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Monday, May 28, 2012

Afghanistan Retail Vegetable and Fruit Shops and Local Farmers

Retail sellers
(I have deleted their names for security reasons)
N. R. a retail seller who has been working for five years says” we import these fruits and vegetables from the vegetable wholesale markets. And we don’t buy from one person. We go and see the market and who ever sales it at a good price we buy from that guy. We don’t have a contact with the farmers. They bring their fruits and vegetables to market and we buy it from the wholesalers. And we buy it daily fresh not from storage because they don’t have the storage facility in market”.

Q. another retail seller says “we get our vegetables from wholesale markets and the wholesalers import it from Kabul and Pakistan. Some vegetables come form Balkh province districts like coriander, cucumber, spinach, leeks and lettuce. We buy these vegetables from deferent seller. We see the rates and buy reasonable one. My uncle is my participant person in my shop sometimes me and sometimes he goes and buy it from market and rent a zarange to transfer it from market to our shop”.

N M The retail seller says “we buy our vegetable from wholesale markets. We don’t have a contact with only one person. We see in the market who sales at the lowest price and we buy from that one. Then we rent a zarange to deliver it to our shops. And the farmers bring it to the wholesale markets daily or one day before selling and we buy it from wholesalers. We can not buy it directly from farmers because the can not provide every kind of vegetables. So we can easily buy every thing from one place and one person. If we have a contract with farmers then for ten kinds of vegetables we must contact ten farmers and that is not easy. But we know it’s cheaper to buy directly from farmer”.

Microphotography of Fruits, Vegetables, Spices and Grains

Q. For the past few years I have been taking microphotographs of fruits and vegetables. One of the factors that has an impact on the quality of the image that I am able to get is the freshness of the fruit or vegetable. Are you aware of any source or sources that I could contact that grow produce here in southern Nevada? I am interested in all produce but especially interested in grains and spices.Thank you in advance for any information you may be able to email me.

Robert Belliveau

See some of Robert Belliveau's microphotography

A. Robert,
There are local producers. The best place to meet them is at the Farmers Market at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve on Thursday mornings from about 10 am to noonish. They will be growing things that will bring them the most money, highest demand and grown with relative ease. This usually precludes grains and spices. Most grains require a fairly large volume and spices are a possibility but they have not gotten into that market yet to my knowledge. Most spices are tropical or at possibly subtropical and a bit difficult to grow in southern Nevada without protected culture of some sort. But I would suggest you start at this market. Wish you the best.

With Robert's permission I have included his email above if you would like to contact him directly regarding the availability of fresh grains and spices in the Las Vegas area.

Apricots, Peaches and Garlic a Good Combination?

Yes, these are apricots from the UNCE Orchard waiting
for you.
Apricots are coming out of their ears at the UNCE Orchard in North Las Vegas and the peaches are starting now to come in. Some of the best peaches are the early ones. Specialty garlic is now ready as well. It is not a pick-your-own but fruit is harvested for you and very reasonably priced. Come on out any Saturday or Tuesday morning before noon. Call the Master Gardener helpline for directions at 702-257-5555.

Xtremehorticulture of the Desert Hits 10.000 Hits in May

Xtremehorticulture of the Desert hit 10,000 hits in May, 2012, after its beginnings in July of last year. The intention of this blog is to discuss horticulture under desert conditions. Horticulture in the desert is difficult! Nearly all of the textbooks on horticulture come from areas and are taught by people who do not discuss horticulture in the desert. Growing things is vastly different under desert conditions and requires specialized training and knowledge.
Most frequently read posts on Xtremehorticulture of the Desert

Thanks for reading and particularly those who have commented. I don't earn anything from this but have alot to give back to the Las Vegas community for so many years of their kind support. I hope you can make this blog your community blog on horticulture.

Below are the all time top hits since its inception last year.

Below are where these hits came from across the globe. The dark green areas have the most hits. The lighter green areas have fewer hits.
Where people are from who are reading
Xtremehorticulture of the Desert

Joshua Tree Followup: A Success Story

Dear Bob Morris:
     As a 2 year follow-up on the transplanting of this Joshua tree I'm happy to report success!    This precious desert succulent has resumed growth and even flowered (photo).   I believe the amended soil of mulch, bone meal and sulfur along with sprays of water several times a week did the trick.
    Because the root ball had so few extended roots remaining after the transplant,  I placed drippers at it's baseline. Now I plan to move the drippers out to encourage a more extensive root system and stabilized tree.
   Thanks for your advice in saving one of the longest living plants on Mother Earth.  Long live the Joshua!

Bob Cardillo, MG

I am glad this worked out for you but I would rather believe it was all of your hard work that pulled it off. Congratulations! I will post this on the blog so that it is updated and people can learn from you.
If you want to see the previous post then return to the main page, enter "Joshua tree" in the search box and press enter.

Container Gardening in the Desert Not Easy

Q. I am a new gardener.  I am growing everything in pots including my fruit trees: figs, cherries, peaches all on dwarf root stocks.  The trees are in 30 inch pots holding 6 cubic feet of soil.  My tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash and others I grow in 5 gallon buckets.  I am growing 12 different varieties of raspberries and blackberries in 20 gallon containers with a trellis on each pot other than my trees. I started my garden a bit late so it is mostly in the shade.  I am thinking about taking it out into the sunlight after the summer to hope to stimulate more fruiting on the plants.

A. You have to be a good gardener to pull that off. Container gardening can be quite a challenge but if you have no other alternative then it is what it is. Containers are not very forgiving. Even with six cubic feet there is not much room for error so they require more monitoring than plants grown in the ground.
Womak blackberry, a blackberry that does produce in the
hot desert of the Mojave but fruits ripen unevenly and
quickly when it is hot.
            Irrigation, soil temperatures due to the overheating of the container, soil nutrients because the soil can be exhausted fairly quickly are going to require careful monitoring. In smaller containers you can dump the soil and start fresh again. Small containers overheat in the summer very easily and the soil temperatures which can damage the roots of plants can be a problem.
            Putting them in the shade helps but finding the right balance of sunlight and shade can be trickey. Flowering and fruiting plants require more sunlight than plants grown for just their leaves. The fertilizer requirement for leafy plants is different than flowering plants.
Dorman Red red raspberry. A low chill raspberry for the
south that did not perform well for us and we finally
pulled out the plants.
            Leafy plants require more nitrogen while the flowering and fruiting plants require a more favorable balance between nitrogen and phosphorus. And don’t forget to rotate plants that are annuals so you don’t build up disease and insect problems. If growing in containers does not work out for you, try growing them in the ground. I can help you get started with that. Just let me know but don't give up!

By the way, I dont know of any variety of raspberry that does well in the hot parts of the Mojave Desert. If you have one that has lasted at least four years and produced a decent crop, I would love to hear about it!

Pomegranate Irregular in Fruit Production

These pomegranates aren't quite ready to harvest but you
can see their size. If they were thinned, the remaining
one would have been even larger.
Q. I hope things are going well for you in Afghanistan. I have a question regarding our pomegranate trees. Two years ago, we had an abundance of good sized pomegranates from two trees. These trees are about 25 feet apart. However, last year we only got about six in total from both trees.

            This year there are an abundance of blooms and many already have a fruit set. It looks like there will be at least 25 to 30 pomegranates on each tree. Should I thin some of the fruits after they have set? Is there a reason why one year we get an abundance of fruit and the next virtually none?

Try to thin pomegranates while the fruits are still small.
In this case (next picture) we will leave only the largest one
by twisting off the other two smaller ones.
A. You didn’t tell me if last year you had an abundance of blooms as well as no fruit or if you have few flowers and also few fruit. Of course if you didn’t have many flowers then you would not have many fruit either.

            In this case it sounds like the growth went into shoot and leaf growth rather than flower production. If plants are in a very juvenile stage they tend to put their energy into gaining size. As they get older and they mature they will begin to produce more fruit.

            If you prune pomegranates so that you remove excessive new growth but keep the older, larger wood, you will produce fewer fruit but they will be larger. I only remove pomegranate fruit when they are small if they are directly opposite each other. If they are at least an inch or two between the fruit, I leave them both on.
Here is the remaining pomegranate after thinning.

            I will post some pictures on my blog at Xtremehorticulture of the desert to show you what I am talking about.

Watering In Minutes or Hours Hard to Interpret

Readers Thompson seedless grape cupped leaf
Q. My property is in the shape of a pizza slice so I have tons of room in my back yard. I have a dwarf peach tree, Utah Sweet pomegranate, Valencia orange, Thompson seedless grape, and Flame seedless grape. The past couple of years I have been using drip system along with all my other backyard foliage. I used to water once per week for an hour during the winter, three times per week during the spring and fall for an hour each, and an hour per day during the summer. My fruit production was okay, nothing special. I have now switched from drip to watering with a hose.
            Do you have any suggestions for watering my fruit trees?  I have also found that my Thompson seedless grapes have been turning up in brown and some of the leaves have also been curling in. I attached pictures of both issues. What do you think could be my problem?

A. This seems to be the year for grape problems. Grapes do wonderfully well in our climate as long as the soil is prepared well at the time of planting, they get adequate amounts of water frequently enough and you cover the surface of our soil with organic mulch.
Red Flame grape at the Orchard
            Some people believe grapes should struggle to produce a quality crop of grapes. Believe me, in our climate and in our soils they struggle enough without imposing additional struggles. To get good grapes, keep them healthy and don't let them struggle under our circumstances.
            We did have some strong winds earlier that can cause the kind of damage you mentioned and that appear in the picture you sent to me. Watch the new foliage as it emerges. If it looks healthy, don't worry about the older foliage. That is old damage that was just temporary.
            You talk about watering over a certain length of time. This is like me asking you how many minutes of coffee or tea you drink. Or, if you don't drink coffee or tea, whatever beverage is your favorite. We don't talk about minutes or hours when we talk about drinking something. Likewise, when we give plants a “drink of water” we should not be talking about time but instead the volume of water we apply.
            I don't know how many drip emitters you have and I don't know how much water each one delivers in an hour. So I am going to guess you have four emitters for each tree and they deliver 4 gallons of water in an hour. This would mean that in one hour these trees would receive 16 gallons. For a medium-size tree, this is far too little.
Drip irrigation on grapes on the ground with mulch
            When watering with the drip system it should run for a long period of time, in some cases two or three hours. You will double the amount of water to these trees if you increase your watering from one hour to two hours. I would try this first.
            Drip irrigation is extremely accurate in applying the water. Much more accurate, efficient and consistent than using a hose.

Grape Vine Stopped Growing and Losing Leaves

Q. I am having a serious problem with my grape vine.  It seems to have stopped growing and is losing leaves. I used a lot of bone meal on the plants and I am wondering if I have over fertilized it? The ground is never dry, the flower bed it's planted in is on the same drippers as prior years.
Readers grape plant. Notice the leaf discoloration in the top
center of the picture that might be a disease problem.

A. Thanks for sending a good detailed picture. I looked at the picture closely upon magnification which I could do on my computer. Here is what I could determine from the picture and your comments.
            I saw some good strong growth from some of the vines, but there appeared to be a fair amount of unproductive wood in the canopy. I am wondering if there is quite a bit of dead wood in that vine.
            You reported leaf drop and I could see some scorching in the leaves. This type of leaf damage is common to some grape diseases. The grape bunches looked very healthy so I am guessing that something happened rather quickly to the vine.
This could be a problem to have grape clusters this exposed
in our high light intensity desert climate. However, this
exposure faces east so it is not quite so bad.
            I rather doubt that applying bone meal, even in fairly large amounts, would cause this leaf drop and leaf scorching unless it was applied directly to the base of the vine and in large amounts. If this problem you are reporting happened over the entire vine, then something happened to the root system or the trunk of the vine.
             It is possible it could be diseased if there is a lack of air movement in that location. If that microclimate is higher in humidity it might also cause some leaf problems (disease) that could cause defoliation. This is not the climate for disease problems to florish so I would not be treating for diseases unless humidity and cool temperature persisted or if I saw the chance for diseases to persist from year to year due to the microclimate. In our climate, this type of weather condition does not usually persist and there is enough stored energy in the plant for it to refoliate.
            One problem might occur and that is defoliation of the vine and sunburn of the already semi mature bunches of grapes. If grape clusters are exposed to sunlight early when they are small they can accomodate higher light intensities but their is an increased chance of sunburn on the berries when the plant defoliates when the grape berries are this far along.