Guerilla Gardening: I want to be "Johnny Appleseed"


Thank you! I enjoyed that very much. Most of the documented sites are up north, perhaps I can find some decent trees to pin down south.

I’m heading over to that Macadamia in July. I’ll make it a day-trip with my parents. The last time I bought a pair of Macadamia seeds, they failed to sprout. With any luck, some of the seeds I hope to bring back will sprout for me, and I’ll still have enough left over for a snack.

I’d like to hear back on what he says. I’ve pitched the idea to my folks and they’ve given me the okay, but I wonder how other locals would take to the idea.

I really like that way of thinking. It’s okay for each person to like what they like and be happy about it. Doesn’t matter of it’s common or rare… A fruit is worthwhile if it makes someone happy.

I expected Durian to be denser, like a thick semi-dry fatty custard. It felt a little slimy, and got slimier over time, which I thought had to do with all the moisture from the thawing process. It was a whole durian, in the husk, and though I don’t remember the instructions, I distinctly remember realizing that I had failed to follow them once it was thawed.

I think Oscar Jaitt from Fruit Lovers Nursery has the green one, along with a few others. I’ll see if I can get some seeds soon.

My langsat is seed-grown, from a fruit I ate at Vivero Anones. That was years ago, and I still remember it was very sweet, very good!

I actually had A. odoratissimus, and it was one of the unfortunate casualties of my neglectful phase. I do remember it being one of the trees I checked on the most, but it needed more water than I gave it at the time. The biggest regret of that phase was the loss of that particular tree, I was really looking forward to trying it out. I do have A. sericicarpus planted in the ground, a few years older (though set back by a heavy pruning I gave it, no fruit yet), but I wanted to compare the two.

I’m big on zone-pushing. I know the tropical stuff works here, but I had always wondered about temperate climate fruit. I had been told all my life it wouldn’t work. Then I saw a local program focusing on local farmers, and they showed one guy, Nebai Fruit Gardens, who specialized in temperate climate fruit. He knew people who could fruit apples near the southern coast, it doesn’t get more tropical than that here. Peaches, plums, apples, pears, berries, anything you could think of, he was growing it and getting it to fruit, and few of them required any tricks (like winter water reduction or defoliation). For most of them, it was enough that they be a low-chill variety, 250 hours or under. And it worked.

I’ve fruited strawberries and raspberries before, so now I hope to branch out. If I could get a big piece of land, I’d grow everything! Tropical or otherwise.

And a kid that doesn’t even know what a fruit is… It sounds absurd! Even more so if they were poor, how were the parents feeding them? I’ve seen well-off people engage in foraging for the pleasure of it, you’d think in poorer communities it would be common practice. With any luck, you’ve left a lasting impact on those children, and on the community as a whole.


Roseleaf Raspberries were my first foraging experience, and they got me hooked on berries in the first place. I got an Atherton Raspberry out back from the local mountains, I hadn’t even realized there were other species here until years later (I’ve not seen the Mysores yet).

The local experience is pretty much as you describe, and a whole lot of fun! Guavas, Passionfruit, Starfruit, Quenepas, Pomarrosas, and loads of Mangoes! Syrupy candied papaya is practically a national dish here, though we candy it in the green stage (I think the dry candied commercial stuff from the trail mixes is prepared in the ripe stage). I once had my grandma repeat the recipe with Giant Granadilla rind, and it turned out just as well.

I haven’t gone out to forage in a while, the fare I’ve had in more urban regions is usually Manila Tamarind, Sea Grapes and Jamaican Cherry. I actually found a Jamaican Cherry growing as a weed under a fallen retaining wall a couple of streets up from mine. I shared the fruit with my parents and they liked it. I squeezed the seeds out from another fruit and I’ll plant it tomorrow. I think I might check on the tree tomorrow again, perhaps it’ll have more ripe fruit on it. They were pink instead of the usual red, but they tasted the same. Pics:

I have a few extra Paloverde and Desert Ironwood trees that I think would be good foraging fare, but I’m not sure the locals would appreciate them as well as fruit (especially since they don’t even know about these beans), doubly so given their spines. But I might tuck them into a back corner of an open space, like near the roofed bench.

Also… I hope to tackle the guinea grass in my back hillside soon, but it’s a lot of material to manage. I’d like to turn it to charcoal if I could. ¿Does anyone know how to build and use a charcoal-making drum?


there are denser durian, the rare red-pulped and orange pulped ones which are somewhat different, but they are generally not as in-your-face rich as the yellow and buttery types. In this regard, durian should be treated more like ice cream instead of fruit. At the early stages of growing tropicals outside of their time zones , any cultivar you could get to fruit in your locale would be one-of-a-kind.

same with langsat, getting it to fruit would be an achievement in itself(considering that the waiting time may take at least a decade), regardless of the quality, but still hoping your seed-grown langsat will be sweet. From seed, it will be a fruit tree that becomes an heirloom. The long gestation period is what you will endure, so that your kids and grandkids won’t have to! Mature langsats, jackfruits, lychees are the tropical equivalents of chinese jujubes. Producing delicious, nutritious fruits for hundreds of years.

caimito is another long-lived tree but luckily has a shorter juvenile stage than langsats

the birds probably beat you to the mature red ones. I actually prefer them at the pink stage when the flavor and aroma are not as cloying as the overripe reds, and the flesh is more firm at the pink stage.

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Okay my PR friend who just got his PhD dissertation done in ASL interpreting field replied his thoughts on what your original post said.

" Thats an interesting conversation. I agree with putting some fruits in some public areas.

The only concern is with small farmers who might be impacted. But if its done in some selected areas and not everywhere it might work."

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Not many commercial farmers deal in fruit over here, especially exotics. The farmers that specialize in exotic fruits live mostly on the west of the Island (Mayagüez, Las Marias, etc.), and they mostly work as nurseries for rare species.

I had once entertained the idea of planting broad swathes of government land with fruiting trees (the idea was as an anti-famine measure), but I ended up dropping the idea out of concern that the increased fruit trees and the fruit-fall would end up multiplying pests (be it rodents, insects or what have you).

Right now, I mainly want to plant some fruit trees in local neighborhoods, to feed the neighbors and raise awareness of fruit. I hope most people aren’t able to trace it back to me… It’d be easier to get away with.

My mulberries are now bearing well for the first time. It’s probably their age. Nothing impressive, but it’s special to me… The first tree I’ve planted in years that actually bore well for me (the other one was a Ketembilla that was since cut down).

I also put my pair of Maclura cochinchinensis into the ground at my grandma’s place, next to the mulberries. I hope to find out somewhat soon if I have a male & female (or at least a pair of females… Maybe they would bear seedless fruit?).

I plan on taking some cuttings from my Eugenias and Jaboticabas soon. If I can get them to strike, this changes everything!

I talked to a friend who eats poorly-known local fruits all the time. He brought me a bunch of cashews (overripe, so I’ll be using them for seed-sowing and to graft Cerrado Cashew), and he brought me 9 Sapodillas. 4 were overripe, 5 underripe. I did get to taste a decently ripe chunk from one of the overripe ones, and it was sweet! Like caramel. I tasted an underripe one, latex and all… I regret that. I took the seeds out of the ones I tasted and the other ripe ones, and left the remaining 4 to ripen on my kitchen table. Perhaps I should bag them with an apple?

I also found some of my old potted Sugar Apple trees, severely neglected, but alive and ineffectively flowering. My friend is now on the lookout for Mammee Apple, Custard Apple, Soursop, Caimito, Vangueria Medlars, Passionfruit, and anything else he can find. I’m gonna see if I can go fruit hunting with him this week. So begins the “Appleseed” Initiative. :wink:


Trying not to ask a stupid question but what are the restrictions for sending seeds in to PR? I assumed anything you can ship to the US can go to PR with exceptions like the usual suspects citrus etc.

No stupid questions here, I had to ask that one myself a good while ago.

The only major restrictions are Citrus, Coffee and Banana. I think they need Phytosanitary certificates to get in the island legally, though I’m not sure if there are additional restrictions.

There is a list of prohibited flora, but I don’t think it’s enforced (Cattley Guava is on there, but it’s available as a fruiting tree on the island anyway, even from Home Depot). Document here:

Relevant fragment here:

I’ve had plenty of seeds and live plants delivered before, from The States, Brazil, South Africa, Portugal, India, Australia, etc., never a problem.

those sapodillas make my mouth water! Sapodillas can be difficult to assess by appearance. Am sure you’re already familiar with, but if not, a reliable way to judge sapodillas’ ability to ripen(picked off the tree) would be to scratch the skin and check if the pulp is yellowish(no tinge of green). If yellowish, the fruits will ripen ok. A small scrape does not do much damage due to the gummy latex. Unfortunately an immature sapodilla won’t prosper much even with overripe bananas around it.

love those too. A good cultivar has delicious fruits! or should i say, peduncle(as the cashew ‘nut’ is technically the fruit)

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New to me! I actually have more fascination than experience with fruit at the moment… Time will change that.

They’re all green. Some looked more yellowish, but I can’t properly tell. I’ll leave them for a few more days, but I’ll probably have to scrap them and keep the seeds. I’ll see if my friend can take me to the tree in search of fresh ones.

One of my favorite fruit that I’ve had too little contact with was Mammee apple. It’s been a few years, but the texture reminded me of mango, and the flavor vaguely reminiscent of sweet spiced applesauce. My best batch of Kombucha came from that fruit, with a touch of Soursop.

I had taken a bite out of one of the cashew apples, and though overripe, it was aromatic and astringent. I will be keeping some of the trees ungrafted, to have both species on hand. The Cerrado Cashew is said to have superior fruit, non-astringent (and maybe sweeter, I think). Perhaps I could get some breeding work in between the species.

I have eaten 2 maybe 3 diffrent sapotes but I never know which one people are talking about. At least 3 species all get the Sapote name affixed. When you said Mammee apple I though Mamey sapote but looking them up there two totally diffrent fruits.

Mammee Apple and Mamey Sapote look pretty similar, and both are called Mamey in Spanish, but they’re not related (MA is a distant Garcinia relative). The “apple” is rounder, yellowish-orange inside and has a huge, light brown, textured seed, while the “sapote” is more elongate, reddish-brown inside, and with a glossy black seed. Sapodilla is a close relative of Mamey Sapote, called “Níspero” in Spanish (medlar), and similar in many respects, but much smaller and rounder. Not many other sapotaceans actually carry the name “sapote” as far as I can recall (I remember “Green Sapote” off the top of my head, Pouteria viridis). Black sapote is a green-skinned black-pulped persimmon, and white sapote is a green-skinned white-pulped citrus relative.

not sure if i’ve had cashew fruit of cultivar Cerrado, but if it is considered superior in your locale, then expect it to be sweeter.

It’s a separate species entirely, “Anacardium humile”, from the Brazilian Cerrado region. Plants from there are said to be “cursed”, difficult to keep alive outside their native region. I got my seeds from Puerto Vallarta, and I was hoping they’d be easier than other Cerrado trees, but they’ve been going slow, and I’ve lost a couple so far.

I also have Cerrado Cherry (Eugenia calycina), and that one’s not nearly as sensitive, pretty much a standard Eugenia.

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that is so intriguing. Regular cashews(occidentale) have been farmed for many decades outside of its native so. america, and some weird cashews have tried i thought were just cultivars, but were probably different species that were just lumped in as regular cashews.
incidentally, considering the possible mix up, could the cerrado species also be A. orthonianum?

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a lot of introgression between the different species.

From what I could tell, the two species seem very similar, so I’m not sure I could tell them apart. My seeds were sold to me as A. humile, and is apparently a very small fruiting tree; I’m not sure if that’s a distinguishing feature.

I got my seeds on the other forum:

I would say thats a notable feature. The full sized Cashew Tree overhanging my mother-in-laws yard is towering. Ant the fruit noticeably bigger.


I have never seen one before.

I was actually comparing humile and othonianum, which I don’t know if they’re different. But yes! If the regular cashew grows so large and vigorous, that would be a big difference from the Cerrado species. I hope that translate to good grafting potential. Do you have humile?

I do not. The tree is in the neighbors yard and over hangs my in-Laws house on the island of Trinidad.

I took a couple of photos under different lighting…

It ripened! I bagged them with an apple, and one of them ripened! No discernible latex. I’m hoping the others wil be ready tomorrow, or at least the day after. It was exquisite! So sweet, like piping jelly, honey, or light brown sugar. Soft – but not slimy – and very juicy. I can hardly believe this fruit is so poorly known, it’s not even an exotic over here. 9 seeds in total, you can bet I’ll be planting several in public areas.


It does look a bit prematurely picked, but since you report it not being astringent despite the relative immaturity, it must be a good-quality cultivar. And better tasting if harvested at its prime. The species don’t just vary in sweetness, astringency, and size(some can be three to four times larger than the fruit you posted), but like pears, some will have gritty pulp, while others soft with no sandy texture, and others a bit more dense than what you’ve posted and relatively opaque even when fully-ripened.

sapodillas are a must-have if tolerant of your yearly lows. Fruits are delicious, and the trees are some of the most drought-tolerant as well as hurricane-resilient of tropicals(due to the bendy fruiting stems) and practically pest-free. And can be productive for >500 years, so worth your time if you want to be Johnny Sapodilla seed, That would be your legacy transcending multiple human generations. Also, if you like woodworking, its lumber is top-notch among fruit/nut-bearing trees, in the league of asian persimmon, chinese jujube, mangosteen, black walnut, and cherry

forgot to add, sapodilla skin is edible, and almost paper-thin when fruit is tree-ripened.