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Messages - plantrant

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Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Cold Hardry Grapefuit/Pommelos
« on: February 28, 2016, 08:38:30 AM »
I am in lower 8B and have Bloomsweet still ripe on the tree since there have been no freezes this year that could ruin the fruit. The sweet, rich, perfumey smell around the tree is wonderful as the fruit dry a bit. If you are a "traveler' interested in sampling some of them, there is a scion exchange next Saturday AM at Caldwell Nursery in Rosenberg, TX (southwest of Houston). There usually are some folks from Austin who drive out here for the  meetings, and the sponsor is Texas Rare Fruit Growers, an association started by Ed Self. The mature Bloomsweet has survived a brief 14 degree event and made it through like a champ. So if you like somewhat mild/sweet g/f with a lemon flavor, it is a good one.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Asimina Trilobas in the wild
« on: July 07, 2015, 08:39:17 AM »
One way to disinvite hungry paw paw eaters is to enclose the unripe fruit in a plastic grocery bag that is tied above the fruit branch with the bag loop handles. The fluffy plastic bag does not look like food, especially since the colored bag is hard to see through. A small hole at the lowest part of the bag's bottom will allow any rainfall that enters from the top to drain. When the fruit ripens, it falls into the bag. When checking on the ripening progress, you can lightly squeeze the fruit through the bag to see if it is beginning to soften. I don't pick them until they are ripe enough to fall into the bag, but I guess that you may choose to break them off if soft enough when hiking out to the woods to check them. Of course the bags will attract the attention of other 2 legged wanderers out hiking.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Pawpaws starting to flower
« on: April 18, 2015, 08:11:50 AM »
I just thinned out lots of baby fruit this week while the fruit that were set are between 1/8" thick and 3/8" thick, and most were in pairs or clusters. I left the bigger fruit. I removed many clusters that were on the same small branch so that only one remained on each branch. I removed all fruit that were high up in the trees. That way, when they were full sized, I could more easily enclose the fruit inside plastic grocery bags that were tied above the branches. When the fruit ripen fully they just fall down inside the bag instead of all the way to the ground where they can get damaged, especially by hungry crawling bugs. Last year I waited too long before thinning and ended up removing lots of fruit that were 2" - 3" long. Since the trees tend to over-produce, I wanted more leaves to be able to nourish a smaller amount of fruit.

Well, at least the doggie treats and baby toys are safe enough that they do not need to be formally, thoroughly inspected before being sold here. We have the best legislators that money can buy.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Cold tolerant lime
« on: March 10, 2015, 09:03:06 AM »
Despite pretty good cold protection, my only Mexican lime tree froze when young during an exceptional freeze, so I no longer want to bother with them. Depending on your taste buds' pickiness, you may be satisfied to use green, unripe satsumas as a lime substitute. Just try a couple at different stages of growth to find out if it will be acceptable. For me, it is. Second, the green, unripe fruit from Thomasville Citrangequats may possibly work. But if you are a purist who has no interest in 'outside the box' options, just buy them at the store when you want some.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Dekpon
« on: March 03, 2015, 09:30:29 AM »
That fruit quality can and does vary depending on lots of things is a given. The Hamlins that I am specifically referring to are from scions that I grafted 6 years ago on a cold hardy, mature citrus here. I regret that other Hamlins elsewhere have not had the same outstanding quality where you have gotten your Hamlin report cards. It may be that very hot Summers, followed by some long waiting in Winter with lots of 30 to 50 degree weather, and finally eating the fruit in February/March after the fruit have been picked and allowed to age without more sap being supplied....has made for a more concentrated flavor. It works here year after year. On the other hand, the South LA folks with mature "Louisiana Sweet" (Hamlin) orange trees in their back yards value them greatly, as do the neighbors and relatives that get to share the bounty there. They are grafted to Carrizo Citrange there, which makes a big tree with big fruit, although this r/s is not as cold hardy as TF. The 3 gallon tree that I bought for graftwood and then planted has grown well for the 6 years w/o being allowed to fruit, since I wanted it to get thicker sooner for greater cold hardiness. As for the pineapple taste component percentage "10%", trying to quantify is inexact when you don't have a lab or the budget to pay one.........The store bought,older, riper Sumo fruit seemed to have lost rather than gained in flavor quality, unlike the Hamlin oranges here. Just like satsumas ordinarily do over time.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Dekpon
« on: March 03, 2015, 07:27:46 AM »
After eating about 30 of the 3" diameter Dekopon/Sumo fruit over 3 weeks, I have the opinion that they are definitely worth growing. Some of the fruit were a little past prime ripeness, but still OK. On the other hand, I just cut open a Hamlin orange that was harvested about 2 months ago prior to a freeze and has been sitting in the very cool garage since then. Better fruit. Bigger, perfectly balanced sweet/tart,  rich flavor with 10% pineapple taste, and almost seedless. Wish there were 29 more. I wonder why they are not grown and sold commercially around here.....

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Can I grow Muscadine Grape in here ?.
« on: March 02, 2015, 08:11:34 AM »
Regarding the Triumph grapes being tangy-spicy, my 3 mature vines have that same issue in a big way. In a few weeks they will get topworked with dormant  cuttings from a much better variety. If existing muscadine vines are making unacceptable fruit, they can be grafted reliably by using cuttings that have 90 degree turns or forked joints where the all-important swollen nodes have tiny reserve buds that are barely visible. Since the cleft grafts heal slowly on the hard wood, the reserve buds will remain dormant for a long time until the sap eventually makes it's way to them through the healed wood, unlike straight cuttings with fat buds that too often bust out into leaves way too early and in a couple weeks just wither away.. The over-abundant sap will flood the cleft grafts unless a notch is cut into the rootstock vine below the graft area to bleed off the excess fluid before it reaches the graft. As long as the notch is wet each AM and the cleft is dry, healing can take place over several weeks. If the cleft is found to be wet during that period, just cut the notch a bit deeper and confirm the next AM if the flow has stopped flooding the graft because it resumed draining at the notch. Eventually both the notch and cleft will become dry, and the tiny buds will finally start growing out.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What does pawpaw taste like?
« on: February 27, 2015, 07:38:59 AM »
I regret that baby paw paw plants do not have the same tenacity as baby mulberry plants. The roots are under engineered for going that gets tough. For those wanting to become paw paw people, I prefer 2 ways to begin instead of the common practice of having expensive baby plants with baby roots shipped in from a zillion miles away. One way is to visit mom and pop, small, independent nurseries and ask the owner if any of their wholesale nursery suppliers list potted paw paw seedlings for sale that are several feet tall. I would order some regardless whether they are unknown variety seedlings or not. BIGGER is BETTER and commonly cheaper than the (very small) super duper variety grafted plants. You can get the larger potted seedlings to start growing in a deep/wide raised bed of rich, organic soil that can later be widened further as the plant grows. If your soil is rocky/desert sand/clay/moon surface/inhospitable, think DEEP on the raised bed. When the paw paw tap root grows downward and collides with some kind of 'moon surface', it lacks the ability to drill-baby-drill, so lateral root growth will be the plant's focus. The seedlings can be cleft grafted later on the central leader to become whatever variety you want. The second way that I prefer is to order a bag of seeds from a known, choice variety and plant them in very deep pots filled with loose, organic soil mix from which they can later be gently removed and planted in the aforementioned deep raised bed. I would wait on the choice variety seedlings to mature to see what kind of fruit they end up producing. If not so special, cleft graft the central leader with what you want to try next. In summary, baby paw paw plants growing in laboratory conditions with 24/7 care by very experienced mass growers can be so healthy looking, but when they get kicked out of house and home and get resettled in a much less accommodating situation, many struggle big time, and many never make it.

I just finished the last of the approx. 30 Sumo fruit purchased from Houston-area big box grocer Kroger's when on sale, and they all had similar  diameter (3"), appearance, shape, smell, flavor, peeling, and only a couple had lost their stickers with the #3632 code. There were only 4 fruit that had any seeds. Three fruit had only one seed each, and one very ambitious fruit had SEVEN seeds. The seeds have a scheduled date involving moist paper towel, a one quart freezer bag, and the top of a water heater.

Same shape. Same color. Same neck. Same sticker on each fruit. But smaller and MUCH cheaper. Just like the various satsumas here can range from 2" diameter to 4" diameter on the same tree, but normally are about 3". Krogers got the "grade B" fruit for their customers with the "value buying" orientation, and Whole Foods got the whoppers with the whopper pricing for their customers who use more discretionary  $$ to buy what pleases them. By the way, the whoppers look like they consist of about $1.50 of heavy duty peeling and $2.50 of edible fruit interior.

At some local Krogers big box grocery stores there are Satsuma-sized "Sumo" fruit available at the temporary sale price of 2/$1. At one Whole Foods store there were MUCH LARGER fruit available for $3.99/#....not that I would buy any at that price. After eating several of Krogers' Sumo fruit I only found one seed, which will get the germinator treatment. The fruit taste ranged from "A" to "B-". Good...but not super. Page mandarin is more enjoyable to me. (Sounds like Mr Texas-kind of comments, does it not?) QUESTION: Anyone with Dekopon experience out there with knowledge about it's cold hardiness or lack thereof?

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Cocktail grapefruit pick time
« on: January 30, 2015, 08:42:43 AM »
Thanks for the nursery photos. Looks 100% the same. Except for the puddle of juice beneath the cut fruit. If genetic variability is on display with a family's 6 kids lacking 100% uniformity, and all 200 satsumas on a healthy tree are not 100% uniform, then why should there not be evidence of it among 1000 cocktail g/f trees?....When I went to buy multiple thermometers to place around the orchard, I assumed that the box of Chinese-built thermometers in Lowe's store were likely "identical", but just to be sure I laid several side-by-side on the shelf and waited a few minutes to confirm the mutual accurate temp reading there. Well, most had different temps from the others. Variability happens.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Cocktail grapefruit pick time
« on: January 29, 2015, 12:01:19 AM »
In December I went to John Panzarella's annual Open House (Panzarella where John provides lots of citrus fruit varieties for folks to sample, sells plants, and sells his own grown fruit. It is there that I got a box full of several citrus varieties that are marked with the variety name. He has forgotten a zillion times more about citrus than I will ever know. I do not know why your fruit are different from his, or (possibly) why your taste buds are different than mine. Just like one person's super-duper paw paw is another person's "yuck".

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Cocktail grapefruit pick time
« on: January 28, 2015, 08:49:05 AM »
I ate my first Cocktail g/f yesterday. It was fully ripe, messy/drippy juicy, lemon flavored, mildly sweet when eating, had thin peeling, and left a sour aftertaste. I grow Bloomsweet g/f, which have some similarities. They are lemon flavored, taste mildly sweet when eating, leave a sour aftertaste, have thicker peeling, have fewer seeds, but not messy/drippy at all. The tiny cells hold their juice very well, and the individual segments can be broken apart by hand w/o any dripping juice escaping. But the biggest thing that sets them apart is that the mature Bloomsweet trees do not need cold protection for your area. When the temps bottomed out near 15 degrees a few years ago on one night, the unprotected mature trees had partial defoliation, but no severe problem at all. As one who hates all the cold protection rituals when a threatening freeze is arriving, fruit trees like the Bloomsweet g/f make fruit growing easier. They are sometimes available locally.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Picked 1st Dekopon Fruit
« on: January 04, 2015, 09:40:13 AM »
For an interesting but brief interview with the Japanese citrus grower who got the Dekopan going, you can look at the excellent 28 minute long video presentation entitled "Japanology- Satsuma Mandarins", which is on youtube. He said that the trees that he experimented with made much better/sweeter fruit when he found out which moisture supply worked best over a several-year period of experimenting with watering. The similar video on persimmons is also very good.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Orange Frost Hardy Satsuma
« on: December 10, 2014, 09:35:18 AM »
I bought one in a 3 gallon pot with a Greenleaf Nursery tag that was said to be growing on "it's own roots" at a Houston-area plant sale last Winter and replanted it in a 15 gallon pot with very good drainage to address root rot concerns. I clipped off several small fruit in Spring and allowed 2 fruit to develop, and recently got to taste my first Orange Frost Satsuma/Changsha tangerine cross fruit. The flavor was outstanding. It seems to be a little less sweet than some of the other satsumas, but the pleasant surprise was that there was a noticeable cherry-like taste mixed in with a good Satsuma flavor. Almost like a Satsuma-flavored fruit punch. I let the plant go dry for about 2 weeks prior to harvesting the 2 fruit. The peeling had a very pleasant aroma that is different from Satsuma peeling. This one is a real keeper. No offense to the other satsumas, but you have just been upstaged.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Asimina triloba experience in Colorado
« on: October 17, 2014, 07:19:05 AM »
I salute your patience and effort, even though the results so far have underwhelmed. If you wanted to get your cross pollination done at home, I could mail to you some other varieties to graft to your tree in Spring.

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