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Messages - jcaldeira

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Ouch!  I hope those spam notes don't need to be deleted one by one.

The next time someone wants to add another forum such as the Tropical Vegetable Forum or Temperate Fruits and Orchards, it would be nice if some of those advocates also volunteered to serve as moderators.

Interesting thread.

Not really a fruit, but when I think of edible plants from the Western Cape, the Rooibos tea plant comes to mind.  People would drink it with dry bread.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: One year mango grafts
« on: May 15, 2015, 04:08:16 PM »
I would simply let the young trees drop their fruit naturally.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Crossing sugar cane & making seed?
« on: May 10, 2015, 06:51:31 PM »
Almost all sugar cane in Fiji flowers when mature.   I've never heard of starting cane from seeds, though, even accidentally.

There are several varieties of cane in Fiji and I'm unaware of any cross-breeding at all.

After 10 weeks, I would cut off everything above the graft, so the plant 'thinks' the graft has the apical/terminal bud.  The graft wounds should have healed enough in 10 weeks.  My thinking is that there are too many choices of where the plant should grow and the graft needs to be made the most appealing place to grow.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Maturity of Citrus Fruit
« on: May 06, 2015, 04:06:41 PM »
How is acid content easily measured? 

I have a refractometer for the sugar, but would also like to measure acid.

West Indian Lime and Guava, but both are small trees so easy to pick anyway.  Mango takes some bruising, but still okay if eaten soon.  Apples, of course.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: apples anyone
« on: May 06, 2015, 04:00:45 PM »
Age of the apple has a lot to do with crispness and taste.   Buying 'in season' is always best, although in the U.S. we can get good New Zealand apples off season.  In the supermarket, always buy apples that have the stems on (riper).

By the way, I did a little work in Ceres, Western Cape, on an apple farm approximately 12 years ago.  They also grow nice pears.  They could grow even more if not for the water shortage.

It seems that Cuba has more to worry about than the U.S. regarding foreign citrus pests!

Its more of a competitive threat than a biological threat.  Self-serving trade protectionism by the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, as no specific pest threat is mentioned anywhere in that article.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Bigfoot Spotted in Southern Tamarac
« on: May 01, 2015, 07:30:56 PM »
I frequently have multiple-stemmed avocado seedlings.  Maybe 20% of the time.  My seedlings are mostly West Indian cultivars.

Not sure if they're polyembryonic, but the multiple taproots suggest they are.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grafting: mix & match varieties
« on: April 18, 2015, 03:26:43 AM »
Graft on a citrus variety that you like to eat.  If space is limited it seems best to focus on the kind of fruit that will be most valuable to you in the kitchen. 

The newer varieties of grapefruit are so sweet they don't need sugar, and a good mandarin is hard to beat, so those would be my choices.

When top-working the tree, consider cutting the limbs and then cleft grafting onto the new shoots that emerge when they are pencil thick (a couple of months after cutting).  There is typically so much sap pushing up through those shoots that even a sloppy graft is likely to be successful.

Put me down in the never water a mango category.  I haven't seen rain in a month and I still don't even think about watering mango.  They do fine without it.  Some of my trees are loaded with fruit.  I haven't watered mango in 15 years.  They don't need it and I think do better without it this time of year.  Your mileage may vary, but i never water mine.   Only time to water mango is when first planted.  If you plant in the rainy season then you typically never have to water.   Sure, watering won't hurt them, but they don't need it in my opinion.   This is for East Central Florida.  I'm in a severe drought right now and keeping the jaboticaba watered. But, Mango?!?  LOL...never water them...

Put me down also in the never water a mango category, and fertilize only lightly.  Of course, other climate conditions might require different culture.

My farm experienced a reasonably severe drought last year.  The mangos, mostly 2 and 3 year old, came through the drought better than almost any other fruit tree I have.  It's a s good as cashew.

The seedlings clearly have a significant tap root during their first year, but I don't know if that persists.  I think the mango's drought resistence comes from it's ability to retain moisure in the leaves.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: apples anyone
« on: April 07, 2015, 10:35:25 PM »
What's the thought on Columnar apple trees. Looks interesting and space saver just wondering about taste?

I am curious to learn now much pruning must be done to keep the columnar shape.  During my high school years 40+ years ago, I worked on an apple farm and the full-size trees were spaced 8 or so meters apart.

Now, they are typicaly spaced 2 or 3 meters apart in tight rows and kept much smaller with newer dwarfing rootstocks such as the Malling 9 ("M9"), which creates a tree only 25% of the full size.


In some varieties, before the bud becomes visible, the new leaves show some red on them.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: apples anyone
« on: April 05, 2015, 05:38:52 AM »
That pie looks delicious!!
Apple pie well made is amazing and hot with abit of vanilla icecream or even just cream its heaven:)
I like grannysmith fresh because it's thick skin is nice to chew, it's not too sweet just abit tart and is never ever floury like some reds can be always crisp and full of juice.
Is braeburn an apple mainly for cooking with or how is it fresh?

Braeburn apples are tart, but sweeter than Granny Smiths.   They are a good eating fresh.   If you like Granny Smiths, I think you'll really enjoy the Braeburn.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: apples anyone
« on: April 04, 2015, 09:01:57 PM »
Granny Smith is good.  They are mostly grown as pollinators for other varieties. 

Anyone who has tasted an apple pie made with Braeburn apples will never go back to Granny Smiths, though.  The Braeburn is perfection in pies.  Yummm.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Is this good soil?
« on: March 29, 2015, 08:33:48 PM »
That soil looks sandy.  When the soil is damp and it is squeezed in your hand, does it stay together (clay), completely fall apart (sandy) or halfway crumble (loam).  Loam is the best.  Also, sandy soil will drain water quickly, while clay usually is slow to absorb water. 

Add organic matter and plant away!

Here's a good education on soil:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Atypical grafting techniques?
« on: March 28, 2015, 11:48:02 PM »
Not atypical methods, but I now have a much deeper understanding of grafting than I did a few years ago.

Grafting books tend to describe each method, one after another, as if all had equal chances of success.  This is not so.

There are many variables to success, but I am a big fan of cleft (or whip) grafting over any kind of bark or veneer grafting in my environment.  Especially when top-working a tree.

I've had birds and wind destroy some bark and veneer grafts, but never a cleft graft.  Perhaps more importantly, cleft grafting onto new shoots after main branches are cut, as Carlos does with Avocado and I do with Mango, gives each scion a strong flow of sap it doesn't seem to get in bark/veneer grafts.  That significantly increases the take percentage.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ideal Scion Length for Grafting
« on: March 26, 2015, 03:44:31 PM »
the ideal size for someone else may not be ideal for you.

If scion length didn't matter, I don't think so many sources would be recommending around 100mm for mango scions.


look back through my posts...when did I say scion length does not matter?

Sorry.  What I meant was that it's more than personal preference.  Even Popenoe in 1920 was recommending 3"-5" mango scions.  What I'm looking for is the scientific or logical reasoning why this length is better than, say, 2" or 8".

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ideal Scion Length for Grafting
« on: March 26, 2015, 02:51:37 PM »
the ideal size for someone else may not be ideal for you.

If scion length didn't matter, I don't think so many sources would be recommending around 100mm for mango scions.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ideal Scion Length for Grafting
« on: March 26, 2015, 11:23:54 AM »
I'm wondering whether having the right length of scion wood keeps the terminal bud from drying out before the graft wound heals and starts pumping sap.  I'm going to try some 25-50 cm (1"-2") mango grafts and see how they do.
I don't think that's the case. The two things that are going to cause a scion to die are a) desiccation and b) infection (eg, fungal). As long as the scion is well covered to prevent water loss and clean to prevent infection, a tiny shield bud will last as long as a 6 inch side veneer -- somewhere around 2 weeks in summer weather. And even if you have a 5 foot scion, a fungal infection in any part between the bud and the graft point will cause the graft to fail.

So why does one size scion presumably do better than another?  For mango grafting, many sources cite 100mm (4") as ideal, with little reason why it is better than 50mm or 200mm.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ideal Scion Length for Grafting
« on: March 25, 2015, 06:59:41 PM »
Mango grafts do almost always sprout from the terminal bud or right next to it.  Avocados usually do too, while citrus seem to sprout at any bud on the scion. 

I'm wondering whether having the right length of scion wood keeps the terminal bud from drying out before the graft wound heals and starts pumping sap.  I'm going to try some 25-50 cm (1"-2") mango grafts and see how they do.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Ideal Scion Length for Grafting
« on: March 25, 2015, 04:40:41 PM »
What is the ideal scion length for cleft and whip grafting?  Have there been studies showing how results vary with various scion lengths?

Most of my scions are between 100 and 150 mm (4"-6") and I choose this length mostly because I am blindly following what I was taught.  I like to have 4 or 5 buds on a scion, but that's about the only justification I have.   My results are very good when the rootstock and scion are both in a growth mode, but I wonder if it would be even better with shorter or longer scions.  What do you folks think?

If we can build a pipeline to carry dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, it seems we should be able to pipe more water to our friends in California.

Oil is orders of magnitude more valuable per liter shipped than water.

Oil costs more than water, but lack of water would shut down California's just as fast as lack of oil.  It's not an oil or water choice though.

Whether from the Colorado River, Lake Superior, or elsewhere, more long distance aqueducts are probably going to be necessity.

Water in California will be getting more expensive, no doubt about that.  It may put some agriculture out of business unless they get major concessions.

Don't dismiss a long-range aqueduct pipeline so quickly.  California already has an aqueduct that spans from near San Francisco to San Diego. it's 1,100 km long and has a lift of 610 meters over mountains.  If climate change makes drought a regular occurrence, I expect we'll see longer and longer aqueduct systems.

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