Update from Thailand
January - Back in the greenhouse
Top right pic is the Sabara jaboticaba. I can always count on it having fruit or being in bloom almost non-stop. It is a very tasty fruit...similar to a grape but with a very distinct, tropical flavor. The skin can be eaten but is not tasty at all. The flesh clings to the seeds with a death grip as well. So I get what flesh I can after breaking the skin and then spit skin and seeds out...not even trying to get the flesh off.
Middle left pic are the Surinam Cherry trees. They are in their largest bloom to date. Most of the time, the fruit is very sweet and tasty. However, every couple fruit will be terribly bitter and acidic.
February - A time to fig
The cuttings from the plants have also provided gifts for friends and on occasion, a little extra money from selling them locally. It's a great plant for anyone wanting to start off growing a fruit tree outside of our climate. Figs can handle colder temps much better than our rare fruits and can be grown in more areas of the country and/or have less stringent winter requirements.
So as tasty as this variety as been, I wanted to step up my game a bit and see what some top tier figs really tasted like. I thought myself and my piers in the rare fruit hobby were pretty fanatical, but after delving into the fig world, I don't think we hold a candle to many of these folks! This is quite the hobby and these people are crazy about figs and even crazier about growing them.
Fig trees can be started from cuttings and this is normally the most popular method of propagating them. There are tons of Ebay listings for cuttings as well as a dedicated online auction site www.figbid.com selling cuttings and plants. Let me tell you, some of these varieties are expensive!! I've seen single cuttings bid for several hundred dollars and more.
I checked out some fig forums and bloggers and determined that the following top tier varieties were mentioned quite a bit: Black Medeira, Itailian-258, Smith, Col de Dame Blanc. So after some research on what Ebay sellers to avoid and which to seek, I got my cuttings. To hedge my bets with the pieces I received, I not only potted up some of the cuttings, I also grafted Black Medeira, Smith, and CDDB to my Petite Negra plant. I was pretty confident the cuttings would do well since I've done them before with my current plant, but grafted a few just in case. This turned out to be a good call since later, all of the CDDB cuttings failed, but the graft took.
So hopefully all will grow into fine, productive plants providing lots of tasty fruit. Thumbs up from the dogs!
March - Things are moving.
The Surinam Cherries have been mostly really good. A nice, sweet/tart mix with not too much of the aftertaste they are known for. Then there are some that get immediately spit out. I hope I have the source plants identified because these are the ones I grafted the Zill Dark onto.
Bottom left pic is my Kaffir Lime. The branch in the pic is a Tango mandarin I grafted on. Very delicious. I've just recently grafted some Persian limes onto the plant as well. Might as well. We can't possibly use all the leaves for cooking.
Bottom right is my little pitangatuba. Always get lots of blooms, but may only set one fruit. A bit disappointing. Hopefully this will improve with maturity. The fruit has a fantastic flavor, but needs miracle fruit to appreciate it.
Speaking of the orange seedling, it is no longer unnamed. Brandon and I have finally settled on a name. If you recall, this seedling was grown and discovered by my bud Brandon down in Florida. Everyone who ate this fruit just loved it. Brandon sent me scions of this and Cristella for me to try grafting onto my Gold Nugget. Unfortunately for all, soon after my grafts succeeded, Brandon's tree died due to phytophthora. After many attempts, I was eventually successful in grafting a couple seedlings that I sent back to Brandon. We decided on the name Jack Frost. "Frost" representing the cold, northern weather of Ohio where the plant was resurrected. I will be trying to graft a bunch of seedlings later to keep this variety going...except so far, I've proved to be a really shitty jackfruit grafter...at least onto seedlings!
April - Getting warmer.
Wrap it up.
Will have several plants that need repotted and/or root pruned. I'm sure the hoist will be needed. I've got a bunch of seedling starts: Surnam Cherry, cherimoya, sugar apple, sapodilla, tamarind, jackfruit, guava, white sapote. Many of these will have to be grafted eventually. All will also have to be potted before that. So lots of work to do. Can't forget the garden either. I've already got it tilled. Will need to spread some manure and get the veggies in the ground in the next week or so.
I've also got a few plants that just have to go. My big, old Kohala longan is first up. It requires some very cool weather to get it to eventually bloom. Unfortunately, our nights can be freezing and days could be 60's and 70's. So more often than not, the plant will get freeze damage and produce no blooms. When it did, man, it would be loaded! But just not consistent and to me, the fruit is just not good enough to justify the space it takes up.
The avocados are another...especially the big Haas. Too wet inside the greenhouse and the plants are continuously fighting off disease. This causes massive die back as well. The plants will kick out a huge flush and full bloom, but then steadily die off. Just not worth the aggravation and the space it occupies.
Well..until next time!