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Messages - BajaJohn

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I guess it's there problem when its roots damage the road.
Probably not. The manual requires root barriers etc. if there is a potential problem. They will argue your tree created the problem so it is your responsibility.

You can find the list of approved trees and other information at

The manual also discusses permissible alternatives as well as "mandated care" so you can pre-empt any further citations.

Similar experiences in Santa Monica really turned me off the Orwellian inclined tree hugger buggers. I planted a few Italian Cypress across the front of my house to shade from the sun and provide some street noise mitigation in that "Arbor Day Foundation" registered City. I chose several of these narrow trees because of limited space along the front of the house. Ten years later these 30' trees were cited for violating a newly passed ordinance limiting "fence" height to 42". Just one anonymous resident in my street had complained, even suggesting that it would be cheaper to remove the trees than fight the citation. Several neighbors signed a letter in favor of the trees but the City Manager insisted they go. I then sent a letter to the City Council, explaining that the trees had existed long before the new ordinance was introduced and suggested they rethink the ordinance anyway because the trees shaded the house, lessening cooling costs in the summer and also mitigated street noise. The citation was dropped.

I guess the point really is that, regardless of the Constitution, there will always a pressure to infringe unless something pushes back.

Florida may reimburse citrus growers millions for lost citrus trees

Florida may drop a long-running legal battle and instead agree to pay millions to homeowners across the state whose healthy citrus trees were torn down in a failed attempt to eradicate citrus canker.
It's a tough call, but the biggest loss may well have been the destruction of healthy trees that had natural resistance to the disease. As is often the case, death and destruction didn't work anyway and now the industry is looking towards genetics to lessen the problem - after throwing away millions of opportunities to find the genes that they now look to for a solution.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Agave tequiliana
« on: April 16, 2017, 01:59:43 AM »
Hi Future.

There are quite a few references to cutting the flower heads on blue agaves. Here is another - and this one in Spanish if you wish to translate -
Most suggest that the farmers raising agaves for fermentation (tequila and mezcal) remove the flower stalks (desquiote) to avoid depletion of the stored sugars which are the energy source for the growing quiote (and also the source of sugar for fermentation). There is no mention of prolonging the life of the agave. They also note that propagation is done by collecting the young shoots (hijuelos) that grow around the mother plant.
The first link also refers to cutting the sharp tips off the leaves to avoid injuries.

These are blue agaves in a friend's garden.

And a few quiotes from other types of agaves.

This one had young plants sprouting from the roots of the dying mother plant.

And this one was about 15 feet high, with the tallest part of the flower showing above the bougainvillea flowers.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Agave tequiliana
« on: April 13, 2017, 01:53:38 AM »
I don't have blue agaves but have other varieties. None have flowered yet but they are native here and I see flowers regularly in the wild.  There seems to be a general consensus that cutting off the bloom stalk will not save the agave. The changes that trigger blooming also lead to death of the plant. The flowers are usually spectacular too, so you're depriving yourself of a treat - plus you can eat the flowers. I haven't seen any mention of edible agave fruit.
If you've taken good care of your agave it should be surrounded by baby agave that have grown up from the roots of the mother plant. Just dig these up and plant them wherever you want a new agave. They grow very quickly in rich soil with regular watering. The baby americanas and angustifolias I weaned off their mum 2 years ago are now about 40 cm across and producing babies of their own.
You can cut off the needle-sharp dried leaf tips to avoid getting speared by them. The leaves do quite well without them.
You can eat much of the agave too (

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Cacti thread
« on: April 11, 2017, 01:14:47 PM »
In addition to their potential for food, many of the same cactus (e.g., opuntia, pachycereus) improve soil with poorly understood nitrogen fixing mechanisms and mechanisms to break down rock particles. Google "nitrogen fixing cactus" for a wealth of information. Not sure how long it would take to. Convert your rocks into soil but here is one article There are others that suggest an enhanced effect with a mix of cactus and trees. Mesquite is one tree mentioned but I believe Mesquite is considered a problematic invasive species in many parts of the world so be careful with it. Mesquite is also leguminous. It is native to arid climates so not sure how it would fare in Florida.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Cacti thread
« on: April 11, 2017, 12:44:12 PM »
Can't I'm much of an expert on them but prickly pear/opuntia/nopal seems to be quite a large family of cactus. Many grow wild around here but edibility varies. I think usually "prickly pear" refers to the ones that provide the edible fruits but may not have palatable "pads". There are several different varieties and colors that you can even buy in bags, pealed and prepared to eat right out of the bag. Nopal is used for the ones with edible pads which may not have good fruit.
Nopales are abundant in grocery stores here and our journeys sometimes take us past sizeable fields of cultivated nopal. The stores bulk buy the nopal pads and have someone use a sharp knife to shave off the glochid-loaded areoles. You can dice them, blanch them and use them in salads, use them as a vegetable, juice them or grill them in the barbecue. They taste a little bland to me but the barbecue really seems to bring out a delicious flavour although it also turns the juice into a clear slimy goo that doesn't look too appetizing. Just oil and salt them then sear. The best nopal for eating seem to be the younger, thinner pads and cultivating the store bought pads (grabbed before the areoles were removed) produces plants with thinner pads than other varieties. The few types of nopal I have tried grow really fast if they are watered. A single rootless pad poked in the ground will multiply to 10 pads within a year in my sunny, hot climate with winters that rival summers in more northern climes.
I've never tried dragon fruit (hylocereus) but there are several varieties and colors ( Pitayas (stenocereus) grow wild here too. The ones I've tasted were quite juicy with a texture and flavor like cucumber. They weren't overly sweet and also had a hint of lemon. They contain a lot of rock-hard seeds. I always felt the name was inspired by the sound of spitting out the pits. Native Indians dried these pits and ground them into a flour. There are different wild varieties. One sweet one (pitaya dulce) is s. thurberi, commonly known as the organ pipe cactus. The fruit is red. A sour edible one (pitaya agria) is s. gummosus. I haven't tried it but it was a staple to natives in the region and is said to taste quite pleasant.
Pachycereus, such as the giant cardon (p. Pringles) also have edible "pitayas" which are reputed to be sour and perhaps more of a "survival" food although the pits were used to make flour.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Worm management
« on: April 11, 2017, 11:35:53 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions. It is fascinating to how cultivation can change the soil and it's inhabitants. There are some areas that I can mulch heavily and keep moist throughout the summer. At least this could be a worm nursery to jump-start other parts of my garden at the end of summer. I'm also getting a lot of small snails which do a little damage to my crops but currently not enough to raise alarm. The garden is evolving quite rapidly and I'm a bit wary of straying too far from conventional local wisdom in case I'll be repeating long-forgotten mistakes. That said, I'm open to experimenting and am also trying to push productive crops into the summer months when conventional wisdom is to leave the ground fallow.
The biggest challenge is my 30' x 30' veggie plot where I imagine deep mulching would present a challenge to cultivating some crops. Besides protecting worms, I suspect it would protect less desirable creatures that predators can find easily in the turned, fallow soil of summer. I've been rotivating mid-July and then again in September with 3-4 cubic yards of compost. It may be an idea to hold back some of the compost and concentrate it in trenches under some of the crop rows to encourage worms.
Another alternative is to encourage other creatures that may replace worms. Several varieties of ants seem to be quiet abundant and accepted here. In contrast to other areas where the popular strategy seems to be to get rid of them. What other bugs should I be encouraging and is there anything I should be doing to encourage them?

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Worm management
« on: April 09, 2017, 12:11:50 PM »
Basically looking for tips on how to improve the soil in my dry, semi-tropical climate. Worms always come up as a beneficial soil organisms so I wanted to tap any experience people have with worms in hot, dry climates. Temperatures in the summer remain in the upper 20s and 30s (C) even throughout the night.
I've put a lot of effort into composting and after 4 years found a population of what appears to be pot worms as I dug up potatoes from a compost filled trench. They seem to have populated only the compost as I haven't found them in any soil. The natural soil here is so dry that it is accepted that worms are uncommon here. The challenge now will be to keep them going through the hot summer when local advice is to clear the garden, dig it over to turn the soil and leave it to dry as the wildlife extracts pests from the loosened soil. I'll be attempting some vermiculture but suspect it will be a challenge in the 3-month long spell of 90F+ that barely moderates at night.
I don't find worms in my compost bins, most likely because they get quite hot.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Edible "weeds"
« on: April 08, 2017, 12:30:01 PM »
Stinging Nettle - Urtica dioica

Dandelion - Taraxacum

A mouthwatering recipe for nettle pudding from the constantly changing pages of Medieval Cookery (
1 bunch of sorrel
1 bunch of watercress
1 bunch of dandelion leaves
2 bunches of young nettle leaves
Some chives
1 cup of barley flour
1 tsp salt
Chop the herbs finely and mix in the barley flour and salt. Add enough water to bind it together and place in the centre of a linen or muslin cloth. Tie the cloth securely and add to a pot of simmering venison or wild boar. Leave in the pot until the meat is cooked and serve with chunks of bread."

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Last year for my xie shan
« on: April 06, 2017, 11:30:54 AM »
This is a relatively common problem that has been mentioned in a couple of other threads here. My mandarins are the only citrus that have had the problem. I have a couple of mature mandarins that some years produce good fruit and in other years the dry fruit you describe. The research on the web that I've done hasn't revealed any specific cause. Both under- and overstating have been suggested. Young trees and poor rootstock seem to be two common causes. Maybe try a transplant to another rootstock rather than toss the tree out if you have the room for another tree. Some mandarins can be at their best when still green.
This is a link that Millet provided in another thread and this is another I found with similar comments

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Are your lychees blooming?
« on: April 03, 2017, 06:16:35 PM »
Moving along slowly but it's a first for me. One fairly large bloom and 2 other tiny ones. Looks like boys and girls are hanging out together but not sure if I can anticipate fruit yet.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Landrace Gardening
« on: March 28, 2017, 09:16:23 PM »
Thanks for this interesting topic and the links. This has been a strategy to breed optimum crops for their localities for many farmers over generations and is really the way that our food crops have evolved to be so desirable and productive.
It may be a challenge for large producers who need reliable, predictable crops but is probably something that smaller concerns and hobbyists like many here should be encouraged to be aware of with an eye to crop improvements, New varieties and even new crops.
Successful "zone pushing" is no doubt contributing as is the interest in rare and even newly discovered/hybridized crops.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Absorbing the Vegetable Subforum
« on: March 23, 2017, 10:04:31 PM »
My translation is that you cleaned it up. My take is this forum originators, murahlain and Patrick are bored and done with it. When was Patrick's last post? That this tropical fruit forum would do better with you running it. Or someone like you.
No - Sheenan (murahilin?) cleaned it up (a BIG thank-you). The only contribution I've made so far is to volunteer to help keep it clean. And I'll be willing to help wherever it finds a home.
I m so thankful of the originators of this forum.
Me too

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Absorbing the Vegetable Subforum
« on: March 23, 2017, 05:32:23 PM »
The vegetable forum has just been cleaned up so it is usable again although there are already 2 new spam threads. It happens in the fruit forum too but gets cleaned up within a day or two. If the vegetable forum can get help to keep it clean perhaps we can keep it where it is and retain the history it has collected.
I've no issue with either choice. I just want to grow veggies as well as fruit. It just comes down to maintaining it, wherever it resides.
One issue with several subforums is that more general topics like pest management, irrigation, fertilizers related to garden management get diluted across several subforums. Maybe it would be an idea to also have a general horticulture section.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: In praise of Loquat...again.
« on: March 22, 2017, 01:18:35 PM »
I have a loquat tree with delicious fruit in Santa Monica. Another tree inherited with the house. A friend in Culver City has a similar one that is a magnet for the local parakeet flock. They have a good orange taste with just the right amount of tart for me.
It seems strange that this "food" plant seems to survive in gardens because people don't recognize loquats as food. I've always wondered why food plants aren't given more attention for landscaping. Maybe in cities like Los Angeles they take up too many poisons/pollutants to be healthy.

Citrus Buy, Sell, & Trade / Re: Key limes
« on: March 19, 2017, 10:49:43 PM »
We have been drinking margarites, making line chicken, lime whiskey, lime pie....  We are all limed out but the tree isnt done yet.
I juice them, freeze the juice in ice cube trays then bag the cubes. Limonadas are a very refreshing drink in the summer. 1 cube lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 24 fl oz water/ice. I like them best with mineral water.

There seems to be some hope of lessening HLB damage, if not of eradicating the infection -

Other factors have contributed to loss of grove acreage - such as a demand for property development as Florida's population tripled over the same time period. Damage from citrus canker and hurricanes also played their part in pushing land from agriculture to commercial/residential - It isn't just citrus either. All of Florida agriculture seems to be in decline -

What is the best method for "deep watering" plants like these? I was afraid of destroying the small root system.
I've just lost my fourth seedling sown in a pot so sympathise. I have one left that I put directly in the ground.
Looks like you are using peat pots which dry out very quickly. A heated room is probably low humidity too. Maybe create a mini-greenhouse by putting a clear plastic bag over them next time.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grapefruit from seed
« on: March 09, 2017, 10:47:56 AM »
Thank you all for your interest/help with my potential rootstock. It has been quite a learning experience for me - very much helped by forum members. If you Google citrus rootstock, several websites come up with dozens of different rootstock varieties, none of which closely match my tree. I am in an area where citrus cultivation predates introduction to the current US and there seem to be several local varieties of "lemon" that have been around so long that many consider them naturalized here. Some are almost as big as a football. The fruit from my rootstock was recognized by locals as one such variety. It looks very similar to the "brain" citron but doesn't have the characteristic thick albedo of the citron so I assume it is some kind of hybrid that originated in earlier years of citrus culture here. The rough lemon looks fairly close Laaz and descriptions note a lot of variation in the plants, so that may be it.
It tasted somewhat like lemon but was much sweeter with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I will try to find out more and let you know what I find.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grapefruit from seed
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:15:30 AM »
Bajajohn, I can't tell from the photo of your "lemons" if the leaves of your tree are unifoliate or trifoliate; is each leaf large and singular like most citrus leaves, or is each leaflet in three parts kind of like leaves on a rose bush?
I don't recall, although the leaves never struck me as different from my other citrus. The root suckers are all unifoliate but the biggest leaf right now is only about 1 cm long. I'm sure I've seen other trees around town, but now I'm looking for one I can't find any.
One thing I've learned in trying to identify the rootstock is that there were no citrus native to the area. They were introduced by the missionaries.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Can you eat avocado seeds?
« on: March 08, 2017, 12:55:50 AM »
They did an LD50 on it in mice
and it is 1767mg/kg
thats 1.7 grams per kg

236 grams (8.3 oz) for a 180lb man
(dried seed )

if i got my math right  ??

which is strange, because the tox report for rats showed 2.5g/kg for 28 days
with no effect. (from extract)

so maybe the extract is safer.

Persins may be the culprit here - They disrupt cancer cells but also other kinds of more useful cells. They are even present in the avocado pulp we eat, but we aren't affected because they are stored inside specialized cells that our wimpy digestive systems are not able to break down. The persins seem to migrate to skin of the avocado and maybe the seed along with natural insecticides and fungicides.  They are not so insulated from us there. The effects of persins vary across different species. Birds are extremely vulnerable and can die from eating avocados. Ruminants, mice and rabbits are quite vulnerable and may also die whereas dogs and cats just get sick -

Sooo - it depends which extract!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Can you eat avocado seeds?
« on: March 07, 2017, 10:40:56 AM »
Doug is one of many people demonstrating that you can eat avocado pits without immediate ill effects. That is about the extent of the research going on into eating whole avocado seeds.  Apple seeds contain amygdalin, the cyanide generating material at the center of the almond seed / laetril uproar a few years ago ( Small doses won't hurt but turning them into a "superfood" might. The official position on avocado seed is that not enough is known to make a recommendation either way.....

The most informative article is a peer-reviewed article...
It notes that avocado pits are used in traditional medicine and that there are many EXTRACTS that belong to classes of chemicals that have health benefits. Neither necessarily makes avocado seeds a good choice for regular consumption. Too much of a "good" thing in medicine often turns bad.

It also notes that the pit is 10-15% of the avocado bulk which suggests that using seeds for health extracts could be a significant additional income stream for the avocado industry - especially if they gain traction in the "superfood" marketing craze and can be sold commercially in a conveniently used form such as powder. Maybe the current internet craze is a test-marketing ploy to see how much interest / potential market there is.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Are your lychees blooming?
« on: March 05, 2017, 06:50:40 PM »
It looks like one of the flowers is growing again now  (March 5th).

Apart from deciding if I need to prune the flowers/fruits, I'm also wondering how best to deal with what appears to be a dead branch of rootstock above the graft. It is cracked and dead right down to the graft. Should I cut it off? How close to the graft? Presumably I also need to seal it.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grapefruit from seed
« on: March 05, 2017, 05:45:19 PM »
Thank-you Laaz. I'll give some cuttings a try. Lovely looking fruit.
Congratulations on your grapefruit Millet.

Here are a couple of picture of my "rootstock" taken before I pruned most of it away. It is the same tree that is in my previous post loaded with oranges. It is the tree on the right.

This a zoom-in of the knobbly "lemon" fruit. They are about 10cm * 8cm.

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