Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Citrus



Rob and I are up to our ears these days in homegrown citrus. We've got 19 trees, and just about every one is covered in glowing, golden, sunny fruit. We've got a Cara Cara orange, a Roble orange, a Hamlin orange, two Ambersweet oranges, two Kimbrough satsumas, two Owari satsumas, a Rangpur lime, two Meyer lemons, a Changsha tangerine, two Ponkan tangerines, a King Mandarin, a Nippon orangequat, a Nagami kumquat, and a Meiwa kumquat. We can't believe the bounty! We've got citrus fruit piling up on our counters, sitting on the breezeway in baskets, weighing down the trees, and riding around in my car.

Our trees seem to produce like magic. They don't require much maintenance at all. Rob sprays them with neem oil (for whiteflies) sometimes, and I fertilize them three times a year, in March, May, and July, with copious amounts of Holly-tone or Citrus-tone (24 cups for trees over 9 feet tall). But other than that, we just let them be.

We don't even have our trees planted in really choice spots. No, we've got them crammed into weird places around the house, mixed in with our camellias and wax myrtles and such—in shade and clay. I honestly don't know how they're doing so well.

Right now, we've got so much ripe citrus rolling in that we can't possibly eat it all. As a result, Rob spends most of his waking hours scheming about how to give it away. See, he's a very conscientious person, and he would never want any of our delicious citrus to go to waste. Plus, he's very friendly and kind and enjoys giving bags of homegrown citrus to people he barely knows.

"Next year we should buy some nice brown paper bags with handles so we can hand out our citrus in cute little gift bags," he said the other day. "When you give your citrus away in old plastic grocery bags, it just seems like trash. But if it comes in a nice gift bag, it seems more like a thing. We can even have a stamp made up so we can personalize the bags."

"What should the stamp say?" I asked.

"Spruce Pine Cottage Citrus," Rob suggested.

"How about Spruce Pine Cottage Citrus and Sundries?" I said.

"Hmm," Rob said. "I'm skeptical about the sundries. What are the sundries?"

I could tell he was worried I might be tempted to quit my full-time job with benefits and start my own small sundries business, so I decided to tease him a little. Rob is always concerned that I'm about to launch an ill-conceived business venture.

"Oh, I don't know," I smiled. "Waxed camellias . . . artisan bread . . ." (Rob has recently gotten into bread making, and I would love to learn how to wax camellias.)

"I don't think I want to get into sundries," Rob said.

"Citrus and Sundries does have a nice ring to it though, you've got to admit," I said, still teasing. "Maybe we could just tell people the sundries are sold out. . . ."

"Or we could just use plain bags," Rob said. "Yeah, on second thought, plain bags seems like the safest bet."

Baskets of ripe Rangpur limes


11 comments:

  1. Hi Leslie, I like the brown bag idea and the Spruce Pine Cottage Citrus. Cute idea! You are so lucky to be able to grow citrus in your yard. I'm afraid those days are gone, for now, in my neck of the woods. It's hardly worth the effort with the citrus greening disease. Do you not have that problem in your area? I've tried several times in the past 7 years and the trees always end up with the greening. I do miss having them in my yard. Hopefully, we'll be able to again in the future. Enjoy your homegrown citrus. They look delicious. Bet your yard smells wonderful when they bloom.

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    1. Hi, Susan! We do not have greening in this area, but of course I live in constant fear that it will get here eventually. I didn't want to even mention it in my post because the thought of it upsets me so much. I hope a solution is discovered soon and that you can grow citrus again in the near future!

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    2. You're very lucky. Hope it never reaches your area.

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  2. Wow, what a bounty! Have you thought of giving them away to fire and police stations? We have made muffins and cookies for our local departments around the holidays, and it is always appreciated. I'll bet they'd love some fresh, organic citrus.
    I like the sound of Spruce Cottage Citrus and Sundries. Maybe you could make soap or lip balms and lotions with the excess? Or bottle your own salad dressings? So many possibilities!

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    1. Oh, those are great suggestions, Daisy. Thanks! I hope you are having fun in N.C. I can't wait to hear all about your new place!

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  3. My goodness, you sure have a prolific citrus grove. Spruce Pine Cottage Citrus would look quaint and personal on brown paper bags in which to give them away.

    Happy 2017 ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Happy 2017 to you too, Lorraine! Thanks so much for visiting!

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  4. Gorgeous fruit - lucky you! Your Rob sounds like my husband, not wanting anything to go to waste. My guy goes all around the neighborhood passing out broccoli, cabbages, etc., and now eggs. It paid off because over the holidays we got all kinds of homemade goodies.

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    1. Wow, your neighbors are lucky, Janice! I would love to get some of your beautiful veggies!

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  5. How does that even happen?! I had trees professionally planted . . . and kapoot ~ dead, deader, gone. Sometimes I think the more we baby, the less success we have. I have one pathetic Meyer lemon in a pot. I think I'm going plant it in a corner of the garden and forget about it. :-)

    Oh ~ and I really want to live in between you and Janice!

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  6. This was a fun post Leslie and you certainly have loads of beautiful citrus! I have lots of kumquats this year and am just about to try my hand at some marmalade - not sure how it will turn out!! I followed the link to the waxing Camellias article - how fascinating. I would love to give that a try..thanks for sharing that!
    - Kate x

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