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Messages - TNAndy

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering's Charge
« on: November 19, 2020, 06:05:56 PM »
Another thing I wanted to mention is to try a root pruning pot. I originally bought my tree in a 3 gal container. I up-potted it into a 5gal Rootmaker Injection Molded container. It put on a lot of growth in this container! Tripled in size in one season. Now I am looking for a 10gal root pruning container but have not found one I like. The largest Rootmaker makes is 5gal. They supposedly make a 15gal but have not seen it anywhere for sale.

I'm a veteran when it comes to root tip pruning systems, am using bottomless Rootbuilder now.  I'm now on my 2nd 105' roll and will be expanding "pots" come spring.  I don't like the injection molded because they require a lot of frequent watering under my conditions which can get pretty hot here in Texas.   

For 20 or so years I treated conventional black pots with Griffin's Spin-Out.  Root tip pruning is done via Cu ions at the pot walls/bottom.  It's the best.  It's also very expensive now.  MicroKote is another option.

Yes, root pruning systems is the only way to go.  Have posted this before, will make the point again.  This is a Reed that was frozen down to a stump in Jan. 2018, 18F.  Here it is pushing 3 shoots from where I stopped pruning in March.

7 months later October 28:

Would you please give me a link or links to the root pruning system or chemical or whatever it is you are using?

That is a beautiful tree!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering's Charge
« on: November 19, 2020, 06:01:58 PM »

>> Do you have your mango in a window or under artificial light while it is in the garage?

Yes, I do have a cheap LED shop light over it in the garage(The kind they have at Costco. Probably cost me $10-15)

Another thing I wanted to mention is to try a root pruning pot. I originally bought my tree in a 3 gal container. I up-potted it into a 5gal Rootmaker Injection Molded container. It put on a lot of growth in this container! Tripled in size in one season. Now I am looking for a 10gal root pruning container but have not found one I like. The largest Rootmaker makes is 5gal. They supposedly make a 15gal but have not seen it anywhere for sale.

Root pruning pot?!?  This is the very first I've ever heard of such a thing!

My mango was not ever root bound that I could tell in the post-mortem.  Usually you can tell because there will be a cylinder of roots with few to none extending outside the cylinder.
OK, went to the Rootmaker website, but I'm not sure how this system would apply to me.  I'm not planting a seed, I'm buying a plant that's already been grown and grafted in a nursery.

When I received my grafted Pickering Mango, I can't remember if it was bare root or not.  Either way, I put it in a 3 gallon (nominal), tall black plastic nursery pot.  I don't remember how long it stayed there, but it was long enough for the decline to start in the nursery pot.  Usually that's my signal to pot a plant up into its permanent container.  Allowing significantly more room for roots usually fixes the problem.  My mango went exactly the opposite way--the decline accelerated.

My typical practice is to put a small piece of 1/2 inch hardware "cloth" in the bottom of the 3 gallon pot.  This prevents the weed-prevent cloth from forming a seal over any of the drainage holes.  When re-potting, I pull off these things.  This usually loosens the roots at the bottom.  If any roots are root bound along the sides of the container, I pull them away from the soil and make sure they extend into the new soil as I fill up the new pot.

I definitely did not wash all the soil off the roots.  Some of the original potting mix was still clinging to the roots when I yanked it up.

I guess I could use a 3 or 5 gallon Rootmaker pot as the intermediate container...?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Good spray bottle
« on: November 19, 2020, 12:34:32 AM »
The last time I had a scale infestation on a plant I really wanted to save, I used an old, soft toothbrush and soapy water to scrub every leaf and stem, top and bottom.  That worked for a while.  This is likely a lather, rinse, repeat situation.

The problem with a lot of scale bug species is once they attach, they form a waxy layer that tends to prevent regular insecticides, even oil based, from penetrating.  You generally have to scrape them off, leaf by leaf, stem by stem.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering's Charge
« on: November 19, 2020, 12:27:08 AM »
Alas, I've already tossed it.  I can report it wasn't root rot.  It took some effort to yank it out of the soil which generally isn't the case with root rot.  After I knocked the dirt off the rootstock, I noticed the trunk still had some green cambium layer where the bark was hit.  The entire upper grafted part was quite dead and that bark was, for lack of a better term, squishy.  Not wet sponge squishy, it was a dry sort of squishy.  I don't know how to describe it better than that.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering's Charge
« on: November 18, 2020, 12:19:29 PM »
Here's a picture of my coffee tree.  It's in a 22 inch diameter pot where my mango was in something slightly larger.  The point is, you can see the base and the casters under the container.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering's Charge
« on: November 18, 2020, 12:14:28 PM »
Pickering is a great tasting mango so give it another try.

I'm in 8A and my Pickering stays in an unheated but attached garage from late October through April. This year it bloomed and set fruit while still in the garage.

It is currently in a 7 gal container with a relatively fast draining mix.  I think it helps keeping it in a smaller container so there is not much excess water, but you have to monitor and water more regularly. I was watering it twice a day during the hottest part of the summer. In the garage I water it maybe once a week.

I certainly want to try again, but mangoes are quite expensive, and I want to do everything I can to get it right this time.

Do you have your mango in a window or under artificial light while it is in the garage?

My sunroom is also attached to the south side of my house.  (That's why I call it a sunroom rather than a greenhouse.)  I watch the weather in October and bring my plants inside during the week before the first overnight frost is predicted.

While it remains relatively warm, on sunny days I open the outer door to the porch and run the vent fan to keep it from overheating.  Once it turns cold, I open the vents of the central heat system and open the inside doors to the living room.

I have six 5,000 lumen LED shop lights hanging from the ceiling that I tend to use on cloudy days and the evenings.  They're the $20 Harbor Freight lights and I have no idea if their spectrum is usable by plants or not.  At least I can see....

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering's Charge
« on: November 18, 2020, 11:44:38 AM »
I'm sorry to hear you lost it.

A few questions.

What size pot was it in?
Does it have holes in the bottom?
Is the bottom touching the ground?
Also, fine Coir mixed with Potting soil alone wouldn't make it fast-draining, did you add anything extra?

I have grown many mangos in pots with no problem but I'm not an expert in that subject.
In SoFlo our PH is pretty high so I don't think it matters much

Sounds to me like an overwatering/too much water issue.

I appreciate the sympathy.

It was in about a 24 inch diameter pot with about 14 inches of soil depth.  This is about 6333 cubic inches or 3-2/3 cubic feet or a little over 27 gallons.

Yes, of course the pot has drainage holes.  I drilled 3/4 inch holes in the bottom where they could freely drain without hindrance by the base.  I lined the bottom with welded wire hardware cloth with half inch centers.  Next I put in a layer of black, non-woven, mulch cloth.  This is normally used in gardens to prevent weeds from growing through the mulch.  I use it to keep the potting mix from falling out of the drainage holes

It was off the ground.  For my large containers (18 inch diameter on up) I build a base of preservative treated "two-by" wood.  I paint the inside and bottom of this box with black Flex Seal, and the outside with regular house paint to match the color of the bricks on my house.  The purpose of the base is so I can mount casters on the bottom for ease of movement.  I have to bring all my tropical plants indoors, into my sunroom, for the winter.  As you can imagine, 27 gallons of moist soil, plus container would be unmanageable without casters.

Originally the soil depth was 16 or 17 inches, but it settled over time.  The coir was not finely ground (like peat), it was more of a course grind (like sand).  It soaked in so fast that it was impossible for water to pool on the surface.  However, both the Sta-Green and the coir do retain a lot of water.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering's Charge
« on: November 17, 2020, 12:57:14 PM »
Looks like you live pretty near me...For my mangoes, I have had no problem with root rot no matter what mix it is in- peat/perlite, miracle grow potting soil etc. My mangoes have done well without ferts, now I do use a little 8-3-9 here and there. I would remove all flower panicles until the mango tree reaches a good size. In winter I don't water as much to avoid root rot. My trees have taken 40-45 and no damage. My mallika does well in the greenhouse and is a fairly compact grower imo. From what I have heard, pickering is a good mango to grow and stays pretty compact.

Thanks for a quick response!

As I recall, I mixed Sta-Green regular potting mix and ground coconut coir.  Sta-Green has a lot of peat and I wanted to add something that would resist rotting away.  Maybe mangoes and coconuts are anti-companion plants?

I'm in Sevier County, probably Zone 7A, not that that matters much with a heated sunroom.

What size container do you have your mangoes in?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Pickering's Charge
« on: November 17, 2020, 12:37:51 PM »
Well, after struggling for the last two years, my Pickering mango finally bit the dust.  It never was very healthy, yet early on it apparently spent what little strength it had on huge flowers instead of leaves.  The first year I foolishly left the flower stalk alone.  Last year I cut it off shortly after I identified that was what it was.  That didn't help.  The decline continued.

Despite a very well drained potting mix, it showed all the symptoms of root rot.  There were numerous sprouts of small leaves but the leaves all too soon dried up and fell off.  The inside container dimensions are 22 inch diameter by 14 inch soil depth.  It started with 17 inches, but it settled more than I expected.  Or maybe the pH was wrong...or not enough fertilizer....  I'm grasping at straws.

My cheap pH meter reads 7 on everything, even my azaleas, and I've added copious amounts of soil acidifier.

I don't think it's sheer incompetence on my part--my Kona coffee tree is producing cherries nicely.  I harvested a over a dozen very tasty satsuma oranges in October.  I've got green fruit hanging on my papaya.

I'd like to try for mangoes again, but I must solicit advice on the ideal potting mix and a variety of mango that is well suited for containers and cool temperatures.  My sunroom has unavoidably dipped below 50 degrees F on rare occasion.  I take my tropical fruit plants outside for the summer and bring them in over the winter.  Can you tell me the ideal pH for mango?

Pickett's...Pickering's...get it?  Maybe I'm channeling too much Dennis Miller.

Are Piper nigrum plants strictly dioecious?  In other words, are there males (only produce pollen), females (no pollen but bear seeds), and no self-fertile plants?

Clearly the Piper kadsura I have is a male (only) since it produces worlds of pollen but I've never seen a seed.

Thanks for the images.

In fact it is not the Piper nigrum. These plants are frequently sold across whole EU as true P. nigrum, but it is probably P. kadsura easier for indoor growing but only as a decorative plant. True peppercorn has different leaves and you must get the clonal variety which develop the fruits without polination, otherwise you will need female and male plants for succesfull fruiting. Many other species of wild peppers are dioecious (P. cubeba, guineense, retrofractum, longum etc.)

Thanks.  So you're pretty sure this isn't simply a male and if I had a female I might get peppercorns?

Do you have a picture of the leaves of a known P. nigrum?

I have a plant that was sold to me as Black Pepper (Piper nigrum).  There are lots and lots of flowers, but none of the flower spikes has ever grown a peppercorn.  They start off green, turn yellow and shed lots of pollen, then turn brown and fall off.  I've had it for about 3 years.  It's growing in an 18 inch square, 12 inch high planter.  I keep it in my heated sunroom over the winter.  I'm giving it partial shade.

If you are familiar with Piper nigrum, can you verify that is what this is?  I'm pretty sure this is something in the Piper genus, but I'm beginning to doubt it's nigrum.

If you grow Piper nigrum, can you suggest what I might need to do to get peppercorns?


Years ago I planted some clover (whatever kind it is that's growing in my yard--red? white? I don't know) alongside my container plants.  I thought as a legume it would help provide a natural source of nitrogen.  What it actually provided was a natural source of white flies.   >:(  They loved it and once they ate it up, they spread to several of my other plants.  I was not pleased.  You have been warned....

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Carambola Juice
« on: November 23, 2019, 04:48:31 PM »
The problem with oxalate is it tends to occur as oxalic acid in the plants.  Oxalic acid, like most organic acids, is readily soluble.  Once in the body, the acid tends to be neutralized with a base to form the oxalate (technically it's a salt--but obviously not table salt which is sodium chloride).  Most oxalates have a relatively low solubility.  Your kidneys naturally concentrate salts in urine.  High concentrations of low solubility salts tend to crystallize a portion of the solute out of the solution.  If you've ever made rock candy, you've seen this phenomenon firsthand.

The answer is, if you eat foods high in oxalic acid, be sure to drink plenty of fluids so the resulting oxalates don't have a chance to form kidney stones.  Staying well hydrated is a good idea for most healthy people anyway.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: How big does Jackfruit need to be...?
« on: November 23, 2019, 04:07:19 PM »
Here are three views of my sunroom.  You might say it's more of a greenhouse than a sunroom because most of the ceiling is glass.  It's a bit longer than 27 feet East to West; not quite 12 feet North to South; approximately 300 square feet.

This is the view looking toward the East.  The window is approximately 4-1/2 feet high by 8-1/2 feet wide.  The six glass panes in the ceiling and the three windows across the South wall are the same size.  Notice the Hawaiian heritage coffee tree full of cherries on the left.  ;D

This is the view looking toward the South.  The tree line is far enough away and at a lower elevation (down the hill) that I get full sun all day long.  That's a Frankincense in the foreground.   ;D

This is the view looking toward the West.  The double doors are 8 feet tall.  I take all my plants outside in late Spring to enjoy the wind, rain, Summer heat and humidity.  I bring them back inside in mid October before the first frost.  That's why all my larger plant containers are mounted on rolling platforms.

The floor is concrete.  There's just enough slope to let excess water flow to the drainage channel along the South wall.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / How big does Jackfruit need to be...?
« on: November 12, 2019, 01:38:27 PM »
How big does a Jackfruit tree need to be in order to bear fruit?  I've read these trees reach 40 feet tall at maturity, but at best, I've got only about 12 feet in my sunroom.  I know many plants naturally dwarf if they are grown in a container, but if I can't grow fruit in a "patio" size tree, there's not much point.  It sure wouldn't live through the winter outdoors here in Zone 7.

My wife and I took the Taste of Jamaica Tour out of Ocho Rios a couple of weeks ago.  The tour guide provided over a dozen different fruits and vegetables for us to taste.  Jackfruit was by far the sweetest and most delicious.  From what I've read, what we tasted must have been fully matured fruit and not the "young" Jackfruit.

If you get a chance, I heartily recommend this tour.  As we drove up and down the mountains, the driver/tour guide would stop the bus, point out a plant or tree, and then let us taste a sample of that fruit.  There were at least half a dozen fruits I had never even seen before, much less tasted.  Jackfruit was among the fruits that were entirely new to me.  Yummy!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Greenhouse Ideas - Construction Photos
« on: November 12, 2019, 01:20:13 PM »
Regarding electric heaters, I learned a very hard lesson several years ago.  I had been using a pretty nice oscillating heater with a built-in thermostat.  Unfortunately, if the power goes off, these types of heaters do not turn themselves back on.  The power doesn't have to be off very long for this to happen.  A flicker might do it.

We left the house to visit family and friends over Christmas and were gone a week.  Apparently, there was an outage.  I lost dozens and dozens of little coffee saplings.  (Strangely, a few saplings survived.  I have no idea if a tiny minority of coffee trees are slightly more cold tolerant than most or not.  It's not the kind of experiment I want to repeat.)

If there's any chance you won't be on site to monitor and remedy any power outages, I strongly recommend a basic heater with no electronics.  Since then, I've used a thermostat-free blower type heater and an oil-based radiator type heater.  If the power is on, these heaters are on.  Fortunately, basic heaters tend to be less expensive than the fancy ones with thermostats.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Small-Lot Seed Importation to USA
« on: November 12, 2019, 01:01:17 PM »
Very informative and well spelled out. Some important corrections.
6) You are not limited to 50 seeds or 200 grams of each species. It's just that they don't want you to put more than that in each individual bag. So if, for example, you want to bring in 200 seeds of coffee, then you would use 4 bags containing 50 seeds each. (This rule is so that the inspection agent can clearly and rapidly see through the bag if there is any problem, not to limit the amount of seeds you bring in.)

Well I'll be...  You're right.  There's no specific limitation that says separate bags cannot contain the same species.  Here's the relevant part:
"(ii) There are a maximum of 50 seeds of 1 taxon (taxonomic category such as genus, species, cultivar, etc.) per packet; or a maximum weight not to exceed 10 grams of seed of 1 taxon per packet;
(iii) There are a maximum of 50 seed packets per shipment;"

In my case, I collected 38 disease and pest free coffee seeds and was unable to locate any Bursera seeds at all.  I've had excellent germination rates with coffee as long as I plant in late May or June, but even if I get only one healthy coffee tree out of these seeds, I'll count this experience as a resounding victory.

It doesn't look like anyone can use a small lot permit to import a coconut.

7) Most small seed lot permits being issued now are ONLY for mailing seeds through the mail. Most permit issued now do not allow to bring in seeds in person on a flight. They used to allow this, but have recently changed it. Check your permit carefully to see if you can still bring seeds in person. Also if you are allowed to bring seeds in person on your permit, make sure you are flying into the USA at an airport that has a USDA APHIS PPQ inspection station. Not all airports have them. Also you will have to fly in between 8-4 if you want the seeds released to you. Otherwise they will have to be mailed to you later. Also allow at least an extra hour for the inspection if you have a connecting flight.

Here's the text in my permit regarding this:
"8. Hand carry through personal baggage without PIS inspection is not authorized under this permit. All shipments utilizing this permit must enter the United States through a USDA PIS via Parcel Post, Air mail, or must be surrendered at the terminal for movement to the PIS. All Costs are the responsibility of the permit holder."  (emphasis mine)

How recently was this change made?  My permit was approved in February 2019, so if they changed the rules, it must have been very recently.  Hopefully, the rules in my permit are grandfathered.

So if I fly through Charlotte next year (which has no local PIS) would the seed shipment need to be mailed to the Atlanta, GA PIS?  Or do you think this would be a case of "sorry, you used the wrong airport"?

8) Not all inspection stations require additional postage for remailing to you for a package being mailed for another country. For example, the Honolulu office forwards mail after inspection at no charge. I've heard that others, like Miami inspection station don't, so check with your plant inspection station.

It's interesting that different Plant Inspection Stations would have different rules.  The lady at the Atlanta, GA PIS said they do forward mail. 

In addition to country collected, name of collector, now inspection stations are asking that an invoice be included. If there are  lot of species being imported make sure your shipper lists them in latin in alphabetical order, and that none of them are in the black list (prohibited species).

Here's what my permit says:
"(i) A typed or legibly printed seed list/invoice accompanies each shipment with the name of the collector/shipper, the botanical names (at least to genus, preferably to species level) listed alphabetically, as well as the country of origin, and country shipped from, for each taxon. Each seed packet is clearly labeled with the name of the collector/shipper, the country of origin, and the scientific name at least to the genus, and preferably to the species level. The invoice/seed list may provide a code for each lot, which may be used on the seed packets in lieu of the full list of required information. In this case, each packet must at least include the appropriate code, which is referenced to the entry for that packet on the seed list/invoice."

Fortunately, I was prepared with my seed list, copy of my permit, and my properly labeled ziplock bags, all included as if I were mailing the shipment to the PIS.

12) If you are using Fed Ex or UPS for forwarding you can just include your courier account number in the information inside the box. No postage necessary.

Well, I'm just a hobbyist, not any kind of commercial grower.  I don't have an account with any shippers.  I have donated surplus plants at the local Master Gardener plant sale, but this sure isn't what I do for a living.

If you are carrying seeds in person on a flight, and your permit allows this, make sure to ask the CBP (customs border patrol) agent to escort you to the airport USDA plant inspection station.

They didn't offer me a choice in this.  The CBP officer in the booth called the escort over and she led us directly to the CBP "stuff to declare" inspection area.

This is extremely important. CBP agents are not only misinformed, or uninformed, they also PREFER to just confiscate all your seeds under any pretense as this makes things a lot easier for them.
If you are attempting to use your small seed lot permit for the first time, i strongly recommend that you just make it a very small amount of seeds that you will not cry about if you lose. The whole procedure is more complicated than it needs to be. But after you've done it once or twice you can be more certain there will not be any snags along the way.

Yeah, I'd say that's excellent advice.  Happily, I was entirely successful on my first try.  As I said, read the rules and conditions in your permit carefully.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Small-Lot Seed Importation to USA
« on: November 12, 2019, 02:44:35 AM »
I just accomplished my first legal importation of coffee seeds for planting from Jamaica and I'd like to share my experience.  Moderators, if you think this might be helpful to other members going forward, please consider making this thread a sticky.

As you might imagine, there are several steps required to import seeds for planting legally.

  • Obtain Level 1 Access with the USDA.  You will fill out a short application that includes your name and email address among other things.  Once submitted, they will send you an email.  When you reply to the email, this verifies that you are the owner of that email address.
  • Obtain Level 2 Access.  Same website as above.  This is a much longer form to fill out.  Again, they will email a response.  You must take a printout of that response email to a physical USDA location with a government issued ID to prove you are the person associated with the account and email address.  In my case, I had a lot of trouble receiving the response email.  For some reason, my ISP was not transmitting it to my inbox.  Fortunately, the eAuth help desk was, in fact, quite helpful.  I don't remember now whether it was Level 1 or Level 2 that requires you to create a password, but it is a time-killing ordeal trying to come up with a password that they will accept.  Even if you follow the instructions to the letter, it's likely to require multiple attempts.  Once you are successful, be sure to write it down and perhaps save it to your browser.  You will need to log in every so often or your password will expire.
  • You will need to know at least the genus of the plant seeds you want to import.  You need to consult the list of plants that are allowed/disallowed for importation.  Plants that are invasive (kudzu), parasitic (dodder, sandalwood), and other undesirable species are definitely on the prohibited list.  You may be allowed to import certain seeds from some countries and not others.  You may be allowed to import certain seeds to some states and not others.  In my case, Coffea species are prohibited from import when destined for Hawaii or Puerto Rico.  Since I'm growing my plants in Tennessee, they're OK.
  • Login to the ePermits system.
  • Click "Create/Renew/Amend Application".  Follow the bouncing ball and fill out the online application form.  You can apply to import several species from different countries on the same permit.  In my case, I applied for Coffea arabica from Jamaica, Bursera species from Jamaica, Commiphora species from Israel, and Protium species from Mexico.  A permit is good for three years and can be renewed.  You can import multiple small lots under the same permit.  For instance, I could import some coffee seeds from Jamaica this year and another batch of coffee seeds from Jamaica next year.
  • If you met all of the conditions set forth in the Plants for Planting Manual, you should receive an approval within a few days.  Print and read the permit.  It will have several pages of rules and conditions for a small-lot seed importation.  For instance, small lots are limited to 50 or fewer seeds or 10 grams of seeds per species, whichever is less.  You are limited to 50 or fewer species.
  • You will need green and yellow shipping labels.  This is a separate request from your permit.  You will need to designate the Plant Inspection Station (PIS) where you want your seeds inspected.  You will receive the shipping labels attached to an email.  Since I knew I would be flying back through Atlanta, I chose the Georgia Plant Inspection Station.  The shipping labels are pre-addressed to the PIS you chose.  Again, I had some trouble receiving the shipping labels.  I had to contact my ISP in order to resolve the email problem.
  • You will need a shipping container (box) and resealable plastic bags for your seeds, one bag per species.  The box must have the shipping label attached.  You will need to include a copy of your permit and a seed list.  The seed list must include information as set forth in the permit.  The resealable bags are labeled with the name of the shipper, country of origin, and at least the genus--preferably genus and species.  You will need to include postage inside the box for the shipment from the Plant Inspection Station to your home.  I know for a fact the Georgia PIS can ship using FedEx.  I'm pretty sure they can ship UPS, and I strongly suspect they can ship USPS Priority mail.
  • I collected my coffee seeds personally.  You (or the shipper) must clean your seeds of all pulp, seed husks, other plant parts, and soil--in other words, nothing but seeds go in the bag.  Be absolutely sure to cull any seeds with any signs of insect damage or disease.  If the Plant Inspection Station doesn't like what they see, they can destroy the entire batch of seeds.  As I said above, for small lots, you are limited to 50 or fewer seeds or 10 grams per species, whichever is less.  You may import no more than 50 species at a time--in other words, no more than 50 bags of seeds.  Seeds imported via a Small-Lot Permit do not require a Phytosanitary Certificate.
  • Seal the bags.  Make sure you have included all the properly labeled seed bags, seed list, permit, and postage inside your box.  Tape the box closed.
  • I hand carried my seed box in my carry-on luggage for the flight home.  When you arrive at immigration, you must declare that you are importing seeds.  I did this at the kiosk.  When I met the CBP agent in the booth, he called over an escort.  The escort took me to the "items to declare" station.  The Customs and Border Protection agents will X-ray your luggage.  Hand them the box containing your seeds.  In Atlanta, they will hand-deliver your seeds to the PIS.
  • Hopefully your seeds will pass inspection and you will receive them within a few days.  In my case, I arrived in Atlanta Sunday evening and FedEx delivered my seeds the following Wednesday.

I have not yet tried to import seeds from a country I did not visit.  The inbound shipment goes directly to the PIS.  My understanding is the PIS has a deal with the shipping companies so that the inbound shipping fees cover both the trip into the USA and the trip from the PIS to your home.  Having not tried it myself, I cannot confirm this.  If I succeed in having someone else ship seeds to me, I will post that experience to this thread and add a link to that post here.

This is key:  If you have any questions, ask the Plant Inspection Station people, not the Customs and Border Protection people.  CBP, especially the woman I spoke with in Washington DC, may not know what they are talking about.  In my case, I received incorrect information from CBP whereas the lady at the PIS was both knowledgeable and very helpful.

I can hardly wait for late next May when the weather here becomes ideal for planting coffee seeds.  If they sprout, I will be growing both Hawaiian and Jamaican varieties of coffee trees.  By the way, it is much easier, but yet not trivial, to bring seeds from Hawaii to the mainland.  I'll cover that in a separate post, too.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What climate zone?
« on: December 29, 2018, 04:25:07 PM »
My first two cents is your average low winter temperature is probably between 7F and 12F.

My second two cents is I suggest you buy one of the thermometers that records the low temperature.  Put it outside this winter, and see what your lowest temperature is.  Record your low temperature for the next 10 years.  Average the result.  That will tell you more about your microclimate than a line on a map will.

8 days in to Winter, and we are talking about Spring is near. A bunch of my mango trees are blooming.

I just bought my Pickering mango a few month ago and it's already blooming.  I'm sure I will have to prune any fruit that develops so the tree can grow stronger, but it's just so cool it's blooming already!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Dried Chunk Mango recommendations?
« on: November 13, 2018, 12:57:58 AM »
I've been a big fan of dehydrated pineapple for years.  Not long ago I discovered dried mango chunks at a relative's house and tasted them for the first time.  Delicious!  Both dried pineapple and dried mango can be eaten like candy.

As with most products, I suspect there may be truly excellent brands, some that are average, and perhaps some that are not so great.  If you eat dried mango chunks, which brands do you think are better than average to excellent?  Do you buy them in your local grocery store or online?

Are there other candy-like dried fruits I need to try?  I have a sweet tooth, so I'm not as interested in sour stuff as I am in sugary fruits.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: !!HELP!!
« on: November 13, 2018, 12:30:19 AM »
While I am no expert, I believe this is a fairly common thing with T. cacao.  Usually the leaves turn brown from the tip going up, but I've seen leaves on my plants just like the ones in your picture.

Logee's has a video and they talk about this "leaf burn" at about time index 3:07.

If the burn occurs on old leaves and you see a new flush of leaves coming on, I would not sweat it.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering Mango container size?
« on: November 06, 2018, 04:27:04 PM »
have one in a 5 gallon pot for about a year now and the tree is about 5ft tall. i'll be repotting it probably into a 10 gallon pot for the next step up. and then see how that goes. i rather not have to keep on re-potting but it's prob best in the long run for the tree. also i get to amend the soil and check on the roots. i've only used dr. earth potting soil or the kellogg ones but i'll amend with worm castings, fertilizers etc. seems to be okay so far.

I have my Pickering in about a 3.5 gallon pot right now.  I might be able to pot it up into a 5 gallon pot, but going much larger than that is going to be unwieldy when it comes time for the 60+ gallon final container.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pickering Mango container size?
« on: November 06, 2018, 04:20:05 PM »
I don't have first hand experience but I also bought Pickering, Cogshall, Ice Cream and Orange Essence to grow in pots (I ran out of room in my backyard). They are currently in 5-7 gallon pots, I am planning to transfer them into 15 then to 25 and finally to 65 gallon pots as they grow big. I already bought 65 gallon pots for them since they aren't easy to come by at local nurseries.


Do you know whether mangos are deep rooted (container would need extra height), shallow rooted (container would need extra diameter), or average (container would need a balance between diameter and height)?

You are definitely right about large pots not being easy to come by.  The largest I've found in my locale is 24 inch diameter by 15 inch height (about 27 gallons if my calculations are correct).  I definitely want something bigger for a permanent pot, but it's hard to find anything less than $200.  I found a Japi Low Linea planter on Hayneedle for $156 and free shipping.  The size is 30.7 inch diameter by 24.5 inch high which by my math is about 62 gallons.

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