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Messages - JoeReal

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26
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.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-is-sorrel_n_1662188

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!




27
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.

We’ve 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


28
Onions can tolerate the acidic planting media planted to blueberries, and it helps ward off the fruit pests of blueberries.

29
There are no absolutes in plant growing, however. I’m 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.


30
There is not such thing as a too big pot,the bigger the better.
Except for bonsai .

I would politely disagree with this   ;D ;D....you 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



31
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.

32
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

33
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...


34
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.


35
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Question for grafting experts
« on: May 30, 2019, 12:14:35 PM »
What would be the best grafting method to use .
Bark Grafting or Graft Onto New Shoots ?

I would do bark graft first... And if it failed, then I wait for the new shoots and graft on them.

As for me, it ends with the first step. Oftentimes, even if the bark grafts are 100% take, I let some new shoots grow so that I can add more cultivars on the tree the next season using the new shoots.

36
One of my frustrations in creating a multi-grafted loquat tree is that most loquats are susceptible to fireblight. If we had a weird season that there would be rains when the loquats are in bloom, fireblight spreads so easily and it can kill the tree. I used to have an 8-n-1 loquat tree but it succumbed to fireblight during one of those unlucky years.  I don't want to apply antibiotics to control fireblight but am working on other alternatives.

So I am starting to build a multi-grafted loquat tree again from seedling. And it's pushing out. I usually start with a couple of seedlings and use one as a backup. Once they've reached appropriate size and survived, into the ground they'd go and I give the other one away to friends.

I would let the side shoots live so I can graft on them next year!



Side Veneer graft looking good!



This one hasn't pushed out yet. I removed the paraffin tape cover to hasten the take or its death. The sooner I know, the better, as I am ready to re-graft just in case.


37
Thanks Scott! When you're in our area, be sure to drop by for a fruit wine tasting!

Very cool.  I judged a persimmon dry white that was excellent at our San Antonio Wine Guild Comp.



Folks don't know it but my area has gone big time with the vineyard ops and wineries, it's the Napa of the southwest.  Must be a new vineyard and winery going in every month and a wine bistro or tasting room on every corner of town.   You may have heard of Jack Keller who has a website and is in our guild.  Jack has probably made wine out of everything.  Rumor has it he even tried St. Augustine grass.  Didn't like the vegetative taste.  ;D  Here's some of his recipes.  https://winemaking.jackkeller.net/recipes.asp

I have made more wines than Jack Keller and won more awards than Jack Keller. To date, I made more than 700 different kinds of wines. I started making wine when I was a kid in the tropics, and have access to much more diverse kinds of fruits that Jack Keller don't have access to.  For example I made wines from Durian, Lipote, Baligang, Aratiles, Sineguelas, Karamay, Kamias, coffee fruits (the pulp, not the beans), cacao fruits (pulp, not the beans) ....

But when someone asks me about how to make wine, I always refer them to Jack Keller's website as a good starting point.  Once they master that part of making wine and if they're still interested, I put them to the next level of winemaking.

Jack Keller's general winemaking can be summarized as a cane sugar wine flavored with hints of fruits. Most recipes use little amounts of fruits and almost all the alcohol are from cane sugar and diluted with lots of water.  My purpose of making wine is to cram as much fruits into a bottle of wine. So I use between 3-6 lbs of fruits to a bottle of wine, while Jack's recipes uses the same amount of fruits to a gallon with added water and lots of cane sugar, and wine acids for balance. Jack Keller's recipes make delicious wines though, but it could be better more flavorful and aromatic if you had just used almost pure fruits with no added water especially if you're producing the fruits.







38
First of all Welcome to the forum Joe, I'am a CRFG member on the Central Coast of Ca. Thanks for posting the interesting story of Duke and Arivipa it was nice to read the story of those avocado's again! I've tasted your fruit wines some years back I believe it was the Pomona CRFG conference on Friday night and they were excellent!!!
looking forward to your post's. I thought it was you in earlier posts but didn't know for sure until I read your intro-post and i see you made wine for Edgar V. out of dragon fruit must have been interesting for sure! 8)

Thanks Scott! When you're in our area, be sure to drop by for a fruit wine tasting!

39
Joe,

No problem. I will be happy to share some cuttings with you. It will probably be next year. I want to let them get established this year.

Here they are right now (about 1 ft tall).



Here is the trunk. Has a very cool striated bark (very un-papaya-like) with this funny bulbous bottom



I have tried this method on my babaco and tropical papaya and it truly works.  The problem with my tropical papaya though is they die at the hint of frosts coming when they're planted inground and propagated by air layering. Air layering has an excellent dwarfing effect though.

https://youtu.be/-rP8DjLC-qk

40
thanks Mark!

41
Joe, excellent and extremely interesting (and to me) important work that you've presented.  I've been on a similar, if less sophisticated and successful, quest to successfully grow avocados here in Sacramento (Roseville suburb), where we often see the wild temp drops, particularly with these artic inversions we've been getting of late.  I came upon the Duke story (and even held dialogue with it its progenitor and others related to it).  I've made several trips to Oroville to take cuttings and search for seeds.  I've only found one half-eaten avocado from in my visits.  The 2nd set of cuttings I took were grafted onto 2 or 3 box store 5G trees I purchased.  The trees were not healthy due to the winter they withstood, and wild several of the grafts took, the trees ultimately died.  I'm now banking on my Fuerte, Mexicola, and Bacon to survive the transplant I just subjected them to in my front yard.  These trees just produced their first fruit (the Mexicola was excellent) last year.  I had them in large ~50-gal containers for 5+ years.

At any rate, I'll be following your work very closely.

Thanks for sharing.
-naysen

You're welcome! You've been to the very tree that I took most of my seedlings from! At the 3rd week of August, I watch the wind forecast and wait for a very windy night and then long before daylight, I would be at the base of the Duke Train Station Tree collecting fruits knocked by the wind.  Just holler if you want cuttings of Lynn's Cold Hardy Hass. They're selling their house within a couple of months and I have access to cuttings between now and the house gets sold.
August huh? I'll have to make a trip up there. It's too close not too.... :)

Leave some for me? Please....

42
Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Forcefully Breaking Dormancy?
« on: May 29, 2019, 11:53:49 AM »
I have two trees I'd like to force out of dormancy if possible.

One is a new Spicezee nectaplum I got bare root from Ison's Nursery in GA nearly 2 months ago and the other is a small Shenandoah PawPaw which has been dormant (besides 1 small leaf bud in April that barely turned green and died back) since October/November. Both still have green cambium, and the other Spicezee I ordered is covered in leaves/my 3 other pawpaws are covered in leaves. Are there any hormones/chemicals or techniques for forcing these plants out of dormancy?

Thanks!

The are many products that can influence bud break. Some of the better known products used as dormancy breakers include oils, potassium nitrate, Dormex® and Waiken®.


As to Potassium Nitrate, look it up for the proper concentration you need to spray on your cultivar to break dormancy as I ran out of time to look it up for you.

43
Joe, excellent and extremely interesting (and to me) important work that you've presented.  I've been on a similar, if less sophisticated and successful, quest to successfully grow avocados here in Sacramento (Roseville suburb), where we often see the wild temp drops, particularly with these artic inversions we've been getting of late.  I came upon the Duke story (and even held dialogue with it its progenitor and others related to it).  I've made several trips to Oroville to take cuttings and search for seeds.  I've only found one half-eaten avocado from in my visits.  The 2nd set of cuttings I took were grafted onto 2 or 3 box store 5G trees I purchased.  The trees were not healthy due to the winter they withstood, and wild several of the grafts took, the trees ultimately died.  I'm now banking on my Fuerte, Mexicola, and Bacon to survive the transplant I just subjected them to in my front yard.  These trees just produced their first fruit (the Mexicola was excellent) last year.  I had them in large ~50-gal containers for 5+ years.

At any rate, I'll be following your work very closely.

Thanks for sharing.
-naysen

You're welcome! You've been to the very tree that I took most of my seedlings from! On the 3rd week of August, I watch the wind forecast and wait for a very windy night and then long before daylight, I would be at the base of the Duke Train Station Tree collecting fruits knocked by the wind.  Just holler if you want cuttings of Lynn's Cold Hardy Hass. They're selling their house within a couple of months and I have access to cuttings between now and the house gets sold.



44
I have heard that Carica lanceolata is a little more cold hardy. The germination rate is very low (5-10% based on my experience) but I did not try the KNO3 trick. I have two seedlings that are about a foot tall now but I am sure the growth will pick up with the summer heat kicking in.

Some papayas make it though our 9b winters fine (I have 2x 15+ ft tall Tainung #2 and a 6 ft tall Solo) that have been thriving in my yard for a few years. I have fruited Tainung #2 (lots of fruits from both plants). Solo has not fruited yet. I was able to keep TR Hovey alive for almost two years, but it succumbed this last winter which was the worst one in many years for us. However, the fruit is pretty crappy so I am not bothering to replace it. Red Lady, Dwarf Vietnamese and Red Maradol have all been losers for me. Not been able to get them through a full year.

So I gave the C. lanceolata a shot. Fruit is supposed to be variegated, which would be a cool bonus :)

It's the root rot that gets the Tropical papayas eventually especially the cold winter rains which was terrible last season, but good for California's thirsty agriculture. So grafting them to the ones that can take on the wet winters is my approach.

Trade Winds ran out of C. lanceolata and it was on my wish list. Maybe I can exchange it with something for you? If you can spare a cutting or maybe seeds in the future. I can easily propagate them via cuttings. I have many babacos propagated via cuttings and they now have flower buds. Some of them will be grafted with Brazilian Tropical Papaya this year.

45
Nice Joe.  Did you ever try doing this and leaving a little leaf on the tip of scions?

for seedling grafting, I always leave the growing tip of the tiny scionwood intact.

46
Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Polka Dot Cherry?
« on: May 29, 2019, 11:34:00 AM »
Look no further.
The problem comes from hail, I have the same thing on plums, cherries and even apples this year.

This year we didn't have hail, and I had the same pattern on the cherry fruits, only that they're prettier and tastier this year. Too bad I gobbled them up before I took their pictures!

47
Tropical Papayas die out every winter here when planted on their own roots. The root simply rots away even if you cover the base to keep out the cold winter rains.  So far, Babacos can tolerate the winter conditions, also Oak Leaf Papayas but I needed to add more. The only way to get new candidates is to grow them from seeds. Whatever will survive our winters in ground would be candidates for grafting the tropical Carica papaya over. 

So another experiment has begun on my quest of finding a cold hardy papaya rootstock in my backyard. To increase germination, soak the seeds in 10% KNO3 solution by weight for at least 30 minutes.  Wish me luck!

Here are the papaya rootstock candidates that hopefully would germinate using the KNO3 trick popularized by University of Hawaii.











48
If you are going to do them in pots, it seems to work best if you let the rootstock get a couple feet tall and when you graft it, only remove the top few sets of leaves.  The more leaves left on the rootstock the better it works.  At least for me.  I see the pros completely hack off really small seedlings and graft them.  They have a perfect greenhouse and method though.  For us home growers, its a bit harder to get dialed in.

You don't need a greenhouse to micrograft avocado seedlings. Ziploc bags will do. I can graft smaller than these and use tomato grafting clips instead of parafilm. I cover the pot with plastic food bag held by bamboo bbq sticks, secured around the mouth of the pot using rubber band.






49
Temperate Fruit Discussion / Polka Dot Cherry?
« on: May 28, 2019, 01:55:27 PM »
One of my Lapins cherry grafts have been producing polka dot cherries for two years now. The cherry tasted good, but it is weird that it has polka dots instead of dark red color just like in my other grafts. Did this branch mutate? Was it infected? Was the label on the scionwood exchange correct? I don't know of any cherry that's polka dotted. This picture was from last year, the cherry was hit by hail, so I thought it turned polka dots. This year, the blotches of red are better looking and the cherries are tastier, too bad I forgot to take the pic before I gobbled them up!




50
Nice to see some success in my area. I'm actually pretty close to some GIANT duke's in oroville.
Did you plant in a mound or directly at ground level? I know standing water is a huge issue out here.

Always plant elevated from the ground in most areas of California. I recommend at least 3' x 3' x 1' high planter box (made of retaining wall bricks preferably).

Hey Joe,

    So what are you filling the planter box with?  What amendments are you using?
Reason I ask is that I just finished building a planter box for my slope.  I built a 4x4x36”.
My soil here is very rocky.  The top 1’ 6” is sandy loam but after that it’s  hard compacted clay.
Water does not drain well.
I already dug down the 3’ for the planter box and I also dug a hole in the middle of the box another 2’ plus.
I plan on adding some rock to allow water to drain down.  Then I dug a hole from the side of the slope into the bottom of the hole in the center of the planter.  I plan on inserting a piece of 3”  pvc pipe for drainage.
I will be planting 2 avocado trees in this planter.  An A type and B type.
I have a Gem and plan to add a Sharwil.  If I can’t find the Sharwil, might go with Sir Prize.

There's a local landscape supplier that I purchase garden soil. Their garden soil retains soil moisture but it has very good drainage. They aren't giving me their recipe but inspecting it, it has compost, coconut coir dust and sand. I use them as all purpose potting soil and are also excellent for citruses.

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