November | 2015 | Florida Fruit Geek

    Eugenia reinwardtiana, Cedar Bay Cherry

    This past spring, I planted a Eugenia reinwardtiana, Cedar Bay Cherry, in the ground in my greenhouse (I keep the greenhouse open to the sky most of the year, so it’s nearly outdoors). The species, also known as Eugenia carissoides, is native to Australia. I got the plant from Oliver Moore, who grows this species as a containerized specimen in his greenhouse in Gainesville, and he reports that his big Eugenia reinwardtiana (in a seven-gallon pot, I think), is nearly ever-bearing.

    My plant made slow growth over the summer, then commenced heavy flowering in the fall. The first fruits from this flowering are starting to ripen. I got to try these, just after snapping this photo, and they were quite tasty. I’m looking forward to having this one available regularly in the future, as the plant gains size.

    We don’t yet know about the cold-tolerance of this species. Many other Eugenia species can take at least some frost. My part of Florida is subject to hard freezes many winters, so to be cautious I planted this in the ground inside the greenhouse. In addition to protecting the plant from freezes, the generally warmer winter temperatures in the greenhouse might lengthen the plant’s fruiting season.

    Looks like this might be a popular one with the local wildlife — I’ve already had some ripening fruits disappear. I might have to keep a net over this one to keep from “sharing” the entire crop.

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    Gainesville people: the ‘Turkey Lake’ persimmon tree at Dreamers Garden is LOADED right now. Free to all. Please indulge in some sweet autumnal bounty. Corner of NW 10th Ave and 4th St, across from Earth Pets.

    Just a few notes on site progress. I’ve been spending time working on the site, but not much of it is visible yet. So here’s a little status update, which I’m posting here mainly just so I can see something new on the front page when I check on the site (I’ve only told a couple people about FFG so far — waiting till I get it a bit more set up before trying to promote it.)

    One thing I’m working on is a complete guide to every fruit species that can grow in Florida, listed by family, genus and species. That list will be accessible both as a drop-down menu item in the top bar, and also as a page that has a grid of photos of all species, with each photo linked to the profile page of its species. That’s going to take a while to complete, so it’ll happen bit by bit, species by species.

    Another page in the works for the top menu is a guide to botanical names. I want people dropping by the site who are newcomers to plant geek-dom a sort of “welcome mat” to the kind of discussion they’ll be seeing here. That page is nearly done, should be up within a week or so.

    One issue I’ve been working on is how to display images, including my Florida Fruit Geek Instagram posts on the site. My stop-gap measure for the moment is that I have a WordPress plug-in installed that’s showing a display of the most recent FFG Instagram posts. That’s okay for now, but I want to figure out a way to have photos, whether grabbed from the Instagram stream or posted directly, more fully integrated into the site, maybe as a gallery.

    I know I want to have a bit of a spectrum of post lengths, from long-form posts containing lots of text and multiple images, to short-form “micro-blogging” style posts, which consist mainly of an image with a few words, sometimes up to a few paragraphs, in the style of Facebook and Instagram posts. The question is whether to display all of these in a single feed as blog posts, or whether to have only the longer-form articles appear as “posts”, while the shorter-form ones would appear in a separate area, perhaps as photo items in a gallery, displaying captions with each image.

    Another thing I’d like to incorporate would be to have, at the end of each post or static page, especially the species profile articles, a set of links to any other posts that have been made on the site about that species.

    And, of course, I want to make sure it all looks good and is easy to navigate on both mobile phones and full-size desktop screens. The current theme is okay, but ultimately I want a theme that’s better suited to the tone of the site.

    Well, that’s kind of a laundry list of projects in progress here. Basically, I’m working on building a good foundation for the site, with a layout and visual appearance that are friendly to site visitors, and which give me a good structure to build on as I add content. I look forward to getting to the point of having that structure in place, because I’ve got lots of topics I want to post about here. So once again, stay tuned.

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