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Messages - jcaldeira

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Citrus General Discussion / Re: Valencias grown in the tropics
« on: March 01, 2015, 02:54:58 AM »
With my Washington Navels, I get a good quality, sweet fruit if I pick during the cooler, drought-stressed season.  The same trees yield watery fruit if picked in the warmer rainy season.

Don't worry about the bees I heard monsanto is releasing pesticide resistant gmo bees, they are in the testing phase now (jk btw  ::)).

Oh yeah?  We're going to need GMO humans to eat the honey from the GMO bees, too.   :)

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Picking W.I. (Key) Limes - Ouch!
« on: February 26, 2015, 02:13:43 PM »
Key Lime grove workers are provided with protective gloves. - Millet

I'd need a protective body suit.  A lot stronger than a bee suit, too!

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Picking W.I. (Key) Limes - Ouch!
« on: February 26, 2015, 09:11:44 AM »
Yes what wicked thorns they have.
Perhaps a contraption similar to what they use to harvest prickly pears around here.

And what contraption is that?

p.s.: Millet, nail clippers?  I don't have all day to pick the fruit.  :)  These trees are fairly large.

Citrus General Discussion / Picking W.I. (Key) Limes - Ouch!
« on: February 25, 2015, 06:00:52 PM »
Every time I pick a bag of West Indian (Key) Limes, the tree thorns poke poor innocent me.  Does anyone know of a clever device that is effective for picking the limes off the tree?  Something that would extend my reach would be nice, too.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« on: February 23, 2015, 05:16:57 PM »
I'd cut it down to a stump, let the water sprouts shoot up and then re graft it. You could do a couple grafts with type A and type B variety to help your fruit set. Carlos on the forum does it to a lot of trees in his grove. I'm sure he wouldn't do it if it shortened the trees lifespan.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: apples anyone
« on: February 20, 2015, 03:18:39 PM »
I worked on an apple farm in upstate New York during my high school years.   Picking, pressing and bottling cider.  That was a long time ago, before all the dwarfing rootstocks such as M9.  Now, apples are typically grown tightly in rows, trees 2 meters apart, almost like a vegetable.

And the new varieties are great.  Has anyone tried SnapDragon, also known as NY1?  It's a hybrid from the HoneyCrisp.  I've not tried it but hear it's very good.

wtf! There is an improved Honeycrisp?

I can't say it's improved, but it's expected to be widely available this fall in the U.S.

"We refer to SnapDragon's crispy texture as a 'monster crunch' because it bursts with a sweet and juicy flavor that comes from its Honeycrisp parent." according to a statement from Jeff Crist, vice chairman of the apple growers group. "The apple was a big hit among taste testers so we expect consumers will really enjoy this new variety especially Moms who are looking for a healthy alternative to traditional junk foods."

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: apples anyone
« on: February 20, 2015, 01:48:19 PM »
I worked on an apple farm in upstate New York during my high school years.   Picking, pressing and bottling cider.  That was a long time ago, before all the dwarfing rootstocks such as M9.  Now, apples are typically grown tightly in rows, trees 2 meters apart, almost like a vegetable.

And the new varieties are great.  Has anyone tried SnapDragon, also known as NY1?  It's a hybrid from the HoneyCrisp.  I've not tried it but hear it's very good. 

In Fiji, seedling mango trees begin fruiting in 5 to 8 years.  Grafted trees mostly 3 years.

I found the David Sturrock article linked above quite interesting.  I am top-working one 10 year old tree now and will try grafting some scions from a 2 year old Ataulfo seedling tree on part of it to see if it accelerates maturity.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pruning scions
« on: February 17, 2015, 10:30:34 PM »
My mango pruning is done with the desired shape of the tree in mind, not to maximize the number of branches early-on. 

Starting at about one meter height, I encourage branching to 3 or 4 main branches. 

Then every 30-50 cm (12"-20") up to as high as I can reach, I prune again to get 3 or 4 more branches, sometimes only two.  When a branch has more than 4 sprouts, the extra ones are pruned off, mostly towards the inside of the tree to encourage a spreading shape.  Something like this:

The pruning in the original post seems extreme when considering how the tree will look in a few years, but there are many ways that work.

Recipes / Re: Soursop Drink
« on: February 16, 2015, 10:17:23 PM »
I'm curious to learn how soursop pulp is collected on a commercial basis.  My thinking is that they might use a machine similar to a cotton gin to shred it, then let the seeds sink, or use centrifugal force to separate it.  Does anyone know?

The juice, without the pulp, could probably be harvested in an apple cider press.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Grafting Knife
« on: February 15, 2015, 06:06:14 PM »
Regardless of what kind of knife one uses for grafting, the most important thing is that it be SHARP.  A good knife will allow the user to achieve good cambial contact with the cuts, but the type of knife has a far less significant effect on success than the condition (growth mode) of the scion and rootstock.

I use a good quality 'automatic' pocket knife.  It springs open with one hand (illegal in some places).  I tried a grafting knife that's only beveled on one side, but it wouldn't cut a straight line in rootstock cleft grafts.

Recipes / Soursop Drink
« on: February 14, 2015, 11:52:45 PM »
I've only eaten soursop fresh.  Yesterday my niece told me she's only drank the juice in Indonesia, but never the fresh fruit.  I looked up how to juice soursop and make a tasty drink.  This is what learned:

2 cups blended soursop pulp (seedless)
5 (3+2)  cups water
1 can condensed milk (can replace with some sugar, but, tsk, tsk)
2 Tbs lime juice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1  Tbp vanilla extract
sugar (optional)
Serve over ice

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: disinfecting grafts
« on: February 14, 2015, 03:57:46 PM »
I don't use any disinfectant on my citrus, mango and avocado grafts.  I just make sure that the surface of the scion is dry before wrapping it so it won't start growing fungus.

I often make a coconut frond tent similar to what Vipinrl described.  My neighbors do the same.   It works great when transplanting young trees into the field, and lasts several months which is usually all that's needed.

For shade that's needed for several years, I plant a few cassava around it, or plant under a wild tree I won't mind losing later.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Passionfruit Trellis Ideas
« on: February 12, 2015, 11:34:10 PM »
I think simple horizontal wires are best for passionfruit vines.   I'm growing them on barbed wire fences, up trees and on wood lattice.  The problem with wood lattice, trees and chain link fences is that the old dead vines are difficult to remove.  Barbed wire is good, but simple single-strand wire would even be better.

If the old vines are left, too many passionfruit get caught and don't fall to the ground. 

Here's a related web page:

Do papayas, young mango trees, and young avocado trees really need long-term protection from the sun?  Mine do fine in full sun after hardening off from the shadehouse. 

For some of my trees that only need shade for less than a few years, I plant cassava sticks around them.  They sprout and provide shade within a month.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fruit trees with edible leaves
« on: February 06, 2015, 03:17:06 PM »

This article by Morton is interesting

She says the leaves of a bunch of fruit trees are edible....
Mangoes, cashews, spondias (several species), Eugenias (and syzygiums ), emblic, antidesma, jackfruit, mulberry, soursop, sapodilla, persimmon ...and more...

My neighbor's goats would agree with this list.    :)   

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mango Graft
« on: January 19, 2015, 06:14:26 PM »
the rootstock is about 3 months avg old give or take a month on each rootstock, but what do you mean they should not be dormant? . .

The seedling rootstock will go through periods of growth and periods where there is no visible growth.  My grafting success is best when the rootstock itself either has swollen buds or visible new growth (as well as swollen buds on the scion).  In the sub-tropics this is probably more predictable than in the tropics. 

In my area, the best time to graft seems to be after the dry season, a week or so after the first good rains.  Everything starts to push new growth then and it's hard to mess up a graft.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mango Graft
« on: January 19, 2015, 03:29:58 PM »
I sometimes have the same thing happen.  Don't give up hope, though, because sometimes the side buds will burst out a month later.

As Patrick suggests, it's probably that the scion's tip had already 'decided' to grow before being grafted.  It grew, then ran out of steam.  Perhaps the bud was a little too developed when grafted.

Also, the rootstock, as well as the scion, should be in a growth flush when grafting for best success.  This can be promoted by watering with RAIN water.

My one criticism of most grafting books, including Garner's handbook, is that they don't emphasize the importance of the plants' growth condition.   Cambium contact is only half of success - timing is almost as important.  The rootstock shouldn't be in a dormant state when grafting.   

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Your best tree at the moment
« on: January 18, 2015, 07:11:27 PM »
BigIslandGrower, how tall was your mangosteen when you found it preferred full sun?

I have 1-2 year old mangsteen seedlings in 50%-90% shade now, but am unsure when to ease them into more sunlight.  The tallest ones are near 40 cm (16").

I don't have much of interest between my fruit trees, but some interesting things under them.

Some of the plants that enjoy the structure of my trees to climb on are black pepper, passionfruit, vanilla and dragon fruit.

The partial shade under and between some of my trees is being used for coffee and miracle fruit.

I have a few native trees, and banana, that are being used to provide shade to young fruit trees, with the intention of cutting down those native trees in a few years as the young fruit trees mature.  Mangosteen, cocoa, marang and some others seem to enjoy their first years as an understory plant, and they do much better in the ground than in nursery bags (at least with my care  :-[

Although the age of the tree probably has an influence on fruit quality of some species, climate, weather, soil, and timing of the harvest probably have a larger effect on quality.
Fruit often tastes better when grown in it's ideal environment. For example, citrus is usually sweeter in the subtropics, while papaya tends to taste better in the tropics.  As for timing of the harvest, compare supermarket fruit to fresh picked.

I've tethered branches to improve the balance of a few trees.  In a particularly windy area, it helped one of my jackfruit and this black sapote regain a better shape.     

I left the tethers on for approximately one year and the branches stayed in position after that.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Free Greenhouse Heat
« on: January 08, 2015, 11:02:53 PM »
jcaldeira, I just noticed your question concerning how much the drop in water temperature is over night with the drums of storage water inside my greenhouse.   The solar heat up of the water barrels inside the greenhouse, and the drop in the water's temperature over night varies daily and also from season to season.  However, to answer your question I took the water temperature yesterday at dusk, and again the following morning.  Note that in the northern hemisphere during January the sun is very low on the horizon during the day, so January's solar production is the lowest of the year.   Anyway, the water's temperature at sunset was 61.5 F, the next morning it was 57.5 F, a drop of 4 degrees.  This translates to a release of 4 free BTU's of heat into the greenhouse for every one pound of water inside the barrel. Each 55-gallon drum contains 551 pounds of water. There are 100 drums (acting as benches) inside the greenhouse   Therefore, 100 barrels of water inside the greenhouse last night gave of 4 X 551 X 100 = 220,400 free BTU of heat. Note, I had the greenhouse propane heaters set at 55- F, so the water would not go much lower.  One could get 10 or 15 times more free BTU's by setting the propane heaters at 35 F night temperatures, but I want the extra winter growth, from the trees by maintaining the higher temperature range.  The amount of released solar heat will increase in February, March, and April.  From May through August the water storage actually helps cool the greenhouse during the hot summer days by absorbing the daytime heat. - Millet

Excellent!   Even your low January 220,400 BTU heat yield is equivalent to near $5.50 per night, or $165/month at average U.S. electricity prices.  It is a more even heat that most other heaters, too, doesn't pollute or dry the air. I hope you'll collect and share more data as time goes on.

Your water barrel heat recapturing method is something that many gardeners can learn from.   Do you have any photos to share?

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