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Messages - BajaJohn

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Any info in these mango varieties
« on: June 27, 2017, 12:57:58 PM »
The mango varieties I have here in Baja California Sur are known locally as Ataulfo, Mamey and Manzana. There is a Wiki page for Ataulfo so I know a little about them but I haven't found anything on the other 2 varieties although they seem very common around here. Does anyone know anything about these varieties or know where I may be able to get some information about them?
Here are photos of my current daily hauls....

The mangos in the box are the Ataulfos and have been producing for about a month now. The small squares on the tiles are about 3" across. I'm not even sure if they are true Ataulfos since they max out at around 6oz and seem a bit more fibrous than the Wikipedia article suggests.
The slightly elongated one on the left is a Mamey which are just now ripening. Not my favorite taste and somewhat fibrous. This one fell off the tree and is still a bit green.
The red, oval ones are the Manzanas. They just starting and are my favorite. The early ones are a bit small - around 10 oz but later ones are larger. Haven't weighed them in earlier years but I would guess 1 lb. They have barely any fiber. All the trees are quite large - probably 30' but quite slender - possibly due to the close planting.

Here are some household items you can check your meter with...

Lemon Juice 2.0
Vinegar 2.2
Apples 3.0
Wine and Beer 4.0
Tomatoes 4.5
Milk 6.6
Pure Water 7.0
Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) 8.3
Milk of Magnesia 10.5
Ammonia 11.0
Lime (Calcium Hydroxide) 12.4

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Ginger
« on: June 09, 2017, 04:52:10 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. I suspect the humidity may be the big issue - only 30% today. Maybe mist irrigation rather than drip would help. I can also try them in a very shady corner that gets no direct sun and seems to retain moisture more than the rest of the garden.
Would pure compost be a good growing medium for them? That would help my worm project too.
Yes, I use municipal water and no other plants seem to have an issue. The pH is neutral. Rain isn't really an option here since it only appears on one or two days per year at most. I could try purified (RO) water that I can get for about a dime a gallon.
Once again, thanks for the help. This is a new and very different environment from the English gardens I grew up in. I suspect shady spots here get more light than full sun locations in cloudy England.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: First mango fruit of 2017
« on: June 09, 2017, 12:09:27 AM »

The tarp is a good idea BajaJohn and the mangos, trees, and tarp all look very cool.

Wow, I just read Just an 18 hour drive from California..... That's quite a drive...Especially in a truck... I googled and came a little less so I guess with car 14 hour 32minutes to San Diego but still quite a drive.,+California/Loreto,+Baja+California+Sur,+Mexico/@29.3683877,-118.7515569,6z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x80d9530fad921e4b:0xd3a21fdfd15df79!2m2!1d-117.1610838!2d32.715738!1m5!1m1!1s0x86b43b89530f87b1:0x178b5e606baccafe!2m2!1d-111.3477531!2d26.0117564   
Maybe your just a little more south Sur than Loreto that I entered....
Thanks. You are right about the drive. It is 18 hours from LaPaz which is about 5 hours South of me (26.009718,-111.350158). Still a whole lot faster than getting them from India.
The material is shade cloth which comes in handy for shading plants later in the summer too. The fruit seems perfect for eating when it falls but I'm not sure about using them in a commercial venture. They overripen quite quickly, especially the ataulfos later in the season. My Manzanas which seem similar to Hadens seem to keep much better.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Ginger
« on: June 08, 2017, 03:37:32 PM »
I've had success getting store-bought ginger to sprout and grow but I don't seem to have hit upon good growing conditions. The leaves seem to turn brown and dry up regardless of the amount of water I provide. Many rhizomes just dissolve in the dirt. The best I have done is in dappled shade where I got small new rhizomes that seem to be sprouting for the second year. The bigger plants in the photo are from bigger rhizomes that have produced bigger plants but the shoots still look sickly. The soil is sandy with lots of compost and irrigated from a drip system. Any suggestions to improve my plants?

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Bougainvillea
« on: June 08, 2017, 02:53:50 PM »
I'll have to try them.

They are super hardy too. These were bare twigs cut out of a wire mesh fence and transplanted two years ago.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: First mango fruit of 2017
« on: June 08, 2017, 02:37:43 PM »
Finally getting ataulfos here in Baja. M-hmmmm - goood!

Looks like a productive year too.

The ones in the center are a mango variety called Mamey here. They need more time to ripen. The cloths are my harvesting system to catch the fruit when it falls from the tree. Everyone seems to grow mangos here so there is no local market for them - just an 18-hour drive from California.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Insect ID?
« on: June 04, 2017, 04:20:03 PM »
Try this for IDs. There are other sites too.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Selecting mature fruit from the tree
« on: June 03, 2017, 04:04:34 PM »
There seems to be more interest in this topic now that mangos are ripening.
Quality of mangoes will be much better if they are not left on the tree until they naturally drop.  Even if letting color up, which many should do before picking, you still want to pick before it is at the stage where it drops off on its own.

Once picked, let it sit and ripen on a table on your porch or the like where they will be exposed to natural outdoor ambient temperatures.
I can't agree with such a generic statement, even for mangos. I suspect there are many variables including climate, variety, personal preference and possibly even the stage of the harvest and age of the trees.
My favorite crop variety is known here as manzana (apple) which is absolutely the best when left to fall from the tree. It is an old tree and I have no idea what modern variety it corresponds to. They look somewhat like Haden and there is a picture of some early in the season below. They are about twice the size later in the season and ripen a month or two later than my ataulfos (manillas).

My ataulphos are just beginning to ripen now. Even most of the ones falling from the tree still show green and need time to ripen. I note the turpentine taste is stronger in the one that fall from the tree still green. Later in the season the turpentine flavour lessens but the fruit seems a little overripe and more fibrous if left to fall naturally from the tree.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Papaya problem
« on: May 24, 2017, 11:22:43 AM »
Those same papayas are looking much healthier now. Treatment was soap spray.

I also found this review of papaya growing conditions. A bit technical and sometimes hard to follow but it seems very comprehensive. One section suggests that papayas are extremely sensitive to overwatering because their roots need oxygen to survive. Hana, be sure you have well draining soil.

Thank-you Greenman. The soil is 50/50 compost and alluvial soil which is sandy with natural gravel. It is drip irrigated twice daily. Two of the 4 plants in the row showed no symptoms of problems and one seems to be producing nicely although nothing is ready yet.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Cacti thread
« on: May 16, 2017, 06:25:07 PM »
I'll try again when they are ripe. They may look different then. This is a learning experience for me too!
Here is a wider view of the landscape. The Sea of Cortez and islands are in the background. The "development" is the start of a community garden and classroom I'm helping to set up for the local community. Most of the cactus are Cardon (pachycereus pringlei) but the one front left is a sweet pitahaya known as pitaya/pitayo dulce locally. The flowers are just appearing on them now. It is, or is related to the organ pipe cactus of National Monument fame. There are 2 subspecies - stenocereus thurberi - the true organ pipe and stenocereus littoralis or dwarf organ pipe which, not surprisingly, is a little smaller and is a bit more common in Baja Sur.

Here is a really cool picture of a "deformed" stenocereus thurberi which is copyrighed so I didn't display the picture here.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Papaya problem
« on: May 16, 2017, 05:10:09 PM »
Thanks Adam. The general opinion is that ants replace the function of earthworms in this hot, dry climate where worms don't seem to thrive. There seems to be some academic support for that idea here. I'm working on attracting worms but this climate is a new learning experience for me.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Papaya problem
« on: May 15, 2017, 05:26:54 PM »
Thanks (William?). Sprayed a few times with soapy water and the emerging new leaves are looking healthy.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Cacti thread
« on: May 14, 2017, 01:11:23 AM »
It's cactus flowering season here in Baja. The Cardon (pachycereus pringlei) seem to be the first to flower and fruit. Thought you might like to see. They're big!....

Tried a fruit but it needs to ripen up. They are one of many varieties of pitahayas.

The flesh at this stage is almost tasteless but was an important food source for the Seri Indians. They also ground the mature seeds to make a flour. The seeds contain bacteria which fix nitrogen and break down rock.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Papaya problem
« on: May 03, 2017, 03:23:32 AM »
Thank-you for the response Tropicdude. I hope you are right with the bugs though I haven't seen too many. The Guia Cultivo has a picture of a mite infested papaya that looks exactly like my plants so maybe need to get the magnifying glass out. Anyway I gave them a spray with soap solution tonight. I'll give them some fertilizer which may help them fight whatever is ailing them. My soil tests found moderate levels for most minerals. Boron was on the higher end of normal. Phosphorus and iron were low everywhere except where I planted the papaya. There were a few high values - zinc and magnesium were super high and potassium was about 4 times normal. Manganese, copper and calcium were also slightly above normal.
I pushed and pulled at the tree trunks which seemed fairly solid. I'll dig in the soil around the trunks tomorrow to see how wet it is.
Thanks very much for the cultivation guide. It looks very informative. My Spanish isn't great but I only had to look up 2 words before I had another vote for mites.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: A Fascination with Fatty Fruits
« on: May 03, 2017, 02:06:25 AM »
Another reference. Brazilian fruit nutritional content -
Umari poraqueiba sericea - 12 - 15% , 20% lipids. Mostly seed but has a thin, reportedly pleasant tasting mesocarp that is used like butter on cassava bread.
Uxi endopleura uchi - 19% fats, 20% lipids.
Piquia Caryocar brasiliense - 13% fat, 15% lipids. Normally pollinated by bats.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: A Fascination with Fatty Fruits
« on: May 02, 2017, 03:51:00 PM »
Another consideration that the OP hinted at was the nutritional content which for fats would be essential fatty acids - Omega 3 and 6. Avocados are low in these. Olives seem to have a similar fat content with higher omega 3 and 6 content. Arguably, the omega 3 content is somewhat low but there doesn't seem to be enough academic data to understand dietary needs of either in sufficient detail.
This publication ( reports nutritional content of some Malaysian fruits.
Dubai (canarium odontophyllum -26 %), kembayau (dacryodes rostrata f. 16%), have fat content higher than avocado. Other sources claim they are high in lipids. Other fruits contain as much fat as durian - around 4%.
Another issue to consider is dry weight versus wet weight. Bananas seem high using dry weight. Very juicy fruits will show a low content when wet but a much higher content when dried. Since your body can extract the water, the dry weight may be a more useful comparison.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Papaya problem
« on: May 02, 2017, 11:49:13 AM »
The papayas I planted from the seeds of a store-bought Maradol are looking sick although one has growing fruit on it. Can anyone identify the problem and offer a solution.
The trees were planted as 30cm high seedlings about a year ago in a 50/50 soil/compost mix. There are a few tiny (2cm long) ants running around the trees and there are a few other black, oval shaped creatures about 1 * 1.5 mms on the underside of leaves.

Newly sprouting leaves on two of them emerge malformed and shrivel back to the major leaf veins.

The other two seem to be producing new leaves but the mature leaves are badly mottled.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What's wrong with my Papaya?
« on: May 02, 2017, 11:37:48 AM »
Some do really well, their trunks get quite fat and produce lots of large papaya fruit.

While others are less prolific and some, the ones that are never fertile and never produce fruit, I just use as compost.
This is probably because of the gender of the trees. They come in male, female and dual gender. The flowers are distinct and you need both types for fruit. As the flowers emerge the male stalks are much thinner than the flower buds whereas the female flowers are as thick as the flower buds. The trees can change gender from male to female and I'm told that trauma can trigger the change. One of the locals pushed a knife right through the trunk of my saplings when they were about 25mms diameter. There are pictures and better descriptions on the web if you search.

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 (

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