Sunday, October 17, 2010

Delicious Citrus

DSC_2288_5330The replacement Satsuma Mandarin tree was potted today.  Sadly, the 1st tree didn’t make it. Four Winds Growers in Winters, California produce some nice trees. 

DSC_2286_5328 This is the newest addition to the garden.  Owari Satsum Mandarin produces seedless, easy to peel fruit that ripens in early winter.  This variety is supposed to be the hardiest of all the mandarins.  The dwarf variety is expected to mature to 6’-8’ but pruning will keep it where I prefer.

DSC_0988_2294 Here is the Satsuma Mandarin that didn’t make it.  It produced fruit in it’s 1st season; but it didn’t make it through the spring of 2009.  This picture was taken on November 1, 2009.  I hope to remember to take a similar photo of the new tree on November 1, 2011 to note the progress.

There are other dwarf citrus from Four Winds that are growing well in the garden.

 DSC_2287_5329 The Variegated Pink Lemon is doing so well that it needs regular pruning.  I never realized that the branches were scented until I pruned this tree recently.  The cut branches were heavy with a citrus scent.  Wonderful.  This tree has produced some fruit.

DSC_2285_5327 Poor little Robertson Navel Orange was having a tough time.  It may have suffered whatever attacked the Satsuma last year.  I kept pruning off the affected areas with pruning shears that were sterilized after every cut.  It seems to be doing better and needs a bit of dead wood removed.  It has produced some fruit but dropped it early on.  All the trees are very immature and really aren’t ready to hold fruit.  (Someone needs to read the memo to the grapefruit tree.)

DSC_2282_5324The Rio Red Grapefruit is producing some monster sized fruit that should be ready this winter.  The citrus  trees are fed about every 6 weeks.  They seem to be doing fine with that schedule.  It’s important not to overwater citrus.  I let the soil dry out pretty good before irrigating.  The pot or growing basin is filled with water then allowed to drain down through the root system.  A moisture monitor is really useful.  When the surface is dry, it’s very tempting to irrigate the trees.  The moisture meter indicates that just below the surface the soil is moist and no water needs to be applied.

When the rain came, I needed help draining the soil.  GardenMax seemed to help keep the drainage from getting clogged by surrounding native clay.  Truly.  The native soil is simply adobe.  Most all the garden soil has been imported or amended - otherwise I would be able to only grow tumbleweeds.

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The lot where I garden was supposed to have been an Orange grove in the 1960s; so I know it can be done.  This area on the west side of the Sierra Nevada has a thermal zone that is suitable for citrus to thrive.  Having citrus to enjoy in the winter is a great treat that reminds me of Christmases long ago.

4 comments:

Aunt Snow said...

We have two mature dwarf lemons that were on the property when we bought it, 13 years ago. Both are wonderful, with tons of fruit. We planted a dwarf lime, but sadly where we sited it became too shady after four years of our creek oaks growing higher. The tree thrives but it doesn't bear.

Now I'm thinking of getting some dwarf trees to grow in pots on the deck - I'm thinking another lime and a Moro blood orange.

MAYBELLINE said...

*Aunt: I think I will add a lime to my collection. During the winter in Bakersfield several nurseries host citrus tasting events where you can sample the fruit, purchase the trees and supplies, and talk with a grower representative.

Aunt Snow said...

Thanks for the tip, Maybelline. Do you have any websites or links? I would love to monitor event listings, and maybe [The Man I Love] and I can take a daytrip up to B'field.

MAYBELLINE said...

*Aunt:
White Forrest Nursery and Robby's Nursery in Bakersfield usually have the citrus tasting seminars in the winter.

Robby is an old timer on the west side of Bakersfield with loads of information to add to the discussion lead by a citrus tree representative. Robby's does not have a web site.

White Forrest is a bigger nursery on the east side. The owner has a radio program on Saturdays. The link to White Forrest is provided here. From there you should be able to get to the radio link if you would like to listen on Saturday mornings.

http://www.whiteforestnursery.com/

I'll try to remember to watch for any of these events and alert you. Tasting before buying really help me decide what varieties I wanted.