Is it possible to grow medlar in Sweden?

Is it possible to grow medlar in Sweden?

The medlar is a beautiful little tree, which bears interesting fruits. We received the question from a reader and our expert Anders Stålhand answers the question and tells us how to grow medlar here.

Medlar is hardy in lower zones

The medlar is a beautiful little tree or shrub, which over time gets very gnarled branches. It blooms with white apple-like flowers in May-June. It is possible to grow up to zone 3, maybe 4 if the situation is favorable. You rarely need to prune it, but over time it gets a beautifully rounded shape. One should, however, watch out for stem shoots that may come under the graft; the rootstock is often hawthorn and it can take over if you do not remove branches that protrude from it.

The medlar can get nice yellow-brown colors in autumn and the fruits are brown and decorative in their own way. Photo: Copyright: Ivan Smuk

Harvest fruits from medlar

The fruit has a rather peculiar appearance that has given rise to several nicknames. In Denmark it is called aperöv (apröv). Medlar is not suitable for eating directly from the tree, as it is very harsh in taste. They mature in late October to early November. After storage in a cool room, after a few weeks, the taste is completely different. The fruit has then shrunk slightly, and the interior has softened, but tastes like a mixture between apple puree and fig jam. But you can also bake it in the oven to bring out these flavors, or make jam or jelly on it.

The fruits of the medlar are not good to eat immediately, but should ripen for a few weeks until they are soft and brown inside. Just like sharon fruits get better when they are a little overripe. Photo: Colourbox

Tip: An alternative is to wait to pick the fruit after it has been frozen.

It may not be too easy to find refined varieties of medlar, but there are some. 'Royal' has large fruits, as does 'Macroparpa' which has unusually large fruits. 'Metz' matures late. 'Nottingham' grows more upright and has the finest taste, but the fruits are small. Some other nice varieties are 'Minor' and 'Westerveld', and maybe you can find even more at Dutch, British or German nurseries with online stores.

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Cultivate pumpkin

Pumpkin is easy to grow and the plants grow large quickly. The pumpkins are great to save for winter dinners, all while adorning the bookshelves in the home!

Pumpkin and winter squash are fruit-bearing plants that require a lot of water, heat and nutrition, but which otherwise provide easy-to-grow and problem-free plants. Some grow shrub-like, others grow with long tendrils, common is that they need quite a lot of space to thrive.

The different food pumps have different textures and flavors on the pulp and it is worth trying to find your favorite. The great thing about pumpkins is that they - if they are harvested fully ripe - can be stored at room temperature for several months waiting to be cooked!

The seeds of the naked seed pumps lack shells but germinate just as well. Photo: Lovisa Back

To succeed with your exotic orchard, you first need to sit down and think carefully about the plot's conditions and the framework for the plantations. Because it's easy to start with "lullet", but not always so smart.

Important elements for creating the right environment are a real windbreak and a lot of stone and gravel in the garden that generates heat. Ludvig especially wants to recommend the peach, which has been grown in Sweden since the 16th century. A few years ago also came two new hardy varieties, "Frost" and "Riga".

The plants that make your exotic pantry

In Western Europe and the rest of the world, it is mainly grapes from the species Vitis vinifera that are used to make wine. There are about 60 varieties belonging to the genus Vitis and Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Nois Merlot are all varieties of this grape variety. The different varieties have, in addition to differences in harvest, a wide range in hardiness. The reason why it is possible to grow wine in Sweden despite the cold climate is new grape varieties that grow and bloom at lower temperatures and ripen faster. One of the most important species for cultivation in the Nordic countries is V. labrusca from North America. It is a hardy species that can handle low temperatures in winter, but for the fruit to ripen, sun and heat are required during the summer.

Grow with P1

The dream park is created by the world-famous garden designer Piet Oudolf, whom we met a few years ago. Click on the arrow below to hear that report.

Mona Bergius, park manager in Enköping, talks about the management of Oudolf's year-round discounts, and Lena Månsson, who is responsible for the horticultural education in Enköping, gives tips on early flowering and cultivable bulbs.

Maj-Lis Pettersson, who this year answered listener questions about gardening on the radio for 40 years - Congratulations Maj-Lis! - continues to give solid advice, reassuring messages and initiated tips to listeners on site who have emailed [email protected] or written a paper letter to Odla with P1, Swedish Radio, Box 1552, 751 45 Uppsala. How to stop water vole from getting into pallet collars, when you dare to plant out a newly purchased knight's spur and if cow manure is better than horse manure - these are some questions that will be answered in this program.

The beaver expert Göran Hartman from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences tells how to best protect the trees in your garden from beavers' sharp teeth.


Chard is both delicious and fantastically decorative. You can sow chard directly outdoors from April.

Soil: Chard wants nutritious, and somewhat muddy, earthy soil. Add bark soil and NPK fertilizer.

Habitat: Thrives best and gives more harvest in full sun.

Care: When the chard has reached about 1 decimeter, it is time to thin. Thin so that the distance is about 10-20 cm. Water regularly in summer when it gets dry. Chard does not want to dry out, but must not be left wet.
Give it nitrogen-rich fertilizer throughout the growing season.

Harvest: When the leaves are about 20 cm, it is time to start harvesting. Harvest by pulling up the leaves, it stimulates the growth of new leaves.

Several beans are great to sow in at least two rounds during the early summer to spread the harvest slightly. A sowing of broad beans in June can be planted out after the early potatoes and has time to give a winter consumption of beans to the freezer.

Here I grow soybeans in a plug board. The variety is called 'Midori Giant'. It is also fine to sow other beans in the boards with larger plugs.

I think that sowing beans is a little extra tricky, even though they are otherwise so easy to grow. When the beautiful, powerful double-folded shoots find their way out of the ground and stretch out, it is as if they are shouting to all the birds of the area "Here I am!" And then the sowing is considerably decimated. The direct-sown bed is like a smorgasbord of delicacies for winged friends and it usually results in rows of varying density. And frustrated grower.

In addition to the bean sprouts being sweets for birds, a sow can easily go to the barrel because the soil is too cold. And then the grower becomes even more frustrated, even angry because one should have known better.

Here I tell you how I do when I sow beans. Just like everything else when it comes to gardening, there are a hundred different ways to do everything, but maybe you can get a new idea after reading how I do it. When I sow broad beans, I do not do at all as I describe below and therefore you should get your own post about those particular seeds soon. This is about other beans, such as break beans and cooked beans.

Practical with sown
I get the best results when I sow the beans to plant out a few weeks later. Some sowing almost always needs to be done directly in the country anyway, mostly because that with a lack of space for sowing always appears. But then I am extremely careful, sowing only in late May / early June and always under some form of protection to avoid bird visits. Some varieties of beans can be expensive to buy and I simply do not think I can afford to lose fine seeds.

Beans are important plants in my kitchen garden because they help provide the soil with valuable nutrients. The whole plant captures nitrogen in the air and transports it through all the plant's systems and down to the roots. There, the nitrogen accumulates in small growths that look like more or less white styrofoam balls. Throughout the life of the plant, the nitrogen is secreted into the soil and also during the time the plant remains and decomposes. Only by growing beans and other legumes is the soil fertilized. Read more about the important crop rotation in the post Five vegetables that control my crop rotation.

I never soak the beans before sowing and make sure it is warm enough both outside and in the soil before I sow.

Fine plants in plugs
Beans grow fast. Only a few weeks after sowing, the root system is strong. It is important to choose the right trough or pots for a sown. And the right time. So the beans just a few weeks before you plan to put them out in the country so they do not get too big or stand too crowded at the planting site.

Personally, I think that beans become canonically fine if they are sown in a type of tray called a plug board, ie a kind of tray with many smaller but deep cells. I have a bunch of born troughs that forest plants have previously grown in and they are great for sowing beans. There are also other types of dowels to buy and simple pots of newspaper and toilet paper rolls are also great.

Beans do not like to grow in cold soil. They are also very sensitive to cold snaps. If the sowing is done too early, the seeds can rot in the soil and if the plants have come up a bit when it suddenly becomes a frosty night, the plants are easily damaged and have difficulty recovering. Here in cultivation zone 3, I sow the beans in early-mid-May and plant out within a couple of weeks if the weather forecast shows frost-free nights. I have the troughs with beans standing in the cultivation tunnel, preferably under a lid in a box or covered with non-woven fabric, or indoors. So late in the spring, no extra light is needed for the plants and this makes it easier to find space for the seeds.

It is possible to sow two beans in each plug as well, the roots will be fine in a deep plug / pot.

To sow beans directly in the country
On some occasions, I still need to sow beans directly in the country. Then I learned a nice trick from the grower friends Birger and Maria. They have their vegetable growing far from home, four hours by car, and have had to find a way to sow beans with reasonably good results despite the risk that birds eat a lot and that they can not stand by when sowing and keep track. Maria always sows two beans in the same hole, of for example broad beans and cooked beans, according to the mantra "one for the birds - one for me". In this way, it usually becomes a well-filled row, even if a bird nips part of it as a cave. And two beans in each hole does not pose a problem for the plant, if the two grow further, it only gives an extra dense plant with a larger harvest than just one plant on the site.

I also usually cover my legumes with an extra dense non-woven fabric. The really thin cloths are also usually desirable for the birds - they use the cloth tusks to build nests. But they leave a thicker cloth and it is left on until the beans have come up a bit.

Beans are great to grow together with summer flowers. Since beans want a slightly larger distance between the plants than, for example, peas, there is little room for other things. Choose a summer flower that looks up nicely between the bean foliage and is slightly taller than the plants. Atlas flower, cornflower, tall marigold gives a happy impression instead of the green carpet that the beans otherwise show.

Here, atlas flower grows between the bean plants. The flowers add color to the bed but also add lots of plant material to my cover crop.

Blue lupine (no longer available to buy seeds) is a very nice flower to grow together with the beans. In addition, it belongs to the legumes and binds nitrogen in the soil just like other beans and peas.

Beans for a long season
Several beans are great to sow in at least two rounds during the early summer to spread the harvest slightly. Break beans and wax beans for example. A sowing of break beans in plugs in June can be planted out after the early potatoes and has time to give a winter consumption of beans to the freezer. Boiled beans, on the other hand, I only sow once a year, they are grown for a harvest quite late when the plant has largely done its thing.

You can see examples of how I sow or plant the different seeds here:
Warmest neighborhood for this year's legumes

There are a large variety of beans and peas to choose from. Personally, I usually think that the low varieties are the easiest and best to grow because they require minimal care once they are in the country. Tall varieties, of course, give a large harvest on a very small area, but also require careful tying up so as not to crash. I easily fail with that work because it is often postponed when there is a lack of time. There are plenty of low varieties of most beans.

I think legumes are extremely easy to grow once they are in the soil. By combining them with cover cultivation, a bean bed requires minimal care during the season. I do not clear weeds and since the cover over the soil evaporates minimally with water, I do not need to water so much either. The only thing I need to do is harvest and continue harvesting the more the plant gives. And there is usually no problem with getting it done.

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