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Messages - phantomcrab

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Raised pineapple beds a success!
« on: February 10, 2012, 01:37:44 PM »
This week I attended a talk in Sarasota given by a pineapple cultivation consultant. Here's a rundown on what he said.

The best way to start a pineapple plant is with a crown with the growing point intact. Pineapples grow in an 18 month cycle. They must have good drainage so raised beds are recommended. They are very thrifty with water. For the homeowner, 3 gallon pots work fine but must drain very well. Stake isolated plants so the fruit does not fall over and sunburn. Chilling ripening fruit damages its flavor. They naturally grow in soils with a pH of 4.5-5 but this is not critical. Pineapple plants are extremely sensitive to all environmental conditions so the same cultivar grown in neighboring yards may appear quite different. In completely tropical regions, the plant will naturally bloom at 12 months old when the plant's weight gets over 5 pounds and it's about 3-4 feet (this varies) tall. Ethylene and temperatures less than 57-58F will also force blooming and less than 48F will stun the plant. Frost can be lethal. DO NOT fertilize after blossoms form. DO NOT overhead water after flowers form (can cause internal rotting) although ground irrigation is OK. DO NOT water while the fruit is ripening since this can dilute the flavor. As the fruit matures, the 'eyes' will flatten out and it will change color. This color change is totally dependent upon the temperature regime and ranges from yellow to blue-green. The ripeness of a mature fruit can't be accurately judged by color or smell. The plant converts carbohydrates to sugars in its vegetative body and then transports the sugars to the fruit so pineapples do not sweeten any further after harvested. When fully ripe, a pineapple will form a thin callus at the base of the fruit similar to that of a dead leaf on a tree. This can be tested by holding the stalk with one hand and bending the fruit over with the other. If it breaks off, enjoy.
He gave a fertilizer regimen too but it was tailored to FL conditions. Outdoor FL growers should start their plants in January or February to take advantage of summer growth and then winter cooling to force flowering at 12 months though.

I've also noticed some lychees producing vegetative flushes with no blooms. Others still appear dormant.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Preferred method to graft avocado.
« on: February 06, 2012, 04:37:02 PM »
Dr. Campbell at Fairchild Gardens has some videos on veneer and cleft grafting and he says winter is the best time for avocado. Remember, that's winter in Miami.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What tropical fruits impress normal people?
« on: February 06, 2012, 08:01:06 AM »
I certainly only grow what I like. If others don't care for the fruit, so be it. In my opinion a major part of the problem is that folks generally get their fruit and vegetables at supermarkets and that's rarely very good fare. I grew up in the mid south and know what real peaches, apples, pears and berries taste like because I got them from the grower. Coupled with the attitude that fruit isn't too tasty (like the standard cinnamon donut) and the unfamiliar appearance of some tropicals leads to some rejection. Taste is acquired with familiarity.

A couple of links from the other forum on growing trees in containers. This is bonsai oriented but pertains to any containerized tree.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Organic Gardening of Tropical Fruit
« on: February 03, 2012, 02:11:31 PM »
For those of you that live in alkaline areas, try sprinkling used coffee grounds around your plants to lower the pH. The grounds are acidic.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dwarf coconuts?
« on: January 30, 2012, 05:51:29 PM »
I agree. January 2010 saw a low of 27F (at my house) and that killed almost all of the numerous coconut palms in town. The only survivors are growing next to Tampa Bay or the gulf and they showed extensive leaf damage. Consider the size of the crown too. Here's a link to the Fiji Dwarf with a picture.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mango Tree Splitting
« on: January 27, 2012, 12:33:02 PM »
I don't really know the cause but there are at least 4 branches originating at the same level on the trunk. Branching should be spaced around the trunk at different levels for a more even distribution of load bearing stress in wind and while holding fruit. That's how I used to shape small peach trees. Has it been very windy lately?

Go to this site for a USDA map and click on Puerto Rico for an expanded view of the tropical climactic zones. The temperature limits are easier to read.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Raised pineapple beds a success!
« on: January 27, 2012, 07:09:40 AM »
Thanks. That explains why the commercial guys plant them in staggered double rows about a foot apart and then leave a gap between the double rows. I had wondered why that particular spacing was used.  :)

This is difficult because on a given day any quality fruit can be excellent. In no particular order -

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: new USDA Zones due to warming trend
« on: January 26, 2012, 01:43:40 PM »
Here's a link to the history of significant Florida freezes from a citrus grower's point of view. The 2010 freezes are not included in this.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Raised pineapple beds a success!
« on: January 26, 2012, 08:50:58 AM »
Have you had any problem with your pineapples sunburning? I have some white pineapples sent from Hawaii that I'm planting this spring. There are warnings on the internet that these can sunburn while ripening.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Palm Springs Wind from Hell
« on: January 26, 2012, 06:07:55 AM »
I visited a small mango grove in Bokeelia last year that was right in the path of hurricane Charley in 2004 (category 4). The owners grow Kent and Keitt and did not lose any trees but now keep them hand trimmed to 10-12 feet tall x 8 feet wide and have lots of fruit.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: new USDA Zones due to warming trend
« on: January 26, 2012, 05:03:53 AM »
A link to a map that shows the 1990-2006  US zone changes in motion:

Regroup means to reorganize. Julie evidently has some if not all Reunion Island parentage but that in itself says nothing about where it first originated since it's monoembryonic. A seed may have been transported from Reunion and planted in the West Indies which would make the West Indies Julie's point of origin. Who knows? One of the links shows a picture of a gel in which Julie is shown to be markedly different from some comparison cultivars. ::)

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: new USDA Zones due to warming trend
« on: January 25, 2012, 02:11:54 PM »
I'm in 10a as I always suspected from observing the local yard plantings. There isn't much of a change in the St. Petersburg weather records though.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Lemon Zest Flowers!
« on: January 25, 2012, 11:13:44 AM »
How large do Lemon Zest trees grow?
Has anyone seen the original tree at Zill's?

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