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Old 10-30-2008, 07:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Some weird ones I'm going to be having for sale next spring if all goes well.
It's so fun to grow things that you can't even find good growing instructions for!
Does anyone know when a solanum quitoense (naranjilla)is ripe? I have one in the living room that has fruits a little larger than a golf ball, but green as grass! I think maybe they're supposed to turn orange?
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Sandy,

Careful with the tobacco if it flowers ... the seeds are very viable and it spreads like a weed (ok, it is a weed!).

Good job getting your Naranjilla to fruit. I'll let Julia Morton fill you in on the details: Naranjilla
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Sandy, your Naranjilla is ripe when the fruit is a uniform bright orange colour; since yours is indoors it won't have lost its fuzz so you can't take that as an indicator. Use a shammy or other cloth to pick it, then gently polish the fuzz off with that cloth; the spines with otherwise urticate into your hands and it will be grandly unpleasant. Another option is to take the ugliest leaf off of the plant (carefully, because if it's really S. quitoense it will have little thorns on the main vein) and use that to pick and polish the fruit. That's what we do in plantations when picking them.

If you want Naranjilla recipes, let me know; it's the fruit of choice in many parts of Ecuador. I'd have to see a picture of your plant to tell you if yours are the "eat out of hand" cultivar or the "make juice" cultivar.

Your Pepinos are ripe when the main flesh colour is a pale ivory yellow and the stripes are medium to deep purple. Equally, if you want recipes for Pepinos, let me know.

The Yacon is ready when the tops of the plant start to die. I'm really new at this one too, so I'll have to ask my adopted grannie or my Kichua neighbors what to do with them.

Artichokes are a bit tougher to gauge, but generally you should pick them before the crown of the fruit begins to indent; you're eating the immature flower heads and you need to make sure that they're not open because at that point the heart becomes bitter and you lose the tasty fleshiness of the inner petals. Here in Ecuador I tell by the light purple blush that comes over the apical petals; once that happens you've got about 2 days to pick the Artichoke or it will not taste too good.

Tobacco should be easy to find info for. If you're growing it to smoke you should pick it before it flowers (or prevent it from ever actually blooming by clipping the bloom spike), and if you're growing it for insecticide let it bloom away.
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Thanks for the info on the naranjilla, I'll post a picture of it right now. See if you can tell me if it's one to juice or to eat out of hand. I'm just happy it's grown so well this year, being my first year growing these and all. It does have spines on the leaves down the main veins, and on the stems and on the main stalk too. But not a whole lot of them.
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorax View Post
Sandy, your Naranjilla is ripe when the fruit is a uniform bright orange colour; since yours is indoors it won't have lost its fuzz so you can't take that as an indicator. Use a shammy or other cloth to pick it, then gently polish the fuzz off with that cloth; the spines with otherwise urticate into your hands and it will be grandly unpleasant. Another option is to take the ugliest leaf off of the plant (carefully, because if it's really S. quitoense it will have little thorns on the main vein) and use that to pick and polish the fruit. That's what we do in plantations when picking them.

If you want Naranjilla recipes, let me know; it's the fruit of choice in many parts of Ecuador. I'd have to see a picture of your plant to tell you if yours are the "eat out of hand" cultivar or the "make juice" cultivar.

Your Pepinos are ripe when the main flesh colour is a pale ivory yellow and the stripes are medium to deep purple. Equally, if you want recipes for Pepinos, let me know.

The Yacon is ready when the tops of the plant start to die. I'm really new at this one too, so I'll have to ask my adopted grannie or my Kichua neighbors what to do with them.

Artichokes are a bit tougher to gauge, but generally you should pick them before the crown of the fruit begins to indent; you're eating the immature flower heads and you need to make sure that they're not open because at that point the heart becomes bitter and you lose the tasty fleshiness of the inner petals. Here in Ecuador I tell by the light purple blush that comes over the apical petals; once that happens you've got about 2 days to pick the Artichoke or it will not taste too good.

Tobacco should be easy to find info for. If you're growing it to smoke you should pick it before it flowers (or prevent it from ever actually blooming by clipping the bloom spike), and if you're growing it for insecticide let it bloom away.
Impressive! I am amazed at your knowledge.
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Sandy, those look like the ones you can just eat. There's a really easy test once you've got them ripe. Slice it in half and lick it. If it's worse than chewing unripe lemons, then you have juicing Naranjillas. If it's sweetish or just pleasantly tart, it's an eating Naranjilla. I still don't know how to tell exactly from just looking at the plants, except that eating Narnajillas tend to be a bit bigger than golf balls, while juicers are much bigger.

Edit: here's a picture of ripe eatin' naranjillas, which I bought today at market.


Last edited by lorax : 11-01-2008 at 02:09 PM. Reason: add photo of ripe eating naranjillas
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

I think this might be an eating naranjilla. I'm waiting till my hubby gets in from the garage to try it, we're saving it for the hot tub.
It's just a little bigger than a golf ball.
I'm going to try and save seeds from it I think.


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Old 02-04-2009, 08:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Lovely Naranjilla! Good luck with the seed saving, though - they're the size of pinheads.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

how do they propagate them there? from cuttings? or do the plants live many years? I grew this one from seeds.
It's really good to talk to someone who lives where they're available.
It had a good flavor, not really sour, more like a kiwi. Lots of seeds. It was fun to eat something like that in Indiana, in the winter.
Thanks for all your information/help!
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Then you have eating Naranjilla! Congratulations!

You can of course save seed from them. Here, since they don't die off after their first fruiting (they're perennials if you don't go below about 10C, and the longest-lived one I've ever seen was over 15 years old) we generally propagate by softwood cutting. Generally, take a branch as a cutting, use softwood rooting compound, and voila! Little Naranjilla plants!

They're also very receptive to micropropagation techniques (ie Tissue Culture) - this is the way they're reproduced in the bigger plantations here, which ensures a consistent quality and flavour of fruit. Most of the pulp from our large plantations is sold to Colombia, where they use it to make wine. Domestic Naranjilla comes from smaller, mixed farms, which keeps the species diverse enough to be pest-resistent.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

I just stated growing them in dec. Doyou know how long it takes to fruit?
They are going fast just getting the little spikes now.
Thanks for any info. Paula
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

mine had fruit on it when I put it in the greenhouse. It bloomed outside and the bees pollenated it. So it had fruit set on it as soon as it bloomed, I think it was maybe like July or August, I know for sure it was by September. I'd have to look at my pictures because I took a picture of it when it bloomed.
Some of mine were spiny and some were just fuzzy. Are yours doing that too? The most spiny ones were the most interesting to look at. This one that we ate fruit from is what i'd call semi-spiny. It's not got too many, but just enough that it's not that much fun to carry around the plant without a long sleeve shirt on!
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Paula, did you start from seed or with a small plant? If you started from seed, it will be about 6-8 months until you see flowers, and another 4 months or so after that for mature fruit. If it was a small plant, it will depend on how old it was when you got it.

If you don't have bees you'll have to hand-pollinate. Just use a soft paintbrush to transfer pollen between flowers - Naranjilla are self-fertile, thankfully.

Sandy - I've seen every variation between completely spike-free and fuzzy like bunny ears through to wicked vicious 2" thorns. I have no idea what causes the variation, but it really sucks harvesting when most of your plants are the bunny-ears or vestigially spiky ones, and you've got two with the grabber-stabbers. When there are more than 15 Naranjilla plants in my yard this happens to me more often than I'd like to admit.
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Bananas Brindando Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Yes some are spiny and some fuzzy. A neat plant to grow I will be putting them outside in may , they should bloom around then I planted them from seed I had got on line around dec 1st Thank for any other info you can give me
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:54 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Please help!
I planted solanum from seed they were doing great.
Now they are about 18in tall and wilting. They don't seem dry . Do they need
a lot of water? They are in side by a window . Please let me know what to do .
Thank for your help. Paula
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:33 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Check to see if they're rootbound or if the soil is compact. If either is the case, re-pot them.

Equally, they die if they get too hot - over 32 degrees C makes them all droopy. I don't know if that's the case in the window where you're growing them. However, if seems very hot, try moving them to a slightly cooler area. They don't need a whole lot of direct light, and at least here they do much better in the shade.

Naranjilla are grown in the steppes of the cloudforests here - areas that see full sun perhaps once or twice a year at best. This means they're ideally adapted to diffuse light and lots of water in the air. Ideally, if you're growing Naranjilla indoors you should be watering twice a week and misting daily.
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Old 04-04-2009, 12:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

A few of us tried growing Yakon back last year. Mine died early but here are a few comments from the other guys who were also given some
Eating yacon - View topic - Forum - Hardy Tropicals UK

and other veg
Exotic Veg - View topic - Forum - Hardy Tropicals UK

Hoping to try again when Steve hands out the tubers again.
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

Thanks a lot Lorax. I don't think it is the sun or heat . The soil was moist
however I watered them any way the came back in a couple of hours, they must need a lot of water. Thank you for your help . I didn't think if they were
wet they would need more water, but that is exactly what they wanted.
I am glad I asked . I will mist and water more often. Again thanks, because I would have never added more water. Paula
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Pinwheel Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

What is yakon
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:15 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: pepino, yacon, solanum, artichoke& tobacco

OK, Sandy, you know how I was talking about the size difference between the eating and juicing cultivars of Naranjilla? I finally had both of them in the house to take a comparative photo. That's a quarter for scale. Isn't it wild? The juicer weighed about 2 lbs all on its lonesome!



Paula, Yacon is an edible tuber similar to Jerusalem Artichoke, although in my humble opinion it's much tastier. Yacon is quite sweet without having a high glycemic index, which makes it an excellent food for diabetics. Basically, you steam or bake the tuber and eat it, just like you would for Yams, Jerusalem Artichoke, or Ullcu (Oxalis tuberosum).
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