No dieback. Couple flowers. 3 fruit growing. First fruit harvested September 2. Seeds just starting to turn brown. 90g.
    12 Brix. Tasting note: Very
    crisp. Mild apple flavour. More acid than sweet but not puckering (eg.
    still sweeter than mcintosh). I liked
    it.

    Apple - Crimson crisp Bud9- DR (Planted May 2015 from
    Whiffletree) – Survived. No
    dieback. Tons of flowers. This looks to be a GREAT pollinator as the
    flowers lasted a long time too. 2
    apples.

    Apple - Liberty
    M27?- DR (Planted Fall 2012 - Green Barn) – Survived. No dieback.
    Tons of flowers. Formed TONS of
    fruit. I think this is on M27 as it
    seems to have maxed out height around 6 feet.
    I thinned the fruit to 1 per cluster and they are sizing up nicely. I am testing bagging with some apples in
    ziplocks, some apples in Organza bags and some left exposed. The exposed apples despite being “disease
    resistant” were heavily attacked – some on higher branches and fully exposed
    are 1/4 the size of bagged apples. No
    difference between ziplock and Organza bags but the Organza bags were way
    easier to install and look much better on the tree.

    Unbagged and exposed

    Apple - Egremont russet Bud9- H (Planted May 2015 from
    Whiffletree) – Survived. No
    dieback. Few flowers. No fruit.

    Apple - MacFree M7 or M26?- DR (Planted Fall 2012 - alive
    and doing well) Green Barn. – Survived.
    No dieback. Few flowers. 2 apples.

    Apple - Goldrush Bud9 - DR (Planted May 2015 from
    Whiffletree) – Survived. No dieback. No flowers.

    Apple - Enterprise M7 - DR (Planted May 2015 from
    Whiffletree) (M7 is shipping error, it should have been Bud9) – Survived. No dieback.
    No flowers.

    April 27 I grafted: M360, Prarie Sensation, Norkent,
    Williams Pride, Ashmeads Kernel, Calville Blanc d’hiver, Fireside, WolfRiver.
    (Scion from Konrad and O’Keefe Grange)

    Liberty
    and Macfree leafing out May 14 instead of May 9 last year.

    May 24 – Hand pollinated Liberty, Redfree, Crimson Crisp and Macfree using
    a combination of wild crabapple and Crimson Crisp pollen.

    Pear - Hayatama (Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale) Die back to graft union in 2015 and

    1. It had 2-3 feet of growth but
      appears to have either died back or had fireblight. Just does not seem hardy enough. I will give it 1 more year then let the
      rootstock sucker and graft something else.

    Pear - Northbrite (OHXF 87?
    Planted Fall 2012 Green Barn).
    Has been struggling but last year put on 2 feet of growth on 1 shoot. No
    dieback on that shoot over winter. This
    year has shot up to 5 feet tall with some nice laterals.


  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Pear - Kenko (PYRUS BETULAFOLIA? Planted Spring 2013 Green Barn) Has been struggling but last year put on 7 feet of growth between 2 shoots, each with 1 cm diameter shoot. BUT had damage/fireblight on the trunk at the bud sites that then spreads around the trunk and kills everything above it. Just does not seem hardy enough. I tried cutting below the lowest damaged area to see what happens. It has again put on 4 feet of growth this year and I wonder if I can get a thick enough trunk with no green wood that it will survive better. Not quite ready to give up yet.

    After cutting off below last infected/dead point.

    Pear - Taylor Apple (PYRUS BETULAFOLIA? Planted Spring 2013 Green Barn) Has been struggling but last year put on 3 feet of growth with 1 cm diameter shoot. No dieback over winter. This year has really taken off. Growth up to nearly 7 feet with nearly 1” trunk. Several nice laterals and some fruiting spurs. No evidence of disease. Will see what happens this winter, I will probably try grafting some other Asian pears on a couple laterals to see if I can get better cold tolerance and some pollinators.


    Pear - Moonglow (Planted fall 2014 Whiffletree) - died back to graft over winter 2015 but sent up shoots that have survived last winter though I think they are rootstock. Has continued to struggle and will be torn out this fall.

    Plum - Toka (myrobalan - Planted
    May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale).
    Survived. No dieback. Few flowers.
    I grafted Mont Royal (died) from
    Konrad.

    Plum - Superior
    (myrobalan - Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale) Survived. No dieback.
    It put on 7 feet of growth last year and it killed me to do so but I cut
    it back to 2 feet this spring to grow in an open vase. I sacrificed a lot of potential plums this
    year with this decision but it will pay dividends in the future. Several flowers on wood I left behind. This summer another massive growth year with
    6+ feet of growth. This is a crazy
    vigorous plant that is 2x the size of Kahinta and 4x the size of Toka. Hope to get get some plums next year. I grafted Mont Royal
    (1’ growth) and M800 (2’ growth) from Konrad to this.

    Plum - Kahinta (myrobalan -
    Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale) Survived. No dieback.
    Few flowers. Starting to add more
    growth with nearly 5’ shoots this year.
    I grafted Green Gage (6” growth) from Konrad to this.

    Plum – Black Ice (Planted
    May 2015 from Whiffletree).
    Survived. No dieback. No flowers.
    Very bushy upright growth. Heavy
    pruning to open it up. No flowers. 2 feet of thin growth this summer. Really seems to want to be a bushy
    plant. Grafted Nigra plum (2’ growth)
    from Konrad.

    Again, these plums are all planted in the wettest area of my
    clay yard. Standing water late fall and
    spring. So far so good. I tried hand pollinating the flowers this
    year but no luck. Crossing my fingers
    for next year. I grafted all plums on
    May 8th as buds were just starting to leaf out. Of the 5 grafts attempted 4 took.


  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Chum - Kappa (Planted Fall 2012 - Green Barn) Survived. No dieback.
    Tons of flowers.

    Chum - Convoy (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - died. Re-planted 2014 from Whiffletree)
    Survived. No dieback. Some flowers. This has grown 3 feet this
    year, I am hopeful for fruit next year.

    Chum - Sapalta (Planted May 2013 Green Barn) Survived. No dieback.
    Tons of flowers.

    Sapalta was peak flower May 14 of 2015 but May 22 this
    year. I only had successful pollination
    of a total of 5 plums between Sapalta and Kappa and all got eaten by bugs. I am shocked that despite the massive
    flowering, pollenization was so poor. I
    don’t know if it is a lack of bees or they are just poor pollenizers. I will try hand pollenating next year.

    Haskasp – Tundra (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com) Survived. No dieback.
    Tons of flowers.

    Haskasp – Aurora (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback.
    Tons of flowers.


    Haskasp – Honeybee (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com)
    Survived. No dieback. Tons of flowers.

    Haskasp – Borealis (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com)
    Survived. No dieback. Tons of flowers.

    All the Haskasps were flowering around May 14 with Tundra
    perhaps a bit later. Aurora and Tundra seem to have the longest
    bloom time. The plants are still pretty
    small, about 18-24” tall. The new
    varieties Boreal Blizzart and Boreal Beauty seem to be amazing with much
    larger/sweeter fruit and flowering 2-4 weeks later! I just don’t have room!

    Fruit was ripening June 15-20 but still tasted pretty
    sour. I heard leaving them on the bush
    made a difference so I left them longer.
    Well the day later the birds discovered them and took about 50%. I netted them quickly but will be sure to do
    so earlier next year. On July 1st
    I harvested the rest except for some Aurora's
    which were still ripening.

    The ones labelled Honey Bee in my photos are actually
    Borealis. I also had Tundra and Aurora.

    Aurora
    is by far the largest. Tundra and
    Borealis were similar in size. Taste
    test with my wife: For fresh eating Aurora
    won hands done. Borealis perhaps had a
    slight edge over Tundra. Measuring Brix
    Aurora (17, 14), Tundra (9, 9.8, 11.8), Borealis (12, 12, 11.2) so you can see
    why Aurora was
    more pleasant. In the end we ate the Aurora's fresh and I made
    a compote with the other 2 by mixing 1 part berries to 0.5 part sugar by weight
    and it was nice and tasty and acidic.

    Yield post bird attack was tiny. Aurora
    5 berries (8 grams), Tundra (41 grams), Borealis (32 grams). All are about 3 year old plants.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Saskatoon/Service/June berries – Northline (Planted May 2014
    from saskatoonfarm.com)

    Crappy shipping from saskatoonfarm (Plants were shipped bare
    root with NO MEDIA/moisture for roots. Shipping
    was by Greyhound and it took over 1 week.
    They arrived bone dry). Only 1
    leafed out and it struggled since so I just planted it in the bush. July 13 I went to take a look at it and found
    it had actually fruited. Only a small
    handful and the fruit was over-ripe but it was delicious with a really nice
    nutty almond flavour. Really nice so I
    am going to plant some more.

    Elderberry – Wyldwood (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)
    Survived. No dieback. Put on 4 feet of growth. Flowering first week of July and continued
    flowering until the first week of August.
    Started having ripe fruit last week of August and is continuing to
    stagger ripening into mid September.

    Elderberry - Bob Gordon (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Flowering last week of June and continued flowering until mid August. Started having ripe fruit last week of August with bulk of fruit ripening at once. The mid august flowers did not get pollinated and formed no fruit.

    Bob Gordon are the big suckers left and right, Wyldwood is small in front and in back. Bob Gordon came as bare root vs Wyldwood as plugs so size will probably catch up.

    Wyldwood

    Bob Gordon

    Syrup

    Infused vodka - starting

    Total yield from 4 plants as of Sept 6 is 1238g (a couple
    hundred more grams is still ripening). Inedible
    fresh. Instead made into a syrup for ice
    cream and for adding to sparkling water as a refreshing drink. Delicious.
    Blackberry flavors.

    Black Raspberry - ? (Planted Fall 2012 Green barn)

    Purple Raspberry - ? (Planted Fall 2012 Green barn)

    Purple Raspberry – Royalty (Planted May 2014 pepiniere
    ancestrale)

    All are doing well.
    Some dieback at tips of certain canes but only some canes and then only
    12-18” on 6 foot tall canes so it is nothing.
    These are planted right next to either a south facing or a west facing
    brick wall so there are MAJOR temperature swings during winter and spring and
    yet they still do fine. I think the west
    facing purple raspberries were water stressed last year so I put in an
    irrigation system this year and it helped some but yields were slightly down.

    Total yield of 7.4 kg.
    Down from 9.8 kg last year. The
    Japanese beetles were bad again this year.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Grapes.

    So I am growing my grapes for cold climate. They are multi-trunk (aiming for 4 trunks),
    on a Geneva double curtain trellis (trunk 1 left wire south, truck 2 left wire
    north, trunk 3 right wire south, trunk 4 left wire north). Then I am trying 2 different pruning
    methods. 2 trunks spur pruned, 2 trunks
    cane pruning. Then I am leaving 2 canes
    standing all winter (1 cane, 1 spur) and I lay down 2 canes for additional
    protection (1 cane, 1 spur). Finally to
    delay bud break I prune late winter to 5 buds from where I want to end up and
    then just as I am seeing bud swelling I prune again down to 2 buds. Only 2 of my vines are old enough to have
    made it all the way to this 4 trunk combination. Others are only at 1-2 trunks but you have an
    idea of what I am trying to do.

    May 8 – Grapes that were protected over winter are at wolly
    bud stage while the exposed vines are mostly still dormant. Trimmed back all spurs to 2 buds.

    Finally, I have found that trunks left up had bud burst
    delay by 7-10 days. However, “Polar
    Green”, Concord Seedless, and “Pink Pearl” showed greater than 50% fruit bud
    death in the exposed trunks vs those layed down on the ground (less than 10%). Somerset
    showed no difference but the vine is somewhat sheltered under an oak tree. From now on I will by laying ALL my trunks
    down each year and accepting the earlier bud break and using frost covers to
    try and protect from any early frosts.

    FROST PROTECTION

    Grape – Sommerset (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn). 3 trunks.
    No dieback on exposed or protected.
    Bud break at same time on both protected and exposed trunks. So far this is NOT a vigorous vine. Only 2-3 feet of growth this year. Could be because it is planted within the
    drip line of a Red Oak tree so it is competing for water and while gets full
    sun up to 2pm, afterwards it only gets diffused sun from 2pm onwards.

    My Somerset
    grapes were amazing. They started
    changing color July 28 and I started harvesting August 8th and finished with
    the last bunch from the vine September 4. Early they are a paler red with a
    slightly spicy flavour with definite strawberry flavours. Early brix of 20-21.
    Later they turn darker red and become more aromatic. Sugar increased to a peak
    brix of 23. Acidity decreased and strawberry flavour was more prominent. My
    wife and I probably had a slight preference for the earlier taste but they were
    still winners later. They are a non-slipskin grape with a slightly crunchy
    texture. As of Sept 4 some grapes in the last hanging bunch were starting to
    shrivel. An absoluty wonderful grape and one that every cold weather gardener
    should have in their yard. I took samples to work and there were 100% unanimous
    amazement at the flavour and texture. Several people asked how they could buy
    vines for their backyard.

    August 8

    August 25

    September 4


    I got about 19 (small) bunches weighing a total of 935g. Expecting more next year.

    Grape – Reliance (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Vigorous plant with 10’+ growth. Should fruit next year.

    Grape - Pink Pearl (Planted Fall 2012
    Greenbarn). Vigorous plant with 10’+
    growth. Tight clusters – would benefit from
    thinning. Not sure if it is the right
    plant as grapes are DARK purple when ripe (not pink) and have small seeds. Started changing color first week of August. Ready to eat about 2 weeks after Somerset (4th week
    August) when grapes have been purple a while and develop a sweeter more concord
    like flavour. Sept 6 still have some
    bunches hanging.


    Grape - Polar Green (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) 4
    trunks.

    Tight clusters – would benefit from thinning. A certain percentage of bunches have sections
    drop during ripening. Absolutly NOT a green grape. Has small seeds.

    Started changing color first week of August. Ready to eat about 2 weeks after Somerset (4th week
    August) but a bit later than Pink Pearl when grapes have been purple a while
    and develop a sweeter more concord like flavour. Sept 6 still have some bunches hanging.

    I wonder if this might be the same grape as “Pink Pearl” but
    the leaves are a bit different and the clusters seem to fall apart a bit so I
    am not sure.

    Grape – Earliblue (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) – 2
    trunks. Died. Pulled up.

    Grape – Catawba (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). 1
    trunks. Unclear if survived – no bud
    break yet. When planted did not realize
    this grape ripens 3 weeks AFTER Concord.
    Doubt I have the season for it. Will try next year and if too short will pull
    out. This is why I am looking forward to
    more people using http://www.gardenregister.com/.

    Grape - Concord
    seedless (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree). Very vigorous vine with 8’+ of growth. Large grapes in loose clusters. Started changing color last week of August.

    Grape – Concord.
    Nursery vine bought on sale at end of
    season last year. Planted in a pot
    simply to give me a benchmark to compare ripening of my other grapes too. Will probably end up removing. May be ripening earlier due to being I a pot
    with warmer roots but I do not know. Started changing color first week of September.

    Grape – Vanessa (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Vigorous plant with 10’+ growth.

    Grape - Petite Jewel (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    Grape - Bluebell (Planted May 2016 from Cornhill nursery). Just planted this spring. It was a small plant so to early to say about
    vigor but I do have 2 shoots that have reached my 6’ top wire.

    Grape – Valliant (Planted May 2016 from Cornhill nursery). Just planted this spring. It was a small plant so to early to say about
    vigor. Has not reached the 6’ wire.

    Grape – Swenson Red (Planted May 2016 from Cornhill nursery).
    Just planted this spring. It was a small plant so to early to say about
    vigor. Has not reached the 6’ wire.


  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Blueberries – Chandler (Planted Fall 2012
    Greenbarn) Survived. Flowering but not
    thriving. Couple berries first week of
    August.

    Blueberries – Northsky (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) Survived.
    Flowering. Tiny berries (1/4
    inch) on a tiny plant. Pulled out.

    Blueberries – Toro (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn)
    Survived. Flowering but not
    thriving. Got a handful of berries first
    week of August. They don’t like my soil.

    Blueberries – Patriot (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbar)
    Survived. Flowering but not
    thriving.

    No fruit. Pulled out.

    Blueberries – Pinklimonade (Planted fall 2013 from
    local) Looks like dieback over winter
    again. No berries. Not hardy for zone 4. Pulled out.

    Blueberries – Duke (Planted May 2014 from Costco) Survived.
    Flowering but not thriving. Got a
    handful of berries first week of August.
    They don’t like my soil.

    Cherry – Romeo (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com) Survived. No dieback.
    Few flowers. No fruit still.

    Cherry – Cupid (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com) Survived. No dieback.
    Few flowers. No fruit still.

    Cherry – Juliet (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com) – Survived. No dieback.
    No fruit still.

    Cherry - Crimson Passion (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com)
    – Survived. No dieback. Few flowers.
    No fruit still.

    Still growing. The
    deer LOVE these so they keep getting haircuts which is not helping them
    much. Going to try and fence them
    better.

    Seaberries - (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn – Survived winter).

    Appear to be males.
    Planted in a rural area on heavy clay with no irrigation. Growing like crazy. These are TOUGH. Bone dry soil for weeks at a time, nutrient
    poor – not even grass is growing but these still grow.


    Mulberry - Seedling (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) Survived.
    No dieback. THIS IS A MALE. Man I am ticked off with Greenbarn. Totally useless and they wasted 4 years. I got tons of flowers/fruiting bodies which
    dried up and fell off. Looks like a
    male. I’ve trained this plant for 4
    years and the trunk is approaching 3 inches in diameter. Need to decide if I top work or simply graft
    to a sucker. Advice anyone?

    Great trunk - too bad MALE!

    Graft this baby and cut down the trunk (and live a million suckers)?


    Plumcot - Taylors
    Gold (MARIANA 26-24? Planted Fall 2014
    from Whiffletree) Survived. No
    dieback. Really taking off this
    year. 4’+ of growth. Coming along nicely into an open vase. Going to try grafting apricots to a couple
    branches if I can get some scions.

    Strawberry – Albion
    – Everbearing (Planted May 2014 from Costco – survived winter)

    Strawberry - All Star – June bearing (Planted May 2014 from
    Costco – survived winter)

    I left these uncovered this winter and the runners
    survived. First year fruit size is fine
    but 2nd year they go tiny. I also
    lose too many to birds to make it worthwhile so I am pulling them out.


  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Rubarb - Victoria? (crown has been propagated in family for
    +80 years over 4 different moves!)
    Survived and thriving. 13.274 kg
    harvested with at least 1 more harvest to go.

    Rubarb - Strawberry Red (Planted May 2014 from Costco) Dead.

    Heartnut – Imshu (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – did
    not survive winter 2015) Sending up shoots from roots.

    Heartnut - Campbell CW-3 (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree
    – did not survive winter 2015) Sending
    up shoots from roots.

    Medlar - Giant Breda
    (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – died back to graft 2015). Struggling along. Probably will die.

    Medlar - Royal (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – died
    back to graft 2015). Struggling along.
    Probably will die.

    Heartnut and Medlar are planted on a rural property in quite
    sandy soil. They got heavily eaten by
    deer in the fall 2014. Some mice damage
    over winter 2015. I saw some re-growth
    from the graft of the medlars last year and they seem to be leafing out this
    spring from those shoots. The Heartnuts
    both died down to ground last year but then sent up shoots from the seedling
    roots. Those shoots appeared to survive
    this winter and I am letting the grow to see what happens.

    Gooseberry - Black Velvet (Planted Fall 2014 from
    Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Lots of fruit. Small and tart despite reaching 16 brix 4th
    week of July. Ripens last week of July –
    1st week August. To tart for
    me and my wife for fresh eating but makes a great jam.


    Gooseberry – Tixia (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback.
    Many flowers. Started ripening
    July 13. Fruit looks like Poorman but
    more tart. Ripens last 2 weeks of July.

    Gooseberry – Poorman (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback.
    Many flowers. Ripens last 2 weeks
    of July and reached 16.5 brix. Much less
    acidity and was great for fresh eating.



    I had HUGE issues with currant worms. They defoliated 50% of my plants before I
    caught them. Interestingly, while EVERY
    Gooseberry leaf had 1 if not 2 worms, the black currants and Jostaberries had
    NO worms. I wonder if the Gooseberry
    served as a trap crop? I picked them off
    and dropped in soapy water, after 3 days of doing this I had 90%+ control.



  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Currant - Ben Cowan (Planted Fall 2013 from local) Survived.
    No dieback. Many flowers. Harvest began July 12. Total 384g. This is a small plant, planted in my clay soil
    from a crappy potted nursery stock.

    Currant - Ben Sarek (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree)
    Survived. No dieback. Many flowers. This is shorter plant than
    Titania with a more spreading nature. Harvest
    started 3rd week July. 1097g. 12 Brix.

    Currant – Titania (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree)
    Survived and flourishing. No
    dieback. Tall, upright canes. Needs to be staked/supported or the weight of
    MASSIVE crop will lay the canes to the ground. 2576g from 1 plant! Peak harvest 3rd week July with
    some later ripening in 4th week. 15 Brix.
    I LOVE this plant!



    Currant – Tiben (Planted Spring 2016 from Whiffletree). Only planted this year. I did get some currants but were small and
    hard, not sure if representative.

    I LOVE currants. Easy
    to grow, you can’t buy them in stores and they laugh at early season
    frosts.

    Josta Berry
    - (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree – survived winter). Survived and flourishing. No dieback.
    Many flowers but hardly any fruit!
    I have 2 of these planted. They
    now spread 5 feet x 5 feet. Each plant
    takes up nearly 2x the area as Titania but Titania gave me 2.5kg of fruit and
    each of these gave me 8 berries! EIGHT
    berries!?! They are right next to
    Titania, Tiben and Ben Sarek so it can’t be pollenization. The berries produced were only as big as my
    large Titania berries and not even that good. I am giving them 1 more year but if they don’t
    shape up they are being torn out.

    Paw Paw – Seedling (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree) - Survived.
    No dieback. Really taking off
    this year. Nice healthy looking plant
    now reaching 2 feet tall.

    Paw Paw - Campbell NC-1 (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree)
    – Struggling. Hardly any growth each
    year. I am going to try grafting it to
    some of the branches of my seedling to make sure I have future pollinators.

    Garlic – Nothing like home grown garlic instead of that
    no-flavour Chinese garbage. Plant in
    fall and harvest in summer. Break open
    your big bulbs in fall and replant. Yum,
    Yum!




  • hungryfrozencanuck

    I just had 2 big projects this year. First is irrigation. Last year I installed 700 feet of underground
    soaker for a cedar hedge around my backyard.
    This year I have tied into this soaker hose in 5 places to bring water
    to other areas. I placed a manual valve
    at the tie in point then ran ½ inch non-perforated pipe underground and then
    put spray heads at each tree/large shrubs and drip outlets to my smaller
    shrubs. In total about another 500 feet
    of underground piping but now to water 1 zone I just have to flip a valve and
    come back in 3 hours to turn it off.

    My other big project was grafting as I mentioned in my
    earlier post. 8 different apple
    varieties but with the amount of wood I had it was about 25 different grafts. 4 different plums in 5 grafts. So far amazingly I have around 95% take! I tried a variety of methods. Inside where it was warm I wrapped the scion
    wood including both ends fully in parafilm (http://www.superiorvalueproducts.com/2-x-250-Role-of-Parafilm-M-Laboratory-Wrap-Part-Number-PM992_p_2288.html).
    $26 +$16 shipping for 2” x 250’. I cut into 1” strips so 500’ will last me a
    while. This was to avoid damaging the
    graft union site after and to avoid having to use grafting wax/paint (which I
    could not find locally). Then on the day
    of grafting I would just cut the length of wood I wanted and wrap the exposed
    terminal end in another piece of parafilm.
    I would do the graft (a mix of cleft, whip and some using a grafting
    tool (https://www.amazon.ca/Professional-Pruner-Grafting-Cutting-Blades/dp/B00NL8OAOA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473184239&sr=8-1&keywords=grafting+tool)
    to cut specific male/female shapes. I then tightly wrapped the junction from
    about 1” below the graft site in parafilm up to 1-2 cm above the site then
    tightly wrapped the union in black electrical tape. My
    grafting “knife” was simply an exactoknife (boxcutter) that I dipped in pinesol
    between each cut. My wedge to open
    clefts was simply the one blade of scissor hammered into the wood, frequently
    one side would get the cambium torn up a bit but the other side was fine. This cheap and dirty method seems to have
    worked fine so far.

    Exacto-knife

    Special tool

    95% of my plum and apple grafts took. No difference between cleft, whip or the
    special tool grafts. Given ease and
    better sterilization I will stick with the exacto knife from now on.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    For bugs my main battle is with Japanese beetles. Started June 23 and are just finishing now Sept 6. I can’t imagine what gardening would have been
    like before they came. Must have been
    heaven. For control I simply walk 1-2x
    per day with a bucket of soapy water and tap the leaves to knock them into the
    bucket. I have 1 acre surrounded by acreages. Nematode treatment would cost a fortune and
    probably not work that well for me.

    This is 1 days killing work

    The only spraying I do is 1 time with dormant oil at the end
    of winter to all my trees. I then bag
    all my grapes and apples. When I have them I will probably bag pears and plums
    too.

    To reiterate on the subject of bagging fruit. Ziplocks caused my grapes to rot. Organza bags were perfect. http://www.yourorganzabag.com/organzabag.htm.
    I used Moss Green as they are not visible in the foliage. I used the 6x9 bags
    but are they are a bit short for long grapes. Perfect for plums and apples and
    small bunches of grapes. I think they would work awesome for peaches as they
    breath very well but keep the bugs/birds out. After 3 months exposed to
    environment they still look new. So far
    with apples there is no difference between ziplocks and Organza bags except the
    Organza bags are much easier to install, you can tie the string around the
    branch to less drop due to wind/squirrels, and they look MUCH better. I will be using Organza bags 100% for my fruit
    bagging needs.

    Ziplock


    Organza


    So there you go. My
    backyard orchard is maturing nicely.
    Production should be ramping up nicely but I am probably still 2-3 years
    away from everything starting to produce in decent quantities. I am pretty much out of space now but seeing
    how easy grafting was, I will be getting a bunch of different apples and plums
    for next year. After lusting over Konrad
    and Matt’s apricot photos I am going to try grafting some of those too.

    Until next time.


  • codym17

    Couldn't agree more on somerset grapes. Out of everything I've planted those are by far my favorite fruit that I'm growing and I'm not really a big grape fan. I planted them because thats what my wife likes, but they turned out to be one of the best things ive ever tasted, they taste like strawberry soda to me. I'm also having the same issue with my romance cherry bushes, deer won't leave them alone and I hate having to leave them covered in chicken wire, you wouldn't think deer would be an issue in town. The few haskap I harvested this year were very sour and not what I expected them to taste like at all, hopefully that's just because they're young plants or I picked the fruit a little too soon, there was a hint of purple on them yet. Out of my 6 - 3 year old old blueberris I only harvested about 1 pint this year, I think those might need to be in containers or raised beds to keep the ph more ideal, I'll give them another year.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Well my apple season is coming to a close. I am leaving 4 Liberty apples hanging on the tree to see how
    they evolve. But those 4 apples and some
    rhubarb are all that are left.


    I only got 4 types of apples this year but looking at bud
    development I hope to have many more types to taste next year.

    We had our first frost October 10 with 4 more nights of
    frost that same week.

    From early to late:

    Redfree: I only had 3 of these apples. In august they had not fully changed color
    and did not release easily so I left longer.
    First I picked September 2 and the seeds were just starting to turn
    brown. 90g. 12 Brix. Tasting note: Very crisp. Mild apple flavour. More acid
    than sweet but not puckering (eg. still sweeter than mcintosh). I liked it. I finally
    picked the other two on September 11. One
    apple was fully red, sweet but softer and borderline mealy. 14 brix.
    I believe it was over-ripe. The 2nd
    apple had some green to it, was crisp with a nice balance of sweet and acid. 12 brix.
    With only 2 apples I really could not comment much on them. From this experience I would say Redfree
    ripening date this years was 2nd week of September after hand pollinating May
    24 (110 days)

    Redfree 12 brix apple

    Redfree 14 brix apple

    12 brix seeds left, 14 brix seeds right

    Crimson Crisp: I only
    had 2 of these apples. They are supposed
    to ripen late September into October but I picked one on September 15 because
    it was mostly red and released easily. The
    seeds were all brown. Apple looks a bit
    like a small red delicious. 126g. It was VERY dense and slightly sour. I picked the second apple September 24. It was now fully red. 95g. Very
    sweet at 14 brix with very little acid and yet extremely crisp and crunchy with
    a very nice flavour reminiscent of a good red delicious. I am looking forward to having more next
    year! From this experience I would say Crimson
    crisp ripening date this years was 4th week of September after hand pollinating
    May 24 (123 days)

    Crimson Crisp Sept 15 apple

    Crimson Crisp Sept 24 apple

    Liberty:
    This was my main apple producer this year. It is a tiny tree – I think on M27 as it tops
    out around 6 feet. Covered in
    apples. I only bagged about half to see
    the difference between protected and non-protected and there is a huge
    difference. Non protected were occasionally
    ½ the size, malformed and with some bad cracking and bug damage. First apple tasted was a windfall on September
    4 and was sour. Picked again September
    21 but seeds still not brown. 11
    brix. Dry, not juicy. Tangy.
    Picked again September 30 and now it was crisper and jucy but still very
    tart and some seeds were dark but others light. 12 brix.
    October 10 I picked more. The
    ziplock protected apples were darker red, crisp, jucy and sweet. The organza protected apples were slightly less
    red, softer and sweeter. October 11
    picked again and the Ziploc was more red, less crisp and very sweet. The organza apple was less red, some skin
    damage a bit more acid. On the 11th
    both were 15 brix. I trimmed an
    unprotected apple that was damaged and still had some green and it was very
    crisp and nice balance of sweet and tang. From this experience I would say Liberty ripening date
    this years was 2nd week of October after hand pollinating May 24 (140
    days)

    Liberty Sept 30 unpolished


    Liberty Sept 30 polished - Yummy!

    Liberty Oct 4 ziplock protected left, unprotected right

    Liberty Oct 11 unprotected left, organza middle (note cosmetic damage done through the bag and less red coloration), ziplock protected right


    Macfree: I only had 2 apples. My first apple I picked October 13. Pretty apple.
    Striated skin but the “green” is less green than Liberty but more a golden yellow/brown. 100g. 14 brix.
    Tasting sweeter with less acid than Liberty.
    Softer and less crisp than Liberty,
    a bit more like a McIntosh you get from the store. Flavour difficult to describe. Inoffensive, pleasing and pleasant. Ate alternating slice by slice with Liberty in combination
    with a sharp cheese and both were delicious. Different enough in flavour profile and
    texture that you could grow both. I
    think people who like slightly tart apples would prefer Liberty for the taste and crispness. 2nd apple was 153g and I picked October

    1. From this experience I would say Macfree
      ripening date this years was 2nd week of October after hand pollinating
      May 24 (140 days)

    Macfree Oct 13


  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Continuing my grape report from the last post.

    So called Polar green (which is purple) continued to improve. September 4 was sweet, grapy and delicious. September 10 was 21 brix and very good. September 15 was 22 brix and starting to shrivel a bit. I would say best eating was first 2 weeks of September. Biggest problem with this grape is that the bunches have some grapes/clusters that break/drop in wind and after rains.

    So called Pink pearl (which is purple) started shrivelling around Sept 10 and peaked at 19-20 brix. Peak flavour was probably last week of August and first week of September.

    Concord seedless (which has seeds) started being edible September 15 at 17 brix. Became darker and racoons starting climbing the vines to get them September 20 at 16 brix but delicious with a very Concord taste. September 24 18 brix and some were starting to schrivel a bit but very delicious. September 30 18 brix and at their peak. Grapes would split when being pulled from the bunch. Absolutely delicious. I would say ripe 3rd and 4th week of September.

    Concord. Exact same dates as my “Concord seedless” which makes me think my “seedless” is actually standard Concord. Although ripening was more uniform with my “seedless”.

    Petite Jewel is probably actually Petite Pearl as my grapes are seeded. Small, tight clusters of very sweet grapes with nearly 25-50% seed mass in the grape. Harvested October 14 – 25 brix. I will be pulling this out as I want table grapes.

    I am still harvesting Rhubarb so by far that is my heroic fruit of the year. Started harvest May 26 and still harvesting as of October 15!

    So with harvest over, I am now starting to plan my scion wood orders for 2016. Pears, apples, plums, apricots. I can’t wait!


  • jessica4b

    Please, let me know what you are gonna order, I am just curious! :)

  • ubro

    thanks for the good info HFK I have currently 40 apples, 12 plums,2 pears, 3 cherries, and 10 grapes.

    The breakdown you give on fruit quality is extremely helpful. I look at many nursery sites to research fruit varieties that I might like to plant. Most have a generic write up and of course there are not usually any negative comments unless it pertains to disease resistance. I do realize that an apple grown by me does not necessarily have the same qualities as one grown in another zone, yet I value an unbiased opinion like yours.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Thanks ubro(2a), I really appreciate your comments. I wish people would put out more "if you like X you will probably like Y". I also try to put dates from flower to ripeness as well as ripening in relation to a benchmark (eg. Concord) as opposed to Early, Mid, Late so that people know if they have the season to ripen the fruit. Thanks again and check back next year, there will be another report for sure. The fun is just starting!!! So exited about a new year as my stuff matures!

  • Jason (Zone 10b, San Diego)

    Awesome report! Very jealous of the variety of apples you have available to you. And 3 hours of soaking! Hard to imagine, down here in Southern California, I have 5 minutes twice a week.... I have to supplement with hand watering, but I have a small lot with much much fewer trees, so it's not too onerous.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Well jealousy goes both way. No figs or citrus for me. That and first frost was Oct 10 and spring thaw will be April 10 or so. That means my growing season is over for the next SIX months!

  • ubro

    hfc, I did the days from flower to fruit this year on the apples,

    Discovery-126 days

    Honey Gold- 137 days

    Wynoochee Early -117 days

    I am keeping records, with some apples it is hard to know when to pick so I hope this helps me in the long run.

  • yovan mcgregor

    hey guys where have you been? I hope you are not giving up? Please lets continue. Thank you

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Snow only left the ground April 12. Patience grasshopper.

    Yesterday finished my 90th graft with several left to do. Don't worry. A write up will follow. Seeing MANY flower buds swelling!!!

  • yovan mcgregor

    hungryfrozencanuck(4a)

    hey bro I am counting on you. Best wishes

  • ubro

    Just waiting for the weather to warm enough for grafting, about a week I guess, and I should be good to go. I am adding about 15 more apples this year about 6 plums and a few apricots and pears.

    After a walk around the yard it looks pretty good and I am hopeful for a few new fruits.

  • RivrFox De Crested Butte

    Really loved reading through this thread. I'm in Burke, VT (3b-4a) and just bought a house. Currently I have one crab apple on the property. I live not too far from Elmore Nursery in Wolcott. I would recommend checking out there website!

    I'm excited to plant a group of hazelburt in the front yard as a hedge. A small perennial food forest in the back yard. I have a small river about 50-75 yards away that gives a unique microclimate.

    Thanks for the inspiration! Thought you might enjoy this film as well.

    http://www.permacultureorchard.com/the-film/

    :)

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I bought the film and watched it. Felt is was lacking in practical info such as varieties. Why did he not list his group planting by weeks? Eg. First 2 weeks august I have these pears, plums, apples, berries, next 2 weeks I have xxx, first 2 weeks September I have XXX, ect. Would give some guidance on what survives and ripens when here in zone 4/5. I have also hear that subsequent years have had VERY significant pest pressure so it would interesting to hear some updates. As for Elmore Nursery, can't get any plant material across the border but thanks for the tips anyways.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    NOTE: This is copy/pasted from my growing fruit dot org post because it is a pain in the but to post photos on houzz and they limit the numbers. For photos just google "my-backyard-planting-experience-part-2-zone-4a-b-quebec-canada".

    **2017 Report**

    So another growing season begins.

    First frost last fall was Oct 11, 2016, 5 days earlier than 2015 but still better than Sept 19, 2014. Last frost still to be determined. Looking like -1C this upcoming Monday and Tuesday! Just hope not like last year which was May 17, 2016 or even worse, May 23, 2015!

    The winter was very long again this year. First snow was Oct 27, 2016 and last snow was April 1, 2017. This is 156 days, more than 5 months with a total snowfall of 309 cm (over 10 FEET!). Minimum temperature was only -30C and seeing as we did not get many warm spells we finished winter with nearly 5-6 feet of snow on the ground when the melt came which means all trees and shrubs survived. However, this large snow accumulation brought new problems this year because it would snow, then if it warmed or had ice rain it would form a sheet of ice that would attach to low scaffolds and then when the snowpack would settle it would rip the branches off the tree. From now on I will ensure all scaffolds start at least 3 feet off the ground.

    Final melt was April 11-12 which was 2 weeks later than 2016 (near full melt April 1, 2016 but then 1 foot snow April 9 with final melt April 12-13, 2016.

    Crocuses started flowering April 15 which was 2-3 days later than 2016.

    One thing different this spring is the amount of rain. April had 147mm of rain, nearly 6 inches! By May 7 we are anticipated to have over 100mm of rain (4 inches) in the first week of May! I have a great deal of standing water around so I guess I am going to see truly how collar rot resistant my trees are. While they are in raised mounds, by now 90% of the roots are probably deep enough to be swimming.

    <img src

    <img src

    I also had more vole damage than in previous years. I had protected all my regular trees but have not protected my bushes. This year I have discovered that voles like Gooseberries and they also found some 1 year old rootstocks I grafted but forgot to protect/paint. I will know better for next year. So far I have ZERO damage to plants protected with a mixture of latex paint, joint compound and water in a 1:1:1 ratio that is painted onto trunks and lower scaffolds in the late fall. No evidence of south/west injury either.

    <img src

    **Grafting**

    Last year was my first experience with grafting and it was so easy and successful that I may have gone a bit overboard this year with grafting with over 100 grafts. Main reason for this is that I have reached a ceiling limit for the number of trees my spouse will let me plant so to add varieties I need to graft them. That and the fact that I would rather have a dozen or two of fruit from a grafted branch picked and eaten at the perfect time as opposed to having to find things to do with a whole tree all ripening at once.

    This year I have added the following items to my garden by either planting trees or grafting:

    **Apples**

    Carroll

    Chestnut

    Scarlet O'Hara

    Summer Red – found apple

    Sweet 16

    Trailman

    Yellow Reinette – found apple

    **Apples (zone 2)**

    Altari mountain - applecrab

    Amber - applecrab

    September Ruby

    Sunnybrook

    Redstar (perhaps Red Mike)

    **Euro pears**

    Beedle

    Golden spice

    Harrow Sweet

    Harvest Queen

    Julienne

    Krasnobokaya

    Krazulya

    Lucious

    Patten

    Dome – found pear

    Vekovaya

    **Asian pears**

    Kikusui (or seedling of Kikusui)

    Olympic

    You China

    **Plums**

    Alderman

    Brook Gold

    Brook Red

    Damson white

    Green Gage

    Gypsy Chum

    La Crescent

    Mirabelle

    Opal

    Petite de la Sour Mont Royal

    Red star

    Sinikka

    Skiba

    Sprouts Sunshine

    **Apricots**

    Riley apricot

    Riley seedling apricot

    Westcot apricot

    Debbies Gold

    **Peach**

    Harrow Diamond

    Vulcan

    Chinese

    **Grapes**

    Brianna

    Canadice

    Einset

    Himrod

    Kay Gray

    Montreal Blue

    Prairie Star

    Roland

    Skookum

    Swenson white

    Trollhaugen

    **Persimmon**

    Seedlings

    **Haskasp**

    Boreal Blizard

    Boreal Beauty

    **Mulberry**

    Illinois Everbearing

    Phew. It was nearly 2 solid weeks of planting and grafting every day after work and on the weekends.

    Here is an example of my crazy grafting - voila my new Frankenpear! Yes some of the scaffolds are too close but I had too much scion wood and not enough places to graft so I am going to nursery them this year and then cut the cramped branches back this fall and re-graft next spring on wood that grows this year.

    <img src

    **Orders**

    Purchases this year were from:

    Treetime.ca

    Whiffletreefarmandnursery.ca

    Hardyfruittrees.ca/

    Silvercreeknursery.ca

    Vigneschezsoi.ca

    I have not received my order yet from Silvercreek or Vignes chez soi but was happy with what I received from the other 3.

    Yet again Whiffletree impressed with the size and roots. I can’t recommend them enough.

    The 2 bundles to the left are Antonokova and OHFX97 root stocks, then 3 persimmon seedlings then 2 Debbies Gold apricot on Mustang and then La crescent plum.

    <img src

    **Flowers**

    It is a bit early still to tell but things are looking VERY good for this year. Last year I got berries and 4 apples (Liberty, Macfree, Redfree and Crimson crisp). No pears nor plums. This year I see A LOT of what look like flower buds on all my planted apple tree, most of my grafts that took last year and all my plums and chums. I am really crossing my fingers for no late frost this year so I can really start tasting more stuff!

    **Pest protection**

    Only 1 spray of dormant oil so far. I have neem oil that will probably paint on my trunks for borers. I will continue to bag my apples and grapes. I want to try spraying Surround on my plums (I had a couple plums that pollinated last year but all aborted from PC worms). Problem is that while Surround is classified as a class 4 pesticide here and should not require a certificate to purchase or use the local vendor calls it a class 3 and won’t sell it to me. As I only want to buy 1 bag it is not like I have incentive for him to more closely look at their restrictions. So I am reading a textbook and will take an exam to get my pesticide license just so I can buy stupid powdered kayolin clay that is less harmful than powdered concrete. We will see if I can get this done in time for fruiting!

    So there you go. Spring report done. I’ll be back later in the summer/fall to fill in on how it goes.

  • paula_b_gardener 5b_ON

    hfc, Thank you very much for the detailed report. I am going to start planting fruit this year and I found out more information on your posts than I did on any other website. Would you recommend ziploc for Apples? Organza bags for everything else?

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Good question. For sure the apples are prettier from the ziplocks. For fungal sensitive, ziplock probably better too. I also hear that if you leave them in the ziplock for fridge/cold-room storage they last longer too. That said the tree looks ugly with plastic bags all over, if you have apples that drop the organza bag is tied to the branch so the fruit is protected. It is also easier to install the organza bags and they don't require preparation (ziplocks need 2 corners cut for drainage + the plastic flap above the "zip" trimmed off.


    I'm going to do both on all my varieties and see how they do this year. Last year the only test was with Liberty.


    My grapes and any plums will be organza bags for sure.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    So here is my 2017 growing report. The photo system of gardenweb/houzz SUCKS so all my pretty pictures are posted at the OTHER fruit forum which is independent and has a much better posting system. I keep cross posting here because of the help I got starting out and because some people I appreciate (Konrad, Matt, ect) still post uniquely here. Just do a Google search for the title of this post and you will find the other site with photos. No direct link from here because mods have deleted posts in the past.


    Life is too busy and I like to do a nice
    post with photos so it is late. But
    still before the 2018 growing season! So
    here is my 2017 report.

    For detailed info on
    first leaf and flowing information on my plants you can see my

    Gardenregister
    page at:

    http://www.gardenregister.com/garden/hungryfrozencanuck/1/

    As mentioned in my
    spring 2017 post this winter was long lasting

    156 days with over 10
    feet of cumulative snowfall but with a rapid warm up in April.

    So for example while 2015
    rhubarb crown break was May 1, in 2016 May 10th, and this year was April
    17! Grapes had first leaf 2015 of May 9,
    in 2016 it was May 21 and this year was May 18.

    Last frost was May 9th
    vs May 17th in 2016. That
    means from first to last frost, winter lasted 211 days in 2017 vs 214 days in

    1. First frost was Oct 1st
      vs Oct 11 in 2016. That gave a frost
      free season of 146 days in 2017 vs 148 days in 2016.

    With the super wet
    spring I saw nearly NO regular honey bees.
    Fortunately I have planted Muscari and Daffodils which heavily attract
    Bumble bees which were my main pollinator (well and the fact that I hand
    pollinated most of my apples to make 100% sure).

    Now that aside onto
    the fruit!

    Apples - This photo is
    not all my apples. Just the ones from a
    tasting I held at work. The favorite by
    far was Crimson Crisp with Liberty
    slightly edging out Macfree in 2nd place.
    Egremont Golden Russet in 3rd. 6
    weeks in the fridge, no one liked Pristine.
    No one liked Ashemead Kernel.

    Apple - Pristine Bud9- DR (Planted May 2015 from
    Whiffletree) – Survived. No
    dieback. Flowers started May 18 and
    peaked May 27. First fruit was obtained
    August 15th with mostly brown seeds.
    By August 20th the fruit was beginning to drop. They are very attractive apples being golden
    yellow with a rose blush. Hint of golden
    delicious flavours but as time went on a very strong floral note became
    predominant. Sweet tasting with brix
    ranging from 11 to 14 brix. Refrigerated
    apples became WAY to floral for my taste.
    Not sure I will keep them. (87
    days from flower to fruit).

    Apple - Redfree Bud9- DR (Planted May 2015 from
    Whiffletree) – Survived. No
    dieback. Flowers started May 23 and
    finished June 8. Fruit harvested from
    August 18 to September 1. Nice red
    apples averaging around 160g each. Earlier they were crisp and juicy with mild
    apple flavour and not much acid. The
    September apples were softening despite seeds being only about 70% brown. I liked them best when seeds were mostly
    white and flesh was crisp. A bug eaten
    one reached 16 brix but the average was 11-12 brix. (last year 110 days, this
    year 94-106 days from flower to fruit).

    Apple - Crimson crisp Bud9- DR (Planted May
    2015 from Whiffletree) – Survived. No
    dieback. Tons of flowers and flowers
    last a LONG time. Flowers started May 23
    and finished June 9. Amazing red apples,
    my favourite so far. They are smaller
    apples averaging around 140-160g and look like small red delicious apples but
    have flavour, juice and crunch. Edible
    as of September 13 with a brix of 12-13 and seeds light brown but the apples
    hold extremely well onto the tree and I harvested the last apple October 26
    with the seeds dark brown and 16 brix. 6
    weeks hanging on the tree just fine! The
    flesh is extremely firm particularly in September but it softens slightly into
    October but keeps a nice crunch. Flavour
    is amazing with a slight acidity and amazing sweetness that increases as time
    goes on. My favourite by far. (123 days last year from flower to fruit and
    113-156 days this year– tasty as of around 120 days).

    Apple - Liberty M27?- DR (Planted Fall 2012 - Green
    Barn) – Survived. No dieback. Much fewer flowers this year and only 4-5
    apples – looks like I over cropped last year and sent it bi-annual. Flowered from May 19 – 30. First fruit tasted September 13 but only 30%
    brown seeds and was sour and dry. Peak
    ripeness September 27 with seeds 75% dark brown and 12 brix. Definitely a McIntosh type apple that has a
    lot of acid. Tart with not much sweetness. Very juicy.
    Flesh on the softer side. Around 140g. (140 days from flower to fruit
    last year and 131 this year)

    Apple - Egremont russet Bud9- H (Planted
    May 2015 from Whiffletree) – Survived.
    No dieback. Flowered from May 19
    – 30. First fruit tasted October 10 and
    was 19 brix! Seeds were 90% brown. Flesh dense but not crisp, cleaves
    easily. Very sweet with slightly nutty
    notes. Some juice but somewhat dry. Peak was probably around October 18-25 when
    was much more juicy with a bit more floral notes. Brix 18. Last picked Nov 3
    and would release extremely easy from tree.
    At this point a bit more drying (tannic?) and much more floral and I
    preferred flavour a bit earlier. Size
    ranged from 99-170g with average around 140g. (159 days from flower to fruit)

    Apple - MacFree pretty sure on M7- DR (Planted
    Fall 2012 - alive and doing well) Green Barn. – Survived. No dieback.
    This tree is in a quite shaded area so take ripening dates with a grain
    of salt. Flowered from May 23 – 30. Windfall tasted Oct 18. Very McIntosh like. Acidic.
    Sweet-tart at 12 brix. Rest were
    harvested Nov 3 when had much less acid.
    Juicy and sweet with slight acidity and crisp when eaten from the
    tree. Good apple flavour like a
    McIntosh. 13 brix. My wife preferred the sour/tart mid October
    flavour while I like the less acidic later version. (140 days last year, 148 days this year).

    Apple - Goldrush Bud9 - DR (Planted May
    2015 from Whiffletree) – Survived. No
    dieback. No flowers.

    Apple - Enterprise M7 - DR (Planted May
    2015 from Whiffletree) (M7 is shipping error, it should have been Bud9) – DIED
    after a long, cold wet winter when the Bud 9 to each side have survived
    fine. I have this re-grafted onto Antonovka
    rootstock in the same place.

    Apple – M360 (Grafted 2016) –
    Survived. No dieback. Small graft.
    Later blooming, 50% at May 27.
    Only 1 apple picked September 19.
    Very attractive apple. Red with pink
    striations. Possibly a bit over ripe as
    seeds were dark brown. Flesh soft with
    some watercore. Nice sweet apple
    flavour.

    Apple – Prairie Sensation (Grafted 2016) –
    Survived. No dieback. Small graft.
    Flowered June 10th I think.
    No fruit.

    Apple – Norkent (Grafted 2016) –
    Survived. No dieback. Flower May 20-27. The 2 apples were found fallen from the tree
    September 8. Seems to drop easily. Very dark seeds, perhaps over ripe. Slight crunch. Very sweet with some honey flavors. Not much acid. (111 days).

    Apple – Ashmeads Kernel (Grafted 2016) –
    Survived. No dieback. Flowered from May 23 – 30. First fell when touched September 13. Blotchy green apple with russeting. Kind of ugly.
    Some seeds were brown while others were pure white. Dry.
    12 brix. 139g. Other 2 picked fully ripe Oct 11. Dark seeds.
    Still ugly apple. Slightly more
    juicy. Mild flavour, bit grassy tasting,
    somewhat Egremont russet like (but less good) with a medium cruch. 13 brix.
    I’ll give this a couple more years but so far I MUCH prefer Egremont
    russet. Perhaps it was amazing for it’s
    time but if this is the real flavour we have modern varieties that are much
    better.

    Apple – Williams pride (Grafted 2016) –
    Survived. No dieback. No flowers.

    Apple – Fireside (Grafted 2016) –
    Survived. No dieback. No flowers.

    Apple – Wolf river (Grafted 2016) –
    Survived. No dieback. No flowers.

    Apple – Calville Blanc d’hiver (Grafted
    2016) – Survived. No dieback. No flowers.

    12 new apple varieties were grafted at the
    end of winter. All flowers were hand
    pollinated.

    Pear - Hayatama (Planted May 2014 from
    pepiniere ancestrale) Die back to graft
    union in 2015, 2016 and again this year.
    I will cut it back in spring 2018 and graft something more resistant.

    Pear - Northbrite (OHXF 87? Planted Fall 2012 Green Barn). Was struggling but last year shot up to 5
    feet tall with a ton of nice laterals. No
    flowers because I ended up grafting 14 different pear varieties to it.

    Pear - Kenko (PYRUS BETULAFOLIA? Planted
    Spring 2013 Green Barn). Has been dying
    back each year. In Spring 2018 I will
    cut back to graft union and graft something else.

    Pear - Taylor Apple (PYRUS BETULAFOLIA?
    Planted Spring 2013 Green Barn) Growth up to nearly 7 feet with nearly 1” trunk
    last year with some fruiting spurs. I
    grafted several varieties of asian pears.
    It flowered May 16 but then began showing what could be fireblight and
    ended up dying all the way back to the graft.
    Spring 2018 I will cut back and graft something else.

    Plum - Toka (myrobalan - Planted May 2014 from pepiniere
    ancestrale). Survived. No dieback but it is not thriving anything
    like Superior. Covered in flowers that peaked May 17. 1 fruit picked September 9. Cracked.
    Small. Not enough to really
    describe taste. 18 brix.

    Plum - Superior (myrobalan - Planted May 2014 from
    pepiniere ancestrale) Survived. No
    dieback. Crazy vigorous with 6+ feet of
    grown again this year. Covered in
    flowers that peaked May 16. Several
    fruit were set but all aborted unfortunately.

    Plum - Kahinta (myrobalan - Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale)
    Survived. No dieback. Again 5+ feet growth this year. Covered in flowers that peaked May 16. Several fruit were set but all aborted
    unfortunately.

    Plum – Black Ice (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Survived.
    No dieback. No flowers. Might have a borer as I have seen some
    leaking sap on the trunk.

    Again, these plums are all planted in the
    wettest area of my clay yard. Standing
    water late fall and spring. I tried hand
    pollinating the flowers this year and forced some American plum branches to
    flower by keeping inside and then placed in a vase under each tree but fruit
    set was less than 2-5% for all trees.

    14 new varieties of plum were grafted this
    year.

    Chum - Kappa (Planted Fall 2012 - Green Barn)
    Survived. No dieback. Tons of flowers that peaked May 18. I tried hand pollinating the flowers this
    year and forced some American plum branches to flower by keeping inside and
    then placed in a vase under each tree but fruit set was less than 2-5%. First fruit August 7 with rest harvested
    August 25. Around 16g each. Nearly black flesh. 17 brix.
    Majority had severe cracking. Not
    edible, mouth puckering, dry and tannic.
    In total lost majority of fruit to abort and/or plum curlicue.

    Chum - Convoy (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn
    - died. Re-planted 2014 from
    Whiffletree)

    Several trunks died this year after
    flowering with one trunk surviving as if the roots in those other areas died or
    were eaten. Flowered heavily with peak May 21.
    No fruit set.

    Chum - Sapalta (Planted May 2013 Green
    Barn) Survived. No dieback. Tons of flowers that peaked May 18. I tried hand pollinating the flowers this
    year and forced some American plum branches to flower by keeping inside and
    then placed in a vase under each tree but fruit set was less than 2-5%. Many fruit aborted and/or were hit by plum
    curlicue. Only 5 fruit survived and all
    suffered severe cracking and were harvested August 24. 12g each.
    19 brix. Flesh deep red and
    somewhat sweeter than Kappa and less tannic.

    I was surprised how poorly the Chums were
    pollinated with all the other plums flowering and my attempts and hand
    pollinating. There was severe plum
    curlicue damage and severe cracking later summer. I will keep another couple years to see what happens
    and will get my license to spray with Surround WP but so far I am not
    impressed.

    Haskasp – Tundra (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com)
    Survived. No dieback. Tons of flowers. Flowers started May 1 and peaked May 13. The bumblebees LOVE Haskasp flowers. Peak ripeness berries July 2. 0.5g/berry.
    10 brix.

    Haskasp – Aurora (Planted Fall 2014 from
    Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Tons of flowers. Flowers started May 10 and peaked May 17. The bumblebees LOVE Haskasp flowers. Peak ripeness berries July 2. 1.7g/berry.
    13 brix. Definitely the sweetest
    of the 3 and the only one that I deem edible fresh.

    Haskasp – Honeybee (Planted Fall 2013 from
    prairieplant.com) Survived. Not tasty
    last year so pulled out.

    Haskasp – Borealis (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com)
    Survived. No dieback. Tons of flowers. Flowers started May 6 and peaked May 13. The bumblebees LOVE Haskasp flowers. Peak ripeness berries July 2. 0.8g/berry.
    11 brix.

    Haskasp – Boreal Blizzard (Planted spring
    2017 from Whiffletree). Supposed to be
    later blooming and bearing. Needs Boreal
    Beast to pollinate.

    Haskasp – Beauty (Planted spring 2017 from
    Whiffletree). Supposed to be later blooming and bearing. Needs Boreal Beast to pollinate.


  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Elderberry – Wyldewood (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Massive plants. They can now send up 6-8’ shoots in 1 year. Flowering June 28 with peak July 9 with some flowers continuing until late July. Started having ripe fruit last week of August and is continuing to stagger ripening into mid September.

    Elderberry - Bob Gordon (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Larger plants than Wyldewood. They can now send up 10’ shoots in 1 year. Flowering a bit later than Wyldewood starting July 7 and peaking July 13. Started having ripe fruit last week of August with bulk of fruit ripening at once.

    Total yield from 4 plants were 2308g in 2017 vs 1238g in 2016. I also tested covering the bunches of berries with organza bags and that resulted in 75% more berries due to being protected vs the birds. Inedible fresh. Instead made into a syrup for ice cream and for adding to sparkling water as a refreshing drink. Delicious. Blackberry flavours. I also harvested the flowers to make an Elderberry flower cordial which was AMAZING and you don’t have to fight the birds like you do for the berries. Next year I will probably harvest 50% of my flowers to make cordial.

    Elderflower Recipe:

    15 full heads makes 3.5-4 cups worth of flowers

    6 cups of sugar

    4 cups of water

    30 ml of granulated citric acic

    1 lemon (unwaxed). Zest then sliced into rounds.

    Pluck the flowers from the stems and put aside. (some say to wash but I did not, simply picking out any visible bugs because I did not have that much. The flavour is in the pollen and I did not want to wash any away and it was a relatively small batch. The sterilization process will kill anything nasty. If you don’t want to pick the flowers off the stems or are doing large batches you probably want to rinse.)

    Boil 4 cups of water and disolve 6 cups of sugar. Allow to cool.

    In a non-reactive bowl add the sugar water, 30 ml of granulated citric acid and the lemon zest and slices then the flowers.

    Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and place in a cool place. Allow to sit for 2-3 days stirring once per day.

    Strain through chesscloth into sterilized jars and then waterbath can as you would any other liquid.

    Black Raspberry - ? (Planted Fall 2012 Green barn)

    Purple Raspberry - ? (Planted Fall 2012 Green barn)

    Purple Raspberry – Royalty (Planted May 2014 pepiniere ancestrale)

    All are doing well. Some dieback at tips of certain canes but only some canes and then only 12-18” on 6 foot tall canes so it is nothing. These are planted right next to either a south facing or a west facing brick wall so there are MAJOR temperature swings during winter and spring and yet they still do fine. I think the west facing purple raspberries were water stressed last year so I put in an irrigation system this year and it helped some but yields were slightly down. Earwigs and Japanese beetles love attacking these.

    Both started around July 17 and finished after 2 weeks. Total yield 8.61 kg in 2017. Up from 7.4 kg in 2016 but still lower than 9.8 kg 2015.


    Grapes.

    So I am growing my grapes for cold climate. They are multi-trunk (aiming for 4 trunks each), on a Geneva double curtain trellis (trunk 1 left wire south, truck 2 left wire north, trunk 3 right wire south, trunk 4 left wire north). I have been trying 2 different pruning methods. 2 trunks spur pruned, 2 trunks cane pruning. Then I was leaving 2 canes standing all winter (1 cane, 1 spur) and laying down 2 canes for additional protection (1 cane, 1 spur).

    This was my first year where I could really see the difference and for sure the 4 trunk system is definitely the way to go in my climate and with my heavy soil. Some varieties had 2 or 3 trunks die back. Others had 50% of the trunks have fruit bud death. BUT this meant I still had 1 or more trunks that survived to produce fruit! I am now growing my plants with 4 principle trunks and then allowing 2 renewal trunks to shoot up as well. I will now lay down all trunks because the trunks left standing had bad bud death. In the spring will wait to see what trunks have survived then if all 4 primary trunks survived I will cut back 1 and replace it with a renewal trunk. This means no trunk will ever be more than 4 years old so they will still be flexible enough to lay down each fall. The 2nd secondary trunk will be available if dieback was worse and I lost other trunks.

    The renewal trunks I train into a “J” shape. I try to get them to take off from the base at about 90 degrees (horizontal to the ground) before training them upwards to the trellis. This makes lying them down in the fall easier without tearing at the junction. If I let them shoot straight up I find the junction angle at the base is too acute and fragile and when trying to lie some down in the fall I have broken them.

    This year the bagging grapes did NOT go well. We had a TON of rain. Deluge levels. Through the summer the weather was cool with most days having one or more showers. And for the first time this means FUNGUS. Pretty sure it is downy mildew. My Reliance, Valient and Somerset grapes were hit severely with Vanessa having moderate strikes. Seedless concord (or it might be concord), Catwaba, Bluebell and Trollhaugen were unaffected. All my bunches were bagged just after grape formation and these worst affected plants were spur pruned so they were on the overgrown side with ALOT of shoots and leaves. The combination of the organza bags and high amount of leaves probably retarded the ability of the grapes to dry out and so the fungus exploded. I pulled off the bags, removed infected bunches and only put the bags back when the grapes started to change color. I lost 50% of my somerset, 60%+ Vanessa, and nearly 90% Valient and Reliance! Doh!

    Grape – Somerset (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn). 4 trunks. Not a very vigorous plant but it is planted under the drip line of a mature tree so it fights with the roots of the tree. No dieback. Flowering June 16. Ripe 3 weeks later this year (September 1) vs August 8 in 2016. Holds well on the vine for 2-3 weeks but begins shrivelling at the end. Best in the first 10 days. Very small, dense bunches of grapes and small berries but AMAZING spicy strawberry flavour. Fully seedless. Cling skin. Nice crunchy flesh. The BEST tasting grape I have ever had so I planted a 2nd vine. 21-23 brix.

    Grape – Vanessa (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Moderate dieback with many lost buds. Vigorous plant with 10’+ growth. Too vigorous for spur pruning as I had problems with fungus (not as bad as Reliance) due to the dense canes and leaves so will cane prune from now on. Bunches are longer and more stringy. Did not need to be brushed as they were not dense by the end of season. Started harvest September 13 and final October 1 when some started to shrivel. Cling skin. Seedless. Good crunch. Floral notes but less prominent than Somerset. 19 – 20 brix.

    Grape – Reliance (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Moderate dieback with many lost buds. Very vigorous plant with 10’+ growth. Too vigorous for spur pruning as I had huge problems with fungus due to the dense canes and leaves so will cane prune from now on. Larger bunches of grapes and more densely packed – benefited from brushing the bunches to decrease density. Fruit began to be ripe September 13. Peak more around September 21 and began shrivelling September 27. Mixed cling/slip skin. Seedless. Softer than Vanessa. Floral, somewhat similar to Somerset (but not as good). Sweeter and more pleasing flavour than Vanessa. 24 brix.

    Grape - Pink Pearl (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn). Mislabelled. I believe this is Trollhaugen. No dieback and no evident dead buds. Vigorous plant with 10’+ growth. Tight, dense clusters –benefited from both brushing and pinching the end of the bunches. Started September 13 and finished September 23 which was actually left too long. Slip skin. Small soft seed remnants. Soft flesh. Sweet with a nice concord like taste when peak ripe. Some problems with bunch shatter. 19-21 brix.

    Grape – Catawba (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Severe dieback with majority dead buds – only surviving below snowline. Only started turning color Sept 16 still not ripe Oct 13 after a couple frosts and leaves browning. Grapes and bunches slightly smaller than Concord. There is a reason Concord supplanted this grape in popularity. Pulled out fall 2017.

    Grape - Concord seedless (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree). No dieback but 2 western facing trunks had no bud survival while 2 eastern facing trunks had complete bud survival. Always has seeds to think might be actually be Concord but they say in some climates the seedless grapes can actually have seeds. Very vigorous vine with 8’+ of growth. Large grapes in loose clusters. Started harvest September 25 with last harvested November 3. Peak flavour from last week of October and still amazing Nov 3. Slipskin with seeds. Juicy, sweet with amazing grape flavour. 19 brix.

    Grape - Bluebell (Planted May 2016 from Cornhill nursery). No dieback or bud death. Moderate vigor vine but only it’s 2nd year in the ground so a bit early to tell. Ripe as of September 23 but peak flavour September 29 but by October 1st the skin was tough, dry and somewhat unpleasant. Slipskin with seeds. Juicy and sweet with a milder Concord flavour. Concord is better but Bluebell is ripe 3-4 weeks earlier. Same size grapes and bunches as Concord. 19 brix.

    Grape – Valliant (Planted May 2016 from Cornhill nursery). No dieback or bud death. Moderate vigor. Small bunches and small grapes. Large seeds. Ripe as September 9 but peak September 19. Grapey flavour but nothing in compared to Bluebell, Concord and the like. With the flavour and the seeds there is NO reason to grow this grape if you can grow Trollhaugen, Bluebell, Sommerset, Concord and the like. I would only grow this if I had no other choices. 19 brix. Pulled out fall 2017.

    Grape – Swenson Red (Planted May 2016 from Cornhill nursery). No dieback but was small and fully covered by snow. Just planted this spring. It was a small plant so to early to say about vigor. Has not reached the 6’ wire.

    Grape – Brianna (Planted Spring 2017 from Vignes chez soi)

    Grape – Roland (Planted Spring 2017 from Vignes chez soi)

    Grape – Swenson White (Planted Spring 2017 from Vignes chez soi)

    Grape – Montreal Blue (Planted Spring 2017 from Vignes chez soi)

    Grape – Himrod (Planted Spring 2017 from Vignes chez soi)

    Grape - Candice (Planted Spring 2017 from Vignes chez soi)

    Grape - Petite Jewel (Planted Spring 2017 from Vignes chez soi)

    Grape – Kay gray (Planted Spring 2017 from Vignes chez soi)

    Grape – Earliblue (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) – 2 trunks. Died. Pulled up 2016.

    Grape - Polar Green (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) Mislabelled. Think was Trollhaugen. Pulled out Spring 2017.

    Grape - Petite Jewel (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Mislabelled as had seeds. Pulled out fall 2016


  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Blueberries – Chandler (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) Survived. Flowering but not thriving. They don’t like my soil. Pulled out.

    Blueberries – Toro (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) Survived. Flowering but not thriving. They don’t like my soil. Pulled out.

    Blueberries – Duke (Planted May 2014 from Costco) Survived. Flowering but not thriving. They don’t like my soil. Pulled out.

    Cherry - Crimson Passion (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com) – Survived. No dieback. Few flowers starting May 17. Fruit all eaten by worms.

    Cherry – Juliet (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com) – Survived. No dieback. Few flowers starting May 17.

    Cherry – Romeo (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com) Survived. No dieback. Few flowers starting May 17. Fruit all eaten by worms.

    Cherry – Cupid (Planted Fall 2013 from prairieplant.com) Survived. No dieback. Few flowers starting May 17 and flowers lasted the longest of the 4 sour cherries. Fruit July 31 but majority were wormy. Slight sour – hard to tell with the small amount. 5g/berry. 14 brix.

    Mulberry - Seedling (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn) Survived. No dieback. I thought this was a male because it would flower but produce no fruit. This year it actually did produce a couple tiny fruits. Flowered June 12, fruit July 16.

    Mulberry – Illinois everbearing. I severely cut back my seedling mulberry and grafted a bunch of Illinois everbearing I got from someone in Ottawa (zone 5a/b vs my 4b). They grew like crazy putting on 6-8’ of growth. The leaves are huge and with windstorm I lost several grafts due to them breaking at the union. That said I got a bunch of fruit! Flowered June 12 and started fruiting July 16 and continued bearing until August 27. Large, sweet delicious fruits that remind me somewhat of blackberries. We will see how well it survives this winter. I grafted some to suckers from the ground and am deciding if I should cut down the tree completely and change over to the sucker from the ground or just topwork the existing tree completely. It has a 4-5” trunk now so I am loath to just cut it down. I will probably give it 1 more year and decide then.

    Plumcot - Taylors Gold (MARIANA 26-24? Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Really taking off last year. Heavily cut back and I grafted 24 different plum and apricot grafts to it. Started flowering May 16. Produced some fruit but all aborted from PC attack.

    Strawberry – Albion and All Star. They survive over winter but are not happy in my clay soil. The birds get all the berries too. I pulled them out to make a nursery bed for grafted apple and pear rootstocks.

    Rubarb - Victoria? (crown has been propagated in family for +80 years over 4 different moves!) Survived and thriving. Crown break April 24 with first ready to harvest May 18. Over 10kg harvested. Less than last year but I had enough that I did not harvest any in August or September.

    Rubarb - Strawberry Red (Planted May 2014 from Costco) Dead.

    Heartnut – Imshu (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – did not survive winter 2015) Sending up shoots from roots.

    Heartnut - Campbell CW-3 (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – did not survive winter 2015) Sending up shoots from roots.

    Medlar - Giant Breda (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – died back to graft 2015). Struggling along. Probably will die.

    Medlar - Royal (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – died back to graft 2015). Struggling along. Probably will die.

    Heartnut and Medlar are planted on a rural property in quite sandy soil. They got heavily eaten by deer in the fall 2014. Some mice damage over winter 2015. I saw some re-growth from the graft of the medlars last year and they seem to be leafing out this spring from those shoots. The Heartnuts both died down to ground last year but then sent up shoots from the seedling roots. Those shoots appeared to survive this winter and I am letting the grow to see what happens.

    Gooseberry - Black Velvet (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Lots of fruit. Small and tart despite reaching 16 brix 4th week of July. Ripens last week of July – 1st week August. To tart for me and my wife for fresh eating but makes a great jam. Need to cover because birds like them.

    Gooseberry – Tixia (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Died back this year. Perhaps the stress from being defoliated by currant worms last year?

    Gooseberry – Poorman (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Many flowers. Ripens last 2 weeks of July and reached 16.5 brix. Much less acidity and was great for fresh eating. Need to cover because birds like them. In fact the day before I planned to harvest them the birds got 90% of them!

    Less problems with currant worms this year. I regularly looked at my leaves and as soon as I say the eggs (small, poppy seed like clusters) I would remove them .

    Currant - Ben Cowan (Planted Fall 2013 from local) Survived. No dieback. Many flowers. Harvest began July 12. Total 731g so double from last year. 11 brix. This is a small plant, planted in my clay soil from a crappy potted nursery stock.

    Currant - Ben Sarek (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Survived. No dieback. Many flowers. This is shorter plant than Titania with a more spreading nature. Harvest started 3rd week July. 597g in 2017 vs 1097g in 2016. Sweeter this year at 16 Brix.

    Currant – Titania (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree) Survived and flourishing. No dieback. Tall, upright canes. Needs to be staked/supported or the weight of MASSIVE crop will lay the canes to the ground. 2248g in 2017 vs 2576g in 2016 from 1 plant! Peak harvest 3rd week July with some later ripening in 4th week. 16 Brix. I LOVE this plant!

    Currant – Tiben (Planted Spring 2016 from Whiffletree). Only planted last year. I did get some currants but were small and hard, not sure if representative. 922g and 13 brix. Bit smaller berries than Titania.

    I LOVE currants. Easy to grow, you can’t buy them in stores and they laugh at early season frosts.

    Josta Berry - (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree – survived winter). Survived and flourishing. No dieback. Many flowers but hardly any fruit! I have 2 of these planted. They now spread 5 feet x 5 feet. Each plant takes up nearly 2x the area as Titania but Titania gave me 2.2kg of fruit and each of these gave me under 20 berries! 16 brix. They are right next to Titania, Tiben and Ben Sarek so it can’t be pollenization. The berries produced were only as big as my large Titania berries and not even that good. I tore out these wastes of space to make room for a larger garlic bed and more currants.

    Paw Paw – Seedling (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree) - Survived. No dieback. Really taking off this year. Nice healthy looking plant now reaching 2 feet tall.

    Paw Paw - Campbell NC-1 (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree) – Struggling. Hardly any growth each year. I am going to try grafting it to some of the branches of my seedling to make sure I have future pollinators.

    Garlic – Nothing like home grown garlic instead of that no-flavour Chinese garbage. Plant in fall and harvest in summer. Break open your big bulbs in fall and replant. Yum, Yum!

    So to summarize:

    Grafted like crazy. See last years write up for my technique with parafilm. I had 95% + success with a mix of Omega tool, cleft and whip grafting. I even had apple grafts that were lost in the mail for 3 weeks take!

    Bagging apples is for sure the way to go for my backyard scale orchard. The fruit was larger and in much better condition. Storing them in the fridge without removing the bags also kept them in better shape for longer with less “fridge” smell. However earwigs do love to get into the bags, they don’t seem to do damage but they and their poop is gross.

    Next year I will wait to bag my grapes until they just start turning color. I will also move from spur pruning to cane pruning to try and have a less crowded canopy and better airflow to hopefully reduce fungal pressure.

    For my elderberries I will be harvesting 50% of the flowers to make cordial and then leaving the rest for berries.

    As an aside, I got a steamer/juicer from Amazon this year. It is much easier than doing a boil/strain. I would get 50-60% of my yield with a 30min steam, then 25-35% yield with a 2nd 30 min steam, then 15-25% yield with the 3rd 30 min steam. So really no need to steam for more than 1 hr. The steaming yields nice, clean juice and I did not notice any taste difference from the boil/strain method. That said my Apple jelly did not set because the steaming did not release pectin from the skin/steam/seeds like I got from boiling. I will have to add pectin next year. Instead I just boiled up to 220 degrees celcius and made it more of an apple caramel type thing.

    My yard is full now with no further planting planned. I have some more varieties coming from the Parie Plant Repository of USask. In the next 2 years I should be able to taste most of my grafts and narrow down to what I really like and what works well in my zone.

    Looking forward to what 2018 will bring.

  • HU-29493841

    hungryfrozencanuck, copy/pasting what I wrote on your other thread in hope more would see it. Please, what do you think?

    Hi everyone! Regardeng BLACKBERRIES, we here, on the opposie side of the pool, have the same problems of OVERWINTERING the canes and the flower buds. Admittedly I yet have no own experience as I got interested in blackberries only this fall when discovered the existance of the new thornles and prolific varieties. So I read all that was worth reading in the Russian and US internet, especially the rather high-profile specialised forums of our blackberry enthusiasts..

    I discovered that throughout Russia and Kazakhstan which both have areas with very serious frosts blackberry growing in those is nevertheless quite successful. Maybe someone here would benefit from their experience same as e.g. you grow plums of Russian origin such as ptitsin and fofanoff.

    Apparently Blackberries can bring huge yealds in climates with very low winter temps, even downing to -40C for rather ptolonged periods. The TECHNIQUE below allows overwintering without much problem. Plus some easy principles to follow.

    1. All blackberries need to be laid down and covered for the winter, preferably after the first frost when the land is frozen.

    To ensure that this task is easy and hassle free:

    2. Choose thornless varieties only. Those with thorns are said to be hell to lay and cover.

    3. In early summer watch for the new canes (primocanes) to emerge. As soon as a shoot reaches 15-20cm carefully bend it 90 degrees and secure with a metal peg. When the cane grows another 40-60cm, secure it parallel to the ground with yet another peg. After it reaches 1 m let it grow as it will but better tie to the lowest string of the trellis Which gets them out of the way. Do not tip the ends as this would increase the leaf mass. Watch fot all the primocanes in that way.

    4. In autumn at the time of first frosts when all the fruiting canes have long been cut down lay the primocanes in lines stretched along one side of the trellis. Cover with two layers of 60g/m2 thick white non-woven fabric and secure all sides to the ground with no holes. This is said to help greatly even if serious frosts come before the snow. In milder and wetter climates they also put a plastic film layer on top of the fabric, leaving however the end bits open so there is always air circulation. The advice here is to experiment as all natural circumstaces differ.

    5. Take off the cover gradually, and completely only after the danger of frost is over. The canes would bear some yourg leaves and side shoots, but this is ok. Raise them carefully as the canes of come varieties are brittle and tie to the trellis.

    5. Winer frosts may not be a problem, but summers need to be warm or hot. The shorter and milder/cooler the summers, the earlier fruiting varieties should be chosen.

    6. Floricane varieties like PA Freedom in cooler and shorter summer climates may very sucessfully fruit if treated in the same way as other primocanes, i.e. as above. They would be one of the earliest to perform.

    If you have any questions do feel free to write me, I would try to help with more information.

    cathpetro at gmail dot com.

  • steve bossie (3b) ME

    im in z3b northern Maine. i tried overwintering my PA freedoms canes covering them with a 12in. layer of straw and burlap bags. i tried 2 winters and both times they froze to about 2ft from the ground. i finally gave up and took them out. i just bought nelson blackberries from fedco here in maine. supposedly hardy to z4 possibly z3. hopefully they do better here without having to protect them. there are z3 hardy blackberries sold in canada called balsors hardy blackberry but its not offered here in the U.S.

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    I planted 'Balsors Hardy Black' about four years ago and still have yet to get more than a few berries, my climate is just a bit tooo extreme for them, unfortunately! Last summer, I had bent the new developing canes on an angle, so as to make it easier to lay them to the ground for winter. The canes are such mean prickly beasts that also break easily, so not at all easy to work with at all, I hate them actually, lol. Anyways, am seriously considering removing them and trying something like 'Triple Crown' or 'Natchez', that although tender, are flexible and thornless.

  • HU-29493841

    There are some Polish varieties (Polar, Gaj, Bzesina, etc) which are said to be very hardy withstanding -25C to -30C. In Poland they are used in commercial plantations as well as home gardens and in the former never bent or covered to cut on labour cost. The Russian blackberry forum however comments that their crop is twice smaller (like 5 kg instead of 10 per bush) but still this is considered more commercially viable.

    in a private garden, when treated as I wrote in the above post (young short shoots bent to the ground and subsequently covered in autumn), crops for these varieties may be much higher and the zone lower than in Poland.

    Low winter temps really seem not the main obstacle for successful growing. At least in continental parts of Russia like Ufa, with down to -40F (zone 3b?), but with long and hot summers most blackberry varieties thrive and give bumper crops (in good hands). Here in St.-Petersburg, in zone 5 but on the 60th latitude the berries just won’t mature to black except for the very earliest varieties such as Loch Tay, Natchez or Polar and Gaj.

    With Natchez one should be aware that mature canes are very brittle, to be careful when covering/uncovering.

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Yes, fruit maturity is the all important factor here, one can get vines to overwinter when properly protected, though all that work is for nothing if fruit does not ripen in our short summers. At some point, I might also wish to attempt greenhouse plantings and covering the vines heavily with straw for the winter, thus the longer warmer season gives flexibility as to variety selected.

    HU, good to know that 'Natchez' canes are so brittle. What would you consider to be the best of all thornless varieties to attempt? I know of some that have success with 'Chester', though it's too late ripening to get a reliable crop, 'Triple Crown' is said to be two weeks earlier and readily available.

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    Thanks for the comments HU-29493841. How many growing days do you have? I think my overwintering strategy did not work is because I was growing them on a raised mound compost pile so even covered they were exposed to cold temps. I can't grow them on the ground due to heavy clay soil with standing water in spring and fall.

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