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Messages - Doug

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Coconut deficiency and treatment
« on: March 21, 2018, 08:44:26 AM »
I didn't read through all the suggestions made so far so I don't know what advice has been given. However, I have a dozen very healthy coco palms here, the oldest is about eight years and fruiting. Following the local customs here, the only supplementation I have given them is a couple of handfuls each of crude sea salt maybe once a month spread around the trees. Made sense since the palms growing at the beaches seems very happy and fruitful to me. As far as frons are concerned, I always cut the dying ones which seems to stimulate the trees to relatively quickly grow more leaves. I'm no botanist but it sure works for me. BTW, I'm located at 1000 meters where it's much cooler and they're are few coco palms growing.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Manzana Taiwaneze...Taiwan Apple?
« on: March 09, 2018, 06:36:34 PM »
Have any of you heard of this variety of fruit? I can't find any info on it anywhere, and the person who gave me the trees doesn't know much about it as well. I wonder if it's a type of wax apple?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Homemade foliar spray
« on: February 23, 2018, 03:48:04 PM »
I don't have a foliar spray recipe for feeding, but I have a good formula I like for fighting fungus and bacteria. I don't use chemicals on my farm, but the disease pressure is very high here in our very rainy climate. I use a simple spray "recipe" which does help in fighting fungus on my plants and fruit trees. Mix one cup of white sugar and one cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with one gallon of water. The fungus and bacteria don't like the peroxide at all, and as a bonus the sugar somehow makes leaves less appetizing to the bugs. I do add EM to the recipe, and it probably adds a punch to the formula as well. The only problem with spraying this on the trees...the rain washes it off. BTW, I credit this formula to Ed Bernhart, our longtime resident organic gardening expert here, who "wrote the book" on tropical organic growing in Costa Rica.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: largest avocado variety (ASK)
« on: February 18, 2018, 08:28:00 AM »
It's fun to know about these giant cados.....but what about the quality of the fruit? Taste, oil density, consistency?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: EM-1
« on: December 18, 2017, 04:59:59 PM »

Hi Peter! I never heard this info on EM before. I buy EM locally here. It's a very dark brownish liquid and comes in a used three liter plastic soda pop bottle....locally produced I'm sure. I have always assumed it's alive and active in that state. So, I need to add sugar to the stuff to activate it? Or do the microbes "wake up" when they get into the soil?

Also, on my citrus trees I use an "organic" powder mineral foliar spray which claims to contain EM. I usually mix some of the local EM in with the solution anyway. But, do you think the EM that the manufacturer claims is in the product could be possible viable in that powder state? Just curious.

BTW, I trust you survived the high winds and rain we've had lately. Strange weather! No problem at all here except sort of chilly, but I heard that the Caribe coast did get hit pretty hard. Hope you didn't lose plants...or worse.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Large Earthquake Struck Costa Rica
« on: November 13, 2017, 10:16:45 AM »

No problems here that I know of. A little rock 'n roll on my side of the country.The quake was centered off the Pacific coast. Thanks for asking! When we have these things my first concern is if it's the big smoking volcano that dominates the the view from my front porch. LOL

There are several mature araza trees growing "wild" on the side of the road to my farm here. They are obviously "volunteers" because I doubt anyone would intentionally plant them in the rough conditions where they are growing. They produce wonderful fruit most of the year, and the quality of the bright and relatively blemish-free fruit and carefree nature of the trees is quite impressive. I have tried to grow them from seeds but without success to date. Maybe I'm just being too careful with them, judging by what I would say are really lousy conditions where the trees are thriving wild here. It's funny, but the trees do propagate themselves from seed, but the ground is so damn hard and rocky that I can't dig the seedlings up to transplant them without damaging them. They are definitely worth growing! Outstanding fragrance and flavor!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Transplanting Miracle fruit?
« on: November 10, 2017, 05:04:28 PM »
I finally crudely dug it up one day and put it in a pot with from fresh soil and coffee grounds (fresh, not used) just to see what would happen. After a year or so now it's bright green and doubled in size, but no fruit yet.
Wouldn't the caffeine in the coffee inhibit the plant? I know there are nutrients in coffee, but there's also caffeine. I saw a comparison with coffee and tomato plants and the one in coffee ended up small. Just wondering if you have more insight into this.

I haven't noticed any problem with my miracle fruit bushes. They're all doing very well...mostly in the shade and we do get a lot of rain here.... and they all get a share of a bag of good Costa Rican coffee occasionally. But, I have to admit though that they do seem a little nervous after getting their coffee. LOL.

Coffee is too acid for tomatoes. I haven't put coffee on any other plants here, so I don't know how they would react.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Transplanting Miracle fruit?
« on: November 10, 2017, 01:37:38 PM »
I had a similar situation with a poor little miracle fruit bush that was planted in the ground that I had ignored for a few years. It was in bad shape! I finally crudely dug it up one day and put it in a pot with from fresh soil and coffee grounds (fresh, not used) just to see what would happen. After a year or so now it's bright green and doubled in size, but no fruit yet.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Florida Hass Avocado
« on: November 08, 2017, 07:53:32 PM »
How's the disease resistance on Day Avocado? And, how does it compare in taste and consistency with Hass?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Gardening by the moon-phases
« on: October 16, 2017, 07:08:50 PM »
No doubt about it...belief is very powerful! If you look closely you'll find it is the very basis of your personal reality. Having said that, you either have a "green thumb" or you don't! LOL

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Can anyone identify this?
« on: October 12, 2017, 05:59:42 PM »

Looks like chaya to me.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Anyone know what this is
« on: September 26, 2017, 09:37:39 AM »

Thanks Peter! I think you're right. I have a couple of these trees on my place here but I didn't know what they are called. I always called them "candelabra trees". Beautiful.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: ID Please
« on: September 24, 2017, 09:30:26 AM »

Have your trees fruited? I have been keeping it in the garage when temps were in the 40s. Grown from seed and is
now 2 1/2 years old. I'll keep it potted as long as I can.

Did you ever sell your farm?

Two of my sericicarpus (called castana here) have been fruiting for two years. They are six or seven years old. The other tree is too young. I had a bunch of the "breadnuts" yesterday, boiled and salted. Good stuff! But, I planted the trees primarily to just look at.

Have you seen mature castana planted outside up there in your area? If so, I bet the damn hurricane did a number on their big beautiful leaves.

Yep, sold the farm quickly to some great folks! But, there's plenty other great farm property left here for you and your wife when you decide to escape from hurricane alley. LOL

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: ID Please
« on: September 23, 2017, 07:00:53 PM »
I'm looking out my window at both mature trees side by side. Can't tell the difference. Maybe the only way is to wait for the fruit. BTW, I'm surprised that breadfruit can grow in the St. Pete area. I thought maybe it would be too cold in the winter. It's my favorite beautiful! My daughter lives there and I would love to help her plant one.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Tangelo tree pollination
« on: September 21, 2017, 11:04:04 AM »
If you really really want your tree to fruit, here's an idea that works. I doubt up there you have many mature citrus trees from which to choose as pollinators, but if you can find a suitable pollinator tree you can make a "bouquet" of flowers from the tree and place it in your tree. You'll get fruit. I did that with several types of fruit trees when I lived in NC, and it worked very well every year.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Tangelo tree pollination
« on: September 17, 2017, 08:17:05 PM »
I'm pretty sure tangelos need cross pollination. My Orlando has flowered heavily for two years now but had no fruit. It's funny because I have several tangerines that flower, and I always thought tangerines would pollinate tangelos. But, they didn't pollinate the Orlando. Luckily by chance a year or so ago I found a Temple orange grafted tree that was old enough to flower. I understand Temple is a good pollinator for tangelos. We'll see because they'll both be flowering soon here.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Black sapote opinions
« on: September 08, 2017, 08:12:47 AM »

The best I've had were those that ripened on the tree and fell off to the ground. As far as mixing with other stuff....a little honey not only makes it more chocolaty sweet but it makes the "pudding" shiny and attractive. Serve cold! Sometimes I do like to add some finely ground coffee. Gives it more of an acid taste and thus more like chocolate.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What is this tree?
« on: August 19, 2017, 04:25:32 PM »
Sure looks like some type of young garcinia to me. If so, I guess that narrows it down to maybe one of a hundred types of plants. LOL

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Please ID this plant
« on: August 16, 2017, 01:28:33 PM »
Looks like a paw paw to me. But growing that far south?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Different forms of calcium . . .
« on: August 15, 2017, 08:58:17 AM »
Costa Rican soils are generally acidic and the application of calcium is very common.  I don't know about calcium hydroxide, it's a good question, but calcium carbonate is applied at a basic rate of .5kg. Per meter.
My soil ph ranges from 5.8-6.3 which is pretty good for most things.  For avocados and black pepper it can be important.  Coffee and banana growers also use it.
I have had some success treating Jakfruit that tends to have splitting fruit and physiogical problems with mangosteen.

Peter, I don't use calcium on any plants other than bananas and citrus, but I read somewhere (maybe here) that some calcium on slow growing seedling sopadillas would be helpful. Of course, at my age everything grows too damn slow, but what do you think? My farm was an old cafetal and the soil was very acid, but I always use "chop and drop" with weeds and grasses, and now the earthworms are abundant. Maybe now the soil is much more balanced.

A couple of weeks ago I finally visited with fellow forum member Peter at his truly amazing fruit farm in Puerto Viejo on the beautiful southern Caribbean coast. Living somewhat in the same neck of the jungle, it's stupid of me that I hadn't gone over there to visit before now. Actually though, my first visit with him was shortly after I moved here 18 years ago. During that visit he gave me my first mangosteen to eat. WOW! But, I only got bitten by the tropical fruit growing bug seven years ago after I finally decided to settle down and buy a farm here on the Caribbean slope. Anyway, Peter's place is simply remarkable...along with his equally remarkable knowledge gained by many, many years of growing tropical plants. Finca La Isla is billed as a botanical garden, but it's not like other prim and proper manicured botanical gardens here and elsewhere. It's a true "fruit forest"...or I should say, "fruit jungle". Perfectly natural! In fact you need a guide or I'm sure you'd get very lost. As we rambled and talked along the many rough paths, Peter pointed out each fruit tree along with details about the particular variety, and I was able to see what my plants hopefully will eventually look like. Growing here and there across the large jungle farm were scores of varieties of fruits that Peter raises for market. Visitors can sample whatever is in season. I got to taste a durian....which was the first durian that I ever tried that didn't immediately prompt the gag reflex. It was sweet and "somewhat" now I can understand how some people can develop a liking for the fruit. (Never me though!) Great place to is Puerto Viejo which is arguably the most eclectic and unusual town in the country. BTW,  I came away with a nice seedling zapote variety that I hadn't been able to find elsewhere. I plan to go back soon to find some more rarer varieties. That place is a Costa Rican jewel for sure! (Not a paid commercial review...LOL)

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Different forms of calcium . . .
« on: August 12, 2017, 08:37:02 AM »
I went to the agro for a bag of calcium for my bananas and citrus but they didn't have my usual brand. So, I bought another brand. When I got home I realized I'd bought calcium hydroxide instead of the usual calcium carbonate. I know organic farmers won't usually use cal hydroxide. What is the objection? I'm not a scientist but it seems ultimately calcium is calcium. Have any of you had problems with the hydroxide form?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Help mature lemon tree has never fruit
« on: August 04, 2017, 04:24:04 PM »
I had a misbehaving lemon tree a while back. I read someplace (maybe on this site?) to do something counter-intuitive to citrus care: pile on the wood chip mulch. It worked, and the tree is now green, healthy and productive...with no other changes. Probably a deficiency of some kind.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: bananas keep failing under fruit load
« on: July 16, 2017, 10:44:16 AM »
I don't know about your neck of the woods, but here older banana root systems almost always become infested with a type of grub that eats the roots and bores up into the trunk of the tree. And, this almost always causes a fruiting tree to fall. This happens mostly after the plant has become established and has put out a number of pups that are allowed to mature. I always have 30 to 50 banana plants growing, but I don't allow a root system to produce more mature pups after it has one pup that matures and produces. Every time I stop a root system, I transplant a pup at least 20 to 30 meters away. This stops an infestation, and I never have to poison the ground to kill an infestation.

Having said all that, the REAL reason I responded to your post is out of curiosity. Why did you write that "curiosity killed the vegan"??? I'm a very curious old vegan.... but I'm not totally dead yet. LOL

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