News

Actinidia Kolomikta – Super Hardy Kiwi

Hardy up to zone 4, super hardy kiwis (or kiwiberries) are vines that produce small tasty berries the size of large grapes. You can expect a yield within 3 – 8 years. They can tolerate a range of soils as long as the area is well-drained but still moist. While less vigorous than the hardy kiwi (actinidia aruguta), they still require a substantial trellis to support their growth. They require a male pollinator, 1 for every 6 – 8 female vines. As wind is the primary pollinator, plant the male to the West or the direction of the prevailing wind.

WARNING: Cats like to eat them and may destroy young vines!

News

Lycium Barbarum – Goji Berry

Also known as Wolfberry, Goji berries can grow is sandy, loamy or clay soils. They require watering during the first year but are drought tolerant after that. They require good drainage and require full sun. They can be grown in zones 2 – 7.

The goji berry grows into a large shrub reaching heights of 7-10 feet with vines that can reach 10 feet. Pruning of the main stem and branches will keep the plant shorter, thicker and help with increased flowering and fruit production.

News

Rubus Fruticosus – Black Satin Thornless Blackberry

Black Satin BlackberryThornless. Vigorous grower that establishes itself quickly with heavy yields, excellent for home gardens. Semi–erect growth habit, but they require trellising or plant them along a fence. Very disease resistant.

Lighting: sun
Plant Height: 5-7′
Ground Condition: Well drained
Spread: 3-5′

ZONE: I’ve seen 3a – 11 posted online. Most references are zone 5 and up. Winter protection in colder climates seems like it may be necessary.

Ripens in early August.

Plant Database

La Crescent Plum

La Crescent PlumLa Crescent (Japanese-American) is a hardy fast growing tree that produces a freestone plum that is yellow skinned with a slight red blush. Its yellow flesh is aromatic and sweet making it an ideal plum for fresh eating, preserves, drying or canning. It requires a pollinator.

ZONE: I’m not entirely sure. The tag says 5 but other online sources say 3 & 4. Zone 4 seems to be the mostly commonly referenced number.

HARVEST: Early (End of August)

Moderate susceptibility to black knot. Aphids can be a common problem to all plum trees.

Plant Database

Hippophae Rhamnoides – Seabuckthorn

Functions/Characteristics

  • roots distribute rapidly and extensively, providing a non-leguminous nitrogen fixation role in surrounding soils
  • tolerant of salt in the air and soil
  • demand full sunlight for good growth/do not tolerate shady conditions
  • typically grow in dry, sandy areas
  • male produces brownish flowers which produce wind-distributed pollen
  • female plants produce orange berry-like fruit (6 – 9 millimeters) in diameter, soft, juicy and rich in oils

For a more exhaustive explanation see: Sea-Buckthorn – A Promising Multi-Purpose Crop For Saskatchewan

Local Musings

4 Season Growing in the North

I’ve been pondering ways to substantially extend the growing season on Manitoulin. My first thought was to build a 2-story earthship across the front of our property. Earthships are typically built for people but I think they would work equally well or perhaps better for aquaculture and agriculture. A 2 story one would have enough space for fish, mushrooms, perennials, annuals and trees and would be passively heated or perhaps require minor supplemental heating. I’m still stoked on this idea but just stumbled into another option with a considerably lighter footprint: geodesic biodomes. I don’t think a dome would extend the season quite as far as an earthship but being (relatively) quick to erect, it could be a good place to start. The aesthetics are quite nice as well which would serve to draw people in which has implicit educational benefits as well.