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Topics - agroventuresperu

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / IPM - Integrated Pest Management in the Tropics
« on: September 27, 2022, 08:59:01 PM »
Hey can anyone please recommend some good host plants for beneficial insects? I need something that is cheap and easy to find in Peru that I can broadcast seed all over the place to encourage beneficials like parasitic wasps. I don't know much about IPM other than most plants in the Apiaceae family have the flowers that such wasps use as their nectar source. Not sure what other plants are beneficial. I'm sure IPM in the tropics is a lot more complex than in temperate areas simply due to the shear biodiversity of tropical equatorial climates.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Leaf Cutter Ants - How Do You Deal with Them?
« on: September 17, 2022, 03:52:35 PM »
Here we

use chlorpyrifos in a powdered form, which doesn't work very well. You powder their entrances and lines, and hope for the best. I even get on hands and knees and blow some of the powder down the entrance. Inevitably in a week or so, they will be back, rinse and repeat for weeks on end.
A biological agent would work better.

Edit: Here's a nice article from Brazil where scientists conducted an experiment with some sort of processed orange pulp as a carrier bait into which they infused sulfluramid at 0.3% concentration. Apparently the ants incorporated more of the sulfluramid pellets into their nest than even the control group (the processed orange pulp without any insecticide). That might have just been a coincidence, but the mechanism of action sounds very convincing to me.
The sulfluramid is very slow acting, so the worker ants don't perceive the compound. The ants feed this bait to their fungus and only after the bait has been incorporated into the fungus, does the sulfluramid start to affect the worker ants. The workers are not able to associate the bait as being the source of toxicity as they are able to do with more acute toxins from their environment. The article states that after three or four days the ants stop harvesting plant material from the landscape, and all individuals die 16-22 days following the treatment.

Sounds promising to me. Now I just have to see if I can find a product with this chemical composition.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Tropical Sources of ALA (Omega-3)
« on: September 03, 2022, 09:37:10 PM »
What are some good tropical plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids?
I assume Juglans neotropica, because it likely has the same nutritional profile as the temperate walnut species. I really don't know what else other than perhaps some annuals like tropical varieties of pumpkins.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Blueberries for the True Tropics
« on: September 01, 2022, 04:39:18 PM »
I was looking at some plant lists of what can grow in acidic soil, and blueberry popped out at me, because the chart said its low end begins at 4.0pH, which is pretty darn acidic.

In Peru, they actually cultivate blueberries in the coastal region. They even find their way to the local markets here in Rioja. I really don't know much about the technicalities of how they're doing it. Yet, I assume that whatever cultivars they're using would probably be successful here in the jungle. We're about 5-6 degrees from the equator and blessed with acidic soil. Before we planted our property, we sent a few soil samples from various spots to the local lab. The lowest reading we got back was 4.76 and the highest 5.06

Edit: Just started reading a Peruvian thesis. Apparently the cultivar, "Biloxi" accounts for 90% of the commercial production in Peru.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / A Mini Jack Fruit?
« on: August 22, 2022, 05:54:23 PM »
What's going on here? This tree was sold to us labelled as "Yaca," which I assumed is the Spanish word for Jackfruit. This tree is probably only 3 years old, and is fruiting for the first time. It is the only one of our "yacas" that I've noticed already has fruit. I know Jack fruit to be large, 15lb melon-size fruits, so what is going on with this tree? I'm guessing it needed to be cross-pollinated with another tree or something along those lines. There are plenty of small fruits on the tree. Hopefully I can expect some better fruit in the future. I tasted the one in my hand, and it was basically inedible. I don't think it's an issue of the fruit still growing, because a couple of them have already ripened (turned brownish and fallen).

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / GoFundMe Honduras
« on: August 17, 2022, 08:08:54 PM »
I came across this guy's youtube channel, and thought I should share the link to his gofundme on here, because his project sounds relevant to this forum. I don't know the guy, and I won't donate, because we are still investing a lot into our own place with no sign of profitability on the horizon anytime soon. But maybe others are interested. As you may know, many tropical ecosystems are being degraded at an alarming rate. This is one project that should serve as a good example for the region to heal the land:

Here's a nice little farm near where I live, where someone is cultivating yellow dragon fruit on a support of the species of Erythrina normally used here as a living fence, and to provide fodder for livestock.

Also I went ahead and uploaded a video from a couple years ago showing dragon fruit growing on African oil palm.

Just noticed this small understory tree fruiting today in our primary forest section of the property. Something about the way it looked I just had to try it. It tastes pretty good somewhat reminiscent of a caimito, but the flesh is insubstantial. If no one knows just from the fruit pictures, I'll see if I can get a photo of the leaves too.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Why Are So Many Seed Vendors So Dishonest?
« on: August 07, 2022, 02:05:33 PM »
Let me know if you want me to name names.

I recently bought "seeds" of Mitragyna speciosa from a couple different vendors. The first sent absolutely empty pods. At least they refunded me when I complained. The second seller sent seeds that just looked underdeveloped. Sure enough 0% germination.

Lots of palm seeds over the years were totally worthless. Even rotten seeds from large, well-known vendors.

Tons of fruit seeds from other big name sellers, with horrible results. Apparently vendors don't commit to rotating old stock with new stock, and prefer to just off-load completely old dead seeds to unsuspecting buyers. I've had so many bad experiences over the years, that I'm not sure I'll ever buy seeds again from any big seed websites. Things like vegetable crops are usually pretty reliable, but forget about palms, fruit trees, and other rare plants. It seems none of the vendors even check their viability.

One thing I've been keeping an eye out for now for a few years is Musa ingens, the giant banana species. A quick internet search yields a few results, but the prices are so ridiculous (like 3 seeds for $14) and I just assume it's from some batch being resold over and over again from seeds that could very well be a decade old...

I mean you can always ask a seller how old the seeds are, but what do you think they're going to say, "Oh yeah those have been laying at the bottom of my sock drawer for the better part of two decades. I don't even remember who I bought them from or when they were collected."

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Is This Papaya Flower Hermaphrodite?
« on: August 07, 2022, 12:07:23 PM »
I peeled away the upper petals for the photo:

Here's some context from another thread I responded to:
Proteoid roots in the macadamia are characteristic of most species of the Proteaceae.  These are highly efficient roots evolved to survive in very poor soils.  The addition of fertilizer can overwhelm the plant and simply be toxic.  Of my 40 or so trees of different varieties, they rarely see any fertilizer.  Their soil is just old beach sand (with a slight acidic flavor)

In our context, I had originally assumed aluminum toxicity due to the low pH of our soil here, hence the addition of dolomite. We have some areas that are clay, fertile and less problematic with lots of humus, while some other areas are pretty soggy/slightly swampy yet sandy at the same time. We started out with just a small amount of compost mixed with the native soil when we originally planted them. We planted roughly 100 from seed-grown plants started in a nursery. They were planted all over the property in a variety of different locations and soil conditions. No pattern emerged to suggest why some might have survived whereas others did not. They were all pretty healthy in the nursery before planting. When we transplanted to the field we achieved the following results: Most died, lots have shown extremely slow growth, and only a couple have shown moderately slow growth. I don't think our problem here was overly fertile conditions, as our original soil analyses before planting indicated pretty typical nutrient deficiencies that one might expect of deforested jungle turned to cattle pasture for 1 or 2 decades.

If Macadamia grow well in coastal central California on sandy soil, I'm guessing they might require better drainage than avocado. We had a lot of Avocados die on our property, but we also have plenty that have shown excellent growth at different places on the property. I'm not familiar with Macadamia's native growing conditions in Australia.

Doing another round of Maintenance on our property, last week, I came across three Macadamia trees that we planted over two years ago that are still alive. One is extremely small, the other two are also pretty small but look healthy. I'm not sure why, but the Macadamias here have only grown a few inches per year at best. Some may have only grown a few millimeters. I'm not sure what they need. The above comment makes me wary to add any more fertilizers of amendments.

Was thinking about just mulching them with sawdust, but I'm worried if I just look at them wrong they might decide to stop being green. Out of the seedlings that we planted originally, probably at least 90% have died. I still have about another 5 or 6 hectares of plantation to look through to see if there are any more survivors out there.

It's not something that's available as a nursery plant in this country, so they're basically irreplaceable. Would be a shame not to at least save a couple of them.

I'm curious to know what are some good ways to propagate Walnut from seed. I found a woman locally that gave us a couple seeds (including shell) of Juglans neotropica, the Andean Walnut. She might be able to get us more, and I would really like to have this tree growing on our property. I've read that it should do OK here, even though it would prefer a little cooler temperatures.

I've read some literature suggesting to remove the shell before sowing in the nursery. I really don't want to risk removing the shell, and rotting the kernel. Perhaps an alternative would be to sand the shell with sand paper just to file away a couple millimeters.

Another concern about growing in the nursery is the root system. Do you think the roots would get knoted and/or pot-bound? Does it have a huge taproot? Would it be better to just direct sow in the final location out in the field, by burying it under a small mound of compost and sawdust?

A few areas on our lower slopes here are pretty much waterlogged year-round. Even if the surface appears relatively dry, a couple inches below it is basically waterlogged. Assume acidic, leached soil. We're looking to plant trees that can tolerate being wet all the time or at least most of the year. Please recommend something that you think is readily available in Peru. Fast-growing is big plus. So far, the only trees I can think of are Aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa) and (Huasai) Euterpe precatoria. Those aren't very fast.

How about Araca (Eugenia stipitata, feijoi)?

It doesn't have to be a fruit tree either. If there is a good timber species I'm open to that as well.

I planted these about twelve years ago as a small potted palm without any feather leaves yet. If memory serves me correctly, I bought them from a backyard nursery in SLO county from a guy named Perry who was a member of the IPS. These palms are very drought-tolerant, and basically have subsisted on the natural rainfall of Santa Barbara.

Here's a current photo, and a photo from ten years ago. The seeds of this species have a good flavor, but I never had any that tasted better than the coquitos of Jubaea chilensis.

A while back I bought some banana seed from rarepalmseeds, and none of them sprouted. I had bought Burmese Blue as well as Musa velutina.
I have no idea how long they were in storage. I've since grown my own Musa velutina from seed and they sprout without any trouble.

Do you know if banana seeds need to be fresh, or can they remain viable for years? Does anyone know of honest sellers that are committed to selling good seeds?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / What Causes Avocado Trees to Fall Over?
« on: April 20, 2022, 01:03:52 PM »
There's a gentleman on this forum with an Avocado farm in the San Diego area who posted a poll a couple months ago, about which Avocado varieties people would buy. I recall a comment from him talking about how certain varieties of Avocado were prone to flopping over.

We had three in one part of our property. They all looked pretty healthy. They're too young to fruit. One fell because it had Elephant grass as a windbreak, which we removed too abruptly. The other two don't seem like they're in a very wind-exposed part of the property, and they also are otherwise very healthy. Everything is dependent on the natural rainfall here. 99 percent of the trees on our property don't have any problems like that, it is just this handful of Avocado trees, which are either seed-grown (most likely), Hass, or Fuerte.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Footage from our 10-hectare food forest
« on: March 05, 2022, 09:08:55 PM »
Can't figure out how to embed youtube videos on here, so here's the link:

I don't know if Ice Cream Beans are the fastest-producing fruit tree in the world, but they are the fastest-producing fruit tree on our property here in Peru. Many started getting multiple fruit even before they were two years old from seed. Obviously I'm not counting bananas, but that's almost as fast as bananas anyway.

Here's some footage from our farm:

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / RarePalmSeeds
« on: June 08, 2021, 11:21:28 AM »
I thought I'd share my experiences with rarepalmseeds business from Germany for what it's worth. Overall, I would not recommend them. I've made a few orders from them over the years. At best, I got mediocre results with some species. Most of the time, I received old and/or moldy seeds from them. The last time I ordered from them was a couple years ago, and I got zero germination with the hundreds of seeds I ordered. Needless to say, I won't order from them again.

Does anyone know how their business model works? It's almost like they scout for people in third world countries to send them seeds wholesale. When they get a batch of seeds they don't seem to have any criteria for shelf life, so I'm guessing seeds are stored for decades before being sold. In the future, I would just take the risk of contacting individuals in the foreign country where my desired species is located, and then making an offer for freshly harvested seed. I think in most cases, it's important to receive the freshest seeds possible.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Peru
« on: May 28, 2021, 10:54:28 PM »
Are there any members on here that live in Peru?


My friend is selling the following property and wants me to post this:

Self-Sufficient Paradise

For sale by owner: 77 hectares in one of the world’s biologically diverse hotspots. 65 hectares of tropical forest with abundant water, including a waterfall, and a natural spring that supplies the property with plumbed water year-round. Aside from the pristine wilderness, the other 12 Hectares include beautiful bamboo buildings such as a 100 square meter main house, natural swimming pools, and a bamboo bungalow perfect for renting to tourists and other wildlife enthusiasts. The 12 hectares surrounding these buildings have been planted to an abundant, permaculture-style food forest with a diversity of fruit-bearing trees. The area also includes a heavily-terraced zone for tourism, and offers breathtaking views of the tropical valley below.

Due to its altitude, the property is situated in an ideal climatic sweetspot, with year-round daytime temperatures hovering around 80F and nighttime lows hovering around 60F. This offers the best of both worlds: the lushness of the jungle with the natural air-conditioning of the mountains.

The farm doubles both as an organic food-producing property as well as a source of construction material in the form of bamboo. The fruit trees have only recently begun to bear fruit in the past couple years, so many years of optimal production await. The extensive plantings of bamboo are sufficient to support a cottage industry for supplying a niche construction sector, which has experienced an explosion of interest in recent years.

Being located immediately next to one of Ecuador’s major transportation arteries, the E45 (a paved highway that rivals the Panamerican in national importance), facilitates the farm’s access to national as well as international markets. Furthermore, the property features its own well-maintained access road to connect the main buildings and productive areas of the farm to the E45 highway. Also, the farm and wilderness areas feature kilometers of trails for great hiking opportunities, offering this unique homestead excellent accessibility for both work and recreation.

This is the chance of a lifetime to dive into a developed permaculture farm in paradise.

There are many more features not mentioned here. For a comprehensive list of all the features of this property including information on the plantings please email me:
Total Price: $648K (A minimum of 20% must be paid with USD or other major currency, the rest may be paid with cryptocurrency)

...And here's a link to the escapeartist listing with some cool photos:

Some of the edibles planted:
Jackfruit, Salak, Guayusa, Ginger, Papaya, Pili Nut Tree, Turmeric, Dragonfruit, Neem, Mango,
Durian, Breadfruit, Pineapple, Soursop, Sapote, Bananas, Mangosteen, Avocado, Starfruit,
Katuk, Lemongrass, Quince, Lime, Rambutan, Mamey, Abiu, Apai, Cupuacu, Cinnamon,
Caimito, Rollinia Deliciosa, Granadilla, Sangre de drago, Coconut palms, Peach-palm

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Wanted: Telfairia pedata
« on: May 24, 2021, 10:31:05 AM »
What's the scoop on getting seeds of this species nowadays? I've seen some older forum posts, but wondering if there are any reliable sellers nowadays? I will need shipping to Peru as a possibility.

Does anyone in Peru (or willing to ship to Peru) have katuk seeds or cuttings or live plants that they can ship me?
If international, seeds would probably be best as shipping takes a long time to my location.

Does anyone know a reliable vendor of fresh, viable Musa ingens seed? I'd like to get it shipped to Peru, as I believe I live in the perfect area to grow that botanical curiosity.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Pink Banana Circle
« on: May 24, 2021, 09:42:01 AM »
These are some photos of my pink banana circle. This variety only gets about 1.5m tall. The bananas are considered an ornamental variety, because the fruit is mostly seed, and the seeds are hard and black, but surprisingly the pulp is actually pretty good. The fruits open themselves when fully ripe. To make something good, it'd just be a question of straining the pulp.

I planted this circle in an area where there was a natural sunken area in the landscape in the saddle between two small hills. During the rainy season the hole often fills up with water. These pictures are from a few months ago. I've since planted sweet potatoes, Ice cream beans, and ginger & turmeric.

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