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Old 04-07-2018, 11:00 AM #11
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Hey Bro, Better late than never...sorry! Just seen your message and I'm so happy you did it !! Hope your doing well, would be nice to talk again..
Cheers!!
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Old 04-08-2018, 03:57 PM #12
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Originally Posted by Zelindor View Post
Hey Bro, Better late than never...sorry! Just seen your message and I'm so happy you did it !! Hope your doing well, would be nice to talk again..
Cheers!!
Couldn't have done it without you bro. Just waiting for them to ripen so I can harvest. Should be in the next few weeks.
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:28 PM #13
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Originally Posted by weedtoker View Post
Wow, can you explain a bit more of the conditions they were in/ how to they got to be so pretty sized and fruiting?

In anyway, sweet harvest, in it's due time.
cheers
Sooo. Where do I start. I guess from when I received the cuttings. Each cutting was approx 1m long. I constructed a frame out of two u-shaped bamboo canes at right angles to each other. Next was the growing medium. I mixed half coir with half bio bizz all mix. To this I added a little extra perlite, mycorrihzal fungi and bat guano.

From the cuttings the bottom two leaves were removed and then left to heal. The cutting then placed into the growing medium, deep enough to cover the two removed leaf nodes, next to one cane and secured to the cane. I had three cuttings done the same way. They were placed in a south facing bay window. I have light coloured drop blinds so dropped them half way down so there was not too much direct sun.

Vanilla planifolia is an orchid in the form of a vine. I believe it's the only fruiting orchid but could be wrong. Unlike most other orchids it requires regular watering. The medium has lots of air gaps and spaces in it so that the adventitious roots can easily search for water and not get so damp they rot. Eventually, after few weeks, you get a growing tip which sprouts out of the top of one of the leaf nodes. This will then grow as long as it wants or til the tip breaks off or is broken off.

I then would wind the growing vine up and down the canes. If you break the tip off you generally end up with multiple shoots growing. In summer months I used a weaker orchid fertilizer once a month. It doesn't actually need much ferts. The growing shoots grew like this for about 5.5 years before I finally got flowers. I'm sure it can be done quicker. I'm not entirely sure how I managed to do it.

Depending on the location around the world the flowering dates change. I have a list somewhere of many different places but strangely enough the UK was not on it so it was trial and error. I think I stumbled over it by dumb luck. The idea is to grow one shoot off the main vine to about 25 leaf nodes long. Then the growing tip is broken off about 3 leaf nodes back from the apex. Where the stem is from 0.5 to 1cm thick.This is apparently the method they use in Madagascar. Anyway it worked.

5 inflorescences then grew out again from the top of the leaf nodes. Each stalk has multiple flower buds on. Once they come to opening they basically open one at a time early in the morning. They need to be manually pollinated by hand which is a tricky manoeuvre involving ripping the main flower, lifting a flap with a tooth pick and stick the sexy bits together. You only have several hours to do this before the flower dies and falls off. If you are successful the flower does not fall off but slowly dies and remains attatched to the plant. After recording which flowers successfully pollinated I found that pollinating late morning/ midday ish was the best.

Then over the next couple of weeks you will see the ovary lengthen and start to swell. This then turns into the vanilla pods. Fully grown now the pods range from 15 to 25cm long and 1 to 2cm thick. Commercially the pods are graded by length and thickness.

Then it was just a matter of waiting 9 months for the pods to grow and mature. Which is where I am at currently. In the next couple few weeks they will show that they are ripe by turning yellow on the tips. If the ends start splitting they are about to go too far.

Hope that helps
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:45 PM #14
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Gorgeous! Well done, Clarence! Thanks for detailed explanation. Vanilla envy (in a good way!).
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:58 PM #15
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I'll update this as I progress. The whole 9 months killing, sweating, drying and curing thing sounds daunting. But I have endless documents to help. It's all a careful balance thing.

Two ways to kill the growth of the pods are blanching or freezing.
Then jumping between sweating in cotton cloths in a wooden box and exposing to direct light.
Then drying to a specific water % by mass.
Then the final curing.

This all to maximise the vanillin content to give maximum aroma and flavour without creating mould.

Arghhhhhh!
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Old 04-19-2018, 05:02 PM #16
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If anyone wants any specific photos then let me know. I think I have most things documented. I can also direct you towards the studies and websites I've used.


This is the most helpful all round study I've found so far:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...jCvjoQPcla38Ze

Very nice report.
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:00 PM #17
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So harvest time arrived.




438g. I don't know if that's good or not. but i'll take it.
The beans are graded on how long they are so:

grade 1 beans are >15cm
grade 2 beans are 10 - 15cm
grade 3 beans are <10cm
grade 4 beans are split, cut or damaged beans.

Here are my beans. The ones on the right are grade 1 and the ones on the left grade 2.



Next is processing them to bring out the vanillin smell and flavour. This is killing, sweating, drying and curing.

Killing: The beans are separated into their grades And placed into 65 - 70 celsius water for the relevant times.

grade 1 for 5 mins
grade 2 for 4 mins
grade 3 for 2 mins
grade 4 for 1.5 mins.

This kills off the growth of the beans and stops them overmaturing and splitting at the end.
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:01 PM #18
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grade 1 beans in for 5 mins



grade 2 beans in for 4 mins

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Old 05-31-2018, 04:08 PM #19
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Absolutely stunning! Imagine...home grown vanilla!
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:10 PM #20
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Next is the sweating. The beans wrapped in cheese cloth and are transferred into a wooden box. I have used my faithful Gypsy Nirvana owl eye stash box with all the gubbins removed. St the end of this stage the beans should have turned light brown and should start release some aroma.




They then need to be kept at 48 - 50 celsius for 36 - 48 hrs. I am having to make this environment by using the oven in dough proving mode and have set the temp at 48 celsius.



So there we are. The final process is under way. After the sweating has finished we will then haft to dry. This requires the beans to be spread in the hot sun for 3 hrs a day on a black blanket and kept at around 50 celsius. Again I will need to improvise so I will use a grow lamp. The beans are then swapped between sunning and sweating in the box. Again depending on the grade of beans this process takes a different time

Grade 1 take 12 - 14 days
Grade 2 take 7 - 10 days
grade 3 and 4 take 5 - 7 days.

The beans should lose half their initial weight in this period and should turn dark brown with wrinkles. Also an improvement in aroma.

After this is the curing process which i will update once starting it.

Cheers C
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