Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bored, bored, bored...

There is NOTHING interesting about the seeds right now. There is absolutely no change. All I have done recently is shown them to the friends I'm working with, and marked them for who gets what. Nothing has shown any sign of germination, but I'm remaining optimistic. I inquired to the future bulk seller about buying plants in addition to seeds, but I haven't gotten a response. However, after reading for a little while about plants on his site, I've decided I'm also going to try raising a couple of dragon fruit cactus plants as well. They're pretty hardy as long as you keep them inside, and they grow very fast. It'd be interesting to have fresh dragon fruit; they're interesting.

That's it for now. If there is any development, I'll make a new post. Until then, its just boring.

(pictures enclosed are dragon fruit and full grown miracle fruit plants.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Still nothing amazing

Sorry I haven't updated in a few days; that's the problem doing this in real time.. the growing of the fruit takes quite a while. We had a few cold days with the temperature going to about 60 F or so inside, so that worried me. I eventually got the heat up a bit higher so I don't think it will affect the growing too much. No germination yet, but I'm hoping that the ones which will will do so before I get the bigger order of seeds, in a few weeks or so. No information on whether I'm going to buy plants from them. If you want to check it out, I'm probably going to make another blog that is just other less long term plants like the strawberries I planted yesterday. No, strawberries don't perform miracles, but they do taste good!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nothing too exciting

Well, After I got everything for the seed tray ready, I realized today that the tray I had the little cache of seeds on would fit on the windowsill, but too much of it would be poking out for comfort. I switch to a light aluminum disposable pan that's lighter, and drilled some holes through it into the windowsill, and now it seems fine. Sheesh, with this type of stuff going on all of the time, just random problems, I wonder how I'll cope when I get the bulk of the order... ugh.

Remember, I'm keeping them on the windowsill in the bathroom to up the humidity and warmth, and since the glass is translucent it will get just enough sunlight.

I hope I'll eventually get a full grown tree! That would be so worth the trouble going on, but it's fun in the long run.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pictures for cleaning and planting

Finally.. done..

2-3 hours ago I posted that I was in middle of cleaning the seeds. This is in real time, people!

I found out just how difficult it was to clean the seeds, and five minutes ago I get an email from a expert saying that it isn't necessary. The first problem was GETTING THE PULP OFF. The part of the miracle fruit that gives the side effect is the pulp smothering the seed, and it's like glue. I first just soaked the seeds in warm water for 30 minutes, drained them, and dried them off. Nothing. Stays on, just does not come off. I've got the gibberellic acid ready, so I dip them in it just to help. I start to try and rub the pulp off with my gloves. Still no effect. After rubbing and rubbing and RUBBING I finally get one little seed cleaned slightly. Ugh.

Soon after this I wonder if I might try a less conventional idea. Why not try to just suck the pulp off? That's what you're supposed to do anyway when eating the fruit, so why not? I pop one into my mouth for a minute and swirl around. In a flash my brain realizes "The gibberellic acid. I already soaked the seeds in it." After spitting it out and running to the sink to drink some water, I think to myself: "Trying to plant a seed should not end up in my accidental death." So I have a bit of short-term memory loss. Does that mean I should drink synthetic plant growth hormones? No. Does it mean I did? Yes.

I think I already feel the roots growing!

Moving on from my almost-untimely demise, After maybe half an hour of rubbing I finish getting every last seed rubbed away. I soak the seeds in gibberellic acid for about half an hour more, and when the half hour is up (about 30 minutes ago) I drain the seeds, moisten the soil a bit more, and gently push one seed into each compartment. I scrunch it a bit down so it's just barely visible, and drip a few drops of the acid on it. For my mini greenhouse, I took a big paper towel and a cookie sheet, moistened it, put the pots in it, and I'll put it in the bathroom with a plastic sheet on top. The paper towel evaporates and adds the humidity it needs.

Now I wait.

pictures so far

They have arrived! PLENTY of pictures enclosed

I'm writing this as my seeds are soaking, so let's backtrack slightly. I got to them about about 4:30 on may 14th, and with the great packaging I found them in a Ziploc bag with a moist paper towel surrounding them... about a dozen of the glistening jewels. I opened up the package, and I found that I had received the fruit, not the seeds, as I had expected. This surprised me, because generally large companies who sell the seeds pick the fruit, clean all of the tissue surrounding the seed, which they make into tablets, and then package the seed. I got the fruit whole which meant that the seeds have a much higher germination rate and I can keep them in the towelette until I plant them. Not only that, but I received fourteen instead of the 12 I ordered, which I have to thank Ethan of Thanks!

Because I was able to breathe a little, since the seeds now had a much longer shelf life, I set to do what I should have done before--- prepare the germination pots. This was actually much more difficult than I thought it would be, since I had to get the soil (which now seems more like glass) to exactly the right moisture, and into these impossible containers. After a lot of spilling, I finally got the correct amount of soil into a dozen fragile containers (and two little cups for the extra. pictures enclosed also.)

Not to bore you any more, but I realized just how draining the soil was. I was using a 50-50 mix of perlite and peat moss, and the water just plonked straight through the draining holes. At least I have the "Well drainage" soil.

Now the even more difficult part of cleaning the seeds, which I had no idea how to do (I didn't know I was getting the fruit.) After quite a bit of searching, I found someone explain how to do it. First, soak the seeds for about 30 minutes, what I'm doing now. Use a light brush to clean all of the pulp off (the stuff that actually makes stuff sweet, which is why I can't use the fruit off of these seeds)get a small paper towel and moisten it with my gibberellic acid solution, and keep the fruits in there for an hour or so. After that, plant the seeds on their side, lightly under the soil, and drip a little bit of acid on them.

I'll update this with more pics when I finish cleaning, and eventually plant!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is current, not past.

Please note that the seeds have not arrived yet, and when they do they will be in stages. this entire experiment is current, not a past narrative. On may 13th or 14th, the first batch of seeds will arrive, 12 at once. I will treat these with gibberellic acid and plant them, though only four will be mine. The other eight will be split evenly between the friends I am doing this with. (I am doing the work of planting them and researching) These twelve are the first stage of the seeds, while in a month or so a seller will have them available wholesale for a much cheaper price. At this time I will probably buy 100 of them, and possible a few seedlings. I will have 34 at that time, so in the end 38. Mathimatically, if the gibberellic acid bring up the germination rate to 90 percent, I should have 34 seedlings. I predict that because of unforeseen errors, I will lose all but 4,5, or at the very best six plants to survive to maturity. even with this pessimistic view, I think that doing so would be a great accomplishment for me. the entire cost of the experiment, for my share, is about 30-50 USD.

When I do not have anything interesting for the day directly involving the growing I will generally post something interesting I have learned, or side effects of the experiment. maybe the history of my learning of it.

One more day, maybe two.

Then it finally starts.

Fulfilling these requirements

I put together a few ideas that many other people have had, but not combined. for the requirements of acidic, well draining soil, I have put together a 50-50 mix of canadian peat moss and perlite. the moss brings up acidity, and is a water rejecting soil, while the perlite helps the soil drain. (pictures enclosed)

for the micronutreints, I put a simple miraclegrow mix with light amounts of fertilizer and trace metals.

For the humidity and heat, I decided that placing them next to a shower would work the best, since I live in michigan where the climate is bipolar and has never stabilized. I figure that If I specifically make sure the hot water in the room gets turned on a couple of times a day, the room will get nice hot, and misty. For added humidity I will be putting a tray under the cache of seeds filled with pebbles and water.

The germinating part was and will be the most complicated portion of raising them. Miracle fruit seeds have a very low germination rate of about 24 percent, and since they are expensive and hard to find, for the people who care about this there is a bit of a less natural solution. Gibberelic acid is a synthetic plant growth hormone, that can increase germination rates like crazy when sprayed on a seed in 1000 parts per million concentration. I perchased some on, about two ounces for eight dollars, a very good price. I will soak the seeds before planting in it for a few minutes, and see how it helps. Over the entire experiment I will have one plant that I will specifically use a lot of gibberelic acid on and record the effects. pictures of it above.

What am I doing, and how?

(Edit: please note: as of June fourteenth 2009, I posted that this is not my exact plan. It is now just growing unusual plants.)

My goal is to have at least five full grown, blooming miracle fruit plants within three years. I have been pondering doing this for about a year now, and each time I realize "I could have been far into this if I had just lived in the present". Now, I will take you through each step in the journey... from the research, to the purchasing, to the planting and raising.

I started finding out specific information on miracle fruit on April 1st, 2009, starting with wikipedia. I moved on to Ehow, and a popular instructables page. From there I started searching in as many places as possible, searching "miracle fruit growing instructions" on google and sifting through dozens of unhelpful, or nondescript websites to find the ones that were useful. I even ended up finding a forum specifically intended towards doing so. I found that the five biggest things you need to know before growing miracle fruit are:

An acidic, draining soil

High humidity

Plenty of heat, but not direct sunlight


And something to help make the seeds germinate

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What is it? what is this?

Miracle fruit. Maybe Synsepalum dulcificum? Some of you may have heard of it, some of you probably haven't. To me, though, the common name of the plant, going by miracle fruit is the most accurate.

When this small, red berry is eaten, and the fleshy part is allowed to roll over the tongue, an incredible effect occurs. For a period of time up to two hours, any food that is sour will naturally taste sweet, and sweet things will taste sweeter.

This explanation really is in a nutshell, as you can go into vast complexities, for example, discussing the protein miraculin, and what it works/how it does. I suggest that if you really don't know too much about what this plant is, you go to the wikipedia page ( This blog is mainly about growing miracle fruit, and tracking the progress for those who want to do so in the future.

The plant that grows this berry is one of tropical climate, which normally grew in west Africa. An explorer there noted that "local tribes picked and chewed the berries before meals." In recent times, the mass explosion of people trying to cultivate them has led to a much popular demand, with hopes for diabetes patients, and chemotherapy patients, because the berry allegedly counteracts a metallic taste in the mouth. Unfortunately, the FDA has not approved miracle fruit as the major sugar companies have sued people trying to further this.

The reason of my blog is that it is rare to find someone who has actually written of their experiences throughout the whole thing. Finding what plant it is, researching about it, ordering the seeds, to the growing and cultivating methods.. all the way to the fruit. I am not alone in this quest, I will be joined by two friends who have the same goal, who's names are disclosed. I will be linking to them on my profile when I find out their usernames.