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Messages - Daintree

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Cacao questions
« on: March 01, 2024, 09:00:39 PM »
Never had cupuacu, but the pulp of theobroma cacao is tasty. Sort of lemony and sticky. You have to suck it off the seeds.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Indoor bananas
« on: March 01, 2024, 08:58:27 PM »
You are probably stuck with a cavendish type, such as super dwarf. However, the difference in taste between a fresh grown banana and a store bought one is like night and day.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Cacao questions
« on: March 01, 2024, 05:30:35 PM »
Others may correct me if I give wrong information, but here is what I have noticed -
I have several mature cacao trees in my greenhouse.  They all flowered by year two.  They are in 25 gallon pots.

The only ones that seems capable, or willing, to fruit without my intervention is forestero. And when I say intervention, I mean a full court press of tweezers, jewelers loupe, marking pen, and the ability to get out there every morning for a month.  Of course, I am a sicko and find that sort of fun...

They do not like anything below 50 degrees, and I actually keep the tropical house higher than 60 even at night if I can.

I have sold seedlings to people who kill them really fast, so I don't honestly know what the trick is, but I have very good luck with them.  I have some seeds prepping to germinate now that my son brought back from Belize. 

I have forestero and trinatario all grown up right now.  The fruit set is very low, and you can't really make chocolate out of what you could grow in a greenhouse. It takes about 100 beans to make one chocolate bar, and a pod may make 40-50 beans.
If you really want to make "bean-to-bar" chocolate, order raw beans, roast and grind them yourself. Or buy a bunch of pods and go through the whole process.

But they make an AWeSOME conversation piece!!!


I guess I should add that "flowering" and "ability to hold fruit" are two different things.  The trunk needs to be nice and thick or the fruit aborts, usually when it is about the size of okra.  Four years, in a greenhouse, is probably a good expectation of holding fruit.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Belize chocolate!
« on: February 29, 2024, 05:24:35 PM »
Well, my kids are back from their farm in Belize, and the grandkids have been returned to them, happy and in one piece.
Before they left I had gotten a permit for some cacao pods, most of which are destined for the Oregon Chocolate Festival in Ashland where my son does a presentation and lets everyone taste the cacao pulp and seeds.

Here is the really nice Mayan farmer who gave him some ripe pods, and his trees. His name is Filipetech, and he wanted to make sure he got on Facebook! On his farm, they don't make the distinction between criollo, forestero, etc. It is all just a mish-mash.  They also make an interesting local chocolate out of UNfermented roasted cacao beans, sugar and allspice that they cream together with a mortar and pestle.  The result is very soft, sort of grainy, with a very deep, primitive chocolate spice flavor.

And my portion of his treasure. After all, it WAS my USDA permit that got them in. I am going to use it again on our cruise next month and try to bring back more.

Looks like some sort of fungal leaf spot to me.  They like to be kept damp, but not soggy. Make sure you are not over-watering. 
You mentioned the spots are purple.  There is a chance it could be Phyllosticta minima, which is ugly but fairly harmless.  Other fungal spot diseases can be more harmful.

If I have anything possibly fungal show up, I cut back on the watering. Make sure the soil is not soggy.  If it is super wet, you can pull the plant out and replace the peat-based potting soil with something a little drier and throw the old stuff out. 
If it is not overly wet, I would spray it with Consan 20.  Consan is also good for preventing damping off in seedlings, so you should always have some around.
Good luck!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fruits in American samoa
« on: February 23, 2024, 02:43:16 PM »
They have most of the "usual suspects" - banana, plantain, papaya, cocoa, pineapple, breadfruit, mango, avocado etc.


I grow bitter leaf in my greenhouse, and I make lamb curry sometimes with it -
First, wash the bitter leaf leaves at least 10 times by soaking in warm water, swishing around, squeezing it, draining water, etc.
Chop coarsely and simmer in salted water for about 30 minutes. Drain well.
Then I put the lamb curry on top of the cooked leaves.
For my lamb curry I use grated tomatoes (I just grate halved tomatoes on a cheese grater as a fast way to get rid of the skins), a can of coconut milk, red or yellow curry paste, depending on my mood, and a chopped yellow onion and a cube of the plain Maggi seasoning. Then I simmer the chopped lamb in that.  If I am in a hurry I put the lamb in the pressure cooker first.

That is about all I can think of that doesn't have weird stuff in it.  I am not a fan of dried prawns or dried fish - REALLY salty.

You can also use the above recipe for the cooked bitter leaf as a substitute for cooked spinach in just about any recipe.  I have tossed the cooked bitter leaf with a bit of vinegar and cooked bacon and just treated them like cooked collard greens.

The big thing is that if you treat it right ahead of time, they should not be very bitter. No more than spinach.


I have found that the leaves get bigger as the plant matures.

I had one that went all across the floor of my greenhouse. The only problem I had was that the aerial roots, once they touch the ground, tunnel and spread like crazy.  Ripping it up was a challenge.  Then I trained it up some 2x4s to keep it out of the way.
So yeah, does fine as a ground cover but can be hard to remove once it takes hold.  And it is probably deliciosa, don't know of anything else commonly available with leaves that big.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: 1 Mango, 1 Rat, 2 Cats
« on: February 21, 2024, 10:08:35 AM »
Yeah, rat, not an opossum. We used to raise baby opossums from roadkill moms. Great summer project for the kids.
Feral cats can be deadly hunters, for survival. Good thing he attached himself to your yard!

Ok, FloridaManDan, I think you nailed it.  The leaves and the fruit look the same and the range is right. Description of the ripe fruit matches also, after spending a bit of time looking at different sites.  I am telling him it is probably philodendron jaquinii.



Definitely not monstera. Don't eat it until you get a positive I'd please!!! What part of Belize was this? I am Belizean(both parents were born there).

Hi Iceman, they are near Belmopan. East of town, off George Price Hwy.

Hi All,
My son just sent me these picks from their farm in Belize. Any idea what this is and whether it is edible, poisonous, or an innocent vine of no harm. They are growing up some of their cashew trees.
He said they smell slightly of sweet corn.
No ID from the local yet either.

Thanks! Carolyn

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Sooty Mold, Pests, and Treatments
« on: February 19, 2024, 10:22:19 AM »
For mealy bugs and spider mites I use LADA imidicloprid drench and LUCID abamectin spray. I use liquids, both are ROTAM brand. Abamectin is a really good insecticide/miticide.

Fungus gnats are dead easy to get rid of. They are related to mosquitoes, so I put mosquito dunks in my greenhouse pond, wait two days, then use the water to water my plants. Kills the fungus gnat larvae in the soil.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: is there a good general tropical soil mix
« on: February 19, 2024, 10:16:15 AM »
I am in Boise, so probably have access to the same stuff as you, and I shop at Home Depot also.
Here is my recipe, which I use for everything.  If I am planting seeds, I just use a cheap plastic colander to sift it. For things that need LOTS of drainage I mix in more perlite on a pot-by-pot basis.
Even without the extra perlite, it drains really well and never gets mushy at the bottom of the pot.
I just recently started using the Turface based on reviews on this forum, and really like it.

Two 2 cu.ft. bags of Kellogg Raised Bed and Potting mix ($10 each)
One 2 cu. ft bag of perlite ($26). It is cheaper at the farm store but I burn more gas going out there...
One 50 lb bag of Turface MVP ($21) at many turf supply places or nurseries
One five gallon bucket of our free city compost


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Just a mini Rant about Youtube
« on: February 18, 2024, 10:32:30 AM »
The ones that crack me up are things like "I planted a banana and grew a banana tree!"


Ok, that's my "learned something new" for today!


Great thoughts!

I'm sure folks here would have some good ideas, but I am just wondering if you have already posted this on and what people there thought...


So, a couple of thoughts, from the "been there done that" department -
Get a 12 gauge extension cord, and get it as short as possible, so you don't leak amperage along the way. Putting it through foam pipe insulation helps also.
A heat pump may work as long as you are over about 30 degrees F, but after that you are just paying for normal heat anyway. And in the US most areas they have to be installed by a pro, permitted, etc.

What IS pretty cheap is a ventless wall furnace.  20,000 BTU ones, and a 5 gallon propane tank, will set you back less than $200.  Only drawback is that they produce water vapor.  I am in the high desert so that is great, but where you are, it may drive the humidity too high.

Good luck, and have fun with your new plant haven!


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Tamrind disease! Please HELP!
« on: February 12, 2024, 09:26:55 PM »
My guess is some sort of fungus.
On seedlings, I would give it more air flow, cut off the leaflet with the brown spot and spray the other leaflets with a fungicide like Consan. I use that stuff to prevent damping off, and anything else I find on tender seedlings. Doesn't seem to hurt them at all, even on my most tender orchid plants.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Coco coir as seed starter?!
« on: February 12, 2024, 09:36:42 AM »
I germinate in peat moss, perlite and composted manure and worm castings.
Don't have to worry about the high pH. Plus, I find that if I forget to water the coco coir it dries out very quickly. Peat holds water much better and the perlite lets it all breathe.


Citrus General Discussion / Re: 285yr old Lemon
« on: February 08, 2024, 03:00:29 PM »
Itís an antique. No telling what a collector would want.

My ripe ones I just rubbed on my shirt and the hairs came right off.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Greenhouse flooded: repot plants?
« on: February 08, 2024, 09:18:00 AM »
How many plants do you have? I mean, is it feasable to repot? If so, I sure would, starting with the most vulnerable, like marula, papaya, anything that hates wet feet.
The floor flooded, right, not the roof? Are the tops of the pots dry? Maybe you can recycle the top parts of the soil if it is dry. Put new, dry soil in the bottom and spread the wet stuff out to dry. Elevating the pots so they can drain on their own would help too.
Good luck!

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Severe (to me) white fly on 3-4í Meyer
« on: February 06, 2024, 02:22:50 AM »
Love the hummingbird eggs!


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