Issue: May 2
Wisteria seed planing and peach tree seedlings
Q. Thank you for your reply last fall regarding leaving carrots in the ground; we pulled them in late February to prepare the ground for this year, and we still have some refrigerated!
I just noticed our wisteria has long pods hanging, I assume from where it blossomed earlier. Can I grow more plants from the seeds from these pods?
I have also noticed that a few peach seeds have sprouted below our tree. If we can keep them alive, and eventually move them to their own space, will they ever produce? The tree we have now seems to be self-pollinating.
A. I am glad you could "refrigerate" your carrots in the soil though much of the winter. That is an old trick to prolong the harvest of root crops where the soil does not freeze, or can be kept from freezing by mulching. You should have noticed that the carrots were sweeter than those grown in warmer soil.
It is important to warn you that the seeds and pods of wisteria are toxic, so do not eat them (you did not say you plan to eat them, you want to grow them). The wisteria seeds may indeed be planted to produce new vines. It may take many years for the vines to begin blooming, but it is possible. Soak the seeds overnight (or place them on moist paper towels wrapped in plastic for a day or two) before planting the seeds. You can also try gently scratching the seeds with sandpaper or a fingernail file to speed the absorption of water. After moistening the seeds, plant them in a planting bed with well-prepared soil or in large pots filled with potting soil. Keep the soil moist until they sprout. When they are large enough you can transplant them to the location you have chosen for new wisteria plants. If you do not want to wait several years for the vine to begin blooming, you can start wisteria from cuttings (layering propagation may be better in New Mexico). Plants started in this manner are more likely to bloom in only a few years.
The peach seedlings can be moved (when dormant) to a new location as well. Because the peach trees are heterozygous (genetically variable), the new peach trees may produce good quality, OK, or poor quality peaches. Even if the parent tree was self-pollinated the seedlings may exhibit considerable variability. If there are other peach trees within a mile, they may have been cross-pollinated by the bees, increasing the chances for variability. It is always interesting to see what you can grow when it appears serendipitously. Occasionally, improved varieties are found in this manner by home gardeners. I hope this is the case for you.
For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension publications World Wide Web site at http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h.
Send your gardening questions to:
Yard and Garden, Attn: Dr. Curtis Smith
NMSU Agricultural Science Center
1036 Miller Rd. SW
Los Lunas, NM 87031
Curtis W. Smith, Ph.D., is an Extension Horticulture Specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.