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Messages - Saltcayman

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1
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Alternative Pollinators
« on: August 22, 2018, 02:42:47 PM »
Honeybees are under siege, straining the business of farming. Now growers are turning to other bee species to help their crops.

https://alpha.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/science/bees-pollination-farming.html?action=click&module=Discovery&pgtype=Homepage

The Integrated Crop Pollination Project, a public-private partnership funded by the Department of Agriculture, has explored habitat enhancement for wild bees, improving farm management practices, and the use of diverse or “alternative” bee species.

Of the thousands of species of bees in North America, just four other than the honeybee are already used or almost ready for use on a commercial scale in the United States, according to a review published last year in Basic and Applied Ecology. (Wild bees also make important contributions to crop pollination.)

The bumblebee, Bombus impatiens, can be an effective alternative to honeybees for pollinating watermelons and lowbush blueberries. The alfalfa leafcutter bee, Megachile rotundata, is responsible for pollinating most of the alfalfa grown for seed production.

The ground-nesting alkali bee, Nomia melanderi, also pollinates alfalfa, and the blue orchard bee, Osmia lignaria, is effective for tree fruits and nuts.


2
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: #Kerala floods 2018
« on: August 19, 2018, 03:24:25 PM »
My thoughts and prayers are with you my friend!! 

3
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Orchard Crime Wave in New Zealand
« on: August 14, 2018, 10:34:07 PM »
In New Zealand, Avocado Shortage Leads to Orchard Crime Wave - The New York Times https://apple.news/AoLLyxnhdSoeZCBSH_MI17Q

With prices for the fruit soaring after two years of low harvests, orchards are experiencing a raft of thefts, and black markets have sprung up to distribute the spoils.
To counter the crime wave, some frustrated growers have taken matters into their own hands. An avocado tree in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, was surrounded with razor wire, drawing concerns from neighbors who feared children or cats could be hurt

4
Yes I miss  Coconut, even if I could only understand half of what he posted, I think due to my language barrier, the Whitman fiberless seeds I got from him now have three small fruits for the first time, can't wait to try them out.. M
[/quote)

Wow.  Coconut sent you seeds.  Good deal. I loved his posts.

5
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Chipper recommendations
« on: May 23, 2018, 02:48:35 PM »
I have one of these  http://www.mackissic.com/HSC_12P.html   Works great!   Before you buy one...  I suspect you have casaurina (ironwood) trees there?  If so, the needles from those make an incredible mulch.  As good as woodchips IMO. 

6
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/magazine/dirt-save-earth-carbon-farming-climate-change.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Most of the carbon moving into the soil comes from the air, not the compost. But, the compost appears to help the plants draw more carbon from the atmosphere than they otherwise would.

When it comes to mitigating climate change, soil scientists are most interested in occluded carbon — organic material, often in the form of dead microbes, trapped in clods of dirt. This type of carbon can potentially stay locked away for centuries. (Another carbon type, called labile carbon, continuously cycles among the atmosphere, plants and organisms in the soil.) It was precisely this more durable carbon, Silver discovered, that increased in the treated plots.

Her findings corresponded with a shift in recent decades in scientists’ understanding of how soil carbon forms. Previously they emphasized how dead organic material had to physically work its way into the soil. But the newer model stressed the importance of living plants. Their rootlets are constantly dying, depositing carbon underground, where it’s less likely to go airborne. And perhaps more important, as plants pull carbon from the air, their roots inject some of it into the soil, feeding microorganisms and fungi called mycorrhiza. An estimated 12,000 miles of hyphae, or fungal filaments, are found beneath every square meter of healthy soil. Some researchers refer to this tangled, living matrix as the “world wood web.” Living plants increase soil carbon by directly nourishing soil ecosystems.


7
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/books/review/food-explorer-daniel-stone.html?action=click&module=Features&pgtype=Homepage

NONFICTION

What’s a Zucchini? And Other Questions Americans Once Asked
By Max Watman

April 4, 2018
Image
Barbour Lathrop (left) and David Fairchild aboard a steamer on the coast of Sumatra, Christmas 1896.
CreditFairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Florida

THE FOOD EXPLORER
The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats
By Daniel Stone
Illustrated. 397 pp. Dutton. $28.

In a photograph dated Christmas 1896, featured in “The Food Explorer,” Daniel Stone’s biography of the botanist and explorer David Fairchild, his subject is sitting with his patron and friend Barbour Lathrop, in what looks like an empty saloon or a lounge on a steamship. The caption informs us that they’re off the coast of Sumatra; both are dressed in white and have mustaches that border on the extravagant. Lathrop is wearing a bow tie; Fairchild seems to be sitting on the bar. For the picture to be any more a portrait of the Gilded Age, it would have to sing the libretto of “The Mikado.”

In one memorable sequence of events, Fairchild took a train across the United States. “The Transcontinental Railroad connected New York to Sacramento at the new, exhilarating speed of 35 miles per hour,” Stone reports, adding that its passengers were fed on grouse and champagne.


When Fairchild arrived on the West Coast, he learned that the boat he and Lathrop were to board had already left, so they hopped on another train and began the two-week journey to catch another boat in New Orleans, stopping in Santa Barbara to meet Dr. Francesco Franceschi, “who cut for his visitor a slice of a curious squash — ‘zucchini,’ he called it.”

This distant age of wonder — an era in which worldliness was hard-earned and Barbour Lathrop circled the globe many times — was full of innocence and promise. In a Washington, D.C., boardinghouse, Fairchild roomed with a former colleague from the Department of Agriculture named Wallace Swingle; together, they brainstormed about building a team that would travel to foreign countries and “administer the introduction of plants.” As Stone explains, they “fancied their title as ‘agricultural explorer’ — a term so whimsical, so obvious, that it came out of their mouths at the same time.”

Soon enough there was a sign on a door and a new government agency: the Office of Seed and Plant Introduction. The results were tremendous. Avocados, soybeans, nectarines and kale, Meyer lemons, hops, seedless grapes and watermelons were all either introduced or improved by Fairchild and his team.

This isn’t another chapter in that old story about how we ate badly until fill-in-the-blank came along and revolutionized American dining. This is a story about a world in which there were no avocados until David Fairchild mailed some home, about a strange and meager period in our past in which no one had eaten a zucchini.

Stone doesn’t editorialize about the consequences. “In 1908,” he writes, “few people had seen a soybean,” adding that within 100 years, “the evolved descendants of soybeans that Meyer shipped back would cover the Midwest of the United States like a rug. Soybeans would be applied to more diverse uses than any other crop in history.” Although Stone wisely keeps himself out of the argument, it’s a safe bet that most of his readers will hear the alarm.

Fairchild lived in optimistic times. Problems of land and crop management, he and his colleagues believed, were going to be solved in an entirely new way: “America’s goal wasn’t just to farm; it was to construct an industrial agricultural system bigger and more profitable than any group of people had ever built.” The bloom, of course, is off that rose, but it doesn’t make Fairchild’s story, and the profound role he played in ushering us into modernity, any less fascinating.



8
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ilama seeds have not sprouted
« on: April 01, 2018, 03:59:19 PM »
Try bottom Heat! 

I put my ilama seeds inside the greenhouse during the winter, december & no signs of germination.


I have read that they usually take a long time to sprout.

9
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: sulpher application
« on: January 10, 2018, 10:13:33 AM »
Thanks for the link Jeff :)  I did not realize Compost had so much potassium. Maybe one reason mulch (and compost) work so well on my limestone soil.  :)

"What properties does compost have? This is an important question. Besides providing digested organic matter and microbial activity compost is a potent supplier of potassium and a fair source of Phosphorous. Before using compost ask yourself, Does my soil show a need for additional potassium? If not you may be better to avoid it. Why? Because compost has one glaring deficiency—it is chronically short on calcium and will imbalance the calcium to potassium ratio of soils in short order."

You could potentially get a permanent drop, assuming that you are able to a) remove all calcium carbonate (or salts in the case of high pH caused by salts) and b) mitigate any circumstances that cause the pH to rise (eg, high pH water).

When I started mulching the orchard, I had the same thought -- that I wouldn't need any inputs other than mulch. And I held to that ideal for years, continuously applying mulch at the rate of a few hundred cubic yards per year. But, over the years, I noticed something -- the chlorosis was actually getting worse, and the fruit quality was declining (lower measured brix, poor flesh quality, etc).

After some research and with the help of Har, I figured out what was happening. Organic matter actually locks up some nutrients and makes them less available. For example, if you have too much copper in your soil, the way to correct it is to add organic matter (which then locks up the excess copper). Same applies to many other micronutrients.

However, there is a good side to mulch: it acts as a "storage bin" for nutrients -- like biochar. So, once you apply minor elements, the compost will absorb and slowly release them. Currently, my trees are dark green and beautiful -- even when I don't fertilize them, because the compost has stored the nutrients I laid down.

And for best fruit quality (high brix, firm flesh, etc), you want a calcium to potassium ratio somewhere north of 10 to 1. But unfortunately, compost normally contains ca and k in a ratio closer to 1 to 1. In order to correct this imbalance, you need to add calcium (eg, gypsum) -- which greatly improves fruit quality. (Here's an article explaining this: https://www.highbrixgardens.com/victory-gardens/putting-compost-in-its-place.html)

Great info, Jeff
I had wondered how long sulfur’s effects would last. Unfortunately I guess I had a fairytale idea that it would be permanent. Do you have “free calcium” in the underlying soil?

I’m a bit puzzled that you say you have to add specific inputs even though you have effectively been “sheet mulching” for all this time. What I’ve read (limited, for sure) I thought your type of composting in place was the gold standard for permaculture and required no other inputs (outside of perhaps a major deficiency in the underlying soil).

Or is it that your mulch was one-dimensional, so to speak?

Just trying to get some learnin’ :)

10
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: *Short*-lived tropical fruit trees?
« on: January 10, 2018, 10:02:29 AM »
The cycles seemed to be two or three years.  However, the new trees would sprout up from the same root system but not in the same location.  These trees root well from cuttings in moist soil.

11
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: sulpher application
« on: January 09, 2018, 05:34:45 PM »
Good luck!! I think adding mulch will help you a lot!  Really any kind.  Woodchips, bark, pine needles, leaves, shredded paper or cardboard...   
 
Casuarina needles are the "branches" of a Casuarina tree.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casuarina

12
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: *Short*-lived tropical fruit trees?
« on: January 09, 2018, 05:24:03 PM »
I grew it for about ten years. They are fast growers.  They do great in drought conditions and poor high ph soil but hate flooding.  The branches are brittle so they don't do well in windy conditions.  They fruit prolifically year round and chickens love the fruit.  For me, there was a constant cycle of a tree thriving and then dying back and a new tree popping up from the root system nearby, thriving and dying back...  This last round of hurricanes seems to have wiped them out so I may need to get a new starter seedling.

Muntingia calabura

Interesting, I'm having trouble locating lifespan info for Muntingia calabura - what do you know about it?

13
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: sulpher application
« on: January 09, 2018, 05:18:14 PM »
In my experience, if you add enough mulch it will lower your PH over time and help buffer ph levels over a long period of times. I use primarily casuarina needles and some wood chips.  I also have used garden sulphur and more recently, sul-po-mag.  I usually broadcast in the root zone once or twice per year.  I have brought down PH levels from 8.2 to 6.8 over a six year period in a clay/limestone soil. 

14
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: *Short*-lived tropical fruit trees?
« on: January 08, 2018, 07:44:06 AM »
Muntingia calabura

15
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 11, 2017, 06:39:42 PM »
Irma was a direct hit on my place in the Turks & Caicos.  There has been no communication with the island as of yet. Hoping and praying that the 16 people who rode the storm out there are ok.  No idea how my trees fared but I will update when I know.  My best wishes to all of you who are still in Irma's path.

Glad to hear you are ok.  Are you on island or some other location?

I am in New Jersey.  I found out the people on island all survived. Communication still cut off so no specifics on damage yet.  Good luck to all of you in Florida who have just weathered Irma!! 

16
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 11, 2017, 06:35:27 PM »
We had a couple tornadoes come thru and rip apart some huge centuries old trees.  We had at least 15" of rain and the canals are full so parts of my farm is under water as it cannot drain out.  My house and barn made it fine.  Several trees have been pushed over.  Electric is out but I have a whole house generator.  Hopefully the water will drain off soon or there will be some die off .  Scary storm that wouldn't stop.  I hope everyone else is at least as lucky as I feel


Wow.  Glad you are safe!!  Hope the water drains quickly!

17
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 09, 2017, 12:26:24 PM »
Yes!  Stay positive, prepare and hunker down if you didn't bug out.  I will update when I get any word. Praying for everyone on her path. Thanks 👍🏼

18
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 09, 2017, 09:23:42 AM »
Thanks😀 Above all else be safe!

19
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Category 4 Hurricane Irma
« on: September 08, 2017, 08:05:11 PM »
Irma was a direct hit on my place in the Turks & Caicos.  There has been no communication with the island as of yet. Hoping and praying that the 16 people who rode the storm out there are ok.  No idea how my trees fared but I will update when I know.  My best wishes to all of you who are still in Irma's path.

20
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Nitrogen fixing plants and fruit trees
« on: September 03, 2017, 08:46:10 PM »
Fascinating about tamarind being a nitro fixer. Thanks

21
I have used round tomato cages. Just wrap the fabric around and attach with zip ties. Leave the top open.

22
Plant the tree. Drive four 2x2 four foot long stakes into the ground around the tree. Screw four cross members 2 c2 connecting the four at the torso you have a box frame. Use staple gun to attach shade cloth. Leave the north or leeward side open to water.  Works every time. If you are careful and have help, you can move them to a new location when the tree is established.

23
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: A little whipped cream on your roundup ?
« on: August 02, 2017, 06:32:30 AM »
Documents released Tuesday in a lawsuit against Monsanto raised new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/business/monsantos-sway-over-research-is-seen-in-disclosed-emails.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share NYTimes: Monsanto’s Sway Over Research Is Seen in Disclosed Emails

24
Tropical Fruit Discussion / A little whipped cream on your roundup ?
« on: July 26, 2017, 06:27:20 AM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/dining/ben-and-jerrys-ice-cream-herbicide-glyphosate.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share NYTimes: Traces of Controversial Herbicide Are Found in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

A growing number of foods commonly found in kitchens across America have tested positive for glyphosate, the herbicide that is the main ingredient in the popular consumer pesticide Roundup, which is widely used in agriculture. But few brands on that list are as startling as the latest: Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont ice cream company known for its family-friendly image and environmental advocacy.


25
I grow tropical seedlings in my nj basement under a couple of 400 watt fluorescent grow lights.  But then I drag them down to the islands and put them in the ground. I realize you may be more interested in tropicsls but you can grow paw paw and , with winter protection, some figs in nj.  Good luck, Dave

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