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Rare Fruit Trees Thrive Amid California Drought

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August 6, 2015 1:09 p.m.

When in Drought, Turn To Rare Fruit Trees In San Diego


Nan Sterman, garden designer/host, "A Growing Passion"

Maddie Wichman, co-chair, California Rare Fruit Growers Festival of Fruit

Related Story: Rare Fruit Trees Thrive Amid California Drought


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Orange juice, lemon's, Lyons. You find them Oliver San Diego. The problem is, they all need a lot of water.
With everyone's attention on California's drought and limiting outdoor watering, is a growing interest in trying out water wise type of fruit trees.
Have you ever heard of loquat. The California rare fruit dollars host of the Festival of fruit in San Diego.
Joining me is Nan Sterman, garden designer/host, "A Growing Passion". Also Maddie Wichman, co-chair, California Rare Fruit Growers Festival of Fruit, Maddie, are you finding more people getting interested in growing rare fruit because of the draft?
I don't think they recognize growing rare fruit in a drought climate we may have lost Maddie. Let me ask you, is there more interesting in rare fruit?
There is more interest in drought tolerant bridge. The last couple years is one of the topics I get asked to speak about most often.
Give us a sense of the different types of drought resistant fruit trees and shrubs that can be grown in San Diego County.
Some of the things we grow regulate fall into that category. Like pomegranates in figs. Olives, there are some rare things as well. Chinese date is a really interesting fruit, it's shaped like a date, you can eat it fresh and has a picture of an apple, drive, it's a bit more spongy and very sweet.
Carob is very drought tolerant. There are other things as well. It's things that aren't really varies, a little astringent and very sweet. And ripens right about now.
Some contracts some grow on trees. There's also fines and succulents.
On average, how much less water to these particular require than your average suggests tree.
Is not a specific volume. When you look at it, you have to Deepwater citrus regularly. With a lot of these fruits, once they are established, you don't have to necessarily water them at all, depending on where you are.
Near the coast, a lot will do fine to the summer with fewer irrigations.
Inland where it's hotter, you want to irrigate that maybe once a month.
Maddie? Welcome back. Can you give us an overview of topics and speakers going to be featured on the Festival of this weekend go
On Saturday, it's an all day event starting with a botanical explorer. He's going to kick it off with an common fruit from dry regions of the world.
After that, we have four speakers speaking throughout the day so have a total of 16 speakers, some of the things they will be touching on our propagation of fruit, containing suburban orchards specific to some of the different routes.
There will be specific talks about llamas, low quads etc. -- Loquat. Some of them are for novice and some are for expert. What rare fruit do you grow?
I grow pineapple, guava, pomegranates, Dragon fruit, Gucci varies. Is are also all super foods. Those are the ones I focus on in my own garden.
Man has brought in a selection of the rare fruit, what are we looking at?
Things from my garden are a very large big. It fits in your hand. I have five different kinds of aches growing in my garden. I brought a white pomegranate.
It's actually pink on the outside. Please taste one of the seats.
It's much sweeter, not as astringent. This isn't the -- in my garden, I have a yellow and purple pomegranates. When we talk about where, there are variations unfamiliar things.
What are these two in the ball? There's a very small piece of art with a lot of seeds in it.
I believe it is a strawberry guava. It's very sweet.
That's a very good.
Here is another unusual for our climate. And closer to the coast, for me it doesn't take much watering at all. Maybe once a month for Deepwater. It has grown 5 feet in the last year.
It's a delicious tree -- a great tree and a delicious fruit.
We will have some of those for sale at the marketplace on Saturday.
All of the Fritz I mentioned are going to be available for sale and we will also beating raffles throughout the day. Is it difficult to find these plantings of these rare fruit trees?
Yes I know. Some of the very common varieties you can find in this race. If you're interested in the unusual ones, their difficult to find. Oftentimes, you will get them at these fruit festivals. We have two chapters of rare fruit growers, people are generous in sharing.
I grew that pomegranate from a stick just a cutting. You can go lots of things very easily that way.
Why do you think some of these aren't better known? We do our best to promote the Fritz. I think 80 people don't think they can grow them or maybe they don't know where to get the Fritz. Dave Wilson is a great option. They have a wonderful variety. Pair sold in nurseries throughout the San Diego County. We also have our sales and very interesting of varieties. You don't see these in the markets are grocery store very often.
They are very expensive when you do.
How easy are they to grow here in San Diego? We have the perfect climate for some of these rare root trees. Many of these plants are from dry growing areas. Many are from Asia and adaptable or from the middle east the climate is very much like ours.
We're in the ideal place to be growing these plants.
I do anything to have to take into consideration if you're thinking about putting in one of these plantings. Does it have to be in a certain location, lots of sun, etc.?
All of these needful son. It takes a lot of energy to ripen fruit.
They have to have old son in order to root. Some require a cost pollinator. With avocados, you have to have the right combination. Some unfruitful but you have to do your homework to know which are which. What's really important is to get each plant enough room. Want to make sure they have enough room to grow to the size they need to grow to because many of these fruit on the tips of branches.
If you cut off the tips, you cannot where the fruit is going to be.
Beyond that, they are fairly easy.
You often talk about drip irrigation. I read that citrus trees don't do well with drip. How about these?
All of these will do fine with drip irrigation. The concern is to get them established the first year or two to keep them damn. Once they are established, you get to be once a month or less watery. We need to mulch them, it holds the water in the soil and keeps the roots cool. Beyond that, harvesting and letting it grow. You have to be patient because pomegranates don't start producing route. Pomegranates don't hold fruit to maturity until they are five or seven years old. If you expect for the first year, you will be disappointed.
Big Sur faster, but to have a real crop will take a couple years.
The Festival of fruit welcomes beginners? Absolutely. We have speakers during their talks towards novice. Although the Festival registration has closed, we're doing all the cards on the day of and people can buy individual sessions at $10 a piece. If they want to pop in and just learn the basics, we have some options for them there.
I'm giving an introductory class.
The column published last weekend was similar to what I'm going to talk about. Going to give an overview of the kinds of roots we can grow.
How many people are you expecting?
Right now, we have preregistered 375 people.
We will definitelyhave walk-ins.
We're looking at 400 and the marketplace is open to the hunt -- open to the public. We expect about 1000 people for that.
Our website is a Festival of
Thank you to Nan Sterman, garden designer/host, "A Growing Passion" and Maddie Wichman, co-chair, California Rare Fruit Growers Festival of Fruit.