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Recent Topics on the Cloudforest

In our garden

by Banana Joe » 1 day ago in PNW Palms and Exotics

May 25

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Wax Jambu

by Axel » 4 days ago in Rare Fruits, Edibles and Permaculture with a focus on tropicals

I've been exploring surrounding orchards and nurseries to determine what other tropicals might be fun to grow in the hills of Fallbrook. Last Fall, Ben Poirier sold some wax jambu at the Vista farmer's market, he grew them on his farm off Lilac road and they seemed pretty tasty. The only place I found that carries the trees locally is Cal Tropicals, a nursery in the Vista Warmlands. It's quite expensive, but I figured I would have better luck with locally grown varieties. There were a bunch of big wax jambu trees planted all over the place. The owner Perry is pretty conservative when it comes to what he thinks can grow here. He writes off jackfruit and mamey sapote as impossible fruit for Southern California, but he says wax jambu is easy and care free.

Reports from various folks around Southern California are mixed, with reports of failures and easy successes, with nothing in between. So wax jambu can't grow anywhere in Socal. It seems it needs that unique combination of Summer heat and mild Winters only found in Sunset zone 23. That's my guess for now.

I picked up a red, pink and green one, unfortunately, cal tropics has no varietal names. I did also get a black pearl wax jambu from E-Bay that was considerably healthier.

Here are some known varieties:

Kong white:

Image

Black Diamond:

Image

And here are a few videos:



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Run-off water collection

by Steve in Los Osos » 5 days ago in Rare Fruits, Edibles and Permaculture with a focus on tropicals

The 35 year saga of the Los Osos sewer nightmare is coming to an end and we are due to connect between June and December. I used to be excited about this because it would give me more land for trees, but with water restrictions so draconian I really couldn't support any more trees and can just barely keep alive those I have. Now I just want it over with.

We've been given a couple of options for the decommissioning of our septic tank. One of those involves sanitizing it and using it as a cistern. I already have a 550 gal tank in the back yard that is connected to one downspout and might add another this Fall. The septic tank (in the front yard) is about 1000 gal. Obviously a useful resource.

Here's the issue: there is a downspout on the side of the house that could be plumbed to the septic tank with considerable effort. That downspout services only a small amount of roof. Across our huge driveway (think: 2 cars + RV size) is another downspout that services much of the roof and drains into the low point of the driveway. From there it flows to a drain adjacent to the septic tank and thence by a long pipe, under some sidewalk, under a gate, to some sidewalk along the side of the house and eventually the yard (specifically apricot, cherry and plum trees in its path). But that water also includes run-off from our concrete/asphalt driveway AND whatever makes its way down from the street (the drain is 5 ft below street level and there are no curbs or driveway aprons).

So....in a way we are already using this street/driveway/downspout water on at least a few of the fruit trees, simply because that's how the drainage was done long before we got here...but should we be?

I've read that you shouldn't even use roof runoff if you have asphalt-based shingles. Street runoff is spoken of in terms even more dire.

Our driveway (concrete and asphalt) is "clean". We don't park on it and there are no oil deposits. I can't speak for the street, but it's a side street which gets its share of suburban traffic. Our "soil" is very fine dune sand, hydrophobic when dry, but once wet, like a sieve.

I'm stuck in this dilemma. Anyone want to offer an opinion?

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Ensete v. Maurelii: lifespan and hardiness

by Rioter » 5 days ago in PNW Palms and Exotics

I have a couple of questions regarding Ensete v. Maurelii that have come up recently for me, the first regards longevity:

I have had my current plant for at least 8 years and I dig it every Fall. I understand that these are monocarpic, dying after they flower. Does anyone know if there is a finite limit to how long a single plant can be kept growing if it never flowers? Some monocarpic plants, i.e., Agave, once they begin the flowering process, can not be stopped and will die as their metabolic process has been changed. I ask this because this Spring my Ensete has been uncharacteristically slow in its growth. We have had record warmth and good soil moisture since I planted it back out at the first of April, yet it has produced only one smallish leaf. A friend's plant in the area is growing robustly. As I said this is very uncharacteristic of this plant here in all the previous years, cool, average and warm, that I’ve grown it here in Portland. Am I missing something? Can these be grown indefinitely into the future this way? Or, is it time to replace it?

When I started doing an internet search I read Plant Delights entry in their catalog which raised the following:

Zn 8a plants are hardy to 10F-15F! Plant Delights’ catalog, in their listing for Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelli’ rate it at zn 8a - 10! Really? I leave mine in the garden until Thanksgiving + or - before I dig it up for storage inside. My plant generally experiences a light freeze or two before I remove it to my basement so I know that they’ll take a night here and there to 30F and perhaps a couple degrees colder, but I’ve never left it in the ground below that, other than the two times, early on, when I attempted to protect them in place, by packing them in straw and covered beneath plastic and burlap. The first year that I did this it survived gloriously and began growing/ transpiring during a mild March while still covered. The second time it had been toppled first by an October windstorm damaging the base before I got it secured and protected. The latter plant rotted out beneath its heavy cover. I’m not sure whether it died as a result of the damaged tissue so late in the season opening an avenue for rot or that it froze first. Has anybody actually tested this plant in a more formal structured way? Is Plant Delights zn 8a rating derived from a broader survey of gardener’s experiences? Were the plants that survived protected in place in some way? Was this rating arrived at because plants had survived a ‘mild’ winter in a region normally considered to be zn 8a? while the actual conditions were much warmer? Is there data/records available that support this evaluation?

Any thoughts on either?

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New mango varieties: Some preliminary observations

by Axel » 5 days ago in Rare Fruits, Edibles and Permaculture with a focus on tropicals

In addition to Keitt, glenn and ataulfo, I grow several trees of both antonio and pineapple. So far, there's a pretty stark contrast between the tropical mangoes and the mangoes bred for California. All of Tim Thompson's trees have had much more robust blooms that show ZERO sign of anthracnose. No matter what hit those blooms, they remained looking perfect. The fruit set on all the mangoes is about the same, but on the tropical mangoes any unfertilized bloom turns black. On the California mangoes, the blooms just eventually fall off.

It's clear that these mangoes were selected to thrive in Southern California's conditions. That alone makes them worth trying to grow. They should be much more reliable producers even if they don't have any special hardiness.

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