Yesterday I got a package from Daley’s Fruit a company I can highly recommend having got a number of unusual and heritage trees and plants from them over time.
I have been looking for a particular type of black mulberry that I had red about called the
Red Shahtoot. Even though I propagate a heritage black mulberry myself that we planted a number of years ago and only have a small backyard I quite like collecting unusual types of trees and plants particularly edibles that we will use. The Red Shahto ot has fruit that is up to 10cm long… what you can say about that other than yum. It is also dwarf root stock and will be planted in the area I cover to protect from birds and possums during the gowning season.
As I am apt to do I had ‘a bit of look’ just to see if there was anything we had to have’ or as my wife put it more stuff for the backyard.
While looking I notice that there was small coffee bean variety called the Catui available suitable for NSW so I thought hey why not. I am fond of my java in the morning and recently planted a green tree to try to grown some tea. Why not my own coffee? Hey it may not work out but it is worth a try. And will provide enjoyment just growing it even if I never get a bean off it.
Apart from the fact I just love to have them I honestly believe that everyone should be collecting unusual plant varieties if they can. The more that we preserve old, rare and odd plants and trees the better.
It was not so long ago (1970’s) that a leaf fungus was stopped by genes from old variety of wild Mexican corn. That fungus reduced the national crop by 15%. We have roughly 80,000 plus food plants in use in the world and yet less than 20 species are used for 90% of our food. In the early 20th century there where over 450 varieties of lettuce advertised for sale in the US today there are around 30.
Old plants provide a buffer against our own stupidity as backyard growers we are in a good position to keep alive something that otherwise might never be again. Add to that the taste and nutritional value, longer growing season, ability to save seeds I am sure you can see you are doing the world a favour.
And it is very cool and fun and maybe, just maybe you might get your own favourite bean out of it all.