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Messages - JCorte

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Thanks Janet, you were the first person I thought of when I made that post.

Synchronicity, I've been off the forum for awhile.  That post must have called to me.  ;) ;D

Manfromyard, your assumptions are challenged in the books and documentary I recommended. 

Another highly recommended book is Tending the Wild by Kat Anderson about the management of California's natural resources by Native Americans.  The information repeated in the mainstream is limited and our current practices are the problem.  No, California was not traditionally just scrubland and the abundance in the past wasn't related to a historic wet period.  It was through proper care and management of the ecosystems with animals.

There are inspiring examples of deserts and damaged ecosystems that have been restored.

The hydrologic cycle is complex.  My avocado orchard had about 3,000 trees survive, lost around 1,000, with zero irrigation and only 6 inches of rain for an entire year before we bought it. 

Brad, maybe we're tapping into Primary Water, we're on huge granite boulders. ;D


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: everyones top five mangos
« on: July 11, 2024, 07:02:15 PM »
Of the ones I've tried so far:

Sweet Tart
Ice Cream
Pineapple Pleasure
Lemon Zest


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Avocado thread
« on: July 11, 2024, 06:55:54 PM »
The Fujikawa scions I got from you two winters ago have proven themselves to be strong growers.  That winter was so cold and wet and seemed to last forever.  I grafted on Jan 17th and then we experienced so much rain and frost, most of the grafts didn't make it.  All the Fujikawa and Nabal grafts took.

I definitely want to get some Gwen and more Sharwil scions this winter.


So, what can tropical fruit enthusiasts in California do to work with this? What cultural practices can people recommend? What Xyriphytic (is that a word?) species make good fruit? What about rootstocks? Are there more drought resistant rootstocks Californians should be trying for Eugenias or Annonas or stone fruit? Speaking of which, 80% of the world's almonds come from California, so if someone could develop a better rootstock, there would be serious money in it.

These are two of my favorite books that influence how we set up our farm and are restoring our Orchard

Thereís also a great documentary, Kiss the Ground, that challenges some current assumptions.  Animals are an integral part of creating sustainable ecosystems.

There are many strategies we could and should take.  This subject deserves its own thread.  I think itís important to stay open minded because thereís valuable information on both sides.

I read the articles on Primary Water that Brad recommended a few years ago when he first shared them with me and found them really interesting.

I'm not sure why Citation rootstock is used on so many stone fruit trees, they go dormant in dry soil and do not thrive in SoCal.  I know there are better drought tolerant rootstocks but I haven't been able to source some of the ones I want to try.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Avocado thread
« on: July 11, 2024, 09:36:42 AM »
Kaz the murashige is ready.  Its good and really dense.  Makes a good guacamole.  We all liked it.  It needed lime juice to wet it a bit.

Hi Brad,

How would you rate Murashige compared to Fujikawa?


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Cocktail Trees
« on: March 18, 2024, 10:50:02 PM »
Kevin, your trees look great.  That'll be exciting when they all start to fruit.

Not sure if you've grown Spice Zee in the past, but it's known to get scarred and deformed fruit from thrip damage.  If you remove the blossoms right after fruit set while you're thinning that helps to keep the fruits looking good.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Florida Natural Farming?
« on: March 18, 2024, 10:42:44 PM »

There are several good lectures by Dr. Christine Jones and Dr. Elaine Ingham online if you search their names and soil health. 

I agree John Kempf's Regenerative Agriculture Podcast is my favorite.  Some of my favorites from his podcasts and webinars:

Redox: The driver of soil microbial interactions with Olivier Husson
How healthy plants create healthy soil
How to diagnose hidden hunger and mineral imbalances
Plant Health Pyramid
Managing Nutrition at Critical Points of Influence

The more I read and learn, the more I realize that what I think is best isn't necessarily right for everyone and I try not to make too many judgements about what other people are doing.  I experiment a lot and do what works best for me but what's best is continuously evolving.  What I think is most helpful is for as many of us to share our experiences so that we may learn from each other.

I think in general most people are doing the best they can under their circumstances and with the information they have.  My livelihood doesn't depend on crops not being destroyed by pests or diseases, so it's an easy choice for me to not use pesticides. 


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Oak Leaf Papaya-Carica Quercifolia
« on: March 18, 2024, 12:39:34 PM »
Marta wrote a blog on the oak leaf papaya.  I have seedlings from a supposed superior selection, but just sprouted them this winter.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Florida Natural Farming?
« on: March 18, 2024, 12:18:33 PM »
Epiphyte, thank you for the info on germination and the offer of seeds, maybe I'll take you up on it one day.

Satya, watched your video.  Thank you for sharing, I've been off the forum for awhile, but will be updating posts on my projects soon.  My favorite posts on the forum are when people share how and what they are growing and especially when I get to see photos of all the different growing spaces and plants.  So want to contribute to the forum in that way as well.

I consider wood chip or chop and drop mulch and living mulch both important in how I grow. 

Mulch is beneficial for a number of reasons that we are all familiar with like protecting the soil and holding in moisture. 

Living plants used as a living mulch may even be more beneficial if you have the right plants for your growing conditions.  Not only does it provide ground cover and protection holding moisture, it's the root exudates on growing plants that feed the soil microorganisms in the rhizosphere buffering pH and turning minerals into a usable form by plant roots.  Plants capture carbon and contribute to the hydrologic cycle.  It seems counterintuitive but I've found that plants in groups hold moisture longer and grow better together.  There are exceptions of course, finding the right plants that don't dominate. 

The science of soil microbiology is evolving rapidly.  What seemed like settled science just a few years ago are being challenged.  There's a lot of fascinating stuff happening beneath our feet.  Many are aware now how important mycorrhizal fungi are.  There are also studies finding that roots exude light underground, why are they sending out light waves in the darkness of the earth?   The more people that start growing in a way that protects and supports our soil, the closer we get to growing to our potential.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Florida Natural Farming?
« on: March 17, 2024, 12:45:09 PM »

Look forward to checking out your new videos.

I saw a technique for sprouting epiphyte seeds by a commercial grower.  They had built wooden frames around window screens.  They would collect the seeds with the fluffy downy material surrounding the seeds and spread them on the screen.  These frames were kept on a shelf in the shade of other plants in a greenhouse that were regularly misted.  She said sprouting could take several months and another year before they were separated and grown on their own. 

Maybe this technique could work for you.  I have tried spreading seeds in branches of trees and other plants but haven't found any success with that, but I have found little seedling sprouts on a bromeliad that was self sown.  I'm not sure how the seeds were able to cling to the leaf until it sprouted.


Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: S> Annona scions 2024
« on: March 16, 2024, 12:40:42 PM »
Thank you for the excellent quality cuttings and sharing the genetics.



Do you think the pearl guava and Florida red were at peak ripeness?  The skin on both pearl and Florida red look green in the photos.  I've heard good reviews on the Pearl so wondering if maybe the ones you tried weren't representative of its true potential.  Also, the tropic pink in your photo is white flesh, is that mislabeled?

Anyways, your Sylvia guava looks good, will be interested to see how it compares to JF's guava varieties.


Not sure why you're not responding to my messages or question on this thread, but that's fine it's your right to refuse to sell to me. 

It's just confusing to me since I've shared stuff with you for free.


Are you getting my messages?  I've sent a couple with no replies.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: My Yard 2022
« on: November 21, 2023, 11:20:15 PM »
Yard and greenhouse plants are looking great! 

What's your assessment of the the black eugenia repanda?  Does it need a second plant for pollination?

What opuntia variety are you growing in the third pic from the bottom?


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Starting a farm in Southern California
« on: November 21, 2023, 11:12:53 PM »
Thank you all so much for the encouragement and positive comments!  I'll answer questions and put together a post this weekend.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Starting a farm in Southern California
« on: November 17, 2023, 05:54:41 PM »
There's more I can post about and share if there's interest, but it takes time to go through photos, etc, so don't want to write just for myself.  I've got lot's of plants to take care of. ;D


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Starting a farm in Southern California
« on: November 17, 2023, 05:30:56 PM »
This picture is taken from the bottom of the swales giving a view of the contour lines.

First summer after planting 2021

October 2021

March 2023

Bananas and some plants got beaten up and we lost a lot of mangoes this past long, cold, wet winter.  Looking back from the beginning though we've come a long way.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Starting a farm in Southern California
« on: November 17, 2023, 05:16:05 PM »
After the swales were formed that first summer, we sowed over a couple hundred pounds of cover crop seeds before the rainy season started in fall.  This ended up being a huge waste, the birds and rabbits ate it all.  Weíve learned to rely on the natives and weeds for groundcover and chop and drop.

The first winter we drove out to the farm almost every time it rained to observe how the rainwater flowed on the property and if the swales would capture and hold the runoff.   

The main access trails that we cleared on the native parts of the property were also formed into mini swales on contour.

These 2 pics are of the swales at the top.

These are trails through the property, mini swales

We were pretty excited and surprised by how much rain the swales were collecting.  We still try to drive out to the properties whenever it rains to observe and figure out how we can improve. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Starting a farm in Southern California
« on: November 17, 2023, 04:42:35 PM »
This is the flat area of the farm when you first enter the property, pic was taken June of 2020.

On this flat section, we laid out 8 swales on contour using a Bunyip water level.  So basically, each row is at the same elevation to capture water and prevent runoff.  Scott rented an excavator and with the help of our son, Eric, they formed the swales for planting.  This was done during the middle of summer in over 100F. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Starting a farm in Southern California
« on: November 17, 2023, 04:09:51 PM »
One of the first things Iíd like to share is an example of the difference you can make by harvesting rainwater.

This is a picture of an area we thought would be a good spot for a pond taken June 2020.  Scott used an excavator to dig out the space.

These pics were taken this past winter.  Scott is in the upper right so it gives an idea of the size of the pond.  In the second picture you can see where we are channeling rainwater into the pond.

This third picture is on the other side of the pond, Scottís in the same spot as previous pictures.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Starting a farm in Southern California
« on: November 17, 2023, 04:08:17 PM »
Iíve posted previously about an old avocado orchard we are restoring in Fallbrook.

This post is about the first property we bought a couple of miles away.  We refer to this property as the Farm and the second as the Orchard.

In May of 2020, we found a 16 acre property in San Diego County to start our family farm.  We had been looking at farm properties on and off since 2006.  There are really nice farms for sale, but anything with a decent house and mature trees come at a premium.  We were looking for a diamond in the rough where we could build value over time through sweat equity.

The previous owner had cleared the flat area at the top of the property which I think is about 4 acres.  They put a tiny house trailer on it and put up solar panels and a little shed.  The structures are not built well.  Scott put some temporary supports in areas that were falling apart.  We will rebuild, but for now weíre focusing on the land. 

We are hooked up to city water for irrigation, but one of the first things we invested in was a well.  They had to drill twice because the first hole collapsed.  The well is 490 feet deep and we get about 35 gallons per minute. 

Most of the property has been left undisturbed and is covered with natives.  Itís completely overgrown and thereís lots of dead underbrush and old trees that need pruning and lots of love.  We have to clear trails to access the property and thereís a lot of poison oak. 
There is a seasonal creek that flows for half the year and when the rainy season starts in the fall, the property comes to life.  When we first visited the property in early May, we could hear the creek flowing from the top of the hill.  There wasnít any access to see it, but it was one of the main reasons we decided to buy it that day.

For those not familiar with the climate in Southern California, we usually donít get any rain from late spring until the fall around November.  Thatís the biggest challenge to farming here.  The natives have adapted and go dormant during the summer months, so the property seems so dry especially after the creek dries up around the beginning of July.

Our goal is to develop our farm using concepts of agroecology and utilize rainwater harvesting techniques to try and be as efficient with water as possible.  We are working to restore the native ecosystem, grow a diversity of food, and co-create a beautiful farm with nature.


Looks like you can't be added to waitlist for some items.  I would check his site in March or Sept when he posts inventory for sale.


I remember learning that it takes a few months for calcium applied to the soil to become available and it's one of the nutrients that is best applied to the soil instead of foliar applications.  So gypsum should be applied in the fall/ winter.  I apply a fall micronutrient foliar application, no nitrogen, in my home garden in the fall, in my climate flower buds for spring growth start swelling fall/winter.   I also spread compost from my worm bins before the winter rains.

At the farm, I just spread llama manure from a neighbor last month, this takes a while to break down so I wanted to get them under the plants before the winter rains. 

I think one of the main concerns about fertilizing in fall/winter is you don't want tender new growth that hasn't hardened off to prevent cold damage, so don't apply nitrogen to push growth if you get cold temps in winter. 


Cultivariable is working on increasing their foundation stock this year so not much inventory available now.  He expects to have many new varieties for release next year around September.  Because he is not offering pre-orders any more, you just have to add yourself to his waitlist for any item out of stock and you'll get an email when they're available.

Peace Seedlings offers some Andean root crops, this is Dr Alan Kapuler's daughter's seed company.  They update their inventory in January.

As far as I know, Cultivariable is the best source, but he's a one man show doing this as a hobby, so it takes time to get his genetics.  I have always received my orders from him even if it was a year wait.


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