'Pushing the zone': who has grown tropical & similar delights...

ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited August 2019 in Our Garden: Growing Food

Assume bananas can't be grown in Puget Sound WA ? - Think, again... "David the Good" is also a GN member, and he succeeds in large part because 1st. he got the idea, & then he faithfully... experiments, as do we all. His latest book https://www.amazon.com/Push-Zone-Growing-Tropical-Gardening/dp/9527065704

What Tropicals, & plants usually fruiting in desert-areas, have you tried growing to varying success, that you can encourage others to also give a Go... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4oJ9RXAV3c

This has fascinated me for years, & am growing various such plants. This year in zone 8A we got two FIGS, yes !


  • Alison
    Alison Posts: 179 ✭✭✭

    I live in a cold climate in NSW Australia and am trying cool climate bananas. Others have said they can keep them alive but never get a harvest.

    At the moment I have a dwarf banana tree in a giant pot which is sitting on a mechanics dolly inside my house as I try and finish of a small greenhouse.

    My plan is to have a removable roof made of lightweight pine and suntuf so I can keep the top off in summer to stop it getting too hot, allow any rain in and so they aren't impacted by any mould issues from humidity etc.

    I am growing both cool climate and regular avocado trees here. The 'regular' one's are in a micro climate area and, while they are small, look ok so far. None have produced, though I don't expect them to for a few years yet as they were all either grown from seed or very small when purchased.

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 425 ✭✭✭✭

    I grow turmeric in the Ozarks. Since I lost my greenhouse in a wind storm, it doesn't get to the flowering stage but I still get a nice harvest of bulbs.

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 815 ✭✭✭✭

    I have three citrus trees in pots; does that count? They go outside in warm weather and inside in cool. The only one that produces regularly is the calamondin. Calamondins are a small, juicy, and very sour mandarin. Not typically eaten out of hand, but terrific for cooking. I've made calamondin pies(kind of like key lime), marmalade, salad dressing, and candied peel. It's very healthy and productive and I highly recommend it.

  • bejer19
    bejer19 IllinoisPosts: 59 ✭✭✭

    I have not personally tried but am interested in the idea of it. Having a good understanding of the microclimates on your land seems key for something like this. Also, you can just work on climate manipulation on the small scale too. I learned about this guy growing bananas and other tropical crops at his property in the Rockies during my permaculture class and thought it seemed pretty amazing! Uses a series of greenhouses and experimentation.

    Here's an article on him: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gy5ejy/how-one-man-is-managing-to-grow-tropical-fruit-in-the-rocky-mountains

  • drpclarke
    drpclarke Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I planted a moringa tree just because it looked cool. I accidentally did this without doing my research. I am hoping for the best, but we will see after the first frost and winter hits this year. I don't mind experimenting with different type plants especially since I am on the border of Zone 7 and Zone 8 (literally 2 miles away from the other zone).

  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    We are in zone five and have a huge fig that is permanently planted outside and grows back from the ground every year (usually reaching over 7 foot) - we do surround it with a temporary fence filled with autumn leaves in the fall to help it weather the winter temps. We also grow things in pots to bring inside that are not winter hardy here - this year we are trying turmeric, ginger, and pineapples :)

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,642 admin
    edited August 2019

    North American prairie zone 2b/3...I did cotton, but had to bring it indoors to finish. I fit 4 seeds from my plant...and lots of aphids. :(

    I tried sweet potato, and got lovely plants, but no harvest.

    I do my great experiments indoors and have no greenhouse. I have had mango & have pineapples, lemon, orange, avocado & coffee trees, dragon fruit, ginger & lemongrass.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 803 ✭✭✭✭

    I am trying moringa as well. I planted one and have the other in a large pot. Hopefully they will make it because i take it every morning lol.

  • ines871
    ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2019

    Thank you to everyone who responded thus far with your Attempts, & too successes. Keep them coming...

    @blevinandwomba You bet pots count. 🙂 If it weren't for pots our food-Forest would be history . Literally 100's of pots (9/10 empty still) are sittin' around here. Thanks for sharing about your "Calamondins - a small, juicy, & very sour mandarin"

    @Laurie - read your post 3x & still don't understand: How tall is the Ceiling in your house? - or were you growing them just to have Miniature... trees for company ? inside, while your 2b/3 zone is howling out most of the year? - Can you explain more?

    @chimboodle04 another Fig, yeah!. What variety ? We have 4 kinds (mainly I like plants in 2 or 4 as all Good things come in 4's 🤗 like LOVE+life+good+Food+bush+tree+vine+More good 🤩 & re "temporary fence filled with autumn leaves to help it weather winter temps." - How did you 1st. plant it in the ground? - Our tallest 1 is now 3+ feet & the poor thing is still sittin' on grass waiting... to get its Ground-home.

    @seeker.nancy - Moringa, eh? - Are you hoping for it to succeed for you too, (along with me) because the ENTIRE wonder (roots+trunk+leaves etc) Edible... Can it get any better than this. - To that my better 1/2 said "it could grow steaks" LOL

    @merlin44 growing "turmeric in the Ozarks." Well in that case, gotta get it going here in 8A too ? - Like Nancy is with her daily Moringa supplement, - so do I take 4 to 8 grams Curcumin daily . Hey honest engine, after just 1 week of this amount the non-stop roar in R-ear stopped & my acute hearing returned. Too Leaky gut calmed right down, as evidenced by me losing 4 lbs. of fluid retention between sternum & navel. - at this rate can shortly see fitting back into my Ska8ing dresses, YES! - And I hear that turmeric grows Tall,,, goody.

    Now what else of a good nature can we dream about, enough to give such plants a Go, too ?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,642 admin

    @rainbow Haha...I wish we had a tall ceiling! Our ceiling is of standard height. I will prune as I can to keep some of these smaller for as long as possible, but right now, all are young plants. I don't ever expect to get anything from the citrus & avocado, but everything else has potential to bear its fruit for me.

    My grandpa grew a lemon tree indoors. It was lovely. Then one summer, when it was quite large, he put it out. He left it out until it finally froze that fall. :( I would hope at that point, I could donate it to a place that would take it. I would have a hard time doing what my grandpa did.

    Ideally, I would love to have either a greenhouse or a house with at least one room with a very tall ceiling.

    With the cotton comment, it should read that I *got* not *fit.*

    The sweet potato was an outside experiment.

    Does this help clarify?

  • ines871
    ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes @Laurie - the Indoor clarification helped, thanks. - So as you keep Fruiting plants inside, what do you use to catch water? I've tried putting down tarps with a 1-ft. walking space between, & pizza-pans, & cake-sheets, etc. scavenged from stuff others dump.

    Also re your pruning "mango, pineapples, lemon, orange, avocado & coffee trees, dragon fruit, ginger & lemongrass." - Fascinating. - That gave me the idea to try some even just for the Pruning-practice, lol - oh, that & Grafting... I haven't gotten the hang of that yet, so my fellow Society members graciously do that part for us.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,642 admin

    Glad to hear, @rainbow !

    Well, we get water from a (somewhat distant) spring for our drinking water, so that is what I also use to water my indoor plants. I have used a rain barrel in the past to catch rain water from the roof, not like there would have been much this year. I need to find another barrel since mine got holes.

    I love pruning. Some woods cut like butter...and those are super fun to do. I love to prune ash trees. My little trees indoors don't need shaping yet as they are very young and don't have enough branches that indicate any need to prune, so I am waiting, and loving. 😍 The potentially large ones seem to be slow growers at this point, for which I am grateful.

    I have cut the little suckers off my dragon fruit and am training it to stand upward.

    Youtube is very helpful for teaching pruning & grafting if you don't have a person to show proper techniques. I learned various pruning techniques at the nursery, but some plants are done in unique ways, and that is where YouTube can be useful to me.

  • ines871
    ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Laurie so I had asked "what do you use to catch water? I've tried putting down tarps with a 1-ft. walking space between, & pizza-pans, & cake-sheets, etc. scavenged from stuff others dump." - iow asking what you use to Protect... the floor (or carpet) with?, as No more mold, even as this 16x18 ft. room gets Southern sun, with access to the outside.

    Wondering what Nutrient-rich foods (aside Sprouts) could be grown in said room that only need limited water?

    Aside the house already painted Forest-green, what else would be needed to call this space a "real Green-house" ?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,642 admin

    @drpclarke @seeker.nancy Wikipedia says that moringa is "often cut back annually to 1–2 m (3–6 ft) and allowed to regrow so the pods and leaves remain within arm's reach."

    Just a pruning note. 😉

    I learned all about this new-to-me tree today. What a wonderful tree!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,642 admin
    edited August 2019

    @rainbow I thought that was an odd question. Now I understand! 😂 I have the usual plant saucers & boot trays. I do have some solid backed cork things under some of the saucers. I check underneath all of these periodically.

  • ines871
    ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Laurie re your "solid backed cork things", -- Amazon replied "Round Cork, Water Absorbent - Perfect for Plants, Hot Pots, - 5 1/2", 6 1/2", 9 1/2", are those what you use?

    Also re TGN-Rules, are we allowed to post an address off the web? - For example yesterday I was asked re "zone 3" plants in another of my discussions. But since I don't understand half of TGN Rules, I gave the poster the exact phrase to search for, & another resource, instead of the 3 Direct addresses.

    Plus, with my already life-long anxiety, & Cortisol-level totally off the chart, I need to be able to Stop suffering a PANIC-attack every time I post. So since you posted that to you the Rules are "easy" to understand, would you Please explain those I don't understand, in that thread ?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,642 admin

    @rainbow That sounds correct. Some have a solid side, some are just cork.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 803 ✭✭✭✭

    @Laurie yes that is right about pruning. They will get to ten feet tall with fewer blooms and pods otherwise. One source said at least twice a on pruning. Another said that when you know it's going to freeze for the first time to strip all the leaves off for use since the frost will kill them anyway. Mine are still small, although the one I put in the ground is about 2 feet now. Sorry your name is not tagged, I keep trying and all it will do is say "Loading" This started yesterday, not sure why. Obviously it works for others lol. It also does not have the symbols at the bottom for loading pictures, just the emojis and one for embedding. If it doesn't get better soon I'll have to report it I guess lol.

  • ines871
    ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Pruning? <- oh that. Yeah, one of these days out in the Rainbow, & other plants I'll start pruning too :)

  • anectarine1
    anectarine1 Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    I’m growing a lemon tree with not a lot of success so far and a coffee tree!

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

-Mahatma Gandhi