Sunday, November 2, 2014

With Citrus, Christmas Can't Be Far Away

Grapefruit - Rio Red
Bounteous amounts of citrus means the calendar is closing in on Christmas time.  Here in Bakersfield and probably most of the San Joaquin Valley, residents with citrus trees are looking for neighbors to unload the bounty.  Citrus is winter's zucchini - but in a very good way.  Citrus is my favorite. The scent is in everything from the bloom to the peel to the fruit.  It's even in the limbs when they are pruned.  Wonderful.  The fruit can remain on the tree for quite a long time so it can be harvested as needed.  Local nurseries sponsor citrus tasting events throughout the winter where gardeners can learn about the different varieties, sample the fruit/juice, and purchase health stock.

Grapefruit is my favorite citrus.  Rio Red is delicious.  My dwarf tree is weighted down with the most fruit ever.  That little tree should give enough fruit to last through the winter months.  No scurvy here.

Navel Oranges - Robertson
The fruit is now starting to gain color that is really accentuated by the rain washed leaves.  Yes, it rained yesterday and just a bit today.  Wonderful.  Some of the oranges have split.  That is probably due to uneven irrigation.  Any split fruit is removed as soon as it is detected and disposed.  2014 looks to be a bumper year for the oranges as well.

Lemon - Pink Variegated
Two of the fruit trees are potted - lemon and mandarin.  Neither have fruit.  The Satsuma mandarin is very young and having no fruit is expected while it develops.  The lemon, however, usually has some fruit.  Currently, it's blooming.  In the photo above, some Leaf Miner damage can be seen in the leaf on the left.  That's only cosmetic.

Leaf Miner Larva
Leaf Miner larva mine just below the surface of the young leaves and the skin of the fruit.  These moth babies are annoying but not scary like the Asian Citrus Psyllid that can carry the Huanglongbing (HLB or citrus greening) disease.  Many areas of California are quarantined because of this pest.   That pest is the reason I have not added a lime tree to my citrus collection. 

Asian Citrus Psyllid
In the meantime, it's a joy to work in the soft soil in the garden after some wonderful rain. (Let's not talk about the amount of dirt the wind blew in before the rain.  Yuck.)  All the winter vegetables are experiencing a growth boost with the cooler weather and the rain.

Lettuce - Cimmaron