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Don't waste your time planting from seed.  We have all heard it before, that planting a seed is a 1 in a million shot at producing a good quality fruit.  Weather you believe this or not (I tend to think there are two sides to the seed planting story), the Antonovka Apple bucks this completely. 

Antonovka Apple seeds grow true to type.  Meaning you plant an Antonovka Apple seed, you get a tree that produces Antonovka Apples!  

I currently have Antonovka seeds for sale.  Antonovka trees are full sized trees reaching 15-20 feet.  They are native to Eastern Europe and grow well in USDA zones 4-9.  Antonovka is used for cider, dessert, cooking, and fresh eating.  The fruit ripens late and will store for some time.      

Contact me with you have any interest in planting some out this spring. hunthomesteadfarm at gmail.com  They are currently being stratified and will be ready for spring germination! 


 
 
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Edible November brings us now to the Paw Paw.  In anticipation for my Paw Paw Project launching in the coming weeks I will not go into much detail here (I am told that's what's called a teaser in the TV business).

Important things to know about the paw paw are:

The Paw Paw is a native fruit to North America and much of the eastern coast going up into Canada.  It is also the largest tree fruit by size and weight grown outside the tropics.  It is called the custard banana because it has a tastes similar to banana flavored custard. 

If planting Paw Paw trees this fall make sure be sure to plant them in an area that gets full to partial sun.  2 Paw Paw trees will work great for cross pollination. 

We will get into more details as we explore the Paw Paw in-depth with the upcoming Paw Paw Project posts and videos. 

If you are currently growing or have any questions about Paw Paws I would love to here from you, email me or leave a comment in the comments section.

 
 
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Edible November brings us the Goji.  If you are unfamiliar with the Goji Berry you are not alone.  Most people have never heard of the goji berry let alone have tasted one. 

Those of us that have heard of the Goji probably have heard of it being a "superfood".  Native to Asia the Goji is a staple of ancient Asian cultures because of their medicial and health benefits. 

The goji berry is commonly called the wolf berry in the US.  Common uses for the goji is dried berries, yogurt, teas, and juices.  The goji berry is a smallish shrub and the fruit grows to about the size of a blueberry. 

Plant a few goji berries and enjoy this healthy berry and impress your friends at the same time!

 
 
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Edible November rattles along with one of my favorites, the Cherry. 

While I do have several cherry trees planted I have yet to get any cherries from them just yet.  As with most edibles one must be in it for the long haul.  Cherry trees are no exception to this.  I have 3 year old trees and have yet to get one cherry out of 3 healthy trees. 

Cherries are broken down into 2 camps: sweet which are great for fresh eating and tart/sour which are more for baking and pies.  I am growing sweet cherries and of course they are harder to grow that tart but the benefits that you will get hard outweight a little extra work. 

Sweet cherries are suitable for zones 5-7 and prefer mild, dry summers, which isn't exactly the typical northeast climate.  If you are having trouble growing cherries a great alternative is the bush cherry as it can handle harsh, cold winters.  Look for more on the bush cherry in the coming days!


 
 
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Edible November continues with the Pear. 

The Pear tree is another one of those ornamental landscape style trees, in fact the fruitless Bradford Pear is grown in my a front yard all throughout the country.  Why anyone who grow a fruitless pear tree is beyond me. 

Pear trees will produce fruit in much of the country, most thrive in zones 5-8 with some Asian Pear varieties expanding that zone a bit more.  Be sure to include at least 2 cultivars for best pollination and fruit yield. 

Pears can be eaten fresh off the tree, stored for some time, or made into Perry (the pear version of hard cider).  When deciding which pears to plant you will notice 2 distinct options, a European versus a Asian pear.  They have great differences in fruit shape and both can taste delicious.  If you are anything like me you will plant of few cultivars of each style! 


 
 
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Day 9 of Edible November brings us to the Apricot tree.  Apricot's like many of our other edibles can double as a ornamental landscape tree.  Reaching 20-30 feet at maturity apricots might be the envy of your neighborhood.  Their abundant spring flowers will attract pollinators for miles.  

If you live in a region that gets late frosts be sure to plant late blooming varieties or plant your trees on the north side of your property.  This way your trees wont flower too early and risk being lost with late frosts. 

Apricots ripen from July to the end of August.  Picked straight off the tree ripe apricots don't have a long shelf life but they sure are delicious eaten under the shade of the very same tree.  A great way to preserve the harvest is to dry your apricots ensuring you will be enjoying apricots well into the following growing season. 

 
 
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Hardy Kiwi is the next plant up in our Edible November series.  I know what you’re thinking, “Kiwi will never survive my snowy winters”.  Yes you are right, but Hardy Kiwi will!  The Hardy Kiwi is more like a vine than a tree or shrub.  They produce tasty grape to small egg size fruits.  Like their name states, they are very hardy growing vigorously from Canada to Florida.   

To get fruit from Hardy Kiwi you need both male and female plants.  A 1 male to up to 6 female ratio will work for backyard plantings.  Ripening in late summer, kids love eating fresh Hardy Kiwis straight from the vine.  They will often take 2-3 years to bear fruit but once they do you will get massive amounts!  Mature Hardy Kiwi plants regularly yield 50 and sometimes up to 100 pounds of fruit and when picked before fully ripened can be stored for nearly 2 months.  Picked fully ripe Hardy Kiwis are a great snack fresh, skin and all.

Hardy Kiwis are also high in Vitamin C, over 5 times higher than oranges.  Because of their rapid growth they do require biannual pruning and usually a sturdy trellis/support system.  Given the opportunity Hardy Kiwi will climb up a tree or side of a house.  Left unmanaged it will most likely kill your tree and damage your house.  A simple staking system with a 4X4 post, heavy spring and fall pruning will do the trick.  People that complain about an out of control hardy kiwi often planted them in the wrong spot or have failed to prune them twice a year. 

Like most homegrown fruit picking Hardy Kiwis make a great adventure for the whole family.

 
 
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Edible Novermber Day 7 introduces us to the Seaberry.  Another uncommon fruit that you are missing out on is the Seaberry or Sea Buckthorn.  The Seaberry is a great medicinal fruit, it is high in vitamins and omega fatty acids.  Before we go too far, here is your disclaimer, it does have a large amount of spikes or thorns.  So no you don’t want your kids playing unsupervised in the seaberry patch!

Seaberries grow in much of the country spanning USDA hardiness zones 2-8.  They are very cold hardy being grown in Siberia for centuries.  They will bear fruit in 2-3 years and have little maintenance needs and no need for pruning.  They are also deer resistant.  Seaberry provides a great bird habitat for nests but they don’t seem to eat the berries.  Seaberries are a nitrogen fixing shrub which means they mine nitrogen from the subsoil and the air.  This cancels any need for fertilizer as it supplies its own.  It also means plants and trees around it will also benefit from the nitrogen it harvests.  Planting a few seaberries in between your other fruit trees will be bring a benefit to them all. 

Seaberry shrubs produce bright orange berries in late summer and fall.  The edible Seaberry is high in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E.  Squeezed they can be made into juice (make sure to add sweetener) or tinctures.  The seaberry leaves have been used for tea making for centuries, seaberry oil is great for the skin, there are many more uses for Seaberries. 

Planting a few Seaberry plants will have you harvesting healthy berries and leaves for years.



 
 
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Day 6 of Edible November brings to us the Medlar.  Contrary to the apple which most everyone can recognize, the Medlar isn’t seen in many backyards or orchards.  And people are missing out on big opportunity by not growing this delicious fruit tree. 

The Medlar has been grown since the Roman times and it has the rare distinction of producing great fruit well into the winter.  The Medlar is a small tree, it is almost shrub like so it can be put into small yards or spaces.  Medlars grow in much of the country thriving in USDA hardiness zones 5-9.  Medlar will often live 30-50 years with a little care.    

The Medlar fruit picked fresh from the tree is hard and acidic.  Be sure to pick your fruits after the first frost.  You don’t want to eat a fresh tree picked Medlar.  Medlar’s, much like a persimmon, needs to be bletted.  Blet is just a fancy word for sitting it on your counter for a few week where a Medlar becomes soft and delicious.  Once properly bletted a Medlar’s skin will turn soft and wrinkled.  Eaten fresh they taste a lot like cinnamon flavored applesauce, a kid pleaser for sure!  Medlars are also used in jellies and preserves.  Wine enthusiasts also enjoying making Medlar wine from extra fruit.

Planting a Medlar this fall you can expect to have your tree producing fruit in as little as 3-5 years.  Medlars are self pollination so you only need one tree to get fruit.  This makes it a great tree for tight places.  That being said I always like to plant a few trees of all my varieties that way if one happens to die I will still have Medlars for years to come.

 
 
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Day 5 in Edible November brings us the American Persimmon.  The American Persimmon is a widely unknown and under utilized tree. 

American Persimmon is another edible that can be grown in much of the US surviving in minimum temperatures of -20 degrees.  Persimmons are faster growing large trees that bear an orange size fruit.  Make sure to plant several as you will need both male and female plants to actually get fruit.   

American Persimmons are astringent meaning they will pucker up your mouth if you eat them right off the tree.  They need to blet which is a fancy word for sitting them on your counter for a few weeks until they get soft and mushy. 

Once mature Persimmon trees are heavy bearers and may need to be thinned or branches braced to avoid breaking.  American Persimmons fruit late in the season, usually September to December.  They make a mouthwatering edible as well as having many medicinal uses as well. 

Plant a few persimmon and you will have delectable edible fruits all fall and well into winter.