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Messages - BajaJohn

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Thank-you very much for the heads-up Raul. Glad I asked before I tried to order anything.

Anyone had dealing with the Greenss Shop based in Veracruz, Mexico?
Seeds at
They advertise an impressive collection of fruit trees shipped internationally.
They also have a Facebook page -

Anyone had any success with then in hot climates? My plants seem to grow well but haven't produced sprouts. Is there a secret to triggering the sprouts or is it just too hot for them here?

If you compost bin remains cool, you might try adding some worms to it to help digestion and produce a rich soil.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Home made compost for fruit trees
« on: March 26, 2018, 12:15:36 PM »
Compost definitely has micronutrients in it. If you are eating food without micronutrients you would not live very long. Amount of micronutrients is going to depend on the type of food you are eating. So yes the quality of the compost will depend on the quality of your food.
As you say, the content of the compost depends on its source material. It may not apply to the OPs garden, but I was considering the possibility of "leaves, grass clippings" from micronutrient depleted soil. Recycling such compost will return their micronutrients to the soil but will not provide the necessary increase in missing micronutrients.

You have storage space for gardening equipment, fertiliser, compost etc. and an area to work in if you want to do any gardening? Access for a vehicle if you anticipate delivery of mulch material etc.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Home made compost for fruit trees
« on: March 23, 2018, 09:34:26 AM »
It sounds like your guava provided a good answer for you. It would probably take a year for mulch to decompose and provide nutrients which explains the year delay. Compost is equally recommended for trees although with both you are advised to keep the materials away from the trunk of the tree so that retained water doesn't encourage fungal infection.
Neither mulch nor compost necessarily provides micronutrients which your soil may need and gain from other supplements. However, phosphate from fertiliser may inhibit mycorrhizal symbiosis and some sites recommend avoiding fertiliser. It's going to depend on how much material you have to compost/mulch.
I prefer compost to mulch only because I generate large quantities of garden waste from trees and mulch would overwhelm the garden. In a dry climate you need to keep your compost pile moist. I wrap mine with a polythene sheet to reduce drying out and add water every week or so. Even then I encounter dry areas when I turn the pile. Both processes speed breakdown and have compost ready in 2-3 months.
Another way to quickly recycle some of your organic waste is vermiculture. I use a horizontal plastic 55 gallon drum with an access hole cut out of the side and add fresh waste every day or so. It is on my irrigation system and gets about 2 gallons of water per day. I drain that off every day from a tap in the bottom of the drum and use the liquid to feed the trees and other plants. Every few weeks I clean out the drum and get a wheelbarrow full of rich, black soil.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Home made compost for fruit trees
« on: March 23, 2018, 09:33:08 AM »
duplicate post

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mango Tree Oozing Brownish Orange Sap
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:55:16 AM »
The oozing sap is a symptom of gummosis which is a sign of damage to the plant. One unfortunate cause is a fungal infection caused by Botryodiplodia theobromae also known as Lasiodiplodia theobromae. It is characterised by discolored vascularisation. Recommended treatment is to cut off the damaged branches and seal the cuts with Bordeaux paste. A recommended fungicide is Cidely Top from Syngenta
This is a good description with photographs of the problem in young plants.
Here are some other sources.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: San Diego garden photos
« on: February 06, 2018, 08:34:49 PM »

The water is harder than tap water which is around 500ppm in san diego city but the well water has no chlorine and other toxins.  And I can water heavier to wash any salts out.  I had a little salt burn at the end of last summer.  But have been using softer fertilizers now so hopefully not salt build up.

A local nursery owner and now friend told me the soil here has a salt problem and suggested that agricultural gypsum can mitigate it. It may not be the same as your problem so testing is always a first step. He recommended a minimum of 10 kilos per 1000 square feet. This link seems to support the idea This link says gypsum can help leaching of salt

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Agave americana - Pulque
« on: January 20, 2018, 07:11:03 PM »
Partial translation of document at
The maguey is reproduced from  the suckers of the maguey (hijitos  or mecuatitos) which grow around the plant. The method used for this varies depending on the resources, knowledge and beliefs of the farmer. One of the methods is to extract the sucker of parent maguey, pruning some leaves for  better access. When the maguey is between two and four years, the sucker is extracted with its roots and transplanted in  one of the following ways [Loyola Montemayor, 1956: 5-7].
a) Planting in the field: some leaves are removed and the plant left to lie in the field for a few weeks before planting.
b) Planting in a pot: the maguey is removed when it is between five and eight months old. Plant it in a small pot. When it reaches approximately 1 m in height (from three to four years old), the maguey is planted in the field.

The plant is ready to for harvest when aged between 8 to 12 years, largely depending upon the climate. There are cases in which it needs more than 12 years and even up to 20, although normally this happens with much larger magueyes. To start the "capada" of the maguey the agriculturist looks for changes in appearance that signal the plant is ready to produce the quiote (flower stem).  Some of these are the thinning of the heart, the loss of thorns of the leaves and darkening of the leaves. You look for the best side of the maguey to reach the heart, usually that which is pointing to the sun when it rises at dawn, taking into account the side where there are fewer leaves so that access to the center of the maguey is easier. Remove the thorns using a sharp knife (espumilla) for better access to the center of the maguey to remove the heart. Remove the leaves that hinder access to the heart and break off the upper part of the heart (along with the leaves that could not be pulled out), traditionally done with an instrument called a quebrador (huge bar/chisel). Leave a few fragments of the heart to prevent drying out and cover the heart to keep pests out.
Chop the maguey, ideally at full moon or a few days after it. Use the quebredor to chop the plant, cutting the edges of the heart and moving it to break the stalks and detach the bottom of it. Continue to expose the quiote stalk and form a depression. After the heart is removed, the concavity to gather the aguamiel  should be be cleaned and then filled with the pieces that were obtained when cleaning it; It will help the quiote stalk "sweat" and "rot", to initiate production of the sap in the quiote stalk. It maturess together with the other botanical juices produced by the maguey and the pieces that rest on the concavity. During this stage the maguey is allowed to stand for three to eight days, sometimes it can be longer, depending, as we have already mentioned, on the farmer, the development of the maguey and the climate.

Scraping the maguey and extracting the aguamiel

This activity is carried out by the tlachiquero twice a day during the time that the maguey produces aguamiel (from four to eight months, according to the maguey). It is important that it is carried out since the aguamiel can spoil if it is not extracted and the quiote stalk is scraped again. To ensure that the bugs do not enter the aguamiel, as well as that in rainy weather the water does not fall into the quiote stalk, some stalks and a stone are placed on top of the concavity. To scrape the quiote stalk you have to use an instrument called "raspador" . Scrape very carefully, since the walls of the concavity can be damaged, affecting the production of aguamiel. Some time later the aguamiel contained in the quiote stalk is extracted with a utensil called "acocote", the narrowest part is dipped in the sap and the aguamiel is sucked in through the widest part without it reaching the mouth. Pour the liquid obtained into the storage containers and continue extracting the aguamiel leaving the quiote stalk without traces of aguamiel then scrape again.

Production of pulque

A tinacal is the place where the process of pulque fermentation takes place. The pulque is fermented in containers such as glass fiber tubs, animal skin, barrels and plastic containers, among others. The obtained aguamiel is poured into the containers destined to ferment it and containing the pulque starter, which is a substance made from the leftovers of pulque. From this moment, fermentation of aguamiel begins in pulque, which takes approximately 24 hours, so daily "feeding"  of additional aguamiel is needed. The strength of pulque varies from three to six degrees [Loyola Montemayor, 1956: 48] and depends on the aguamiel, the quality of the mague, climatic factors and the time that the maguey was left to "rot". It is important to mix the pulque from different containers to maintain the quality of the drink and that it does not spoil, as well as to carry out the daily feeding to continue with the fermentation. After 24 hours in which the fermentation of the aguamiel takes place, pulque is produced, of which there are two types: natural and cured. The drink is ready to be drunk in the right places for it, at family parties or at home or to accompany it with meals. The quality of the pulque depends on the maguey, the environmental factors, the care given by the tlachiquero as well as the quality of the aguamiel.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Agave americana - Pulque
« on: January 20, 2018, 09:20:16 AM »
Did you find this one?
This page ( is in Spanish but has an email to contact for more information for those interested in making their own pulque. Don Guillermo at Hacienda de Xochuca - They have a web page and two pulquerias - La Paloma Azul and La Pirata which have Facebook pages.

There is a series of videos at:
Preparing the maguey heart for extraction of aguamiel:
Extracting aguamiel and 'rasping' the heart:
Maguey cultivation:
Pulque preparation:

There are several sources for historic weather records. is one.
There probably isn't anywhere in the continental US that doesn't have record lows above freezing. Warmest areas are on the East and West coasts where the oceans moderate temperature. The gulf coast suffers mid-continent effects so is more extreme. In addition to Florida, Coastal California is another region that has few freezing days but the dry climate isn't ideal for tropicals and real estate costs are high. Hawaii is the only US state that doesn't get freezing temperatures but it isn't 'continental'.

Many thanks to those who donated - and to those who run this wonderful forum.
The request didn't include information on how to pay - not that it matters now, but it may be something to consider adding in future requests.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone - and a very Happy New Year.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: new greenhouse planning
« on: November 06, 2017, 06:37:07 AM »
You can reduce moisture problems by using closed cell foams which are a natural vapor barrier.......
Many solid and spray/pour insulating foams are not closed cell and therefore allow diffusion of water vapor where it condenses on the cold side so be sure you use a foam that has vapor barrier properties. Apparently mealworms will eat polystyrene foam although it may not be their first choice in a greenhouse.

I guess that is a part of the motivation for growing our own.
I'm not a fan of glyphosate, or Monsanto but there seems an element of alternative truth in the article.
If glyphosate is the only impurity, worst case scenario is that the OJ is 99.9999974%  pure.
Europe has the more conservative Allowable Daily Intake of glyphosate at 0.3 mg per day. The EPA permits more than 5 times that dose. Three pounds of oranges would have about 40 micrograms of glyphospate at the higher contamination levels. That is less than one tenth of the ADI. A large glass (2 cups) of OJ would have about a third of that - 12 mg max. It is hard to figure why the article baulks at those kinds of doses per year.
I think there is a real cause to be concerned about glyphospate based more on its pervasiveness, growing use in many crops and potential contamination of water supplies. Loads of food crops are treated with glyphosate and there is a growing trend to use it in crops such as wheat simply to make harvesting easier. Individual foods may be within acceptable contamination levels but contamination of multiple food sources may take daily intake above acceptable level. There is also concern that current acceptable daily intake levels are way too high, based on research since those levels were set.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Best fruit tree fertilizer
« on: October 18, 2017, 06:45:01 PM »
Probably any generic NPK fertilizer will do in the short term. Osmocote and Nutricote have the NPK and some micronutrients also but the best approach is to get your soil tested by a soil lab. There are loads of them in Florida. When I had my soil tested the lab made specific recommendations for my garden based on agricultural fertilisers rather than mass market mixes. They also indicated amounts per 1000 square feet which varied for the different locations I took samples from.
The products were:
Calcium ammonium nitrate  27% N, 6% Ca
Triple superphosphate  20% P, 17% Ca
Agricultural Gypsum  23% Ca, 19% S
Potassium sulphate. 40% K, 18% S
Chelated iron

They are easily available but are not treated in any way for slow release. As Simon suggests, it also depends on the stage your plants are in and what you want to accomplish. Nitrogen promotes leaf growth at a cost to fruit production. Phosphorus is important for flowering and thus fruit production. There are other important minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, sulphur so it is a good idea to get your soil tested and even modify your applications to the season.
Ultimately, mulch or compost are an important addition for soil fertility.

Thank you very much for the suggestion Erica. Initial Google searches had turned up only spider mites but encouraged by your post, I hunted a little more and also found bagworms and webworms in addition to tent caterpillars. The webworms may be another candidate as they tend to form webs over leaves rather than a nest in the nodes of branches produced by tent caterpillars. I didn't find caterpillars or pupae on the leaves so it is still a mystery. I'll have to look closer and see what I can find.

My thriving sweet potatoes have an area of dying leaves with webs over the top of them. Does this look like a spider mite infestation?

Simon - You are undertaking a fascinating project which looks to be doing very well. Congratulations.
A mundane question that may be relevant to others too is whether your trees may become a violation of building ordinances. The 4' side yard is mandated as a fire break and a tree may be considered a fire hazard. It probably won't be a problem unless you have a grumpy neighbor who complains but it's just a heads-up in case you want to check. I had trees on the south side of my house and Santa Monica (an arbor day tree city) demanded that I cut them down after they changed city ordinances to limit "fences" in front of houses to 4'. Apparently an anonymous neighbor complained. I managed to save them by appealing directly to the city council but the whole process was time consuming and expensive.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Tylosema esculentum
« on: October 08, 2017, 01:59:45 PM »
Thanks for the introduction. Looks like it would do well in Baja. Possibly good ground cover too. Unfortunately no information of its potential as an invasive species in new areas.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: ID of a citrus tree grown from seed
« on: October 08, 2017, 01:45:00 PM »
Thanks for the pictures  :)
How old is your tree ? is the new growth hairy ?

As I never saw pictures of the new growth of a grapefruit tree, could you or someone else put a picture, as I would like to see the hairiness of new leaves, to compare with my seedling.
It is probably 4-5 years old now. I didn't plant the seed so I can't be sure. I haven't noticed hairs on any leaves and also noted that the leaves on your seedling differed from my grapefruit (unfortunately, variability even in the same plant adds confusion). Your leaves are more elongate and the petioles on my grapefruit do not overlap the leaves. Heinrich's comments seem to keep minneola in the picture too.
> That does not look like grapefruit or pomelo. Looks like some sort of Citron???
Not at all. The leaves of citrons are not articulated!
That occurred to me also.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: How far apart should papaya be planted?
« on: October 08, 2017, 01:23:16 PM »
I have a similar problem with space. These are 4 seedlings from a store-bought maradol transplanted to 1 meter apart about a year ago. The idea was to cut down the least productive but so far I haven't had the heart. Recommended separation is about 2 meters between plants.

The tree at the left side of the row is doing way better than the others although it is only about 6 feet from a grapefruit tree. One other is producing a lot of fruit but is way behind in terms of maturity. Not sure if this is because of close planting or not. Another tree planted earlier and alone but with some hours of shade each day is doing the poorest of all.

Topping to induce branching is advised against in culture recommendations. It is reported to reduce fruit production and also requires that you support branches with heavy fruit load.

A local helper suggested that it is commonly thought that damage will induce a male tree to become female or mixed. He stuck a vertically oriented knife blade right through the trunk about 6" from the ground and made a second cut at right angles to it. He did this at maybe 6 months when the trees had started flowering. Sure enough, the trees with only male flowers started to produce both male and female flowers. Not a controlled experiment but possibly something to try if your plants produce only male flowers.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: ID of a citrus tree grown from seed
« on: October 04, 2017, 12:10:22 PM »
Here are a couple of pics of the leaves on my seedling - which is now about 2 m tall.
They don't quite look the same as yours and as I noted in my other post, the ID is hearsay from someone who has been grossly wrong in the past.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: ID of a citrus tree grown from seed
« on: October 01, 2017, 05:24:47 PM »
This site has some good information with hundreds of pictures you can filter by structures such as petioles It looks like quite a few pomelos may be candidates.  Banpeiyu, Java Pink, Pink Sensation....
This is an interesting one for me because my neighbor gave me a seedling with similar leaves. He claimed it was from a red grapefruit. He also gave me 3 avocado plants that morphed into 2 passifloras and one I still haven't identified!

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