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Messages - brian

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Let's talk about theobroma
« on: Today at 01:32:24 PM »
Are people growing these for the white pith?  Or the seeds?  At least for types other than cacao (chocolate)

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: "pumpkin pie" dwarf mamey
« on: February 06, 2023, 08:38:47 PM »
is mamey different enough from green sapote that it is worth growing both?   I have tried mamey once or twice and really liked it, but right now I have only a grafted green sapote

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Loquat ripening in February ?
« on: February 05, 2023, 05:10:45 PM »
'Christmas' almost orange for me now, though I guess they are late if they are supposed to be ready for Christmas

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Gold nugget self destruction
« on: February 03, 2023, 08:40:02 PM »
That is a really impressive fruit set.  Shame it broke the plant, but what a harvest. 

I have tried them.  My greenhouse is very buttoned up so there isn't easy for them to simply fly away.  They unfortunately didn't seem to make a difference.  I did notice there was a new generation of the mealybug destroyers appeared some weeks after I thought they all died off, but they didn't put a dent in the mealybug population.  I have been fighting mealybugs for years and the most effective control for me has been hort oil.  Every winter when my greenhouse is packed full of plants the mealybug population booms, and I try to hose them off as best I can.  In spring when I can bring container plants outside I try my best to eradicate every mealybug and apply hort oil all over.   No pesticides seem to help, even high doses of imidacloprid. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What triggers flowering in tropical guava?
« on: February 01, 2023, 12:35:39 PM »
Is yours a seedling or clone?

Is it getting enough light?

Mine flowers with every other flush of growth it seems, a couple times a year.  I have mine in a container, it is a clone grown from cutting and in a greenhouse in winter, outdoors in summer

I know breadfruit trees can get huge, but are they capable of fruiting at a small size?  I never tried because I only like fresh eating fruits, but I wouldn't count it out based on climate alone if you have a greenhouse.  I don't know much about breadfruit specifically but all the other artocarpus have been surprisingly easy to grow (so far)


Just chiming in as an out-of-zone tropical grower, I think I can speak for a lot of people here and say your set up is amazing. Thats the type of build I would go for if space and money were not an issue.
Also, @Brian, so sad to hear about the Kepel not growing well. Kepel is my white whale, but I think I'll have to bite the bullet and just go to where it grows naturally to try it.

I think it must either be hard to grow from seeds or my container soil sucks.  Next time I get a seedling I am going to try just sticking it right into the ground.  Anything that dies this quickly it has got to be a soil/disease thing and not climate


When the sun is shining in my greenhouse I never want to leave, and it was the best thing during lockdown.

Yup, that's the thing about efficiency... the most efficient "greenhouse" at your latitude is probably an insulated warehouse with grow lights.  But it won't feel very nice to be in.  Better to spend money on nice environment you like being in even if it isn't very efficient. 

also supposedly the reason that tropical guavas are not so popular is that they get destroyed by fruit flies in Florida.  Those flies don't exist in Canada (nor in Pennsylvania  :D )  and these guavas are easy to grow and good producers

I'm certainly no expert on ultra tropicals, but I think I've read chempedak will fruit at reasonable size.  However, none of the artocarpus I've tried to grow in containers do well, but they all do great once I put them in the ground.  Likely the soil, as the container ones aren't root bound.

I have had a mallika mango in ground for years and it looks great.  It first flowered three years ago but fruitlets never got past pea sized.  Two years ago fruits held on longer/bigger but still not to maturity.  Last zero blooms or fruit set.  It is blooming heavily this year so hopefully I'll get a crop for once.  I have recently read they don't like water while holding fruit and I was always watering it constantly, have sinec stopped that.  The tree itself has been very healthy aside from a minor armored scale infestation and resultant sooty mold.  I'm not exactly sure what anthracnose is but I don't think I have it.   You should be able to grow one. 

I suggest you buy a bunch of small seedlings and see how they do, and if they do well replace them with grafted types.  I found almost everything grows well and the ones that don't are for reasons I can probably correct.  It will never be efficient but it is entertaining. 

I think it will work for anything that could fruit at a small size.  I have my greenhouse set at 55F in winter and have had a purple mangosteen seedling growing for years (verrry slowly, but it seems healthy enough).   I forget what qualifies as ultra tropicals.  I have a marang and pedalai in ground that look happy.  Chempedak seems fine so far but I just put it in the ground.  I can't get rambutan seedlings to even survive more than a couple months, but I think its the soil mix not the climate.   Durian seemed happy then constantly gets attacked by spider mites.  Rollinia and Soursop in ground are happy with the climate and flowering but want to grow big and also constantly under spider mite attack.    Abiu in a container is super healthy and flowering.  Kepel seeds die as soon as they sprout.  Pulasan dies as soon as it sprouts. 

As far as backups, I haev some propane tank manual heaters, enough to survive a few days without power.  And I am thinking of getting a solar panel array for emergency cooling in case there is a summer storm that knocks out power followed by a hot sunny day.   The biggest issue is quickly detecting an outage and responding to it.  I haven't found a reasonable thermometer that uses cellular for alerts, only wifi, radio, and text message stuff that isn't reliable

If you are looking for a cooling solution evaporative cooling works wonders if you have a clean water suppply. 

Just noticed your photo, that look great and reasonably well insulated.  Can it tolerate high humidity without affecting the surrounding structure?  If so I would just bite the bullet and turn the thermostat up and have the whole thing be "ultra tropical greenhouse" :)

I did not realize that the flowers have those sheaths like the leaves do, I will have to go re-check my tree and see if there might already be some!

Very nice!  I am hoping mine flowers (even male) this year.  It has been growing and growing and is super healthy but no flowers yet, and this is a grafted tree

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Pineapple Guava Fruit for Sale
« on: January 29, 2023, 03:03:22 PM »
I'll take a pound, I've always wanted to try these.  SMing you

I'm looking for some land near my house for sale that I can build greenhouses on.  Right now I can't really add more because I am under suburban zoning rules.  Once I have land I'll try a bunch of designs and see how they work out.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Plant purchasing mistakes
« on: January 29, 2023, 02:01:17 PM »
Ebay will let you return anything, and if they don't your credit card company will

drymifolia, yes I have seen the bending and loading guidelines but I can't find anything relevant to a frameless structure.  My plan is to simply order some long panels in varying thicknesses, bend them to their limit, and pile weight up on them and see how they deform.  If they can handle a reasonable snow load then I'll just try whichever thickness has a bend radius that results in the desired greenhouse depth!   A minimal frame might still be needed, but I am fairly sure purlins can be avoided this way which makes it much easier to clean and mount curtains for insulation on interior.

One nice thing about covering the greenhouse at night is you can run grow light without the light escaping (and bothering nearby animals & neighbors).  I live in a fairly dense suburban area so I don't run grow lights, but if I could get a solution to cover the greenhouse glazing at night I would

Btw when doing research for my zone 3 greenhouse I did find company that offers glazing with quintuple panes (yep 5). I wonder how much light get through?

I bet it is pretty poor.  I think last time I looked even 3-ply seemed not worthwhile.  That far north you might be best off with flat dual-pane insulated glass perpendicular to the winter sun angle (nearly vertical!)

here's the diagram from that article of the chinese greenhouse design

I had built a model of a design I want to try that is frameless... I am thinking the arch effect of a 8-12mm thick bent plastic glazing panel might be strong enough on its own

In Winnipeg, just north of you for a 225 sqft (very well insulated attached greenhouse) costs up to 4 dollars a day to keep ultra tropicals alive during the coldest winter months. At the university of Manitoba they built a Chinese style greenhouse that was passively heated almost stayed above freezing all winter (had hot compost piles in it). Here is the link to the paper.

Yup, I was not aware of this greenhouse design until after I spent years thinking about it and came up with basically the exact same design on my own that it turns out the Chinese have been using for a long time!   That is re-assuring to me that it is the right choice

Has anyone created a passive solar style greenhouse, requiring little to no extra energy input?
Something using a similar concept to this:

These passive solar designs always seem to ignore the common winter condition of "freezing, windy, cloudy, wet for days in a row" where there is no meaningful solar heating and any accumulated thermal mass is gone by the second night. 

I have spent a ton of time thinking about insulation and greenhouse energy efficiency over the years.  The biggest problem is that the insulative value of  even the best glazing is awful when compared to something like a proper insulated wall.  The only solution that makes sense to me is to have some kind of insulating blanket that can cover the greenhouse at night.   Finding something that can do this while surviving the elements, wind, moisture, etc is though.  It seems chinese growers would use thatch and simply roll it up manually twice a day and replace it as needed.  Having something automated and long lasting will be expensive and heavy, something like polyurethane rolls on a spool.

The floor of a greenhouse is a massive heat sink, too, so you have to insulate the foundation perimeter and possibly the floor

If you accept that the insulation will be poor and focus on cheap energy things like geothermal are options.  Or solar-heating a large mass of water and extracting the heat at night. 

At some point if you have zero air exchange it will harm the plants and you'll get mold.  Once you start air exchanging your heating efficiency drops drastically.  Things like heat recovery ventilators exist but more expense and complication there.

I am fortunate enough to have piped natural gas which is dirt cheap.  It costs me around $100 per month to heat my greenhouse in winter.  If I used electric it would probably be triple that, and propane some where in between. 

I have a permanent greenhouse, its construction was well documented on the citrus section of this forum some years ago as I was building it -

I really like the ability to plant large trees that won't play nicely in containers directly in the dirt.  However, I am happy to keep anything that will fruit in a container that way as it is nice to be able to bring everything out in the warmer months so I can clean up the greenhouse and fight the scale insects.  No matter what I do they become a problem in the winter when it is crowded, but spring & summer give me a chance to reset things and get them back to a minimum. 

I am growing basically everything now, with representatives from all the common fruiting plant groups discussed here with few exceptions.  I try a bunch and see how they do, then pick the best and get rid of the others or condemn them to being bonsai plants.  I had a ton of in-ground citrus but now I have reduced to just a few in-ground and the in-ground spots are mostly occupied by various artocarpus types and annonas.  Many of the tropicals I got as small seedlings or plants a few years ago started to bloom last year but only a few have fruited so far.  I'm expecting more this year. 

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