December 21, 2017 Christmas Feast

Our annual holiday feast this year is Thursday, 12/21 at 7:00 pm at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden Pavilion. As usual, it is open to club members and their immediate family. Guests can also attend for $10. The club will provide the main dish of ham and turkey. Please bring a main vegetarian dish, kosher meal, appetizer, vegetable, side, salad, drinks or dessert. Let us know if you will attend, how many in your party, and what you plan to bring so we can coordinate and plan the main dish quantities and so we know how many tables to set up.  RSVP to Thanks, and hope to see you there.

We will not have an auction, but we will have a door-prize raffle (one ticket per guest). The club will bring some special prizes, but if everyone can bring an interesting plant, cutting or seedling, more people will go home with something for their garden or table.

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November 16, 2017 Larry Zimmerman–Cold Protection

Larry Zimmerman will go over how to winterize your cold sensitive tropical fruit trees to keep them as healthy as possible when we get severe winter weather. PDF of the Keynote presentation.

• We will have our usual fruit tree auction.
• Don’t forget to bring something for the tasting table and raffle table.

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October 19, 2017–Grafting 101

UPDATE: Slide presentation from the meeting (PDF).
Check out the grafting videos (under the VIDEOS tab above)
as well as the top working video.
Propagation chart.
We have gotten many requests for a grafting class. Grafting is when you take a branch from a desired variety and splice it onto a seedling of the same species to make a new identical plant. If you have a favorite unusual mango variety that is only found in your Aunt Martha’s yard, grafting is the best way to make your own clone that will have all the same characteristics of flavor, texture, growth habit, etc. This month, club president Larry Zimmerman will go over the theory of grafting, the advantages of grafting, the tools needed, when to graft (which varies depending on the plant species), which trees to graft versus using other propagation methods, and demonstrate cleft & veneer grafts, the two most common grafting techniques. In the photo, note the swollen buds at the tip of the stem and base of leaf nodes. This is a mango in growth mode, ready to send out stems on a new graft.

• Remember the limit of 3 items for the auction (members only) so we can finish on time.
• Don’t forget to bring something for the tasting table and raffle table.

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September 21, 2017–Tropical Fruit annual self-help clinic

UPDATE: Your hands-on homework to get ready for October’s grafting theory workshop is to find a tree you would like to graft. On a few branches, cut off the end leaves to encourage the terminal buds to begin to swell. Keep watch over the next week or so and see how long it takes for the swelling to take place. On at least one branch, let it continue until the new shoots start to form so you can see what happens if you wait too long. New leaves and stems will be too tiny and delicate to survive the grafting process. You want the bud to start to swell so it is in growth mode, but not too much. For example on a mango, remove all the leaves clustered on the end of a branch, leaving a length of bare green stem. Extra credit: If you want to practice, remove the graft wood and graft it onto a branch of the same diameter. Watch the grafting videos here and here to see how it is done and what tools you need. Don’t worry if you succeed the first few attempts–grafting is not hard, but it is a skill that needs to be developed. At first you will feel like you need an extra hand or two. I would suggest grafting the first few branches onto a different branch of the same tree and not think about anything but mastering the technique. Once you get your first successful graft or two, then you can graft onto root stock and see if you can get it to survive longer term.

Most of us joined the club to learn the how-to’s of growing specific tropical fruits. We have members with decades of practical information that would benefit all. Even though we have outside expert speakers, this month we will get together more informally and share our experiences, successes and failures, fertilizers, pollination, bugs, pruning, varieties, etc. So this is the month to get answers to your fruit tree questions!

Board of director elections:  If you have an interest in organizing, planning and promoting programs for the Treasure Coast Rare Fruit Club, there is a place for you on the Board of Directors. Don’t be shy: the old board will still be here to help with advice while you get your bearings. The new board will take over the beginning of 2018.

• Remember the limit of 3 items for the auction (members only) so we can finish on time.
• Don’t forget to bring something for the tasting and raffle tables.

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August 17, 2017 John Fedock–Compost Tea

Compost Tea – Rebuild Living Soil (Powerpoint presentation from the meeting)

How to improve the quality of your soil to optimize the health, vigor and productivity of your fruit trees and other plants in your garden is our topic this month. We will have a compost tea making workshop taught by John Fedock. John will share one of his passions: the art of “compost tea” making. A great alternative to chemical fertilizers; less expensive and much better for your plants, the environment, and ourselves.

Some topics John will discuss and demonstrate: Continue reading

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July 20, 2017 Har Mahdeem–Sapotaceae

Our speaker this month is Har Mahdeem. You might meet him if you visit Truly Tropical in Delray Beach to find mangoes. Har has extensive experience with tropical fruit and it is always a pleasure to hear him speak on the subject. His talk will be on Sapotaceae, a rare, hard to find and delicious family of fruit that includes Sapodilla, Canistel, Abiu, Caimito, Miracle Fruit, Green & Mamey Sapote.

Don’t forget we are now meeting at the Port St Lucie Botanical Garden on SE Westmoreland Blvd. just south of Saint Lucie Boulevard halfway between the turnpike and Highway 1.

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June 24, 2017 Taste of the Tropics

Descriptions of tropical fruit can never give a full picture. Only by tasting it yourself can you experience the amazing variety of tropical fruit. If you don’t like mangoes because you have only eaten them from the supermarket, you are in for a pleasant surprise (why is that?). Apples and oranges are great, but there is so much more to be experienced. Living in south and central Florida gives the opportunity to grow the best varieties in your own yard of rare fruit you will never see in the store, or which are never at their best when grown by industrial farming.

Our annual Taste of the Tropics & Plant Sale will be held at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden, on Saturday, June 24 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. After guests taste the fruit, they will have a chance to buy their favorite tree from club member and past president Mike Luciano of Trees n More, just outside to the north of the building. Continue reading

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