Sunday, November 24, 2019

Pomegranates. My seedling of Vkusnyi, Balegal, Girkanets, and Kandahar

The seedling of Vkusnyi and Balegal are plain sweet with soft seeds. Girkanets is very complex with good amounts of sugar and acid, and the Kandahar is plain sweet.  The later two have hard seeds.
Positions for the opened fruits picture:
My seedling of Vkusnyi - top left, Balegal - top right
Girkanets - bottom left, Kandahar - bottom right

My seedling of Vkusnyi was started from seed in 2014. I am still evaluating this one. Very productive, the fruits are light colored and more flat than a typical pomegranate shape. Sweet, not complex, might need a bit more maturation. The seeds are very soft. The arils are bright red. Very attractive when cut.

Balegal Productive, medium sized pink fruits. The arils are bright pink, sweet, with soft seeds. This variety originated in San Diego.

Girkanets Very dark fruits with dark arils.  The flavor is excellent, complex, sweet-sour.  The seeds are hard. Originated at the Experimental Station of Plant Genetic Resources, Garrygala, Turkmenistan (USSR).

Kandahar Very attractive bright red large fruits. The variety came to me as Kandahar Early, but the fruits don't seems to be fully ripe even by the end of November.  The arils are bright red with simple sweet flavor and large hard seeds. Lots of white pulp between the sections. Clearly, this is not the best selection from the Kandahar province of Afghanistan that is known for its good quality of pomegranates.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Pomegranates. Azadi, Myatadzhy, and Vina

All these are mostly sweet to very sweet and soft-seeded
Myatadzhy - top, 
Azadi - left, and Vina - right.

'Azadi' Sweet and simple flavor, soft seeds, pale red arils, gold or light pink skin, late season, good keeper. Originated at the Experimental Station of Plant Genetic Resources, Garrygala, Turkmenistan (USSR)

'Myatadzhy' Sweet with just enough acid for interest, soft seeds, dark red arils, dark red skin, early season. Originated at the Experimental Station of Plant Genetic Resources, Garrygala, Turkmenistan (USSR)

'Vina' Papershell type with pink skin. Very sweet arils are bright red with soft seeds. Mid to late season. Originally from the Trappist Monastery in Vina, CA, USA

Side notes

I find it peculiar that Richard Ashton in his book THE INCREDIBLE POMEGRANATE PLANT & FRUIT describes some acidity in Azadi: "DPUN 135 Azadi – Very sweet, medium sized fruit. Name means ‘freedom’ in Persian. Peach colored gold fruit. Light pink sweet soft seeds with a little pleasant astringency." I suspect they picked the fruit a bit early. I usually pick this fruit from mid November. Maybe I should try it earlier too.

The opposite goes for Myatadzhy. Here is his description: "DPUN 134 Myatadzhy – Very sweet. Soft seeds. Seeds have nutty taste." In my experience, Myatadzhy picked at it's prime time in early October has the best flavor with some mild acidity.  Myatadzhy picked in mid-late November will be mostly sweet.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Feijoa taste tests

Seedlings from Mark Albert fruits

In fall of 2015 Mark Albert brought loads of fruits from his selections to the talk he was giving for the Golden Gate Chapter of California Rare Fruit Growers . I planted the seeds from his best tasting fruit, and I grew 12 seedling trees in Vacaville. Some of them already fruited in 2018, and most are fruiting this year, 2019. Some are more precocious and productive than others. Seedlings 1, 2, and 12 didn't produce any fruit this year. Some are earlier ripening than others. Seedlings 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10 are early ripening. Seedlings 8, 9, and 11 are late ripening.

I asked few friends to help evaluating the flavor to find the ones that deserve to be kept and may become good selections. In total, four people tasted them, and all of us found that 10, 7, and 6 (in this order) are the best selections from the early ripening seedlings.

The first picture here is from Chuck Chan with the fruits I sent him to evaluate
And here are the cut fruits in same order from my taste test
The taste notes Chuck:
I should add that 6, 7, and 10 have good production, with #10 having the largest fruits with the most consistent shape and size. #10 also has the thickest rind.

I compared how 7 and 10 taste versus one of my favorite named cultivars, Apollo. They seem to be on a par with Apollo. I could not place them higher or lower. These all seem to be very good fruits with unique profiles. I now call these seedlings Marta 7 and Marta 10 and have the wood available at

Evaluation of named feijoa cultivars

The fruits in the below picture were obtained from a friend growing them in Isleton. Left to right here: Albert Pride, Nazemetz, Unique, Moore, Genesis, and A9 (a seedling tree).

My favorites from this tasting were Moore and A9. Albert Pride was nice, but probably under-ripe. Unique does not have enough acid for me.  Genesis was probably not ripe yet. Nazemetz is very mild and gritty with the most thick rind.

Below are fruits from my young trees in Vacaville
Flavia had 2 fruits only, and I suspect that both fell prematurely.  They didn't seem to be ripe
Triumph is a very good sweet fruit. I collected them much later than optimal, they all were soft, but still no browning inside.
8 Ball is very nice sweet, smooth fruit, mostly small sized fruits. Good sweet-acid balance.
Albert Pride was very good in this sample. Good balanced fruit, more acidic than 8 Ball. However, it browns fast after softening, limiting it storage

Another feijoa cultivar that I had for a long time is Coolidgei. It might be a seedling of Coolidge, or just a misspelled (on the tag) Coolidge. I'm going to continue calling it Coolidgei, as I bought it under this name 2001.
The tree is partially self-fertile, produces good tasting fruits.  However, they are very variable is size and texture.  They are also very gritty.  Some fruits are very large, like the one below is 173 g.
I started top-working this tree, and already grafted known cultivars onto few large branches.  Since the production is relatively low for this cultivar, its unlikely that I'll be preserving it for future use. 

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 sci...