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Topics - stressbaby

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Black sapote leaf drop/disease
« on: December 26, 2016, 12:47:31 PM »

Several years ago @Ethan gave me a small black sapote. I live in Missouri. The tree is potted and spends the winters in the greenhouse, summers outside. The tree is now 5-6' in height. It started flowering 2 years ago and has borne fruit. Per usual, the tree came inside the greenhouse this past fall. It has a sunny spot and is evenly watered.

Generally for me this tree holds the leaves through the winter and drops leaves the next spring or summer. In the past week, this tree has demonstrated dramatic leaf drop. The leaves are perfectly green, not yellow or brown. On closer inspection, there appears to me to be some dieback. Some lower branches are completely black, and some smaller secondary branches have also turned black and died.

The roots look OK.  I spray with Neem every couple of weeks in the winter. I hit it with a fungicide today. This is not normal based on my experience with the tree.  Thoughts? 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / First G uniflora blooms
« on: August 10, 2014, 08:02:41 PM »
This is a little tree I have labeled as Garcinia uniflora.  I thought Jay had given me this tree, but now he reminds me he gave me the G edulis (G intermedia?) instead.  That means this little guy was a seedling from the PR trip 4 years ago.

Does this look right for G uniflora?  What are the odds of fruit set in a Missouri greenhouse?

Hi all,

I have a Sweetheart Lychee growing in my greenhouse in Missouri.  By following the advice (from Lycheesonline I believe) of pruning mid July, then dipping the GH temp for a few weeks around November, I have reliably gotten this tree to bloom. 

I have had one fair yield from this tree about 6-7 years ago, the first year it bloomed for me.  It must have been beginner's luck.  I've had virtually nothing since then.  Of course, this tree must be hand pollinated.  I've tried various techniques over the years, finally settling on Q-tips used like a fine tipped paint brush.  What I do is gently tap the blooms with male flowers over a black flat surface.  If I see pollen dust in the air or yellow pollen on the black surface, I'll use that pollen.  Brush a little on the Q-tip from the pollen gathered on the black surface, touch several open females, repeat.

This year I was determined to get a big yield.  The tree put out huge great blooms.  Tons of pollen from the male flowers.  I used the Q-tip technique and I'm 100% sure I had pollen on those females, because in many instances I could actually see the yellow color on the female flowers.  Work constraints require this be done early morning, but I spent 30-45 min most mornings hand pollinating.

Well, you guessed, I got nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  I must have pollinated a few hundred females.  I got a couple of dozen where the fruit started to form (I think it is the ovary that starts to swell?  Can't remember the anatomy but you know what I mean).  Half a dozen grew to pea size.  Eventually every fruit dropped. 

This tree grows very well; I have to prune it pretty aggressively in July to keep it in bounds.    I should also mention that I also have a Brewster, much smaller, somewhat of a frail little guy which is probably 8-10 years old and which has never grown well like this Sweetheart.  It's a very shy bloomer and was not blooming at the time the Sweetheart was in bloom this year.

Any ideas what I can do?  Do I need a another tree?  This is really exasperating. 

Hi all,

I'm still still poking along in MO with my little greenhouse and producing small amounts of fruit.
No PR or other tropical trips for me this year unfortunately.   :-\
However, as some of you know, I have gotten into winemaking and that requires far more fruit than I can grow here.  I have gotten nice tropical wines from guava, starfruit, OhioJay's lemongrass, various citrus; loquat is in the primary now.

What I'm interested in is if anyone is willing to ship fruit, fresh or frozen, it doesn't matter, to Missouri.
I'm willing to experiment, so anything from passionfruit to jackfruit, to abiu might work.
I will pay of course for the shipping and the trouble, and a deal for some wine down the road is also on the table.

Thanks folks.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / First signs of jabo flowering?
« on: January 20, 2013, 11:12:57 AM »
Some forum folks will recall that I have a jabo that started out at a young age blooming at the tips of the branches.  Last year, it had one lone trunk fruit, just about 1 inch above the soil line.
Well this year it very clearly is producing more blooms on the main trunk.  There are several obvious blooms on the main trunk or larger branches:

There are also many more tiny, pin point little marks appearing on the trunk.  I never paid enough attention to know whether this tree has these all the time or whether they are new.  Sorry for the blurriness of the pic, my iPhone stubbornly refused to focus on the trunk, but maybe you can tell me anyway...are these potentially more blooms coming out?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Son moving to Melbourne, FL
« on: January 19, 2013, 07:37:09 AM »
The oldest bear cub just took a job in Melbourne, FL starting after his graduation from Purdue in May.

Anyone in that area of FL?  What does and doesn't grow there?

Recipes / Starfruit wine
« on: July 24, 2012, 08:11:03 PM »
This is my starfruit wine.  The recipe is from Jack Keller:

I made two separate 1 gal batches using 3# of starfruit each.  The starfruit was sliced and frozen prior to making the wine. 

This wine called for a lot more sugar than the recipe indicated.  I added enough to bring the starting SG to 1.095 and using Lalvin K1-V1116 it fermented like crazy after only three days to 1.040 and 1.000.  It went to secondary where after 3 weeks it continues to ferment.  I expect to backsweeten this one.  You can see by the pics that I figured out how to save the extra to use for topping off.  I've tasted this but only upon moving to the secondary and it was too yeasty to make any useful assessment.  But this wine is <1 month old and you can already tell it is clearing better than the guava wine in the other post.

Recipes / Guava wine
« on: July 24, 2012, 08:03:11 PM »
I recently starting making wines, and Jay asked about pics and recipes.  I make wine solely from fruits that I grow.  So far, only tropicals, but on the temperate side I intend to try highbush cranberry, which is supposed to make an awesome wine.  I also have an enormous persimmon tree which is totally loaded this year.  So I expect 5-10 gal of persimmon wine as well.  Other tropicals may include pom, hibiscus, sugar apple, banana, others.

My first batch was guava.  The recipe is here: but the link doesn't seem to be working now.  I used 4# frozen guava, a mix of 25% 'Nana' 35% lemon, 40% strawberry.  The recipe called for boiling the fruit, which I have subsequently learned to be a cause of pectin haze.  I think that is why this wine is so slow to clear.  Likely it will require fining.  The starting SG was 1.090 and it went to 0.994.  Topping off brought it back to 0.996.  Fantastic aroma, raw but decent taste, hopefully it will mature a little bit.  The color is off-putting, probably due to some oxidation of the fruit prior to making the wine; I hope it clears to a nice amber color but we'll see. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Brutal growing conditions (for us anyway)
« on: July 02, 2012, 08:14:10 AM »
No fireworks this year here in central Missouri.  We've had 1.6 inches of rain in the past 7 weeks!  Normally I use rainwater on my plants but I've been using water from the house for weeks now, which I don't like doing at all.

On top of that, we've had unusually warm temps.  Thursday, we hit 107.  Interestingly, the plants inside the greenhouse, under 50% shade cloth and mist, did better on Thursday than the plants outside.  Outside, my new loquat suffered significant burn; cherimoya, pitomba also injured; mango, jaboticaba, pitanga, feijoa suffered no injury.  Inside, carambola 'Kari' has some injury, but most everything else is OK.  I will consider moving plants back INTO the greenhouse on sunny days with forecast high temps in that range next time.  The only thing growing is the dragonfruit.   ???

Perhaps these conditions aren't so unusual for some of you but in 6 years now of greenhouse growing here, this is as tough as it has been in June and early July.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / What is the best way to freeze carambola?
« on: June 09, 2012, 02:41:08 PM »
I intend to make carambola wine in a few weeks.  I will not have enough ready without freezing some of them.
I read only that I can slice them and freeze them on a cookie sheet.  Alternatively I can purée the fruit and freeze them as ice cubes. 
Which is better?  Are the other methods?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Greenhouses for tropical fruit
« on: April 30, 2012, 09:14:42 PM »
This thread is for anyone with a greenhouse or greenhouse-like structure in which they grow tropical fruit.  If you grow your plants in a structure, post details of your structure.  What do you like?  What would you do differently?

I have a 24' x 20' aluminum framed tempered glass, unattached GH.  If I were to do it again, I wouldn't use tempered glass, I'd go with twin-wall or triple-wall PC.  I have two 24K BTU Empire direct vent heaters.  One is on a micro-voltage thermostat.  The other is on a Bartlett GHK12x2 climate controller.  I also have a two zone mister controller, which is combined with the climate controller to fire misters intermittently in the summer.  The mister is also used for the cuttings table.

The north wall has 1" of foamboard insulation.  Elsewhere, in the winter I add a layer of 3 mil PE film on the inside for added insulation.  In the summer this is replaced with 50% Aluminet shade cloth inside.

I have a deep well on our property and originally this was my water source.  Unfortunately I found the hardness to be far too severe for tropical plants.  I added an RO system but it was still insufficient.  So about 3 years ago I added gutters and a rainwater collection system.  Now I store ~150 gal of water collected from roof runoff, and it is delivered with a demand pump and bladder tank.  The water is filtered and goes to the misters as well.  The RO is there for backup, but its TDS is still pretty high so I use the rainwater whenever I can.

The potting bench is a wash sink recycled from an abandoned gas station restaurant.  My dad helped me build this puppy.

Hopefully this link to my Photobucket album works:!cpZZ1QQtppZZ20

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Stressbaby's Greenhouse 4/2012
« on: April 29, 2012, 02:32:20 PM »
It is rainy and cold and too nasty to do anything outside today so I thought I would make my first post with pics to the forum. 

View from the door.  Center is Staghorn fern and Variegated Shell Ginger.  Clockwise from upper left, papaya 'TR Hovey,' Lychee 'Sweetheart,' banana 'Dw. Namwah,' Coffea arabica, one of my citrus, Annona squamosa, and just a couple of branches of jaboticaba:

I had my dragonfruit in ~25gal pot to which I added a support structure.  It rotted.  I rooted cuttings, sunk this 6x6 in the ground, and moved them there:

Cogshall mango:

My larger jaboticaba.  Six fruits at the moment, including one on the main trunk virtually at soil level:

Garcinia medrona, 1.5 yrs old, from PR seed.  The one on the left got so top heavy I had to stake it:

Garcinia laterifolia, 1.5 yrs old, from PR seed.  Interesting difference in height.  They are in exactly the same mix and on the same fert schedule.  Th one on the left has been dwarfed virtually since the beginning:

Abui, 1.5 yrs old, from PR seed.  I've topped it:

Sapodilla 'Silas Woods' which I just got a couple of weeks ago:

Rollinias, each 1.5 yrs old from PR seed.  All of them have been topped/pruned in an effort to achieve some sort of decent structure:

Cherimoya from seed; both of my cherimoyas have flowered, but no fruit set:

Sapodilla from PR labelled as 'Nipser Mexicano 7' which is very slow growing but now has some blooms:

Pitomba.  I like this plant in spite of the fact that it is very slow growing and sparse; the bark is crepe myrtle-ish; finally this year some blooms and maybe fruit set:


This is a Purple Grumichama over 6' tall but it has never bloomed:

Carambola 'Kari,' can you count the fruit?

Lychee 'Brewster' which had great bloom and zero fruit set despite meticulous hand pollination with a brush.  I wonder if our freaky temps could have anything to do with it:

Sugar apples blooming:

This is the jab from Bryan in PR:

Lychee 'Sweetheart' which did not bloom this year.  I'm thinking that both lychees need to go back into pots to better regulate the temps (get chill requirements met sooner):

Strawberry guavas:

Another new plant, Loquat 'Premier'

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