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Messages - JoeReal

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Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Columnar Trees
« on: July 17, 2019, 05:19:13 PM »
Normally, by genetic selection of fastigiate cultivars. In gen Citrus, by pruning and tying the branches to the trunk to force them grow in a narrow angle. Citrus is not a fastigiate growing kind of tree. They always develop a broad canopy with time. Stems in a very acute angle will catch rotten fruits, fallen leaves and diseases

Using several narrow trees, instead a single wider tree, mean less fruits and more trunks/wood in the same space. Multigrafting a tree looks like a better solution

I built one by accident. It wasn't meant to be columnar. The cultivar is the Sudachi hybrid. It develops fruits like grape clusters enclosing the stem. I marcotted one with lots of fruits, and so it looked like a columnar citrus. I gave it away as gift, long before our quarantine, I didn't care about columnar fruit trees.

Thanks to @starch Mark for sending me 6 different kinds of papaya seeds that he sealed and kept so well.  I was amazed at the result of the KNO3 treatment that I think I got nearly 100% germination on all of them, so will have to thin out the germinated seeds. Had I known that it worked so well, i would have just used 2-3 seeds per cup!

Anyway here's my results:

The plain water has zero germination after two weeks. And here's the 0.5% 24 hour soaking and 10% KNO3 30 minutes soaking results:

0pp3 by Joe Real, on Flickr

0pp1 by Joe Real, on Flickr

Papaya seeds float, especially if old and dry. Place the seeds in a bowl, place a folded paper towel over the seeds, then pour the solution over the paper towel. This way, the paper towel when wet will weigh the seeds down and will soak the dry seeds all around for the time required. Make sure to sow immediately after soaking, then water like you would like normal seeds.

The same substance that makes almonds poisonous is also where the flavor comes from.

In small amounts it's delicious.

It's the dosage that can make it medicinal or toxic.  Most poisons and venoms are like that too!

This is applicable not only to Tropical plants but to almost all plants in general but this is the most visited section, so I posted it here.

Foliar application is the best way to deliver nutrients into the plants. We know this already since ancient times.  What is new in this article is that nutrients can travel from the leaves, through the plant's cuticle, through the vascular bundle and then being exudated into the root system where it is needed in the  rhizosphere to interact with symbionts, or help control root problems, or change physical properties of soil to improve nutrient and water uptake. They have traced this pathway by using Gold nanoparticles. Not all nutrients are needed by the plants for growth alone, some nutrients they use it by putting it into the soil root zone to enhance their nutrient and water uptake. Something new that I learned is that those important nutrients for use in the root system can be applied to leaves instead of directly into the soil as the plants can deliver it at point of use, and therefore is almost 100% efficient without nutrient losses.


grafted tree with bids at only $5.50 now!

Is the Garcinia brasiliensis rootstock cold hardier than Luc's Garcinia? What benefits does Garcinia brasiliensis have over Luc's Garcinia's own seedling? We know of course that grafted ones fruit sooner.

Where to buy available Seeds of Luc's Garcinia? Thanks!

grafted tree with bids at only $5.50 now!

It's now $41, but by near auction's end, it's gonna sell for over $100!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Frederick Passion Fruit has fruits!
« on: June 18, 2019, 11:37:58 AM »
This is anything but a compact grower, haha. Although it can handle 9b it is s tropical and you should care to protect it from frost, especially in a pot.

It might not be a compact grower but Mr Joe its not an average gardener.He is an expert in keeping the plants in a restricted area.Like here:

Thanks! You got that right! Already I gave my tip on how to make compact vines such as grapes and now this, the passion fruit.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Frederick Passion Fruit has fruits!
« on: June 18, 2019, 11:34:58 AM »
One of my Best Of Show wines is Passion Fruit! I got the fruits from a friend growing it in Ventura County, and it is so aromatic. So it got me interested in growing one of these one day, and here I am, already have fruits. It has survived our winter here. I am hoping it is aromatic.

There are ways to make your passion fruit compact and productive. It is almost the same as growing grapes in a container. Controlled girdling of the main trunk should control its roots and produce more fruits while remaining compact with a little pruning.  If you remember my post about bark inversion, that is one of the techniques used for dwarfing plants with definite bark. In case it doesn't have definite bark, mild girdling is the next best thing and is a standard practice for table grape production.

This Frederick passion fruit is my first experiment on growing these, and surely I will experiment on it. But what I'd really like is the most aromatic passion fruit available in the world, and I hope you can point me to the best cultivar. I don't really care about the sweetness of the passion fruits, only the aroma, because I'm a winemaker. Passion fruits can impart the best fruity aroma to any white wines, especially if you use real fresh fruit juices applied during the final but slow fermentation phase.

Where to buy available Seeds of Luc's Garcinia? Thanks!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Frederick Passion Fruit has fruits!
« on: June 17, 2019, 04:36:25 PM »
Wow, she has three fruits for Papa! Didnt know it until I upgraded her pot!

Frederick Passion Fruit. Compact ideally suited for container growing and cold hardy to our zone. Even though I would pass this up as a temperate fruit, it does well in tropical climes where it's more endemic.

0pf1 by Joe Real, on Flickr

The bitter almonds or apricot kernels have anti-cancer properties because of Amygdalin (Vitamin B-17 or laetrile), a substance that can be toxic or cancer cure depending on dosage.  Although laetrile, the human marketed version of Amygdalin have been promoted online as an overhype type of hoax, there are actual biomedical literatures compiled by the National Institute of Health about it, and it shows promise, not the definite cure yet.
Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018;18(12):1650-1655. doi: 10.2174/1871520618666180105161136.
Amygdalin from Apricot Kernels Induces Apoptosis and Causes Cell Cycle Arrest in Cancer Cells: An Updated Review.
Saleem M1, Asif J2, Asif M2, Saleem U2.
Author information
Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glycoside which is described as a naturally occurring anticancer agent. Current review highlights apoptosis-inducing attributes of amygdalin towards different cancers and its potential application as an anti-cancer agent in cancer therapy.

Data about amygdalin was retrieved from all major scientific databases i.e., PubMed, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, Scopus and Medline by using combination of keywords like amygdalin, apoptosis, laetrile, vitamin B- 17, pro-apoptotic proteins, anti-apoptotic proteins, hydrogen cyanide, mechanism of action of amygdalin and amygdalin therapy on humans. However, no specific time frame was followed for collection of data.

Data collected from already published articles revealed that apoptosis is a central process activated by amygdalin in cancer cells. It is suggested to stimulate apoptotic process by upregulating expression of Bax (proapoptotic protein) and caspase-3 and downregulating expression of Bcl-2 (anti-apoptotic protein). It also promotes arrest of cell cycle in G0/G1 phase and decrease number of cells entering S and G2/M phases. Thus, it is proposed to enhance deceleration of cell cycle by blocking cell proliferation and growth.

The current review epitomizes published information and provides complete interpretations about all known anti-cancer mechanisms of amygdalin, possible role of naturally occurring amygdalin in fight against cancer and mistaken belief about cyanide toxicity causing potential of amygdalin. However, well-planned clinical trials are still needed to be conducted to prove effectiveness of this substance in vivo and to get approval for human use.
The anti-proliferative effect of apricot and peach kernel extracts on human colon cancer cells in vitro
Wagheda Cassiemcorresponding author1 and Maryna de Kock2
Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer
Associated Data
Data Availability Statement
Go to:
Colorectal malignant neoplasms is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women in the developed world and the incidence has recently increased markedly in South Africa. Studies have highlighted the beneficial effects of Amygdalin, a cyanogenic compound found in both peach and apricot kernels, in its ability to suppress the development of colon cancer. The focus of this study was to investigate the potential anti-proliferative properties of various apricot and peach kernels extractions from South Africa and China and to monitor alterations in cell cycle kinetics in colon cancer cells.

Studies were conducted on HT-29 colon cancer cells. The interactive role of three different kernel extractions on the modulation of cell proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle progression was monitored over 24, 48 and 72 h periods.

After 24 h, all extracts of the South African apricot kernels had a dose related bi-phasic proliferative effect on the HT-29 cells. It stimulated cell proliferation at the lowest and highest concentrations while at 500 μg/mL it inhibited cell proliferation. In contrast, after 72 h, the low concentration inhibited cell proliferation while the 500 μg/mL extracts stimulated cell proliferation. Morphological changes were observed in cells incubated with Chinese kernel extracts after 24 h and South African kernel treatment (1000 μg/mL) after 72 h. A possible intra-S-phase block after 24 and 48 h exposure to South African hydrophilic kernel extracts was observed. This transient block that is more concerned with tolerating and accommodating damage during replication rather than repairing it, could explain the initial anti-proliferative effects observed after 24 h exposure to the various Chinese kernel extract concentrations.

Abrogation of the block by exhaustion of the cyanide production, most likely allowed the cells to resume the cell cycle and continue into mitosis, whereas low ATP levels caused by the presence of amygdalin in the kernels, can also cause the induction of pycnosis or necrosis. These results highlight the possible mechanisms of growth inhibition by amygdalin containing extracts and may contribute towards the development of dietary anti-cancer therapies.

Keywords: Apricot kernel, Peach kernel, Amygdalin, Colon cancer, S-phase block

"Most almonds produced today are naturally tasty and safe to eat. Back then, though, many were bitter and poisonous."

A very interesting history of almonds. There's even a 14th century method to convert a wild poisonous almond into palatable and edible ones! There's no need to do that today.

"St. Basil's Hexaemeron, a Christian text from around the fourth century, contains a curious botanical instruction: Pierce an almond tree in the trunk near its roots, stick a "fat plug of pine" into its center, and its almond seeds will undergo a remarkable change.

"Thus the ... bitter almonds ... lose the acidity of their juice, and become delicious fruits," the text reads. "Let not the sinner then despair of himself. ... If agriculture can change the juices of plants, the efforts of the soul to arrive at virtue can certainly triumph over all infirmities." The cause of this change, scientists later theorized, was stress: Jamming pine wood into the almond tree's core may have halted production of the toxins.

We don't need pine wood to turn almonds sweet anymore. Most almonds produced today are naturally tasty and safe to eat. Back then, though, many were bitter and poisonous. Even today, consuming 50 or fewer wild, bitter almonds could potentially kill an adult, and just a handful contain enough cyanide to be lethal to a child.

Over time, farmers have bred domesticated almond trees to produce mostly sweet seeds. But wild almonds helped us out and now, we know just how they went from deadly to delicious. A study published this week in the journal Science, which sequenced the almond genome, shows that a single genetic mutation "turned off" the ability to make the toxic compound thousands of years ago a key step before humans could domesticate them."

Also notice that if you keep your trees outside in a subtropical climate like California, some citrus cultivars such as those in the Fortunella group and their hybrids, and most lemons will show a lot of fake deficiency symptoms during the winter and then they magically disappear as the weather warms up in spring. These kinds of temperature related "fake" deficiencies are seldom ever discussed in many Citrus Textbooks and I have observed it throughout our lives here in California.

From an ecological point of view, the lemons and kumquats and their hybrids that shows yellowing during the chilly temperatures are actually natural adaptations that help minimize chilling injury during full sunlight in the cold mornings of winter.

When I apply any fertilizer containing N, I make sure that the Mg is 1/4 of that, in terms of elemental weight.

Citrus General Discussion / Summer Heat Blossoms!
« on: June 13, 2019, 03:11:51 PM »
"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." - The Emperor in Mulan.

My blood oranges have blooms in the middle of this heatwave of 108 F and over. They could likely turn into the tastiest latest fruits next year! The flowers aren't as plentiful during the first flush in spring, but it would hopefully turn into a second later crop next year. Normally only my lemons and Calamondins continue blooming after the spring flush. This is a first for my potted blood oranges, to bloom in the middle of the heat wave when I already have fruitlets from the spring flush. The blood oranges in bloom are Bream Tarocco, Boukhobza, and California Rojo.

0c1 by Joe Real, on Flickr

0c2 by Joe Real, on Flickr

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: My Blueberry Growing Tips..
« on: June 13, 2019, 02:14:32 PM »
I think blueberries can take full sun. They grown them in full sun in Bakersfield commercially. Mine get full sun in the winter/spring and morning shade in the summer, with full sun in the afternoon. I have them in big patio pots to help with moisture retention and acidity. The medium has lots of peat moss, some sand and chicken manure, and IIRC some of the potting soil that was in from whatever was in here before. A 3" layer of mulch is very helpful in keeping them moist. I have to water them every two days currently, though it was down to every day in the 100F+ heat wave. I think these were in 2 gallon containers when I planted them last spring. I give them about 1 cup of sulfur when they show more than a little red on new growth, or when they have chlorosis of new growth. I think in total I've given them sulfur three times. I just water them with untreated domestic water. We've been picking a lot of berries for the past month, so what you see isn't a full crop. I think the small one (first pic) is Sunshine Blue, which seems like it has some other vaccinium species in it to me. It's got smaller, darker leaves, more like huckleberry, and the berries have a creaminess to them that reminds me of blueberry yogurt. Next is Jubilee, which goes mostly deciduous and is a later season variety. It hasn't borne many fruits for me, but is getting pretty tall. Then the other two are Sharpblue I think (nametags are burried somewhere in the mulch), which are the best producers.

Yes they can TOLERATE full sun but they don't look happy. I've been to the blueberry fields in the Central Valley of California, and have observed their blueberries during the hottest days of summer. My blueberries are far better looking when it is shielded from the sun starting at 2 pm, so they still get 9 hours of sunshine in the summer.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: My Blueberry Growing Tips..
« on: June 12, 2019, 01:15:07 PM »
Im also interested in ways to lower PH long term from neutral soil.Acetic acid ,vinnegar its an organic acid ive used to add carbon for bacteria to bloom in saltwater aquarium.Ive used sugar ,vodka and vinegar as a carbon source for bacteria.Sugar has 100 peercent carbon almost while vodka and vinnegar are depending on their strongness of degrees with 40 percent carbon in case of vodka has 40 degrees and 5 percent for 5 degrees vinnegar.Otther carboxillic acid like the vinnegar is ,but much stronger ( strongest organic acid ,almost like sulfuric)its oxalic acid wich its found in manny plants ( Oxalis).Im learning if i could use such crops around my acid loving plants and if they can accidify the soil long term.Beware of Oxalic acid cristals if you think to use them because its really dangerous stuff,not like vinegar,much stronger.

I'm a winemaker so I've tried all the acids that I can get my hands on. Blueberries get stressed out if not die when I use vinegar or acetic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid and their blends. Vinegar is being used as a herbicide on some plants, so that gave me a clue.

What works well to decrease the water pH down to 4-5 range are Phosphoric acid and sulfuric acid, as these are more natural for the blueberries  as you only need little amounts to add and they don't antagonize many mycorhizzal microbes.  Phosphoric acid are mixed into the drip system of irrigation water by the farmers of Central Valley, California, aside from regularly adding soil sulfur as supplements in the soil. I can get phosphoric acid from my farmer friends. If you don't have access, you can use sulfuric acid. Sources of sulfuric acid are the battery shops or AutoZone or car parts supplier but they're super expensive. The trick is to go to Home Depot or Lowe's or Ace Hardware and look for drain cleaners. Read the ingredients. If it has only sulfuric acid as the active ingredient and no other chemical listed except for water, then that is good to use.  When using such, always add acid to the water a little bit at a time and measure pH each time you add until you get the desired pH. The digital pH meters from Amazon are inexpensive and accurate enough for such purpose.

I seldom have to flush the potting media with acid as I always collect a lot of rainwater and I use that. Rainwater is slightly acidic, from 5.5 to 6.5 and blueberries loved it much more than acidified water.

Never use Muriatic Acid or HCl, instant death for the blueberries!

Temperate Fruit Discussion / My Blueberry Growing Tips..
« on: June 11, 2019, 11:52:42 AM »
We have alkaline soil, alkaline water, very hot summers, not an ideal place to grow blueberries, but I managed to have productive harvests.

Weve been harvesting a bowlful of blueberries every day from our yard. My selection of cultivars is such that we have blueberries starting from February up to first week of August. But now is the peak time.

Southmoon, Revielle and Misty are my biggest bushes and they have wide gaps in terms of peak harvest and their fruits don't ripen at the same time.  The medium sized bushes are Jubilee and O'neal. Then I have small pots and grafted branches of Berkeley, Bluemoon, Patrick, Blueray, Sharpblue, Pink Lemonade and Reka. I also have yet unnamed seedling blueberries given to my by David Young, and I call them DY1, DY2 and DY3 and am excited to evaluate their fruits maybe within a couple more years. I love Southmoon the best so far.

I have three distinct microclimates where I placed my blueberries. I have almost tropical, subtropical and temperate microclimates to make sure they would produce fruits at different times. In the hot California summers, I keep them all away from the afternoon sun, only the morning sun, so they don't suffer any leaf burns.

One thing that the blueberries don't like even during the winter, never let the potting media dry out!  The potted blueberries love to sit in 1 to 2 inches of standing water, so I put a 3" deep drain catching pan at the bottom of the pot. This will make sure your blueberries won't dry out during the hottest days.

If you want to go organic, fertilize them with acidifying organic fertilizer such as cottonseed meal, and other blueberry fertilizers approved by OMRI. As for the potting media, use sphagnum moss, peat moss, mixed with sand and soil sulfur. Regularly apply soil sulfur in little amounts about monthly after you flush the potting media with rainwater or acidified water.  If you're okay with non-organically approved fertilizers, apply tiny amounts of Osmocote Plus slow release fertilizer once a year, but regular twice monthly application of ammonium sulfate or urea.

I am in Woodland California and our city water is alkaline, and the blueberries hate it, so I save a lot of rainwater. I flush the pots with rainwater once a month. If you didn't save rainwater and need to acidify the water, you can add little bit of sulfuric or phosphoric at a time until the water pH is between 4 to 5 and use it to flush the pot once a month.

Blueberries needed to be watered daily during the growing season. Twice a day when it is over 100 deg F during the summer. During winter, watch out for weeklong periods of no rain, you may need to water them once during that time.
I am still in the process of moving my blueberries from the pots to the ground, which is my ultimate goal. In order to do that, I am preparing sparkleberries for planting and am growing them from tiny seeds. Sparkleberry can thrive in our alkalaline soils and is graft compatible with blueberries. Some grafts are known to last more than 30 years, so I plan to make multi-grafted blueberries with sparkleberry as the rootstock. Then I don't have to deal with the acidifying the soil and water in order to get blueberries!

It took me ten years to discover on my own,  the secrets of growing blueberries in our area not suited for blueberries. I took it as a challenge and now am sharing how it can be successful.  Am still on a long term quest for another milestone, which is having a multi-grafted blueberry growing in the ground. But the research goes on and on in trying out various cultivars and the container growing.

0bb4 by Joe Real, on Flickr

0bb2 by Joe Real, on Flickr

0bb1 by Joe Real, on Flickr

Onions can tolerate the acidic planting media planted to blueberries, and it helps ward off the fruit pests of blueberries.

There are no absolutes in plant growing, however. Im just stating what I believe is a general truism.

If one is creative enough, we can always overcome limitations of the general rules. I have challenged many rules in gardening and got away with it, but still based on scientific principles applied within the context of the problem.

There is not such thing as a too big pot,the bigger the better.
Except for bonsai .

I would politely disagree with this   ;D ; can totally have too big of a pot in relation to the size of the rootball.
This is why nurseries, etc, gradually increase the size of their pots. Otherwise they would plant seeds in 15 gallon pots  ;D ;)

Too much pot in relation to roots usually leads to overwatering/root rot.

So planting in the ground would be the worst?  The key really is good soil or good potting media. There is no difference in planting in humongous pot and in the ground for as long as the media are excellent.

I have planted a tiny blueberry in half wine barrel and look at it now. Haven't repotted in 5 years! It is now an 8-n-1 grafted blueberry. I trimmed the sides and added 7 new cultivars and they've taken. The main plant started out as 8" high blueberry that I got from Trader's Joe for $5 and the half wine barrel (composite foam) went on sale for $8, so I purchased both. I also regularly intercrop my tiny blueberry in pots with onions.

8-n-1 by Joe Real, on Flickr

that's natural plant response. When there's plenty of space, it tries to spread. But as soon as it grows bigger and nowhere to grow sideways, it will start sending more vigorous upright shoots. Just be patient. Sometimes it takes a couple of years from such tiny starting plant.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Just a simple grafting tip...
« on: May 30, 2019, 02:33:02 PM »
Another grafting tip. In case of small tender shoots that will get crushed or simply impossible to wrap it with parafilm, you can use a whole sandwich bag with double zipper to wrap it all. The double zipper allows for better grip and not blown away by the wind.  Take a closer look, one corner (upper right) of the bag is nipped to prevent extreme greenhouse effect so it doesn't cook the graft. I used this technique when grafting papayas or tiny avocado shoots on seedling rootstocks. You can also use small tubular plastic bags (used for making ice-candy) but you'll have to secure it so it doesn't get blown off by the wind.

0bp3 by Joe Real, on Flickr

That is awesome, congrats!

Thanks Mark! Can you spare me some Tainung #2 seeds when you have them? I can't find Tainung anywhere.

Anyway, I bought a Broadleaf Papaya from Wellsprings... didn't know it doesn't like the afternoon sun unlike the Brazilian and Mexican papayas. I will protect it against afternoon sun. I was wondering if the Broadleaf papaya is the same as Tainung...

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Brazilian Papaya grafted!
« on: May 30, 2019, 12:23:14 PM »
And so it came to pass. My inground babaco has started pushing out leaves, and I bought me a Brazilian Papaya from Lowe's. Yesterday, I grafted the Brazilian Papaya to two branches of Babaco. I find it hard to cover the papaya scion with paraffin so I used a whole sandwich bag with one corner nipped to allow a little air and vapor movement so as not to cook the scionwood. Here they are and wish me luck!

The Brazilian Papaya prepared a couple of days ago by cutting back the leaves and to make the buds plumpier. It is now ready for cutting.

their destination, my captive volunteer, the Babaco papaya

First graft, wrapped in sandwich bag with double zipper for better grip. take a closer look, one corner of the bag is nipped to prevent extreme greenhouse effect so it doesn't cook my graft.

Two grafts showing... two branches of babaco grafted... each wrapped in sandwich bag.

The remaining Brazilian Papaya. It will regrow and hoping for more branches to use the next time.

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