Maximizing eating quality of container grow fruit

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXNovember 3, 2011

I'm hoping Al will chime in here but others are certainly welcome. My question is how does one maximize eating quality of fruit grown in containers? I like my fruit very sweet and flavorful. Fruits of interest to me are mainly fig, citrus, and stone fruit.

The cornerstone of my approach is a long period of moderate water deficit. All comments welcome!!

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Do you use organic fertilizer? I have heard using organic liquid fertilizers like sea kelp, worm composting liquid, fish emulsion, and molasses (to feed beneficial microbes) can improve the health and taste of fruit. I have not done comparative testing myself, but usually organic fruits taste much better then chemically grown.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 11:07AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

My inground trees get no fertilizer. The potted trees mostly 21-0-0, slow release Osmocote, or blood meal. I can't tell where that affects fruit sweetness or flavor and won't expect that it would.

For me what affects sweetness strongly is the water status of the tree. It can also strongly affect flavor especially of some nectarine. Too much water deficit results in very high brix, often 32 and above, and off flavors.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 12:37PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I don't have much fruit in containers, but I do grow a lot of superhot peppers.
To get the most flavor out of my peppers, I do indeed hold off on watering in the day/s
before I harvest the pods. From my experience, both the sweetness and the heat of
the peppers is better if the plants run a bit dry.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 3:12PM
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At a hydroponic greenhouse convention once, I went to a booth where some school kids had grown lettuce in a simple float system. One using traditional chemical liquid fertilizers, the other using a liquid organic solution.

The organic lettuce tasted much, much better than the chemically fertilized one. The chemical one tasted rather bland and watery. The organic one richer, more subtle flavors. Everyone who did the taste test agreed.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 4:03PM
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fruitnut, the qualities of a fruit depend upon genetics. There is very little that one can do to make the juice of a bitter lemon taste like lemonade. This does not mean that nothing can be done. All other things being equal, the longer a fruit remains on the tree, the better is the taste. As children, we used to check out our favorite fruit tree daily to pick up the newly fallen fruit. In tropical climates where wet and dry seasons are fairly well defined, most fruits ripen during the dry season and "forced ripening" would occur on immature fruit if the weather became unseasonably dry earlier. This suggests that ripening is associated with lessening moisture content. There is not much doubt that nutrition affects taste; elements present (or deficient) in the soil do influence quality. This is evident in the taste and bouquet (I am told) of wine from grapes grown in certain parts of the world. The same is true of tobacco and coffee; and we all know of the blue hydrangea grown on acid soil. On a practical scale, very little can be done to change quality; but more can be done with container grown than field grown plants..

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 11:09PM
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