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Topics - TomekK

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Temperate Fruit Discussion / Deer suck
« on: June 21, 2020, 12:25:21 PM »
The fence is repaired for the first time in many years. The deer still came, jumping over the fence just as the beans started to flower heavily. Unlike squirrels and smaller pests, I cannot catch/shoot them. For now, the tomatoes and cucumbers are left alone. Of course, the tomatoes and cucumbers arenít growing anyway, but still. And this is the first year I am actually weeding/taking care of the garden. Seems everythingís against me: first the weather, then the weather again, then bad seeds, and now deer.

This video I filmed yesterday shows the extent of the damage. Perhaps make yourself feel better about your own deer problems: you are not alone.

And please subscribe to my channel to make me feel better about my ruined garden. :)


Tropical Fruit Discussion / WHY IS THIS HAPPENING AGAIN?
« on: May 04, 2020, 10:41:51 AM »
So after a few blissful months of my cacaos in their new grow tent, with all of them having fast new growth, the new leaves have suddenly started turning brown at the edges/ with spots, and some of them have fallen off. I am used to cacao sometimes aborting new leaves, but this has happened to all of them in the space of a week. Looks exactly how they looked when they came back inside (with new leaves dying), but that was most likely due to humidity while the humidity in the grow tent is very high. They were doing quite well prior to this, showing new growth for the first time this winter after I put them in the tent. Any clue as to what is happening? The three cacaos not in the grow tent donít have this problem, and are growing well (they were the only ones that did not almost die because of the lack of humidity outside the tent).

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Spider mite or something else?
« on: April 30, 2020, 09:52:04 PM »
A few days ago I saw some small white moving dots on the bark of my cacao tree, growing in my humid grow tent. I first thought these to be spider mites, but now am not sure. They seem to appear on the bark of the tree first, especially on any dead stems. I did see them on some leaves too, though not any webs. I washed the bugs off and sprayed with neem oil, but they were back the next day. They are still coming back no matter how much I take them off. Are these spider mites, or something else? Do I need to be worried? I made a closeup video of one of them, attached is a link.


I have a collection of tropical fruit plants Iím growing, and am making some videos about them (and also some about watches). My channel is called The Catalog Collector. I just uploaded an update video on my indoor plants, linked below. Making these videos takes a lot of time and energy, and if you enjoy it please consider subscribing. Iíd really appreciate it. Any advice is also appreciated!


So I was searching for some Weird Fruit Explorer video on YouTube, and came across an older video I previously saw that started my love of herrania varieties as a theobroma relative. I saw it again, but looking at the ďherraniaĒ pod he shows, it doesnít look like any other herrania species I know. While herranias are green with ridges or yellow with rounded ridges, this one is small, red, and relatively smooth. Like a tiny cacao pod. Does anyone know what this is?

Video is ďrare fruit at tenom park part 2Ē (


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Will these seeds germinate?
« on: March 22, 2020, 05:28:03 PM »
I got my first international shipment of seeds two days ago (seeds from Borneo). I just want to ask if some of the seeds I got have a good chance at germinating, or if they will rot. Iím asking because several nephelium seeds I got came with mold on them, and now have become semi soft and I think they rotted/died in transit. The pictures show a nephelium seed that feels hard but has a black tip. The pointed flat seed is a baccaurrea angulata, and the durio Oxleyanus seed came like it looks now. Durio Kutejensis seeds I ordered did not germinate in transit (which took 9 days) and still havenít germinated. I also have Xanthophyllum seeds (photo with two seeds), Langsat seeds, and Willughbeia seeds (which have not sprouted bud donít have mold on them). Any suggestions for germinating these seeds? Iím used to just flinging cacao seeds in potting mix and all of them sprouting. I washed them and sprayed lightly with a hydrogen peroxide solution to get rid of the mold and put them in a plastic box with moist spanghum moss on a heat mat.

This was my first time ordering seeds outside the US, and I got and used a small seeds permit. I ordered two packages, one shipped by Correos Costa Rica and the other by EMS Indonesia. Unfortunately, I screwed up on the  USDA shipping label and both packages have the courier option Miami inspection station rather than the usps option. Can anyone tell me what will happen to my packages, which were sent two and one weeks ago respectively? And can I fix this? I live in northern Virginia if that makes a difference.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / My New YouTube Channel About My Garden
« on: March 03, 2020, 10:35:25 AM »
Hello everyone!

A few weeks ago I started my YouTube channel, The Catalog Collector. Itís mainly about watches, specifically watch catalogs, but I also started putting out videos about my adventures growing tropical fruit indoors in zone 7. I have two garden videos out now, the first about how I got into tropical fruit and what fruit I found and tried, and the second is a tour of my garden.

First video (my experience with tropical fruit) link:
Second video (tour of the garden) link:

I release watch catalog collector videos once a week, and will try to do the same with my garden, but cannot guarantee that. I have a total of 6 videos ready for now and more filmed, so maybe I can do it. Next week itís an orchid, but in three weeks I post a video about fresh Montoso gardens cacao pods.

I hope you enjoy the videos! Any advice for the future is greatly appreciated! Also, thanks for all the help I got on this forum regarding my plants! I only joined last year but visited often for several years now, the advice on here is really helpful.


So, just as one cacao is starting to grow again after threatening to die, my other cacao are losing leaves! Ah well, such is life when you try to turn zone 7 to the tropics.

I wanted to ask about several different plants that either never grow well for me or always die. First up is my pineapple guava/feijoa. I have tried to grow guavas several times, and the same thing always happens. The plant grows well, but then the leaves start to wither away, new tips wither away, and the plant dies. Iím down to 2 feijoas from an original ~10. Please help, as a guava may be the only thing that, if I can solve this problem, may have a chance of fruiting for me.

Jackfruit never grows well in the winter. For one thing, most of the leaves fall off. Nothing special, except that one of my two survivors had all the leaves one by one droop, turn yellow in a weird way and fall off. I sprayed with neem oil, and the leaves stop dropping, but in a few weeks droop again. Spraying with neem seems to help, would like to know what is causing this. May be too late to save that one, as I knocked off a tip (long story), but am considering growing other artocarpus this year.

My lychees from supermarket lychees are just about dead, with no hope. They grow 2 new leaves, then the growing tip dies. They may try again, but if they fail they end up dying. Iím down to my last one, which reduced two sickly leaves that are quickly browning. Funny thing is, I treat my Spanish limes I got from PR the same way (most likely terrible soil, bad watering, etc.) but they seem to grow quite nicely, though that may be because itís their first year.

No photos for this, but my coffee is not growing well, putting out leaves as fast as dropping leaves. Cherimoyas drop leaves, hopefully those that dropped all will recover outside, I never throw away dead sticks! One of my round leaf cacao that I thought had no chance, where all of my other round lead cacao (over 10) all died, is putting out new growth.

Thanks for the help,

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Sending plants throughout the U.S.
« on: January 17, 2020, 10:04:42 PM »
So, I soon want to start a YouTube channel about mainly watches but also a lot about my indoor tropical fruit growing experiences (and other plant-related experiences). I want to start a Patreon page at the same time, and I want one of the rewards to be that I send the patron some plants. I would most likely send things like cacao, passion fruit, dragonfruit, perhaps some autocarpus and lychee family fruit seedlings. No citrus for now. Can anyone tell me what the rules are about sending plants/do I need special permits? I know how to get seed permits, I have a USDA aphis account that allows me to get permits online, is the process for plant permits the same as for seeds? I live and would send out shipments from Virginia, if that makes a difference.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Help me save my favorite plant
« on: January 05, 2020, 06:12:30 PM »
So Iíve been growing this cacao that I got from logees for many years; it was my first tropical fruit tree I ever got except for the lemon I grew from seed. It always grew slowly and lost basically as many leaves as it grew, but it never came close to dying. I grow the plants indoors for half the year as it gets too cold outside, and the humidity levels are not very ideal for cacao (unfortunately about 45-50 percent). Even so, it has always survived the winter. This year, shortly after I brought it inside (after doing spectacularly outside) it suddenly lost about half of its leaves, the leaves yellowing and falling off all in a matter of days. 9 leaves were left, and they did not really change for a while. That is, until a few weeks ago when the browning of the edges seemed to quickly speed up and a couple leaves started yellowing. I think all of this is a humidity deficiency problem, but correct me if Iím wrong. I put it in a small ďgrowing tentĒ I constructed, where I can keep the humidity at 70-80 percent, though at the cost of much less air circulation. It is in there for about 3 weeks, but leaves are still falling off. The ones that did fall off I expected to die, as they were already yellowing. I am now left with 4 leaves, all of which are starting to look like they will soon yellow and fall off. There is one growing tip left, but it doesnít look very promising for quick new growth. There do seem to be many very small growing ďnubsĒ (they are not yet growing tips) where leaves once were, but they have browned at the tips. I donít know what to do, I am keeping it in my ďgreenhouseĒ for now and any help would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Whatís killing my indoor cacao?
« on: October 19, 2019, 12:35:26 PM »
So Iíve grown cacao in northern Virginia for about 4 years now, starting with a nursery seedling and a few years ago getting fresh pods from Montoso gardens. I take my plants out during the summer, and have just taken them back inside last week. As usual, the growth of the plants momentarily stops (except for the smallest seedlings). I have recently discovered that my plants are severely iron deficient, and have to do something about it. I do know how an iron deficient cacao looks, and the problem I have I think is not any nutrient deficiency (though I do need to buy some iron supplement). The original nursery seedling has grown fine in the summer outside, but immediately after taking it indoors a number of leaves fell off. The leaves start to have a sort of discoloration at the tips, and then turn yellow all over and fall off in a matter of a couple days. All the leaves now have that yellowing at the tips, and are falling off one by one. Is this just shock from coming indoors, or something different. I really donít want to lose this cacao, please help.

Thank you,

Tropical Fruit Discussion / How do I get my cacao to flower?
« on: October 07, 2019, 09:00:04 PM »
So Iíve had a couple cacao trees growing for over 5 years now, one from Logees and a few more that I grew from seed. Three of them have branched out naturally over a year ago, but none have any flowers yet. I live in northern Virginia and take my plants inside for the winter. Are there any known methods for helping or ďforcingĒ cacao flower? I donít need fruit (yet), just flowers.

Thank you,


In recent months, my tropical fruit plant collection has grown wildly out of hand, mainly due to me planting most seeds from each of the fresh cacao pods I got (cacao is my favorite plant and is one of the few that reliably grows from seed for me). I will soon have to take my plants indoors, but I do not have enough space for all the cacao seedlings and some other plants.

I want to swap some plants and give away others. I live in Vienna Virginia and cannot send the plants by mail, so you will have to either pick up the plants or I can drive to a location up to about 30 minutes away (I would drive only for trades).

Included with all the plants I give away or trade I will include some marigold seeds, some year-old papaya seeds from trade winds fruit (Papaya seedlings always die on me. They grow, but eventually all the leaves fall off) and, if you want, a small dragonfruit cutting.

These are my plants that I want to give away. I am giving them away and you donít need to give me anything for them, but if you can spare some (heirloom) tomato seeds I would be grateful :)

1. Small Trinitario cacao seedlings. These are either from a medium red pod or a large red(ish) pod. Most are from the small red cacao. Giving away around 14 seedlings, plus a couple less nice ones. These are all around 3 months old.

2. 1 half-dead (but putting out new shoots) purple passion fruit I grew from a seed.

Some plants I will not give away, but will trade for some seeds. I am looking for heirloom tomato seeds and seeds from tropical solanum fruits, as well as some other tropical fruits.

1. Medium Trinitario cacao seedlings. I have 6 larger seedlings of the large podded Trinitario variety, these are 5 or 6 months old. I also have 2 more with some chlorosis (probably nitrogen difficiency and easy to fix). Would like some kind of plant or cutting for these, but not necessary.

2. A couple small yellow passion fruit (from Puerto Rico) seedlings.

Finally, here are the plants I want to trade for other plants. I am looking to trade for most tropical fruit trees of any size (can be smaller than my plants). I do not want any jackfruit, lychee, avocado, fejoia, coffee, mamey sapote, tree tomato, lemon, orange, rose apple, jaboticaba, and Spanish tamarind because I already have them. I also could trade for shampoo or torch ginger and heliconias. Some of my most wanted plants include the jarilla, theobroma gileri, and the porcelana cacao. I would happily trade a few of my plants for one of those (or another special plant).

1. 5 two year old passion fruit plants. These were pruned heavily several times, have not flowered yet.
2. 1 Ugli fruit seedling I grew from seed. For this I want a different citrus, preferably a blood orange.
3. I may consider trading this cherimoya I am growing.
4. Round leaf jaca cacao plants. I have 5 two-month old seedlings to trade. For these I would rather have a different rare cacao, theobroma, or herrania plant but will consider other species.
5. Criollo cacao plants. I will trade 2 of my 6 month old seedlings. Again, would like to trade for a different cacao/theobroma/herrania but other species also considered.

If interested, please contact me at

Thank you!

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