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Messages - agroventuresperu

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Andean Walnut
« on: September 17, 2023, 07:21:10 PM »
I bought one kilo of seed. It turns out that is equivalent to only 35 seeds. I sacrificed two of them today for research purposes. I dissected them by hitting them with a hammer.

The woody endocarp measures mostly 4-6mm thick, yet tapers to as little as 2mm near the pointed end. It is up to 9-10mm thick at the opposite end.
The seed coat itself is also fairly thick, measuring 0.5 - 1mm. Also the seed seems to be an unusual shape with different chambers.

I'm thinking this is part of the reason why the species is endangered. It's hard for me to see how this could be commercially viable. Using a hammer, the seed was very difficult to extract without breaking into many small pieces. Even small fragments were difficult to extract from their chamber. Perhaps there is some specially designed tool specific to this species. Development of such a tool could help with conservation, since the species is mostly exploited locally for timber, and it doesn't sound like there are too many people planting trees, because they are one of the slower-growing timber species of the most commonly cultivated timber species of eastern Peru.

The seeds were delicious. Perhaps slightly better than the commercial walnut.

I started using the bench grinder on some seeds, but realized it was too tedious, so abandoned that idea. I only grinded 6 seeds (enough for two pots) so I will get to use these six as an experiment to see how they compare with the others, which I will not be sanding/grinding. For whatever reason it dulled the stone on my bench grinder, which is now smooth instead of a rough surface.

I've also decided to do the three day soak for all seeds as recommended by the Chanchamayo forestry publication I downloaded.

Of the six seeds I grinded, I took off maybe only a couple millimeters of endocarp on each seed. I'm not expecting much difference in germination times to be honest. I figure given ample organic matter, the endocarps and seed coats will undergo their process of decomposition at relatively the same rate.

Since the seed coats themselves are so thick, I suppose it's possible to separate the seeds from the endocarp and plant them without any endocarp, but I really don't have the knowledge to know how to separate the seed. Like I said, the shape of the seed looks a little weird and I don't see how I would extract it without breaking it in the process.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Lardizabalaceae
« on: September 17, 2023, 03:07:50 PM »
Well the plot thickens as it has recently been discovered that Lardizabala mimics nearby plants just like Boquila. It not only mimics leaves but just yesterday l observed it mimicking the growth form of a support tree as well. It's a rather long story but to give an overview: l have mature vines of Lardizabala growing to the top of a large Quercus suber (cork oak) at my back door.  These vines are almost 40years old & have been fruiting for about 20 years. They  are nearly 50' up to the top of the tree. I have always considered Lardizabala to be a species with quite variable leaves an observation which l put down to genetic variability,  that is until a recent trip to Tasmania where l saw a very different looking Lardizabala with very large roundish leaves with totally entire margins. As this looked so different from mine at home l obtained 2 seedling plants from the source & returned home with them. When l compared the photos of the one in Tasmania to mine l suddenly realized that the leaves were mimicking nearby plants & in fact do this just like Boquila does.

 I contacted Ernesto Gianoli in Chile who discovered the phenomenon in Boquila & sent him many photos & he concurs that Lardizabala is indeed performing the same stunt as Boquila! Further he told me that it is an accepted fact among the local traditional population in the areas where Lardizabala grows that the best flavored & quality fruit is dependent on the tree species it grows on! This may seem hard to swallow but this same species is making both cork oak leaves & Lapageria rosea leaves on the one vine at my place. It even mimics the curl of the oak &  the texture of the Lapageria.

 I like the flavor of 'oak grown' Lapageria, it's  got a nice, if subtle sweetness if you're prepared to swirl & spit to separate the pulp from the seeds! It certainly has more flavor than any Akebia l've eaten & also Stauntonia hexaphylla which is pretty bland too.

I haven't tasted Boquila as l have recently struck cuttings of one clone only, & sown seed which l hope is viable as it's taken many years to obtain here.

Wow. My hat goes off to you. You've had Lardizabala biternata fruiting for 20 years? What is the exact location in terms of climate in Australia?

I bought two small potted plants and planted them at my parents' house in Santa Barbara, CA about 11 years ago. I placed them on the north side of a wooden fence underneath an ornamental loquat tree, so that they would be in pretty heavy shade. A few years ago, I remember seeing a couple flowers on one of the vines. I haven't visited in years, but my parents still own the place, so I would be curious if those vines survived. I'll see if I can remember to ask them. Like most everything I planted there, I only ever hand watered them with deep irrigation a couple times per year (mostly to just extend the Mediterranean rainy season). It was really tough love for all the plants in that garden, just trying to determine which plants could be more drought-tolerant.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: San Francisco fruit recommendations
« on: September 17, 2023, 02:53:32 PM »
I love how Ugni Molinae is just planted around golden gate park randomly , the botanical garden nursery is fairly prolific.
While there is not much in the way of good edible fruit at the botanical garden, there is a number of neat species to check for.
Bolivian mountain Coco's, Mac Nut, and different unique Passiflora hybrids. Not to mention it is just an epic huge garden .

You could also go to the giant glass greenhouse in golden gate park that is a mile or so from the arboretum.
There are a lot of non fruiting big tropical fruits there and it is really cool in it's own right.
Well worth the visit there was well.

For fruits go to the Ferry building farmers market for the best selection of CA grown organic fruit, direct from the farm.

Species in SFBG

Austromyrtus dulcis
Drimys lanceolata
Luma apiculata
Syzygium smithii
Ugni molinae

at least a few more

There are extensive plantings of Ugni molinae in golden gate park? How long have they been there? Are they under some sort of irrigation? I always thought Ugni was from Chile's equivalent of coastal Oregon. I knew they used to propagate those like crazy at Merrick college and even sell them at their plant sale, but I didn't realize that it was compatible with the bay area climate.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / The Best Cinnamon Species
« on: September 17, 2023, 02:11:16 PM »
Which is it? Can't remember. Apparently one is a cut above the rest, whereas the others aren't even considered "true" cinnamon..Some of the inferior species I've heard are actually somewhat toxic.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Andean Walnut
« on: September 17, 2023, 02:08:58 PM »
I germinated black walnut easy just moist potting mix. Might be as easy but can't say, good luck! Oscar at fruitlovers might have some insight

Oscar said the shell on Juglans Neotropica is substantially harder than Juglans Nigra

Thanks. I've decided that I'm going to use the bench grinder to steadily shave away the hard woody endocarp. I won't go as far as the seed, because I know there's a risk of infection when exposing the seed sometimes with species like this. I'll probably soak for a couple days, but no more than that. The idea is to remove the vast majority of the woody protective layer around the seed and to try to get these to sprout sooner than they would otherwise. I've got some good rainforest topsoil from a mature forest... Mostly just the top two centimeters of forest soil with the largest bits of twigs, leaves and roots removed. Some 3 gallon air pots. The rest will be direct-sown out in the field. They will still be subjected to a natural decomposition process in the soil, but hopefully things will happen quicker by removing most of the woody layer first.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Andean Walnut
« on: September 16, 2023, 03:59:09 PM »
Yep. I assumed they were equivalent seeds.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Just wanted to show my new setup
« on: September 15, 2023, 08:04:31 PM »
Hi guys,

First time doing anything like this, Finished up my basement tropical grow room and wanted show it off, Im sure its not perfect but so far everything is doing great(except my banana as I had a issue with my watering system auto siphoning and over watered it, but it is on the mend)

Doubt I can fit anything else but definitely want more plants lol.

Starting from the back left, I have a large Achacha plant, a gold nugget mandarin(dont like how much they cut off to ship it to me), a baby Mangosteen, cotton candy Mango, Fruit punch mango, dwarf man wah banana and then 2 sweetheart lychee trees.

All inside an 8x4 gorilla tent, with a 8 foot height( which is literally the height of the basement ceiling, was fun getting that setup lol). I have 2 750x kind full spectrum led lights, AC infinity carbon filter and exhaust fan and an AC infinity humidifier. Currently keeping it at 75-85F and humidity varies between 55%- 90%.

Open to helpful comments on what I can improve.
Thanks for looking!

How do you like those air-pruning pots?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Andean Walnut
« on: September 15, 2023, 07:56:23 PM »
Hi forum,

I just received some seeds this week of Juglans neotropica. I've never propagated this species or any other species of Walnut before. Does anyone here have experience with this species?

I was wondering about the best way to pre-treat the seeds. I was thinking about using a bench grinder to slowly sand away the vast majority of the endocarp all over before revealing the seed coat in one or two spots, and then soaking in water for three days with water changes. The bench grinder idea is my own. The three day water soak idea is from a forestry publication in Spanish from Peru. I was thinking the three day soak might be too long if I'm doing the sanding with a bench grinder. The other doubt is if I sand unevenly, would that cause problems with germination since the seed might swell inside but then be subjected to differing gradients of pressure along the woody endocarp?

A big question for me is your altitude so my recommendations could be off. Probably not what you want but aa is an obvious choice and is rich in fats. If not that nuts perhaps like Amazonian species of cashew (not sure about Peru but I know a few Brazilian ones), pupunha (peach palm?) which is oily, the African oil palm, or Brazil nut as someone said though expect 15+yr to produce maybe less grafted. Fwiw in Brazil erythrina was all taken out of agroforestry systems, cacao basically, because it ended up making the rest of the crops suffer. People  using other natives like spondias mombin, Brazil nut etc.

The altitude doesn't make much of a difference in terms of what we can grow here. It almost never gets below 60 Fahrenheit here. Daytime temps are heavily dependent on solar intensity. Most cloudy days still get above 80F and most rainy days still get above 70F. Sunny days can easily hit 90F. The main difference is that it's just slightly more comfortable and livable than the low jungle.

I don't understand. Why did they get rid of Erythrina? It's a great fodder tree. I also assumed it would be a good companion plant (at least in the early years) for something like Cacao. Sounds kind of like all the things people used to warn Ernst Gotsch about when he started using Eucalyptus as a companion plant for Cacao. Then he showed everyone how to manage such plants to increase the productivity of the Cacao.

I use Erythrina liberally. Sometimes I'm not sure a fruit sapling will succeed, so I might stick an Erythrina cutting right next to it. Often the fruit saplings will start growing well afterwards, and I'll just cut the Erythrina at ground level and go stick it elsewhere. Sure they resprout, but I'm not worried about that. I've seen that they cannot withstand shade very well.


We have hundreds of them already. They do great in the low-lying areas, and some key soggy areas on the hillsides. I will be thrilled if we get decent production from them someday as it is one of my favorite fruits from the jungle. We've also tried planting Ungurahui (Oenocarpus bataua), but I'm starting to believe that they are impossible to grow from transplanted nursery stock. I've tried many times, and they just don't develop once out in the field. I'm going to try direct-sowing some next. If not, then I guess it won't be a big loss. Not the best fruit.

Sourcing seeds may be problematic but something like Safou or Dabai might be good-

Pouteria are also great fatty fruits and there are several native to peru

We have caimito, which does well here. However, I don't think it's well-suited to the area in question.
Could you please share the scientific names of Safou and Dabai?

What about Engkalak (Litsea garciae) ? I remember an interesting taste like safou/pili/olive/avocado mix !

Wow! That is quite a suggestion. Never heard of it. Sounds great.
Any idea how I can get seeds here in Peru?

One plant we've definitely decided on is Cashew. We're having a friend gather seeds at the moment. We had already planted a couple saplings from bags last year, and they do pretty well, so I'm looking forward to planting directly from seed this time around. I've read that the root system basically requires being direct-sown, so we will definitely do that. I've read germination rates of 100% is common for fresh seeds in as little as 8-10 days.

Finding Brazil Nut seeds is a more difficult task as they are cultivated in the southern jungle, and we're in the northern jungle. Lots of contacts for nuts for consumption. It might just be a question of making lots of tedious phone calls and seeing who can send a bunch of uncracked raw nuts.

I found my old camera and finally have time to download and edit some videos from my adventures last year hunting fruit in the Amazon. I started in Iquitos and the surrounding Amazon and then traveled south to Puerto Maldanado for more adventures.
Episode 1

Episode 2

Did you get to see the Brazil Nut trees in the Puerto Maldonado area?

Nice excursion. Would love to see you do another episode in the Alto Mayo.

Thanks for the info about the root systems being shallow. I will make it a point to keep them covered with more mulch.

I'm sure durian is king for some people. But for most durian lovers it's an acquired taste, acquired in one's youth. To me it's not really a fruit. More like a cross between fruit, vegetable, meat, and cheese or whatever you might taste and feel. Nothing that smells that bad can be king outside of it's natural range where people grow up eating it. Face it durian lovers, your favorite fruit has serious issues.

And based on my experience stone fruits beat mango. But at least mango is a real fruit that tastes like a fruit, can be delicious, and has no really offensive characteristics like durian. Mango is a mess to eat, has fiber, and is much more difficult to pick and ripen properly than stone fruit.

Going strictly on taste from what I've eaten it's the stone fruits I listed above. But hey this is difficult. I took me 35 years to figure out how to grow the best stone fruit.

shots fired!

don't you know this is the mango forum  ;D

Jk, as a native midwesterner I can appreciate the insanely good stone fruits

Theres 2 or 3 of these lists for me

1. Paw Paw - Asimina triloba
2. Cherries
3. European pears/ Apples
4. Honeyberry
5. Plums/pluots

1. Figs
2. Longan
3. Persimmons
4. Peaches/nectarines
5. Feijoa

1. Mangosteen
2. Mango
3. Lucuma
4. Balata (Manilkara bidentata)
5. Lychee

Manilkara bidentata? Are you sure? Everyone knows that around here as Quinilla or Quinilla Colorada. Known as one of the best of the best rainforest timbers. I've never heard anyone talk about its fruit though.

There are only a few spots on our land where Avocados have done OK. We started direct-planting more from seed, which has been more successful, but I think it will always be an uphill battle for the most part to have good avocado production here.

Our location is in Amazonia, but with a distinct dry season between June and October. Rainfall is pretty low this time of year. We only received 1.8 inches this year in July. August seems like it might turn out to be even less than that. These are typically the two driest months of the year. The soil is naturally acidic here for the most part, and of course it was leached over multiple decades following deforestation, which made it more acidic, so recommendations should be for a fruit that grows well in acidic conditions. Some parts of the property have pretty bad aluminum saturation, such as the spot from the soil analysis I'm going to share. Would be good for the recommended species to be aluminum resistant. I took the soil sample from the least productive part of the property. Some areas are night and day by comparison, but still I've seen Avocado only thrive in a few key spots, and even those will probably require continued addition of lime in the future.

Someone suggested Macadamias might be good for acidic soil. Well we tried about one hundred trees and only one has performed decently. Most died.

Results from our Avocado foliar analysis are pending.

I'd like to grow something equivalent to Avocado, but I know there is no substitute. Something fatty and delicious would be nice. Maybe tropical Walnut (Juglans neotropica) or Dipteryx alata. Preferably something with a big seed that I can direct sow, which will have enough energy to get the shoot taller than our Brachiaria grasses within the first six months of growth. How about Bertholettia excelsa? Would you recommend African Oil Palm? Surprisingly seeds of many species are hard to find in Peru, as it's not like in the US where you just go online. You really have to know someone in an area where there are trees, and the person has to be trustworthy enough to provide you with fresh stock. Out of all the species I mentioned, I think the African Oil Palm seeds would be the easiest to acquire. We are at about 900m elevation, which gets a little cooler than the low jungle, but I still find it plenty hot. In the dry season most days are sunny and top out at 90 degrees. I haven't gotten solid data on annual rainfall ( just installed a rain gauge last month) for our location. I would say somewhere between 2000-3000mm avg. annual rainfall based on some of the data I've seen for other towns nearby in drier microclimates.

We're three years into this. So most areas already have significant canopy cover with a couple different Inga spp., Schizolobium, and the local Erythrina spp. Therefore, I think some "higher order" trees might perform well being sown at this stage.

The topsoil in our sample surprised me a bit. I wasn't expecting to see the pH that high and the organic matter at 2.58% is higher than I expected. That result is even after excluding the top two inches, because we've been running chickens and other poultry through the area over the past few months, and I didn't want their manure to affect the results too much. The subsoil is still about as awful as when we started three years ago though.

Just a warning though: This is a pretty extreme example. It is the area on the property where we've seen the least amount of growth from all tree species we planted 3 years ago. Some died, and most just sat there stunted. They have been unable to compete satisfactorily with the Brachiaria, whereas in other areas of the property we have seen satisfactory tree growth amongst Brachiaria.

Test Results:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Question for Avocado Experts
« on: May 20, 2023, 05:30:52 PM »
Anyone know what causes tip dieback? One relatively healthy-looking specimen got about two meters tall, then the entire trunk died back almost to the ground and now there are three suckers instead of the main trunk. I know a few of the trees were grafted and we had issues with the graft surviving, but at this point most are seedling/rootstock trees, and the issue is still pretty common.

Minor tip dieback is more common. Just got done snipping many small, dead tips off a number of trees.

I know tip dieback is a symptom of calcium deficiency. We only applied dolomite once, and the soils are naturally acidic here, so maybe we just need to work on getting pH to stabilize at a higher level and keeping it there with enough woody organic matter. Can't say for sure if the tip dieback on these avos is necessarily a Ca deficiency as we don't do sap analysis, and haven't soil tested since prior to planting.

Most of the trees I'm talking about are located on steep slopes, so even though we get excessive rain during the rainy season, the drainage is good.

Our best avocado tree is located about 5m downslope from our banana greywater circle on a steep slope. It gets the greywater seepage and overflow constantly. The tree is massive, probably about 4m tall at three years old, and it just started flowering for the first time. There are hundreds of blooms. Never seen any tip dieback on that specimen. The vigor is like nothing I've ever seen.
The waterflow through the soil in that spot is near constant, so it has cast doubt on the old advice relating to rootrot and constantly wet soils.

They are picking Valencia oranges here in Highlands County now. They make excellent juice. Not from concentrate Valencia juice can be frozen for 4 months without much loss in quality. That is how most of the NFC juice companies got year round production. Valencias were picked until June and they used their stockpile of frozen juice until October when Hamlins started being harvested again. Perfume is not an ingredient in OJ concentrate to my knowledge. I am glad to hear that Joshua Creek is still selling NFC, Maxwells here in Avon Park does as well. They are our last local juice stand. There used to be one one every corner.

I used to pick valencia oranges in Placentia, CA, every day on my way to school in the morning. Our housing development was built on the hill of an abandoned valencia grove and the developers had the foresight to leave some of the old orange trees on the hillside. They are an incredibly good juicing orange. As far as citrus psyllid and Hunglongbing virus, our local citrus trees in my little town are all thriving and doing well. I have Owari satsuma, kumquat and pomelo flowering for the season and several neighbors have older trees that have never shown signs of citrus greening disease. I suspect the reason for that is we are right on the banks of the St. John's river and are surrounded by water oak and pin oak trees. I know that U.F. has been stuyding oak trees for a protein they produce that helps "awaken" the natural defenses of citrus trees to resist and recover from Hunglongbing. My citrus trees wind up with at least some oak leaves in their mulch all the time and I have a few open topped rain catches (blue barrels and an IBC tote) that often get oak leaves mixed in with the rain water making oak leaf tea. It's mainly what I water with because our tap water is literally liquid chalk with a super high pH that most of our acid loving trees don't like. Anyway, if you have citrus, consider adding some oak leaves to their mulch from time to time.

I wish I could have a few tanker plane payloads of your water dumped on my land.

People in America will be drinking OJ long after we are all dead and gone. At this point, it looks like the majority of that juice will enter our borders as concentrate from foreign sources and will be reconstituted and bottled here. They will need truckers to haul that juice and the concentrate that it is made from.

You don't see people adopting the keto diet, carnivore diet and all the other low-carb, no-sugar diets cutting into the overall consumption? Also the folks that are health foodies that don't mind fruit and natural sugar realize that processed OJ is basically like sugar water, sterile and dead with no enzymes.

I do know the company picks up juice concentrate loads at the ports. So they are not totally dependent on domestic production.

Greening takes a really long time to kill a tree. In the meantime you get edible but less sweet even sour fruit. They just mix the sour fruit with sweet juice from Brazil or Mexico. When the tree finally died they plant more. Now they have the nets and at least one variety more resistant then use pesticides. There's also a bunch of hybrids with poncirus etc that aren't approved yet but are disease resistant.

The acreage will continue to decline as property is sold for retirement homes or replanted with stuff like Florida peaches but I doubt it will die completely.

I thought they were bulldozing the retirement homes and planting more oranges since the old folks were goaded into their government-sanctioned culling. At least that's what the alternative media would have you believe.

Some interesting responses here. I had heard of the Brazilian workaround, but didn't know about the Mexican option.

The reason I'm asking is because I was considering signing on as a company driver for a trucking company that hauls (mostly) orange juice in food grade tankers. Kind of curious what the outlook is like for that sort of work.

This was off the record, so I'm not sure I should be reporting it, but I remember about eight years ago talking with one of the senior researchers at the USDA lab near Ft. Pierce. I think his name was Randall Neidz. He was talking about how that disease was pretty much decimating the entire crop of oranges in Florida. He showed me some charts indicating the steady decline, and said the outlook was bleak. Basically he predicted an entire collapse of the Florida citrus industry. He said even if they were able to fast-track some sort of GMO citrus, which would still take a minimum of two years, the processing plants were built with a certain volume in mind, and the lack of volume during that interim period would supposedly cause everything to go bust.

Anyway, don't quote me on that. I'm just paraphrasing the guy.

So, what ever happened with that situation?

So that concern would bring us back to Omitox (sp?) might be Omnitox,which is also granules applied the same way and seems to work as well..

They don't have that here. We've been looking into biologicals. They don't have any products of those here either, but the government phytosanitary department published some info suggesting they have a lab producing entomopathogenic fungi now, so we contacted them and they referred us to a lab. I'm guessing they're a goverment contractor. It wasn't clear to me. Sounds like they have Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium, and maybe even some sort of Trichoderma. We will call them soon. Hopefully they don't charge an arm and a leg. One hill on our property that measures about three hectares has sixteen different nests, so we will need a lot. The weird thing is that we have another adjacent 3-hectare hill that has zero nests. Wonder why.

I read an article too that says you can use moldy oranges (Penicillium) and wash them in water. You use the wash water applied to the entrance to the nest as well as the line of ants. Not sure the mechanism of action as Penicillium is known to produce antibiotics, but at least some Penicillium species also produce anti-fungal proteins, so I'm guessing the mechanism of action is to disrupt the Pseudonocardia bacteria on the ant cuticle, which makes the ants unable to prevent infections of their Leucoagaricus gardens. Perhaps the Penicillium also competes against the Leucoagaricus to some degree as well. Either way, it doesn't sound extremely effective (40-45% reduction of ant population over two months).

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