Earlier this week I happened upon a vacant, for-sale lot on a country highway here in Western Oregon that had a veritable explosion of Sandhill (red) and Mirabelle (yellow) miniature plums. Lucky me, I had several baskets in the back of my car, and in just a few minutes I harvested about ten pounds of each type, which have now been pitted and preserved.
Leftover from the canning process are hundreds of pits/seeds! For those who don't know what these fruit are, they are similar to the better known Damson plums. Feel free to do a search for "Sandhill plum" and "Mirabelle plum" and you'll find lots of info and photos. The fruit are about the size of a large cherry, with wonderful flavor. The yellow have a longer fresh shelf life than the red, but the red are sweeter. In terms of flavor and texture, I prefer the red for fresh eating and the yellow for jam/preserves, as I tend to like jams and preserves that are a bit tart.
I don't see them very often out here, and a friend of mine who grew up in a plains state (Kansas, I think) advised me that they're so rare in the midwest that he and his Sandhilll-jam-loving grandfather were only successful in finding them once.
I've washed and am now drying the seeds, and wonder if anyone might be interested in them. I would be delighted to find some opportunities to trade seed if possible, but this is not required. I'm attaching a photo of both types as they appear when they are ripe on the tree, as well as a photo of the seeds now drying in my kitchen. On the left in the seed photo are the Mirabelle (yellow) plum seeds, and I must have at least a hundred or so there. On the right are the Sandhill (red) type and I have at least fifty.
It would be great to spread the love to as many plum-adoring folks as possible, so I'd rather not send more than about 20 seeds to each person. Respond here or send me a message, and let's chat about this exchange
Today is a very exciting time in my life. I am on a wonderful adventure and will never go through this particular experience again.
Hi, great find, they look yummy! Do you think they would do well in north central Florida? We don't really have enough chill hours for apples, I will research more, but I am interested. My moringa are not showing seed yet, but I may have some ginger to trade, in a month or so...I am new at seed saving, so, I have not much else, at this time. Oh, I have winter squashes, acorn and butternut, from organic squashes, but have not tried planting them yet, next spring will be their first proving time.
Just to add my endorsement to these types of plums! I never realised they had two different names, I just call them all Mirabelle because wherever I see them growing there are generally both colours. Typically beside roads where no-one can get at them, I don't know if they grow wild or have been planted by the highways people. Anyway, I have a very similar tree (yellow fruit) in my front garden I grew from a stone from a tree in the Czech Republic. It will be about 13 years old now and doesn't look like it will get any taller, I can pick it all from a step ladder. This year I got about 6kg of plums of it and put the lot in the dehydrator. They are quite tart, I think I picked them a bit early and they are actually ripe about now. There are still a few left so if anyone in the UK wants seed shout up now!
Ah - second thoughts! This year I wasn't sure how self fertile the tree was, because I didn't get much fruit last year. So when it was flowering I got a few branches of blackthorn and hung them in the tree in a bucket of water. So... you might actually be getting a plum x sloe hybrid!
I would be interested in receiving a seed from each plum. I just started my fruit trees this year. We live in north Idaho in an area where we can grow many types of fruit including peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Would love to add these two different plum trees.
"Plums do not produce trees true to the mother tree from which they came. Generally, seedling plums are inferior in quality. Plum seed are generally planted only to produce seedling trees to be used as under stock with quality varieties grafted upon them. My best advise is to save yourself many years of waiting and then disappointment. Go out and purchase a grafted plum tree of a known quality variety."
So, seeds from a Mirabelle plum--a cultivar--will not produce the same fruit. Not sure about the "Sandhill" plums. Still, grafting much faster and less prone to disappointment. However, you could grow the seed and use those as rootstock for grafting onto.
another thread on the subject: Growing plums I'm not an expert, so correct me if this information is wrong.