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Messages - Caesar

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: 10b - berries for cereal
« on: December 02, 2023, 11:52:01 AM »
Iíve had mixed results with Goji Berries. Theyíre decently-flavored and worth growing, but Crimson Star doesnít seem to like my neck of the woods at all. I got a big cluster of plants that slowly dwindled. I have about four left, seemingly dormant, and I donít think theyíll recover. Same thing happened with Stardust, went dormant then rotted away.

Phoenix Tears actually grew well for me while I had it in a pot, and fruited for me too. Then I stuck it in the ground (heavy clay), and it dwindled and died as well. That was my first Goji, and if I were to try again, thatís the variety Iíd go with.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: 10b - berries for cereal
« on: December 02, 2023, 07:33:14 AM »
How's the flavour on the Double Gold raspberries?

Havenít tried Ďem. So far it only fruited one small branch (itís a small potted plant), and the berries up and disappeared. If the birds got Ďem Iíll consider it ironic, since they donít bother any of my other berries (though I did lose a blueberry once). Iíve had the red raspberries reach over-ripeness and they were untouched by the birds.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: 10b - berries for cereal
« on: December 01, 2023, 12:21:31 PM »
Prime Ark Freedom blackberry has solidified its spot as my familyís favorite, very productive. I also grow mulberries, but havenít figured out the trick to get them to bear consistently. Low chill blueberries also do great, Iíve been fruiting Sunshine Blue, still waiting to see how Pink Lemonade does. Iíve also fruited Caroline, Joan J., and Double Gold raspberries, and am trialing Niwot and Ohioís Treasure. Iím also growing Domestic, Alpine and Vescana strawberry varieties.

The trick to temperate berries in the tropics is low chill (200 hours and under), and for caneberries in particular, primocane types (they fruit on current yearís growth, which has no chill requirement). For strawberries, Day-neutral types are more likely to fruit consistently.

Can I trouble you for some spores? Or a live dry sample? Or both? I have a cool patch in my side yard where I hope they might thrive.

Found in Australia, New Guinea, Malaysia and New Zealand. Itís literally moss... but it grows to two feet tall! (I know itís not a fruit, but itís not a vegetable either, so I posted here for visibility). Is there anybody here on the forum living or traveling near its distribution range? Iíd like to get my hands on some spores.

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Pinus maximartinezii
« on: November 30, 2023, 10:02:53 PM »
I get five of nine seeds sprouted from Pinus maximartinezi from Rare Palm Seeds! 21 cotyledons in two first, agrees with the description.

Keep a good balance on the moisture... I overdid it on the dryness and lost a few more. I moved them to the roof, and lost some more (not sure if too much or too little moisture, there were days of rain and days of clear skies). Iím down to two, Iíve settled on the same watering regimen as my other plants, and so far they seem to be doing well.

I got some Norris cuttings from achetadomestica, now sprouting in a pot. Iím curious to see if I can get it to fruit in chill-free Puerto Rico; Iíve had success with a couple of chill fruit.

The thread on Che in the other forum gives the impression that itís not a good fruit, though itís hardly a consensus. Predominantly the texture, apparently. As stated there, I got my Che for a breeding experiment... one of my two Maclura cochinchinensis finally flowered this year, and it turned out to be male. It should make for an interesting hybrid. For now I have the Che cuttings in a pot; Iím gonna try to grow them potted for a while, and then take a cutting and graft it on the Cockspur Thorn. The Spur didnít develop suckers, but I did take cuttings from both trees and they sprouted.

⁂Edit: Pics!

Che cuttings:

Cockspur Thorn:

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Pinus maximartinezii
« on: May 12, 2023, 01:31:35 PM »
I managed to get 5 or 6 seedlings to survive (not all sprouted, and some rotted after sprouting). I counted 23 cotyledons on one seedling, so theyíre legitimate! Iíve been keeping them on my front porch over concerns of rain. I water them very sparingly (and theyíre in a blend of pro mix and cactus soil), and they seem to be doing great. Now Iím wondering when I should separate them.

The pulp can be cut off pataxte and cupuasu with scissors.  The seeds can be further cleaned by rubbing with sand.  However, to dry so that you can aprovechar the seeds as nuts they donít have to be so clean.  The fruit pulp will mostly dry away and you will need to peel the skin off of the seed anyway once it is dry.

My tree died spontaneously not long after my last post, so I didnít get to try this method. I could see it getting sick and it bore one last fruit Ė which I intended to use for propagation Ė, but it disappeared under ambiguous circumstances, so I didnít get to propagate it.

I still want to taste the seeds, so Iím gonna see if I can acquire some seeds or plants in the coming weeks. I also started keeping some isopod bins and a roach bin (Halloween Hissers), so Iím thinking they could help me clean up the seeds. I actually mentioned this in a YouTube comment, Ďcause Weird Explorer made a video on Mocambo ( , he was far more generous in his assessment of fruit flavor than I was), and one person who makes chocolate out of it states that it would be difficult to commercialize due to the problem of removing the pulp.

While weíre on the subject of Theobromas, my lone Mocambo tree had no problem bearing fruit, but my CupuaÁķ tree has been flowering for a couple of years without a single fruit set. I guess CupuaÁķ needs a pollinator to bear fruit.

Someone mentioned Kei Apple, but those fruits are really delicious and the shrubs, while thorny, are very compact. The San Diego Zoo has a bunch spread around and I pick some of the fruits when they're ripe and they're great. They're also very easy to eat, unlike the vast majority of specialty fruits, because you just eat it whole. No pit.

Can you detail the flavor profile? Kei Apple was always off my radar because I had thought it was a sour fruit. I donít mind some tartness in my fruits, but Iím definitely biased towards sweetness, and I end up using most of the sour stuff in juices. For some perspective, I like eating oranges and pineapple out of hand, but lemons and passion fruit end up juiced with a big dose of sugar. Meanwhile, I eat my pitangatuba out of hand (if only due to size; I feel like juiced would be better). I had a Ketembilla years ago that I would enjoy out of hand despite the tartness, but I ultimately cut it down Ďcause it was too inconvenient to peel the fruit, and the skin had a minor bitter element that I did not care for (even the jelly we tried to make had that bitterness).

Iím not fond of thorns, but I have no trouble overlooking them for the sake of a good fruit. So howís the Kei Apple?

I am underwhelmed by jaboticabas, too.  The flesh is good but the clingy seed and thick skin makes it hard to eat them.  They are so nice looking I will definitely keep one, but I see no reason to collect more.

Goji berry is bland, I had two types from cuttings and threw them all away after a year or two

I have the Red Hybrid Jaboticaba, and it broke all the expectations I had based off the Sabaraís description. Neither the skin nor the seed were tough or tannic. I eat Ďem whole unless Iím saving the seed for planting. The skin has a pleasant, mild tartness, and I find the seed tender enough to be unobjectionable (as easy to eat as a peanut, with a tad less crunch). Definitely one of my best keepers, but my fruit collection is quite small.

Different gojis have different tastes. L. chinense supposedly tastes bad, like a weird pepper. I found L. barbarum Crimson Star to be decent (not spectacular, but worth growing), but it failed to thrive for me. Iíve read that Yellow Gojis are the best for juicing, and L. ruthenicum Black Goji has a metallic, medicinal taste. Thereís a purple-fruited hybrid of Yellow ◊ Black called Stardust that apparently has good grape-like flavor, but it died on me after spontaneously entering dormancy. I didnít get to taste it.

All of the "foodie" citrus I think are overrated.  Meyer lemon, key lime, rangpur lime, sudachi, italian lemons.  I grew them all and prefer grocery store type lemons and limes

Key Lime is considered King here in Puerto Rico. Tahiti limes are common enough in the markets, and frequently used, but ask any local which one is considered the best, and theyíll almost universally declare the Key Lime.

Pitangatuba for me.  I have only gotten a few fruit so far but they are very stringy.

This is a fruit that is apparently rather variable in flavor. Mine is standard sour, but I havenít had any stringy ones.

I didn't like Muntingia calabura too either.  It tasted good the first couple of times but never grew on me.

I like the pulp well enough as a trail nibble, but the skin has an aftertaste that I find objectionable, and while tender enough to be readily chewed, itís thickness makes it almost tough in comparison to the pulp.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Eugenia anthropophaga taste report
« on: May 04, 2023, 09:18:33 PM »
Thanks for the report! How long did it take to flower? The fruit looks similar to Pitangatuba, which is apparently variable in sweetness (but almost always sour).

Bump! How is the blueberry tree doing?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jaboticabaholics Anonymous
« on: May 02, 2023, 01:51:35 PM »
My glazioviana has been flowering for a couple of years now, but it refuses to set fruit. Any idea why? Does it need a mate? Itís right next to a fruiting vexator, so clearly hybrids arenít happening.

Has the problem continued for everyone else? I still donít get any emails from this forum, and I check my junk/spam folder every time I check my inbox.

Iíve grown Alpines from seed here in Puerto Rico. No fuss. Iím starting them again and have a few seedlings growing. Once they get past the seedling stage, they are very tough plants, handling heat waves and full-day burning sun like champs. They seem to bear fine under care, but production grows sparse when overly neglected (my neglect grew to the point of eventually killing my prior plants, but they survived under that neglect for several consecutive years). Despite their name and origins, they are very much not fussy about high temps and air humidity variations. Soil & watering might be the biggest concerns, but theyíre also the most easily-handled concerns.

My Cedar Bay Cherry arrived yesterday, very healthy and in great condition. Thank you very much Kevin!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Top cacti fruit
« on: January 02, 2023, 10:45:19 AM »
I have Rhipsalis baccifera, and one clone at my grandmotherís house regularly bears fruit, which I share with my niece. Theyíre slightly firm (sticky inside, not juicy), mildly sweet and rather insipid, but pleasant. I had brought back the cuttings from a tree they were growing on in a college campus in MayagŁez. Not something youíd go out of your way to grow for the fruit, but enjoyable if you have them on hand.

Wow, thatís impressive! I didnít think those two species were close enough to crossbreed. Is there any source for them able and willing to ship overseas?

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Pinus maximartinezii
« on: December 28, 2022, 01:24:57 PM »
Thanks for the document!

How should I go about preparing and planting them? This is my first time growing any conifer from seed. My initial plan was to soak them for a week with twice daily water changes, like I did with my Baobabs. I think theyíre native to a dry region that gets cool, but not cold, in the winter.

Did you figure out how to manage tubors treated to not sprout? I'm really hoping I did it right this time by soaking them in water with ascorbic acid added (vitamin c capsules). The elephant garlic is definitely growing and very obviously doing well compared to the one I just soaked in water. No sign of growth from the purple and white sweet potatoes though.

I wasnít aware that any tubers were treated to prevent sprouting (at least, not that I recall). I have planted sweet potatoes that ended up rotting, though. I gave my elephant garlic a soak in a water & bleach mix to prevent disease. It didnít seem to like the fluffy soil I gave it, though. It struggled for about a year, but eventually succumbed to rot. The Perennial Multiplier Leeks and Iíitoi Onions have survived like champs, and my toughest Allium has been the Rakkyo. The Canada Onion, Welsche Onions and Walking Onions have all adapted well enough, but the Potato Onions have done poorly for me (I still have some seed-grown survivors), and the Garlics and Grey Shallots ended up dying. The Grey Shallots looked like they might have had a chance under different soil, but I failed to order them this year, and theyíre sold out. All live Alliums were given the bleach water treatment prior to planting.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Top cacti fruit
« on: December 27, 2022, 10:12:00 PM »
I was actually thinking about this topic last week, so it was a welcome surprise to find this thread.

I did some searching, by no means exhaustive, but I did focus on those cacti that are used predominantly for fruit production, not those that are incidentally edible-fruited (with good flavor).

The best for edibility (in no particular order) seem to be Prickly Pears (Opuntia spp.), Bilberry Cactus (Myrtillocactus geometrizans), Apple Cacti (Cereus repandus/peruvianus; also C. jamacaru, C. hildmannianus), desert Pitayas (Stenocereus queretaroensis, S. thurberi; also S. griseus, S. stellatus, S. pruinosus, S. marginatus, S. gummosus), Dragonfruit (Selenicereus undatus, S. costaricensis/polyrhizus, S. megalanthus, and hybrids), and Barbados Gooseberry (Ora-pro-nobis as a leaf vegetable, Pereskia aculeata).

Honorable mentions include Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), Cardůn (Pachycereus pringlei), Leuenbergeria (Pereskia) bleo, Rhodocactus grandifolius (leaf vegetable), and Epiphyllum hybrids (Disocactus; there was a thread here that singled out ďArgusĒ, ďPadreĒ, ďDaybreakĒ and ďFern La BordeĒ).

Hereís a Spanish article about the fruiting Stenocereus:

Hereís the video that convinced me to seek out Stenocereus (queretaroensis is depicted, though they donít mention that):

With an additional (Spanish) video showing an orchard that grows several species of Stenocereus for commercial production:

Hereís the thread on Fruiting Epiphyllums:;all

Hereís an article that mentions several named prickly pear fruiting cultivars (among other cacti), but I havenít found any of them (most net searches lead me to believe that practically any random opuntia can prolifically bear tasty fruit, though I donít know about that):

I myself have an unnamed spineless Opuntia, three Bilberry Cacti, several unnamed Dragonfruit (and some Palora yellow megalanthus), Argus and Padre Epiphyllum (I canít find ďDaybreakĒ or ďFern La BordeĒ). All are still small.

Note: even spineless Opuntias have glochids. Handle with care.

I also tried to grow another succulent, Carpobrotus glaucescens, a few years back, as the fruit is said to be quite good. But despite being advertised in almost weed-like terms, it failed to thrive once it hit adulthood. The dryness hurt it, water hurt it more, the sun hurt it even more, and the shade seems to have been worse. I havenít the foggiest idea what went wrong that time... but if thereís a chance at success, Iíd like to try again. I got my seeds from Fair Dinkum Seeds, and shipping used to be cheap, but I donít know if that continues to be the case.

Edit: Mammillaria fruit seems to be a popular forage in Zacatecas, Mexico. Not sure on the species though. The fruit is called ďChilitosĒ (little chiles).

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Pinus maximartinezii
« on: December 27, 2022, 09:17:05 PM »
Gotta keep watch on eBay. No current listings, but there were a couple a few weeks ago. One was exceedingly expensive, the other a more manageable $20 for 10 seeds. I snatched Ďem up and they arrived today. They seem legitimate, quite huge, though Iíve never seen in-shell pine nuts in person. I temporarily stuck a penny in the bag, for scale:

Edit: somebody please look at the pic and tell me I didnít get scammed.  ;D

I had a good enough harvest from the Dioscorea bulbifera from Caesar to show and even eat. I picked bulbils and dug out  tubers to relocate them this spring. They were strong growers and began to overtak some young mango trees planted close by.

The flesh is yellow and not so slippery as most yams. I fried some and the taste was excellent, very neutral flavor with nothing off-putting, equal to potato. The batch pictured I left the skin on but it was too tough to chew, however it pulled off easily with no waste.
One thing about these is they are good eating and the outward appearance is pretty regular, smooth and not gnarly bumpy or covered with roots. Plus they do taste very good!

I am so glad that they fared well for you! I was beginning to worry that the beetles would impact your harvest too much to make them worthwhile.

The cooking description is well appreciated as well, and Iím glad you liked them. I sometimes worry (despite feeling that I oversell their productive qualities) that I undersell them in terms of flavor... condemnation by faint praise, you could say. But while itís true that Iíve had better yams in terms of flavor, I really do enjoy the air potatoes, and Iíve nothing negative to say about them when eaten fresh (Iíve only felt distasteful bitterness from air potatoes left sitting for a long time).

I harvested this Air potato two days back, it weighed a whopping 3.1lbs.

Thatís an aerial bulbil? Itís huge! How old was the root that produced it?

About 3 months back I found this Yam growing on a tree in my farm. It looks as if I had planted the tuber two or three years back and had not noticed the vine.

The vine is different in that, it has 6 ridges and not 4 as compared to other Dioscoreas I have, and there are small thorns in the ridges.
Last week when I checked on the vine it had dried up and the seed tubers were falling down. So yesterday I decided to dig up the tuber. Initially the tuber appeared the thickness of a thumb but as I went deeper it became thicker, but it is so tender that the slightest pressure on the soil would break the tuber, as you will see from the no. of pieces! Finally after a depth of about two and a half feet, the tuber had grown into the root of the tree and I had to abandon my attempt.

After boiling the tuber, when I tasted it I got a surprise! It is the tastiest Yam I have eaten! It is very creamy and unbelievably 'White' !!

Six ridges and thorns are within the range described for the species, but Iíve never seen it myself. The vine is very likely to grow back from the portion remaining in the soil.

Alatas are often some of the best yams out there. Rarely have I had any bitter ones, the worst ones Iíve had were fibrous, but those were few and far between. Iím partial to rotundata myself, but thatís because I mash them, so it doesnít matter that theyíre hard and dense. Alatas are generally soft, they practically melt in your mouth, and can fall apart and dissolve with long cooking, no mashing required (unless you prefer it). At least, thatís been my experience with the varieties Iíve had here.

The mother root has been in the ground two years. Every three years I dig up the mother root to boil and eat, as it is tastier than the arial tuber. I plant a new one in its place.

Have any roots older than that remained in the ground? Have you noticed a difference in quality, size and production with older vines?

Anyone have any yams they want to trade? I have a fee types of bulbifera: Hawaii and Mexico. As well as a few alata cultivars: Emperor(i think was the name)) purple, another purple, yellow and white fleshed alatas.

PM sent! Iíve lost some varieties, and am interested in getting them back.

This bulbifera tuber I had dug up yesterday and it weighed 4.756 kgs or  about 10.5 lbs. After boiling, it was soft but not mushy and slightly sweet! Much better than the arial tuber.

I guess it pays to renew the stock every once in a while! I think I may start doing that myself with my own bulbiferas.

Iím sorry to say that the bumpy CV-2 was among the varieties I lost (though CV-1 remains a survivor for me). Iíve justified growing them in totes for so long out of a fear of losing them to my heavy soil. But after several losses despite my best efforts, I get the feeling that they might actually have a better chance of weathering drought and accessing nutrients in my heavy clay instead of the tote containers.

I dug up these Dioscorea esculenta tubers today. Tubers from this vine is what Caesar has.

Theyíve borne decently well in the totes, but this next year I may put them into the clay ground as well. All I need is a pickaxe to fluff the soil at planting, and a good layer of mulch. They make good eating, but my methods havenít been good at yielding larger tubers (even the usually prodigious rotundata has repeatedly yielded baseball-sized tubers in my totes).

God I wish there were more folks involved in cultivating and selling the edible bulbiferas. It's an extraordinary producer and I'd love to get my hands on some.

Iíve been wishing the same for a long time. At the height of my collection, I had no less than 9 varieties (and possibly more). Iím now down to 3, at least. If there were more growers, replacing them would be simple, but now Iím nearly at a loss as to how to replace them. Some of my own sources no longer sell them. As to my own situation... it is the same as when I first started in this forum. The same little suburban backyard. No farm, no land. My efforts at obtaining them have waned, but Iíve not fully given up, and am looking forward to this next year. But to return from the digression, my current state of affairs is not conducive to the preservation of a species, let alone multiple varieties of space-needy vines.

In terms of bulbifera, I still have CV-1, Saipan Purple, and Mae-sai Yellow. I believe Sena may still be available from Stephward Estate (though they wouldnít likely call it that, I named it on my end). The one I call Nonthaburi Yellow still seems consistently available from the same eBay vendor. I still have my contact for the Tefoe varieties (Purple, Green, Yellow), but I havenít contacted him in a long time, so I donít know if heís still online. I donít know where to re-acquire Odisha Yellow, Africa or Mexico, and my source for Hawaii has been difficult to reach on my last attempts.

This has been my pet project, one of my most important efforts, and my failure to yield good results with what should be a very productive species has taken a mental toll on me. It is actually the biggest reason why Iíve dropped off the forums for so long.

The last couple of years I have propagated a bunch of dioscorea with varying soccess. The alatas went crazy. A few other types did o.k. About January when the vines had all dried out and some bulbous started dropping I carefully collected the bulbils and brought them into the house. Early March I put them in pots and back outside. Then the critter raids started. Everything got mixed up and no labels were left in place. Guess I'm going to have some now unidentified dioscorea....

Fading labels and shared containers were a big issue with my ability to identify varieties. Species ID is a cinch, but good luck telling different varieties apart during the growing season.

Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Which dioscorea is that?
« on: February 15, 2021, 10:51:12 PM »
Looks like batatas (polystachya). The flowers should smell of cinnamon.

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