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Messages - Mark in Texas

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1

Mark,
I have a row of mandarine oranges growing on the south side of my house.
I used to have a bad issue with black soot mold from the mealy bugs that fed on a nearby hackberry tree.
They would drop sugar onto the leaves which fed the mold.
That tree departed this world a few years ago... and so has my black soot problem.

Although I occasionally see black soot mold rearing its ugly head from scale bugs.
But only on the containerized citrus.
The citrus in the ground gets enough cold every winter to keep the insects at bay.

Kevin

I loaded up a hose on garden sprayer with a mix of Ivory soap, blasted the soot off, rinsed.  Even though I quickly followed up with a blast of well water and then rain water for some strange reason a lot of my blood orange leaves fell off at the petiole.  Looks weird, a 100 big toothpix lined up on branches.

Did a lot of citrus grafts too last year.  Still haven't picked any Marrs oranges.  They are as big as grapefruits.  This is a graft on a key lime tree that's produced at least 300 awesome limes.  Am getting limequats too from grafts.

November:



Quaffing  (not shooting) Casa Noble Anejo (try this one!) with key limes never tasted so good.



2
The foundation... if you want to call it that... consists of PT 2X4s of various lengths.
I frequently think of this type of GH as a Walk-In-Cloche.
I currently have poked a hole underneath it to run my extension cords for my heaters... and backfilled it with the soil.
I suppose I could do the same with the MC4 cables.
I was looking to step it up a bit to something more elegant... if you can call it that.
PVC conduit was something I was considering. Inexpensive, flexible and waterproof.

Kevin

It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. The more I can keep government out of my personal life the better.  Screw 'em.  Luckily our county/city is very conservative and stays out of the biz of its citizens. 
 
I ran electricity and a gas line for heating and cooling a greenhouse years ago in a hand dug trench.  A grubbing hoe with a heavy blade on one end and pick on the other makes short work of 20' runs.

20' X 9' lean to facing due south.



3
Way to go!  Nice job and you'll get a lot of fun and good eats out of it.  I spent hours yesterday blasting soot off my citrus trees.  About 75% of the leaves were coated black but a blast of a mix of Ivory liquid dish soap, blast of well water and then a rinse of rain water did the trick.  Having a greenhouses creates more work with more disease and insect pressures than not.  I've had a terrible time with mealybugs and scale this year.  It's always something.

Batten details:





I spent an hour ripping PT 2X6s on the table saw and fastened them with outdoor rated pocket screws... minus the pockets of course.

When warm weather returns I'll be able to easily remove the battens on the south facing side and roll up the plastic for excellent ventilation.

That's the plan anyway.

Kevin

That's what folks do here to beat the heat - poly for winter, shade cloth for summer.

Enjoy...

4
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ideal avocado seed growing methods ?
« on: November 29, 2019, 09:19:02 AM »
And make sure you water your orchids with ice cubes.  ;D

Jeez, how many times have I read that!  Makes me want to scream.

5
Any chance this is kicking back up again? I would love to get in on the next order if one is done for this next grafting season =)

Occasionally you'll come across deals on line.  I kept looking and ended up getting 2 rolls for like $20 shipped.  This commercial ag guy had them in his pickup not using them. They were slightly bent here and there but in 100% perfect condition.  I did about 100 grafts last year and this year.  Enjoying the citrus fruits of my labor now with 70 or so large oranges on my key lime tree.  This is what some SoCal fellas call "Texas Sweet" - Marrs orange.




6
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ideal avocado seed growing methods ?
« on: November 27, 2019, 09:13:31 AM »
Ive had same thing happen seed did nothing sitting in water moved to soil and it took off

Weird isn't it?  I've always been a die hard for the toothpick method but more than one avocado gardener said planting in soil improves germ.  Makes sense.

I've been posting to forums for decades and have warned others 100X not to germ their seeds in a damp paper towel/baggie and then move them to soil when they see the radicle pop.

7
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Avocado thread
« on: November 27, 2019, 09:08:03 AM »
hi guys, anyone here heard of or tasted Maria black avocado.

Would that be a true Mexican criollo?  FWIW here's an image of Mexican varieties from the Monterrey, Nuevo Leon area a Mexican friend of a friend is selling.



8
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ideal avocado seed growing methods ?
« on: November 26, 2019, 10:00:42 AM »
:D

Just for clarification, the bowl of water is just to accumulate seeds for a few weeks and keep them viable.  You can take the seed straight from the fruit, wash it, then go into a pot of dirt.  Pointy side up just below the dirt surface so the seed is barely covered.  Make sure the dirt stays wetted but not soggy.  The root system will develop quite a bit before the sprout pops up.

I've always started seeds using the toothpick/water drill.  Had a Mexicola seed that sat there for 2 months - nothing.  Dropped it into a 1 gal. pot of soil and it's rooting.

9
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Greenhouse heating invention
« on: November 26, 2019, 09:57:54 AM »
Because the greenhouse is soo tall,all the heat goes on top of it.

I have a HAF mounted at the top of my 6 meter high ridge which pointing down.  That's a lot of room to heat!  Have 2 mounted to the rafters to move the air clockwise.



10
Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus harvest - recovery, grafts, harvests
« on: November 24, 2019, 03:45:49 PM »
Yes they do Millet.  When it comes to gardening I have patience.  Put me behind the wheel, hell no!

True lemon connoisseurs appear to be unimpressed by Meyer lemons. To a Poncirus grower, they are quite delectable! It's a matter of perspective, I suppose.

Nice plants after your catastrophe.

Thanks.  I have other lemons but what's cool about Meyers, their diversity.  Harvest now and they're tart and taste just like a Eureka.  Wait until March (when they're also blooming) and you get a bit of that tangerine profile, less tart, higher sugar.  Zest is awesome for baking.

11
Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus harvest - recovery, grafts, harvests
« on: November 24, 2019, 03:41:07 PM »
Quit counting at 70 oranges.  BTW, making some awesome drinks.  Here's a frozen takeoff on a margarita with Bacardi and Italian Amareno cherries.  If you haven't tasted amareno cherries, you aint lived brotther.  ;D



12
Citrus General Discussion / Citrus harvest - recovery, grafts, harvests
« on: November 24, 2019, 10:44:43 AM »
March 2018 after Jan. 2018 heater failure. 18F temps.



Grafted at least 50 scions on 2 trees.  All 4 citrus trees are bearing heavy.  Bet I harvested 400 key limes & Eustis limequats (delish!) this year.  Now comes Persian.  Lots of oranges - Blood, Hamlin, Marrs.  Some of these Marrs are as big as grapefruit.   Super sweet and juicy. Meyer lemon tree is loaded.  Scion was put grafted to Flying Dragon around 2008.  Local grocery store is selling 5 Meyers for $6. 









Ya'll have a fun and safe Tday!

13
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Greenhouse heating invention
« on: November 24, 2019, 10:31:40 AM »
That really is cool but curious, how easy is it to regulate temps in the greenhouse?   What are you growing now?

Good luck

14
Nice!  I've linked a Facebook gardening forum here - Central Texas Backyard Gardeners. 

15
I'm pretty half assed when it comes to plant food and gypsum tossing a handful or 2 of either or.  You'll just have to try it and then read your trees.

16
Exciting eh?

In Corpus Christi which has about the same RH and heat you have I had exactly the same config as you except the lean too was attached to the entire south wall of a garage, painted white for reflection same as your OSB board.  Grew the hell outta orchids, ferns, etc.  I installed a high speed fan in the ridge of a short wall and on the opposite short wall installed a willy nilly aspen wet pad that worked very well for cooling.  I basically laid out a 12' roll of 1X2" hardware cloth on the ground, snipped the wires here and there and bent them in 90* to snag/hold the pad, folded it up to make a 6' pad, wired the sides closed, hung it with a recycle pump, float valve, perf. PVC pipe overhead etc. etc.

Door had a flat panel hinged on the top at the bottom framing kept close with a few magnets at the bottom, sealed with foam tape.  Come winter when the temps got up the  exhaust fan would kick in, flip the panel open and cool perfectly.

Mark 

17
My mangos get plenty of Ca with an occasional watering from the well which is super high in bicarbs of Ca and Mg.

Your bag is fine.  I top dress my mango beds with gypsum powder that I collected from the road along a local gypsum mine.  Trees are very healthy and green.

Having said that....if you don't have a Ca deficiency then don't worry about it.  I too feed with Osmocote Plus.

FWIW @tagging doesn't work in this forum.



18
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Brogdon Avocado - branch dieback
« on: November 21, 2019, 08:07:37 AM »
Hello!

I have a brogdon avocado tree that has been doing very well and yielded 8 avocados this year for the first time. I've noticed that many of the smaller branches have turned brown and died. Today, however, I noticed that one of the branches is half dead and half alive and i'm beginning to wonder if it is spreading. Otherwise, the tree looks very healthy (to me at least) and has grown exceptionally well for a little over 2 years. I'm hoping this is just a normal process but part of me wonders if this could be due to a fungal infection. Can any avocado experts take a look at the below image and let me know your thoughts? Thank you for your time!



Regards,

Will

It could be a fungus, but......

Had a similar situation with an Oro Negro and a few others.  Sent sticks off to U. of Fl. lab for analysis.  Came back benign.  Apparently mine was a cultural issue, at least that's what the staff wrote.  Haven't seen it in years.  My trees are on steroids and very healthy.  Some branch dieback is normal and usually stops at a crotch or junction.



19
Nice job Kevin.   What zone are you in?

I run a dirt floor.  Works great and come time to drop another roll of tied up RootBuilder it's convenient to choose your spot, backfill and plant

20
Right now I'm just running the electric milk-house style space heaters on freezing days/nights.
These heater go for about $20 each.
Most days they need no supplemental heating.
I'm not trying to maintain a tropical climate around the clock... I just want them to survive the freezing temps.
It's pretty interesting the way plants can adapt to the temp variations.
It's not unusual for sunny day temps to reach 100F+... with some night-time temps going into the 30Fs.
The plants seem to take it all in stride. They are much more flexible than you might think.
In fact... My citrus had it's best year ever. As did my Pitangatubas, Cherry of the Rio Grande, Guavas, Starfruit, Jaboticaba etc.

Looking good!   I too go cold with a heater setpoint at 34F,

21
Pinkerton has nice quality fruit but does not enjoy warm climates.


Does fine here in some real ass kicking heat too.  Last summer my 2 trees have been hit constantly by greenhouse temps of 100F +, 38C + and done great.  One of its parents (Rincon) is known for excelling in the heat, in the tropics.  i got Rincon wood from U. of Cali., didn't take.  http://www.avocadosource.com/AvocadoVarieties/QueryDB.asp




22
The most success I've had with pomegranate is wonderful. I also have a Kandahar, which has never done as well and several seedlings from grocery store fruit, which don't produce much, but I planted them for a wind break.
I have to look up the varieties for the others.

I grow poms too, always seem to be fighting gray mold in the heart.  About to give up on them.






23
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Florida Avocado Varieties
« on: November 14, 2019, 10:20:41 AM »
Wow that is nuts. How old was the cado before it froze to the ground?


Grafted it to a Florida pit in 2012, so, 6 years old.  I've pruned it back from about 13' about 3X now.

Quote
I'm also thinking a cold hard root stock may be all it takes to save some of the 'warmer' varieties. The root stock is where all the sugar gets stored in the winter time. I realize avos are evergreens but I suspect they still store quite a bit when they start thinning out in the winter time. What is the rootstock lula? Seems like all of the FL nurseries here graft to lula seeds.

Yep, Lula is used a lot in Texas. Not sure why as it's not cold hardy.  One seller in Devine (S.W. of San Antonio) grafts on Lula and then instructs his customers to bury the graft.

Quote
Also, because it is a greenhouse, the microclimate probably saved the trees. Not only is it a windbreak but often the coldest air during the coldest nights is closest to the ground. It's why we can get frost despite the temp being close to 40 degrees. I wonder if the black pots held the heat and kept the trunk out of the 'cold zone' just enough.

Thanks for the kind thoughts. As I've written a few times before, the primary reason why we Texans lose trees, mainly fruit, is because of the sudden temp drops which can be 50 degree swings in hours.  We just had such an event.  Before the heater failure my trees had been subjected to cold, mid 30's temps, cloudy skies for about a day or two.  The mulch and heavy canopy created a warm micro climate too, plus they were not stressed and were woody.   

I find it crazy when vendors sell trees based on some scripted cold hardiness factor that everyone from the internet and up parrots.  You can throw all that stuff out the window in the real world. 

24
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Lula vs. Nishikawa Avocado
« on: November 14, 2019, 10:08:30 AM »
I have nishikawa on a multigrafted tree. It has taken over and is easily the dominant branch. It is a monster outgrowing even my older trees. Waiting on flowers. It was grafted in summer of 2018 (yes, my only successful summer graft). It has survived and shrugged off 100 plus degree heat.

Yep, heard that Nishi is super vigorous.  Probably best that I lost that one.  I don't have cooling in my greenhouse now. Quit running the swamp coolers. Several times the temp has gone to 112F and most summer days it's over 100F especially in the super hot, droughty July we had here.   Avocados and mangos laugh it off, citrus don't like it although they are loaded. 

25
The geo-dome and icosa-dome look really cool but the work involved is too much for me.  My A-frame ("gothic arch") was plenty enough work for me and I didn't even have to cut the frame.

If I was building another greenhouse I'd do quonset-style just wide for enough single sheets of polycarbonate to span the roof... rather than having two roof faces and twice the work.  And wood frame instead of metal... installing thousands of drill-screws into steel sucked.  Maybe some kind of clamp system would work instead of screws.  Or even magnets but they get expensive

Been there done that.  I have to predrill using a tungsten bit before driving a "self tapping" screw into mine.  And the columns are rusting like crazy at the bottom.  Nice for 7 year old house, eh?   >:( Polycarb is the only way to go. Most of mine is Palram Solarsoft.  North roof was redone in clear Lexan poly carb.

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