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cold tolerant pomegranates

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Folks!

I've been searching for a cold tolerant pomegranate. I know it is considered a mediterranean plant, but I read the kite runners. The story took place in Afghanistan, maybe Kabul. I'm pretty bad about geography, and I read t he book before we were at war in Afghanistan. Anyway, those boys sat in a pomegranate tree, up in the branches, and threw pomegranates at someone below. In another part of the story, it was winter and there was snow on the ground. The snow was not an unusual thing, they were used to it.

So, see what I mean? There was a pomegranate tree big enough to hold two boys up high in the branches, it bore fruit, and there was a real high desert winter.

I wonder what variety that was, I wonder how we can get some. I wonder if anybody already has such a wonderous thing as a hardy pomegranate.

Thanks for ideas on where / how to obtain this dream tree.

Thekla
 
Adam Klaus
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I'm curious too. I had a pomegranite some years ago in my unheated high altitude greenhouse. It even bore fruit, though I cant recall what the varietal was. The summers are plenty hot under the glass, but winters get cold at times, down to the low teens on the coldest nights inside the greenhouse.

Then it died somehow one winter, I think from too much water. I planted another one, different variety, Grenada I think, and it has never done well.

So there are definitely colder hardy pomegranites. I would be very interested to hear from others about good zone 8, short season, options for pomegranite.
 
John Elliott
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I got mine on sale at Lowe's. Pomegranates are more bushes than trees and seem to be available in most warmer climate zones. I've seen huge ones as tall as a house in Carlsbad, NM (zone eight) and they are pretty common ornamental shrubs in Las Vegas (zone 9). Mine has tolerated the extremely rainy summer this year very well and is putting on lots of growth, so apparently it's not getting overwatered.

You might just ask at your local garden center.
 
James Colbert
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The pomegranate tree in that story was most likely grown from seed and that may be the very reason it survived. Seeds are genetically diverse thus increasing to chance of some individual plants surviving. If I were you I would grow a bunch of pomegranates from seed and see which ones do well. It is cheap so don't worry about failure.
 
Steve Flanagan
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I'm sure the pomegranate in that story was very mature and up in age.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Now why did I not think of starting a thousand seedlings. What a great excuse to eat some pomegranates. Too bad I cant get some pomegranates from Kabul!


I'm still interested in any reports on exixting cold hardy pomegranates


Thanks so much.

Thekla
 
Steve Flanagan
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Whats your growing zone, Thekla?
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Steve, Great question. That got me thinking some more. By the usda temperature zone map, they call it a 6b or 7a, then post the "annual average extreme" lows -5 to 0, and 0 to 5, F. But, last winter our overnight lows were minus 15-minus 17 for several consecutive nights, there in the very coldest part of winter. We don't have those low temperatures every year, just once in a while. But there is something in a plant that makes it not care about averages and means. Right? So, I go by what I know to be our extreme lows that happne every 3 to 5 years.

For fun, I just checked Kabul's climate data available on line. They have record overnight lows (dec, jan feb of minus 12 to 14 degrees F. Not so different from me. They are a higher elevation than where I am in the Grand Valley, Western Colorado.


Unless someone is growing a pomegranate in that situation, I guess the thing to do is get germinating!

Thanks

Thekla
 
Jordan Lowery
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I have a few poms that I grow here in the Sierra nevadas, where winter lows get down to 10-15f depending on the year. The poms do fine With no damage and bear heavily each year. Never payed attention to variety they have all worked.

Starting them from seed is easy and grow good fruit from seed. No cold stratification needed.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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thanks Jordan.

did you just get a few pomegranates at the store, let them rot? Shall I just google pomegranate germination? Seems like if what I want is lots of chances to find the right one, I should start with lots of seeds and start them outdoors in the soil.

Any better ideas?

Thanks
Thekla
 
Jordan Lowery
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Pick the seeds out and clean them ( with your mouth) then wash and plant. I've never started this late but that might help to your goals. I'd try from multiple pomegranates if you can. Don't give up! It may take time but if you follow this path you can bring on new varieties that may change things for the better.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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I've seen pomegranates fruiting in a park in Tokyo, which is warm temperate, maybe USDA zone 8. They get regular frosts in winter and the occasional snowfall there, though melts right away.

There are Russian pomegranate cultivars available from a number of online nurseries which may be the hardiest varieties.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Keep in mind that mature plants can often survive cold spells that would kill younger plants. While the STUN approach (sheer total utter neglect) will select the toughest genetics, you could end up with none. You could baby a few of them through their first couple of winters then once they start producing seed of their own, use that seed (which will likely have started to adapt to your zone) for mass plantings.
 
Renate Howard
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Kite Runner is fiction and the author lived in California, I believe. So unless he remembers pomegranates from when he lived there, it could be a mistake.

The Italians grow figs successfully in Philadelphia, tho, with lots of work - they either wrap them in hay and burlap or dig a trench and bury them for the winter then unwrap/unbury them every spring. I think the theory is that it's the freeze/thaw that harms the plants so the wrapping helps keep a more even temperature.
 
Amedean Messan
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Hi Folks!

I've been searching for a cold tolerant pomegranate. I know it is considered a mediterranean plant, but I read the kite runners. The story took place in Afghanistan, maybe Kabul. I'm pretty bad about geography, and I read t he book before we were at war in Afghanistan. Anyway, those boys sat in a pomegranate tree, up in the branches, and threw pomegranates at someone below. In another part of the story, it was winter and there was snow on the ground. The snow was not an unusual thing, they were used to it.

So, see what I mean? There was a pomegranate tree big enough to hold two boys up high in the branches, it bore fruit, and there was a real high desert winter.

I wonder what variety that was, I wonder how we can get some. I wonder if anybody already has such a wonderous thing as a hardy pomegranate.

Thanks for ideas on where / how to obtain this dream tree.

Thekla


Unfortunately and most regrettably when I was in Afghanistan I did not collect seeds. I did find a nonprofit which hopefully still has active sources in Afghanistan to get those seeds you desire (contact in bottom of page). http://theafghanseeds.org/
 
Renate Howard
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These two sources have Russian Pomegranates, according to DavesGarden.com : http://davesgarden.com/products/ps/go/200951/
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Amedean I sent an email to your source. Thanks, we'll see what happens.

Renate (also my goat advisor I believe, no kids yet,) thanks for the idea of the Russian varieties. I'll check that as well.

Thekla
 
Thekla McDaniels
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For anyone interested in the outcome of this pursuit:

http://theafghanseeds.org/ answered my inquiry, saying they did not sell seeds.

I searched for Russian pomegranates and found two commercially available varieties who are recommended for USDA 7-10 (Salavatski, and Russian, and Russian Giant) Most other named commercially available pomegranate varieties are quoted to be appropriate at USDA 8-10.

If I cannot get land race seeds from coldest pomegranate regions of Russia or Afghanistan, then my plan is to get trees of these varieties and cross them, germinate the seeds, and you can guess the rest.

I've contacted the Afghan American Chamber of commerce, and will also try for a Russian contact. Thanks for all the suggestions. It is amazing how my own thinking is catalyzed when I have people to "talk" to about such things. Maybe if I DO get a new variety I'll name it Permies Pomegranate........

Thanks again
Thekla's
 
S Carreg
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If you need some help on a Russian source I may be able to help, I don't live there any more but I have lots of friends who might be able to mail some seeds. Send me a message if you want to. Pomegranates are a big crop in southern Russia and the Caucasus, not sure on USDA zone equivalents but I would assume something around 5, serious winters there. Mmmm that reminds me of going around the market in Krasnodar, southern Russia, it was March I think and the stalls were overflowing with pomegranates, each stall had a mechanical juicer. You could buy fruit, but most people picked out the fruits and then the vendor would juice them on the spot, nothing in the world quite like instant-fresh pomegranate juice! A liter for something like 20 cents...
 
Ty Thompson
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Unfortunately and most regrettably when I was in Afghanistan I did not collect seeds. I did find a nonprofit which hopefully still has active sources in Afghanistan to get those seeds you desire (contact in bottom of page). http://theafghanseeds.org/

I tried to click on the email links from the website and none of them worked. That's a real bummer for me, since I spent a year in Afghanistan in ,
'06-'07 and the climate there is much like the high desert of Eastern Oregon where I will be living after I finish college. I was in Herat in the west for about 7 months. The climate there is very similar in terms of average temperature, humidity, precipitation, etc as Oregon's high desert, so any seeds I could get from Afghanistan, particularly the colder parts would be good. Kabul is postively arctic in the winter!
 
Ty Thompson
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:For anyone interested in the outcome of this pursuit:

http://theafghanseeds.org/ answered my inquiry, saying they did not sell seeds.

I searched for Russian pomegranates and found two commercially available varieties who are recommended for USDA 7-10 (Salavatski, and Russian, and Russian Giant) Most other named commercially available pomegranate varieties are quoted to be appropriate at USDA 8-10.

If I cannot get land race seeds from coldest pomegranate regions of Russia or Afghanistan, then my plan is to get trees of these varieties and cross them, germinate the seeds, and you can guess the rest.

I've contacted the Afghan American Chamber of commerce, and will also try for a Russian contact. Thanks for all the suggestions. It is amazing how my own thinking is catalyzed when I have people to "talk" to about such things. Maybe if I DO get a new variety I'll name it Permies Pomegranate........

Thanks again
Thekla's



Thekla, if you do have any success getting seeds, please do share your experience here! I've also talked with a gentleman here in Oregon who once planted Apricots from seed he obtained from Ladakh, India, which is a very arid, very cold mountainous region, and am pursuing the possibility of getting some seed from that.

Ty
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Ty,

I'll post something when I know more. Right now, a fellow permie offered to try his contacts in Russia, with serious winter, see if he could get some one to send seeds. That is in process. Once I get seeds, it should be three years at least before I have a chance of fruit.

It's another long term process, but very worth it!

On the topic of apricots, I have 9 ancient trees here. Apricots are quite cold tolerant, and require a certain amount of winter chill (depending on the variety). What makes growing apricots tricky is that they bloom early, which makes them vulnerable to a late frost killing the crop. Here, I get a crop 3 years out of 5. That's because our spring does not come on slowly and steadily. We are on again off again, cna have an early warm spell, and a late snow storm.

If there is to be a conversation on apricots, maybe we need to start a new thread. Or maybe there is already an apricots from seeds thread....

Thekla


 
Rebecca Norman
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About pomegranates, I can attest that they grow outdoors in Kashmir and always have, and that Kashmir gets a nice cold winter, eg they used to be able to cross the lakes in winter over the ice. The tree is bigger than I would call a bush or shrub.

Ty Thompson wrote:
I've also talked with a gentleman here in Oregon who once planted Apricots from seed he obtained from Ladakh, India, which is a very arid, very cold mountainous region, and am pursuing the possibility of getting some seed from that.
Ty


You don't say! Sorry, I just made my annual trip from Ladakh to the US, so I can't help you this year. But in any case I think Ladakhi apricots are probably well adapted to exTREMely dry conditions so perhaps it would be more useful for you to plant varieties that already do well near where you are. Also, stone fruit from seed are very variable -- in Ladakh, there are two excellent locally named varieties of apricots, whereas all the seedlings are extremely variable, and not anywhere as good as the named varieties. The named varieties are, of course, only to be had by grafting. One is tasty when dried, with a sweet edible kernel; the other is extremely sweet and juicy fresh, with a white stone and a sweet edible kernel.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Rebecca,
I am confused on two counts. I thought you were in the US, and travel to India every year, but I guess it is the other way around. These pomegranates you know of, real trees, bigger than shrubs or bushes, are they any where near you? Do you have access to the fruit from such trees? The seeds are quite viable, they sprout easily and grow quickly. I mentioned the possible source through the Wales Russia connection, which may or may not get me seed.

Possibly you can help me with seeds. If I end up with Russian and Indian strains of pomegranate, there is enough germ material to cross them, and select for excellent fruiting characteristics, size flavor color late and early ripening.

Thanks
Thekla
 
Rebecca Norman
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I am from the US, live in Ladakh, and visit the US every year in August.

The pomegranates of Kashmir are a one to two day road trip away, sorry. But the Kashmiri vegetable vendors in our town probably sell them, and since I think this is the season in Kashmir, they might be from there. So how should I try to save seeds for you? Suck, spit, wash and dry them? Or do they have to be kept moist?

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Rebecca,

I think we can go with suck spit dry technique, and I am not sure how necessary the wash cycle is. Probably the most important part is to be sure they are completely dry. It may be a year before they get to come out of dormancy. Mold could happen in that time if they are not all the way dry. I have no idea how humid it is there, but it seems like wrapping them in a scrap of news print type paper would be the best storage if it's dry there. In a cool environment, and out of direct sun. But these are all just guesses.

I found plenty of references that say germinate the seeds without bothering to dry them, but there are two references that recommend drying the seeds, because they will germinate better.

I'll be happy to reimburse you for pomegranates you purchase. I would like at least a couple hundred seeds, and if they were from several different fruits, that would be even better.

Thanks so much!

Thekla

PS, what language do you speak there? Hindi?
 
Rebecca Norman
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Okay, I'll suck a few hundred pomegranate seeds and spit them on a paper and into an envelope for you. It doesn't sound like an unpleasnant or tedious task =) . I've never used PM on this site but it should be easy to for you to send me your postal address, right?
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Rebecca,

How exciting! I thought I would be waiting for you to bring them next August! Instead, I will get to start them a whole year earlier!.

I sent you a PM with a mailing address. There used to be private messages on Permies dot com, but now they have purple moosages with a caution that they are not necessarily private, so I put my employers address there.

Please let me know if there is something you would like to receive that I could ship you. My daughter was in the peace corps in Senegal, West Africa. She spent much of her two years there malnourished, though no worse off than the people she lived with. Still, her hair fell out, and so on. She and her friends longed for peanut M&Ms. Partly for the sugar and chocolate, and probably partly for the protein in the peanuts. They also wanted cheetos....... So, what ever it might be, I would be happy to send you a care package, or make a contribution to the organization where you work, or send you American dollars which you could spend on your next return.

A thousand thanks

Namaste

Thekla

 
Rebecca Norman
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Haha, I'm always weak for things like peanut m&ms and cheetos, but and anyway, I think Paul doesn't want us discussing chemicals and weird foodlike substances here

Actually maybe I'll ask you for seeds in exchange. I wanted to get pawpaw seeds but I couldn't find any in August. If you find a way to get some and keep them in a fridge, maybe I'll ask you to send those along.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Haha, I could imagine accepting peanut m&ms and cheetos, but I think Paul doesn't want us discussing chemicals and weird foodlike substances here

Seriously, maybe I'll ask you for seeds in exchange. I wanted to get pawpaw seeds but I couldn't find any in August. If you find a way to get some and keep them in a fridge, maybe I'll ask you to send those along.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Rebecca,

I will begin Paw Paw seed and germination needs search.

I do know that raintree nursery sells small paw paw plants. I have bought from them many times, and trust them, but I don't know if you could take a plant with you to Ladakh.

http://www.raintreenursery.com/search.php?mode=search&page=2

Are your lips stained red from all the pomegranates yet?

Thekla
 
Rebecca Norman
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Seeds are in the mail to you now! (To the 2nd address you sent me).

When I visited Kashmir in September, this fruit vendor said the yellow ones were local. The non-local red ones were more beautiful and blemish free, but the Kashmiri ones were much juicier and tastier, though the jewels were pale, and the seeds were big and coarse.

I'd be grateful if you could get some pawpaw seeds and keep them in the fridge over the next few months till I find a way to get them over here.
Kashmiri-pomegranates-yellow-2013.jpg
[Thumbnail for Kashmiri-pomegranates-yellow-2013.jpg]
The local Kashmiri pomegranates in this photo are the scabby yellow ones.
 
J D Horn
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Ison's has a Russian variety that they claim goes to Zone 6.

http://store.isons.com/salavatski-russin-pomegranate

Onegreenworld has a Russian and a Ukranian variety listed at Zone 7 tolerance.

http://www.onegreenworld.com/Pomegranate/365/
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hey, JD and Rebecca.

Rebecca, I've ordered seeds from this years fruit. They should be here by early next week. Yay. Frige and moisture for them...

JD, thanks so much for the referrals. I am looking for a zone 5 pomegranate. Though the chart shows me as a zone 6, when I look at the low temperatures associated with the zones, my place gets down to -17 F for a week or two every couple of years. I think that would be a killing spell. The zone 6 pomegranates are my back up plan if I can't get the seeds from Kahmir to germinate.

I just htink it will be so cool to get pomegranates to grow in Colorado!

Again, thanks Rebecca,

Thekla
 
Thekla McDaniels
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PS, Thanks for the photo Rebecca! Those are the grand mothers of MY future pomegranates.

Thekla
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Rebecca,

The seeds arrived today! Thank you so much. I've ordered the pawpaw seeds from the grower in Ohio "Integration Acres". They should be here next week. I'll let you know when they arrive.

Thekla
 
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Dee Dee Lozano
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Burnt Ridge Nursery

Considering ordering this Southern Russian Varietal from Burnt Ridge Nursery to plant in my 6b Mediterranean garden. Says they are rated to -10 F but could be much more cold tolerant once established. Has anyone ordered from them?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Dee Dee Lozano wrote:Burnt Ridge Nursery

Considering ordering this Southern Russian Varietal from Burnt Ridge Nursery to plant in my 6b Mediterranean garden. Says they are rated to -10 F but could be much more cold tolerant once established. Has anyone ordered from them?

You have to be lost on their site to find this. It doesn't come up under fruiting plants. There is no other description and no photos
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAVORITE POMEGRANATE ( Punica granatum)
From southern Russia where it is known as Lubimi. It has survived to 10 F. Orange-red blooms early to mid summer. In hot summer climates, it can ripen mid-sized tasty fruits in fall.
Product ID: NSPGFAV
latin Punica granatum
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I really like the instant orchard nature of pomegranates. They would be considered quite exotic in Canada, which should help me to command a high price. Many of us don't trust organic claims from the U.S. and this bias is something I would use to my advantage.

I have some south facing slope that gets quite hot. I can easily meet the temperature requirements both for summer heat and warm winters. My gravelly, silty soil that is well drained should not pose a problem. Deer and rabbits are the main pests and I assume that nature or my garden provides things that they're more likely to sample.. Birds around here are unlikely to bother the fruit which looks nothing like what nature offers.

My winters are wet with many freeze-thaw cycles especially in the spring. The spots where pomegranates grow naturally are not as wet. Damage from this or frosting of blossoms might be a problem for me.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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These are all fascinating varieties, proving that the pomegranate is no sissy when it comes to cold. However, I tried three named varieties here, provided some protection, without success. Granted they were not these Russian and such, but though the USDA says I am in zone 6 or a 7, what I know for sure is that in a routine winter, maybe once every 3-5 years, we have temperatures down to -17 F overnight, for up to 10 successive nights. That seems a far cry from surviving 10 F.

Thanks to Rebecca, I have 500 seeds to germinate. Some this week, and some in the spring. Pomegranates grow pretty well, getting to be a generous size in their first year. Then comes winter. At one percent survival, I will still have 5 plants. Important to remember is that for every named variety of every fruiting plant, even 150 years later, all those individuals came from one plant. For example, all the granny smith apples in existence are clones of one tree. If I get a plant or two that can survive the -17F, but don't have delicious fruit, then I can begin selecting from among my cold tolerant stock for good fruit. It is an exciting project for me, and might yield a gift to future generations. I like that idea. It might keep me going and interested in life another 62 years! This project makes me feel kinship with all our ancient forebearers, and gives me a daily awareness of the people who may follow us, many thousand generations from now. For now, I like maintaining that perspective.

One day I might give up, but not yet.

Thekla
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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