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Messages - LivingParadise

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: bananas keep failing under fruit load
« on: July 17, 2017, 08:24:20 AM »
Rope around another nearby tree is an easy and efficient prop. Most of mine grow between coconut palms. I just throw a rope a bit higher on the coconut trunk than the banana, and clamp it taut, near the top of the banana stem. I include multiple stems in the same rope so there is tension between all of them, if there is more than 1 in the clump that are fruiting. Prevents wind damage during storms, and results in ripe bananas! Although it's not impossible, you're not describing pest issues - it sounds like it's purely a case of the fruit being too heavy for the stem. Particularly if you have other taller trees nearby, it's a very cheap and easy fix. In places like this where the soil is very difficult to penetrate because it's mostly coral rock, it's way easier to use rope than to try to drive something into the ground.

That's kind of hard to answer - it depends on what you're looking for. If sheer abundance, June and July are great.
I've been there at all different times of year... but while summer has many benefits, it's also really hot, and often really crowded. So I tend to prefer going at quieter times of year. Then again, I really love going during the Asian Culture Festival, which is incredibly noisy and crowded, lol! So it depends on if you want a festival, a particular kind of fruit, or a quiet time when you can chat with one of the experts there without having to rush.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Starting over after a housefire
« on: July 10, 2017, 08:32:08 AM »
Wow, so sorry to hear you went through all that! That is just awful...

If you have control over climate, consider:
*Australian Beach Cherry

*Miracle Fruit (especially since you have a sweet tooth!)

*I second the spineless pineapple idea. Grab a few tops from store bought varieties, those are usually spineless, and easy to come by...

*Calamondin - easy to fruit citrus at a tiny size, beautiful to look at, flowers also edible

*Since you're looking at trees, and like sweet, sugar apple is also easy to fruit at a small size

*I haven't reached fruiting size yet, but peanut butter tree is also able to fruit small

*Goji berry is easy to fruit small and you can eat both the leaves and fruit, plus it can handle colder temps

*Maybe you can make passionfruit happen? That's easy to conform to whatever size and shape you want to fit the house

*Mulberries can also fruit small, and tolerate cold temps

Good luck! It's nice to hear SOMEBODY got something worthwhile out of their insurance! Hazard insurances down here are required, and are as expensive as the mortgage. I've had to pay more for insurance than I will likely ever get back, even in a Cat 5 hurricane. They cap interior replacement fairly low, so I would hit the max and then still have to pay out of pocket. Definitely wish I had the option to toss it and self-insure, since I have to pay double the mortgage I signed onto and they're constantly increasing the costs, but I'll get very little potential benefit from it. That's what comes of choosing to live in a region that nobody will insure though... you don't get a choice. Really nice to hear it actually covered something for somebody so they could rebuild their life, which is how it is supposed to work...

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Pond edible plants
« on: June 25, 2017, 06:02:22 PM »
Pond apple/Annona glabra?

Here's a list of edible pond plants from Australia, many of which may be able to withstand high heat:

Also, what about Vietnamese water-grown plants, like Ipomoea aquatica, Houttuynia Cordata (Vap Ca), Peperomia Pellucida /Vietnames Crab Claw Herb (Rau Cang Cua), Colocasia Gigantea (Bac Ha), or Limnophila Aromatica (Ngo Om)?

Here's another list with some thoughts:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Bignay, and help me pick some plants
« on: June 25, 2017, 09:30:32 AM »

was it from seed ? How old and large is it ?

Actually, I got it from Plantogram. They don't say much with the description, just that its a 3-gal. It's been in-ground only about 7 months. Size now is maybe 3.5 or 4 ft, and it seems to bush out readily. So far, a healthy plant that does not seem to expect much in terms of special care or good soil, etc. I have it out in an area where it gets virtually no help whatsoever, and it seems happy anyway.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Bignay, and help me pick some plants
« on: June 24, 2017, 09:43:09 PM »
I have a bignay/antidesma here, and while I can't speak to zone issues (it's happy here in Zone 11), it doesn't seem to need more than one plant to fruit. Although weirdly I never saw flowers on the plant, it did make tiny little baby fruitlets recently. They haven't grown to any size yet, and most fell off (which is likely best for the plant because it's still fairly young), but they look like fruit, not flowers, to me. And there certainly isn't another one of its species anywhere within a few miles of here. Initially, it made many rows of them. So I'm looking forward to large crops of fruit in the future!

Thank you both for your advice, but seedling is getting worse and worse. However, I have some other seeds to germinate. They are about 3 weeks old, do you think are they still viable? If I soak them I can see 4 going to the bottom, so should they be viable?

The seed casing protects them - I have had sugar apple seeds be viable for more than 6 months. When they aren't viable anymore they shrivel and become light - so if they look normal and have some weight to them, they should be fine. I wouldn't worry. Try again.

I have one I got on sale - not fruiting size though. It looks a bit different from the pond apples I bought from another seller, and is growing in a part of the yard that gets very little water, so I would think calling it a glabra might be an oversimplification. Maybe it is something slightly different. It seems to grow in the same conditions that my sugar apples do well in, whereas the pond apples I had all died in those same conditions. (Any time I can get multiple of something on sale, I throw them around in different parts of the yard to see under what conditions they do best - this one I placed near where my other sugar apples appeared happiest.)

So whether it has any kind of stellar taste, that I don't know. As I said, mine is in less than ideal conditions so it's growing steadily but very slowly - it's maybe a year or a year and a half old now, but is smaller than sugar apples I have that age. But I'd doubt if it was really a pond apple, because it gets precious little water and is still doing fine. It also gets attacked by fewer pests than my sugar apples - the spider mites don't seem to go after it at all - so I'm not sure what exactly it is, but it does appear distinct from the other plants I have in my yard in appearance and growth habit. Unless of course they sent me something different than they sent everyone else. I don't put too much stock in what Top Tropicals says - they seem to be rather careless with their labeling and descriptions.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Ginger
« on: June 10, 2017, 11:01:58 PM »
30% is really low humidity for this type of plant! That's probably what your problem is. There are a lot of ways to try to increase humidity in the area. If you can cluster other wet plants around them, like banana, or grow them around a small pond, that might be helpful. I find that using coconut husks /coir as mulch really helps keep the ground moist for longer, and increase humidity around the plant, if you have access to coconuts. Misting might also be good, but I would say you're going to be fighting an uphill battle with this per your location. I think protecting them from wind and sun will help, again with other plants is probably the best way. I mean, they're not dead, just a little cranky and wilty, so some adjustment might help just fine.

If your home is close enough to the sea you can also devise methods of desalination irrigation, old-school using the sun, a container, and some hoses, to help increase water amount and lessen the cost of using tap water. I don't know but I'm guessing you get really good drainage, like I do, so probably rot from overwatering isn't a concern. I know for me that's impossible to ever do unless we have actual standing water from a flood, because the ground here is mostly coral rock, and I think you said the desert there is also mostly rock...

But just eyeballing the photos, it doesn't look like the planting is dense enough to protect the plants from sun and wind so their leaves can hold moisture in. If you also have excellent drainage, that means that the plants' humidity level is probably just very low for such a tropical plant. Surrounding it with some other plants that like moisture as a wind buffer and for additional shade, and using good mulching like coconut to hold in deep waterings for several days at a time, might help them a ton.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Music to plant your Mangoes by
« on: June 10, 2017, 09:11:10 PM »
Reggae and Salsa rotation, all the way... sometimes some Bhangra thrown in, if I'm planting and Indian variety! Mangoes love a good beat.

In terms of zone pushing, probably the coldest weather plant I've tried to grow was Sea Buckthorn. Like with all my other cold climate experiments, thus far I can get seeds to germinate and a plant to grow, but haven't had long-term success. It's probably possible, but would take a lot of work and dedication, which I really can't focus on because I just have too many plants at this point to focus a lot of energy on one.

I have a number of unusual plants though. I'm not sure what would be the weirdest, as I haven't had a chance to see them mature yet to really get a fair comparison. I will say that I find toothache plant to odd, in its ability to numb your whole mouth and throat (made the mistake once of eating a whole flower head at once, and then almost died because I stopped being able to breathe), and the extreme way it reseeds without any care whatsoever. So far Manilla Pink Tamarind Tree may also be a contender, with its tiny blue-gray leaves, spikes, and edible fruits that look like cooked shrimp hanging from branches. I also have a Cannonball Tree, and a Silk Floss Tree, and a Sausage Tree - all of which for me are oddities. But I don't know, every plant is odd if you think about it too much... it's hard to really compare until I've had a chance to see all of them reach maturity and had a full experience with each.

And some of my individual plants are weird in the way that they grow, or the things they manage to survive, or the strange fruit they put out, even if the species as a whole is not particularly unusual for my area. But I don't know if individual plant personalities count here!

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Ginger
« on: June 09, 2017, 02:58:43 PM »
Wow, they look unhappy. Are you using municipal tap water? Could be that they don't like that - most of my plants hate mine, which has a high PH. They're so much happier with natural rain. The other possibility is the air is not humid enough for them?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Rain...
« on: June 09, 2017, 02:55:36 PM »
At most we got like 2 inches here. Possibly another inch predicted over the course of the next week. Typical rainy season stuff. And we remain the driest county in the state...

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Maprang on Pine island
« on: June 09, 2017, 02:53:40 PM »
I was so excited about mine. And it seemed to do well for maybe 6 months. Well, as in it didn't actually grow, but it didn't change at all and looked healthy. But then all of a sudden it lost all its leaves inside of a week, for no reason I know of. The stem is still green, but there are no new buds. So I'm hoping it didn't just decide to die out of nowhere. All the other plants around it around ok. Just my luck, we probably have some pest down here that is detrimental to it, that people in other parts of FL don't have. I don't know - it happened so fast I didn't get a chance to figure out what happened. If anything, it should be happy now that we're getting a bit more rain (but no flooding or anything like that). I hope it comes back!!...  :(

If you get to Ethiopia a priority species to track down would be Cordeuxia edulis, called the yeheb nut. It's endemic to the Horn of Africa and classed as endangered. A leguminous shrub with as very deep taproot, it produces a seed that is said to rival macadamias. Very short viability, and so it has never been brought out of the region, except for an effort by Israel in the 70's I believe.

Interesting - I wish I had known that when I went! I had a friend there who could've helped me find it. So many plants, so little time...

OK, so temptation is getting to me. I got an email from Plantogram, and it led me to their website. Now, I try to stay away from Plantogram, because they're too rich for my blood. But, sometimes they have things that I can't get elsewhere, and so I did order from them twice before - and I must say, so far those plants have done pretty well. And, it's so damn convenient...

So I saw something they had that I would have a lot of trouble getting elsewhere in that size, and it's something I really want. So I was like, while I'm here, let me just add something else to the cart to make the shipping worth it, and to save time...  and before you knew it, it was an hour later, and my cart had over $1,000 worth of items in it, without even the shipping added on yet. Items I REALLY wanted. Items I know full well I don't have the energy or time to actually plant right now. So I just shut the whole window and lost the list of plants I had in the cart. But it haunts me, because I still want them. And if I wait until a better time of year financially and health-wise for me, it will be a terrible time of year to plant again, and they probably won't have them in stock anymore. Argh...

Is it so wrong to want some rare plants, to want to watch them fruit, to want to try something new? Even looking at the pictures gets me excited... I want to get in the car and drive to a nursery right now, current flooding and mosquitoes be damned! Ah well. Trying to be good.

Hi.  My name is Dan, and I'm a plant addict  ;D

Hi Dan!    lol...

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Rain...
« on: June 07, 2017, 08:18:19 PM »
Over an inch just today, with several total, predicted over the course of this week. Which is a ton for the Upper Keys, generally speaking, especially after so many months of drought. But then again, one June in the 1960s this area got 21 FEET of rain in a single month, with 2 tropical storms back to back!! Imagine... Not a single hurricane, but the island was practically wiped out. Not looking forward to the swarms of mosquitoes that will blow in off the Everglades, but I AM looking forward to my plants not looking sad and dry as they have been of late. And the ton of Barbados cherries I'm going to get off of this, because I already had a million flowers this year, but often we have too little rain to support much fruit!

Interesting idea - my moringas just produced their first hearty round of seeds, and I have to decide where to plant them. Right now though I'm thinking to plant them around the perimeter or my property to add edible privacy to all the bare spots. The spots to fill are both full sun, and partial shade. My current row is in partial shade though and did fairly well. I'm worried though that the full sun areas are in saltwater/brackish-flood-prone areas, and I'm doubting the Moringas will survive inundation... but it seems worth some experimentation at the moment. They provide pretty cover, with their delicate leaves allowing dappled sun and air to get through, and their white flowers much of the year, plus being able to be cut or bent into virtually any shape you want...

I totally don't have a plant problem.  :o

The first step is admitting it.  :)

Tropical Fruit Discussion / The Happiest Plant Story You Have
« on: June 06, 2017, 11:51:53 AM »
What is the healthiest, most successful plant you've ever grown? Tell us about how well it went! What was the species? Where did you get it? How long have you had it? Did it produce for you? Did you give it special care, or does it just naturally do well where you live?

Tell us about the happy memories, and if you can manage it, post a picture of your beloved plant enjoying its happy plant life.

Also, other random happy plant memories welcome.

I have to think about the healthiest one I've grown so far, but in the category of random happy plant stories, when I was about 20 and living in an apartment in the big city, I was working around the clock and felt I couldn't really take care of anything. My friend and I had gotten into a discussion about kids, and I said I doubted my life would ever slow down, or that I would be a good parent, because I didn't think I could manage to keep a kid alive. I said I didn't think I could even keep a plant alive in that state! So we happened to walk into a store and there was this baby ficus there in a little pot, and I randomly decided to buy it and see if in fact I could keep it alive. I moved many times after that, and the little plant continued to grow and be happy. It did so well it convinced me ultimately to buy a house and adopt a dog (which fortunately also did well under my care). Then I had to move far away to get my doctorate. My friend had since gotten married, moved to another nearby state, and was pregnant with her first child. When I was saying goodbye to her, I gave her the ficus - which I had so aptly named "Plant," and said I couldn't take it with me, but I didn't want to see it die. So that was 10 years ago. My friend planted Plant in her backyard, and a few years later when they had to move they uprooted it and brought it with them. She and her husband continue to send me photos of Plant's progress, and it is still happy and ever getting bigger! They say every time it flushes out with new leaves, they think of me. That is one hardy little Plant! :)

Well, I know a number of us have had these experiences, so here is a good place to share stories of your plant that appeared dead for 6 months or even a year or two and then suddenly came back to life! Sure, many plants that die are a lost cause, but if you don't dig them up and they had a chance to establish first, some might have good roots and come back.

I've had taro disappear to the point where I forgot exactly where I planted it, and it returned a full year later. I had a ginger that returned after 6 months. I had a Cherry of the Rio Grande that came back to life TWICE, after 6 months dead each time due to spider mite ravaging. I also had a few small plants return from what appeared to be certain death from aphid infestation, after dunking their pots for 24 hrs underwater. The dry season here is brutal...

I've also had 2 large bougainvilleas (the flowers are edible and highly antioxidant, in case you didn't know) die from saltwater inundation, and come back about 5 months later.

So just last week I noticed that my Rangoon Creeper - which is in fact edible, by the way - is growing new leaves. Um, that vine has been dead for a year and a half, and only had a few months to establish itself in the first place! I just never found the time to pull it out, and then I forgot about it. I guess it likes the new rain we've been having! So excited if I'll finally get to taste it!

So anybody else have stories of plant reappearance, and possibly even full recovery, after a traumatic brush with death? Tell us how long it was gone, what happened to it, and what if anything you did to help it revive? Did you check the roots or cut the flesh to see if there was anything still living in there? Most of mine I just don't disturb, but if it's spider mite, which we have a bad problem with down here, I'll generally pull the plant out and toss it. Sometimes though I don't feel up to it and then I forget... and sometimes, that leads to a very pleasant surprise!

Hi all. This was actually a joke I posted to another thread, but on second thought, I think there is a real need.

So this thread is a running meeting for anyone needing support for their plant addictions. Are you bankrupting yourself trying to get all the latest varieties, traveling to remote rainforests to collect the rarest species, or attempting to stuff your yard and house to the breaking point with plants? Have you distanced yourself from family members and friends because you're too busy tissue culturing pineapples or devising the best composting worm tea, or pouring over online catalogs, to attend your kid's school functions or your friend's wedding? Do you have trouble meeting new people because all you can think to talk about is the growth habit of your Maha Chanok? Can you no longer make it to your bed or your bathroom because your apartment is so full of plants, now that you've decided to create an artificial greenhouse in the middle of your cold climate highrise?

If you need help, you're not alone. Post here for support and to vent frustration, and to deal with those god-awful late-night cravings to spend your entire latest paycheck, or run up your new credit card, or to take a vacation wherever they have the best tropical nursery so you can bring back a truckload full of plants... 

Sure, I'm kind of kidding, but I'm kind of not. I don't regret my purchases really, but wow, this addiction eats at me, it's always hungry and never satisfied! There is always something else that sounds amazing that I want to try to grow, that I want to see in person for myself, and smell and touch in real life and not just my imagination! I can never get enough plants. I have so many seeds in my house that I never even have time to plant them all, much less make tags to remember where I've put everything once it's in the ground or in a pot! I'm still paying on last year's plants, bought luckily on heavy sale with a 0% APR credit card so it didn't actually cost me anything extra yet... but most of them of course haven't fruited yet, so it's still a gamble. And then, as hurricane season starts yet again, I have those old worries that the entire collection will get wiped out in a big one and I will have spent all that money and sweat and blood for nothing. But that worry doesn't stop me from wanting to plant more!

So I'll start:

My name is LivingParadise, and I'm a Plant Addict. Right now I'm dealing with a shortage of funds, and other critical priorities in life. But I am thinking that if I don't get a jump start on planting the species I want right away, in a few years the plants won't be there fruiting for me or making plant matter I can eat or providing medicine. So in my head, I am losing money if I wait. And who knows how many years I'll live here, or be alive at all? I feel a need to get started! I look online and there are so many cool plants I don't have yet! And now is the season when there are an abundance of great plants at local nurseries - if I wait they'll be all gone for another year! So the craving is hitting me really hard to buy and plant more. I've already abstained from new plant and seed purchases for about 7 months now, which is a really long time for me. I would give myself a treat and buy a few, but I'm saving the money for something else, and I'm not feeling well lately so it's not like I can easily start digging new holes in the yard.

Anyone else?  :)

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Edgar's Baby DF
« on: June 06, 2017, 10:46:06 AM »
I have an Edgar's Baby, but it's still small. I can't remember where I got it - but since somebody mentioned Logee's, that might have been it. I bought multiple plants from them, including an Australian Beach Cherry, I think it was last Fall... The only way I can even keep track of my plants is by logging them into an Excel spreadsheet when I plant them, and then making notes throughout the year if I notice changes. You know you have a problem when...   Anyone up for starting a Fruit/Plant Addicts Anonymous group? :)

I had a good experience with Ken's Nursery. (I waited until the end of the season, around Sept or so, when everything was on sale and the plants were the biggest, to do several large orders.) They have a variety of pineapples, all of which will grow in SFL, and the plants were very large (but without fruit). I can't comment yet on which grows or tastes the best, because I haven't had them all that long and I've only tasted Royal Hawaiian and West African Sugarloaf from another supplier. But certainly Florida Special, which was talked about in another thread, will do well in FL. It might not end up being the one with the best taste though. But as long as you're willing to give them good soil, a number of varieties should grow well in SFL.

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