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Green Thumb

Houston's tree love gets an outlet: 5 tips to take advantage of a most unusual sale

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Jodie and apple tree in Houston
Apple tree suitable for the Houston climate. Photo courtesy of Urban Harvest
Lychee tree with fruit
Lychee tree with fruit. Photo by B.navez/Wikipedia
goji berries on tree also called wolfberries
Goji berries are also called wolfberries. GojiTrees.com
pomegrante tree with fruit
Pomegrante tree with fruit. Courtesy photo
Miracle Fruit red berries can be grown in containters or as trees
Miracle fruit red berries can also be grown in containers. Treesearch Farms/Facebook
Jodie and apple tree in Houston
Lychee tree with fruit
goji berries on tree also called wolfberries
pomegrante tree with fruit
Miracle Fruit red berries can be grown in containters or as trees

Folks who pledge to reap the fruits of their own labor year after after but always find a reason to delay planting — you know who you are — can say goodbye to the endless cycle of procrastination. 

This weekend, Urban Harvest offers the opportunity to make good on the promise to finally get around beginning a garden.

Urban Harvest's yearly fruit tree sale, set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, is a mighty operation that morphs the Greenbriar Lot of Rice University into an arboreal wonderland teeming with perennial livings primed to set roots in your own backyard. Sixty plus varieties that have been grafted and rooted for Houston's weather zone await their evergreen homes. With prices starting at $14, what's your excuse?

There's no need to go on a limb, though. Experts stationed around the pop-up nursery will be on hand to help you decide what's best for your setup and your degree of green thumb prowess.

Shouldn't you take advantage of Houston's yearlong gardening potential? Below are five fruit trees that you wouldn't think would do well in our subtropical humid netherworld we call home.

Pomegranate

There's a heavenly association with the nutritional vigor of pomegranates, fitting given that they are mentioned in the Old Testament. Hailing from the Middle East, the seeds of what's considered to be one of the oldest fruits known to mankind are prominently featured in salads, chutneys and stews. Syrup from pomegranates is one of the distinctive flavors in muhammara, a roasted red pepper dip mixed with walnuts that's to die for. If you haven't tried what should be the new hummus, Phoenicia Specialty Foods sells fresh muhammara all the time.

As for the health benefits, the list is long. These brawny antioxidants benefit the cardiovascular system, have anti-cancer properties and are loved by your kidneys.

Miracle Fruit

Think of miracle fruit as a hallucinogenic narcotic for your taste buds. Courtesy of the protein miraculin, the pulp alters your palate so that sour and bitter foods taste quite sweet. If you have a penchant for sugary treats, imagine getting your fix with better-for-you foods.

Goji Berry

Dried goji berries will cost you a pretty penny at grocery stores, their nutrients making them popular with health conscious consumers. Twenty amino acids, antioxidants, minerals and so on constitute a raisin-like darling that works well in cereals, yogurt or baked goods.

But the dried version's rubbery texture can be a turn off. Fresh berries are so much better.

Apple

Move over Washington state, Houston is getting in on the apple action. Although the pomaceous is the pride and joy of northern climates, there are varieties, such as the Anna, Dorsett Golden and Carnaval, that work well for the Bayou City. Though they are self-pollinators, it's helpful to have a couple of different varieties to boost production. More is more, right?

Lychee

Martinis? These spiked balls of joy are native to China. Peel 'em, pop 'em in your mouth and they burst with juicy flavor. There aren't many traditional recipes that use the subtropical fruit. They are best enjoyed in their full raw glory. Some studies say that lychees have strong anti-influenza properties, in addition to improving blood flow and protecting the skin from UV rays.

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