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Messages - Daintree

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901
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« on: October 30, 2013, 07:53:22 PM »
Here are some pictures of my dragon fruit.  Earlier in the summer, they were quite large, but I got mad at them for not blooming and chopped them down.  Then I felt bad and repotted them and built them the new, smaller trellises. 

This was last spring (sorry, it is hard to see them behind the cacao that is covered with grasskeet "anti-landing devices") -


Also, the stems never got thick, they just got VERY long and spindly, like they are now.
More light, you think?  Can I have success with artificial light, if the natural light isn't enough?  I have burned them several times trying to put them in full sun.

These were just taken a few minutes ago -



902
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« on: October 28, 2013, 08:24:26 PM »
Great ideas for a dragon fruit thread!
I could use some help with mine!
I have Physical Graffiti, and a yellow dragon fruit (Selenicereus megalanthus according to Pine Island Nursery, where I ordered them).  I have had them for over 3 years now, and cannot get them to bloom!  They were fairly large plants in gallon pots when I got them.
They have been in my tropical greenhouse, which never gets below 50F.  I have tried SO many different things to try and get them to bloom - lots of water, little water, fertilizer, no fertilizer, letting them grow until they took over the place with greenery, pruning them down, more light, more shade, and nothing.  I have no problem at all with getting my epiphyllums (orchid cactus) to bloom. I have recently moved the dragon fruit to the dormant house (gets into the high 30's in winter but never freezes), thinking maybe they need vernalization(?). 
They grow like weeds, and seem really happy and healthy, other than no blooms.  Aaarggh!

The only other things I can think of are, maybe, light intensity?  Or do they have a critical photo period and I need to keep them in the light for a longer period each day?
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks!

903
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Coconut cutting regional differences
« on: October 25, 2013, 12:51:27 AM »
CUT a coconut?  But then it won't sprout!  I PLANTED mine, and now I have a coconut tree. Of course, I would like to eat it's children... and I will probably make a mess out of trying to open the seeds, no matter which method I use...

904
Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Fresh, viable seeds wanted.
« on: October 25, 2013, 12:41:53 AM »
Speaking of jackfruit (artocarpus), do they respond well to container culture, with regular root and branch pruning? I mean, in its native habitat, jackfruit can grow  to be a pretty hefty tree! I was thinking of buying some jackfruit from an online Thai food store, primarily for the purpose of growing the seeds.

I haven't had any success with mangosteen, despite the fact that I sowed the seeds immediately after they were extracted from the fruit. The seeds, which were sown in ordinary seed starting potting compost, became mushy and succumbed to rot.

Tamarind, the ripe fruits of which are readily available from Thai food stores, are easy to grow and make great bonsai plants. They have attractive foliage, but would a seed-grown tamarind ever bear fruit in a large container?

Thankyou for offering some fresh arabica coffee seeds! I'd love to grow a coffee plant or two, but I've had no success whatsoever in trying to get dried, dessicated coffee seeds to germinate.

Gary

Hi Gary,
I planted about 20 mangosteen seeds, and got 2 to germinate, but I don't know where I went wrong after that.  Maybe not enough humidity?
My tamarinds never bloomed, but they got really tall, and I finally chopped down a couple, and gave the others away to another gal with a greenhouse.
And yes, I know these coffee seeds will grow for you, because if I accidentally let the fruit (which tastes really good, by the way, sort of like a sweetish celery) fall, I get baby plants in the pot!
I have found that pretty much anything will grow and make fruit in a pot.  I don't prune the roots at all, I just move them to bigger pots.  The major limiter, when I was growing indoors, was not enough light.  I had horticultural lights that would give me a sunburn when I worked in the "plant room", but things still wouldn't bloom.  Then I built the greenhouse, and "pow"!  Everything bloomed at once! Happy plants! Lots of food, low pH (I use vinegar), and lots of the RIGHT kind of food.

905
Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Fresh, viable seeds wanted.
« on: October 23, 2013, 10:09:40 PM »
Hi Gary,
I sympathize with you - it can be very hard to find seed in Northern climates. 
Sometimes you have to think a little bit outside the box.
Have you tried international markets, not for seed, but for fruit?  I have a favorite one that I hit during various times of the year, and I will buy absolutely any tropical fruit that they have.  Sometimes you can even get it cheaper if it is past it's prime for eating, but the seeds are still good.  I have successfully germinated and grown longan, lychee, cherimoya, durian, dragon fruit and jackfruit from fruits I have bought.  My papaya and tamarind i just bought at our local grocery store.  Also, I bought some "soap nuts" for laundering clothes, from the local health food store, and managed to grow six soap nut trees.  I have heard that some of the fruit is treated, so as not to germinate, but I have even got a couple mangosteen seeds to sprout (although they died very quickly) so I am not sure how true that is.

Also, I do have a coffea arabica in my greenhouse, but the seeds are still green.  When they ripen up, I will give you a shout and see if you are still looking for coffee seeds.

Good luck with your seed hunt!
Carolyn

906
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pictures of my greenhouse
« on: October 23, 2013, 09:35:41 PM »
Wow!  These folks are brave - I rank cassowaries right up there with ostriches and tigers as far as hazardous livestock... think I'll look into the cute little call ducks.

907
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pictures of my greenhouse
« on: October 23, 2013, 07:16:29 PM »
Hey Doglips! You mean one THESE??? And no, it doesn't live in my greenhouse in Boise - it is from the real, and beloved, Daintree, where we are moving just as soon as we hit the lottery.  It made my little heart go pitter-patter...


Ok, just found this one also.  These are the only two that turned out, out of about 100 shots with a 600mm telephoto lens.  Bummer I was still shooting film - I think these cost me about $80 per shot! 



908
Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Wanted: Dacryodes edulis seeds
« on: October 23, 2013, 12:06:23 AM »
Thanks! I will check them out! 
Yeah, a big problem that I have is that a lot of the things my daughter-in-law loves and misses are fruits that are a) from war-torn areas and/or b) are not farmed, but are just gathered in the wild. So many good fruits in the wild, and not enough people to gather and grow them!
Makes it really difficult! 

909
Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Wanted: Dacryodes edulis seeds
« on: October 22, 2013, 11:53:33 PM »
I am looking for some "butter fruit" seeds, scientific name is dacryodes edulis.  My daughter-in-law is from Cameroon, and goes on and on about this fruit.  She calls it a "plum".  Took quite a while to figure out what it was that we needed to find!
Thanks!

910
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pictures of my greenhouse
« on: October 22, 2013, 11:50:38 PM »
Beautiful job Daintree!   You're like me, we folks living in the cold/heat extremes brought the tropics indoors.  I've got cados, citrus, mangos and the usual stuff like maters, herbs, etc. going on.   Just added RootBuilder panels to my Reed avocado pot and key lime.  While pulling away the pine needle mulch was blown away by the hundreds of fine, white roots growing just under the mulch on top of the soil.

I also use it as a getaway.  Nothing like a good book, cold Lone Star beer and happy dog at my feet in my greenhouse.

Have fun, and happy harvest!

Mark

Ha! Sounds like my husband, who is from San Antonio!  Only he he heads out to the greenhouse with a Shiner Bock and a machete! Yikes!!

911
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pictures of my greenhouse
« on: October 21, 2013, 04:25:05 PM »
Mr. Newbie/DainTree - Before I moved from upstate NY, I was getting ready to do
exactly what you've done.  SUch a great setup you have.  Would love to see more
pictures when you learn how to post them!

I wonder what your electric bill is each month, though I'm sure it's all still worth
it at the end of the day.  So the greenhouse has been up about 4 years - you must have
some fruit production by now...

Gorgeous little pink and black bird, by the way.....

Good luck amigo.....gary

Hi Gary,
The furnace is gas, and my setup DOES cost as much to heat as the house - about $600 a year.  I turn the furnace on for the first time usually in early October and run it through April.  If the sun is out, the thermostat shuts it off during the day, even in a real cold snap.  My worst month is usually January, when we get down below 0F for days, and never get above freezing during the day.  I have NEVER dropped below 50F at night, but I do shut the door between the two environments, and keep the temperate house just above freezing.  If we get below 0F, I use an electric booster heater.  But, it is still cheaper than two people going to the movies every week...

Oh yeah - fruit - I have had a couple of banana crops, LOTS of lemons, limes, kumquats and tangors, lots of coffee, no cacao yet, lots of monstera, loads of dwarf and regular pineapple (I quit growing the big ones since they take up so much room), and still waiting on the lychees and loquats.  The dragon fruit both refuse to bloom, even when I speak harshly to them.  My jackfruit seeds are coming up, though, so another ten years and I will be all set!

912
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pictures of my greenhouse
« on: October 21, 2013, 04:14:55 PM »
Ok, I think I have the picture problem figured out.  I hope you enjoy the tour!


This is the view from our back yard, looking west towards the greenhouse.  My husband built the beautiful deck and pergola.  We have two varieties of akebia, so we do get fruit! The first door takes you into the temperate house. That is our pizza oven on the right. If anyone is ever in Boise, give us a call and we will fire it up and have you over for dinner!


We named our indoor jungle Daintree, after our favorite place in the world - Queensland, Australia.


This is looking west into the temperate house from the porch.  Loquat, fig, some rosemary on the right, then citrus, pineapple guava, bougainvillea and a ficus being attaches by the passion vine on the left. You can't see it, but yellow dragon fruit and Physical Graffiti are back there too.


Leaving the temperate house, looking west into the tropical house


The vanilla orchids, with one of the bananas on the right, and plumeria behind it.  Facing the south wall.


The much larger yellow cacao in front, the smaller red one on the left. You can see the coffee in the back.  I just cut the coffee down last month - it was 7 feet tall and tipping the pot over.


Red cacao flowers.  I have gotten a few "aborted" fruits, but no good ones have set on yet.  I am not very rigorous in my pollinating...


My cinnamon tree.  Yum yum! Another banana in the back, and the hanging plant is a type of variegated hoya that my husband calls "the macaroni plant". You can see the birds in the background.


Coffee beans.  I get about two pots of coffee a year off it.  Oh well, more of a hobby than a way to save at the store!



Monstera, ripening.  The birds LOVE the leaves, but so far do not eat the fruit.  Very tasty, but if you don't wait until all the scales fall off, it feels like eating a cactus!


Blatantly plagiarizing Kipling...


My hiding place from the real world.


The workhorse of the place - a 15,000 btu gas blue-flame furnace.  As an added benefit, when cranked all the way up, it makes about a pint of water vapor an hour.  Happy plants and birds!


150 gallon pond.  I pump filtered water into it, then just drop in a utility pump with a hose on it, mix up any fertilizer or ph balancer (vinegar), and my chore is done in 30 minutes! The bird-proof grate on top with a "flip-up" trap door keeps baby birds from drowning.


Looking east, along the north wall.


Looking east, along the south wall. Bird feeding station is in the upper right.


My monstera.  They live up to their name - they have hit the ceiling and crawled across the bird perches several times.  Last time I pruned it, it filled up four huge garbage bags!


My messy potting bench. Just as you enter the tropical house, in the northeast corner.


913
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pictures of my greenhouse
« on: October 20, 2013, 10:01:50 PM »
Will the quail eat slugs, or slug eggs, by any chance? The slug eggs actually look pretty tasty - I wonder if you can make caviar from them.
I will take some small file-size pictures tomorrow and post them.
Thanks!

914
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pictures of my greenhouse
« on: October 20, 2013, 07:37:50 PM »
I have tried to add some more pictures - but, can someone please tell me why I keep getting the message that the file size limit is exceeded when I try to post more?  I am resizing them to thumbnail size and it still doesn't help.  Sorry - I am better at plants than I am at computers...

Yes, I have had baby Bourkes coming out my ears this summer.  Button quail sound like a great idea, as long as I gather them all up when we water in the summer!
The shorter winter days don't seem to bother the plants much, especially the trees and banana plants, since I have a LOT of full spectrum floodlights out there.  I have the plants and lights positioned very carefully.


915
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Pictures of my greenhouse
« on: October 20, 2013, 03:03:49 PM »
Hi!
I wanted to share my greenhouse, since I love it so much.
We named it Daintree, after our favorite tropical area in Australia.

We built the 15x20 ft tropical portion of the greenhouse from a kit in 2009.  It is twin-wall 8 mil polycarbonate, and came with an exhaust fan, intake vent, and 15,000 btu gas heater.  It is oriented with the front door to the east, and the long walls face north and south.
Immediately, it became too small!

We built a 10x10 foot addition, for those things that prefer chill hours.  It was stick-built, with corrugated polycarbonate on both the inside and outside of the 2x4 frame.  In the winter, I can shut the door between the two houses and keep the temps in the temperate house above freezing using a 16x16 inch window between the two houses.  I get night-time lows of 50F in the tropical house.

There are weeks in the winter when the daytime temps never get above freezing, and nighttime temps are in the single digits or below 0 F.  But we get about 250 clear sunny days per year, so the heat gain during the day, even in the winter, means the furnace rarely kicks on until late afternoon.  The furnace make a LOT of water vapor, so there are some winter days when it actually gets foggy in there!

We get very hot in the summer (weeks over 100 F), so I put up a 30% shade canopy around the end of May.  There is a HUGE benefit (additional 10-20 F of cooling!) to having the canopy elevated above the roof, instead of laying on it. 

We located Daintree so that it gets some shade from our maple tree in the summer, increasing the total shade to about 50%.  There is a powerful exhaust fan that turns on at 90 F.  I take the shade down in September but leave the frame up all year.

In the winter, I use full-spectrum flood-lights at various heights that come on in the morning and evening.  The plants all get adequate light to bloom and fruit, except for my dragonfruit (aargh!).

I built a 150 gallon pond that I fill using filtered city water.  I drop a sump pump and fertilizer into it and water everything with a hose.  I also give frequent “rain showers” to prevent spider mites (although I am still arguing with the mealy bugs about who is boss, sometimes!).

There is a BIG slug problem, especially in summer, because we flood irrigate, and get 2 inches of water on the floor every week.  A favorite night-time activity is slug-picking!

I raise Bourkes grasskeets, and they fly free in the greenhouse year-round (there are nets under the perches, which eliminates “poop-fall”).  They help prune the monstera, epiphylums and dragonfruit!  Anything they are not allowed to touch has a net over it…

So far, it has held up to marble-sized hail, sustained winds of 65 mph, and a couple of HUGE branches breaking off the maple tree.











916
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fruit Injuries
« on: October 20, 2013, 12:01:18 AM »
Whoda thunk that fruit gardening could be so dangerous???
My cheekbone did heal, but whenever I played my bagpipe for six months afterwards, my face made a squealing noise... It was sort of a "party trick" for a while.
I do go barefoot ALL the time, so I understand the pain of the folks who have stepped on things, or broken/skinned/stubbed toes!
And at least my trees are still small enough to not kill me with broken limbs or falling nuts.  The bug bites in REAL tropical areas are frightening!  At least the worst we have here are black widow spiders, which really never bother me.  But scorpions and centipedes and ear-biting mystery bugs - YIKES!!!


917
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fruit Injuries
« on: October 19, 2013, 11:35:15 AM »
Don't know if this counts as a "fruit" injury, but when I was building my greenhouse, I got my hair caught in the drill as I was, literally, putting in the VERY LAST screw.  My hair is pretty long, and when my ponytail came out of the holder as I was leaning into the drill (self-tapping screw into a steel post...), it got sucked into the drill so fast that the drill flew up and slammed into my face before I could do anything.  It broke my cheekbone, and I woke up my husband and half the neighbors at 6:00 on a Sunday morning as I screamed bloody murder.
The only thing the ER doctor asked me, after laughing his fool head off, was "WHY were you building a greenhouse at 6:00 on a Sunday morning???". 
He just didn't understand...

918
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Introduce Yourself
« on: October 18, 2013, 11:28:28 PM »
Hi Cassandra!
Yippee!  Another crazy gal trying to grow tropicals in snow-land!

Carolyn

919
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Introduce Yourself
« on: October 18, 2013, 11:26:05 PM »
Hi, my name is Cassandra. I'm not in the greatest climate (zone 5B) for growing tropical fruit trees, but after I spent 6 weeks in Thailand last fall, I fell in love with a few! My favorites were longan. I planted a few seeds after I returned to the states and I now have three beautiful little longan trees. They seemed to do OK outside during the summer months, but I really think they prefer the indoors here because of some issues we have with high winds in their outdoor space. The other fruit I just love is jackfruit! I ended up receiving 32 seeds last month and thought, what the heck, I'll try planting. 31 out of the 32 have sprouted, and the most robust already have leaves on them. If they keep growing at this pace, the will soon be taller than my year-old longan!

Ideally, I would love to own a small greenhouse for them all, but that's just not possible in my location. I have all my trees on a large table in my room with a grow light suspended above them. I dunno how long this setup will last, depending on how tall the jackfruit get. I've brought in a heater, which I normally do for the winter, so this room should be at a minimum in the 70's.

I am here mainly because I have never grown anything tropical beyond these guys and I need all the pointers I can get.

Nice to meet you all!




P.S. Yes, I even have a Thai pepper plant in the mix now too. :)

920
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Introduce Yourself
« on: October 18, 2013, 09:00:33 AM »
Hi, I just joined the other day.  My name is Carolyn, and I live in Boise Idaho.  We are USDA zone 6, but I have a 15x30 ft zone 12+ greenhouse in my back yard (ok, it sort of IS the back yard...). Costs more to heat than the house.
I have about 80 different species out there right now, and I am mostly interested in tropical fruit - I some cavendish banana (have had two crops so far, and am hoping for a third this year off these new plants), two different varieties of cacao (have not tried to pollinate them yet), coffee (lots of beans, learning how to roast them properly!), vanilla orchid, cinnamon, dragon fruit and a couple other varieties of blooming tropical cacti, lychee, several different citrus, date palm, jelly palm, coconut palm, a really weird fruiting conophor vine from Africa, and a bunch of other things.
I am ALWAYS looking to buy, sell or swap tropical fruit plants, seedlings and seeds! 

921
I have 3 Tetracarpidium conophorum (conophor nut, African walnut) vine seedlings (about 3 feet tall) grown in my Idaho greenhouse using nuts from the Kumba area of Cameroon.  They SHOULD be unrelated, but I'm not positive.
I would like to trade them for Dacryodes edulis (butter fruit, African plum) seeds or seedlings, and/or Synsepalum dulcificum (miracle fruit) seeds or seedlings, or another fruit seeds or plants from West Africa.  Would also be interested in buying any of these outright.
Thanks!




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