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Carob in the Pacific Northwest?  RSS feed

 
Ellanor Ellwood
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Location: BC, Northern Gulf Islands
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Does anyone know if Carob will grow and produce seed pods in the Pacific Northwest, zone 8 ?
I was thinking of growing it in a unheated greenhouse to give it a little bit more heat and to  shelter it from all the rain
 
Nicole Alderman
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I'd never even considered growing those here--fascinating! I have no idea whether it can be done, but I'll totally BUMP your thread for you!
 
John Saltveit
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I have read that it's tropical, so no, not enough heat.
john S
PDX OR
 
Ellanor Ellwood
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Ceratonia siliqua, commonly known as the carob tree, St John's-bread, or locust bean, or simply locust-tree, is a species of flowering evergreen shrub or tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. It is widely cultivated for its edible pods, and as an ornamental tree in gardens. The ripe, dried pod is often ground to carob powder, which is used to replace cocoa powder. Carob bars, an alternative to chocolate bars, are often available in health-food stores.

The carob tree is native to the Mediterranean region, including Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the larger Mediterranean islands, the Levant and Middle-East of Western Asia into Iran; and the Canary Islands and Macaronesia. - Wikipedia


there is very little information on the internet about the conditions for growing and ripening of the seed pod. 80% certain the carob tree will survive the winters in zone 8 (arctic  out-blasts might be a problem), also the size of the tree could be a problem if it where to grow in a passive greenhouse. what I am curious about is if the summers in the pacific northwest are long and/or hot enough for the carob to produce it's very very yummy seed pods (taster then 'true' chocolate), also not sure if carob needs to be cross pollinated or not.

i can buy carob powder in the local health food store but it is very expansive

just read the article some more and carob does need a male and female plant, also there is a brief mention about
The most labour-intensive part of carob cultivation is harvesting, which is often done by knocking the fruit down with a long stick and gathering them together with the help of laid-out nets. This is a delicate task because the trees are flowering at the same time and care has to be taken not to damage the flowers and the next year's crop - Wikipedia

this brings up another question how frost tolerant are the flowers?

and one more question i just thought of, how are the flowers pollinated?
 
John Saltveit
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Good post, Ellanor,
The usual problem here in PNW isn't the cold which zone 8 refers to. When Mediterranean or other dry area plants get drowned in our constant winter drizzle, they usually die from diseases they get, not being able to breathe in acidic, often clayey soil.  Capers, for example are very hard to grow in our wet area.
John S
PDX OR
 
Ioannis Kasapakis
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First read this book. https://www.bioversityinternational.org/uploads/tx_news/Carob_tree_Ceratonia_siliqua_L._347.pdf
For more information look and http://allaboutcarob.com/carob-uses/
I don't know about the climate in the zone that you ask but if during flowering period (Aug to Sept for North hemisphere) and fruit repening period July to Sept there are rains maybe you will have problems on fruit setting and with insects in the ripe carob pods. Recarding a previous comment if there are many flowers as usual in mediteranian countries there is not problem when you use vibration by woden stoles to drop down the pods because the percentange of flowers which drop down is very small. 
 
David Hernick
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I have seem beautiful Carob trees at the bus depot in Napa, CA (which get cold). Although possibly the non-fruiting variety since they were street trees.  Their are many fruiting carob trees near where I live in Oakland.  I agree with John S. that the struggle would not be the cold but the constant winter drizzle and soil conditions.  They are a bit hard to propagate by seed but i just had one germinate with out special care so if you are dedicated to having carob trees i think you could find a way.
 
Ellanor Ellwood
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Thanks Ioannis Kasapakis for the ton of info

whats the best way to protect plants from the rain? does putting a lay of sheet plastic down around the tree and out from the tree by about 3 ft (or the radius of the crown) work?

a bit off topic maybe but i've been reading around and mesquite trees also produce edible pods that taste alot alike carob, used in same way to. But i've also read that mesquite trees are so well adapted to the desert that keep on absorbing water until they burst open, they also will steal all the water from a very large area around them selves thus water starving all other plants, can any one confirm this ? Mesquite is invasive in many places so its probably happier growing on the edge of its habitat then carob 
 
John Saltveit
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Some grow peach trees in the PNWet by putting a plastic cover attached to the south side of the house. The tree is much healthier. Might work for carob too.
John S
PDX OR
 
Ioannis Kasapakis
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The problem is not so by the high  soil moisture but with the high atmosphere humidity and rains during flowering  and ripening period. So the plastic film I think will not help. If the above periods tgere are high atm humidity and frequently rains mayby you will had polination problems and priblems with insects and fungi in the ripe carob pods. The fruit set period and harvest period is about the same but with usual harvest practices there is not problem in the young fruits when you harvest the ripe. The ripe much easier drop down than young. Look the following video 
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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