Wednesday, January 11, 2023

John Herd and Sir Prize avocados


 The post describes the first fruits I collected from the grafts of John Herd and Sir Prize avocados residing on my mature Mexicola tree. 

Sir Prize was grafted in 2016, and produced and ripened the first 5 fruits 2022-2023. It is a vigorous graft, with 5-6 feet of upright growth. However, it appears to be a shy producer. The pictures below show the second fruit harvested in January 2023.

The texture is very smooth with no fibers at all, and low oil content. The flavor is very clean, a vegetable type with no strong notes. I hope it will become more complex in the later harvested fruits. We had a very cold November- December here in the Sacramento Valley. The weather might have impacted the proper development of the fruit oils and flavors.

John Herd was grafted in 2020 and the fruit described is the first one produced just 2 years after grafting. The fruit stem was broken by a rodent in January 2023, otherwise I would keep it on the tree longer. Never the less, the fruit ripened fine on the counter in about a week. 
This fruit is pretty good flavored, a bit nutty, and with a better oil content. More complex in the flavor than my Sir Prize fruit. The texture is smooth with no fibers. This branch is lower on the tree than the Sir Prize branch and could have been exposed less to the cold masses this winter.



Saturday, December 10, 2022

Cuttings sale in December 2022

Update: the sale has concluded.

This posts describes the cuttings sale on reallygoodplants.com in December 2022.

The sale will open at 9:30 AM PST on December 11.

1. This year we have not collected the scions in advance, and will cut them "to order". This means that the order shipping might be delayed by the weather conditions, but we don't expect to have more than 10 days between the order placement and shipping.  This also means that we don't know how many scions we actually can ship.  We did our best estimate, and we might be able to restock some cultivars after the shipment of early orders.

2. Some cultivars are not linked to descriptions, as we have not evaluated them in the detail yet. You should be able to google some of these, like Aussie and Taiwanese Long mulberries, and Sakerdze pomegranate.  We don't know yet if Pakistan "Large fruited" is the same as Pakistan.  Galicia and Shelli are fat black mulberries from Ukraine. Tabriz and Isfahan are fat white, pure sweet mulberries from Iran.  These are similar to Buluklu. Frank mulberry is a sweet fat pink. Hassan Krasni apricot is a seedling from a seed received by the USDA from the former USSR. 

3. All avocados, TX persimmon, apricots, sour cherry, Che, feijoa, and loquat have to be grafted. TX persimmon will not graft onto D. kaki, you need to have a seedling of TX persimmon for rootstock. The avocado wood does not store for long.  Its is fine to graft avocados now in a greenhouse or SoCal, but could be problematic in the CA Central Valley. For those who want to graft later, we will have another sale of avocado and white sapote wood in March. 

Many mulberries will not root, especially the long fruited ones, and Illinois Everbearing. Plan on grafting these.  Here is the post on mulberry rooting abilities you may want to check. Senjed roots for me, but you may want to graft it on Russian olive as a backup. Adara plum also roots for me, but a number of people had trouble rooting it.  Plan on grafting a piece for a backup. All pomegranates root fine.  If you want to graft them, make sure to graft onto strong young shoots.  More about grafting in this post.



Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ube, Dioscorea alata

This post describes my first experience growing ube plants in Davis. In the spring of 2022 I started 3 plants from one tuber that was gifted to me. I cut the tuber in 3 pieces and dried them for a week or two. After planting, every piece produced a plant, and I passed one onto a friend. The other two grew fine, but the one in the sunny spot was more vigorous. By the early December the vines started to wilt and I decided to collect the tubers. 

The new tuber I found under the plant in the shady spot was small and already partially rotten. There are maybe more tubers, but the pot I grew it in has other plants which I didn’t want to disturb. 

The plant in the sunny spot produced two nice tubers, all pictures below are from the same plant.

The small piece in the picture below is the tuber chunk this plant was started from.

These turned out to be not connected by the tuber tissue 


The tubers are deep purple inside. Now I need to figure out what to do with these.


Monday, November 28, 2022

Tropical guava trees


 This post describes the tropical guava trees I fruited in Davis by the end of 2022.


The large round fruit is Malaysian Red that I purchased 6-7 years ago. The first few years it produced fruits with a relatively low sugar content, but now it makes excellent fruits. The fruits are large but the tree produced just a couple of dozen fruits this years. The tree is very tall and only gets a few hours of morning sun. 

The small yellow fruit is a seedling of a Mexican guava. The fruits are very flavorful and sweet, the tree produced the first time this year, and we got around 15 or so fruits by now.

The orange-fleshed fruits in the lower row are three different seedlings from the same fruit of a Brazilian guava. 


#1 tree is the most productive and started to fruit in the second year from seed. The fruits are bright yellow outside and orange inside, very sweet and flavorful. The tree gets a good amount of sun from noon to late afternoon.

#2 tree produced just a few fruits but they are larger in size than #1. The skin is not as bright yellow as #1, but the flesh is a darker orange-pink in color. The tree gets just a few hours of afternoon sun, but the fruits are still sweet. 

#3 tree produced a single fruit this year. This tree is behind #2 tree and gets even less sun. The fruit was ok, and might need a better location to develop a better flavor.

I also have a 3-4 years old tree of Barbie Pink guava that decided to skip the fruiting this year. Last year I had just a few fruits on it, and they were very good. This tree planted in a prime spot, and I was expecting it to produce better. Below pictures are from November 2021 and show Barbie Pink in the upper right corner. 

Barbie Pink has the best flesh to seeds ratio, but so far it’s production here in Davis is minimal to none.

The white fleshed guava on the same plate is Thai White. The fruit came with the purchased plant that hasn’t made it to the spring. It might be more sensitive to frost than my other guavas. Next to the pot with Thai White guava I had a Beaumont Red guava plant in a similar pot. Beaumont Red survived the last winter fine and now is planted in the ground. 



Sunday, November 20, 2022

Hawaiian Avocados


The post describes the avocados I came across during my vacation on Big Island in November 2022.

I stayed in a cabin around Captain Cook area. The cabin was on an avocado farm planted mostly with Sharwil. I picked a couple of fruits but none got ripe during my stay. Here is a Sharwil on the tree.

I also found a couple of trees with large round avocados and the owner told me that these should be Linda. Here they are on the tree.

The fist three avocados I bought were from the Cook’s Bounty fruit stand. They were longer, lighter in the outer green color and more textured that the Sharwil fruits. I couldn’t figure out what they were for sure, but they could be Beshore. These were very nice fruits, high oil and high flavor with small seed.

At the ChoiceMart in Captain Cook i found a big pile of Daily 11 together with Sharwil (in the background, in the image below).

Daily 11 is a huge fruit, as seen in the image below. Unfortunately all were too hard, and I wasn’t going to stay here long enough to try one here.

At the Ka’u (Na’alehu) farmers market I bought a seedling avocado fruit with a textured green skin and the black Malama fruit.

On the same day I also found a round green avocado at a Hilo supermarket.
These three avocados, the round one, Malama, and the green textured one I was able to taste on the same day. Here they are next to each other, with Malama on the right.
These all were excellent but distinct in the flavors and textures. The round one was the most intense with the highest oil content and medium dense structure. The green structured one had the least oil content but nice flavor and dense flesh. Malama had the softest flesh, but very good flavor and oil content. The next picture reflects my preference based on how much I consumed from each of these while tasting. The small round one was the clear winner.
Later I got three more avocados from Cook’s Bounty fruit stand, two of which seemed to be Sharwil. They are excellent avocados. Somehow I didn’t take their pictures. But the third avocado was another roundish green. This time the stone was taking most of the space in the fruit. Never the less, the flesh quality was excellent with high oil content and delectable flavor. This is probably a seedling.

And the last avocado I purchased was a medium size black fruit from the Kona farmers market. While it looks like a small Malama, I don’t believe it is. The flesh is much denser, the flavor was less intense, and the seed was very large. Still a pretty good seedling fruit.

In conclusion, I have not met a boring avocado on Big Island in my 10 days here. All were very good to excellent, but some had low flesh to seed ratios.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Bluebush, Diospyros lycioides ssp. lycioides

 This post describes Diospyros lycioides ssp. lycioides fruits and the only use, which I have found for them so far.

Four years ago, in August of 2018 I collected seeds from the plants of this species at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Most fruits I found there were yellowish in color, but it’s possible they haven’t been fully ripe. The fruit or two I tried seemed to be sweet, at the time. The fruits were small, about half an inch in diameter, round or slightly elongated. Now, four years later (October 2022), I ended up with three fruiting females and one male from the seeds I germinated. All trees grow in Goleta, California, on the farm of my employer, Frinj Coffee. One of the females is very productive with lots of elongated fruits. They are dark pink in the color.


The second female made perfectly round fruits, the picture below.


And the third female has slightly elongated fruits, see the picture below.


All fruits are seedy as they all have been pollinated by male tree growing next to the females. I couldn’t find a single fruit on the male tree now in October. However, I remember seeing few immature fruits on it earlier in the season. Most likely, the male tree produces some perfect or female flowers too.


The fruits are bitter-sweet in the flavor and taste to me very similar to the Spaten Optimator beer with more bitterness. The fruits have a beer yeast flavor component even when not overripe.


I decided to check if the juice from these fruits will help to develop a sourdough starter quickly. After crushing the fruits, I added some filtered water to the bowl, and then filtered the extract through a fine sieve. The filtered liquid was used instead of water to initiate the starter.


I didn’t have a bread flour at home, and used the all purpose flour for the starter and for the bread. The starter seemed to be ready in just three days. My first sourdough bread (in the last 4-5 years) came out pretty good, the family and I enjoyed it very much.



Saturday, October 8, 2022

Kampir Qovun or Old Lady melon

This post describes the late honeydew type melon from Uzbekistan called Kampir Qovun. It goes under a few other names such as Kampyr, Kampir Kovun, Old Lady, Old Maiden, Old Woman, and Babushka. In the picture above, there are five of these wrinkled grey-green round melons with the stems attached.

The summer of 2022 was the first season I planted and harvested them. The fruits started to be ready in the second half of September, and this was my latest melon so far. It seems these melons can be stored for some time as they have a pretty hard skin. The fruits are round, wrinkled, green-grey with occasional yellow marks. The flesh is white, very sweet, soft, and melting.  Excellent late melon. In the picture below, a Kampir fruit that is just under 8 lbs, which is about the average weight for these melons.


John Herd and Sir Prize avocados

 The post describes the first fruits I collected from the grafts of John Herd and Sir Prize avocados residing on my mature Mexicola tree.  S...