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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Longan seedling diagnosis?
« on: December 29, 2013, 11:27:09 AM »
I did run a Google search and could not come up with any answers, so I'm turning to the experts here on TFF. Some of my year-old seedlings are having some strange developments. See pictures below.

^ This seedling has two shoots of new growth coming out. They look totally healthy, except the bigger one has leaves that are curling. There is no fuzz (to suggest mites). The other shoot has three straight leaves and one slightly curled.

^ This seedling's new growth is only ever green, not the rusty red like all the others. I've recently trimmed off some of the older leaves so that it could focus on the new shoots.

Now, I do know that I have a problem with fungus gnats. It started after that period of having my kids help take care of my trees, during which time they became over-watered for several days.  My new "favorite" past time is "smack the gnat." I'm looking into getting either sand or pebbles to cover the top layer of soil in all of my pots. But beyond that, I don't see any other issues. I visually can't see any fungus growing on the top of my soil. Watering has gone to, once I stick my finger about an inch in the pot and it's getting dry, they get water. But not so much that they are sitting in a puddle.

Maybe humidity (or lack there of) could be an issue. Back when I hatched chickens with my kids, we had to keep the incubators humid. We achieved this both by adding water to the bottom of one unit, above which the eggs were suspended in their turner on a hardware cloth cover over the basin. In the other unit, I put sponges in a container off to one side and made sure they were soaked every day. Both sets of eggs hatched without a problem.  -- I don't currently have any setup for humidity. I'm thinking of constructing a table top greenhouse to assist.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / My first taste of Rambutan
« on: December 23, 2013, 06:33:26 PM »
It's good! But I still prefer longan.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Jackfruit sprouted a... rubber duckie?
« on: December 18, 2013, 12:48:51 PM »
Seriously? What is that? Just a random funky growing leaf, or wayward branch that is coming up funny?

^ Same shot, just a close up for the detail.

^ Two other shots with slightly different lighting.

Different angles:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Spiny Longan??
« on: December 11, 2013, 09:58:28 PM »
I now have another reason to visit Borneo (or the Philippines) at some point in the future. Unless this is already growing in the states? Either way, I want some seeds! :P The Philippines have apparently listed it as an endangered species... so shouldn't the guys down at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida have it in their collection?

Search the Google book for "spiny longan" - (The eBook is insanely priced... so I will not be purchasing it. But I got enough of a glimpse that I want the fruit.)

EDITED to add: Forgot to run the forum search first. Just got so excited, sorry mods!

^ But the book does say:

The sweet to acid-sweet arillode is edible fresh. The fruit is very attractive looking and the sweet varieties may have potential for commercial exploitation as fresh and canned fruit like the rambutan.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Longan Growing Experiments
« on: December 09, 2013, 10:34:07 PM »
So the first trio of longan trees I started growing last year were rather unintentional. I had eaten the fruit, spit the seeds into a paper towel, then tucked it all into a plastic zip lock bag to show it to my kids later. When I finally remembered to go back and get them, I was surprised to find they had started growing. And thus, my obsession with tropical fruit trees began.  8)

That first bunch of seeds had not been cleaned in any special way and still had that soft mushy top you find on the white area of the seed. I used wet paper towel and a clear plastic bowl to house them in so I could watch their progress. I was constantly wiping off gray mold from the tops every few days or so, and switching out paper towel with clean ones when it got too icky looking. Finally I decided to put them in a little seed starter dome kit with soil. The seed growth was sort of an ivory color to a light brownish color (similar to the first photo posted below). And though I still have three of these trees today, I don't think they are as healthy as they could have been.

So for this experiment, I started with two large zip-lock bags. Both are filled with my potting soil and have been kept moist.

The seeds I put into the first bag went directly in after I was done eating the fruit. I had to dig around the bag, which does not smell so nice anymore (sort of like dirty socks), to find a few that looked decent. Many of them had the fuzzy gray mold on the tops like my original seeds had. I am not wiping any of these seeds off. My motto for this bag is: only the strong survive (since I have very limited space, and wasn't really planning on adding a ton more trees right now anyway!) 

      ^ Unclean Seeds ^
            (First Bag)

The seeds in the second bag, I scraped off all of the mushy white tops, rinsed them well with cool water, and tossed them in. The growth coming out of 95% of these is pretty darned white. There has been little to no mold, and there is no smell.

       ^ Clean Seeds ^
          (Second Bag)

After roughly a week and a half in the zip-lock bags, I've taken the healthiest looking ones from each and have put them into little starter domes. The goal is to see which grow faster and which grow healthier. -- And yes, I did put some air holes in the plastic bag. Though the store-bought seed starter dome does not have any, it is not air tight.

 I also decided to do another small set of seeds using the wet paper towel method again. I did clean these guys off, but not as well as the ones I had done for the zip-lock bag. So you can see what happens to the white top of the seeds... it first turns dark gray or brown, and then starts getting a lighter colored, and sometimes hairy, mold thing going. But, they are still growing. I will clean these guys off at my discretion. This lot was mainly to help me see visually where the other seeds are (hopefully) in their growth. These guys are a little more ivory/cream colored than my super clean, washed seed growth.

NOTE: The fruit that these seeds came from were irradiated before I received them. So for those of you that worry irradiation will kill seeds... apparently not always! These are Biew Kiew Longan.

Obviously this will be a slow paced thread, and I will make all updates to my experiments here when there is anything new to report.

Edited to Add: What size starter tray would you guys use for each tree? (If and when they reach that point where I want to move them into a little bit bigger surroundings.)

     I may have fallen in love with longan, jackfruit and mangosteen while I was in Thailand... but there was one fruit I tried that just seemed so different at the time that I'm not sure I really gave it a chance. I decided to look it up last night and I figured out what it was: The Makok Sapodilla (

     Perhaps the one I tried was not quite ripe yet, as they do pick a lot of their fruits early over there. Or perhaps it was the fact that in my mind, the color brown is associated with dried out old fruit that you wouldn't want to eat. It didn't look like any of the fruit I had grown up with, which I now realize was only a tiny sliver of what's actually available in the world. I am embarrassed that just for a moment, my "Silly Foreigner" face squeaked through.

     The fruit seller didn't speak English, but gladly offered me a sample fruit from his wares. He could not describe it to me before I bit in. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but it certainly didn't taste like any apple, pear, or orange I had ever eaten. And then I did the worst thing possible... I pulled out a tissue from my pocket and spit the mouthful of fruit into it. Not wanting to insult the man further, I bought two huge bags of his mangosteen and was on my way back to the little village I was staying in.

     The lady with whom I was staying had once owned both a gas station and a 7-11, the remnants of which were still standing. The shelter that once stood over gas pumps had been converted into a shelter for picnic tables. The 7-11, a single room structure with one wall made completely of windows, ended up becoming my bedroom. My bed had once been a rickety old picnic table, but was cleaned up and adorned with a thin mattress pad, pillows and a blanket. A short walk next door would lead you to the bathroom... where I got to experience showering via a large stone jar filled with water, and a small plastic pan with which to rinse myself. -- Is it shocking that I actually really enjoyed this experience?  ;D

     It was at this place that I was introduced to another exotic fruit: The Rose Apple. This tree was growing just outside of my bedroom. I could open a small window on the left wall and reach my hand out to touch it. Though it was off season, her tree was bearing fruit. She had me retrieve a long stick with a basket on one end from her garage, and encouraged me to try and pick some.

     After hooking several into the basket, we sat down at a small stone table beneath the canopy of her fruit trees. I was probably expecting to taste something like a pear when I bit into this fruit, mainly because of its shape. The fact that it was pink just intrigued me. Sadly they weren't quite ripe yet either, and there was very little flavor as a result... but I didn't spit this one out.

     Will I ever eat another Makok Sapodilla or Rose Apple? I'm not a quitter. I think I would like to try them both again. Preferably when ripe.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Longan Lovers ^_^
« on: December 02, 2013, 10:25:24 AM »
I have had so many people ask, "what's that?" when I tell them my favorite fruit is longan. So I finally decided to do a quick little video to show them. Thought some of you guys might get a kick out of it. ;) -- Make sure to turn the quality up to 1080p HD. :)

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Recommendations on moisture meters?
« on: November 27, 2013, 01:56:40 PM »
Letting my girls water a few of my trees has turned out to be rather... fruitless. *ahem*.  ::) They are not quite understanding the difference between moist and wet, so I am looking into getting a moisture meter. Does anyone else use one for their tropical fruit trees? If so, what brand? I'm hoping to find a very accurate and reliable model that won't break easily (considering the target consumers, a.k.a., my kids). I am willing to dish out a little more cash for a better model, but I don't want to go super crazy (as in, over $50).

Thanks in advance!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Anti-Gravity Longan Leaves?
« on: November 11, 2013, 09:34:10 AM »
I decided to tether my longan that was at a bit of a slant. Implemented the tether last night... and this morning it started doing this:

Is that normal behavior? :P

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Jackfruit: One seed = Two trees?? - Update ^_^
« on: November 02, 2013, 10:24:11 AM »
So in September I received 32 seeds, which were described as latexless fresh Thai orange jackfruit with a description of sweet, crunchy and thick fruits.

I planted 32 seeds. I now have 33 trees? I mean, these two obviously are connected by the roots... but in all of my searching, I have yet to see two trees growing out of the same seed like this. Am I wrong? Is this common? Are they... "identical twins", if you will?

Edited to add: Is it possible that they both can and/or will survive being so close together?

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