By Eunice Messner


If you want to keep your cherimoya to a manageable size, prune back those long branches this month. March and April, the semi-dormant season for Cherimoya, is the primary pruning time.

I will bring scion wood of my 'Elixir' cherimoya to the next meeting. I had success grafting on rootstock
of " diameter last year. Others said their scions didn't take. So this time of the year may be 'iffy'.


I had several suggestions for best flavor of these fruits. Nectarines rated best were 'Snow Queen' and 'Arctic Star'. Peaches were 'August Pride' and 'Santa Barbara' (yellows) and 'Tropic Snow' (white). Gary Matsuoka said 'Red Baron' is his best selling peach. It's double, red blossoms are beautiful but I found it had a poor fruit set because the blossoms were so crowded. Also, not the best for flavor. So thank you everyone for your input.


That would be a toned down remark for someone else when they find that overnite a ground squirrel has eaten 20 mangos and 10 papaya seedlings down to the soil level. I did trap and subject that critter to sufficient time under water. This year squirrels seem to be more than a local problem.


For those of us who occasionally have to miss a meeting, isn't it wonderful that we have Paul Frink videotaping it? I'm sure my unoccupied space at the June meeting was appreciated by those who attended the usually standing room only occurrence at any Frank James talk. I was off to Scottsdale, AZ. This city deserves four stars for its visual arts of architecture, landscaping and graphic design on freeway walls.

While there I also visited the gardens of two CRFG members. At the home of Dick Gross, new CRFG Board member, I was amazed to see a large, heavily laden seedling mango tree near his front door. Dick is the one who drove all the way from Phoenix for our Green Scene. (We also had two members drive down from Visalia who specifically wanted the 'Elixir' cherimoya.) Dick is experimenting with cherimoya and blueberries and they appear to be doing well. I was intrigued with his method of making compost in an old recycling container. He cut off the entire bottom and its wheels and inverted it with the larger end down. When finished he merely lifted it off for easy access.

The other home I visited was that of Maria and Carl Erlandson. Old timers will remember the tours of their large property when they lived in Vista, CA. Maria is a grower 'par excellence'. She bought, from Home Depot, one of those self- assembling structures used to cover motor homes or boats. This is her shade house. She can't resist trying to grow every known fruit. So far, she floods weekly (the once favored method of irrigating). In her area it is necessary as the water is available only once a week.

Maria shared 'Moringa' seeds with me. So, hopefully, I'll have these trees available for next year's Green Scene. This tree has many uses. All parts are edible. It may even be used to purify water, which may come in handy some day. It is also known as the 'Horseradish' tree because of its pungent, tasty roots. Anyone wanting to try growing it will find the extra seeds in our Seed Bank. It will need protection for a couple of
years as it is quite a heat-loving tropical.