"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Citrus Is Coming To Town


The citrus is tucked away for the winter.  I'll worry about them the entire time.  I heat the greenhouse with a propane heater and backup electric heater, but alas, the propane will run out and/or a terrible bout of cold will descend, and they will get nipped (or even worse).  And that is with me tending it.  With my husband watching over it, well, I am definitely worried this winter.  The plants are my pride and joy.


My cup runneth over this year with my tangerines.  I just sent my last one with my baby granddaughter, Penny Lane.  She was here for the weekend and loved them.  They are just the sweetest ever.  So good.


These are some of my oranges.  They are turning early this year.  Well, I guess not.


Some of my ruby red grapefruit.  


My Buddha's Hand citron.  The oldest known cultivated citron, the smell is of heaven.  Truly a perfume like no other.  It is used for the rind and candied.


And of course, this is always a result of the move.  Twice a year, it causes quite a row with my husband.  He throws a hissy fit moving them.  They do have large, long thorns and I planted them in large pots.  Hey, I thought more fruits, but the plants grew very large and heavy and we have to use a hand truck to move them.  I didn't know.  I asked a local nursery if they wanted the huge ones and they said no.  I couldn't believe it.  My ponderosa lemon is from stock that was from a 150 year old tree.


But, the reward is great.  This one didn't get far.  Truly sweet as tangerine honey.  And, if I get a chance to find someone to build a custom greenhouse at the city house, most, but the largest trees, will be coming with me.

I need to add that most of my stock came from Logee's Greenhouse in Connecticut.  They are a huge nursery and you should check out their catalog or go online.  They have so much.  Last year I grew ginger and turmeric.

49 comments:

  1. My Goodness, Girl!! I think your thumbs are GOLDEN!! What majestic fruit, and such bounty just at Penny-picking height.

    What a sweet comment on Sweetpea and me just now, and I return it by telling you that the sweet taste of your tangerines is probably setting the bar for that Baby Girl's taste for all her life. She'll remember you forever in sweetness.

    Stay well and warm, Faraway Friend!

    r

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  2. You too Rachel, but I know all is well with you.

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  3. hahahahahaha, mine are all in the ground and taking care of them is a pain.
    We used to have freezing weather for a few nights when I was a child living here. Not so bad. But now the weather has changed and we get more hard freezes which we never had before. About 7 years ago Canada sent down two days of freezing weather and I lost most of my trees. They were covered and had light inside to keep them warmish. The freeze was just too bad it went down to 18.
    I had the biggest tangelo tree with the sweetest fruit, sweet oranges, tangerines, limes, kumquats, two kinds of lemons and two kinds of grapefruit. I miss all the trees. I just have a few trees and the pool to worry about now.
    We used fans and smudge pots in the old days on the big groves. But can't use them now.
    So moving them twice a year is not so bad. Have you tried experimenting on one by cuttin down the rootball and repoting them in smaller pots ?

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. No I haven't, but thanks a million for the info. It would be hard to choose which one to try it on as the largest is my first Meyer lemon, an etrog (sukot) lemon and the 150 year old Ponderosa. I'll have to try something if a nursery doesn't want them. If I were to build a greenhouse in the city, it would have to be long and skinny to fit the site. How one could fall in love with a tree I'll never know. And, I'll tell my husband he's lucky he didn't have to stay up all night fanning and heating my trees. Give him something to really fuss about.

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    2. I remember driving to work this has to be over 30 years ago in the dark when I lived in California. When I passed the huge orange groves there were the lights, smudge pots
      huge fans blowing the air around. Even over the 405. I can see it now.
      I don't really know if cutting the root ball back but that is how I use to keep the small trees small. then you add some fresh dirt, around the rootball and on the top.

      I have never done it with a big tree. The shock might be too much.

      Please do not touch your Meyer that is my favorite citrus, especially at Christmas time. I do not want to ruin it.
      I wonder what the U of A Agriculture would say about this ? My gardener has degree in "trees" can't think of the name I will ask him. Maybe you can't cut the roots of big trees.

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    3. Let me know what he says please.

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  4. I am in awe.
    And very little tastes or smells as good as citrus. Worth the thorns. Mostly.

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    1. Yes Child. I agree. See above comment and reply.

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  5. I cannot keep my granddaughter in citrus. I tell her it's good she's not an old lady on statins!

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    1. That is just for grapefruits, right? I don't eat those, but my son loves them.

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  6. I so admire your citrus plants - if only we could grow them as well as that here - hope they survive the winter well.

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    1. So do I Elaine. I've got some in a storage closet at the city house under 8 hours of plant lights. I'll see if that works, but I wouldn't be able to fit very more in that area.

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  7. What beautiful plants to have, and the fruit amazing.

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    1. The smell is worth it alone, but I kind of got hooked on citrus plants.

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  8. I am envious. No chance of growing anything like that here. I have never eaten citrus fruit fresh off the tree. I have also never heard of Buddha's hand. Are the fruits edible? -Jenn

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    1. Just the rind as they are full of pith, but as I said, never smelled anything more aromatic.

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  9. Buddha’s Hand is new to me – have never seen a plant like this. I can well understand your enthusiasm for your citrus – what a great little harvest to have near you.

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    1. I got to where I would see something new and think, I don't have that one. I've also got pomegranate, olives, limes and avocado. My vanilla bean orchid froze right before it was supposed to fruit.

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  10. How marvellous to live in an area where you can even contemplate growing such things. Up here in the North of the country and quite high too, heating a greenhouse to keep them in would cost such a lot to run.

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    1. We should have attached the greenhouse to the house, or so the nursery man told me. That would have cut down on the heating. I think where you live, you could probably put them in a sunny window in winter.

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  11. I'm blown away woman!!!! Is there anything you don't do, and do so well?
    I could enjoy a grapefruit right now for breakfast - but I'm too lazy/busy to run to the grocery. Plus, it won't taste like your beautiful ones.

    I never knew you could grow these lovely citrus in your area.
    Mary -

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    1. Mary, I think they could probably grow in Canada with enough heat in winter. They have a new variety of citrus that I bought this summer, that can grow at lower temperatures. The label said they could get down into the twenties so I'll be looking for more of those in 2017 and won't plant them in large pots ;)

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  12. I am truly impressed! I am not sure I could keep one of those trees alive!

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    1. They are actually easy to grow Michelle. A little food and water and a squirt of fungicide occasionally. Very hardy.

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  13. I’ve just visited Sandra Cox’s blog and came to say hello on her recommendation, and I’m very glad I did. You have a gorgeous blog, and I look forward to reading more.

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    1. Well Barbara, thank you so and I am glad you came to visit. Love that.

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  14. I LOVE your greenhouse and your citru trees..that last photo says it all straight from the grower to the hand..love the way you captured it..I have never had a citrus so fresh!
    WE stopped carting in the Brugmansias..a few years ago..too heavy for us..broke my heart I started them from stick:(

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    1. I understand Monique. I cannot stand to let a plant die. I'm going to try what Parsnip said and severely cut back the biggest ones. I have cut some wayward branches, but never cut one down to the root. They are hardy though so I'd rather try that than just let them go. Wonder if you could have cut back the brugmansia. Logee's has some beauties.

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  15. I love ruby red grapefruit. Have you ever had or grown a cara-cara orange? The flesh looks just like ruby red gf, but tastes like a lovely, sweet orange. Mmmmm.
    You have such a wonderful collection of citrus. May they survive the winter well!

    BTW: I've had Buddha's Hand-infused vodka. Perhaps you've already played around with that sort of thing?

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    1. Bea, I have made limoncello from everything but the Buddha's Hand. I rarely drink and it is so strong, it'll grow hair on your chest. I think I have a Cara Cara that has yet to produce. I usually just juice it all and put it in the freezer.

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  16. I'm so impressed, Donna! I love this.

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    1. It is easy Val, except in winter. You really can grow one in a window.

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  17. It must be amazing to grow and eat your own citrus, I'm sure they taste so much better than anything in the shops. Those tangerines look amazing! When we went to Italy two years ago it was fantastic to walk under an avenue of lemon trees. Sarah x

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    1. Sarah, I've seen those lemon avenues in Sorrento. They cover them with burlap which I don't know why. I just love citrus and have a freezer full of juices. I wish I could share some as I have too much.

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  18. Oh my gosh, citrus and a greenhouse....wondrous.

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    1. And to think I started out with just a little sapling....

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  19. Wow!!!! Amazing!! Very impressive! Saying hi from Sandra's blog!

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    1. Well, hello back and thank you for stopping by to visit.

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  20. Donna,
    Which plant has the large thorns?

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    1. All the citrus. They range up to an average of one and a half inches long and are thick and sharp as needles. My Australian Finger Lime has smaller but many more thorns.

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    2. I had no idea, they had thorns! Yikes.

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  21. Donna, I am always so impressed when I see your fruit trees... and in Oklahoma of all places... who would have thought you could grow tangerines there! The greenhouse is pretty cool too; James has promised to build one for me someday.... we'll see.

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    1. If you get one, first thing I learned is it is never large enough. And, put it against the house as a nurseryman told me that helps significantly with the heating. Logee's is in Connecticut so they can be grown that far north.

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  22. How wonderful to have those even if the husband throws a hissy fit when moving them.LOL
    I bought a sack of oranges last week and they were not sweet at all. I was really disappointed, from Florida ,I guess just way to early
    Thanks for always saying hi on my blog and Merry Christmas

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    1. To you too. I do think the growing conditions etc. help with the flavor. I'll tell you a funny story. This guy that put in our storm shelter told me his parents grew pot for a living and he also did. Said he had thousands of seeds and I could grow it in the greenhouse. He told me that it didn't matter what kind of seeds, what mattered was how much fertilizer, water and light and such to grow strong weed. I thanked him for the offer but declined. I didn't know him and thought, what if he's a narc or something, plus, smoking weed at my age would probably kill me. I don't want to lose anymore memory and brain cells.

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  23. What a lovely collection of citrus - it puts mine to shame. I have the same level of concern for my few specimens, however. They hate the cold, damp winter and succumb to sooty mould, scale insect and other ills. It's always a relief when they manage to struggle through the harsh months (half the year!) under glass and I'm able to put them outside to revive.

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    1. Rosemary, I am so glad you are able to grow them in England. I too get that black sooty fungus and spray them for it. It always does worry me during the winter, but they are a hardy plant. Once I saw an article that showed a closet sized opening in a stone building (I think in Italy) where they placed their citrus in winter. I try to only water if the leaves droop in winter. Wish you could get your hands on a Buddha's Hand. Perfume like you've never smelled before.

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  24. Donna, it's a pleasure to return from a short holiday, and to be able to read about your being able to nourish so many citrus plants. Some would think what you do impossible...but I do not. I just sit here in awe. xo

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    1. Do tell us about your trip Frances. Seems you were gone for a long time. You too could grow a Meyer lemon in a sunny window, just keep it in a small pot.

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