Goumi season has begun!

trianglejohnJune 6, 2013

For those of you with poor soil and half day sun (though full sun is better) you might consider growing Goumi berries. They're kinda sour until their final two weeks before they drop, then they get sweet and more cherry like. Easy peazy plant to grow.

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Do you net below them to catch the drop of ripe ones or just taste test to know when to pick?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 10:52AM
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trianglejohn

They tend to hang on until they shrivel so I don't use nets, I just pick and eat. I like them when they are sour and I love them when they are sweet. The biggest problem is that the berries are small. I have one variety that has larger fruit so I may graft it on to the others and just grow it. I have just ordered some cuttings of a type that has super large fruit but no one knows if it is hardy here.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 9:04PM
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m_taggart(7b)

This might be the ticket for me, as I have a few part shade spots that I would like to have planted with fruit. Do you find yourself fighting the birds to get any fruit?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 10:49PM
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trianglejohn

My yard is dominated by one pair of Mockingbirds and one pair of Brown Thrashers. These four keep all other birds away from the fruiting bushes. They do eat berries but not that many - and I have four goumi bushes which could probably feed a small village of humans so I don't miss the few they do eat.

So far this species has not been invasive at all. I have never seen a seedling (and I've been growing them for years and year). They do eventually get kinda big, maybe 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide, but you can prune them to keep them smaller. Their close relative the Autumn Olive is very invasive in NC.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 4:57PM
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brenda_near_eno(Z7a)

Love 'em! Cutting?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:45AM
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trianglejohn

Brenda - I'm gonna try some and maybe some airlayers. We'll see which works best.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:50PM
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ferroplasm Zone 7b

trianglejohn, if you get enough of those airlayered cuttings to root, I'd be happy to pay you for a couple. I'm nearby, in Cary.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:49PM
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trianglejohn

Goumi fruit is normally a tiny berry, a little bit bigger than a green pea. They can be a pain to pick and process into juice or jelly. I bought two named varieties years ago - 'Sweet Scarlet' and 'Red Gem' and at some point I bought a second 'Sweet Scarlet'. While at a fruit nursery in Virginia I picked up a new one named 'Charlies Golden'. It still had its original tag from the breeder, a nursery in Tennessee. It took years to grow big and now that it has matured it is obvious that it is not 'Charlies Golden'. It has much larger berries, about the size of green grape. Flavor is the same. Whatever it is, I prefer it to the others since it is so much easier to harvest and use the fruit. At some point I stumbled upon a blurb online about a larger berried Goumi developed at the same nursery in TN, so I think somehow the tags got switched when they were tiny plugs.

Now, I have also ordered another Eleagnus relative from a nursery in Hawaii. A Chinese variety called So Shang. The fruit on this one is the size of a small plum and has the same flavor. Though it is found in the foothills of the Himalayas I can't find any info on how hardy it is. I plan on planting some of them outside and seeing if they survive our winter and the rest I plan on keeping in pots. If they prove to not be hardy then I may plan on cross breeding them with the large fruited Goumi that I know is hardy. This could take years, but I'm excited to try it.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:41AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

John, I've just located another variety of eleagnus in the yard making a rounder,redder(when ripe) berry smaller than the pea size you describe.
If I do someday find and plant the goumi(multiflora) variety do you think I ought to site it away from the other varieties?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:57PM
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trianglejohn

Dottie - my woods are full of the invasive Autumn Olive and it doesn't seem to cross with my Goumi bushes. They don't always bloom at the exact same time. If you're seeing a small berry now it is most likely an Autumn Olive though the berries are most abundant in September. Another relative called Silverberry blooms in the winter and the berries ripen in late February or March.

My fear is that all it will take is one tiny change in our weather and a lot of our common garden plants will become invasive.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:20AM
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