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Aronia berry wine and propagation

 
Russell Olson
Posts: 179
Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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Every fruit I have currently I want more of, and since I already have these fruits I can propagate my own from seeds, cuttings, etc.
The best way I've found is to make wine from my fruit, let the yeast work for awhile and gather the remaining pulp/seeds, then plant it in a furrow or swale or just bury it wherever I want it.
So far I've gotten many grape vines this way, and last fall I added Aronia berry to my grape wine, lo and behold I got Aronia seedlings popping out of the grape furrow this spring.
This year I've made a Nanking cherry mead, a grape wine, and now an Aronia mead.
Delicious wine and mead aside, I have acquired seeds for hundreds( thousands?)of potential seedlings and have direct sowed them in strategic spots in my gardens, and forest gardens. The grapes I planted along my fence lines and brush barriers, the Nanking cherries in swale mounds, and the Aronia will be put in several spots.
A few items I've learned about the Aronia berry.
They are a good source of early flowers for pollinators, and bridge a gap between fruit blossoms and summer for me.
I like them raw, to me they are like a blueberry skin wrapped around a soft piece of oak with a tannin taste that puckers in a good way. They are known as chokeberries for a reason though not everyone's cup of tea. However they add wonderful color to wine and the oaky berry taste stands up well to fermentation.
They have the highest antioxidant level of any fruit, they are purple like a blueberry wishes it was.
I've never seen bugs or disease on them, and they seem to grow with little care, I even saw some planted by the highway up here in MN.
They have a deep red fall color which makes them a good candidate for edible landscaping.
As for separating the seed, I found tonight the pure Aronia pulp doesn't separate as easily as other softer berries, they have a woody bit holding the seeds. I planted the pulp last fall, I had hoped to save some pretty seed but I think it's more work than I care to do in this quantity. A few berries could be sorted through easier for clean seed and should yield plenty if you're interested in that.
There does seem to be quite a few dud seeds as you can see from the pictures, we'll see what the germination rate is in the spring.
Cheers!
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Aronia mead bubbling
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Seed pulp and white dish for sorting
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Seeds after more effort than I care for, with duds
 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 643
Location: cool climate
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Did you germinate the aronia yourself? Aren't they tricky to germinate? I bought 3 plants here in Australia, there are no eating varieties here as far as I know and the fruits tasted terrible!
Would I maybe have more luck by germinating seeds of a known strain?
 
Russell Olson
Posts: 179
Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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Angelika Maier wrote:Did you germinate the aronia yourself? Aren't they tricky to germinate? I bought 3 plants here in Australia, there are no eating varieties here as far as I know and the fruits tasted terrible!
Would I maybe have more luck by germinating seeds of a known strain?


I bought the original 2 plants , they are seedlings of Viking. I can appreciate the taste is not everyone's cup of tea, I enjoy them. They are not sweet berries.
I do think they taste better with cooler weather and full ripeness too.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 140
Location: Officially Zone 7a, nearer 6b, SW Tennessee
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I scored 3 of these, 4 ft tall and already producing. $5 each! They have enough side shoots for me to air layer two new plants per pot. Equals 9 plants! Yay!
Ahem, assuming they like being layered. Anyone have success with this?

As for taste, I would describe them as astringent sweet, with a touch of waxiness. Even so, mine are well within my family's pleasant range.

In your zone, how much sun do they like?
 
Russell Olson
Posts: 179
Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:I scored 3 of these, 4 ft tall and already producing. $5 each! They have enough side shoots for me to air layer two new plants per pot. Equals 9 plants! Yay!
Ahem, assuming they like being layered. Anyone have success with this?

As for taste, I would describe them as astringent sweet, with a touch of waxiness. Even so, mine are well within my family's pleasant range.

In your zone, how much sun do they like?


I haven't personally done much layering yet, though I intend to add that to my propagation toolkit eventually.

I have them in fullish sun, simply because they are planted on the southern edge of my orchard, I however have seen them produce and grow in landscaping in some rather shady spots(east facing wall, northeast facing wall)

If you have a few berries to spare I would recommend trying to direct seed them outside. Turn up some soil, mush the berries up and dump the slurry into the spot.
My 1st year seedlings ended up around 6'' this fall, but I gave them no attention at all(weeding, watering, thinning).
 
Bill Erickson
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Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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Chokecherries grow like a weed around my place. The birds spread them with great abandon and eat all the fruit if the yellow jackets (wasps) don't get them first. They are a bit on the tart side, but my Bride makes and awesome jam from them, when we successfully defend against the birds.

I like your method of getting them to propagate, Russell. I'm not a drinker of alcohol, but the Bride probably likes a taste of the grape from time to time.

 
John Weiland
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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@Russell O.: "I've never seen bugs or disease on them, and they seem to grow with little care, I even saw some planted by the highway up here in MN."

With the exception of rabbit and rodent predation, I agree with you on this....in addition to the great flavor and hardy constitution.  This is the first year our Juneberries got hammered by insect and disease damage to the point of being unharvestable.  The aronia berries in the same location were unscathed and are setting good berries still on their way to ripening.  We also are starting to see the effects of scattering seed and pulp after several years of harvest and processing.  Just recently moved two wild grape plants out of the discard area where the seed had produced seedlings and will be trellising up not far from a hardy Concord.  There are some years the Concord produces nothing, but the with the diversity of the wild grape along the river, we nearly always find some plant that is producing enough for jam and storage.  This year the Concord is pretty heavy with grapes.....which is good because our apple trees are pretty lean.
 
steve bossie
Posts: 224
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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i have 2 aronias galijanka cultivar from poland. they are 2 yrs. old and have some berries on them. i also got 2  extra plants from limbs on the ground that rooted. just bury a branch and they root easily! my goumi and black currants produced berries for the 1st time this year. black currants are pretty tasty. waiting for the goumi to ripen!
 
Eric Thompson
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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Aronia are pretty easily layered , and just heaping dirt around the base (which usually has several stems) will make the stems form additional roots that can be trimmed off when dormant..  Cuttings and seeds can also work, but these rooted starts are fastest..
 
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