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Old 08-11-2005, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello Everyone!

I'm Joe Real. I love growing plants and experiment on them in my yard. This is a long post, and will try to start as far as I can remember. My first plant was a lima bean, planted it when I was around 4 years old, watered it myself and got to eat the beans. I planted my first banana when I was 5 years old, it was a Senorita variety. It bloomed after 3 months, then have ripe fruits about 7 months after planting. After eating the ripe fruits, I was hooked to growing plants. In the elementary grade, I have biggest or the most number of garden plots in our school. Although we were assigned only one per student, I talked to the lazy ones and took over their plot, of course, they still get the grades.

I USED TO have a knack for sciences and mathematics and spent my High School in a special school for the technically gifted kids of our country, the Philippines. In first year high school, equivalent of Grade 7 here in the US, we already learned the Krebb's cycle, glycolysis, and anaerobic fermentation, in fact my first science project, I learned to make good wines from tropical fruits without the use of sulfites. Unfortunately, gardening was not in the curriculum in that school, but I find time to help the custodial staff maintain ornamentals and some ladscape, and I managed to sneak in planting of some fruit trees like guavas, calamondins, star fruit somewhere at our school, and got to eat their fruits too.

Entering college, I chose Agricultural Engineering to blend my love for Math, Sciences, and growing plants. I finished that degree well ahead of everyone else in our class and have authored several internationally refereed scientific publications before getting my degree. I worked as a scientific and academic researcher supporting international rice research scientists. I was primarily involved with statistical analyses of various scientific experiments using my own statistical software tailored for agricultural scientific analyses, also with micrometeorolgy, energy balances in ecosystems, instrumentations and computerization of data logging. I also personally have my own experiments, measuring ammonia volatilization losses directly from the field, developing methodologies in agricultural micrometeorology, radioisotope tracing and partitioning of nutrients and fertilizers. I always enjoyed to be at the leading edge of agricultural research, and working in an international organization, I had access to the latest personal computers. During those times, personal computers became affordable for most offices and people, and so practically concentrated on writing a lot of computer software for number crunching. Working in the scientific community for number crunching analyses does not bring financial reward unlike our business counterparts, but nonetheless, I stayed on for 7 years as I love doing my job. By this time, I already received several national and international awards in my field of work and it started to get boring.

I grabbed the opportunity when I was invited to pursue my graduate studies at University of California, Davis about 15 years ago. I pursued Agricultural Ecology. I used my combined skills to do crop modeling, simulation, expert systems, and also real experiments. Also became productive and received several awards of excellence in the software that our team developed. I was also granted permanent residency by the US for having satisfied the highest preference category for immigration, the equivalent of consistent achievements in the extraordinary ability category. While doing my graduate studies at UC Davis graduate studies, I got to do some gardening in communities, and in my research, I enjoyed visiting some off-beaten places and the back roads of California, going to various lakes, and enjoyed fishing a lot too.

Around that time, the Silicon Valley was at the start of explosive growth. Just like most immigrants, the American dream of owning a house became priority, but my degree in Ecology will never allow me to afford one (not to discourage others in the field, but that was just my happenstance). There are too many Ecologists and funding were few and far between, and so the financial future was bleak, at least for my line of work in Ecology. So off I went to Silicon Valley, lived in the upscale Pleasanton area, and then resigned from my work there to build my own software company. I was at last able to afford a modest house with a small yard, and then found time to finance my long-lost dream of growing my own fruit trees. The company was later merged, and here I am, but no I did not become rich, but we survived through the 9/11 which created a severe setback to our company. Our company is now recovering, it is only a matter of time. While dreaming about what's coming, I spend my spare time in the yard and my hobbies.

I love challenges even in our backyard. Tried to use what I learned, oftentimes going overboard. So I push the envelop further in what I can grow here, and that is where I took up the challenge of growing bananas and have them fruit outside in the yard. So I carefully studied various microclimate variations around the house to enable guavas, avocadoes, bananas bear fruits. At the same time optimize production of temperate fruits as well. So I planned to have fresh fruit harvest at least every two weeks the entire year, and harvesting fresh fruits every week the entire year including winter is now a near possibility with my current collection. No, I don't have a big yard. I have a tiny yard in our primary residence, perhaps less than 2,000 sq ft, most it is lawn.

I currently have more than 275 different varieties of fruits in this tiny backyard. I even have berries and vegetables too, as well as roses and other ornamentals. I tend to optimize planting in three dimensions of space, also time, practicing relay cropping of some vegetables over fruit trees. To fit the varieties, I do multi-grafts, and have only 48 planting holes but was able to cram more than 275 kinds of fruiting plants.

Most home growers plant trees based on how they see them in the orchard, and so they end up planting two to four fruit trees in their yard which easily achieve a commercial sized tree. Come harvest time, it becomes unmanageable to harvest the more than 20 bucket loads of fruits within one to two weeks time frame, most of it wasting and rotting away. And after that quick harvest, you are devoid of fruits most of the time. So I do what I think makes more sense for my tiny yard and keep multi-grafted high density planting. My tree spacing are between 3 ft to 6 ft apart which keeps them small, allows me to plant several times more variety and I also keep my trees small by summer pruning. In this case, by choosing cultivars of various harvest dates, I have a prolonged harvest season, with quantities of fruits that are much more manageable to harvest. I currently have fresh fruit harvest every two weeks the entire year including winter, but that soon will change to every week the entire year. We have citrus during the winter to spring. Early spring to summer we have berries, apricots, early fruiting nectarines, midknight valencias. Then summer we have apples, early plums, mid-season peaches, pluots, summer valencia oranges. Late summer we have different kind of European plums, I would still have peaches and nectarines, but will have European and Asian pears. Then the fall season I have apples, raspberries, peaches well into October, quinces, some late plums. Then late fall, we have persimmons, mandarins, and the start of other citruses. Of course I have 5 kinds of lemons as well as calamondins that can be harvested the entire year through, although the peak production starts in November to December in our area.

The excess fruits I turn into wine. I always find time to make wine every now and then. So nothing is wasted in our yard. Whatever is left, I turn into wine, and so far have made about 50 kinds of fruit wines in the US, most are from the backyard.

Last edited by JoeReal : 08-11-2005 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Continued....

Todate, I have a 29-in-1 citrus tree, 15-in-1 plum, 15-in-1 pear, 8-in-1 pluot, 8-in-1 peach/nectarine, 12-in-1 cherry, 16-in-1 apple tree. Most have bloomed and fruited while multi-grafted.

Not counting the pots, I have just about 48 planting holes in my yard of more than 275 kinds of fruit trees. Here's a partial listing in my tiny yard:

http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/AlbumList?u=4148728&f=0

Apples :Fuji, Original Gala, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Red Delicious (Harrold), Jonagold, Yellow Delicious, McIntosh, Northern Spy, Stark Jumbo [world's biggest apple fruit], Scarlet Surprise, Wine Sap, Sekai-ichi, Belle de Boskoop, Prairie Spy, Swaar, King David, William's Pride, Enterprise, Tydeman's Late, Early Joe, Red Fuji, Ashmead Kernel, Gold Rush, Empire, Ambrosia

Apricots Patterson, Harcot, Moorpark, Zupkhany, Black Alexander x Susincoco, Fresno yard selection, Moniqui, Zard

Avocadoes Hass, Little Cado, Zutano)

Bananas Super Dwarf Cavendish, Super Dwarf Cavendish, Double Mahoi, Williams Hybrid, Dwarf Orinoco, Raja Puri, California Gold, Rojo, Dwarf Brazilian, Mauritius, Grand Nain, Misi Luki, Goldfinger Saba, Cardaba, Basjoo, Texas Star, Dwarf Namwah, Rhinohorn, Dwarf Cavendish, FHIA-23, Cocos, Enano Gigante

Blueberries Berkeley, Bluecrop, Darrow, Georgia Gem, Jubilee, Misty, Sunshine, O'Neal

Cherries Bing, Black Tartarian, Lapin, Rainier, Starkrimson, Nanking, Hansen, Merton Late, Stella, Yellow Spanish, Early Burlat, Van, Roman Oliva, Saylor, Long John, Chistabalina

Cherry Plum Hybrids Delight, Sprite


Citruses
Small sized fruits and exotics Calamondin regular, variegated Calamondin, Nagami Kumquat, Indio Mandarinquat, Tavares Limequat, Meiwa Kumquat, Nordman Seedless Nagami, Variegated Centeniall Kumquat
Lemons and Limes Eureka, Improved Meyer, Lisbon, Ponderosa, Variegated Pink, Bearrs Lime. Yuzu, Sudachi Hybrid, Key Lime
Mandarins Algerian Clementine, Clementine Nules, Miho Wase Satsuma, Owari Satsuma, Page, Ponkan, Shasta Gold, Yosemite Gold, Murcott, Honey, Silverhill, Fremont, Okitsu Wase Satsuma, Michal, Wilking, Kara, Kinnow, Seedless Kishu
Navels and Sweet Oranges Dream, Fukumoto, Lane Late, Late Valencia, Marrs Early, Spring, Midknight, Valencia, Washington, Lima acidless, Navelate, Navelina
Pigmented Oranges Moro, Sanguinelli, Tarocco, Vainiglia Sanguigno, Cara-Cara Pink, Rohde Red, Salustiana, Ruby Blood, Washington Sanguine, Sanguina Doble Fina, Red Valencia
Grapefruits, Pummelo and their Hybrids Star Ruby, Rio Star, Melogold, Oro Blanco, Chironja, Mato Buntan Pummelo, Chandler
Other Citrus Hybrids Minneola Tangelo, Temple Tangor, Wekiwa Tangelo

Grapes Black Monukka Seedless, Black Seedless, Brilliant Seedless, Fantasy Seedless

Guavas Tropical pink, tropical orange, Pineapple guava

Nectarines Arctic Jay, Arctic Rose, Fantasia, May Grand, Merricrest, Panamint, Snow Queen

Peaches Arctic Supreme, Babcock White, Fay Elberta, Halford Cling, Nectar White, O'Henry Freestone, White Lady, Last Chance, J.H. Hale, Strawberry Free, Red Baron, August Pride, Arctic Jay

Pears Asian 20th Century, Hardy Korean Giant [Olympic], Shinseiki [New Century], Hosui, Seuri, Ya Li, Dasui Li, Shinko, Chojuro, Olton Broussard

Pears European Dwarf Bartlett, Moonglow, Keiffer, Seckel, Sucree de Montlucon, Turnbull Giant, Duchess, Beurre D'Amanlis, Highland, Souvenir Du Congress, Warren, Flemish Beauty, Summer Blood Byrne, Nunn, Ledbetter

Pawpaws Prolific, Rebecca's Gold, Kentucky

Persimmons Coffee Cake or Nishimura Wase, Fuyu [Jiro] Persimmon, Giant Fuyu or Gosho persimmon, Zengi Maru, Rosseyenka, Izu, Geneva Long, Korean Hybrid, American native[unk cultivar]

Plums/Prunes/Gages Catalina, Dwarf Satsuma, Elephant Heart, Kelsey, Santa Rosa, Shiro, Sugar, Italian prune, Native American 13133, Chikasaw plain, Chikasaw Guthrie, Bavay Green Gage, Cambridge Gage, General Hand Gage, Asian Beauty plum, Starking Delicious, Mariposa, Hollywood, Improved Duarte, Fremont Pastor, Weeping Santa Rosa, Mirabelle de Metz, French Prune, Inca, Burgundy, Golden Nectar, Myrobalan

Pluots/Plumcots/Apriums Dapple Dandy, Flavor King, Flavor Queen, Flavorosa, Flavor Supreme, Flavorella, Mirocais, Apex, Spring Satin, Flavor Rich, Flavor Delight

Quince Smyrna

Raspberries Gold and Red everbearing

Last edited by JoeReal : 08-11-2005 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You must be back from the RV trip
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Old 08-15-2005, 09:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yup, traveled about 4,000 miles. Davis to Valencia (six Flags magic mtn) to anaheim, San Pedro, San Diego, Riverside, Murietta, then out state to Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, The Arches, Idaho Falls, Yellowstone, Antelope Island in Salt Lake, Reno, and back to Davis. We tried to stay overnight at each of the national park. The western USA is really beautiful. I found lots of bananas primarily in the southern Ca. I wonder what bananas does Disneyland have, I saw some of them bloom and have fruits. They have plenty of strelitzias and heliconias.
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Old 09-25-2005, 10:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Joe! Omigod, you have the Garden of Eden! I am very much a newbie, having read the Smithsonian October issue and the article of 'Building a Better Banana' and got curious enough to do a search, and found myself here. I also live in Davis, and can barely imagine what you've achieved.

So if I wanted to try to grow a banana for eating rather than cooking here in Davis, which one would you recommend for flavor and acclimated to being outdoors? I have tended towards heirloom tomatos, and grew over 30 in my garden, and also have a number of fruit and nut trees, although not at all at the intensity or variety that you have!

Not 'boring' at all.....

Diana
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Old 09-25-2005, 11:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Not really much garden of Eden. The place is very small, ideal for me to manage without spending too much time.

I would place my bets on California Gold. That one is a regular fruit bearer. Then Dwarf Orinoco. I tend to use dwarf types because of the occassional strong winds we have here. This year, it hasn't been that much windy and it is already the fall season. I still have some undamaged banana leaves, last year they are all shredded up by end of summer.

Dwarf Brazilian, Dwarf Namwah, Goldfinger, FHIA-23, Raja Puri seemed to be potentially fruitful, as these have survived the winters outside the house and their pseudostems have held up and remained green. Another one is the Manzano or apple banana, was surprised that the pseudostems remained alive over the winter. If you don't mind the tall plants, Misi Luki is another one of those cold hardy types.

I was also surprised to have my Williams bear fruit too, cavendish types usually die to the ground after the first frost. Was somewhat disappointed with the supposedly cold hardy Ice Cream, Cardaba and saba as their stems rotted to the ground. Anything that dies back to the ground level will have small chance of fruiting when wintered outdoors. Raja puri while cold hardy at the pseudostem, oftentimes loses the center of their stem during the winter and so have little chance of fruiting. Mike from Antioch have given me a Raja Puri and while it has 2 healthy leaves, I can see that the middle of the stem is already blackening up and dying and it is not winter yet. In case it dies before the winter, I am sure it will shoot up new pups that are hopefully more adapted. Will bring them newcomers inside during the winter and plant them in the ground next mid-spring.

I have several California Gold pups coming, I will have to thin them out. Come mid-spring next year, I can give a pup for you, just come over. These pups get quite expensive at eBay. I strongly recommend these regular bearer. Also have some dwarf orinoco, these are planted in big trash can but they get quite very large on the large trash can.
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Old 09-25-2005, 11:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Joe, I'll take you up on that! I'll have before then to do some more searching and learning more about bananas. I KNOW I eat more than the average...and the idea of a banana tasting different than the Cavendish is quite a draw!

Diana
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Old 09-27-2005, 09:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Smile Re: Warning: A long, boring, introduction.

Definitely NOT boring! You had a very interesting education. I wanted to major in Agriculture, but the university I attended dropped the program.

And you have all of those plants in your yard?!! (the two Double Mahoi I got from you are doing very well, BTW)

Your RV trip sounds great! I hope the weather wasn't too hot when you were here...

All of the wines you've made is amazing!
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: A long, boring, introduction.

IM lucky i got to meet Joe real on a citrus Forum and he has been anything But Boring ..
also has alot of knowledge and I have been Blessed to learn from him and many there ..today he sent me a link to this site when i asked about over wintering Bananas .. Thanks Joe your a saint and again anything but boring. PS put up some new pics on this site of some of my tropicals i have started from cuttings or seeds and the african Queen is in bloom .. still cant seem to get the colors to change might try night shots but then she is closed up and well no sence right ? Tammy
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Old 07-23-2006, 07:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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ooh! you have the Nordman seedless Nagami? have you gotten fruits yet?
Do you know of anywhere it will be available any time soonish?
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Old 02-25-2007, 07:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Wow! I am impressed!!You are living my dream. Where should I buy the living pups / outside edible bananas ( California Gold, Orinoco, Fhia-23, Brazilian, goldfinger )that you are pleased with?

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Old 03-02-2007, 09:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: A long, boring, introduction.

Joe:
When I met you I thought you are just an ordinary JOE.
Gosh, I am impressed with your achievements.
I thought right away our valedictorian in high school who is still very nice to me.
And to think that I am just an average high school student and to meet the Valedictorian.
And you are treating me like an equal.
It's an honor.

Benny
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Old 03-08-2008, 12:36 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Joe,
I had wondered how a software VP was so thoroughly immersed in fruits! Ecology is now "in" -- I hope you find away to make lemonade and win in the current economy.
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:20 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Naah, there are lots of volunteer work in Ecology related fields, it is among the lowest paying career in the planet because of volunteer work, and no one can compete with free labor and afford a decent hobby like growing bananas.
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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That was a long time ago post! I now have more than 375 cultivars of fruits. One of my citrus tree has now 70 cultivars on it. My persimmon tree would soon have 50 cultivars on it. And have made more than 100 kinds of fruit wines already. Time really flies fast.

I still have about 40 cultivars to add to my collection until the summer. But I will be removing the poor performers after this year's harvest. Heads, I mean undesirable cultivars, will roll...
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:50 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: A long, boring, introduction.

I think Jarred should award you a "legend status badge" .
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Old 07-18-2008, 04:58 AM   #17 (permalink)
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WOW now thats an introduction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-18-2008, 03:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Warning: A long, boring, introduction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stumpy4700 View Post
WOW now thats an introduction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree! I'll have to go back and read it later when I have more time.
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Warning: A long, boring, introduction.

Really interesting, Joe. I wish I could see your yard! I can even imagine that much grafting. What a great idea, given that you have the expertise.

Nancy
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