Articles

Buddha Hands Fruit

Buddha Hands Fruit

Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus

This lemon like citron (Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus) is not usually eaten fresh, (although the rind may be candied and is sometimes used for zest), but it’s fragrant and said to have some medical qualities. It is said that the fragrance of a single fruit can perfume a room for weeks.

The Origin:

                                    The origin of this kind of citron is commonly traced back to the Far East, probably northeastern  India  or China, where most domesticated citrus fruits originate.

Description:

                   Buddha’s Hands { Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis } one of citrus kinds, like any other citrus variety, it is a  small tree or shrub  with long, irregular branches covered in thorns, the leaves are large grow up to 15 cm, oblong pale, green, Its white flowers grow in fragrant clusters and tinted purplish from the outside, the fruit contain only the white part of the fruit and sometimes a small amount of acidic pulp, but many varieties  are completely juice-less and some are seedless.

The fruit is segmented into finger-like sections, resembling a human hand, but the different cultivars and variations of this citron variety form a gradient from “open-hand” types with outward-splayed segments to “closed-hand” types, in which the fingers are kept together, also, there are half-fingered fruits, in which the basal side is united and the apical side fingered.

Propagation:

                            Trees can be grown from cuttings taken from branches two to four years old, it is very commonly grafted onto sufficient rootstock.

Climate:

               As most kind of citrus, the plant is sensitive to frost, as well as intense heat and drought, It grows best in a temperate climate.

Traditionally, the fruit was prized by the Chinese for its resemblance to a hand with the fingers outstretched. The buddha’s-hand citron was a popular plant motif in the art of the Ming dynasty. Besides its association with the Buddha the plant suggested wealth because of its resemblance to an outstretched hand. It remains popular at New Year’s and is said to bestow good fortune.

Dr. Waleed Abobatta

2017-01-18

Magnetic Agriculture

Magnetic agriculture used to reduce water or soil salinity  problems, they proposed an auxin-like effect of the Magnetic Field on germinating seeds, also, irrigation with magnetically treated water or/and magnetic seed treatment are friendly environmental techniques.

Therefore, they take an important place in the list of  environmental clean methods and harmless technology.

 

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Pineberries

White strawberry

“Pineberry”

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Introduction:

                             The pineberry is a hybrid strawberry cultivar with a pineapple-like flavor, white flesh coloring, and red seeds.

Pineberries are actually the oldest strawberry variety.  Originally strawberries were white in South America (Fragaria chiloensis) and red in North America (Fragariea virginiana).

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In 2010 the pineberry was introduced on April 1st in the UK. Many media thought it was an April fools’ joke and believed the pineberry did not exist. However when it turned out the introduction of the pineberry was for real, this special strawberry got a lot of media attention.

pineberry Fruits

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Interantional PULSES Year 2016

International Year of Pulses (IYP).

        On December 21st 2013, the General Secretary of the United Nations in New York voted to proclaim the International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP).

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           An International Year designation provides an extraordinary opportunity to raise awareness and to celebrate the role of  pulses in feeding the world.

          United Nations, led by its Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to raise awareness about the protein power and health benefits of all kinds of Pulses, boost their production and trade, and encourage new and smarter uses throughout the food chain.

           Even more prominently, it will be a galvanizing moment to draw together key actors to further the contributions pulses make to health, nutrition, and sustainability.

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            What’s the Pulses?

           Pulses, or grain legumes, are any DRY edible seed in the family of legumes (Fabiaceae), include 12 crops such as dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils, which are high in protein, fiber, and micro-nutrients.

Pulses Varities

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             pulses, are not simply cheap and delicious; they are also highly nutritious source of protein and vital micro nutrients that can greatly benefit people’s health and livelihoods, particularly in developing countries.

           Pulses present many opportunities for decreasing the environmental footprint of food production, especially by fixing nitrogen to progress soil quality.

Moreover, enhancements in pulse productivity could be especially impact in the increasing world.

           Pulses are important food crops for the food security of large proportions of populations,  particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia,  where pulses are part of traditional diets and often grown by small farmers.

          There’s  a short video  describe pulses important and  highlighting unique opportunities for pulses to contribute to the future of food security.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8YX7uar65w

 

             Pulses can contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health.

The water efficiency of pulses allows the plants to enrich soil where they grow and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.

Nutritional values of Pulses:

  • Just one portion of chickpeas contains 1.5 times as much iron as a 3-ounce portion of steak, and pulses are a division of the cost of other protein sources.

  • pulses have double the proteins found in wheat and triple the amount found in rice.

  • They are also rich in micro_nutrients, amino acids and b-vitamins.

           Pulses are vital food crops for the food security of large extent of populations, Particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia, where pulses are part of traditional diets and often grown by small farmers. Furthermore, improvements in pulse productivity could be  impact in the developing world.

           Pulses can contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health.

Environment Benefits of Pulses:

1- Pulses offer many opportunities for reducing the environmental footprint of food production.

2- Pulses fixing nitrogen  which increase soil fertility and improve soil quality.

3- Pulses use less quantity of water, just 43 gallons of water can produce one pound of pulses.

4-production of pulses emits only 5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with beef production.

International Pulses  trade:

                                                                      World production from pulses reach to 60 MT per year, but there’s only 6 million’s  MT  available for trading. meanwhile, The Middle East , North Africa and Southeast  Asia’s regions are biggest producer , consumer and importer of pulses, ( import around MT per annum).

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    “Much work requires to be done to end hunger and afford food security and nutrition for all”

Improvement Citrus Production Under Salinity Conditions ” Introduction”

Citrus is suggested to be one of the most important fruit crops all over the world, especially in warm temperate regions, occupied the third position between fruit crops in the world after grapes and apples.

Moreover, Egypt ranks as the 8th among the world top 10 producers of citrus (FAO, 2013).

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                      Citrus Orchards

The citrus is a major fruit crop cultivated in Egypt as its acreage, production and exportation potentialities are concerned.

It is the largest horticultural industry, also, citrus cultivated area increased rapidly from year to year during the last few years, reached 530415 feddan in 2014 from the total fruit crop area, which estimated to be 1541781 feddans, the fruiting acreage of citrus occupies 440706 feddan produced 4402180 tons with average of 9.989 tons/ fed. (Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation2014).

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Salhia  Region- Egypt

Extension of the cultivated area is due to:

I) fit environmental conditions.

II) increasing demands of local consumption.

 III) its highly economic value as a main source for exportation to the European countries and the Gulf countries, which is expected to boom in the future, such extension in area encourage establishing more studies towards finding out an appropriate management for improving the production and fruit quality.

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             Salinity of soil and irrigation water and drought conditions are considered to be serious and major problems that face citrus growers in arid and semiarid areas and citrus trees are classified as salt-sensitive.

            In Egypt, the newly reclaimed regions, whereas, alkaline soils and salinity water  reduced citrus production.

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            Effects of  Salinity on growth of trees

                Citrus growers apply natural materials (natural organic fertilizer forms like animal manures or seed meals, Humic Compound, Magnetic Iron ) for perceived or real improvements in soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, but the main benefit appears to be increases nutrient availability, to reduce salinity  hazard on trees growth and productivity.

 

 

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The World Soil Day

The World Soil Day

‘Soils a solid ground for life’

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 Introduction:

The World Soil Day Soil is vital for farming and food security. Soil deserved some respect, unfortunately often, most people  treated with soil  like dirt.

What’s the Soil?

Soil is made up of organic remains, clay and rock particles, found on the Earth’s surface. It contributes to food, reduces biodiversity loss, and secures energy.

Problems like deforestation, bad agricultural practices and pollution causes soil degradation and erosion.

The UN saw a need to raise awareness about the dangers of soil loss, so it made World Soil Day and official day. It was first celebrated on December 5, 2012, which corresponded with the birthday of Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej, who officially sanctioned the event.

Soils have been neglected for too long. We fail to connect soil with our food, water, climate, biodiversity and life. We must invert this tendency and take up some preserving and restoring actions.

Aim of the World Soil Day

The World Soil Day campaign aims to connect people with soils and raise awareness on their critical importance in our lives.

To raise awareness of the importance of soil and the need to use it sustainably, the United Nations has declared 2015 as International Year of Soils.

What We Do?

Thousands of soil scientists and organizations, like the International Union of Soil Sciences, promote the day via social media, YouTube videos, and local events to talk about issues such as soil erosion and preserving soil.

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Benefits of soil

Soil is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fiber production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being.

It is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity.

Soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts.

The largest store of terrestrial carbon is in the soil so that its preservation may contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met.

Understandably, it’s easy to take soil for granted because it’s mostly hidden from view and few who live off the farm have reason to give it a second thought.

Yet this amazing resource is responsible for nearly all life on the planet.

According to the FAO, the demands of a growing population for food, feed and fiber from the world’s soil will increase 60 per cent by 2050

Soil important

Soil very important as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to the human commonwealth through its contribution to food, water and energy security and as a mitigation of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Fortunately, scientists, conservationists and farmers are increasingly recognizing that keeping our soil healthy and functioning is the key to our survival

It is celebrated particularly by the global community of 60 000 soil scientists charged with responsibility of generating and communicating soil knowledge for the common good.

 Requirements for soil enhancement

we must working directly with private landowners to improve the health of the soil on different  lands. And by improving the health of the soil, we are also improving the health and vitality of our farms, families and communities.

This renewed focus on the health of our soil has created an exciting new revolution in different places in the world,  as farmers, ranchers and other landowners are increasingly making their land more productive and sustainable through soil health management systems.

Although all farming operations are different, most all can benefit from keeping the soil covered as much as possible; disturbing the soil as little as possible; keeping plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; and diversifying plants as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

Conclusion

By improving soil health, the agricultural producers can harvest benefits on and off the farm including increasing farmland sustainability and resilience; improving water and air quality; providing wildlife habitat; and reducing flooding.

World Soil Day serve as a reminder to all of us that we owe our existence to the soil”

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Kumquat Tree “Golden Orange”

Kumquat Tree

“Golden Orange”

“the little gems of the citrus family”

Fortunella sp.

  • Description
  • Origin and Distribution
  • Soil
  • Climate
  • Propagation
  • Varieties
  • Culture
  • Harvesting
  • Food Uses
  • Health benefits
  • Pests and Diseases 

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Kumquat is a small citrus fruit that grows in climates too cool for other citrus plants. The kumquat tree is slow-growing, trees reach heights of 1 to 2.5 m and have a vase-like or rounded canopy, the branches light-green and angled when young, thornless or with a few spines. The apparently simple leaves are alternate, lanceolate, (3.25-8.6 cm) long, finely toothed from the apex to the middle, dark-green, glossy above, lighter beneath. In spring trees have fragrant white flowers are borne singly or 1 to 4 together in the leaf axils, sweetly fragrant, 5-parted, the trees are self-fertile.

              The fruit is oval-oblong or round, (1.6-4 cm) wide; peel is golden-yellow to reddish-orange,  with large, conspicuous oil glands, fleshy, thick, tightly clinging, edible, the outer layer spicy, the inner layer sweet; the pulp is scant, in 3 to 6 segments, not very juicy, acid to subacid; contains small, pointed seeds or sometimes none.

 

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  • Origin and Distribution:

                                                   Kumquats are evergreen trees and are native to China, south Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, the earliest historical reference to kumquats appears in literature of China in the 12th century. They have long been cultivated in India, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and southeast Asia. Kumquats are believed native to China. They were described in Chinese literature in 1178 A.D. In 1712, kumquats were included in a list of plants cultivated in Japan.

They were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, collector for the London Horticultural Society, and shortly thereafter into North America.

They have been grown in Europe, North Africa and North America since the mid-19th Century, mainly as ornamental dooryard trees and as potted specimens in patios and greenhouses.

  •        Soil:

                                  Kumquat trees tolerate any pH and most soil types as long as the soil is well-drained, also, need full sun.

  • Climate:

                                      kumquat required a hot summer, ranging from 26 º- 37º C, but could withstand 10 to 15 degrees of frost without injury.

It grows in the regions where the climate is too cold for other citrus fruits, even the Satsuma mandarin, they also tolerate seaside conditions.

kumquat trees grow better and produce larger and sweeter fruits in warmer regions.

The trees differ also from other Citrus species in that they enter into a period of winter dormancy so profound that they will remain through several weeks of subsequent warm weather without putting out new shoots or blossoms.

  • Propagation:

                                          Kumquats are rarely grown from seed as they do not do well on their own roots, for that Kumquats grafted onto Rough lemon or trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata), also, Sour orange and grapefruit are suitable rootstocks for warm regions.

  • Varieties:

1- Round kumquat Fortunella japonica (or Citrus japonica).

“Hong kong Kumquat”

2- Oval kumquat Fortunella margarita  (or Citrus margrita).

         NagamiNagami Kumquat          Kumquat

 

  • Nagami, or Oval, Kumquat (margarita ):  Very ornamental in containers or indoors in bright light.

  • Meiwa Seedless Kumquat: Large, slightly oval, very sweet.

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 The rind is sweet and delicate, tart tasting, therefore the fruit is usually eaten whole, also, the tartness of the fruit makes them great for use in cooking and/or for marmalade and jellies.

The following are those most utilized for food:

1- Hong Kong, or Hong Kong Wild (F. Hindsii Swing.)

2- Marumi, or Round Kumquat (F. japonica Swing., syn. Citrus      maduremis Lour.)

3- Meiwa, or Large Round Kumquat (F. crassifolia Swing.),

4.Meiwa Seedless Kumquat: Large, slightly oval, very sweet.

5- Nagami, or Oval, Kumquat (F. margarita Swing.).

 

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  • Culture:

In orchard plantings, kumquats on trifoliate orange can be set (2.4-3.65 m) apart, or they may be spaced at (1.5 m) in hedged rows (3.65 m) apart.

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For pot culture, they must be dwarfed; must not be allowed to become pot-bound, and need faithful watering to avoid dehydration and also need regular feeding. The tree is smaller growing and dwarf in nature, making it ideal for pots and has even been used in bonsai.

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  • Harvesting:

  •     The fruit is small and usually round or oval shaped, fruit Ripens when bright orange in late November and best quality in February  (mid to late winter) and crops heavy bearer every year.

  • For the fresh fruit market, it has been customary to clip the fruits individually with 2 or 3 leaves attached to the stem.

  • For decorating gift packs of other citrus fruits, or for use as table decorations, leafy branches bearing several fruits are clipped.

  • The kumquat fruits has good keeping quality and stands handling and shipment well,because of the thick peel.

  • Food Uses:

                                Fresh kumquats can be eaten fresh, whole the peel is the sweetest part of the fruit and has a sweet flavor but the fruit has a sour center when eaten together it produces an unusual refreshing flavor and fruit often used to make candies.

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           For preserving, they should be left until they lose some of their moisture and acquire richer flavor. The fruits are easily preserved whole in sugar syrup.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion (raw)*  

Calories 274
Protein 3.8 g
Fat 0.4g
Carbohydrates 72.1 g
Calcium 266 mg
Phosphorus 97 mg
Iron 1.7 mg
Sodium 30 mg
Potassium 995 mg
Vitamin A 2,530 I.U.
Thiamine 0.35 mg
Riboflavin 0.40 mg
Ascorbic Acid 151 mg   

*According to analyses published by the United States Department of Agriculture.

  • Health benefits of Kumquats:

  1. The skin or rind of the kumquat consists of liminoids that are phytochemicals, for that as we can consume the skin, we are able to understand their health advantage as well that is considered to help safeguard from cancer.

  2. Like other citrus fruits they’re full with vitamin C, that contains 73% of the suggested every day consumption for adults..

  3. Together with some other minerals and vitamins, the kumquat consists of moderate quantities of vitamin A, as well as B2 (Riboflavin), and also manganese. Riboflavin metabolizes fats.

  4. Kumquats are magnificent resources for potassium, iron as well as copper, our system needs these types of minerals for best working.

  5. Citric acid contained in kumquat fruits might help avoid the growth and development of kidney stones.

  • Pests and Diseases:

                                                        Potted kumquats are subject to mealy bug infestations, dooryard and orchard trees may be attacked by most of the common citrus pests.

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                                                        They are highly resistant or even immune to citrus canker, sometimes Aphids and Scale insects attack kumquat trees.

                                                        Kumquat trees are sensitive to root rot diseases avoid excess moisture and need well-drained soil.

  • References:

 

  1. Abobatta, W, F. unpublishing work.
  2. Morton, J. 1987. Kumquat. p. 182–185. In: Fruits of warm climates. Miami, FL.
  3. United States Department of Agriculture.
  4. https://app.box.com/s/p4pmbug30t1ui599v1d68bsfuoiq4hbx

Custard Apple in Egypt

Introduction:

                             Annona is a genus of family Annonaceae, Annona species are tropical trees taprooted, evergreen or semideciduous, Annona considered the largest one of five species of family Annonaceae containing 66 species approximately.

Annona species are native to tropical region like tropical America, eastern Africa , subtropical or tropical highland conditions; like East Africa and Asia, also, few species found in temperate regions. Nowadays it is cultivated in almost all Arabian region like Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, K.S.A., Oman, Jordan and Palestine.

Botanical description:

Annona sp. are shrubs or small trees, Annona are deciduous, or semi deciduous even tropical species, especially when cultivated in areas with dry or cool seasons. Leaves 5 to 12 cm long, simple which are ovate-lanceolate to elliptical in shape, glabrous on the ventral surface, Annona flowers are fragrant flower emerges from the leaf axils, and possesses a short peduncle, 2.5 cm in length, solitary or in fascicles with 2 to 4 flowers, The fruit is normally heart-shaped, conical, oval or somewhat irregular in form due to irregular pollination. The fruit surface is covered with small conical protuberances over the carpel. The fruit rind is delicate and thin, and is greenish-yellow when ripe. The white, flesh has a fragrant, delicate flavor. The fruit has numerous seeds (21 to 41 seeds/fruit), which are black and small size, all old leaves dropped one shoot before new buds opening.

  • Soil

All Annona species can grow in a wide range of soil types, from sandy soils to clay loams. However, produce better in fertile, well deep and well-drained soils,, rich in organic matter. No Annona grows well in soils with drainage problems (Heavy clay soil), high water content in the soil causes root diseases. The best physical/chemical composition for Annona cultivation was pH 6.5 to 8.5, with an organic matter content of 6.2%, nitrogen of 0.25%, phosphorus of 2.8 ppm, and potassium of 0.79 meq/100 g, generally prefers deep soils with good aeration.

Transplanting and spacing:

 

         Current field spacing ranges among commercial orchards, from 3.5 x 5 m in sandy soil to 5 x 7 m in clay soil

 

Flowering:

                   Annona trees start flowering when the plant is three to four years, the flowering stalks rise from axils, or occasionally from axillary buds on main stems or older stems, flowers are hermaphrodite; both female ( carpels ) and male (stamens) organs are in the same flower. However, Anthesis starts slowly, with the separation of the apex of the external petals and takes from 6 to 8 h to complete the female part matures before the male, which is known as dichogamy of the protogynous type.

 

Productivity and Harvesting:

 

 

Fruit maturation within 5to 8 months, hence, each tree must be inspected regularly to collect the fruits at the appropriate harvest point. The most suitable time of day to harvest is in the morning just after the evaporation of the dew, when the fruits are dry and fungal rot contamination is less likely.

Annona tree production has an average yield of 35 kg during the normal harvest period, depend on hand pollination, soil fertility and climate conditions. Annona sp. are harvested from June to the end of October in Egypt, Hand pollination is the only certain strategy to ensure commercial production,

Fruit thinning is necessary to regulate crop load and to maintain fruit size, especially for high yielding Annona cultivars.

Annona fruits must be hand-harvested and put into cushioned boxes or baskets to avoid mechanical damage or bruising.

Nutritional value of Annona fruits:

In general, Annonas are consumed as fresh fruits, but they are also widely used in semi-processed and processed products, especially desserts. As world demand for exotic flavours and healthy foods expands, the use of Annona fruits is also likely to expand. Annona pulps are rich source of Vitamin A, B and C , proteins, fatty acids, fiber, carbohydrates and minerals comparing with other fruits. Annona give the consumer a glowing and healthy skin and shiny and lustrous hair, each 100 g flushes contain 1.1 g protein, 0.3 g fat-21.5 grams carbohydrate is dissolved sugars (sucrose, sugar reducers 12.8% 7.2%), 0.5 g fiber, the high amount of magnesium in Annona fruits maintains water balance in the body.

Annona against Cancer:

Currently the Annonaceae remain a “hot’ family for the discovery of new anti-cancer drugs,  Annona contains a class of chemicals called acetogenins, which to be 300 times more potent than standard anti-cancer drug .

Limiting factors for Annona production in Egypt:

1- Dry wind during flowering period

2- Dichogamy

3-The pollinating insects are rare, a small population of pollinator insects may limit fruit set. Consequently, there is often very low fruit set from natural pollination, varying from 0% in some orchards to 26% in some orchards.

The use of hand pollination necessary to increase fruit set, since it guarantees significantly higher production and better fruit quality than open pollination.

Types of Annonas in Egypt:

Main Annona types cultivated in Egypt:

1- A.cherimolia. Cherimoya

2- A.reticulata. Bullock sheart

3- A.atemoya.