Tuesday, February 23, 2021

February fruits of Sacramento Valley

 Many citrus fruits can be harvested this month. I have the following:

Oranges: Washington Navel, Navellina, Cara-Cara, Boukhobza, Sanguinelli, Tarocco, my fake Cara-Cara, Vainiglia Sanguino.

Grapefruit: Cocktail.  The sweetest grapefruit I ever had.

Pomelo: Valentine (came from a friend's tree, but I should have my own shortly).  This is an excellent selection. 

Tangor: Kyomi. Very juicy mandarine type of fruit.  A parent of Sumo / Shiranui / Dekopon

Mandarins: Algerian clementine, Gold Nugget, Tahoe Gold, Page, Tango

Lime: Palestine acidless, Rangpur

Two tropical guava trees are still fruiting: my Brazilian orange seedling and Malaysian Red

Avocado Royal Wright started shedding the fruits after windy days.  I am picking those that have yellow stems. I think they are better than I expected them to be.  I will compare them agains Bacon in a separate post

I collected some white sapote Vernon fruits from a friend's very large tree in South Bay. It might be possible to have them here in the winter too when my trees get more mature.

Below are four pigmented oranges, starting from the upper left clockwise: Vainiglia Sanguino, Sanguinelli, Tarocco, Boukhobza. 
Vainiglia Sanguino is very nicely flavored acidless orange, Sanguinelli has lots of color and flavor, but low on sugar, Tarocco is sweeter than Sanguinelli.  Boukhobza is an excellent blood orange with the sweetness of a Navel orange.
None of these pigmented oranges had dark red outer color. Sanguinelli and Tarocco (right) are below.

And the last but not least, I believe I harvested the last dragon fruit of the season. Sugar Dragon along with the Palestine acidless lime are below.  Pretty good tasting Sugar Dragon fruit for February. And this lime is very unique and pleasant to eat.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

My Sumo seedling and Shiranui fruit tasting 2021

 A year ago I wrote about my Sumo seedling and how it compares to actual Shiranui  This year I didn't get to tasting the fruits at the earlier time, and I can not confirm that my seedling is earlier.  It might well be earlier, but I only started tasting the fruits in February.  What is really different is the juice vesicles of my seedling fruits. They are always more firm than the ones from Shiranui fruits. The seedling fruit density is at about Gold Nugget mandarin level.

The Sumo seedling and Shiranui fruits vary in shape, rind thickness and the amount of sugar even when collected from the same tree. In the pictures below, two left fruits are from my seedling. The top left is from a tree grown in Vacaville, the graft was made directly onto a citrus rootstock (C-32 or C-35). Low left fruit is coming from a graft made onto Minneola Tangelo tree.  Two right fruits are from the same tree of Shiranui grown in Isleton, CA.

The best fruit here is my seedling grafted on Minneola Tangelo, bottom left.  It had the most complexity and sugar along with the firmer structure than Shiranui fruits. It is possible that the rootstock alone defines the difference here. In my experience, any citrus grafted onto my old Minneola Tangelo produces excellent fruits. 

A few days later we tasted my seedling fruits again. On the left is my seedling from Vacaville tree, and on the right is from graft onto Minneola. Both fruits were excellent. Complex and sweet in flavor and as dense as the Gold Nugget fruit.

I think the real test would be to graft Shiranui onto my Minneola Tangelo and compare the fruits from the same tree and same location.  I have a feeling that my seedling is different. However, I need to get a good amount of both fruit types from the same tree to figure this out.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Tahitian and Banana winter squash

 Last summer I was growing these cultivars. They both make very large fruits. Tahitian is Cucurbita moschata; Banana is Cucurbita maxima. 

In the picture below,Tahitian is the curved one on the top.

I was very impressed with the flavor, texture, the speed of cooking (very fast) of the Tahitian squash.  It is probably the sweetest squash I ever had.  It also stores pretty well. I am eating it in late January. The flesh is intense orange in color, and it smells fresh and fruity. I am looking forward to growing it again.

On the other hand, I was very disappointed with Banana squash.  The first thing that hit me, was the very bad smell from the cut fruit. I hoped it will disappear after storage. Unfortunately it is still present in the fruit cut in January.  There is no good flavor or sweetness in this squash.  Nobody in my family wanted to eat it.  The flesh is yellow, firm, and requires longer cooking than Tahitian squash.  

I am not going to grow it ever again, but please comment if you have a different opinion about Banana squash. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Grafting deciduous and evergreen trees in Sacramento Valley

 For winter grafting of deciduous trees the wood should be collected in December-January.  Some late developing trees like persimmons and nuts can be harvested later.  The stone fruit trees can start developing in February already.  The dormant wood is required for grafting, make sure to collect these early in the winter.

Pom fruits and stone fruits can be grafted in January - March.  Cherry wood does not store well and can start pushing buds in the fridge.  Make sure to graft these early.

Below are the images of the same tree.

One year after grafting

One month after grafting
Bark grafting large topped rootstock

Persimmons, figs, mulberries, paw paws, che, jujube, nuts should be grafted later, in late February - March when you see the first movement on the rootstock. 

Feijoa is a special case of evergreens and can be hard to graft. I had a good experience grafting them in ground in early April.  However grafting later in the season especially right before the heat waves reduced my grafting success.  Grafting onto the in ground trees is always more efficient than grafting potted plants. The latest trend is to graft them in February. This is my plan for this season.  Feijoa wood collection and grafting can be done at the same time, regardless of the season. Feijoa wood also stores well in a fridge for a few months.

Avocado, white sapote, and citrus grafting almost always works for me, but the best time is early spring, March - April. These do not store well in the fridge, and I try to use them in under a week time.

The type of grafts does not seem to influence my success rate.  I mostly do clefts, bark grafts, and chip buds. Connecting the cambial layers as perfect as possible at least on one side is very important.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

January fruits of Sacramento Valley

 Citrus is the king of the winter fruits here. I have a number of earlier posts on various citrus cultivars with their ripening times. Here I have 5 different mandarins, Early Navels, Vainiglia Sanguino acidless oranges, Kyomi tangor, Cocktain grapefruit, and two different kinds of limes.

Besides citrus, I have tropical guava and dragon fruits now. I think it should be possible to have white sapote fruits in January too.  I picked all mine in December, but my trees are young. 

To my surprise, I am still picking dragon fruits and they are ripening just fine. This winter is very mild so far. Below are Sugar Dragon (left) and Halley's Comet.

Other options for January fruits would be very late persimmons and very late kiwi.  I hope to get some of these fruiting in a few years.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Golden kiwi, Actinidia chinensis

 By now I have fruited three different golden (yellow) kiwi accessions. My oldest female is the result of the grafts I made in 2016. The scions came from a member of Santa Clara Valley (SCV) chapter of CRFG. Someone brought a male and a female cuttings of golden kiwi for one of the regular meetings at Prusch Park.  These ones I keep under "SCV golden female" and "SCV golden male" names.  They both are grafted onto the same Vincent female of fuzzy kiwi.

Later, in the same year, I came across the seeds harvested from a yellow kiwi with red center.  I planted 14 seedlings in 2017. A number of males and one female bloomed in 2019, but no fruits were made that year. In 2020, two females bloomed and both produced fruit. None had red center, but both are exceptionally sweet.  I was not planning on releasing the material from them this season, as I wanted to evaluate them better. I am releasing them early, as both fruits seems to be better than the "SCV golden female". I do not have data on productivity. Keep in mind that these are EXPERIMENTAL and all I have is the observation of few fruits in one season! These females probably need their own male.  I do not know if SCV male will pollinate them, but their blooming times overlap.  They all bloomed in early April in Vacaville, California. The scionwood of 5 accessions will be available at reallygoodplants.com 

SCV golden male and female

The fruits are very late, December harvest.  They are good, but not as complex as the ones we get from Zespri kiwi packs.
They still have some fuzz on the immature and developing fruits.

Female flowers
Male flowers


The foliage is very ornamental with a lot of red colors in the developing shoots. The amount of red color in the foliage varies between seedlings.  Some male plants had pink flower petals. 

EXPERIMENTAL male flowers

EXPERIMENTAL female flowers

EXPERIMENTAL "Early Female #1" fruit

I only had one fruit this year, it ripened in mid-October and was exceptionally sweet and flavorful.  It is small in size and fuzz-less when ripe.

EXPERIMENTAL "Late Female #2" 

I had 5 fruits on this plant, but I started picking them early, and the first 4 I picked were not ready.  The last one picked in late November was kept for too long on my kitchen counter and shriveled.  Never the less, it turned out to be an exceptionally sweet and flavorful fruit.  The flesh seems to be greener than #1 and the fruit seems to have more fuzzy skin.

Developing fruits of #2

Friday, January 1, 2021

Do mulberries root?

This is a summary of my personal experience with rooting different mulberry cultivars.

Plants and cuttings from these cultivars are occasionally available at reallygoodplants.com

February fruits of Sacramento Valley

  Many citrus fruits can be harvested this month. I have the following: Oranges : Washington Navel, Navellina, Cara-Cara, Boukhobza, Sangui...