วันเสาร์ที่ 27 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2551

How to Grow Potatoes

How to Grow Potatoes
Solanum tuberosum

Have you ever munched down on a fresh, home grown potato?There is a good reason why potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the home garden. They're easy to grow, and they taste better!Potatoes were first cultivated by the Inca Indians in Peru, in about 200 B.C.In 1537, the Spanish Conquistadors discovered the potatoes and brought them back to Europe on their return trip. The first potatoes arrived in North America in 1621.Today, potatoes are one of the largest food crops in the world, with the United States alone growing about 35 billion pounds of potatoes every year.

Potatoes require full sun to grow. Because they are aggressively rooting plants, they will produce the best crop when planted in a light, loose, well-drained but moisture retentive loam. Potatoes prefer a slightly acid soil with a pH of 5.8-6.5. Fortunately, however, potatoes are very adaptable and will usually produce a respectable crop, even when the soil conditions are less than perfect.Potatoes should be rotated on a 3-year program. This means, you need 3-suitable sites if you want to grow potatoes every year.


Growing PotatoesPotatoes may be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the early spring, but you must use good judgment. Potato plants will not begin to grow until the soil temperature has reached 45 degrees F. The soil should be evenly moist, but not wet or soggy. If the soil is water logged when you dig, not only will you risk "caking" the soil, your seed potatoes will probably rot before they even get started. Potatoes can tolerate a light frost, but you should provide some frost-protection for the plants when they are young. This can be a loose covering of straw, or a temporary plastic tent.

(Be sure to remove or ventilate the plastic on sunny days!) If you plan to store potatoes through the winter, you can plant a second crop as late as June 15.


Use only certified seed potatoesPotatoes are susceptible to several serious diseases. Even though the potatoes you saved from the previous year, or the potatoes you see in the supermarket may appear healthy, they should not be used for your seed. Certified seed potatoes are disease free, and have been selected to give you the best results with the highest yields. Certified seed potatoes are available at most quality nurseries and garden centers. There are several different varieties of potatoes to choose from, each with it's own characteristics and qualities. The most popular types are listed here. .

Variety
Maturing
Comments
Yukon GoldEarly to Mid seasonLarge, yellow-fleshed variety. They are excellent baked, boiled, or mashed. The potatoes also store well.
SuperiorMid seasonGood baked, boiled, or mashed. Resistant to potato scab.
Red PontiacLate maturingHigh yields, large round potatoes, easy to grow, stores well.
KennebecLate maturingExcellent producer, large potatoes, great for baking or frying, stores well.
Russet NorkotahLate maturingExcellent baking potato, excellent producer, large potatoes.
White RoseEarly to Mid seasonGood producer, good for cooking, doesn't store well.
RussetMid seasonExcellent producer, excellent baking potato, large potatoes, excellent for storage.
NorlandEarly maturingRed skin, white flesh, excellent when boiled, fried, or mashed, stores well.



Planting potatoesA week or two before your planned potato planting date, set your seed potatoes somewhere where they will be exposed to some warmth (between 60 and 70 degrees F.) and lots of light. This will induce them to begin sprouting. A day or two before planting, use a sharp, clean knife to slice the larger seed potatoes into "seeds". Each seed should be approximately 1 1/2-2inches square, and must contain at least 1 or 2 "eyes" or buds. Smaller potatoes may be planted whole. In the next day or so, your seed will form a thick callous over the cuts, which will help to prevent it from rotting once planted.

Potatoes in the Home GardenTraditionally potatoes are grown in rows. The potato seeds are planted every 15 in., with the rows spaced 2 1/2 to 3 ft. apart.If space is limited or if you would only like to grow a small crop of potatoes, you may prefer to plant one or two potato mounds. Each 3-4 foot diameter mound can support 6 to 8 potato plants.With either method, the first step is to cultivate and turn the soil one last time before planting, removing any weeds, rocks or debris. This will loosen the soil and allow the plants to become established more quickly. Your potato plants will benefit from the addition of compost, well composted manure, and other organic matter to the soil.


HOWEVER, too much organic material can increase the chances of potato scab. (Potato scab is a bacterial infection which doesn't affect the usability of your potatoes, but it makes them look pretty ugly!) To lessen the likelihood of this, mix the organic matter into the soil below the potato seed, where it will feed the roots, but not contact the newly forming potatoes.

Planting in rows Dig a shallow trench about 4 inches wide and 6-8 inches deep. The spacing at which you place the seed pieces will determine the harvested potato size. For most household uses, you will want to plant your potato seeds 15 inches apart in this trench. If you'd like a quick crop of "baby" potatoes for soups and stews, you can plant the seeds 4 inches apart, and begin harvesting them as soon as they reach the desired size.Place the potato seeds into the trench (cut side down) and then cover them with 3-4 inches of soil. (Do not fill the trench in completely!) Depending on the soil temperature, the sprouts will begin to emerge in about 2 weeks. At this time add another 3-4 inches of soil.Your crop of potatoes will form between the seed piece and the surface of the soil.

For this reason, when the stems are about 8 inches high, you once again add enough soil to bring the level half way up the stem of the plant. Another hilling will be needed 2-3 weeks later, at which time you again add soil half way up the stem of the plant. After these initial hillings, it is only necessary to add an inch or two of soil to the hill each week or so, to ensure there is enough soil above the forming potatoes that they don't push out of the hill and get exposed to light. (If the new potatoes are exposed to sunlight while they are developing, they will turn green. This green portion may be toxic!)

This hilling process is necessary to create sufficient space for the potatoes to develop large tubers, and an abundant crop. Don't get carried away with hilling though... If you cover up too much of the foliage, you may end up reducing your final crop yield.

Mound plantingThe basic procedure for planting potatoes in mounds is the same as for planting in rows. The difference here is that you can grow your crop in a more confined area, or take advantage of an otherwise unused area of the garden.Cultivate and loosen the soil where your potato mound will be. Designate the approximate perimeter of your planting circle (3-4 feet diameter). Space 6-8 potato seeds evenly around your circle, and cover with the initial 4 inches of soil. Continue the same procedures as you would for planting in rows.

Potatoes without a gardenIf you have no established garden plot, or if there just isn't enough available space within your garden, you can still grow a respectable crop of spuds, and do a little recycling at the same time. Potatoes thrive in the warm environment of a soil filled tire!Four tires + Two pounds of seed potatoes + Good soil = 20-30 pounds of winter potatoes!Pick a spot where you can stack your tires which is out of the way and preferably out of sight. Loosen the surface of the soil just enough to allow for drainage, and set your largest tire in place. Fill the inside of the tire casing loosely with good topsoil, and then set 3-4 potato seeds into the soil. (Use sticks or rocks to keep the casing rings spread open.)



Add enough soil to the tire "hole" to bring it to the same level as the soil inside the tire.When the new plants are eight inches tall, add another tire and soil to the stack, as in the first level. Repeat the process for your third, and if desired, fourth tires. As you add tires and soil to the stack, the 8" of the plant stalk is covered with soil. By doing this, the existing stalk essentially reverts to a root status and the plant is forced to grow upward to once again find the sunlight which it needs. (much like if you were to try to eliminate a dandelion by covering it with a scoop of soil) By raising the soil level this way (in 8" increments) the plant is able to continue growing without suffocation, and at the same time you are creating a 24-30" tap root from which many more lateral roots can develop.
Patio potato planter: A great container designed to grow spuds on your patio
PATIO RAISED BED
A durable and modular way in which to grow potatoes and other vegetables where space is limited



Each lateral root can then produce additional potatoes (at 3-4 levels rather than the normal single layer). When you water, be sure that the soil is thoroughly moistened all the way to the base of the pile.The tires act as an insulator and heat "sink" for your potatoes. This added warmth will cause the lateral roots (where the new potatoes form) to multiply more rapidly, thereby giving you more potatoes.

Watering and careFor the maximum crop, keep your potato vines well watered throughout the summer, but especially during the period when they are in flower, and immediately thereafter. This is the time when the plant is creating the new tubers, and water is critical. Water early in the day so that the foliage has time to dry completely before evening. (Wet foliage can make your plants more susceptible to several potato diseases.) When foliage turns yellow and dies back, discontinue watering to allow the tubers to "mature" for a week or two before harvesting.Once the vines have passed the critical watering stage while in flower, they will tolerate a certain amount of drought.

According to some studies, non-irrigated potatoes are less watery and more healthful. However, potato plants which are not watered regularly will produce a much smaller crop.
The Potato HarvestYour may begin to harvest your potatoes 2 to 3-weeks after the plants have finished flowering. At this time you will only find small "baby" potatoes if you were to dig up a plant. Potatoes can be harvested any time after this, by gently loosening the soil, reaching under the plant, and removing the largest tubers, leaving the smaller ones to continue growing.If you want late potatoes for storage, wait 2-3 weeks after the foliage dies back. Carefully begin digging a foot or so outside of the row or mound. Remove the potatoes as you find them. (Be careful not to bruise or cut the tubers with your spade!)

If the weather is dry, allow the potatoes to lay on the soil surface, unwashed, for 2-3 days so they can dry. If the weather is wet, or rain is expected, move the harvest to a cool, dry area (like a garage or basement) for the drying period. This drying step is necessary to mature the potato skin, which will protect the potato during storage.

If, by the end of September, the plants have not begun to die back, all of the foliage should be cut off to ensure your crop has ample time to mature before winter.Store your undamaged potatoes in a well-ventilated, dark, cool (about 40 degrees) location. Properly dried and stored potatoes should keep well for three to six months.

Don't grow potatoes in the same soil more than once in three years. Many diseases and insect pests will survive and remain in this area, in spite of your best eradication efforts!

CREDIT BY : http://www.thegardenhelper.com/potato.html

How To Grow Mango Trees

HOW TO GROW A MANGO TREES.

1. Read the classic reference: Fruits Of Warm Climates by Julia F. Morton To download or print this costly book for free just say, "Thanks Perdue U."

2. Here's a short briefing:Mango trees have been cultivated and grafted for hundreds of years. Grafting was a 'secret' in many cultures and tasty mangoes were status symbols for the royalty only. Ancient kings would steal limbs off each others' mango trees and bribe and kidnap the other kings' gardeners. Peasants were beheaded for possession of mango fruit or unauthorized cultivation of mango fruit trees. Royalty would try to surpass each other with lavish mango parties and huge gifts of perfect, ripe, delicious mango fruits. Some of today's Indochinese awesome varieties existed many, many years ago exactly as we have them now.

Mango trees are evergreens.



Their leaves make superior mulch.
The civilized grafted mango trees we have now are nothing like the ancient, wild trees whose small fruit tasted like turpentine and had the texture of nylon yarn. The old test of a mango fruit was it's stringiness, it's fiber content. You used to judge a mango by how much dental floss it had. The advent of the science of grafting changed all that.

Mango fruit from seeds is never the same as the mother tree's fruit. So the seed out of a great tasting fruit will likely produce a tree yielding horrible tasting fibrous fruit. The only certain way to be sure you'll have tasty fruit is to propagate (by grafting, and in some cases cloning) an existing particular, individual tree (DNA-wise) whose quality is proven.

The odds of a seed producing worthwhile fruit are very, very small.

All mango trees grown from any seed are properly called "Wild Mango Trees".

All good tasting mango varieties are grafted. It's easy with younger trees to see the graft...just look near the base of the trunk and you can see a scar that circles all the way around the trunk. Older trees have the scar too if they are grafted, it's just harder to see.

Watch out for grafted trees that have been frozen back to the stump and all the top (good) part of the graft (scion) has died of the freeze and only the rootstock has survived and branched...such trees, if they do live and re-grow, produce very inferior fruit.


It is a good citizen's duty to kill these "fruiting wounded" so that people sampling mangoes for the first time will not taste their unpleasant "free" fruits and form an aversion to all mangoes.
Grafting Is When You Artificially Attach a Tiny Proto-Limb (Bud) of a Desirable Tree to the Lower Trunk of a Similar Tree, Usually a Sapling, Thereby Prolonging the Life and Fruiting Ability of the Desirable Tree.

THIS CAN RESULT IN A SINGLE DESIRABLE TREE'S DNA BEING USED FOR AN INDEFINITELY LONG TIME! Like possibly thousands of years!




Sometimes young trees sprout limbs from BELOW the graft's scar, always kill these limbs because they will produce bad tasting fruits and weaken the good scion above the graft.

Grafting occurs in nature, for example, when two trees growing too close together constantly rub limbs in the wind scraping them both bare at one spot and they both 'bleed' sap and when the windy season ends they are still pressed together and grow 'joined' together over months into one tree. Grafted. There is this type of 'joining' in root systems too.

Click Here for a Short Movie on How to Graft

Most of the mango varieties you find in the supermarket are not ancient. (The best mangoes never make it to a grocery store.) These modern varieties taste great and are resistant to some problems. The newest varieties are often 'designed' to taste like other fruits such as coconuts, lemons, vanilla, ice cream etc.

Generally, modern mango tree varieties are superior in every way to the ancient ones.
Except the Nam Doc Mai, a treasured survivor from ancient Siam (Thailand), which politely delivers indescribably delicious fruit, one limb-full at a time, over the course of the year, thus providing a long, manageable supply rather than bestowing a few hundred pounds of mangoes during about six weeks time as is usual with most varieties.

Here are some APPROXIMATE dates of recognition:Haden..........1898Tommy Adkins...........1915 Kent..................1925Zill......1940Temperature is very important with mango trees. Cold weather is a major health factor. They die or suffer great damage at 32 F. They go temporarily dormant at about 40 F.

So you must learn the normal yearly temperature pattern for where the tree will be.

The idea that there is a "coldhardy" rootstock or cultivar is absurd. All mango trees behave exactly the same way as regards 32 F. They die or suffer great damage.

Here are some cold weather ideas. In some places the threat of frost or freeze is normal only at night for a few nights each year. You can either keep the tree in a container and drag it inside during the hours of frost or freeze or plant it in the ground where you will have to cover it up for only the duration of the frost or freeze.

If you cover it be sure to fasten the 'skirt' to the ground all around with sod staples so as to trap the ground warmth radiating upward, you can add a light bulb for added warmth or even a little electric space heater...just watch out for rain. Also where the covering tarp/plastic touches the tree the freeze will 'burn' it, no big deal usually, but you can get elaborate and build a skeleton frame to stretch the cover over, just remember the wind. Remember to open a vent hole or uncover the mango tree in the morning after temperatures get back above 40 F. You could 'cook' it if you forget.

In Northern Florida they used to plant mango trees right up against the South side of the house where the hot water heater was, so the tree kept warm at night. During cold weather, even if there was a killer freeze and some limbs died, the trunk above the graft was still warm and would sprout new limbs and yield delicious fruit in the Spring.

In an emergency, you can heat just the trunk, (it will save the graft and the tree), you will be sacrificing all but one of the scion's branches. But it will save the life of a grafted tree.
There are several ways to heat it: put hot wet towels, electric heating pads, an electric blanket, or hot water bottles, etc. wrapped around the trunk clear up to a few inches ABOVE the first branch. And put some warm water on the ground near the base of the trunk. Remember you must save at least one limb (small is OK) ABOVE the graft or else the tree is worthless.

It is possible to use sprinklers to spray water onto a tree to save it. BUT you must not stop spraying until the temperature is up to 36 F. Don't just stop the water at dawn. You can try to divert the flowing water away from the base of the tree and the roots with plastic sheeting, (mango trees like dry winters).

In places where it freezes all night and all day you must keep the tree inside the house near a big South facing window (for light) until the frost threat is over. Lots of light is the main concern. You can phone your local NOAA weather station and they will read you the historically earliest and latest freeze dates in your area so you know about what date to drag it inside. Of course a sunny, heated greenhouse or pool house is nice!

Mango trees like a dry spell for a couple months in the winter.

Water the tree every 3 days for the first month if you plant it in the earth. Then every week for the next 2 months. Then don't water it any more except for dry spells.

When it's mature, don't water very much or fertilize at all during the time when fruit are forming or ripening, you'll burst the fruit or dilute the flavor.

Don't let small trees have fruit for 2-4 years. Keep sniping the fruits off when they are golf ball size...fruiting drains the vigor and growth.

Have you ever seen a mango tree with more weight in flowers than tree? Yes, it happens. The excess weight of flowers or fruits can break off limbs and really ruin a tree. You may have to support young trees and trees that have a bumper crop with lumber or ropes. Be creative and over-engineer everything. Don't ding up the bark, wrap old water hose or panty hose so it's cushioned where the support touches the tree.

Pruning to remove dangerous excess weight of inflorescences or fruits is OK. Otherwise forget it. You can really mess up the life of a tree fast with just a few uneducated cuts.
Any needed cuts to the tree should be made with sharp clean tools.

Some growers use a hand held one quart propane torch (hardware store) to quickly sterilize the knife or scissors after each cut so as to not spread virus disease.

Don't burn mango leaves or cuttings, the smoke is toxic. Also don't allow animals to eat the leaves.

For the first 3 years apply about one level tablespoon of 12-5-9 (scattered) per foot of tree height in fall after all the fruit have been picked. After the tree is three years old start using 4-4-8 with trace elements, apply about 1/4 cup once yearly after all fruit are picked. Fertilizer is mixed with a gallon of warm water and applied to the DAMP soil, not dry, not wet. Apply about a quart daily for four days. Mango trees need less fertilizer than the same area of lawn grass!
A 'citrus' type all purpose spray (lots of different brands, but we recommend Exxon 435 soluble oil) is good to spray every month with the Kocide (copper sulfate).

And get yourself a decent sprayer that makes a fine mist.


And get some 'Kocide' (brand name for copper sulfate) from a garden shop and spray the trees thoroughly in humid/warm conditions twice a week! Follow the directions on the bag. Add a teaspoonful of dish detergent in each sprayer load to make it stick.

Anthracnose is the condition that spoils the fruit. Look for black dots on the fruit and leaves and the growing tips die curling black. Spray Kocide. Spray twice a week. In Florida or other humid places spray twice a week all year. Don't let the copper sulfate drip on to the roots, use plastic and rags or paper towels to keep it off the soil over the roots. It is good for the above ground parts only.

Death to all squirrels! And rats! ...Get some dogs.
Mango trees come from poor, sandy soil with alternating monsoons and droughts. Lots of hot sun. Few nutrients. Since it survives under very harsh conditions you need only keep it from freezing. It's close cousin is the cashew nut tree.


If your mango tree's in a pot, check the moisture every week. Stick your finger into the soil, is it damp? Stick your finger into one of the holes around the bottom of the pot, is there moisture at all? Water thoroughly only if dry. The soil should go from very wet to very dry, then back to very wet. And so forth.

DO NOT TRY TO KEEP THE SOIL IN ANY POTTED PLANT OR TREE SLIGHTLY DAMP ALL THE TIME. Go back and forth from real wet to real dry. REASON: BECAUSE THE VARIOUS PATHOGENS CANNOT ADAPT TO THE EXTREME CHANGES IN MOISTURE AND IT KILLS LOTS OF THEM. And with no chemicals and no labor!

Roots need air just like they need water.
It's always good to "spin" a potted plant halfway around every month so as to give it sunlight equally all around and help it grow straight.


FOR PLANTS, SUNLIGHT IS FOOD. Not enough means less growth, less flowering and less fruiting. The more hours of daily direct sunlight...the more tree growth, flowering and fruiting. Also if you reposition the potted tree suddenly, sunburn and leaf dropping can occur because of any change in the amount of light. Sometimes a little leaf dropping isn't too bad. Acclimation to lighting changes takes weeks and months.

If you want to keep a non-dwarf mango tree small, don't up-pot it. Make it pot bound.

Just like Bonsai?
Yes, Mango trees are perfect for Bonsai. They were some of the first subjects for the art form. Imagine a six inch tall mango tree that's 30 years old and has a ripe 3 lb. fruit on it!

("Julie" is the true dwarf and will get only 8 ft. high. "Cogshall" is the semi-dwarf mango tree and can reach 12 ft. Also there is a new "Hawaiian Dwarf Mango" to try!)

If you are serious about mangoes, then you'll want to know about proper spacing in a grove. Plant "Keitt" variety, space them about 35 ft. apart in long rows running North and South. Space the rows about 45 ft. apart so as to leave space to drive a tractor pulling a big grove sprayer. "Keitt" fruits get to 4 lbs., ship well, taste terrific, have no fiber at all, are resistant to anthracnose, it's a huge tall tree, rave, rave.

Go to the library and look up "Mangifera Indica L." in the card catalogue and in the Reader's Guide. Join the local Garden Club.

Visit plantations in India, China, Mexico, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria, Brazil, Philippines, Haiti and South Africa. Even the Bahamas Islands are now exporting!
Mango fruits cost $1.00 or more each in the supermarkets.

Excuse us, but it needs to be said: there is no such thing as a "mango poop"; they are not a laxative.



In many places the mango fruit is prepared and cooked while green and eaten as a carbohydrate.
More mangos are sold on Earth than any other fruit. Any other fruit. Think about it.



CREDIT BY : http://www.tropicalrainflorist.com/mango_trees.htm

วันอาทิตย์ที่ 21 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2551

How to Grow an Olive Tree in a Container

Olive trees add Mediterranean flair to any abode.

You don't need to live in Southern Europe or California to enjoy the leathery, gray-green leaves of an olive tree. Neither do you need to own a garden for olive trees can be grown on balconies or indoors quite easily.

Most nurseries offer potted olive trees for sale. You will need to repot the olive tree a year later as the roots will start getting crowded in the normal container. To make your olive tree comfortable I suggest you buy yourself a large terra cotta pot with a drainage hole at the bottom, fast draining potting soil and a balanced houseplant fertilizer on the same day.

For your olive tree locate a spot which is situated near a south facing sunny window. Your olive tree will require 6 hours of direct sunlight a day to thrive. The pot should not be placed near a radiator or heat vent. Also consider that if the plant is placed to close to the window this could act as a magnifying glass and "burn" the olive tree.

After you have found a pleasant spot for your olive tree you will need to transplant your tree into the pot. I suggest you position the terra cotta pot first and bring your soil and tree to the pot and work there because once the pot is filled with soil it can be very heavy to reposition.
First fill the terracotta pot half way with the potting mix.

Then moisten the potting mix.

To remove the olive tree without damage to the roots from the original container you will have to clutch the rim and then turn the pot upside down.

Tap the pot gently with the heel of your hand.

The olive tree will slide out.

Pick up the tree and loosen the sides of the root ball with your thumbs.

Position the root ball of the olive tree so that it is about 1 inch below the rim of the pot.

Then fill the pot with the rest of the soil mixture.

Firm the soil around the olive tree.

Then water thoroughly.

You will know when to water your olive tree by putting your finger into the soil mixture. If this feels dry 1 inch below the surface, then water well. In the colder seasons olive trees take a natural rest so you will need to water less in autumn and winter. But make sure the soil never dries out completely! In the winter you only need to fertilize once a month and in summer every two weeks.

You can prune the tips of the branches in spring to encourage a bushy growth on the head. Make the cuts where where a pair of leaves attaches to a stem.
Unfortunately olive trees sometimes are victimized by soft-bodied scale which is small yellowish brownish insects which attach themselves to the stems of the trees and suck sap from the plant. To eliminate the scale you will need to spray the tree with insecticidal soap. Garden centers have different types of remedies for indoor use.

Enjoy your olive tree.
Alissa Mattei is a degreed food technologist with a heart for olives. She is a sought after "olive consultant" and travels the world teaching food corporations how to recognize the quality of an olive so it can be introduced into a product range.

Alissa also is an expert on "olive oil tasting". She owns and lives the life of her dreams together with her husband on a huge olive plantation, where together they run one of the most popular luxury guest houses in the heart of Tuscany. The guest house is simply called Casa Montecucco which in English means the house on the hill.

Visit Alissa at http://www.casamontecucco.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alissa_Mattei

Grow An Avocado Tree!

There's nothing more fun than growing your own Avocado Tree!


"How do I do it?"


Open the avocado and remove the pit from the center. You can eat the fruit of the avocado, it's yummy and is full of nutrients!*


Wash the avocado pit under cool running water, you don't need soap to clean it. With your fingers gently wipe away and remove any of the green fruit that might be on the pit. Rinse it well and then blot it dry with a paper towel.


Carefully push three toothpicks into the thickest width of avocado, you want to push the toothpicks into the pit about a 1/2" deep. (It's okay if you push them in deeper or even a little less) The toothpicks will help suspend the avocado pit in water and keep the top part of the pit in fresh air and the fat base of the pit under the surface of the water. Be careful pushing in the toothpicks, they have pointy edges and could hurt if they poke your hands, it's all right to ask a grown-up to help with this.


Suspend the pit over a glass filled with water....the toothpicks will rest on the rim of the glass and hold the pit in place so it doesn't sink to the bottom. Always check the water level in the glass and see that the water is covering the fat base of the pit by about an inch depth. If the water is below that level you'll need to add some more. Slowly and carefully pour in more water from a small cup to avoid splashing.


Place the glass in a bright windowsill. In about three to six weeks the top of the avocado pit will begin to split and a stem sprout will emerge from the top and roots will begin to grow at the base.
When the stem grows to about five or six inches pinch out the top set of leaves. In another two or three weeks new leaves will sprout and their will be more roots.


It's now time to plant the young avocado tree. Place enriched potting soil in a large flowerpot (maybe 8" to 10" across). Fill the soil to about an inch from the top of the pot. Make a small depression in the center of the soil and place the pit, root-side down into the depression. Don't put it too deep...you want to have the upper half of the pit above the soil line. Add some more soil around the pit to fill in any air holes by the roots and then firm it into the soil by gently pushing the soil around the base of the pit. The tree's stem and leaves should be straight and pointing up (like a flagpole).


Give the soil a drink to water the pit. Water it generously so that the soil is thoroughly moist. Water the soil slowly and gently so that when it's poured in it doesn't gouge out holes in the soil. Keep your tree watered but don't let the soil be so moist that it ever looks like mud.

How do I care for my avocado tree?"
Keep your tree in a sunny window, the more sun it gets the bigger it will grow.
Remember to give it frequent light waterings but don't let the soil get muddy. If the leaves turn yellow it means that the plant is getting too much watering, let the tree's soil dry out for a couple of days, then return to light waterings.


When the stem grows six more inches pinch out the top two sets of leaves. This will encourage the plant to grow side shoots and more leaves, making it bushy. Each time the plant grows another six inches pinch out the two newest sets of leaves on top.


"Can my avocado tree ever go outside?"
Yes it can go outside in the summer. If your winters are cold ~ below 45 degrees (F) or 7 degrees (C) ~ you must bring your tree inside for the winter. Otherwise, if your winters are cool and mild, the tree may stay outdoors year round.


"Will my tree ever grow fruit?"
Sometimes they will begin setting fruit after they are three or four years old. It helps to have several avocado trees growing together to aid with pollination.
"How tall will my avocado tree grow?" An avocado tree is a medium to large tall tree. It can grow between 20 and 40 feet tall. With pruning it can be kept at a much shorter height.


*Avocado Nutrition Facts*
Avocados contain just 5 grams of fat per serving.
Avocados contain NO cholesterol and NO sodium.
Avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas!
Avocados are high in fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium and folate.
==============================================
Enjoy sprouting your avocado pit and growing your tree!


How to Grow Beets

How to Grow Beets

How many of you out there like beets? Okay, so Beets may not be the most popular vegetable on the planet. But those who like Beets, really love them. Home gardeners quickly discover, that Beet plants are easy to grow. Big, bulbous beet roots reach maturity quickly, and take up little space.

Almost all varieties of beets are a deep rich red. There is one white variety on the market. Beets are commonly known to bleed, or leak, their deep red juices. This juice can cause stains, so be careful where your set them.

Did you know? Beets are one of eight vegetables that makes V8 taste so great.
Varieties:

  • There are several varieties of beets. Most are round in shape, with deep red color.
  • A few varieties are deep red and cylindrical, making them easier to cut uniform slices.
  • There is also an uncommon white beet.

Planting Beet Seeds:
Plant Beet seeds thinly, 1/2 inch deep. After germination, thin to 2 to 3 inches apart. Rows should be spaced 1 1/2 feet apart.

Growing Beet Plants:
Apply a general purpose fertilizer while sowing, and again two to three weeks later. Beets should be kept weed free. It is easy for weeds to overshadow the shorter beet leaves.
Do not overcrowd beets. Overcrowding will affect the development of the beet root, causing it to grow deeper and slender, rather than forming a big round bulb.
Tip: Keep the soil lightly watered. Too little water will result in a tough and leathery crop.

Days to Maturity:
Approximately 55 to 60 days for most varieties.

Insects and Pests:
Aphids and beetles will occasionally infest the plants. Treatment with insecticide is effective.
Mice and squirrels and a few other pests will sometimes nibble on your Beet crop.

Disease:
Mildew and leaf spots are an occasional problem. Treat with fungicides.

Harvesting Beet Roots:
Begin to harvest beets when they are two inches in diameter, thinning the row as you go. Beets are tender when young. A big, round beet root will look really impressive, but will certainly not taste impressive, as they will get tough quickly.

Hardiness:
Beets are sensitive to frost. But, they are a root crop. Should Jack Frost pay an unexpected visit, the beets are still harvestable.

CREDIT BY : http://www.gardenersnet.com/vegetable/beet.htm

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Corn



1. Soil Preparation : Choose a wind sheltered spot in full sun which provides good drainage and enough humus to insure that the ground will not dry out too quickly in hot weather. Ideally, the top soil should be slightly acidic, deep and very fertile. Dig up your plot in the winter being sure not to bring clay to the surface and incorporate a good grade of compost into the soil. Two weeks prior to sowing the seed, rake in a good source of fertilizer.

2. Sowing & Planting : For the best results, corn must be planted in a rectangle of at least 4 rows opposed to a singular row. This will not only insure proper pollination, but provide some wind protection to the crop. Sow the seeds directly into the ground opposed to starting them in trays or pots as corn can be difficult to transplant. Sow two seeds together approximately one inch deep every 18 inches in the row and remove the weaker of each two seedlings, leaving 18 inches between the remaining plants.

3. Looking After the Plants : Protect your seedlings with netting if birds are a nuisance and keep down the weeds but do not hoe close to the plants. If roots appear at the base of the plant's stem, mound dirt or compost over them. These protruding roots, which are referred to as "tillers", should not be removed. If the plants are tall and little protection is available, it may be wise to stake each plant for extra support. Be sure to provide plenty of water for the plants in hot water, which is especially necessary when they flower. Make it a habit to tap the tassles at the top of each stem regularly as this will aid in germination. Feed the plants with a good liquid fertilizer source when the cobs begin to swell.



4. Harvesting : Each plant will produce several harvestable cobs. Test the cobs for ripeness when the silks (tassles) have turned a dark brown color by pulling back part of the sheath (husk) and squeeze a couple of the grains between the thumbnail and fingernail. If a watery liquid squirts out from the kernel, the ear is unripe. If the discharge is creamy, the ear is prime for harvesting, where as if the liquid is thick and somewhat solid, you have waited too long to harvest. Carefully twist the ripe ear from the plant's stem, being careful not to injure the plant. Harvest just before you intend to cook the corn as this crop is at its best if cooked within 10 minutes of harvest.

5. Storage : If storage is necessary, corn can stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to 3 days, but can also be frozen for the freezer in zip-lock freezer bags.


CREDIT AND COPY BY : http://www.seedfest.co.uk/tips/how-to-grow-corn.html

How to Grow Durians # 4

SEE PAGE DURIAN #1
SEE PAGE DURIAN #2

SEE PAGE DURIAN # 3

Harvest: Grafted cultivars generally start bearing at 4 to 6 years after planting in the ground; seedlings usually take from 7 to 10 years but have been known to wait as long as 13 to 21 years—powerful incentives to use vegetative propagation.

Durian fruits vary in size and shape depending on variety and completeness of pollination, but most often are oblong and have an average mass slightly larger than a (U.S.-style) football. Fruit weights of 1.5-4 kg [3 to 10 pounds] are common, but occasionally massive 8 kg [20 pound] (tribal-size!) durians are produced. Of the weight of a typical whole durian, only about 15% to 25% is fruit pulp and about 20% is seeds, making it one of the most expensive fruits in the world in terms of its ratio of whole fruit to the part actually edible.

Depending on variety and climate conditions, it may require from about 85 to 150 days for durians to develop after flower pollination, and if not harvested, they will naturally drop from the tree over about a 10-week period.


In areas near the equator where there are no defined wet and dry seasons, as in parts of Malaysia and Sumatra, individual trees commonly bear fruit twice a year, with the peaks in June and December. In these equatorial areas, durian trees do not start flowering in response to any seasonal changes in day length or temperature, but rather are stimulated to flower by periods of dry weather. In tropical areas with distinct wet and dry seasons, for example, India and eastern Java, flowering begins near the end of the dry season. In tropical areas farther than 10º north or south from the equator, flowering normally starts in the spring months, with an annual harvest in mid-summer to autumn. There is a tendency with some trees to bear only every other year, even in areas where twice-a-year fruiting is possible.


"Initial yield may be 10 to 40 fruits for the first year of fruiting to about 100 fruits for the sixth year. Yield of up to 200 fruits is common after the 10th year of fruiting" — Durian OnLineWell-grown, high-yielding cultivars may produce 10 to 15 tons per hectare [9000-13000 pounds per acre] of durian fruits per year by 10 to 15 years after planting. As durians command relatively expensive market prices even in the areas of southeast Asia where they are plentiful, it is easy to understand that in that part of the world, people who have more than a few bearing durian trees are considered wealthy.
The two very different approaches to harvesting duriansShunyam NiravAs inclined to diversity as the durian is, it’s not too surprising that two very different basic approaches to harvesting and eating durians has developed among humans. For convenience they can be called the Thai approach, which is prevalent mostly only in Thailand, and the Malaysian approach, which is prevalent almost everywhere else in Southeast Asia but has been particularly developed and refined in Malaysia.

In Thailand, it’s customary to harvest durians from the tree by cutting with a knife (sometimes on the end of a long pole), when they are approaching ripeness, but not entirely ripe. Like papayas, bananas, and avocados, durians do ripen well off the tree, if not cut too soon. Many people (including me) savor Thai varieties of durians eaten when mid-ripe, somewhat before totally ripe; totally ripe is usually past their peak of deliciousness. The Thai durian varieties have evidently been selected and bred over generations to support this customary harvesting-before-ripe. Part of the fruit stem (botanically speaking, the peduncle) is always left attached when the durian is cut from the tree, rather than breaking off the fruit from the stem. The fruit stem is cut as long as practically possible, and is often wrapped with a banana leaf or paper, which is said to extend the fruit’s shelf life.

In Malaysia (and elsewhere), it’s a fundamental principle that durians should be allowed to naturally fully ripen on the tree for maximum-quality flavor, aroma, texture, and appearance. Durian growers wait until the trees naturally drop their ripe fruit, and collect the fruit several times a day from under the trees.To prevent damage from hitting the ground or rocks (or people!), either large safety nets are arranged under the trees to catch the falling spiky fruits; or workers climb the trees early in the season to attach long strings or ropes to each developing fruit, which are looped over branches above and then down to ground level like a pulley, so when the fruits are dropped by the tree they are caught and can be safely and easily lowered. Durians in Malaysia are thus regarded as highly perishable commodities — those that have fallen within the past 12 hours command very high prices in the marketplaces; after 12 hours the quality is perceived as having diminished and become ordinary, and the price is reduced.
On Penang, at Bao Sheng farm, the best just-dropped varieties of durians sold in the 1999 season for about the equivalent of US$3.50 a pound, which meant that a typical 4-pound durian cost about US$15 for one fruit. That’s at the farm, though; just-dropped durians are rushed from farms to the cities of Malaysia where the same durian may readily sell for over twice the farm price. And in durian-crazed Singapore, when swiftly exported fresh-dropped Malaysian durians of the highest quality varieties are available there, durian connoisseurs snap them up for the equivalent of US$75 per fruit! For the lowest prices and good fun, large numbers of Malaysian durian-lovers make pilgrimages to durian farms in various regions of the country during the season to savor the best freshly-dropped durians.

It’s a real connoisseur scene in Malaysia around durians — over a hundred officially registered varieties (and countless more unregistered), all with rich subtle differences of flavor, texture, aroma, and appearance, and much importance given to tree-ripening and fresh-droppedness. Malaysian varieties are generally smaller than Thai durians (rarely as large as a soccer ball), many varieties have much thinner spikes, and usually the fruit flesh around the seeds is not as thick as is common in Thai varieties. They usually have a much more complex and rich flavor than most Thai durians have, though, and it can be highly variable from fruit to fruit from the same tree, even from section to section within the same fruit.

It’s evident that Thais and Malaysians have a good-natured rivalry around their approaches to durians. The Malaysians disapprove of the Thai practice of harvesting durians before ripe and letting them ripen off the tree — that’s unthinkable in Malaysia. To cut durians early and not allow them to ripen on the tree and drop naturally occurs to most Malaysians as an insensitive ruination of full-flavored durian quality. (T.S. Chang of Bao Sheng Durian Farm asserts that durians lose 20% to 25% of their full potential for aroma and flavor by being harvested early...and I can understand from eating Malaysian durians what he means.) However, a Thai variety of durian allowed to ripen and drop from the tree is usually already past its prime. The Thais possess durian varieties which in their own way are of magnificent quality when cut, ripened off the tree (like bananas), and eaten at just the right stage before totally ripe.

Having the kinds of durian varieties they have, Thais don’t understand Malaysians’ (and others) obsession with tree-ripened fruit and enduring all the harvesting and marketing challenges and high prices that result. The practically-inclined Thais do have a commercial advantage with their approach — cutting durians before ripe has allowed them to develop a large profitable commercial durian-growing industry, the biggest of any country. In Thailand, everyone has about a week after harvesting to transport and market the fruit far and wide, whereas the Malaysian practice of only accepting tree-ripened durians necessarily greatly limits their commercial reach and shelf life and makes them very costly to consumers. Malaysians, however, cheerfully just regard these things as facts of life that necessarily come with obtaining their high-quality tree-ripened durians, satisfied that their durians have a much richer and more complex flavor and better overall quality than those of their Thai neighbors.

When I visited both countries in June 1999 at the peak of durian season, the highest-quality durians in Thailand were selling in the marketplaces for the equivalent in U.S. money of about 50 cents a pound; over the border in Malaysia highest-quality durians were selling for the equivalent of US$3.50 a pound at the farm, more in the marketplaces. Durians in Thailand have been made a widespread commodity that the majority of average people appear to be able to afford; in Malaysia it appears that durians are in financial reach of primarily only wealthier consumers (not a criticism, just an observation of the way things are). However, the big exceptions in either country are people who grow their own durians...who, if they have more than a few trees, inevitably become wealthy themselves from the abundant bounty given year after year by the trees!
As a durian-lover from the outside, I respect, understand, and enjoy both the Thai and Malaysian approaches and the resulting fruit. I’ve been fortunate to experience both incredibly luscious Thai durians (especially Monthong and especially those grown on the southern islands of Koh Samui and Koh Pha-Ngan, and in the durian-growing capital of Chanthaburi in eastern Thailand) — and some of the extremely richly-delicately-flavored connoisseur creme-de-la-creme Malaysian durians (especially on the island of Penang). Comparing them isn’t really fair; at their best they’re both fantastic, unmistakably durian and yet so different — as similar and yet as different as, say, Chinese and Japanese humans. And then there are all the other durian varieties found in Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam, south India, and Sri Lanka, with a vast range of subtle differences and nuances. If you enjoy eating durian and get a chance to be in that part of the world during the season, visit the colorful local marketplaces and try as many as you can! Or better yet, if you live in a tropical area, seek out the best varieties of grafted trees to grow yourself!

More cultivation information: click here to view the Durian chapter (19 pages) from The Production of Economic Fruits in South-East Asia by Othman Yaacob and Suranant Subhadrabandhu (Oxford University Press, New York, 1995).
CREDIT BY :http://www.durianpalace.com


SEE PAGE DURIAN #1
SEE PAGE DURIAN #2

SEE PAGE DURIAN # 3

Cherry Trees - hints on how to plant and grow them

Cherry Trees - hints on how to plant and grow them

As a general rule of thumb, cherry trees are the first of the stone fruits to blossom and fruit hence the appearance of the fruit in the supermarket shelves herald the arrival of summer. Cherry trees aren't all that hard to grow provided you have :
cold chilly winters
enough room for 2 trees (they are big trees mind you, some growing in excess of 30 feet, so if you are planting 2, then plant them at least 18 feet apart) - most cherry trees require a pollinator. There are new varieties of sweet cherry trees ( Stella and Sweetheart) which are self pollinating so pick these if you want just one tree which will give you fruit. If you are short on space, you can try to espalier them against a wall and pruning religiously to keep them in check. The advantage of having them espaliered is that you can keep them to a reasonable size and netting to stop the birds getting at the fruit proves to be an easier task.
lots of time and patience to spray them and net them to stop the birds from eating the bounty before you get to them.
Cherry trees are originally from Europe and Western Asia. The coveted cherry blossoms that enshroud the tree in spring is a vision to behold. Japan is well known for its cherry blossom festival and the hint that winter is leaving us to give way to spring is never as potently portrayed as an alley full of cherry blossom trees erupting with vivid white. So if you do decide to plant cherry trees, you get a double bounty, the spring show and the fruit to boot!



Cherry tree requirements
Most cherry trees (unless you are after the sour cherries which cooks much prefer) require a pollinator - if you only have room for one tree, then perhaps you could convince your neighbour to have one in their yard too. Cherry trees need frosty winters to bear a good crop, so whilst you may get some fruit if your winters are milder, you aren't going to be able to get basketfuls of cherries. Still, how many cherries can you eat? The fruit really only keeps for a week in the fridge so it would mean a cherry binge for that week after the harvest and then you'd have to wait another year for your next fix!
Cherry trees prefer a protected site and rich, well drained soil - they loathe wet feet. When the tree is about to fruit (around late spring) it's best if there isn't any rain around that time as you get better cherries with fewer subject to rotting. Cherry trees aren't particularly fond of mulching and too much fertilizer is wasted on them. They much prefer just an annual sprinkling of blood and bone or old poultry manure.

How to prune cherry trees
Cherries are borne on fruiting spurs on branches that are at least 2 years old. So if you prune off the spurs by accident, you will have to wait another 2 years for any fruit. Pruning essentially is done to ensure that the cherry trees assume an open vase shape, taking out any dead twigs and removing any branches that cross over each other. Pruning is best done when conditions are dry - avoid pruning in wet and damp conditions as cherry trees are prone to fungal diseases.

Cherry tree problems
Cherry trees are prone to fungal attack so bordeaux spray in winter is often a necessity. If you see little holes in the trunk and branches, then you are likely to have wood borer problems (some moths do this too) and will need to try killing them with wire down the hole or injecting insecticide into the holes and then filling them up with wood putty. The dreaded pear and cherry slug is another problem and needs to be dealt with by spraying with a solution of Derris.

What about sour cherry trees
Sour cherries are the wilder cousins of the more cultivated sweet cherry trees. They tend to be self fertile (you only need one tree) and are smaller and bushier in shape. Sour cherry trees also tend to have bad habit of suckering so bear this in mind when you plant one. The cherries tend to be more tart to the taste buds and are usually used in cooking eg pies. Growth requirements and conditions are similar to their sweet cousins.

CREDIT BY : http://www.flowerpotheaven.com/grow-plant-cherry-trees.htm

Eating Fresh Durian



Eating Fresh Durian
As a durian approaches ripeness, the tough rind with its previously intimidating thorny spikes will now naturally, easily, and graciously unzip along hidden suture lines between the inner sections (or locules). Looking at a durian that has not naturally begun to split open, it can be puzzling to guess where these lines actually might be, zigzagging among the spikes—and surprising to find out where they actually are. Left to itself, as ripeness progresses, the a durian naturally starts cracking open from the bottom end, revealing and offering its inner fruit bounty to creatures large and small.

Malaysian durians (and other similar Southeast Asian varieties that are closer to the wild) are always allowed to naturally ripen and drop from the tree. They are always considered a little past their prime if they have any crack showing at all.
Thai varieties of durians are a different story; they are always cut from the tree while still green and allowed to ripen off the tree. (A Thai durian allowed to drop naturally from the tree is probably already past its prime). In my early experiences with Thai durians, I would look for the first slight sign of a crack along one of these lines at the bottom of the fruit, as an indication of ripeness. My inclination was to wait for the fruit to give a natural sign that it’s ready for eaters by making it easy to enter. I still tend to think that if you have to engage in a difficult wrestling or knifing match with a durian to get in, it’s too early. However, as I gained more experience, I discovered that Thai durians opened earlier than that (possible only with a knife), before any natural crack appeared, were usually more exquisite than the naturally-cracked fruits.

Early-ripe Thai durians like this usually have a bright freshness, more of a flavor complexity, and an intriguing and tasty succulent-crunchy component surrounding the custardy part, all of which is gone from the very creamy completely-ripe pulp. This cutting into durians, though, is a very tricky business (not to mention the hazard of the fruit’s sharp spikes). I have ruined more than a few Thai durians, or parts of them, that I estimated were at that special stage mentioned above, before they cracked, by cutting into them only to find that they were much too green. I’ve found that some Thai-variety durians may be at their prime when just a tiny first crack has appeared, but more often it’s a little before that.

(For another writer's perspective and experience with this, read Bill Stimson's delightful essay "Opening a Durian" here.)

In Asia, durian is said to have "heaty" properties—eating very much will give your body a heated sensation for a brief period thereafter. I have found this to be true from my own experience. It’s not necessarily unpleasant, it just happens, and is part of the overall durian-eating experience (along with classic satisfied durian-scented burps!). Durian is not recommended eating if you have a high temperature from some illness, though. It follows that durian’s heatiness contributes a subtle paradoxical appeal and delight to durian ice cream.

I’ve noticed that durians wrapped in a newspaper and plastic bag for awhile do emit actual heat — the fruit and wrapping and air inside all get heated up. A pity durians aren’t common in cold climates, and that their heat is wasted on tropical residents who already have a lavish abundance of it! Certain other fruits such as mangosteen and citrus are said to have "cooling" properties and are recommended as an antidote to a feeling of having eaten too much durian (and it can be hard to stop!) A different kind of remedy (from Bao Sheng Durian Farm) is to pour water into an empty durian shell, sprinkle table salt into it, mix well and drink; something in the shell walls, combined with salt, makes an effective antidote to excessive durian heatiness.

More useful eating tips from Bao Sheng Farm:

  • If eating several varieties of durian at the same time, eat the best last because the best’s aroma and flavor will cover all the others, and if you eat the best first, you won’t be able to experience the others.
  • If faced with the pleasant task of eating several varieties, the preferred order of eating is the more moist varieties first, ending with the more "gummy" varieties (which are regarded in Malaysia as the best). (This is more a Malaysian-style durian situation, as Thai varieties of durians are generally larger, people tend to eat only one Thai variety at a time, and there are fewer choices of variety in the marketplace.)
  • To remove the odor of durian from your hands, wash your hands with durian seeds; amazing, but it works (thanks again to T.S. Chang at Bao Sheng Durian Farm in Malaysia).
    Durian is not recommended for consuming with alcoholic beverages, as the combination of natural substances is a powerful producer of internal gas.
    Sound durian fruit will store satisfactorily in refrigeration for up to 3 weeks at 59º F. [15º C.].

Durian is not only exquisitely delicious but richly nutritious, a complete natural meal in itself high in carbohydrate, proteins, fat, minerals, and vitamins. The exact nutritional composition of a ripe durian can vary greatly, depending on soil richness, growing methods, climate conditions, and variety. The range of nutritional values for 100 grams [about 3 ½ ounces] of the fresh pulp (aril) reported from seven different sources are:

Durian Nutritional Characteristics
(average per 100 grams)

calories 134-153carotene (Vit. A)20-30 IU
moisture 58-70 gthiamin (Vit. B1)

0.20-0.28 mg

protein 2.0-3.3 griboflavin (Vit. B2)

0.10-0.28 mg

carbohydrates 30.0-36.1 gniacin 0 .68-1.1 mg
fat 1.2-4.3 gVitamin C23-62 mg
calcium 7.4-18 mgVitamin E"high"
phosphorus 27-56 mgtrace minerals"many"
iron 0.73-2.0 mgmana (intangible life energy)"powerful"

CREDIT BY :http://www.durianpalace.com

How to Select a Good Durian

How to Select a Good Durian



"To choose a durian, pick a fruit which is comparatively light and whose stem appears big and solid. When shaking a good durian, the seed should move. Maturity is indicated when the middle of the fruit exudes a strong, but not sour smell. Finally, an inserted knife should come out sticky
- this is the best indication that the fruit is ripe. Cut fruit perishes fairly rapidly. Avoid fruit with holes: worms may have prior claims."
- http://www.proscitech.com.au/trop/d.htm

Determining the ripeness of a durian is in Southeast Asia a fine art practiced at every marketplace countless times daily during durian season, almost a ritual.
Prospective customers examine, sniff, and shake the fruits, while sellers usually have a special padded tapping stick with which they strike each durian to demonstrate its particular "thunk" sound, almost like musicians testing some kind of natural jungle percussion instrument. They also often will cut a triangular flap in the rind to show the consistency of the fruit flesh inside, which the prospective customer may peer into, smell, and touch with a fingertip.



Like experienced winetasters, experienced durian eaters can often accurately tell what is the variety, in what region it was grown, and what is the approximate age of the tree it came from, just by inhaling a durian’s fragrance.

The book Durian: Fruit Development, Postharvest Physiology, Handling and Marketing in ASEAN, edited by Sonthat Nanthachai (ASEAN Food Handling Bureau, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1994) lists 9 ways to detect the ripeness of a durian:

  • in many varieties, the tips of the spikes turn darker brown than the bases of the spikes
  • the spike tips also become slightly elastic and more flexible
  • the grooves between spikes expand and turn darker
  • depending on variety, the fruit stem may become either more stiff or more flexible than unripe fruits
  • the abscission zone in the fruit stem just above the fruit tends to bulge


  • the sutures in the rind where the sections will split apart become more noticeable
  • the fruit when tapped has a hollow sound—if a solid sound, it’s not ripe; when shaken, the best fruits have a sound of something moving inside, of fruit sections knocking shell
  • the sap from the fruit stem will be clear and sweet; in unripe fruits, it is thick, sticky, and not sweet
  • if a small "window" into the fruit is cut to check out the insides, the fragrance will be stronger and the pulp more colorful than unripe fruits

The same book also reports:
"Kosiyachina (1993) classified consumers of fresh Thai durian into four groups:
1. Those who prefer partially ripe pulp,
2. Those who prefer edible ripe pulp,
3. Those who prefer soft ripe pulp,
4. Those who prefer overripe pulp."

How to Grow Durians # 3

SEE PAGE DURIAN #1
SEE PAGE DURIAN #2
SEE PAGE DURIAN #4

Management: Following planting, young durian trees should be provided with temporary shade and complete wind protection for the first year, as in a shadecloth nursery structure or equivalent. The structure of the young trees and their leaves is such that strong winds can twist the leaves right off, a setback from which they are unlikely to ever fully recover.Proper pruning of the durian tree is said to be important to obtain a tree form that encourages early flowering and good yields. The pruning system commonly used in Southeast Asia includes:formative pruning resulting in a main leader; after about age 2 or 3 the interior is thinned out, removing all thin or dead branches and water shoots encouraging early branching to encourage early bearing
topping to maintain a manageable tree height as the tree grows oldergeneral maintenance pruning contributing to a healthy and productive tree, removing dead, broken or diseased branches and water shoots, and allowing free circulation of air and plenty of sunlight throughout the canopy
In Southeast Asia, cut surfaces are routinely treated with a fungicide and bitumastic compound (use an organic equivalent).
Durian growers in Thailand are often advised to keep the area under the tree and drip line area free of weeds, manure, and mulch, primarily so as to not create a microclimate suitable for the thriving of Phythophora palmivora disease. (As previously mentioned, it is not clear if this is necessary or advisable in using strictly organic methods. Durian trees are otherwise benefited from manure and mulch, like many other trees). Likewise, for the same purpose, the trunk of the tree is kept free of any water shoots and weak branches up to a height of about 1 m [3 feet] above the ground. However, tropical legume cover crops between trees, such as perennial peanut, are recommended.
Durian trees are surface feeders, and if any weeding is necessary (with a cover crop like perennial peanut, there shouldn’t be much), care should be taken to prevent damage to the roots.
Durian trees remove a relatively low amount of nutrients from the soil. However, like many other fruit trees, it is a good idea to at least quarterly topdress the soil under the tree with a mix of organic fertilizers (preferably particularly rich in nitrogen and potassium) during the first five years. (Animal manures are favored in most places for this purpose, but not in Thailand, where chemical fertilizers are widely used in commercial production). T.S. Chang of Bao Sheng Durian Farm recommends placing topdressed fertilizer just beyond the edge of the root zone so that the trees’ roots will chase after it and expand their reach in the process. The times a few months before flowering, during fruit development, and after harvesting are favored for fertilizing durian trees throughout Southeast Asia.


Water: In Asia, areas with a dry season longer than 3 months are regarded as marginal for durian, unless adequately irrigated, in which case there is no problem. Micro-sprinkler or drip irrigation can be used. Durian trees are as incapable of withstanding any standing water around their trunks as papayas; they will simply die. In low-lying rainy areas, it may be advisable to construct surface drainage systems to prevent that possibility from ever occurring, or to plant only on sloped land, as is done in many areas of Southeast Asia.


The times most critical for water for the durian tree are during flowering and fruiting. In equatorial regions, it needs at least three to four weeks of dry weather without rain to produce flowers to fill all branches. (Farther from the equator as in Hawai`i, this may not hold true, and day length and temperature may be the primary factors in inducing flowering). Like mango trees, heavy rains and wind during flowering can knock off many of the blossoms, decreasing or even eliminating fruit production that season. When blossoms are forming, water is sometimes deliberately withheld to enhance flowering. To maximize flower and fruit production, after allowing a 3 to 4 week dry period, growers in Malaysia then begin applying irrigation.


Topdressing the trees with organic fertilizer just before flowering also increases production. Various cultivars may have their own unique responses to dry weather and irrigation; for exam-ple, the common Malaysian cultivar D24 is sensitive even to short dry spells; the common Thai variety Chanee tends to drop flowers if watered as much as other varieties. An unseasonal drought may provoke durian trees to an out-of-season round of flowering and fruiting.Pests: As with any plant or tree, the best way to minimize damage of durian trees or fruit by pests or disease is to keep the soil and tree as maximumly healthy as possible using modern organic methods.

Except for usually light damage by local fruit borers, beetles, and leaf cutters in some areas, the tree and fruit tend to be relatively free of insect pests. Phytophthora palmivora is a dreaded fungus disease of durian trees in Southeast Asia. The organism is a primary parasite of durian roots. Symptoms are canker development on the trunk at or just above ground level, and an oozing of brownish-red gum at the collar of the tree, up the trunk and down to the roots, which can result in complete girdling and subsequent death of the tree. The organism gains access to the interior tissues of the tree suitable for its growth through natural or pruning wounds, thus hygienic pruning and using (natural) fungicides are very important to guard against infestation. Grafted trees are said to be particularly susceptible due to cracks that often form in the tree structure due to inherent grafting weaknesses. In Thailand, as previously noted, steps are taken to eliminate a moist microclimate at the base of the tree which might support the growth of P. palmivora, such as not using animal manures or mulch, and removing any branches starting to grow below about 1 m [3 feet] height. Growth of P. palmivora in Southeast Asia is also controlled by using cultivars known to be resistant.


More cultivation information: click here to view the Durian chapter (19 pages) from The Production of Economic Fruits in South-East Asia by Othman Yaacob and Suranant Subhadrabandhu (Oxford University Press, New York, 1995).
CREDIT BY :http://www.durianpalace.com


SEE PAGE DURIAN #1
SEE PAGE DURIAN #2

SEE PAGE DURIAN #4

How to Grow Durians # 2

FROM FIRST PAGE OF DURIAN

Planting: In equatorial regions, the most favorable time for planting is winter from November through mid-January (and not during the February-May dry season). In tropical areas far from the equator, early spring is probably best but is likely not too critical.

In Malaysia, planting holes 0.6m [2 feet] in diameter and depth are dug and allowed to weather for 2-4 weeks. (The Brunei Department of Agriculture recommends .5 m deep by 1 meter in diameter.) Organic matter or compost at the rate of about 5-10 kg [10-20 pounds] is added to each hole, also about 200 gm [1/2 pound] of rock phosphate, and the young trees are planted with as little disturbance to the roots as possible. It’s advisable to go further than this, and add rock dust (which enhances a plant’s health and enriches the flavor of the plant’s resulting food harvest) as well as other available organic amendments, and use standard organic tree planting techniques.

In orchards, durian trees are commonly spaced 6-16 m [20 to 50 feet] apart, aiming for about 156 trees/hectare [64 trees/acre] to 40 trees/hectare [16 trees/acre]. T.S. Chang of Bao Sheng Durian Farm in Malaysia recommends 30 trees/hectare [12 trees/acre]. At closer spacings, thinning will be necessary by the time the trees are 8 to 10 years old to reduce tree density and give remaining trees room for further growth. As grafted trees may start bearing at age 4-6, planting the trees more closely in the orchard’s first decade is a way to increase fruit production from a given piece of land. However, T.S. advises against this, saying from experience that few growers who plant more closely can bring themselves to cut down any 10-year old bearing durian trees of good quality to thin out the orchard, and most often allow them to remain. In the long term, this is unfortunate for the trees and the grower, as the trees compete for canopy sunlight in the increasingly cramped situation and eventually grow very tall and thin with less fruitbearing capacity.

It's worth remembering that durian is a native of equatorial rainforests, eventually growing to the high canopy, and is at home amongst a mix of other plants and trees. As the Permaculture approach recommends, other useful plants can be grown among durian trees at ground level and lower levels. These can also provide needed shade during the durian trees' early life, as happens in the rainforest. The Brunei Department of Agriculture recommends interplanting durians with bananas and/or papayas.

young durian trees interplanted with bananas (Brunei Dept. of Agriculture photos)
The bananas or papayas should be planted 6 months ahead of the durians, at a spacing of 3 x 3 meters [~10 feet]. Eventually the durians will shade out the bananas or papayas, which can be trimmed and used as mulch and will also of course provide fruit harvest of their own. By the time the durians are fruiting, the banana or papaya plants should be removed, however, as their fruits will draw unwanted pest insects to the area. For trees that will remain interplanted among the durians indefinitely, in Malaysia, rambutan is a favored choice, as is nutmeg and chile pepper plants; but not mangos, mangosteen, citrus, starfruit, jackfruit, champedak, nor many others that can attract pest insects. The Brunei Department of Ag also suggests another alternative of interplanting with fast growing nitrogen-fixing-trees (there are a great many possibilities, including various species of Gliricidia, Sesbania, Leucaena, Albizia, Acacia, and others) which will provide shade, nutritious mulch, and soil improvement.

Propagation: Propagation of durian trees can be done through either seeds or by vegetative means.

Unlike most seeds of temperate-climate plants, the big seeds of the ultra-tropical durian tree have a very short period of viability out of the fruit, especially if exposed even briefly to sunlight: only a few days at most. (However, if kept in ordinary cool storage, they can be successfully be kept for a week, or as long as a month if surface-sterilized, placed in an airtight container and kept at 20º C. [68º F.]) This high perishability of durian seeds no doubt has been a factor in preventing the durian tree’s widespread dispersal far from its native territories.

The seeds are best planted or sprouted within a day or so from removal from the fruit, sprout end pointed down, to a depth of half the seed with the other half above the soil surface. Healthy durian seeds sprout as quickly and vigorously as bean seeds, usually within a few days but possibly as long as a week. For transport or mailing, the seeds are best immediately placed in moist coconut fiber.

Durian seedlings produce highly variable results. Their fruit may be better or worse than the parent tree, and it may be 10 to even 20 years before first fruit! ("It is reported that, in some countries, seedling durian trees have borne fruit at 5 years of age. In India, generally, they come into bearing 9 to 12 years after planting, but in South India they will not produce fruit until they are 13 to 21 years old. In Malaya, seedlings will bloom in 7 years; grafted trees in 4 years or earlier."—Julia Morton, Fruits of Warm Climates)

Therefore, vegetative propagation, which is not difficult, is universally preferred and recommended for reproducing cultivars with known desirable traits. A large number of grafting methods are commonly employed. In Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines wedge (cleft), whip, approach, Forkert, and bud grafting of durian trees are all common. Propagation by airlayers and cuttings does not work. Wedge grafting and bud grafting are probably the most common techniques. Click here to view the Brunei Department of Agriculture's durian-grafting instruction pages.

As reported by the authors of Tropical Tree Fruits for Australia (compiled by P.E. Page, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, 1984), growers in Thailand employ an unusual type of bottle graft with which many or most of their trees are grown. Durian seedlings that will serve as rootstocks are sown in beds and dug up when approximately 300 to 600 mm [1 to 2 feet tall]. The roots are packed with moist coconut husk fiber and sealed in a plastic bag. This rootstock seedling is then tied to a branch of the established durian tree that is desired to be reproduced, next to a lateral branch that appears suitable to serve a scion. The top of the young rootstock plant is then cut off, and the rootstock plant is inarched in a side-veneer graft to the branch/new scion. After the union is complete, the new scion is severed from the mother tree at about the level of the bottom of the seedling roots. The scion butt is also potted up and develops roots, so that the resulting grafted tree actually has two root systems, and is stronger and more vigorous as a result.

Most durian growers regard any variety of durian as suitable for a rootstock as long as it is healthy and vigorous. In Thailand, the common vigorous Chanee variety is said to serve very well as a rootstock. There is also increasing use there of some wild Durio species such as D. malaccensis, D. mansoni, and D. lowianus for resistance to Phythophora palmivora. In India, a relative of the durian, Cullenia excelsa (native to Sri Lanka) is favored as a good vigorous rootstock which is said to also hasten the time of first fruiting.

SEE PAGE DURIAN #1
SEE PAGE DURIAN # 3
SEE PAGE DURIAN #4

วันจันทร์ที่ 15 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2551

How to plant a Betel Nut Tree

How to plant a Betel Nut Tree

Areca catechu, known commonly as Betel palm or Betel nut tree or Pinang or Supari is a species of palm which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. It is a medium-sized tree growing to 20 m tall, with a trunk 20-30 cm in diameter. The leaves are 1.5-2 m long, pinnate, with numerous, crowded leaflets.

1) Pick fully matured and healthy orange Betel Nuts.

2) Keep the selected Betel Nuts in one pit in the soil with lots of water for about 10 – 15 days till the skin turns black.


3) Preparation of Soil: This need expertise, it depends on the soil from place to place. Mix Coconut Husk, Wood chips, Coconut shell chopped, Bone dust, Carbon crush & Soil. All has to be mixed for seedling.


4) Select the bags for make the pot for the seedling. The bag must be strong enough so that it lasts at least for 1 year. The bag should have 4 holes in the four side walls.


5) Put the prepared soil in bags. This is the pot for the seedlings.


6) Place one seed in one bag on top of the soil.


7) The pots are to be watered every day and also use fertilizer mixed with water. Also use pesticides from time to time. The baby plants grows in the pots till it gets 3 - 5 leafs.



8) Planting the Baby Plants in the soil. The distances between the trees is the most important factor. Distance and the patterns of plantation again depends on the soil and whether condition.


9) Irrigation by Sprinkler, fogging or Dripper.


10) Cleaning the grass in between the trees by grass cutting machines.


11) Growth after 3 years.

12) Fully matured tree and fruits

13) Harvested Areca Nut fruit dried under the sun.

14) Removing the Husk.

15) Drying the nuts under sun light and oven

16) Packing



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