We May Be Getting Dates!

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Frank Sanoica, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    We both enjoy fresh dates (the fruit!), but rarely buy them due to their cost. A little over 3 years ago, my wife spotted a nearly-dead Date Palm at Lowe's, on their "reduced" pile. It was little taller than a foot or so, about 2" diameter at the trunk, a couple of wind-beaten fronds still clinging to life. I planted it in front of our house, took care to fertilize and water it properly, and in a few months, it perked up. Today, it is well over 6 feet high! When I got it, I was telling my nephew about it. His reaction was that I'll be dead before I see any dates! A guy down the road has a big Date Palm, which each season produces huge clusters of fruit, which hang down due to their great weight, suspended by rope-like, not sure what to call them, structures. I am guessing each cluster when ripe must weigh about 50 lbs, and there are 6, 7, or more, clusters. We have never been close enough to see just how the "fruit" begins to be formed, as palm trees grow from the center outward.

    A few weeks ago, I noticed unusual, different, "fronds" forming on our tree! They were wider, had no pointy spines at all, looked like big pods, elongating at they grew. Yesterday, one burst open! My excitement at first frightened my wife, who thought I had finally gotten the BIG "H". All the various kinds of palms we see form seed clusters, of one kind or another. These seem to be just that. Here's how they look:

    [​IMG]

    Today, three pods are burst open, revealing a multitude of seeds which we think become dates.
    [​IMG]

    Another close-up.
    [​IMG]

    Going price for dates around here is ten to twelve dollars a pound. They are an important commercial crop centered mainly down around Yuma, as far as AZ is concerned, while a lot come from California, of course. Aside from tasting delicious, dates have quite good nutritional value, too.
    Frank
     
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  2. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
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    @Frank Sanoica , Wow! They look great. Please keep showing us how your tree progresses. I've never seen date palms grow. But I do love them. I eat about a pound of dried dates a week in place of having pastries or other sweets. They are about $7.50 a pound, but I can't eat much at a time, and three or four is all I need, so the cost is worth it.
     
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  3. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    In 2010, we decided to "winter" in Arizona, along the Colorado River, across from Laughlin, Nevada. During our travels thereabouts, we spotted an old guy selling produce, out of his pickup; he had a travel trailer nearby, and might have been "one of us snowbirds". What caught our eye was DATES! Big boxes of them! I think I bought about 40 lbs., a crateful, intent on "preserving" them via alcoholic fermentation. our rented condo had limited freezer space in the fridge.

    As we proceeded to eat them, I thought, why not save some of these pits being thrown away, and plant them? Nah, couldn't possibly grow. I saved them, anyway. Planted a bunch, later, after they were good and dried out. The two guys below, I grew from pits, gradually they poked up through the soil in the yogurt cup I had used! One skinny frond appeared at a time, then at about a foot high, a second began forming from below, as the tiny plant formed the "trunk", which eventually became these two:

    [​IMG]




    Th[​IMG]

    They are about 2 years old now, and flourishing. Make no mistake about palm trees, in general, regarding their tenaciousness: each "leaf" on a frond ends in a deadly-sharp point, capable of (and often doing so) inflicting serious pain if you blunder into one. Palms are nearly as difficult to "kill" as cactus. An uprooted cactus will often lie on the ground for months, looking "dead", but gradually pushing a tendril or two downwards into the earth, and next thing you know, a cactus is growing there again! The native plants around here amaze us with their ability to withstand day after day of blazing heat, sometimes for several months without a single drop of water, then, after a Spring "rainstorm" of perhaps 1/10 inch of rain, go on to flower-out, producing beautiful petals to be amazed over, lasting a week or two at most, then the plant "dies", seemingly, but returns with another similar performance a year later!

    It remains to be seen whether these two palms will or can produce fruit. We wonder whether the GMO crowd has bothered to do their "magic" with dates. Fact that the pits produced new plants suggests "no". We live in a world of "control" regrettably, AFAIC. Frank
     
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  4. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    We have a couple small palm trees of some sort that we got on clearance at Lowes. After looking at your pictures, @Frank Sanoica , I have been wondering if what we have might also be a date palm.
    In any cae, the date palms that you have look almost like these, and I am going to try sprouting some date seeds and see if they will grow for me like yours did.
    Our weather is too cold here in the winter to leave the palm trees outside and we have to dig them up and pot them and keep the palms inside for the winter .
    Right now, they are outside again; but we still have to put them in the ground. Then, I can reuse the planter pot to grow summer veggies like tomatoes or cucumbers in for the summer growing season.
    It looks like the weather is going to actually warm up enough to start putting things outside for the summer, and tomorrow, I hope to move the little tomatoes into a larger container and set them out in the sunshine in the back yard.
     
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  5. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I always pass a home fruit stand when I take my shortcut through the orchards on ave. 9 going to my daughter's.

    Think maybe I'll stop on my way back on Tuesday. I do remember he always had figs.

    You should see all the oranges on the ground sometimes from the trees, almost on the road but I think it's illegal to pick them up because I never see anyone getting them.
     
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  6. Jim Beam

    Jim Beam Member
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    Your little trees look good. When I was a young man (get ready), I was a "fresh" date.
     
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  7. Linda Binning

    Linda Binning Well-Known Member
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    Frank we love dates too. I eat my fill of them when I visit my daughter as she always has some in her kitchen. Many years ago we went on a bus tour in Palm Springs and they took us to a date farm (orchard, grove?) and we bought date milk shakes. They were pretty good and I'm sure zero calories. :) My husband is always planting something around here but I doubt dates would grow. We have almonds, figs, apricots and lemons. What I'd really like is an avocado tree. Your date trees are beautiful. Keep updating us with the pics like Ina said. :)
     
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  8. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    @Linda Binning , you live in CA. And I'm sure you've driven through all the orchards or at least some of them.

    What happens to all the oranges etc on the ground by the road, do you know?
     
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  9. Linda Binning

    Linda Binning Well-Known Member
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    Chrissy we can't go into any town or city from here without going through roads with orange or lemon groves on both sides of us. The reason they let the fruit rot on the ground is because they have/had so much trouble with people stealing both off the trees and from the ground, then taking them to LA or San Fransisco (or anywhere really) to sell. Often those people waving bags of oranges at a stop light are peddling stolen fruit. The last few years the growers have had to put up fences, release guard dogs and whatever to try and protect their crops. I really think twice now when I have my husband pull off the road and I run a few trees back into a grove to pee on my way to or from town. I never take even one orange though. We pay $5 a bag for the wonderful Cara-Cara red flesh oranges from a local fruit stand. An elderly couple have it in front of their home and usually one of them will run out to get the $ as people keep stealing the oranges from the stand. They can't take the cash box as it's bolted down. It's almost time for the "Blossom Trail Festival" drive. You should go on it if you can, I think it starts at Sanger.
     
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  10. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Thanks Linda, I've always wanted to know the reason I see all that fruit just lying there. I've never stopped but now that you said a dog might come after me....I will definitely not stop.

    I have an orchard just outside of my subdivision. It used to be plums but for some reason a few years ago all the trees were removed and new ones planted and I think they are some type of nut.
     
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  11. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    When I lived in north Idaho, we always had Californians moving up to Idaho and trying to act like they were still living in California, and who thought we should have all the laws that they had back home in California.
    Therefore, I always thought that Californians were kind of a nutty bunch; but never did I realize that the reason that you had so many nuts down there was that they actually grow them on trees , @Chrissy Page !
     
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  12. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Lol, Yvonne. Lots of nuts here, all varieties. Fruit too. :)
     
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  13. Jim Beam

    Jim Beam Member
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    Years ago we had a neighbor who had a wonderful Hass Avocado tree up by the front of his property. He had a sign that said, "Pick a few and enjoy, don't take the others folks share". He gave us avocado's by the large bag.
     
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  14. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    That was nice of him. Even though we grow them here too, they are never less than $1 for one.
     
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  15. Jim Beam

    Jim Beam Member
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    When I was a kid, I lived in Calavo Gardens in the Mt. Helix area of San Diego county. We had a two acre grove and belonged to the association. I used to go into the grove pick a perfect avocado and slice it, put it between two slices of fresh bread and gobble it up. We had some theft but because there were so many groves, it was minimal.
     
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  16. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Endless avocados would be my heaven...almost. If I was going to risk a dog attack it would be for an avocado.
     
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  17. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    LOL! Yvonne!
     
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  18. Linda Binning

    Linda Binning Well-Known Member
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    Same problem in Oregon and Washington too Yvonne. You just have to tell people sometimes if it was so great where they lived to go back there. :) Of course, if you are working in a government office I don't think you are allowed to. Only under your breath. :)
     
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  19. Jim Beam

    Jim Beam Member
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    I ate my fair share and of course my Dad sold thousands of lugs of them. I still love them but I have to pay through the nose for them now.
     
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  20. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Yes, they aren't cheap, not even in CA. Good for you but high calorie.
     
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  21. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Yvonne Smith : I planted a bunch of pits, perhaps 20, and got 3 or 4 which germinated, so be patient! I used potting soil, kept moist most of the time. My wife advised me to allow the pits to dry out completely before planting, so I waited about a month. I have a couple coming up in a pot in my shop right now. I'll snap a pic tomorrow. Frank
     
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  22. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Had no idea, Jim! Guess I forgot, you lived in CA?
     
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  23. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Yvonne Smith : I believe they average about 40 calories each. If all sugar, that would correspond to nearly 4 teaspoonsful, so I suspect there are other mineral-goodies in them.
     
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  24. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    There were fig trees at the last place I lived, and it was nice to have access to them, especially for free. I haven't seen any down in this area, for some reason, although I don't know why. I've never seen a date palm, although I've heard of them. What a nice crop to have on your property. It seems the palms here are more for show, and even the banana plants just drop their fruit and no one eats it.
     
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  25. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Last year, we got a small fig tree from Lowes. It is about 2-3' tall. Since it has always just been in a pot, we were not sure if it would make it through the winter if we left it outside, and we kept it inside all winter.
    This spring, the fig tree started leafing out again, and we took it outside when the weather started warming up, and planted it out in a sunny spot in the back yard. It should be somewhat sheltered out there.
    This winter, we will leave it outside, since @Sheldon Scott says they have one and it winters fine. Our climate is about the same as his, since he is just west of us.
    I don't know how long it will take before we get some figs; but I am looking forward to seeing it bloom and bear fruit.
     
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