DragonFruit Growing, Different Method

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by ClissAT, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

    Sep 27, 2015
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    Pomona, Qld
    Great to see some photos John & get some context to the story thus far.
    Looks like you are getting on top of it all.

    First thing I see is that fence in the background of some photos.
    Is that the fence holding those cows in?
    If so it is no where near enough to hold those cows!
    It needs to be the biggest barbed wire you can find over there & there needs to be at least 5 wires, 6 would be better to hold calves also.
    Those look like concrete posts so there should be enough holes cast into the posts.
    Plus you will need 2 live electric plain wires offset on the cow side of the fence with the earth being the actual barbed wire fence so when they press against the live wires they get zapped once they also hit the barbed fence & form an arc. There will need to be a series of 3 ground spikes near the energizer plus another set every 2-300m just to be sure. Eve though the barbed wire fence will be the earth circuit, it pays to permanently attach that earth to the ground at regular intervals. If steal posts (star pickets) are being used in the construction of the fence, then they act as natural earth rods, but of course concrete or timber will insulate.

    Standing those DF cuttings against that fence could be too inviting to any cows living on the other side of that fence.

    Do the cows have access to the palm part of the property?
    Also all cuttings not used to create new plants should be fed to the cows in another part of the property on a regular basis so when they see you coming they expect food in that particular area. That way if they break out, all you have to do is gather up some DF cuttings & drive/ride to that part of the property & the cows should come running.
    Beeping the car/bike horn is a very good way to call cows. They readily & quickly associate car horn sound with food.

    I would think cows would love DF flowers & young fruit but if they are to blame for the lack of fruit, why isn't there fruit above cow height?

    I think I have worked out DF plants need 2 moon cycles after stressing to produce the chemicals needed in the plants to cause flowering. Also I'm thinking it would depend on the ambient day temperature ratio to amount of sun (length of day or amount of cloudy days) & perhaps the difference between day & night temps.

    I saw on youtube where a guy ran the dripper lines of the irrigation system along the top of the concrete posts on a support wire with each dripper positioned so it dripped down the outside of the concrete post or pipe making a permanently wet line down the support. The DF grabbed the post there with its roots. I think the cuttings were planted at the bottom of the post right where the moisture line reached the ground. There was a car or truck tyre around the bottom of each post which seemed to be full of composted material. That would aid your maintenance by protecting the base of the DF plant from slasher or brush cutter damage.

    I also wondered if you could drill holes near the top of each pipe to hammer the metal rods through. That would help prevent the plants falling down in future. I can see the pipes are a bit fragile near the top but if the rods were install as far down as 20cm that should be enough to prevent the pipe breaking out at the hole site but still be close enough to the top to hold the bike tyre in a good place.
    Are you thinking of just a single rod or 2 at right angles to form a cross? A cross would be better support for the bike type. I think DF plants are very heavy which is why the supports cave in so fast. You could hammer the rod right through both tyre & post at the same time if you also drilled the holes through the tyres as well.

    Locating the drippers so the moisture runs down the pipe would help prevent rotting of the superstructure.

    If the cost of 3/8 rod is near cost of 1/2inch rod then get the larger sized rod to help hold the weight of those heavy vines.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  2. Bushtuckaman

    Bushtuckaman Member Premium Member

    Feb 28, 2018
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    Well I’ve got some good news on the DF plot. I went into the block last week to do some watering and to my surprise the first plant I looked at was covered in small buds!! As I looked around all I could see was buds! It’s now suddenly hard to find a plant without buds on. The best I’ve counted is 31 buds on one plant support, which has three plants. A lot are in the 15-25 bud range. Is that a standard kind of number?

    I’m more than a little happy with that, but not sure if this is anything to do with what I’ve done or whether it would have happened anyway. First fertiliser was given 2 weeks ago so it seems a bit quick for that to be the reason for the bud appearance. They’ve definitely had regular water since I arrived 4-6 weeks ago. I suspect it’s probably more likely that previously cows were eating the DF or even the stickyfinger brigade was present relieving the plantation of it fruit.

    To answer your question, the fence in the background of the DF pic was put up by the local farm workers within the last year I am told. The quality is poor, as the post wobble a bit and there are only 3-4 wires mostly. The tension of the wires is awful also. I’ve come The the conclusion the staff on the farm cannot build (what I consider) a good fence unless very closely supervised and even then as you advised, it would be inadequate to hold these cows

    As for the cuttings against the fence. The cows are currently semi secured in a ‘fenced’, overgrown, far corner of the palm plantation so the theory is that they don’t have access to this area and won’t get a chance to eat them. Previously the cows were able to walk anywhere amongst the 5k (approx)palm trees. But I’ve noticed they nibble palm fronds and have been damaging the palm irrigation system. I’m actually pressing the owner hard for the cows to go, as clear that they add little benefit to the plantation but offer the potential to do extensive damage if they get free. They were brought here to prevent them being slaughter as they are considered a sacred beast to many Thai folk!

    Regarding your question about no fruit above cow height. I wouldn’t say any of the DF plants here are that high that the biggest cow couldn’t reach them and if there were some left then maybe the workers were eating and/or selling them.

    That sounds like an very interesting youtube video about irrigation, if you have the link I’d like to see it. How was the dripper lines wire supported? Was it on tensioned wires with tall posts at each end? Or vertical structures from the DF posts offering support may work!? Manually watering the 200 DF is currently taking about 1.5-2hrs currently with a long 1 inch hose pipe.

    The 2 top support rods for the motorbike tyres are held in place by siting them in 4 notches chiselled into the top of the concrete pipes. Horizontal to the ground, 2 rods at right angles form a cross to support the tyres at 4 point. In the new block of DF I’m going to plant I will use steel rods. The old block will have their rotten wooden rods replaced once I have pruned them after the main harvest. Thankfully the mass of DF branches at the top of the pipes is forming a support in itself even though all the wooden pole tyre supports have failed. You’re the second person I’ve read who suggested using 1/2 inch rebar instead of 3/8 inch, so 1/2 inch it will be. The support bars will need to be 24 inch long to hold up the types, which are around 21 inch to the outer edge, that will allow a few inches of bar protrusion either side to allow for tyre movement. I was thinking wrapping some wire round the tyre and bar at the 4 points of contact to reduce the tyre movement. I will upload some pics when I start that job.

    I’m looking forward to tasting the first fruit ;-)

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