Wednesday, November 30, 2016

DRAGON FRUIT / PITAYA


Dragon Fruit
Pitaya, commonly known as Dragon Fruit is a tropical  cactus which normally grow in trees in the forest, originally from Mexico. It can easily be grown here in central Florida. You can grow it from seed, but it is more easily grow from cuttings. With in 2 to 3 years it will be mature and you will begin to get flowers followed by fruit.

How to grow your Dragon Fruit
You can either plant it in a Large pot or directly into the ground. In either case you will need a 6 foot trellis for it to climb. Plant in full sun. Water it twice a week and keep it weed free. Mulch it with pine bark as it needs a little acid.



Ripe Dragon Fruit
Unripe Fruit


Dragon Fruit almost ready to pick

Dragon Fruit plant

Sunday, November 13, 2016

PLANT ZONE BY ZIP CODE

Posted by: Steve Lohn
      Email: tropicalfruittrees@gmail.com

Ive been asked many times, how I determine what planting zone I'm in. Well here is a web site put out by the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/InteractiveMap.aspx

In this web page  all you do is insert your zip code and the site gives you you're planting zone. For those of you outside of the United States, I'm sorry, this only works here.



Monday, September 26, 2016

Dragon Fruit



It's finally cooled off here in Central Florida (high 80's / low 90's), the temperature been so hot(high 90's) that I was only able to spend a few hours a day in my garden. While cleaning out weeds I ran across a couple of Dragon Fruit. These are Photos of the same fruit.

Vietnamese Jaina

Vietnamese Jaina




51/2" Vietnamese Jaina
Vietnamese Jaina sliced





Sunday, September 4, 2016

JACK FRUIT


   Jack Fruit is an interesting fruit, it is reported to be the largest fruit in the world. It grows not from a branch, but, on the trunk of the tree. In Asia is grows to a weight of over 100 lbs. In the U.S.A. it grows much smaller I've seen them weighing 25 lbs. The flavor is similar to Juicy Fruit gum, some say that Juicy Fruit gum actual got its flavor from the Jack Fruit. 
   Preparing a Jack Fruit is not as easy as some fruit. Unless very ripe, it is full of latex. You need to either oil you hands and knife with vegetable oil or at least wear kitchen gloves while cutting it. Both the fruit and the seeds are edible.

Apex. 20 lb Jack Fruit





Sunday, July 10, 2016

SUGAR APPLES


   Sugar Apple, Sweetsop, [Annona Squamosa] originally from Jamaica, can be found in most of the Caribbean Islands.  Unlike most fruit trees, the Sugar Apple will start to flower and bear fruit two years from seed. 
   Eating them is kind of like eating fondue, a lot of work for a little bit of great flavor. The way it works, is that most of the fruit is wrapped around each seed and there are a lot of seeds. The inside of the Sugar Apple's skin can be scraped with your feet or a spoon, its taste is like eating brown sugar. 
   Sugar Apples are not a good produce for the Super Market, as it doesn't reach its full flavor until it begins to fall apart. A specialty shop may be able to market it if the grower is local and near by, because from unripe is only a few days. 




Sugar Apple Flowers




Green Sugar Apples

Red Sugar Apple


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pineapple's


PINEAPPLES

The beginning of a Pineapple

A Pineapple almost ready to be picked
      Pineapples are so easy to grow, I don't know why more people don't grow their own. Keep in mind that it takes eighteen months to grow one Pineapple and after you have picked it; the plant will produce another Pineapple. The Pineapple is ready to be picked when you lean over and it smells sweet.
 

 For more information on Pineapples, look up my Posting's:
                "History of Pineapples"
                "Growing Pineapples".

Pineapple's from my yard

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mangos


We are  anticipating our Mango harvest, they are almost full size. Just waiting for them to begin blushing, which is a sign that they are ready to pick.  We chose Nam Doc Mai and Fairchild mangos because of their sweet flavor and lack of fiber strings. Our mangos are about three years old and loaded with fruit.

Nam Doc Mai
Fairchild

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SURINAM CHERRY

 Other names this plant is known by are; Eugenia Uniflora, Brazilian Pitanga and Cherries of the Rio Grande.
Chomba Pitanga

Surinam Cherry tree's generally available in two varieties, more common red and purple or black. The red when fully ripe are very sweet, but the purple/black are even sweeter. I've had two red Surinam cherry tree's for a few years and eat so many that I get tried of them. My wife just acquired a black one with I will be planting as soon  as I figure out where to put it. At the present, we eat them out of hand, I'm told they make a nice juice or jam. 



Thursday, March 31, 2016

SELECTING TROPICAL FRUIT FOR YOUR YARD

      There are many factors to consider before purchasing your fruit bearing plants,  your temperature zone, your soil Ph, available water, and your budget for fertilizer, mulch, pots and tools for  planting, picking and pruning.  

Zone All plants are effective by the temperature some trees need some cold time to flower and set fruit. Some will die at temperatures that you would consider pleasant. For example, Coco plants die at 40 degrees. If you live close to another zone you can sometimes push a tree to grow out side it normal zone. This will require more effort from you to protect it from the weather. Placement of your tree is important,  to protect it from the cold, plant it on the South side of your house, if this is not enough; put it near your kitchen window for the extra heat released though the window. Needing more cold is a bigger issue. Some trees require a number hours of cold temperature, Asian Pears require 150 to 250 chill hours to set fruit. If you live close  to a cooler zone helps. Try planting your tree on the North side of your house. 

Ph In reference to plants, You may need to adjust your soil to suit your tree, depending where you live your soil will run anywhere  between Acidic and Alkaline. Orange trees which  are Alkaline require a Ph of 6.0 to 7.5. It is best to check your soil before planting.

Water Concerning water, it would seem to be a no brainer. Some plants require a lot of water. In some areas this can be an issue, if you live in the New Mexico or worse, California where there are water restrictions. Water quality can also be an issue, many fruiting plants do poorly near salt water. Even city water has an effect on plants. The best water for plants is rainwater. Which brings up the issue of rain barrels, all plants grow better with rain water? 

Budget Growing your own fruit is not free, there are costs. If you want good fruit then you need to buy good fertilizer, they're the ones with trace elements, not cheap but worth every penny. Unless you want to spend all your time pulling weeds, you are going to want to put down mulch. You can spray poisons, but do you really want to be eating poison? Mulch is the best way and it also conserves water, you won't have to water as often. If you start your plants from seed you will need pots and potting soil, there is a difference from soil. Potting soil is designed for potting plants, some even come with fertilizer.

Tools  you will need a shovel digging the hole for your larger plants, a spade for smaller plants, pruning shears, a bucket to cart in you produce and a picker of some sort for the fruit high in your trees. 

Humidity and Altitude Two more factors to consider. Humidity some plants like more or less of it, consider Florida, high humidity and California, low humidity. Take the California Navel Orange, dryer segment easily, The Florida Navel Orange is wetter and does not segment as easily.

Contact: sl.rainforest@gmail.com










Saturday, March 26, 2016

FLOWERS and FRUIT

MARCH 2016

If you  select your fruit trees by their normal flowering season, you can be harvesting something edible all year long. below are some of my fruit in different stages of development. 

MEYER LEMON FLOWER 

PINK GRAPEFRUIT UNOPENED FLOWERS
PONDEROSA LEMON
SURINAM CHERRY 

FAIRCHILD MANGO

















Contact: sl.rainforest@gmail.com



Saturday, February 20, 2016


 STRAWBERRY TIME

We have been picking Strawberries for a few weeks now. These are large sweet berries grown in Hillsborough county, Florida. Our picking season is just about over.

Garden Strawberry

 Many of the new and different varieties are developed by the University of Florida. Did you know that those little dark specks on the strawberry are the seeds?



Wild Strawberry

Originally wild strawberries were very small, about the size of cranberry. Garden strawberries as we know, large and sweet, were first grown in France around the 1700 hundreds.