Friday, December 28, 2018

Repotting Cacao

So I got a new pot to put some of the cacao trees in so the smaller pot doesn't get too overcrowded as they start to grow.  So far they 're doing well.
I'll have to make sure the heat stays on over the weekend though so they won't die from cold.  It's not supposed to freeze but it'll be close.
As you can see the cotyledon have fallen off of two of the plants in the new pot.  The ones remaining in the old pot still have them attached.
I'm using a different potting mix for this pot (actual potting soil from the store rather than dirt from the yard) and see how it affects the plants.  I'm going to assume that they'll do better but so far the plants seem happy either way.  The ones one cubicle over are planted in some sort of dirt from the store and don't seem to be doing any better or worse for the past month or so.

Will be getting some vanilla orchids in next week.  They'll be a good companion to these guys once they get taller and get a trunk on them.

It still amazes me to think about how many people consume chocolate and the single source bean craze that's been going on for some years now and yet I can't find any real information on the trees themselves.  all of these plants came from one pod and yet there are definite differences in the plants that are probably due to genetics.  There's no telling now many different types of cacao trees there really are in any given area.  In the 7 plants I have alone there are differences in the leaves, cotyledon, and stems.  They always talk about how it's the soil that's the main difference in an area or one of three or four types of cacao (depending on who you ask) but I'm seeing what looks like a litter of puppies all with different fathers but in plant form.  What interests me most is the red nodules at the base of some of the leaves and stems.  Two of the plants have this to differing degrees.  We'll see if this trait persists or if they grow out of it.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cacao Grove

Started new cacao seeds again  I just couldn't keep the other ones alive for some reason.  As you can tell though these are doing even better than the last ones.  I'm afraid I'll have to thin them again soon. I already took two out of this pot and sent them one cubicle over.  I think the more water the better at this stage at least.  Watering them from the bottom tray and just letting the plants soak it up.
The spacers are so the little guy underneath all the leaves has a chance to get some light and hopefully get bigger.  He'll probably be next to leave the pot and find a new home since his roots are probably also a bit more compact.  We'll see how that goes when the time comes.
Decided to use Ozarka spring water as well to hopefully get some natural nutrients into the mix.  Will have to see how that goes.  So far though compared to the two plants that, as stated earlier, are already a cubicle over, which get tap water, the original pot seems to be doing a little better.  Hopefully this trend will keep up.  If so then he might switch to spring water as well.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Cacao Saplings

Well, it's been 7 months now and the cacao hasn't died on me yet.  It was a little iffy for a while when each plant only had one leaf for a while but they've pulled through that and are on their way to becoming the trees they should be.  The largest leaf is already about half as long as the plant itself and it's finally maturing.  The leaves grow fairly soft and limber until they're done growing.  At that point the get stiffer and pull up to join the rest of the leaves.

Of course everyone wants chocolate but it will be some time before these guys could support pods.  In the meantime you can always go get Amber's upcoming book Free Chocolate coming out June 5, 2018 from Angry Robot Books.  Or, if you're in the Dallas area, stop by Interabang Books on June 7, 2018 for the book launch starting at 7:00pm.  There WILL be chocolate.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ramps, The Other Onion

Unless you've got evergreen green onions, the next onions you'll probably be getting are ramps in your garden.  At least in the south you can get these as early as mid to late winter.
They are one of the more flavorful varieties of onion, you can use the tops, bottoms, or both.  As with all of the onion family the entire plant is edible.  They do die back as the temperatures warm up and go to seed.  Not a very fancy flower but recognizable as being in the onion family.
You can sometimes find these plants in the woods around where you live as they like rich soil and partial shade.