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Albums: Growing Cacao in Darwin: Progress
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What variety is the white bean? I'm interested in giving it a crack... I can grow just about anything, or at least get it started in my grow boxes...
I'm travelling to SA from tomorrow, I just soaked all my plants in rain water so they can last a week and noticed there's about 4 or 5 flowers about to open on one of the Cacao's in the garage. It's only getting to about 20C there max during the day with the lights on, about 70%-80% humidity, so they must be happy with that.
Anyone know what the process is for pollination of Cacao flowers?
Wow, quite an impressive collection of tropical plants, I am glad the cacao flowers too!
I have already had the plants produce some flowers, but they were in the tent in the garage and I did not attempt to pollinate. I want the plants to focus on growing first, then worry about flowering later.
I even put some plants outside directly in the shade, and they seemed to cope ok. They definitely don't like direct sunlight, I made the mistake of giving one plant only partial shade, most of the leaves ended up drying up.
I also have coffee, tea and bananas growing in Melbourne. One of the coffee has a minimal amount of berries, the tea flowered, and I have a bunch of sugar bananas although I wish this had of held off fruiting until Spring.
Where in Adelaide are you?
I'm in Melbourne, and have some Cacao plants growing, a couple as tall as a metre at the moment. I've got a couple in the lounge room that I try and mist twice a day, and then another 3 in the garage under horticulture lights amongst a bunch of other tropical plants.
I got the pod off ebay from someone that claimed the pod was from a CSIRO developed plant in FNQ that they were experimenting with for chocolate production in Australia. Not sure how true it is, but the pod arrived in the mail entirely in tact and I think every single seed sprouted.
What kind of humidity are you giving your plants, they seem to be doing well.
I think Mel wants to keep them as pot plants, so there are two there and hopefully they will be put in separate bigger pots. I have seen cacao grown in pots and they do flower and presumably fruit (they are renting so don't want to plant in the ground). Typically it is about 2 years to flowering and you can use the pods to make chocolate as soon as you get them. Trouble is it will probably only be a handful of pods at a time. I would need an incubator to do ferments properly on that scale. Also bringing fruit into SA can be problematic. I just thought it was a nice idea to grow some, especially since they are a white bean variety. I might try and grow one down here in Adelaide in a pot, keep it in my office, because it doesn't really drop below 20 degrees in here, just spray it with water all the time and see how it goes. They had not a lot of luck with the one in the Adelaide botanic gardens that I have a picture on here of, I went back last week and it was gone - probably died, or perhaps some one with a brain moved it to the tropical dome instead of where it was in the waterlilly pavillion.
So how long before they're planted in the ground and then how long before you start getting pods. And can you make chocolate from the beans as soon as you have pods or do you need to wait a few seasons before the pods produce "right"/mature beans?
Cool stuff Tom
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