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Messages - KarenRei

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1
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dwarf Banana Dying
« on: Today at 02:29:37 AM »
If you don't have another pup I'd be hesitant. 

When you say brown, you don't mean rot, you just mean dead leaves, right?

2
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Willughbeia outside borneo
« on: Today at 02:24:34 AM »
It's really hard to get the seeds to sprout. Not sure why. Here they also need hand pollination. Seems we are lacking the proper insect pollinator.

Do you have to cross-pollinate between plants, or is it enough to hand pollinate with the same plant?  Digging up apocynaceae dioecy statuses has proven challenging.

3
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dovyalis kaffra
« on: February 23, 2018, 07:06:52 PM »
I'm only aware of one monoecious Dovyalis, and that's Dovyalis abyssinica x hebecarpa ("Prodigal").  It's also super-high yielding, too.  Just be aware that they're quite sour!

4
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dwarf Banana Dying
« on: February 23, 2018, 07:04:47 PM »
Thanks for the advice! I'm determined to figure it out, so will work on getting some grow lights :)

I strongly recommend LED.  Just so you know... sellers lie  ;)   Expect the lights from cheapo/no-name manufacturers to only be about half as powerful as they claim they are (you can test with a watt meter).  Expect cheap lights to be less efficient than quality lights.  Don't trust manufacturer statements about how efficient or high quality their lights are - look for a umol/J (or umol/W/s) figure, and if it's not present, assume "inefficient".  Ignore "lumens"; that's a meaningless measure for plants (the lumen scale is based on the sensitivity of the human eye). The more red in the spectrum, the more umol/J you'll get, and thus the more energy you'll give to your plants, although you have to have at least some blue to prevent excessive petiole elongation.  Some "white" (aka, other colours) in the spectrum may or may not help with hormonal triggers, but again, they'll lower umol/J.  A sign of quality for grow lights is "unusually large / heavy for its rated output" - more bulk means better heat dissipation, but also more cost to manufacture.  When you get your lights, position them relatively close to your plant; a good "rule of thumb" is that the light should feel a little bit warm on your skin - but never hot. Good light manufacturers will often give specs on how much light will be received at what distances, but cheapo manufacturers usually won't.  Your bananas would ideally like - between the windows and the grow lights - 20-30 mol/m/d.  Reflective material (such as white cloth) around your plant can help amplify the amount of light hitting it.  Expect quality lights to cost a lot more than cheap lights, not just a little bit more.  Do the math and decide what's right for you.

Best of luck!

(And don't forget to check for mites.  Your misting at the very least is a deterrent, and as you know, bananas like moisture  :)  )
Do you have any recommendations for brand of lights? I'm on a tight budget so don't want to pay top dollar, but I definitely want something that will be worth the money I spend.

Do some math.  What do you pay for power - $0,14/kWh maybe?  An average LED fixture might last 50k hours.   So 1kW (true power, not nominal) of fixture - about $200 from a no-name Chinese manufacturer, or $2000 from a top-end manufacturer - will use 50000 kWh over its lifespan, or $7000. So even a small efficiency difference matters a lot. The cheapo fixture might be ~1,0-1,4 umol/J while the good fixture might be 2,1-2,7 umol/J, depending on the details and spectrum.  CFLs are 0,9-1,2 umol/J, while HPS is 1,4-1,8 umol/J. Also, in practice, the cheapo fixture might last 20k hours (or maybe just a couple thousand if it's really bad), while the good fixture might last more like 70k hours. 

Don't think just about capital costs. 

Note that HPS isn't terrible, and the fixtures are proportionally cheap.  But they have a lot of downsides, including being a concentrated heat source (more of a fire/burn/rupture risk) and regular bulb burnouts (which happen in a kind of annoying manner, in that they fade, and then become difficult to strike, and can end up in a cycle where they keep trying over and over to strike).  The light also, while "hormonally balanced", isn't as photosynthetically efficient as red.  But HPS certainly works (before LEDs, it was the go-to lighting source for indoor cultivation, and still makes up the majority of the market - although LED eats away its market share more every year).  One advantage to HPS (and especially fluorescent) over red/blue LED is that it's easier to inspect your plants.  With red-blue, I recommend shutting off your lights regularly to examine your plants, because under red-blue leaves just look black... it's hard to see nutrient deficiencies, pest damage, necrosis, etc.

As for manufacturers, there's so many.  A good place to start might be to search "site:reddit.com LED umol/J", as there's some really active groups discussing grow lights over there. It might give you a good jumping-off point for manufacturers.

As for what to use, I use a mixture of fixtures of different types (although nowadays overwhelmingly LED) and qualities.  There's no simple answer.  But I want to make sure that you take the long-term picture into account and don't just think about upfront costs.  Determine your square meters, determine how many mol/m/d you want to deliver to that area, pick your light type with respect to *all* factors and what sort of umol/J (aka umol/W/s) you can expect, decide how many hours you want your lights on per day, then the wattage you'll need is "W = (mol/m/d) * 1000000umol/mol * m / (3600s/h * (h/d)) / (umol/W/s)".  So, for example, if you want to add half sun (~15 mol/m/d) to what the plants get through the window, and do that over 1 square meter, for 12 hours per day, using a 2,2 umol/J fixture: (15 mol/m/d) * 1000000umol/mol * 1m / (3600s/h * (12 h/d)) / (2,2 umol/W/s) = 158W.  :)  Note that you can get by on smaller fixtures if you run them for more hours per day.  Note that long photoperiods can prevent flowering in short-day plants, and CAM plants don't like it in general, but most plants seem to do well with long photoperiods, if you're looking to cut capital costs.

5
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dwarf Banana Dying
« on: February 23, 2018, 01:43:13 PM »
Thanks for the advice! I'm determined to figure it out, so will work on getting some grow lights :)

I strongly recommend LED.  Just so you know... sellers lie  ;)   Expect the lights from cheapo/no-name manufacturers to only be about half as powerful as they claim they are (you can test with a watt meter).  Expect cheap lights to be less efficient than quality lights.  Don't trust manufacturer statements about how efficient or high quality their lights are - look for a umol/J (or umol/W/s) figure, and if it's not present, assume "inefficient".  Ignore "lumens"; that's a meaningless measure for plants (the lumen scale is based on the sensitivity of the human eye). The more red in the spectrum, the more umol/J you'll get, and thus the more energy you'll give to your plants, although you have to have at least some blue to prevent excessive petiole elongation.  Some "white" (aka, other colours) in the spectrum may or may not help with hormonal triggers, but again, they'll lower umol/J.  A sign of quality for grow lights is "unusually large / heavy for its rated output" - more bulk means better heat dissipation, but also more cost to manufacture.  When you get your lights, position them relatively close to your plant; a good "rule of thumb" is that the light should feel a little bit warm on your skin - but never hot. Good light manufacturers will often give specs on how much light will be received at what distances, but cheapo manufacturers usually won't.  Your bananas would ideally like - between the windows and the grow lights - 20-30 mol/m/d.  Reflective material (such as white cloth) around your plant can help amplify the amount of light hitting it.  Expect quality lights to cost a lot more than cheap lights, not just a little bit more.  Do the math and decide what's right for you.

Best of luck!

(And don't forget to check for mites.  Your misting at the very least is a deterrent, and as you know, bananas like moisture  :)  )

6
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dwarf Banana Dying
« on: February 23, 2018, 09:45:16 AM »
I've gardened for years, but am really struggling trying to grow tropical fruit indoors, so I will be posting a lot of questions! I am in zone 4/5. Last year I bought I dwarf banana that was about five inches tall. I put it in a big south facing window. My house was very humid and it thrived for the first few months. I repotted several times with a combo of sandy cactus mix and organic potting soil, fertilized regularly with an organic all-purpose fertilizer, and watched it grow. Late summer I moved to a house that is drier,cooler and does not have a south facing window. I placed it in a west facing window instead. By the end of summer it stopped growing completely and the existing leaves continued to shrivel up and turn brown. Now the poor plant just has a little bit of green at the top of the stalk, the rest of the plant is dried up. I've been spraying him with a squirt bottle and placed a heater near him. Any ideas to rescue my banana?

Low humidity may well be "a" problem, but your primary problem is a lack of light. Note that supplemental lighting costs money - yes, the fixture costs money, but even more, the power costs money.  Plants gobble up sunlight.  Think of how intense it is to stare at the sun (relative to house lighting).  Plants effectively "stare at the sun" all day.  Look up any cultivation page about bananas; it'll tell you the same thing about optimal siting: "Full sun".  A little shade won't kill them, but a west-facing window - half-sun minus obstructions and glass losses (so really like 20-40% sun, aka "full shade" / deep "dappled shade") - is just not good enough.

Your options are:

1) Let the banana die
2) Give it away
3) Add lots of supplemental lighting (moderate capital costs, large recurring costs)
4) Modify your house to have larger south-facing windows (large capital costs, small recurring costs)

(Also, while we're at it, since it's indoors: check your banana for spider mites)

7
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Willughbeia outside borneo
« on: February 23, 2018, 03:25:11 AM »
Lots of Apocynaceae plants are dioecious.  I tried to dig up info on whether Willughbeias are dioecious but failed to find the answer. I did run into a lot of cases of people growing it but never getting fruit, so that makes me suspect dioecy, or at least a need for hand pollination.  Lots of reports of difficulty getting them past the seedling stage, too; be careful with your soil mix when they're seedlings.  Once they get established, though, they're weeds that will smother whatever they grow on  :)  Oh, and they have zero cold tolerance.

8
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Aa Palm Salt Tolerance
« on: February 20, 2018, 09:41:31 AM »
I live on a canal so I could plant it close to the water, though it is a bit brackish. I wondered the same thing about wet feet as I see pictures of it growing right on the river. Guess all I can do is plant it and see how it does. Thanks for the response.

I'd imagine that sitting in ground constantly saturated by brackish water would be the worst option of all.  :

9
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Aa Palm Salt Tolerance
« on: February 20, 2018, 08:48:39 AM »
I haven't seen any info on that either, but it's not a seashore palm, so I suspect that its tolerance to salt is limited.

You often see places listing it as needing well-drained soils, but I don't believe that; in its native habitat it grows in wet areas, and is frequently inundated. It has a root system designed for anchoring in boggy ground.  Maybe put it in a place where rainwater tends to collect so that you don't have to water as much with well water?

Do remember that the berries are primarily seed, and that - despite appearances - the pulp layer around them doesn't have a berry taste at all.

10
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Don't throw away those passionfruit leaves!
« on: February 20, 2018, 02:57:59 AM »
I like this info. I have been reading a lot about guava leaves tea, but passionfruit leave is a new discovery to me, good to know, since i have a lot of leaves which i have been giving to the chicken :)
I am wondering if it is possible to mix different leaves in one tea to make a super tea which combines different medicinal properties (guava - passion fruit for example, + green tea to bring the good taste to the mixture).
I considered doing it with guava leaves and green tea, but i was afraid that the two types of leaves will activiate "dangerous" compounds when boiled together, or at least they activate some compounds that neutralize each other's effect. I guess there are no scientific evidence to deny or confirm such fears, so what do you think about this? is it probably safe to mix different plant leaves in one super tea?

Dangerous reactions are not impossible, but they're not exactly likely either.  Think of how many chemicals you're heating together every time you cook... that hasn't killed you, now has it?  ;)

11
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Don't throw away those passionfruit leaves!
« on: February 19, 2018, 05:36:49 PM »
So, I'm trying this for the first time tonight. Observational notes:

1) Raw leaf: too strong for me to eat in a salad or whatnot.  Maybe cooked in some dishes with other strong flavours.

2) Tea taste (I used 5 large P. edulis leaves in an oversized coffee mug of near-boiling water): the first taste I got was just "leaf".  Nothing else.  Kind of unappealing, but not distasteful... just uninteresting.  However,  the more I've been drinking it the more I've been picking up this subtle mint flavour that wasn't there in the beginning.

3) Either this was some crazy timing, or maybe I'm having a very strong psychosomatic effect..... OR, this stuff does exactly what it says on the tin.   I was only a quarter of the way into the mug when I noticed that I felt sleepy.  And not "normal sleepy"; but like something was actively dragging my awakeness level down.  Yet not of the type of effect to cause an imminent "fall asleep at my computer" effect.  I'll just put it this way, I don't think I'll have any trouble falling asleep tonight.  ;)  I also have this sort of heavy and/or tingly effect around my head.... maybe a very tiny bit of that feeling you get when you've had skin numbed for a medical procedure.  But again, not a strong feeling like that.

I definitely have to try this again to see if it's a coincidence or if this is a consistently reproduceble effect.  But so far, I have to say that I'm believing these reports.

12
Hahaha -  I can just imagine explaining that to the police... "No, I swear, I'm making an anti-root-binding paint!  And those grow lights are for tropical fruit trees, I promise!"  ;)

13
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Don't throw away those passionfruit leaves!
« on: February 19, 2018, 04:21:27 AM »
So, the other day I was looking at a mess of old passionfruit leaves and thinking... "I wonder if there's anything I can do with these".  So today I googled it.  Apparently they're quite edible, used fresh, as a cooked green, and dried in tea (credited as being relaxing, as well as a number of other health effects).

Wondering whether there might be any adverse health effects, I went to scholar.google.com to search for peer-reviewed research... and found just the opposite.  Apparently they're being studied for use as an anti-anxiety medication, with quite positive results.  Examples:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367326X01003227
http://www.ijppsjournal.com/Vol3Issue1/1002.pdf
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00216-016-9376-4
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1516-89132006000500005&script=sci_arttext&tlng=es
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f0d8/23f38ca5039cbd760141d507794ab0d40a20.pdf

Metastudy:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874104000856

They're also effective as a cough suppressant and an antiasthmatic in the right doses:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367326X02001168
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.1151/full

Anticonvulsive:

https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2007-969715

... and much more... basically a general CNS depressant with some nice effects. And they're quite antioxidant:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996913000033
http://europepmc.org/articles/pmc2865792

And antiinflammatory:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874106003680
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367326X06002620

P. incarnata (maypop) appears to be the most potent medicinal passiflora, but most species contain the active compounds to come extent (the closest to P. incarnata is P. caerulea, followed by P. lutea and P. capsularis). The compounds are not found in any significant concentration in the roots, stems, or flowers; the leaves appear to be the primary source. Concerning extracts, methanolic extracts are about 10x as potent as aqueous extracts (tea) - but aqueous extracts are still effective.  More to the point, it appears to be the water-soluble fraction of the methanolic extracts that has the effect.

I think when I get  home I'm going to be doing some pruning  ;)  Hopefully the taste is decent.

14
You are certainly determined haha!

Good work :)

I'll start out with trialing just one plant, of course  ;)  I have an excess of tamarillos, and one needs to be repotted, so it'll have to be my guinea pig!

15
Copper sulphate is water soluble, and at the concentrations needed  for root pruning, if absorbed by the plant will kill it.

Hmm, I presumed that copper hydroxide was also soluble (and only kept from dissolving by the latex paint).  Apparently it's insoluble.  Okay, well there goes that idea  ;)  Unless I can dig up some sodium hydroxide somewhere to convert it...

Oh hey wait, I have some cement... calcium hydroxide should precipitate out zinc hydroxide....

Would not be easier for you to get some Copper oxyclorure? It's the most common copper fungicide here in Europe.

Not in Iceland it wouldn't  ;)

Seriously, just as an example: do you know the grand total number of pesticides I've found in all the garden centres here?  Guess.

The answer: two.  I'm not joking.  Both pyrethroids.  You can't even buy diatomaceous earth here.

I could buy things online, but shipping and customs costs would be quite high, and customs may give me trouble for shipping in chemicals.  I could buy them in the US when on vacation next, but I imagine that the TSA might read me the riot act for bringing in chemicals.  Shipping takes weeks regardless, and who knows when my next US vacation will be.  But I have copper sulphate and cement today  :)

The reaction seems to have gone pretty well (it was quite noticeably reacting).  One difficulty (vs. using sodium hydroxide, which I don't have onhand) is that calcium sulphate (plaster of paris / gypsum) can be - depending on the form - either well, or only poorly, soluble in water.  So I don't know how much I washed away during the filtration; I suspect some of it (possibly even most of it) is left behind.  Not like calcium sulphate should be a problem in the latex paint, it just means I should use more of the powder.  The key part is that I did 3-4 filtration/rinse cycles, so that should have gotten the vast majority of any water-soluble copper compounds out.  :)   I'm drying it now.

One nice advantage: the copper sulphate was large coarse crystals that I would have had to try to crush fine with a mortar and pestle.  The insoluble precipitate here is an extremely fine bluish "clay".

Trivia: one neat thing you can do with copper hydroxide is to dissolve it in ammonia; this makes Schweizer's reagent, which can dissolve cellulose  :)  You can then precipitate the cellulose out as a fine powder by adding acid.

16
Copper sulphate is water soluble, and at the concentrations needed  for root pruning, if absorbed by the plant will kill it.

Hmm, I presumed that copper hydroxide was also soluble (and only kept from dissolving by the latex paint).  Apparently it's insoluble.  Okay, well there goes that idea  ;)  Unless I can dig up some sodium hydroxide somewhere to convert it...

Oh hey wait, I have some cement... calcium hydroxide should precipitate out zinc hydroxide....

17
I happen to have some copper sulfate on-hand.  Anyone see any reason why copper sulfate in latex paint wouldn't work in basically the same manner as copper hydroxide?

18
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Can we use egg shells for our fruit trees?
« on: February 15, 2018, 02:44:51 PM »
The calcium will slowly leach out; the lower the pH, the faster it will leach out.  You can relatively quickly (a day or two) dissolve the calcium out of egg shells with vinegar; it's a popular science experiment for kids.  The form of calcium is calcium carbonate, the same as chalk/limestone.  So it's like adding limestone to your soil.  Calcium carbonate is specifically sold for use as a fertilizer / soil amendment as "aglime" / "agricultural lime".  It's just limestone / chalk ground very fine to accelerate the dissolution (which is, as mentioned, quite slow when not in an acidic medium).

The short of it?  Yes, put your eggshells in your compost  :)  They won't disappear quickly, but they'll still slowly contribute calcium.  If you want to speed it up, dissolve them in an acid.  For example, phosphoric acid (stone floor/concrete cleaner for strong phosphoric acid, cola for weak phosphoric acid) you'll end up with calcium phosphates, which are common fertilizers for soils that need both calcium and phosphorus.  You can use nitric acid too if you want calcium nitrate, but that's harder to come by than phosphoric  ;)  But if your goal of adding calcium is to raise the pH, then you should either stick to "no acid" or a weak acid (citric, acetic, carbonic, etc).  Either way, those egg shells belong in your compost, not your trash  :)

19
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: White sapote seed safety
« on: February 13, 2018, 05:06:13 PM »
Okay, that's not a bad rate at all  :)

20
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: White sapote seed safety
« on: February 13, 2018, 11:26:27 AM »
So about 1 1/2 feet per year on average (depending on the size of the tree in the 3 gal pot and what you mean by "couple years")?    Call it half a meter per year?  I'd call that medium-slow.  Certainly there are much slower trees out there.  :)  Seedlings reportedly grow about 1,5m per year after getting established, which is very fast.  Not moringa-fast, but still fast!  But seedlings don't bear until 8-10 years.

21
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: White sapote seed safety
« on: February 12, 2018, 11:15:24 AM »
I don't think the seeds have to be big to be toxic. he's my store when i first started getting W. sapotes from my tree's we started using them in smoothies in the morning and i was taking out big seeds but i was missing small flat under developed seeds. Well both of us my wife and i would start getting stomach aches about a couple hours later, it took us a few day's of trial  to figure out it was the small seeds that we were missing when putting sapote into blender. So we don't put sapote in blender any more just eat them and spit out little seeds.
beware of the little ones too! ;)

Hmm, thanks for that caveat!

22
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: White sapote seed safety
« on: February 12, 2018, 11:09:03 AM »
Crushed white sapote seeds are supposedly used to kill cockroaches - both attracting and then killing them on the spot.  I'd remove the seed before your tortoise has a go  ;)

The chemical compounds in the seeds (and in vastly smaller quantities in the fruit) are however of medical interest, under study as a non-habit-forming sleep aid, an anti-depressant, an anesthetic, a muscle relaxant, etc, as well as for treating hypertension and cancer.  Apparently the sleep-inducing compounds have such a strong effect that administered adrenaline doesn't counter them.

Hey, while we're on the subject of white sapotes - I know that seedlings grow insanely fast, but grafted trees are reported to be much slower growers.  How fast have yours been growing?

23
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: White sapote seed safety
« on: February 12, 2018, 10:33:41 AM »
Peach seeds are not deadly, even if you cracked them and ground them up.  The LD50 is something like 15 ground peach pits for an adult.

That said, thanks for the info on seed toughness, that should be good enough  :)


24
Tropical Fruit Discussion / White sapote seed safety
« on: February 11, 2018, 07:57:44 PM »
White sapote seeds are said to be fatally toxic.  The general public is well known for not reading signs and doing stupid things. How much of a risk is there of a person who paid no attention to information given killing themselves with a white sapote?  E.g.:

 * Are the seeds fatal when eaten uncrushed, and is it possible to accidentally or intentionally swallow them whole?
 * If they're only fatal when crushed / damaged, is it realistic that a person could accidentally or deliberately do so with their teeth?
 * I've found a couple mentions of seedless trees.  Are seedless cultivars commercially available? I've heard that Suebelle is seedless in about half of its fruits...

Also, while we're on the topic, does the fruit actually make you sleepy?

25
Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Lardizabalaceae
« on: February 09, 2018, 10:11:04 PM »
I will definitely try Decaisnea this year, it seems to be very interesting for my growing zone. Problem is only with good seed source. I try several times to germinate them (stratified, without stratification) no one of big amount germinate :( Seed were probably very old or not properly stored.
Interesting info about Akebia Karen :) Seems that many of Lardizabaceae is not only unusuall but also healthy...

Stratification is recommended.  Germination takes 1-3 months at 18C. Likes moist, rich, loamy soil.  Like most Lardizabalaceae, will grow in shade but will only produce significant fruit in the sun. Unlike most Lardizabalaceae, they're self-fertile  :)

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