Now is the Time
by Eunice Messner
The JAK FRUIT served at our last meeting was delicious. Much better than the first one I tried in Jamaica. It still didn't encourage me, though, to try and grow one. Separating the edible part from the pulp around it is a "yucky" job. Although, I did read if one applies a salad oil first to their hands it makes it easier. The pulp is very sticky.
A CRFG member at the Festival of Fruit was proudly displaying four small sized Jak fruit he had grown. Perry Coles of the Calif. Tropical Fruit Nursery in Vista says he has fruited 10 pound Jak fruits from seed in just four years time!!
FLORIDA JACK PAPAYA There still is some good growing time for papaya. Elva West is donating some of these tall growing, large fruiting papaya. I will be bringing them for sale to the next meeting. Just remember to plant on a mound if you don't have good drainage. A 15 gallon container will work, too.
MORINGA Is there anyone with a greenhouse who would care for some 'Moringa' seedlings over the winter? (You get to keep one)
LYCHEE I submitted the following for inclusion in the "Ask the Experts" Nov/Dec column, but since it includes some timely suggestion here is a preview: "The lack of rain this year in Southern California was the ideal, natural growing condition for lychee. The trees flowered and set a lot of fruit but it soon dropped off.. Although lychee is a tropical tree, it does need the stress of a cold period before flowering.
Two CRFG members, Kittie Rau of Orange, CA and Sin Hock Gaw of the Silver Lake area in Los Angeles, achieved full production by either hosing down or misting their tree daily while in the fruit maturation stage. A Thai nurseryman says he achieves success by exposing the roots. Jay Rusky, who has a U.C. test plot of lychee in Goleta, CA says it helps to pull back the mulch in September.
Lychee are picked by lopping off a spray of the branch holding the fruit. So, even if you didn't get fruit, prune the aborted fruit branch anyway. There seems to be a growth inhibitor in old flower clusters. Rudy Haluza has a 'Mauritius' tree at his Temecula ranch that fruits every year. It is in the midst of tall avocado trees. He waters during the summer. He also has another 'Mauritius' at his home in Villa Park, CA that never fruits. But, he does get a full crop of small-sized fruit from Sweet Cliff' lychee. (In Florida the fruit is full-sized.) Maurice Kong of the Florida Rare Fruit Council applies a lot of water until September and then no water for 90 days. When it starts to bloom he fertilizes.
Plantsman, Laymond Hardy, at a Florida chapter meeting, said "To prevent winter growth flushes, all nitrogen and potassium fertilizer should be exhausted by November 1. Phosphorous can be applied after harvest. Many orchards are low in zinc and boron with the latter nutrient implicated in poor fruit set. Boron is one of those products that should be applied in only minuscule amounts. If you have the "20 Mule Team Borax" washing product on hand, only a pinch or two will be enough. If you have a mature tree and would like to try your hand at air layering, you might consider substituting earthworm castings in lieu of sphagnum moss. Earth worm castings are rich in hormones as well as nutrients and consequently will yield a much heavier root system. (They are also a great addition to your pot planting mix.)"
REMINDER Have you made your second annual fertilization to your fruit trees? Any subtropical tree that has new foliage may be best foliar sprayed.