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Topics - TriangleJohn

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Potted Longan - keep or toss?
« on: December 09, 2018, 05:57:33 PM »
So I have this hoop house I seal up tight for winter (I'm in zone 7b, Raleigh NC). It's 20' by 30' with a 15' center ridge built on old basketball court asphalt pad. I grow fruit trees in large containers. Some I move outside for summer and others are too big to move so they stay in the structure all year. I grow a lot of stuff from seed. I have a Longan that I grew from grocery store fruit seed and it is a monster. I have to trim it back every year to keep it away from the ceiling plastic. It blooms and fruit every year. Some years the fruit is larger than others, but it has never made fruit the size that I originally purchased from the store. This could be because it is a seed grown tree or it could be because it is growing in a container. The fruit is nothing special flavor wise either. My dilemma is that other trees are finally getting up to fruit bearing age and produce much tastier fruit (guavas and mangoes along with citrus). I have whittled down the citrus collection to the top performers and I would like to let the Ruby Supreme Guava get as big as it wants because I like the flavor and it fruits for a much longer period.

My question is, do you think the flavor and fruit size will improve if I plant it in a larger container? feed it regularly?

I have the same problem with a tree fern. It's getting to the point where it will touch the ceiling and I either have to chip a hole in the floor and plant it in the ground or find it another home. We have dry periods and it sulks during them, making it not a showstopper in the collection.

My small tree is finally mature enough to really fruit. I think this is year 5 or maybe 4. It has fruited the last two years but the berries were small and never fully ripened. Every time I have tasted them on other people's trees they tasted like really ripe cantaloupe but this year mine are tasting like watermelon.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Early August zone 7b fruit crops
« on: August 06, 2017, 10:27:16 AM »
Things are bone dry here in Raleigh NC but it looks like all my hard work watering is paying off with bumper crops of fruit. I've harvested most of the fall crop of Blackberries (Prime Ark Freedom) and the table grapes (Fredonia) have been made into jelly - sorry no photos of either of them, but here's what else is going on in the backyard:

Ogeechee Lime - actually a Tupelo not a citrus

unnamed pricky pear - cactus do fine here if you plant them in a mound of gravel. The fruit doesn't seem to have the intensity of flavor I remember from out west so I plan on harvesting these early and see if that helps.

Cranberries - you don't need bog but you do need acid soil and near constant weeding to keep them happy.

no name trees grown from seed (from named cultivars). The worst thing about pawpaws is that you get a landslide of fruit at one time. Kitchen fridge is full, basement chest freezer is full...

Everything else in the veggie garden is crispy yet this one lonely rhubarb keeps chugging along (don't tell him that we've been over 100 degrees)

Got watermelons planted late but even with the drought they're happy.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Ogeechee Lime seedlings blooming
« on: April 14, 2017, 09:30:05 AM »
Sometimes I get lucky, very very lucky! Two summers ago I was in Florence South Carolina at a Southern Fruit Fellowship meeting (garden club for backyard fruit growers of the south). While on one of the tours a tree I've been looking for was pointed out to me - Ogeechee Lime (Nyssa ogeche) a type of tupelo, not a citrus. I was allowed to gather fallen fruit, which I took back to Raleigh where I cleaned the seeds and sowed them. I was thrilled when TWO of the seeds actually sprouted. Here I am today with two small potted trees that are maybe 4 feet tall but appear very healthy. I was finally going to get around to planting them in the ground when I discovered that they were blooming (they're just babies!) and surprise surprise one is a male and the other is a female! The trees look alike so the only way to tell if you have both sexes is to wait until they bloom, which normally would take years. So I will be adding another native fruit to my collection - Ogeechee Lime which I guess could actually make fruit at a much younger age then I predicted. Lucky Lucky Me!

a shot of the male blossoms

a shot of the female blossoms

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Seed grown Longan blooming!
« on: March 21, 2017, 08:07:37 PM »
So my Longan is in full bloom again. This year it has many more sprays of flowers and with the warmer weather this winter my greenhouse is full of pollinating insects so I might actually see fruit before too long.

I collected seed from a bunch of different grocery store fruit and out of all the Longan seedlings this one grew faster and stronger than all the others. I gave everything else away to other gardeners and kept this one. I normally drag it outside the greenhouse for the summer and keep it in partial shade and well watered. It get so big each year that I have to cut it back hard just to get it to fit through the greenhouse door. I believe it was over 6 feet tall by year 4. I now have it in the largest plastic pot I own and it can easily touch the roof inside the greenhouse which has a 15 foot center ridge. I think it is about 10 years old now but I didn't write anything down so I don' know for sure. For contrast I also have a Lychee  that is way over 10 years old that is only 5 feet tall and has never shown any signs of blooming. It has had a hard life where more than once it has had a large tree branch fall and crush it while it was summer-ing outdoors, and more than once rats have eaten it back to the ground while it was inside for winter.

Also my small potted Finger lime is blooming and making small fruits. It bloomed a little bit last summer but this year it is covered with flowers.

Hello tropical people! 4 or 5 years ago I planted some seeds from store bought Longans and one of them really took off. I'm in zone 7 (North Carolina) so it and all my other tender fruit trees have to spend the winter in a hoophouse I seal up like a greenhouse and keep above freezing. Last summer this tree got so big I had to really cut it back in order to squeeze it through the greenhouse door. So now it is pushing out a lot of new growth and one of them appears to be blossoms. I don't know if it will actually make fruit while living in a pot, without anyone to cross pollinate with.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / This years crop of Naranjilla & Lulo
« on: September 24, 2015, 01:44:27 PM »
Tis the season for tropical eggplant relatives to ripen. Most years I only grow one species at a time in order to have clean seed since all of these will cross with each other. I've had better luck getting early fruiting by rooting cuttings in the fall, overwintering in the greenhouse and planting out the following May or whenever night time lows get above 50 degrees F, so this year I went ahead and let some of them fruit. I've heard that Cocona crossed with Lulo makes a superior juice so I may attempt that cross next year. This year has been very hot and extremely dry so I'm surprised I got anything off of them. I'm in zone 7b (Raleigh NC)

Naranjilla  Solanum quitoense

Lulo  Solanum quitoense 'Lulo'  (scientific name is in dispute) I treat it is as an improved cultivar since the fruit is so much bigger

here's a shot showing both fruit side by side

Cocona  Solanum sessiliflorum      just starting to flower. these are seedlings I plan on planting in the ground next spring.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Garden shots on June 1st 2015
« on: June 01, 2015, 09:15:55 AM »
Here's a few photos of fruit forming in the garden today. I'm in zone 7b Raleigh NC. Everything is in the ground except the Cherimoya (which would prefer to get out of the greenhouse in the summer but it has grown too big to move).

pawpaw - obviously one of the clusters that did not get thinned. We've been dry and my pawpaws have dropped a lot of fruit.

honeyberry - these guys would rather live someplace colder but I still manage to get fruit off of them.

fuzzy kiwi 'Vincent' - the last two winters really did some damage to these vines but they're still producing.

Fuyu persimmon - my trees tend to alternate between heavy fruiting years and slight fruiting years. This year looks to be a heavy crop year.

seed grown Cherimoya. So far it has never made fruit. I will try to hand pollinate it again this year but my track record is 0. I see lots of flying insects around it so I keep hoping they take over and perform the service.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Purple Passion Fruit pollination
« on: April 17, 2015, 04:09:33 PM »
So here is one of my purple passion fruit vines blooming and fruiting. It was grown from grocery store seeds (2 or 3 years ago). I thought these guys needed cross pollination. The only other passion vine I have near it is a hybrid grown for its flowers not its fruit - P. incarnata crossed with P. coccinea. They both spent the winter in the greenhouse. So my question is - can P. edulis pollinate itself? or does it need an unrelated pollinator?

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Cherimoya/Pawpaw hybrid
« on: April 15, 2015, 09:15:55 AM »
Some of you may recall that last year I had one branch of one of my Asimina triloba trees flower late in the summer. All four of my trees had flowered and fruited like normal but this one also had one branch flower again in August (and the flowers were on top of the branch and facing upward, which is odd). At the same time my Cherimoya tree was flowering in the greenhouse. I attempted to hand pollinate flowers on both trees. I had been told that Pawpaw needed an unrelated cross in order to fruit and since no other pawpaws were flowering at that time I assumed any fruit produced would be a result of the Cherimoya pollen. I had hoped that the Cherimoya would make fruit since it is indoors and protected from cold, thinking that a hybrid between them would not be winter hardy. Well the pawpaw did set fruit and I sowed the seeds and kept them isolated from any pawpaw seeds that I also sowed. Of the 6 seeds only two sprouted and one of them died almost immediately after sprouting. The lone survivor is doing well but growing slow (which is normal at this stage). I had hoped that the non-crossed pawpaw seeds would also sprout so that I could evaluate their leaves to determine if I indeed have a cross but so far none of them have emerged. I've been told that because their chromosome count is different that they more than likely did not cross and that this plant is a solid pawpaw. I've also been told that the local university can't do any sort of analysis on the tissues to determine if it is a cross. So the only thing I can do at this point is watch it grow and hope it appears different than a solid pawpaw.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Pawpaws starting to flower
« on: March 27, 2015, 10:05:32 AM »
Before a hard freeze this weekend I thought I would run out and snap a few photos of the pawpaws in bloom. These are seedling trees collected from fruit grown by a researcher. The parents were all named cultivars but the seedlings are all crosses. Last year was the first time I got fruit off of any of them. Some were large, some were small, all were tasty. Looks like a heavy bloom this year but I don't know how the 26 degrees this weekend will affect them.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Hardy Hybrids in Raleigh NC
« on: December 16, 2014, 07:16:18 PM »
Here are some photos of very hardy hybrids at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh NC. Last winter was pretty brutal (9 degrees F) and these guys came through it without much damage. It certainly didn't stop them from fruiting this year. I've tasted the 'Dunstan' and they work fine as a grapefruit substitute. There is a hint of Poncirus but it is minor. I also have some of these at home in the ground but mine have never fruited.

The first photos and the one with my hand holding a fruit are Poncirus trifoliata x Citrus paradisi 'Dunstan' or Poncirus crossed with grapefruit. There is a close up shot of Poncirus trifoliata x Citrus auranticum or Poncirus crossed with Seville Orange. And then a shot of the two trees side by side.

Citrus General Discussion / Rootstock Question
« on: August 12, 2014, 02:13:36 PM »
In the yard of my new house (which is actually an old house) is a large Poncirus trifoliata - Trifoliate Orange. Around it and off in the woods beside it are many many seedlings. I basically have to mow them with a mower to clean up around the tree. I also grow various citrus in containers and I'm interested in learning how to graft some of my favorite varieties. I often see people refer to 'Flying Dragon' as a root stock. My tree is not the contorted version ('Flying Dragon'). Is there some reason people prefer the contorted form over the straight stemmed form? Is 'Flying Dragon' more dwarfing? I know plenty of people with the contorted form around here but I am looking at all these seedlings and wondering if they have any value.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / pawpaw/cherimoya hybrid?
« on: July 11, 2014, 08:51:41 PM »
I know this has been discussed before but it didn't show up when I searched.

Oddly enough I have a Asimina triloba and a Cherimoya blooming at the same time.

Pawpaws are in the ground and bloomed earlier this Spring like normal, and for the first time they have fruit. We've just survived a wicked heat/drought period and now one branch on one tree is opening a few blooms. These flowers are more prominent than normal but they look full and normal otherwise. None of my pawpaws are named cultivars, they are all seedlings from an orchard of named cultivars so these plants are mixed. Each tree grows and blooms a bit differently and all of them have fruit this year (some have a lot, some are large, some are in clusters...)

The cherimoya is seed grown from grocery store fruit. It is four years old this summer and lives in a large pot in a hoophouse that I close up in the winter and heat to keep it above freezing. It has bloomed before but I have never had any success hand pollinating it. It is covered with flowers, all at different stages.

So neither plant can be moved to the other but I could snip a flower or even cut a branch - but I don't see any insects showing either plant any attention so I doubt they would pollinate it.

If a person were crazy enough to attempt this cross, how should they proceed? Is it even worth it??

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Cocona and Lulo Harvest 2013
« on: November 29, 2013, 12:53:56 PM »
My crop came in a little late this year, possibly due to a cool Spring and mild summer. Plants were grown from cuttings taken during last years harvest. They grow like any eggplant except that Lulo does not like hot weather. Seed grown plants take more than one year to get to blooming size for me (zone 7). It sounds harmful but I have no problems just digging them up in the fall and planting them in pots that I shelter in my greenhouse. I trim off some of the leaves and any branches without fruit and they never show a sign of distress.

Taxonomists can argue over who belongs to which species and whether Lulo belongs somewhere other than Solanum quitoense. They look alike, and my photo may not show the difference but in my plants, the Lulo has more purple on the leaves and then leaves tend to get bigger. Cocona handles hot weather just fine and can be planted out in full sunshine. Lulo has to be in more shade and sulks when the days get over 85 degrees.

I usually wait until the tiny hairs on the fruit brush off easily to consider them ripe, but I believe they are tasty even before then. Coconas are very sour but take on tropical fruit tones when cooked with sugar and a touch of lemon juice. Lulos taste more like tangerine to me and usually gets mixed with orange juice as a breakfast drink. I used to also grow standard Narajilla but once I got ahold of true Lulo seed I didn't see the point. If I run out of room in the greenhouse then I simply cut the branches off with fruit and lay them on a table out of the way (branches and leaves are covered with spines), the fruit eventually ripen and don't taste much different than those allowed to ripen on the plant.

Cocona on the left, Lulo on the right

Cocona fruit

Lulo fruit

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Papaya Questions
« on: September 20, 2012, 04:05:15 PM »
Just for fun I like to grow a few papaya each year in my zone 7 garden. This year one out of the five seedlings really took off and started blooming early. All of the fruit I have picked off (unripe) has been seedless = infertile. But some of the later fruit are a different shape, pleated and rounder. Does this mean anything? The seed came from a grocery store Hawaiian type that did not have a variety name on it. I'm wondering if the larger fruit will ripen if I remove all the smaller fruit? I have never been able to get papaya this far along by this time of year in the past. Does anyone know any tricks to speed up the ripening? Our first frost will be in early November.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / First flowers on my Cherimoya
« on: June 27, 2012, 05:52:54 PM »
So of course my precious seed grown cherimoya is full of flower buds right before I go away on vacation. Does anyone have any idea just when these guys will be open for hand pollinating?

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