[NAFEX] extream climate fruit

Sheridan Shumway rattler_mt at yahoo.com
Mon May 19 13:32:33 EDT 2008

havent introduced myself to the board. ive been
reading the list for a couple months now and started
responding late last week. basically im a young
married guy with 2 stepdaughters working for a weekly
newspaper living in northeast Montana. i come from a
huge family tree of gardeners and farmers. 

i live in probably one of the roughest parts of the
lower 48 to try and grow fruit outside of high
elevations. im at about 2000 feet in elevation out on
the northern plains. we get about 12 inches of rain a
year on average, its common for us to see day time
highs of -30 to -25 for a week or two or 3 in the
winter and night time lows of -40 to -60 and this is
before wind chill and the wind is always blowing to
some extent. minimal to no snow cover is common. last
frost can be anywhere from about April 15 the first
week of June, first frost can be the end of September
but mid October is the norm for the first hard frost.
in our summers we will see over 100 every summer with
108 or so far from unheard of but the daily highs in
the high 90's is normal for July and August....low
humidity is the norm year round.

sounds like a fun place to live huh? add to all this i
live in a county the size of the state of Rhode Island
and have around 10,000 people living in it so i dont
have much in the way of local people to quiz on fruits
especially oddball ones which is why im glad someone
pointed me twords this list.

the wife and i bought a house in town 2 years ago with
a large yard....we got it for a good price cause the
yard was trashed which is fine cause no matter what i
would have prolly ripped out most the yard and started
over anyway. growing up my parents had a couple of
huge lawns and i grew to dislike mowing, add that to
the fact if im going to dump water on something i want
something nice to look at like flowers or something to
eat like fruits and veggies. 

so far after ripping out several chinese elms,
cottonwoods and lilac bushes we have planted 3 apple
trees(Firecraker, Honeycrisp and i forget the 3rd) all
made it through their first winter just fine. we are
putting in a large raspberry patch as they are my
wifes favorite, we have 4 varieties so far, some
plants now two years old, some one, and some planted
this year. also picked up some arctic raspberry plants
this year cause they looked interesting but i figure
like strawberries i will be fighting the robins for
them. i planted a weeping and a contorted mulberry
last year and they both made it through the winter. so
far 2 out of 4 hardy kiwi(A. arguta) have started to
leaf out after their first winter. 

i have an "edible hedge" between our house and the
neighbors started which consists of red currants, one
white currant, a couple honeyberries that made it
through their first winter, Saskatoon berries(3
unknown and one cultivar i purchased this year), a
nanking cherry and a male seaberry and a
female(Sunny).......more will be added next year.

we also have a gooseberry the wife picked up from a
nursery for grins last year, no name on it, not only
did it make it through the winter unharmed but it was
leafing out before the tulips on the south side of my
house were up and is full of blooms at the moment that
are making a couple of bumblebee's very happy. it
didnt produce any fruit last year so i dont know if i
like gooseberries yet. we also had a concord grape get
through its first winter as well as a amur grape that
i planted intending on it being more of an ornamental
for the fall color.

other than a couple of raspberries i have yet to
sample fruit from any of these and truly have no clue
if im going to like them though im sure the apples
will be fine. however given my remote location i have
little choice but to grow them myself and try them
cause i cant find anyone locally growing much of
anything but the native chokecherries, and crab type
apples and strawberries and raspberries. 

any suggestions on things to try? other species? other
varieties, especially table grapes....ive got seeds
coming from 4 other hardy kiwi species, Akebia
quinata, Schizandra chinensis and alpine strawberries
to try. i like growing oddball stuff. 

Sheridan S.
northeast Montana
zone 3/4


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