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Messages - pineislander

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Advice for an Orlando Beginner
« on: November 15, 2018, 04:29:17 PM »
In deciding where to place things, I spent a season drawing shadow maps to see which areas got how much sun and noting things like wind direction.

There is a cool online sun/shade calculator.

Your lower branches in heavy shade may have decided to die back. Pruning should include periodically shortening some branches and opening the interior canopy at the top to let light in. Hard to tell from the picture but the tree may not be getting much light from the sides which is usually the reason for lower branches dying off.

Cogshall is usually a slow grower but can get dense from the two trees I have. I see your tree at an early stage developed a double trunk be aware that a tight crotch angle like this will eventually become a weak point on a tree and should have been avoided. What happens is the two branches as they grow will include bark between them such that they don't actually have a union along the crotch. The tight angle puts most stress at the lower end of the crotch and if a wind event or heavy fruit load occurs it is much more likely to cause the tree to split.

I recently walked a 3 year old orchard and saw nearly 10% of trees had double trunks with angles like that. The problem will become worse as the trees get older you could easily lose 1/2 the tree and maybe set the whole tree up for failure as such damage would be a perfect place for rot and be hard to heal.

Looking at the picture again you might consider taking the right side fork down quite a bit next year to see if it can have less stress and help re-build the lower canopy, if there is enough light. That branch is growing more horizontal towards the fence and will have the most stress. That would also lessen the stress on the crotch. Maybe a cut near the growth ring on that branch where it turns more horizontal about 2 feet above the crotch should stimulate new growth. Your decision and you may lose crop for a year or two on that branch, less chance of that if you do it early.

Crotch angle:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fralon Mango
« on: November 03, 2018, 07:01:13 AM »
I've seen this spelled Fralan, Falan, Fralon.
Agree on the growth habit. I have two of these and they have a unique natural form. I might describe it as a natural bonsai form very dense and compact. Mainly pruning has been keeping the center and top of the tree open. Yes, you should eat these green I don't think they are anything special ripe and they tend to split before ripening. There is a good market for green mango especially early in the season with Asian people. Picking green avoids loss from over ripening, anthracnose, animals, wind, etc.


Falan, Thunder

Fruit description
Falan is a green, oblong shape fruit with no blush and a polyembryonic* seed. Falan is a medium-to-small tree with an open canopy.

Falan is another popular green eating variety in Thailand. When translated into English, Falan means Thunder. This variety is given its name because of its tendency, when mature, to split after a thunder storm or heavy rain. Because of this, it should not be picked in rainy weather and irrigation should be turned off before harvest.

Falan has a milder flavour than Keow Savoey and is generally eaten as slices in vinegar or fish sauces (mamung nam pla wa arn). In northern Thailand, this variety is induced to produce out-of-season fruit with potassium nitrate and paclobutrazol (CultarŪ).

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Advice for an Orlando Beginner
« on: November 03, 2018, 06:49:56 AM »
Along with considering size on a small lot also consider how trees will grow under different amounts of light. Plant a tree close to the house, fence or wall it will grow outwards. If the neighbor has a large tree that casts shade your tree will grow away seeking light. Remember winter sun lies to the south and casts a long shadow to the north of any tall object or tree. In a small space you can squeeze in productivity by planting shade tolerant stuff in spaces other trees will grow away from. Remember as your trees grow taller if not pruned they will close in the canopy, lower branches will die back, fruit will only be in the treetop and trees will accelerate straight up. In other words on a small space you can either plant trees farther apart or prune more carefully to keep things under control.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Growing avocado in sandy soil
« on: November 03, 2018, 06:38:47 AM »

How long has the tree been in ground?
I now see two years so young but the roots should be spreading out 3 feet or so.

Is it on flat ground, slope or hill?
If not on flat ground probably no possibility of standing water in root zone. On flat ground if standing water was ever possible during some high water event even a few hours root system could have been damaged.

Has the tree developed an extensive root system, of has there been some restriction, damage or dieback?
It's possible that during the tree's life some damage may have come to the root zone which has resulted in a reduced root mass.
What is the subsoil profile down several feet through the B&C horizons?
You may have sand on top but solid rock or an impermeable profile underneath. Maybe just a big rock or ledge you don't know about. You could use a post hole digger or steel rod to check that.

Have you amended the soil or mulched?
If you haven't mulched you need to recognize that avocado root system is shallow feeder roots which really need mulch to keep roots cool, reduce evaporation, maintain a soil food web and eventually build topsoil. If you pull mulch back under a healthy avocado tree you should be able to see fine feeder roots coming into the mulch. If not, get that started.

What is the sun and wind exposure?
If in full California sun or high wind exposure you might try a windbreak or something to give only afternoon sun protection but realize this tree needs enough sun to conduct photosynthesis.

What vegetation or trees are nearby?
I've seen lawn grass grown right up to avocado. The grass was absorbing almost all water and nutrients, the tree hardly grew and was starving. Same with a large tree, nearby trees can send roots out seeking water. Some can travel 20 feet and emerge into your avocado tree's root zone robbing it of everything. You could check by digging outside the avocado tree's root zone searching for small or large roots invading the tree's space.

How are you watering?
A two year old tree probably should have a root zone 3 feet wide maybe twice that if you have mulched well. As the tree grows you need to add mulch and expand the root zone by expanding mulching outside the drip zone. Water needs will increase as the tree grows so a single dripper needs to change to 4-6 drippers or better a microsprayer which will maintain healthy soil throughout the root zone.

There's a  slight chance some animal like mole or ground squirrel has a burrow or gopher has eaten roots?

Good luck.

PS, this guy's channel discusses lots of California specific tree information.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Growing avocado in sandy soil
« on: November 02, 2018, 04:19:48 PM »
Some questions.
How long has the tree been in ground?
Is it on flat ground, slope or hill?
Has the tree developed an extensive root system, of has there been some restriction, damage or dieback?
What is the subsoil profile down several feet through the B&C horizons?
Have you amended the soil or mulched?
What is the sun and wind exposure?
What vegetation or trees are nearby?
Some photos might help.

All of the above might be influences on what you are seeing and are pertinent to a solution.
Another question, how are you applying water?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Growing avocado in sandy soil
« on: November 02, 2018, 07:47:48 AM »
Some questions.
How long has the tree been in ground?
Is it on flat ground, slope or hill?
Has the tree developed an extensive root system, of has there been some restriction, damage or dieback?
What is the subsoil profile down several feet through the B&C horizons?
Have you amended the soil or mulched?
What is the sun and wind exposure?
What vegetation or trees are nearby?
Some photos might help.

All of the above might be influences on what you are seeing and are pertinent to a solution.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Banana Pruning Tools
« on: October 31, 2018, 12:58:09 PM »
For leaf pruning I've seen that in Central America they use a short pole with a sharpened hook knife on the end. It works best on green leaves. I use a short machete and pruners but have thought about making a hook knife. It would basically be a piece of steel bar stock ground down to a hook knife form. You could just use two steel hose clamps to secure it, or with metal handle use bolts like this:

here is a home made banana desuckering tool. It would also be useful for planting and any welder can make it.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Discovered Some Visitors
« on: October 30, 2018, 06:39:10 PM »
I wonder if you introduced a nice hive box close by they might move into it?
I checked and besides a regular bee box one can buy a swarm trap.

A neighbor has a Mabolo/Velvet Apple/Diospyros discolor tree and fruits are all falling off the tree none are being eaten by rats or squirrels. Almost none are being eaten by people either, for obvious reasons if you've ever tried. :-X

Spoon don't even try it . I am a long ranch tuna Sport fishing and I did that with tuna heads and guts after 6 month it still smells so bad , it not worth it for clean up

I disagree which is why I am doubling production. If yours smelled bad something went wrong. 
My fish emulsion doesn't smell any different from the store-bought. It recycles a nutrient source that would otherwise be wasted or replaced by a fossil source. What sense does it make to throw something away with one hand then reach for the wallet with the other? I am not close to a beach that gets good seaweed or I would try that too.

I also did 5 gallons each mango, passionfruit, carambola, and mombin wine and 3 gal lychee liqueur.

If you are looking for the barrels search for either pickle or olive barrels. they seal tight and have a wide opening easy to work with.

You can get tubing and grommets to seal them into drums at home beer/wine brewing suppliers local or online, drill to suit.

Last year I made 40 gallons of fish fertilizer I expect kelp could be made the same. I used a lactic fermentation process which decomposed all the soft parts of the fish leaving behind bones and some larger scales.
I scaled up some instructions found on youtube videos which were mostly 5 gallons or less.
Equipment was a 60 gallon plastic Greek Olive drum with threaded and sealed lid.
For fermentation you need to exclude air entry. I fabricated an airlock using a 3/8" plastic tube from the top of the drum lead into a 1 gallon can 1/2 filled with water. This allows carbon dioxide generated in the fermenter to escape but air to remain excluded.
Lactic acid bacteria can be found wild in the air, I developed a culture by washing 2 pounds of white rice with 1 quart of water and placing the water in a bowl in a dark closet for a few days. Three days later the wash water had a sour fermented smell.
I added the fermentation to 5 gallons of whole milk in a 5 gallon bucket. Within 2 days the milk had curdled, with curds floating on top and whey underneath. Using a slotted spoon I removed the curds, about 1 gallon, and stored the whey in the refrigerator.
The curds were proteins and fat from the milk, the whey contained a large culture of active lactobacillus. The reason you incubate in milk is that the bacteria can feed on the lactose sugars in the milk and hopefully overwhelm and exclude other bacteria, molds, and yeasts.
Theoretically, this is the same process used for making cheese, except that most cheese makers use bought cultures and take more care in sterilization. Because I felt adventuresome, I did harvest the curds, pressed them and obtained what looked like a soft farmer's cheese. I did eat it for a few days, each day eating more until I detected some intestinal distress and decided to stop.
Everybody called it "Fish Cheese" and thought I was crazy for eating it and had a good laugh.

Meanwhile, I stored the lactobacillus whey 'serum' in 1 gallon milk jugs in the refrigerator. For the next 2 weeks each day I went to the fish market where I had pre-arranged to trade my windfall mangoes for fish guts, heads, spines, fins, shrimp peels, whatever scraps they ordinarily through into the bay. I also bought 100 pounds or so of ordinary white sugar. You can use any sugar or even molasses. Day by day as I got fish guts I put them into the drum, added some serum, covered everything with sugar and stirred. After a couple of weeks I had the drum full, had used up all the whey serum and had a fairly thick blend of fish parts floating inside and bubbling/fermenting.

Within a week the smell became fishy, sweet and sour smelling but definitely not the 'smell of rotten death' you might expect.
Quite a few people who looked in were surprised. It is probably something you wouldn't do in a small urban backyard but 50 feet away you didn't know anything except when opened stirring.

It took 2-3 months for fermentation to eventually slow down. I stirred it every week or so with a big stick. I understand that the bacteria produce lactic acid as their waste (like soured yogurt) which eventually ends their reproduction. The result was a thick gray slurry topped by fish oil and the bones and scales sunk to the bottom.

I wanted to try using the product in a sprayer, a mist blower, and through a fertigation system so I tried several ways of filtering it.
I also used a powerful drill and paint stirring attachment to try and blend/chop up stray bits in the drum.
That was difficult because all the strainers kept clogging up. The best product ended up being strained through a nylon mesh paint strainer and was fine enough to use in the equipment with only a few clogs. To get it through the strainer I had to manually squeeze it with my hands so I smelled like fish for a day or so.

The process could probably be improved if I fabricated some baskets of different mesh wire and just let it drip through over several days, but my location wasn't protected from varmints and I expected they might tear everything up at night. If I had access to running water and electricity I believe a used kitchen garbage disposal might help mince or grind the fish including the bones, but would work best if you had all the fish at one time not day-by day & little-by-little. The liquified product might also be decomposed faster and be strained easier. I also found that green papaya contains a flesh decomposing enzyme called papain which might speed up the process but might need to be added before fermentation. The remaining bones and scales at the bottom went into compost, and the last of the fish emulsion I soaked into 300 gallons of biochar I made last spring.

One interesting observation. I tossed a few mangoes into the fermenter when it was mainly full. When the fermenter was finished bubbling, the mangoes remained green and whole as if they had been preserved instead of decomposed.
No, I didn't try to eat that. :P

For the future I may just strain a few gallons for special foliar feeding purposes and use the rest as a drench.
I hope this description helps. I think the kelp would be decomposed in the same way but agree you'd need to rinse the salt.

I have a second drum and plan to double production this year.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: My 3 kg. Mango
« on: October 29, 2018, 06:26:44 PM »
Shape of Lancetilla is different.

I don't see any downside of too much water. A six foot Jackfruit might represent $200 plus time to establish/replace. Loss of that would be the downside. Cost of water a few dollars per night. I like the idea of the shower curtain it should help a lot. I saw you were zone pushing last winter and some of your losses.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Which online nursery do you trust?
« on: October 27, 2018, 01:11:49 PM »
There has been some discussion if you use the search feature you will find them. Caveat emptor!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Successful Graft Soursop onto Cherimoya
« on: October 27, 2018, 01:06:48 PM »
You might expect them to begin defoliating below 40 degrees. Not sure about die back but preventing wind exposure is said to be critical by folks in marginal climates. There are some threads on frost damage here you can search for.

Just did some research on soursops. Looks like even mature trees don't give that much fruit, which explains the price. I definitely want to grow a tree eventually, whether zone-pushing here or farther south. It'd still be nice to get some fruit now though. I'll try Whole Foods. Anyone know of any other places? Or better yet, have any yourself?
Though it's in Spanish this video is probably the best example I've found of great production in Soursop. Colombia seems to excel in this fruit. The trees are pruned low and wide, fairly open not tight. Their natural habit is to grow dense tall and vertical so they are trying to form against that. The objective is longer lateral branches pruned fairly clean to stimulate flowering along the lower edges.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Which 3 avocados for Orlando?
« on: October 26, 2018, 05:22:48 PM »
Here is my first picking of 'Marcus Pumpkin'. Very large fruit, taste is similar to most Florida Avocados. This one is fairly productive, the tree is 6-7 years old and was mistreated but has bounced back. The one cut had fallen off so I have begun to harvest.

It is said to be frost tolerant but we seldom get frost.

Wholesale price has been $5/lb which is why I put in six trees. They begin defoliating below 40 degrees so you need zone 10b or higher and probably coastal areas which are less prone to frost. Mine are only 1.5 years but I'm starting to see a few flowers maybe some fruit next year. Some purport it to work on cancer I know of several who tried but died.

Build compost piles on each site & the soil underneath will benefit. Organic matter will bring ph closer to neutral. The disturbance of turning the piles will eliminate weeds. In two years you should have several batches to work with.
18 day compost:
You might try using rings of fence wire to hold each pile together like this:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Cotton Candy Mango
« on: October 24, 2018, 06:48:57 PM »
I put in five Cotton Candy trees this past spring, but only one Coconut Cream. It is easy to see the difference in growth habit when they are close together. In a couple of years I should get some side-by side tests too.

Just because 'some guy' says so isn't a real reason to do anything.
Check the data for LA compost yourself:;jsessionid=gKClzcD1tR_tjv7w78SrUzg30q9XWsy_E78tNqKqmJb6rsa7mc4U!1511500448!727084434?_afrLoop=10738200133044499&_afrWindowMode=0&;apw_exc_fcf=1540350000.0.1.n_2184390.gDoedE9_kIVq213Mwi32nOWX_n4q7kYjw3XObKzO3yM;apw_aac_0=1542937916.34.1.KG5fMjE4NDM5MCwxNTQyOTM3OTE2KQ.sCJLmRAQUbXZJ7qHtZNSmBQzWwdxlmt7WyT8FDNcx-8&_adf.ctrl-state=10kapfr3g9_1#!

The mushroom compost uses horse stable manure which has medications and cottonseed meal most of which is GMO and roundup ready. However, I figure composting takes care of most issues.
If you live in LA or most any city you've already accepted a highly polluted environmental legacy in soil and present in air.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Roselle types and cultivars
« on: October 22, 2018, 04:40:06 PM »
Ask the folks in Jamaica they have some good ones. They call it Sorrel. The document and videos discuss varieties.

I think you are in the right place. Its clear you are new and hope we haven't confused you. All of us struggle getting started and have success and some failures. I hope your planter box grows well for you. Remember that most failures of containerized gardens stem from overwatering you need to check down into the soil and keep it moist but not sopping wet, hope it has some drainage to avoid that. Try some simple things if winter melons grew well before and you like them try that. Some beans, cucumbers, etc are cheap and easy things to start with. Good luck!

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