One plan my husband and I have upon moving up to our future homestead is to line the frontage of our property along the road with pomegranate and olive trees. We love pomegranate trees – pomegranate juice, pomegranate jelly, pomegranate wine… Need I say more? And then don’t get me started about them being called “superfruit”. The amount of antioxidants in pomegranates is phenomenal!
In the back yard of our current home in the valley, we were pleasantly surprised with a pomegranate tree a few years ago. It’s what we affectionately call our volunteer pomegranate, and it graced us with some fruit last year. The pomegranate fruits were small and a bit misshapen, but we loved them all the same. Unfortunately, the little bird who planted the tree for us didn’t tell us what variety it is, but we suspect it is a “Wonderful” as that is the variety most of the local nurseries in our area offer, and this variety is also the one grown next door. 🙂
Last summer I happened upon two forlorn little pomegranate trees at our local discount grocery store. They were the last two trees available, had broken and dead branches, and looked like they really needed some TLC. They were only 99 cents each! I am always a sucker for an underdog (and a bargain basement deal), so I snatched them up, brought them home and potted them into some fairly big pots. Then I gave them some love.
This year, as small as they are, they decided they were happy enough to bloom! Of course, they couldn’t compete with the larger volunteer tree (which was covered in blossoms), but bloom they did! Unfortunately, like the larger tree, I am not positive what variety of pomegranate the babies are. There were no tags, no labels, just written on the pot the words “pomegranate”.
So, although I am happy with my two baby trees no matter what variety they are, I decided to do some research on what other type of pomegranate tree we will be planting up on our future homestead, because it will be time to buy them and plant them before you know it!
My favorite place to buy trees of any kind is at the Peaceful Valley Nursery in Nevada City here in California. All of the trees in our orchard on the future homestead have come from this nursery and we haven’t been disappointed yet!
So I decided to see what varieties of pomegranate trees this nursery offers, since this is probably where we will make our purchase again. Right now the catalog shows pretty much every fruit tree is sold out because most of the trees they sell are bare root, and this is not bare root season. However, having been a loyal customer of this nursery for several years, I know they usually carry the same stock year to year.
I have just a few requirements for my pomegranates: 1. More juice than seed, 2. Can survive temperatures down to 25 degrees fahrenheit in the winter and up to 90 degrees in the summer, and 3. don’t need too much sugar to sweeten the juice.
Peaceful Valley Nursery carries six varieties of pomegranate:
Parfianka: Large, deep red fruit with slightly acidic flavor. Zones 8-10. Harvest from Sept 5 to Oct 10.
Sweet: The outside is greenish yellow with a slight blush, but is one of the sweetest varieties of pomegranate. Zones 7-10. Harvest from Sept 8 to October 12.
Kashmir: Intense flavor that is non-acidic, medium sized. Zones 8-10. Harvest from Oct 1 to Nov 1.
Wonderful: This variety (most common) has large fruit with a delicious, tangy flavor. Zones 7-10. Harvest from Sept 8 to Oct 12.
Ambrosia: Huge fruits – up to 3 x as big as the Wonderful with sweet-tart juice. Zones 7-10. Harvest from Sept 5 to October 10.
Eversweet: Sweet, virtually seedless fruit. Clear, nonstaining juice. Zones 7-10. Harvest from September 10 to Oct 15.
Since we are on the edge of USDA Zone 7 (almost 8), I think I should eliminate the varieties that do not list Zone 7. Better safe than sorry. Although a pomegranate tree doesn’t mind a freeze and will die back a bit but be just fine the next year, a hard freeze for several days/nights in a row could kill the tree.
So, that leaves me with: Sweet, Wonderful, Ambrosia and Eversweet. Any of these should do well, but I am completely smitten with the Eversweet! Huge fruit, almost seedless, with clear, nonstaining, sweet juice! What’s not to love! I also want Ambrosia because of the size of the fruit! I would assume that large fruit makes harvesting and preparing easier (but, you know what they say about assuming). I am pretty sure we already have two Wonderful.
So – I think my order for next fall will be three Eversweet and three Ambrosia pomegranate trees! That should be a good start. My next research will take me into the world of olives. Yum!
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