Friday, March 25, 2011

The New Additions: Potted Citrus

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the MKG Orchard has been growing. Already an Orange and a Meyer Lemon have staked a claim here, and now they are joined by two new potted citrus:

Oro Blanco grapefruit and Bearss lime!

Oro Blanco is a yellow grapefuit that does better in this climate than red grapefruit. A good rule of thumb for citrus, as recounted to me by my Orchard Instructor, is: "Sweet needs heat!" That means that the sweeter your citrus variety, the more heat it needs to develop that sweetness. It does get really hot here in the summers, but it's just not like Florida for growing sweet citrus. I hope the Oro Blanco will do well at the MKG!

Generally, when you plant a fruit tree the existing fruit should be removed. This allows the plant to focus its energy on growing, rathering than ripening fruit. Since I planted the Oro Blanco in a pot, and I don't want it to get too large (less root-pruning), I decided to leave the fruit on there. I hope it's tasty!

The other new addition, Bearss lime, will round out the citrus for now. It is billed as a "seedless" lime, but I am skeptical. From the aforementioned Orchard Instructor, I've learned that it is basically impossible to grow seedless citrus in California. Know why? Well, you need to prevent pollination to keep seeds at bay. That means different citrus need to be separated by more than 1,000 feet to keep them free of seeds. Do you have any clue how many backyard citrus there are in California? Tons! I would happily wager money that there are at least 100 citrus trees within a 1,000-foot-radius of the MKG. It's almost impossible to isolate your trees here so I'm expecting the occasionial seed.

Planting in pots is always a little tricky. Dilligence is necessary for keeping the plants hydrated and fed. These guys are set up on a drip irrigation system so hopefully they won't dry out. And I'll *try* to remember to feed them their monthly doses of citrus food. Conveniently, I have to walk past them to get to the MKG, so that should improve their odds of survival.

If I do manage to keep them alive, next year I'll be enjoying a mean homegrown mojito!

p.s. Am I the only one who sees the name "Bearss lime" and thinks "bare-@ss lime?" Just curious...


  1. Thank you very much! Now I know how to treat our Meyer lemon.

  2. You got it, Kelly! Another thing you can do is add a little acid mix or soil sulphur to your pots: citrus like acidic soil. Good luck with your Meyer!


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