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Messages - BajaJohn

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Edward mango: mono or poly embryonic seed?
« on: September 15, 2017, 05:24:04 PM »
A couple of informative articles here on polyembryony. If I understand them correctly:
1. Polyembryony isn't "all or none". You can expect up to a 10% incidence of monoembrionic seeds in a polyembrionic variety and vice versa.
2. Some embryos from a polyembrionic seed are fertilized (zygotic). The others are produced non-sexually (somatic) and are genetically identical to the mother plant so are effectively clones of the tree that produced the fruit. Unfortunately, without genetic testing, the only way to identify the clones is to wait until they bear fruit.
3. The "cloned" seedlings of a polyembryonic seed can become more vigorous plants than a parent plant produced by several generations of vegetative propagation.

I've just raised 8 seedlings from fruits of the same tree. One produced 4 plants whereas the seeds all of the others produced only a single seedling.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Best Hurricane App for your phone?
« on: September 14, 2017, 12:08:00 PM »
I lived on a boat in the Sea of Cortez for 10 years so hurricane tracking was an essential survival tool. I mostly rely on the web pages from Their severe weather pages seem very comprehensive with maps of storm history, model projections and commentaries by their weather staff. They display all available models. Warnings begin as soon as they see depressions forming and track likely interactions with tropical waves that kick depressions into hurricane mode. They also have local 10-day forecasts for all of the U.S. They are currently tracking 7 storms worldwide.
Another site that is more focussed on marine weather is They have some good animated maps of wind, waves and pressure predictions but that means they tend to focus on just one model and they are sometimes inaccurate.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Pomegranate Propagation Questions
« on: September 13, 2017, 07:26:44 PM »
Another novice on both grafting and pomegranates. I bought a pomegranate which turned out to have inedible fruit but is very vigorous. It grew from 3 to 8 feet in 4 years so I'm trying to use it for rootstock for other pomegranates. A friend has one with good tasting fruit that I plan to use. I've also managed a bush from seed of a tasty store-bought pomegranate that I have used for possibly successful grafts (my first attempt!).
A challenge for me is living in Baja California Sur, Mexico which has a poor selection of nurseries and seems challenging to import trees from the U.S. Hence my struggle to find good trees.
The first question I have is if the large calluses at the graft site are a problem. They were a whip graft without a tongue. The scions were wrapped in cling wrap and I used electrical tape to secure the graft. The grafts are about 4 weeks old and the rootstock and scion donor were starting to flush at the time I did the grafts. Here are pictures of the grafts. The sections are 3-4mms diameter.

Leaves flushed a week or two after grafting.

A second question is if I even need to think about grafting pomegranates. The seedling I used for scions had a flower within a year of germinating suggesting that pomegranate seedlings may produce when very young. The seedling also appears to be very vigorous. Other posts suggest that pomegranates can be easily propagated by various methods of rooting more mature plants. Am I wasting my time - other than learning more about gardening?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 12, 2017, 08:50:53 AM »
So sorry to hear about all the damage but glad to hear people are OK. I hope we hear that everyone and their homes came through the storm OK and that gardens/groves are recoverable.
For what it's worth, Odile partially uprooted my 20' high coconut a few years back. I supported it with ropes and used a come-along to haul it upright again, then kept it supported for about a year. It is solid again now and just went through Lidia without a problem. Not sure if it is possible with a 50' mango tree TD, but maybe something to think about.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Cacti thread
« on: September 09, 2017, 08:33:27 PM »
With the storms assaulting us at the moment I thought I would mention the challenge posed to water sensitive plants. My opuntias stood up well to flooding in storms but other cactus and succulents didn't do so well. After the last storm a year ago I used large fork pushed down near each plant as deep as it would go and slightly lifted up the plant with the idea of getting some air deep in the soil and helping it to dry out. It seemed to work as I didn't lose anything.
Good luck to all of you in Florida. I hope you have gardens to return to.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pineapples--The Half Pot Experiment
« on: September 08, 2017, 06:46:11 PM »
I can't see how that would work since humid air is lighter than dry air. You will quickly lose any humidity. I wonder if your friend was thinking of the pots made of polythene sheet where you can fold the top of the pot around the stem of the plant to avoid losing moisture? I guess you could add a top to your pots to reduce loss of humidity and also shade the soil from the sun to prevent it drying. Another experiment I guess!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 08, 2017, 06:20:34 PM »
European forecast model unfortunately starting to be agreed with by most other forecast models out there.. NOT good for us. Good luck everyone.
Better agreement between the different models is to be expected as the storm gets closer.
Also, as you note, the European forecast is changing too, so it isn't like the Euro model is predicting the correct path all the time. Most importantly, don't expect any one model to be the best predictor for every hurricane. Each performs differently and their accuracy ranking changes with the particular storm and may even change from day to day within a single storm.
Absolutely hope for the best - I'm with you there, but as your governor says, do all you can to prepare for the worst. I've only lived at risk of hurricanes for 10 years but it that has been long enough to recognize that the models can't be relied on to tell how close a storm will come or how strong the winds will be in any location.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 07, 2017, 05:53:41 PM »
This looks like a very informative guide to hurricane safety produced by Palm Beach. A bit late for some actions such as tree care but other timely information also.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 07, 2017, 04:06:08 PM »
Euro is one of four weather models favored by the weather services. They are all run by many agencies on a daily basis or even more frequently. This is one page that shows current model runs for all four models.
Each model is run multiple times with slightly different starting conditions to reflect the uncertainties in the available information. The results of these different runs are called ensembles and produce the dense mass of lines on the simulation maps. Each model performs better under certain conditions and those conditions can change very quickly. That means you can't rely on any one model to predict what is going to happen, even though one may have performed well so far.
There is little comfort in any of these models. Much of Florida is less than 100 miles across. Current hurricane force winds in Irma are up to 50 miles from the eye and storm force winds 160 miles from the eye. The storm is three times bigger than the width of Florida.

My preferred weather side is with information on Irma and Jose here. Their latest update is here. They express significant concern for flying glass from glass curtain hi-rises in some areas and also concern for storm surges as high as 10 feet in some areas. This page maps predicted storm surge for different strength hurricanes in southeast Florida.

It is hard to let go of things you have nurtured and cherished but as many have said here, you can replace or restore things but not lives. Please be safe and remember is is better to go back and repair damage than to not be there to return.

This is a really scary hurricane. I went through Odile and the recently departed Lidia. Tropical storm Lidia did more damage to me than Odile which devastated Cabo and LaPaz. I've been living with hurricanes in this area for more than a decade and noted that predicted tracks can be wrong by a hundred miles or more, so be wary even if it looks like you aren't in the path of the storm. Odile blew cars over and damaged buildings, even the airport. Irma may be stronger. You should be worried about your homes, not just your trees.
Read up on hurricane Andrew which hit Homestead in 1992. It levelled houses. Not trying to be scary, just providing a well-meant heads-up. Be safe and the very best to all of you at risk from Irma. Make sure you have a really safe backup plan.
EDIT: Senior moment - confused Harvey and Lidia. Too many storms to keep straight!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Nitrogen fixing plants and fruit trees
« on: September 04, 2017, 01:27:39 PM »
If you ever burn wood you can cover it to encourage charcoal formation then powder the charcoal and add that to your soil (biochar) to form "terra preta". It absorbs and holds water and dissolved nutrients. You can add up to about 10% by volume. Its first action is to absorb moisture and nutrients so can produce a transient depletion of nitrogen. You can avoid this by pre-dosing the charcoal with fertilizer or compost tea.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Holy Hell Santa Annas
« on: September 04, 2017, 10:45:15 AM »
  And the best types of trees like eucalyptus are bad for wildfires.  This is wildfire area, was worried about fire breaking out yesterday.  Conditions were there for a major outbreak.
There are a few CA nurseries with drought tolerant windbreaker trees but I came across these in this article on dryland farming.
Tamarisk (Tamarix) Tamarix ramosissima is invasive in CA. Other varieties are OK. Inhibit understory growth by dropping salt extracted by deep roots. Tamarix aphylla hasn't naturalized in the US and is used as a wind/fire breaK. It is fire resistant.
Bermuda Juniper Almost wiped out in native Bermuda by imported scale insects but resistant varieties have been bred.
Casuarina (ironwood). Good timber, fixes nitrogen but potentially invasive.

This image is interesting, and theoretically it helps. But in practice I don't understand how the same size cut could have either the result in the second or the third drawings - seems to me it should be one or the other. That is to say, the cuts in the second two drawings appear to be almost the same width, but one has the cambium only on the edges, the other has it in the middle. I don't see how the same width cut could have two such different results.
The cut that Mr. Zill does for the second graft in the video looks to me like it should turn out like the second drawing, requiring lining up at least one side. But he centers the scion a la the third drawing. That's what has me confused.

I'm no expert on grafting either but I'm doing my best to learn. The two drawings to the right in my previous post illustrate cuts at slightly different depths with the second one cutting along the cambium. In both cases however, the rootstock bark layer is thicker than the scion bark layer - because the scion is a smaller limb and additionally the rootstock layers are cut at an angle which makes them appear even thicker in the plane of the cut.

Zill describes the cut between 5:15 and 6:15. His first cut appears to go through the bark and into a lighter color layer but he says it isn't deep enough and cuts more off, then points down the middle of the removed piece and the cut on the rootstock to a slightly darker area that he calls the cambium and describes as "juicy". I suspect that the confusion may come from assuming that the "bark" is just the dark layer on the outside whereas this isn't really the case. Cambium layer cells produce layers of phloem cells on the outside of the cambium that are alive and growing. They are the cells that form the transport system for materials up and down the stems and trunk and are usually whitish. This is the lighter brown ring in my diagrams. This page illustrates the 4 possible layers of bark outside of the cambium - phellem, cork cambium, phelloderm and phloem. The phellem is the only dark layer. This video has a good general explanation of plant growth, including the secondary growth accomplished by the cambium layer. This page has a photograph of the section of a trunk identifying the cambium and inner bark (phloem) layer. If you magnify the image you can see the outer bark is a darker color.

Does this help? The issue is how the position of the cut affects the geometry and thickness of the layers.

As others have mentioned, you only need to line up one side of the cambium layer (as in cleft grafts) for success.

It's a bit of geometry. With a veneer graft you are slicing a bigger rootstock along the perimeter of the circular layers of bark, phloem, cambium etc. so the cut is at an angle rather than straight through the layers which makes them appear thicker. A thinner scion is cut more along the centerline so the layers are thinner and all the layers won't line up exactly with the rootstock. The cambium layers are the important ones to line up. The bark and phloem layers on the outside of the cambium won't be as thick on the scion as they are on the rootstock so it is likely that some veneer grafts won't line up exactly.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Cacti thread
« on: August 28, 2017, 10:40:10 PM »
It's prickly pear season in Baja now. Not the tastiest fruit but quite refreshing. Like a sweet cucumber with slightly softer flesh and loads of seed that are as hard as rocks.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Stone Mulch in Temperate Climate?
« on: August 24, 2017, 12:36:57 PM »
The idea is based on the air well and isn't universally accepted.
It is a similar process to dew formation and depends to some extent on local conditions. Try a small pile and see if they gather moisture. Apart from that, stone prevents water evaporation from the soil surface by reducing exposed soil area and reducing surface air movement. Gravel works as a mulch and is easy to keep clear of debris with a rake or blower.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: calcium sulfate and agricultural sulfur
« on: August 18, 2017, 08:50:48 PM »
isn't gypsum the same as calcium sulfate? I googled it and they use the words interchangeably

Close. Gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral form of calcium sulphate combined with water. Anhydrite is another calcium sulphate mineral that can be used like gypsum in the garden. Plaster of Paris is also calcium sulphate.

Anyone know how to contact the growers in the Salton Sea?

A couple of articles with leads found with a Google search.

As Simon said, the major growing area is the Coachella Valley around places like Mecca.

Wong farms supplying Santa Monica farmers market
Tilden Farms - Fruits & Veggies - 17055 Van Buren Blvd, Riverside, CA 92504 (951) 780-2200

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Different forms of calcium . . .
« on: August 13, 2017, 06:09:16 PM »
What about garden gypsum? my understanding is that it does not affect Ph  because of the sulfate in it so it kind of balances the Ph a bit.   my understanding is that it helps with salts, and helps with compact soils,  I use it very sparingly in my container plants.    anyone else use this?
I don't use it but agree with what you said here. It is pretty much neutral pH (7.7). Gypsum can be used to supplement soil calcium and sulphur. It also reduces the effect of excess sodium. I've also seen it mentioned that soil bacteria can use gypsum to produce sulfuric acid and lower pH. It seems a bit strange to me and most discussions of gypsum in gardens suggest it doesn't affect pH. All the same, it may be safe to check pH if you use gypsum.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Different forms of calcium . . .
« on: August 12, 2017, 09:47:20 PM »
Calcium Hydroxide is used on gardens but is about 50% stronger than calcium carbonate. It is somewhat caustic so it is advisable to use gloves, eye protection and a breathing mask when you use it. It is also more soluble in water and therefore quicker acting.
The pH of a calcium hydroxide solution is about 12 compared to a carbonate solution pH of about 9.

The article mentions that 100% of mature citrus trees in FL are infected; that is scary and so tragic.

Devastating for sure, but there is a glimmer of hope for future citrus. I don't know how you balance risk to current crops and a search for resistant trees, but I hope someone is working on it.

There is an FDA salmonella alert for Mexican papayas right now.

I've grown a few Maradol from seeds and just eaten my first fruit. It's the first time I've been really impressed with a papaya. Much better than its store-bought parent. Not sure if straight from the tree had anything to do with it but it was sweet and delicious. I put some of the cut pieces in the refrigerator to keep and a day later the flavor is really disappointing.

Thanks to several TFF members for helping me get them through a bug attack earlier in the year.

It is relatively safe, but you should clean the system once in a while....
Flag emitters and adjustable flow emitters can be used for low gravity feed systems -

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Best Macadamia Nut Cracker?
« on: July 30, 2017, 09:00:57 AM »
Vise grips?

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