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Messages - jcaldeira

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Citrus General Discussion / Re: Yes, The Grapefruit Diet Actually Works
« on: October 30, 2014, 10:59:02 PM »
I am curious to learn the actual biological mechanism that caused grapefruit juice to result in lower-weight mice, and whether the mechanism injurious to health.  Some fruits cause diarrhea, which reduces weight.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Potted citrus, keeping a certain size.
« on: October 30, 2014, 02:59:52 PM »
I severely pruned several citrus trees to relocate them.  The remaining foliage bloomed just fine, at the same age as my others.  I doubt you'd retard blooming by trimming where you need to.  However, as Millet indicated, less young growth means fewer flowers.

The most amazing thing I've come to appreciate about citrus blooming is that drought stress, and even physical damage, appears to promote flowering.  It's actually the re-hydration after drought stress that induces blooming.  It is almost as if the plant focuses on reproduction when its life is threatened.  I'm not recommending your threaten your citrus into blooming :) because its harmful to overall growth, but holding off with the water until some leaves start to curl does seem to induce blooming.   Some citrus growers control watering to achieve off-season fruiting.

Citrus General Discussion / Citrus - Number of years to bear fruit
« on: October 28, 2014, 06:02:18 PM »
My farm has plenty of two and three year old citrus trees, but none of my Valencia oranges have flowered yet.  Is this normal?  All are grafted onto rough lemon rootstock.

Most of my Navel oranges had a few fruit last season.  The lemons fruited in 1-2 years, limes in 2-3, but no Valencia, no mandarin (except one Cleopatra), no grapefruit or pomelo.   How much longer?   All are grafted from mature scions on rough lemon and sour orange rootstocks. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Best % shade cloth?
« on: October 25, 2014, 02:51:02 PM »
I like 50% shade cloth.  It provides a simulated understory environments that is ideal for most juvenile plants.   

If you go with 70%, the plants will need more hardening off before out-planting them.

For more sensitive plants a few coconut fronds on top can further reduce sunlight, or add a second layer in a smaller area.

Mango trees seem pretty good about dropping fruit if they can't handle it without any help. There's a good chance the tree will drop all on its own.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: When should I harvest sugarcane?
« on: October 23, 2014, 10:19:54 AM »
By the way, sugar cane is commercially replanted every three or four years.  On the other years, cane regrows from the same roots.  The biggest crop is in the second year.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: When should I harvest sugarcane?
« on: October 22, 2014, 09:48:34 PM »
Sugar cane sugar is highest in the oldest cane.  Immature cane has a lower sugar content.  Consider leaving it until next summer if only 3 foot high.

Sugar content is also generally highest when the cane is under heat and/or water stress.  Give it plenty of sun.   You can cut some cane and leave others.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: calomondins are underrated
« on: October 22, 2014, 02:01:11 AM »
My calamondins are extremely bitter.  Good to mix in a jam or marmalade, but that's about it.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: 35
« on: October 22, 2014, 01:59:33 AM »
Amazing, yes.  The largest varieties here in Fiji grow to almost to almost their full diameter while less than a meter tall.  Then it shoots up with all the pent up energy.   It's almost like a telescoping antennae cord on an old radio. 

One tree will probably grow a lot faster than the other, so pruning will be necessary to allow the weaker one to capture sunlight.  They might not be the most pretty-shaped trees in the yard.

Avocado is a shallow-rooted tree, despite it's initial taproot.  Mango puts out more deeper roots.  I wouldn't put any soil barrier between them.

Rambutan are also sensitive to wind.  They show brown leafy edges in windy conditions.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fiji Drought
« on: September 29, 2014, 02:06:48 AM »
I'm sorry about the drought in your neck of the woods. I wonder if severe pruning would help reduce your plants need for water, at least until the rain shows up again?


I started pruning the citrus today.  I had been delaying because I thought we'd get some rain.  Not severe pruning, but getting the low branches and the highest branches off.  Thanks for suggesting. 

Very simplistic. Scientific investigation requires strict control of variables and reproducibility of results to be valid.

Strict control of variables is needed if we want to measure the best mango genetics, but not if we want to measure the sweetest mango.

When we give control of the variables to the people competing for the sweetest mango, we are measuring not only the genetic material, but also the skill in managing the growing environment.   Pumpkin growing is a good example, were competitors plant excellent genetic material, but also have their own watering and fertilizing methods.

There is no possible way for competitors across the world, country, state or even county to equalize all the growing variables.

It's my understanding that Guinness confirms world records, not U.S. records.  If they have no other 'sweetest mango' on record, whatever submitted should win until someone else beats it, assuming their regulations were followed. 

The growing does not need to be under identical conditions.  It's similar to a 'biggest pumpkin' contest.

Nice idea to attempt an official world record. 

I suggest contacting Guinness before going much further, to understand their evidence documentation requirements, need for an adjudicator, and other criteria that might need to be met so they can do their confirmation research.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fiji Drought
« on: September 28, 2014, 03:08:14 AM »
nice pics,, besides the ones you mentioned a few others that I've seen do well in drought conditions are jujube , surinam cherry and pomegranate

My Surinam Cherry is doing well.  Pomegranate not so well - lost most of their leaves.  My climate is probably too tropical for Jujube.

You don't have any dragon fruit? Would consider planting Cereus sp. and Opuntia sp. (have to check on individual selections tolerance to moisture especially for fruit set). They will always produce drought or no drought. The pictures look more like Southern, CA then Fuji,.

My Dragon Fruit is doing well.  I would like to get some Prickly Pear, but I doubt I can find it in Fiji.  Can it be grown from the supermarket fruit?

I'm hoping most of my trees will recover.  The last serious drought here was in 1997, with a moderate drought in 2007.

This article linked below introduces a book titled The Ghosts of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms.  The book seems interesting, has good reviews, and is now on my Amazon wish list.  Has anyone read it?

"avocados coevolved with ground sloths and were originally eaten by gomphothere — elephant-like creatures that lived during the Miocene and Pliocene, between 12 million and 1.6 million years ago, who happily reaped the fruit with their hefty trunks, crunched them with their massive teeth, and passed the seeds comfortably through their oversized digestive tract.

"Avocado’s strategy for propagation made a great deal of sense throughout the long life of its lineage — until the present moment. Even after thirteen thousand years, avocado is clueless that the great mammals are gone. For the avocado, gomphothere and ground sloths are still real possibilities. Pulp thieves like us reap the benefits. Homo Sapiens will continue to mold the traits of the few species of genus Persea it prefers. Ultimately, however, wild breeds will devolve less grandiose fruits, or else follow their animal partners into extinction."

Related video:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Fiji Drought
« on: September 28, 2014, 01:10:03 AM »
It's been nearly five full months since the western and northern parts of Fiji's main islands received significant rain.  Some water wells and bore holes have dried up, and government is transporting water by barge and truck to some affected areas.   Livestock farmers are culling herds due to lack of forage, and moving their stock to neighboring areas to find grass.  Vegetable farmers can't plant and are harvesting some crops prematurely.  Wild fires are increasingly problematic despite a fire ban.  Hydro-power electric plants are expected to start running short of water within a month.

My farm's bore hole is still providing enough water for my household needs, but not enough to keep all 15 acres properly watered, or to give to more than one or two neighbors. 

I'm learning a lot about which young tree species are most drought resistant.  Citrus tolerance is disappointing.  I'm focused on keeping the most exotic fruit trees alive and to preserve maximum fruit diversity. Mature trees are doing much better than the younger ones.   A few mostly sad photos from my farm:

Soursop is trying to hang onto a few fruit while shedding many leaves.  Young coconut and sugar cane are suffering

Papaya, Banana/Plaintain and Breadfruit have shed most leaves

Some trees, such as this little Jackfruit and Mulberry, are still trying to fruit:

Citrus fares poorly on most of my soils despite hardy rough lemon rootstock.  Here's one of the worst:

Black Sapote, Star Apple, Jamaican Cherry, Ice Cream Bean, Abiu, Langsat. and avocado are doing okay with a little supplemental watering.

Among the most drought resistant on my soil are Mango, Sapodilla, Cinnamon, Macadamia, Cashew and Sandalwood (Yasi)

Of course I'm watering the shadehouse but I need rain before I can collect scion wood for grafting, and to plant out.

Chance of rain tomorrow. . . .

Recipes / Re: smoothie : soursop + mango = amazing combination
« on: September 25, 2014, 12:16:46 AM »
What ratio of mango to soursop do you recommend?

I think it is asking too much to expect a nursery to cover a disease issue two years after the purchase.

That would be understandable if the disease wasn't one that was shipped with the tree as is likely the case with the Southern Blush. Nurseries need to be held responsible for spreading malformation because there should be an implied warranty that you're getting a healthy tree when you buy it.

Agreed, but the buyer should bear some burden to show that the disease was in fact present when the plant was purchased, and not introduced later.  Perhaps one's own pruning equipment spread the disease, or insects.

I think it is asking too much to expect a nursery to cover a disease issue two years after the purchase.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: SorryI have not beeen on lately
« on: September 12, 2014, 09:00:26 PM »
Ouch!    Get strong.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Ice Cream Bean
« on: September 11, 2014, 12:21:31 AM »
I planted a few Ice Cream Bean from seed in May of last year (beginning of the tropical dry season here).  Two have their first flowers now.  So, yes, one year from seed!

My trees are approximately 3-4 meters tall now (10-14 foot). 

The '3 year old trees' in the original post should be fruiting by now in Hawaii.

Although my Ice Cream Bean have been blooming for several months, it hasn't set any fruit.  Maybe they're just practicing for next year.  I've had several species of fruit trees fail to set fruit in their first year of flowering. 

Or maybe it's the drought.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: The Cookie Monster Orchard Project
« on: September 05, 2014, 09:24:04 PM »
A great project!  Your hope your trees will thank you for the top soil with abundant fruit.

Will you do anything to minimize soil erosion until some grass grows in? 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fruits that can be frozen for later use .
« on: September 04, 2014, 06:09:02 PM »
Banana, papaya, soursop, mulberries.  Great in smoothies.

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