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51
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Crazy idea (v. 2.0)
« on: November 26, 2015, 10:06:32 PM »
Okay, first crazy idea (http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=18434.0) turns out would be an absolutely horrible idea. After the discussion on that thread, I go up to my wife and said: 'did you have any idea oleander was incredibly poisonous?'. And she says: 'yes, everyone knows that'.  ... I guess everyone except me. Well, this is a textbook example of why one should ask lots of questions!

So onto crazy idea v. 2.0. As stated in the link above, I have a location that has the following constraints and I would like to put a tree/plant there:

- There is an oleander between by back porch column and a block wall that surrounds my back yard (the trunk is actually two feet away from the column but roughly half of the oleander grew in behind the column). So any tree that I put in would have to occupy this space
- I went out and measured the gap and it is about 4 feet (I said about 3.5 in the last post)
- The back patio is also next to the plant. So it resides in an area between my block wall and back patio right next to the column at the corner of my back patio
- Because the block wall is about 6 ft high and my back patio overhang is about 10 ft high, the sky above is essentially a vertical space that is 4 ft wide. So it only gets about 2 hours of direct sunlight a day.
- However it does get a fair about of indirect sunlight. I have a 'rock mulch' back yard (gravel) and it is very light color. So there is diffuse reflected light off the gravel and the block wall (which faces east)

So given all of that, here is a list of criteria I have come up with for selecting a tree for this location

- Needs shallow / non-invasive root system (proximity to patio and block wall)
- Needs to fruit well in mostly shade with a small amount of direct light a day, but mostly indirect light
- Needs to be attractive (it is next to my back patio and we sit out there a lot)
- Needs to be self-pollinating (don't have room to put in two trees). However I could consider a multigraft as a way around this.

There are two trees that I have come up with that really fit this criteria: Jaboticaba and Carambola/Star Fruit

I already have a Sabara Jaboticaba, so I would really like to try something new. What do you think, would a Carambola do well in this location (keeping in mind that I would need to keep it pruned to 3-4 wide, almost like an espalier). I have looked at images and the leaves are pretty (the fruit of course is gorgeous) and the trunk looks like it has a beautiful peeling quality like a Crape Myrtle / Jaboticaba / Guava. So it would definitely be attractive.

Any better suggestions? Thanks!

52
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Crazy grafting idea
« on: November 26, 2015, 11:11:04 AM »
I have a situation with a potential crazy solution. My situation is that I have a dwarf pink oleander (Nerium oleander) growing in an area that is between my back porch column and the block wall surrounding my back yard.  It is a pretty plant with beautiful pink blooms. It is about 7 ft tall (I keep it pruned to that height) and can see it from my back porch. I don't want to get rid of it, but I also like spending water on edible things, not simply ornamental things. Another reason why I don't think ripping it out is a viable option is because if I did, the area that it currently occupies couldn't really grow a fruiting plant. It is in a narrow spot (maybe 3.5 ft wide) with my back porch and back porch column on one side and a 6 ft block wall on the other side. So a small plant growing in this area would only get  2 hours of direct sunlight. The oleander is 7 ft tall and the top of plant (since it has cleared the block wall) gets maybe 6 hours of sunlight. So the oleander has made the most of this particular location and a young tree/plant would take a very long time to get to the same condition.

So here is my crazy idea .... what if instead of ripping it out, I used the oleander as a rootstock? The trunk is mature (4" diameter) and the canopy that is in the full sun is pretty and filled out. I could graft onto several locations at the top of the canopy.

Now the question is: what on earth that is edible and worth growing could use oleander as a rootstock for grafting?

I am open to all suggestions, crazy or otherwise :)

53
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Low-Chill Varieties (e.g. UF Best Peach)
« on: November 25, 2015, 09:50:38 AM »
I was doing some research and looking for low-chill fruits to extend the season for the trees I already have.  Here is a list of what I was thinking and wanted to get opinions on these varieties.

In January when the trees are dormant I will be looking for budwood from varieties of low-chill deciduous fruit trees (pomegranates, persimmons, peaches, plums and apples). I have some trees that I will be multi-grafting onto (some already are) to increase by backyard variety (I have no room to put in additional trees).

Also, for any of you that have these varieties or have access to these varieties (from friends or at the upcoming scion exchanges in January) would save some budwood for trading? And if I don't have anything you want for a trade, I could certainly pay a fair price for the budwood and for shipping.

Plums (I have a Santa Rosa Plum and a multi-graft Pluot that I can graft onto)     
Most Desired     
     Methley (250 hours)
     Burgundy (300 hours)
     Satsuma (300 hours)
Desired     
     Beauty
     Burbank
     Hollywood
     Mariposa
     
Peaches (I have a Floridaprince peach I can graft on to)   
Most Desired   
     UF Best Peach  (100 hours)
     Babcock (300 hours)
     Tropic Snow (200 hours)
Desired     
     August Pride
     Desert Gold
     Earligrande
     Mid-Pride
     Red Baron
     Eva's Pride
     June Pride
     July (Kim) Elberta
     
Persimmon (I have an Izu persimmon I can graft onto)   
     Chocolate
     Coffee Cake
     
Pomegranates  (I have a large Wonderful pomegranate I am grafting onto, I also have smaller plants: Sirenevyi, Everweet, Desertnyi)
     Parfianka
     Angel Red
     Gissarskii Rozovyi
     Medovyi Vahsha
     
Apple   (I have an established Dorsett Golden and Anna)
     Granny Smith (400 hours)
     Fuji (~400 hours)

54
I am thinking ahead here. I have some mangoes in pots and I am planning on keeping them in pots. These are some Manila seedlings from LaVerne that I bought a couple of weeks ago. And I already up-potted them to 5 gallon (actual 5 gallon buckets, not #5 pots) containers that I primed with MicroKote. So at the moment there is no issue with roots and it will be a year or two before I have to worry about the root system running out of space. Next year these seedlings will be topped and I will top-work them with compact mango cultivars.

I am projecting a couple years down the road. As Rob points out below, these will eventually need to be up-potted to stay productive. I did a little more digging around and it looks like 18-20" pots (15-20 gallons) can support a productive mango tree in a pot. So there will be some up-potting in my future. But eventually I will reach that size, and then I will want to maintain it at that size.

I was doing some research and it seems like many people say that repotting and root pruning subtropicals should occur in the spring a few weeks before the major spring growth push. However, I vaguely remember reading that Jeff / Cookie Monster saying (and I didn't bookmark it and can't find the post right off, so this might not be a real memory) that repotting should occur in late summer / early fall after harvest when you do your canopy pruning. That you should do any root pruning then too because the mango roots will respond to the warm temps and bounce back very quickly.

Based on your experience: When is the best time to root prune and repot (not up-pot) potted mangoes? Before spring flush? Or in fall after mango harvest?

55
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Fruit Trees that root well from cuttings
« on: September 24, 2015, 11:08:37 AM »
This post is redundant

Please see this post for additional info http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=7882.0

Please see this site for more info: http://www.crfg.org/tidbits/proptable.html

----------------------------------------------------

I wanted to try to compile a list of fruit trees that root well from cuttings, specifically:
  • Roots easily, quickly, vigorously, etc.
  • Makes a viable tree from the cutting
  • Makes a viable root system from the cutting (e.g. doesn't make the tree severely drought intolerant or prone to blowing over)
  • Makes a healthy tree (i.e. not disease-prone) capable of producing fruit and thriving growing on its own roots (as opposed to being grafted on to a rootstock)
Here are a few to get started (I will update this list based on comments below)

- Figs
- Pomegranates
- Ribes/Currants
- Rasperry
- Grape
- Kiwi
- Mombin
- Lychee and Longan (air layering)

- Citrus? (The problem with starting citrus from a cutting or air layering is that the tree does not develop a good taproot.  In times of drought, citrus with a taproot performs better)

56
Recipes / starchs’s Avocado Lime Pie
« on: September 12, 2015, 11:48:53 AM »
This pie ends up being gluten-free but not dairy free. I love to use Bacon avocados (very neutral / mild flavored avocado but high in antioxidants) in this application.

starchs’s Avocado Lime Pie

Pie Crust
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup hazelnuts (or other nuts if you prefer)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter

Directions:
1.   Preheat oven to 350F. Toast oatmeal and hazelnuts in a shallow pan for 10 minutes to brown, watch carefully.
2.   Put hazelnuts and oatmeal into food processor and blend until it is a coarse meal. Combine hazelnut/oatmeal mixture with salt and brown sugar, mix completely
3.   Add vanilla to melted butter, swirl, then immediately dump into mix, combine until all the butter is incorporated. Form into ball, wrap in plastic and place in fridge for 20 minutes to stiffen up
4.   Roll ‘dough’ between 2 pieces of parchment until ¼ inch thick, and transfer stack to a pizza peel. Take off top sheet of parchment and put inverted pie plate on top of dough. Hold pizza peel and pie plate and flip the entire stack
5.   Pull off the parchment and press the dough into the pie plate. It will break in areas, just repair all the cracks
6.   Bake for 15 minutes then set aside to allow to cool

Filling
4 small (such as Bacon) or 3 large avocados
Pinch of good salt
2 limes (juice and zest)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water

Directions:
1.   Put water and sugar on medium low to make simple syrup. Let it come to a very low boil and reduce slightly (maybe 25%). Let cool to room temp.
2.   Put avocados in food processor with salt and lime/lemon juice and blend for 30 seconds
3.   Add simple syrup and blend 15 seconds.
4.   Add heavy whipping cream to food processor and blend until smooth and fully incorporated.
5.   Add lime/lemon zest and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate
6.   Put filling in the cooled pie crust. Put in fridge and allow it to sit overnight. There is enough citrus juice to prevent oxidation so there is no need to cover, especially if you use a high antioxidant avocado like Bacon (however, if you use store bought Hass avocados which oxidize quickly you may want to cover with plastic wrap to be safe).

57
Is the Black Sapote cultivar Reineke self-fertile?
I am doing google searches and cannot find a definitive answer to this one.

What is the experience here from growers on the forum?

58
Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Wanted: Avocados
« on: September 02, 2015, 08:39:49 AM »
Does anybody on the forum ship out avocados for purchase from their homestead/ranch (either CA or FL)?

59
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Compact Mango Suggestions
« on: August 31, 2015, 01:16:40 PM »
I wanted to try to compile a list of mangoes with the following characteristics:

  • Compact / Natural 'dwarf' (i.e. does not have to be in a container to be dwarfed)
  • Bushy and/or spreading style growing habit
  • Good producer
  • Needs relatively minor pruning to keep size in check which will not adversely affect productivity
  • Quality fruit (full flavor, fiberless, etc.)

I hesitate to say good flavor / taste, because this is very subjective. But I think the aspects that make a fruit high quality are perhaps a little more objective.

After looking through the forum, here is a list that I have compiled that meets the above criteria. Please add to the list (or dispute what I have compiled based on my misunderstandings). Please note that I have no experience with these varieties, I am trying to compile this list based on the experience of others.

Cultivar list in alphabetical order (Click on Cultivar Name for a detailed description of tree characteristics from forum members observations)
--------------------------------------------------------
- Alampur baneshan (nominated by Squam256, Mark in Texas)
- Amrapali
- Angie (nominated by Squam256, johnb51)
- Baptiste (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Carrie (nominated by mangokothiyan, many noted flavor objections, zands notes that not quite as compact, med/fast grower)
- Cogshall (nominated by Mark in Texas)
- Cotton Candy (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Duncan (nominated by y0rascal, Guanabanus)
- Dwarf Hawaiian (nominated by mangokothiyan)
- Edgar (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Fairchild (nominated by WGphil, zands, bsbullie)
- Florigon (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Honey Kiss (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Imam Passand (nominated by Squam256)
- Jehangir (nominated by Squam256)
- Julie (nominated by TnTrobbie, zands)
- Leo#2 (nominated by JF)
- Mahachanok (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Manilita (nominated by sunworshiper)
- Nam Doc Mai #4 (nominated by wslau, zands)
- Neelam (nominated by Squam256, many noted flavor objections)
- Peggy (nominated by JF)
- Pickering (nominated by mangokothiyan, johnb51, zands, Mark in Texas, JF)
- Pina Colada (nominated by zands, bsbullie)
- Providence (nominated by bsbullie)
- Rapoza (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Rosa (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Rosigold (nominated by skhan)
- Rudiett (nominated by JF)
- Son Pari (nominated by Guanabanus)
- Thomson (nominated by JF)
- Tomato (nominated by JF)
- Venus (nominated by Squam256, Guanabanus)
- Villa Señor (nominated by JF)
- White Pari (nominated by Guanabanus)

NOT a compact mango but receives honorable mention for being easily maintained at compact mango heights:
- Mallika (?, upright vigorous grower and not compact, but easily trained. Mallika has received several honorable mentions. But also some possible detractions)

- Others (please add below in the comments)

A table of Cultivars, Ripening Time, and Flavor Notes based on the above list has been generated.
See these posts: PART 1 OF THE TABLE, PART 2 OF THE TABLE


60
Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Wanted: Florida Avocados (mail-order)
« on: August 26, 2015, 01:01:17 PM »
Does anyone on the forum ship Florida grown avocados? Essentially what I am looking for is an 'avocado of the month' club.

I had subscribed to 'Avocado Diva' for a couple of years. Her business was to go up and down the the Southern California coast to small / independent avocado ranches and get whatever was ripe at that time and ship them out. I have had the pleasure of eating some really awesome SoCal avocados: Nabal, Reed, Pinkterton, Fuerte, Nobel, (all of these are exceptional), Marvel, Lamb, Gem, MacArthur (these range from very good to okay), Bacon, Zutano, (meh) etc. But even the 'okay' ones were great because they were different. We were always eating something fun, different and seasonal. Unfortunately Avocado Diva is going out of business and so I am on the hunt for a new avocado source.

I would love to have monthly avocados again and I would like to give Florida avocados a shot (I have not had any of the FL varieties: Monroe, Dupuis, Donnie, Oro Negro, Choquette, etc.) and am always interested in trying new ones.

61
Temperate Fruit Discussion / Pomegranate Propagation Questions
« on: August 21, 2015, 04:57:38 PM »
I have a few pomegranate propagation questions that I wanted to pose

I have been doing a little research (google searches) and I am not finding a lot of specific information on pomegranate propagation, mostly a lot of general info. Specifically, what is the best time of year for both harvesting scions / cuttings from donor plants and when the the best time to perform grafting / rooting?

1) Grafting onto a mature plant / rootstock, Grafting in this case is to perform a canopy change or to make a 'cocktail' pomegranate (does anyone do this?)

Questions:
- Pomegranate grafting is done with either a cleft graft or a whip and tongue graft, does this sound right? Who has experience with this, and what are the approx success rates.
- What size scion is used (e.g. pencil thickness x 6 in" long)? Are the leaves cut on the scion as usual, do you need swelling buds?
- When can grafting be done? Any time there is active growth or do you have to wait until it is dormant? When is the best time of year for a successful graft?

2) Grafting onto a seedling. Assume that the seeds have been sown after harvest (fall) and seedling has overwintered.

- Same set of questions as above

3) Rooting cuttings

It seems like pomegranate cuttings root similarly to fig cuttings. When is the best time of year to take the cuttings from the mother plant? What is the best practice to preparing a cutting on the mother plant (remove leaves, small side branches and wait for swelling buds like with mango or avocado, or is it not sensitive to that?).

All feedback is welcome. My Wonderful pomegranate is doing wonderfully (yuk, yuk) and I would like to increase my varieties slowly and inexpensively (I don't mind experimenting too). So I am open to grafting onto my mature Wonderful pomegranate, or grafting onto seedlings, or starting new plants from cuttings. I am looking for input for the relative success I can expect from each approach.

62
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Glenn Mango Growth?
« on: August 18, 2015, 07:14:34 PM »
I have a young Glenn Mango. I bought and planted it in Feb. I would estimate that it is between 2 and 3 years old. However, I am watching its new flushes and I am wondering if it is actually a Glenn?

From several Glenn tree pics that I have found on the forum all the new growth seems to have a mild red tint to it (almost 'peach' colored) before turning light green and then hardening to dark green. Is this correct?

The Glenn that I have has absolutely no red to the new growth flush whatsoever. It starts out as light green right from the bud and then hardens to dark green. Is this something that some Glenns tend to do? (My Manila on the other hand starts out with a medium red flush, which turns to light red large leaves, to light green large leaves and hardens to dark green. The way I would expect a Manila to behave.)

As an aside, this tree is growing like a beast. It is *very* lanky, it has put on at least 8 growth flushes since the spring. It took my 115 F heat like it was nothing. No crispy leaves and it just continues to push growth. (my Manila on the other hand has a bunch of crispy leaf tips that correlate to days over 110 F). And here is the kicker: 3 weeks ago it started flowering!! It was way too young to flower in the spring (it was just a stick, with a really high cleft graft and a few pushed out buds on top).

What do you think, does it sound like a Glenn?



Sorry for the bluriness on the closeup. But the important thing is the color. You can see that the new growth is all green, no red at all.



Flower stalks since late July, there are several all over the tree. Not on every branch but several.



63
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Potassium Sulfate via Langbeinite
« on: June 16, 2015, 04:20:43 PM »
Many people on this forum recommend Potassium Sulfate (0-0-50. Not to be confused with potassium nitrate or potassium chloride which will more typically be 0-0-60 and has a much higher chance of burning roots) for fertilizing mangoes. I have been looking into Langbeinite which is a natural source of both Potassium and Magnesium sulfate. I like this amendment because it has both Potassium and Magnesium in a soluble form, and I am planning on applying it to my mangoes and bananas.

This is experimental for me, I have my first bag on order. Does anyone else have experience using this? Positive or negative opinions?

64
Temperate Fruit Discussion / Ziziphus jujuba (Chinese Jujube)
« on: April 14, 2015, 01:53:14 PM »
Who has any familiarity with this tree? I was poking around on: http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/TreeList.htm, just looking through tree information and had never come across a Chinese Jujube before. It is hardy from zones 6-10, can take the heat down here, and has interesting looking fruit.

Has anyone grown this?

Right now, I am not looking to put in a tree, just 'collating data' as they say. However, as I look online, very few places seem to sell the tree, but I have found seeds at a number of sites. How likely is a seed from this tree going to produce a tree with good fruit. Does it tend to run fairly close to true to the parent (keeps most of the desirable characteristics)? Or is there a lot of variation like we expect in most seedlings?


65
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Vermicomposting and Vermicompost Tea
« on: April 01, 2015, 09:00:50 PM »
First things first, I am not an expert nor am I trying to pass this knowledge off as expertise. This post will hardly be definitive or authoritative. But I have been vermicomposting for several years and just wanted to share my experiences for any who may find it useful.

Also, another thing to state up front is that my methodology is based on my experiences (my purpose for vermicomposting) and my environment (my location in Arizona). As such, you will get invariably different mileage based on your purpose and location.

Now with that out of the way ...

When I am talking about vermicomposting I am referring to red worms (eisenia fetida). Good two-page Q and A description here: https://www.bae.ncsu.edu/topic/vermicomposting/pubs/vermicomposting_earthworm_q_and_a.pdf

You keep worms in a 'bin' and there are lots of different ways to construct them and for different purposes. I will talk about several of them that I use in this post. For a more complete list of a lot of different designs, look here: http://www.redwormcomposting.com/category/worm-bins/. But when I talk about a bin, I am referring to a worm container that is not the ground or a garden. Something that is kept inside / in a garage / above ground outside.

I have some pretty specific constraints with my environment in Arizona (a little southeast of Phoenix). I have found that redworms tend to become ineffective around 90-95 F and they start dying above 95 F. (Although the worm cocoons can withstand a much higher temperature). I start getting average temperatures in the 95 F range in June so any worms in my worm bins die (which I discovered to my disappointment the first year I tried it). So what I do is dig a hole in the middle of my gardens or on my fruit tree mounds and in late May I dump the worm bin contents, so they can continue living in a cooler ground environment (and I get the direct benefit of having them in the soil). But what this means is that I need to get new worms for vermicomposting in October when the temperatures cool down again. I don't try to get them back out of the soil because a) it would be ineffective, they have spread out, b) I would cause a lot of damage to the soil and trees uprooting it to sift for worms. You need ~1000 worms to make a pound, and you need a few pounds of worms to do effective vermicomposting.

With that preamble, here is my basic yearly vermicomposting process:

1. In late May I dump all my worm bin contents into my gardens and fruit tree mounds before it gets too hot for the worms
2. In June-September I layer carbon rich contents (leaves mostly) and nitrogen rich contents (old/spent garden plants, tree prunings, green yard waste cut up finely) and composted steer manure. Wet it good and let it sit in the worm bins for very effective hot composting in the AZ summer (lots of thermophilic bacteria).
3. In October I order a fresh batch of worms (5 lbs. is a good amount) and start these in my small worm bins. The compost from the summer is on its way to being broken down, and is a good environment for the worms. I find they take to it right away.
4. In October-January I am feeding the worms in the small worm bins (which I keep in my garage) kitchen scraps (vegetable only), pulverized egg shells and coffee grounds (which they love). Any vegetable food prep waste is good. If the bins start getting too 'mucky' I use SoPhresh cat pine litter (http://www.petco.com/product/126506/So-Phresh-Odor-Neutralizing-Pine-Pellet-Cat-Litter.aspx - it is made only from compressed lumber by-products) to dry it out a little. I sprinkle the pellets right on top and then wait a day for them to start to break down and absorb moisture and then work them into the rest of the bin. One of my small bins is a feed-through worm bin (more on that below).
5. In February after the worm populations have grown in the bins (healthy worm colonies double in size every 3 months or so under ideal conditions) I transfer the contents to the outdoor worm bins to work on the much larger volume of compost. Also at this point my feed-though worm bin is very active and good quality finished compost is coming out of the bottom. I use this compost (which is drier and easier to work with and is free of worms) to make my vermicompost tea.
6. In February-May the large bins continue to get worked on by the worms and I continue to make vermicompost tea. I am still adding vegetable waste to the feed through bin and outdoor bins. It is adding fresh food and diverse nutrients to the worms.
7. Late May, repeat the cycle

Basic Small Indoor / Garage Worm Bin (Rubbermaid tub design):
------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the basic bin to get everyone started with vermicomposting. Very good tutorials can be found here: http://www.redwormcomposting.com/getting-started/ and here: http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=5679

These links provide all the info you need. I will just show a picture of my bin below



Flow Through Worm Bin:
------------------------------------------------------------------

The basic idea behind a flow through worm bin is that there is a false bottom / screen of some sort that allows air to dry out the wet vermicompost (which is very wet and 'knits' with all the protein in it). Once it is dry it falls out though the screen. You make the bin deep enough so that the vermicompost coming out of the bottom is mostly finished (not a lot of discernible stuff in it). More on the topic and designs here: http://texasredworms.com/tag/diy-flow-through-worm-bin/

My design is small (because I don't need a lot of throughput since I am just a backyard grower and gardener) and is basically 24" long x 10" wide x 12" tall. I have 1" steel mesh on the bottom. The walls are pine board and I stapled plastic sheeting to the inside so that it would hold in moisture better and the wood won't rot. I just bent the screen around the outside bottom of the bin, used a Dremel to cut off the excess in the corners and stapled it to the outside. I have the bin sitting on some blocks for airflow underneath. This is a very basic flow through bin, no bells and whistles.



Here is a view of my flow through bin from the top. Note the cheap meat thermometer in the corner, just so I can monitor temperatures and think about moving contents when it gets too hot. This bin is absolutely *loaded* with worms.



Outdoor Worm Bins:
------------------------------------------------------------------

If my outdoor worm bins look like garbage cans ... it's because that's what they are. The only thing i did was I drilled a bunch of 1/8" holes in the sides (7-8 holes in a vertical row and 8-10 rows around the circumference of the bin) for air flow (worms need to breathe - which they do through their skin). If there were no holes the bottom of the can would be a smelly anaerobic mess.



Red Worms
------------------------------------------------------------------

Once your worms get established, after a few months you want to see lots variation in your population. See this image below that has a lot of adult worms (bigger, redder, and obvious yellow tips), juveniles and baby worms. This means they are happy and establishing their life cycle.



You also want to see lots of cocoons (which is where your new worms hatch from):



Vermicompost Tea
------------------------------------------------------------------

Carlos wrote a post today asking about compost tea: http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=15099.0 and I wrote a response here: http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=15099.msg192118#msg192118 . I will include my vermicompost tea recipe from that post here for convenience.


One of the fertilizers that I use is Urban Farms Bio-Active which has all kinds of good stuff in it including Mychorrizae. I put a handful in the bag with my castings when I brew the tea. However I don't believe the mychorrizae are multiplying during the tea making process. They form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots and do most of their growing and multiplying there (mineral and food exchange with host plant, etc.). But what I think the real benefit is, is that the mychorrizae are evenly distributed in the tea at the end of brewing and when you put it on the plants (I typically do my tea as a soil drench) they are in an environment where roots are immediately stimulated and can form quick bonds with tree roots. My very unscientific take :)

Carlos brought up the good point that BioActive has Bat Guano and Poultry Litter, so does it have place in a tea? (pathogens). This is a good question, and my response is: The chicken litter and the bat guano are both composted, so the heating and breakdown process does help to remove pathogens. And this fertilizer is *very* dry. It has some small dry particles but most of it is powder. So it does seems like it has been fully broken down. I agree, there is some concern there. I personally think the reward is higher than the risk. But I use it also because I have it on hand as part of my normal fertilization regimen. And since I am a backyard grower I don't keep a large variety of fertilizers and inoculants.

So please consider the Bio-Active an *OPTIONAL* ingredient in the tea recipe below. In fact, it is all optional except for the vermicompost.

Resources:

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/M1309.html
http://www.redwormcomposting.com/worm-tea/making-vermicompost-tea/
http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/organic/2002082739009975.html
http://www.bioag.com/images/BioAg_Compost_Tea_Recipe.pdf

2x 5-gallon buckets
20 gallon air pump
Tubing with Tee
2x Air stones
2x Large muslin bag
Long handled brewing spoon

2x 5 gallons of water (sit out overnight to dissipate chlorine)
2x 1 quart of worm casings
(rest of these are optional, but I used them)
2x 3 oz Neptunes Harvest Hydrolyzed fish
2x 2 oz Urban Farms Bioactive Dry (**SEE DISCUSSION ABOVE**)
2x 2 oz Texas Greensand
2x 1 tbsp unsulphured organic molasses
2x 1/2 tsp of Epsom Salts (for Magnesium)
2x 1 oz Apple Cider Vinegar

Collect water into 5-gallon buckets and let sit overnight. Use a food grade plastic bucket (lowes), stackable. Let the buckets sit in the sun during the day to burn off chlorine.

Place aerator in bucket 2 hours before brewing to increase oxygen and further drive out chlorine.

Put the vermicompost and dry ingredients into muslin bags and put in bucket. Dump in rest of the ingredients and give a stir.

Aerate for 24 hours and give a stir halfway through or so.

Turn off pump, remove tubing and use the mixture in the next ~45 minutes

Dilute as needed for your application

66
Temperate Fruit Discussion / Sambucus Mexicana
« on: March 23, 2015, 08:04:54 PM »
This is a question geared more toward the Southwest US growers (based on my climate here near Phoenix), but I wanted to see if anyone has experience with the Mexican Elderberry / Blue Elderberry (Sambucus Mexicana / Sambucus Nigra Caerulea).

I have a spot in my yard that gets baking hot in the summer (western exposure along an eastern block wall, so a lot of direct and indirect/reflected heat in summer afternoons). Instead of trying to adapt this spot to try to grow something more tropical, I wanted to go with a native plant to this area. But I still want it to be a fruit tree / shrub. I was considering a pomegranate but I already have a few and want to try something different.

So it seems to me than an Elderberry would be a good fit. For the past couple of years around cold season my wife picks up Elderberry syrup from the store and it really does seem to help with reducing winter time sicknesses. So there is a desire from me to attempt to make my own. The flavor is very deep and rich sweet-tart. I think it would make a really good pie too.

Does anyone have experience growing these and harvesting these? Positive or negative thoughts? Based on other articles it seems like it would take summer heat in full sun, would you agree?

67
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Girdling seedling avocados?
« on: March 07, 2015, 11:32:02 AM »
Here is an idea that I had which is inspired by recent post by crazyforcherimoya regarding girdling a Lychee: http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=14685

The question I pose is: Since it takes so long to see the quality of fruit is by a seedling avocado (7+ years), can we speed up that discovery process by girdling?

I did a quick search on this forum and didn't find anything. But girdling in the avocado industry looks like it is common to induce fruiting, especially on the Fuerte which is a heavy alternate bearer:

http://www.avocadosource.com/cas_yearbooks/cas_06_1920/cas_1920-21_pg_69-70.pdf
(I have read a paper once similar to this, even though this is just an abstract): http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/27/6/639.4

In seedling mango, girdling has some positive results (and sometimes no results): http://fshs.org/proceedings-o/1963-vol-76/360-363%20%28GASKINS%29.pdf

In seedling avocados, there is a similar story, some positive, some no results: http://www.avocadosource.com/journals/hortscience/hortsci_1986_21_pg_1038-1039.pdf

So what does the community think? Has there been any experimentation with this? Any positive results, any non-results? Does it seem like a task worth undertaking?

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