Monday, October 10, 2011

Moving My Citrus Home for the Winter

After dodging a few threats of frost, I decided (after looking at the 10 day weather forecast and seeing that we will soon be dipping into the 40's again) that this period of mild, dry weather was the perfect time to move my citrus collection "home" for the winter. Since we have been dry for a bit, it was much easier to clean up the outside of the pots, as well remove the top inch or so of soil, ridding the pots of fallen leaves (or buried seeds, thanks to the squirrels).

The first group loaded into the car.

And all the rest. You can see the debris on top of the soil.
Their destination-the larger version of the "greenhouse" (minus the cover). As I've mentioned, my collection has grown quite a bit since last summer, so I needed a larger home for them. I've had a few sets of these metro shelves for years, so I brought one home from the garage and put them to use once again. I think I will be adding a few more grow lights (I need at least one more for the bottom shelf). Hopefully they will all do as well in the dining room windows as they did last year.

Next it was inspection time. I sprayed them all with Neem oil a few weeks ago (to rid them of any critters) and now wanted to put the chelated liquid iron to use as a foliage spray. The directions say they should be sprayed every two weeks until all yellowing is gone.

The yellowing is called chlorosis, which is a caused when plants are unable to produce sufficient amounts of chlorophyll. An iron deficiency in the soil is the main cause of this. Hopefully the problem will be remedied for this Fukushu, or Jiangsu, kumquat (with ripe fruit!) quickly.
One of my original citrus "trees", a navel orange, suffered quite a bit from squirrel (or chipmunk) digging. His poor roots were really exposed!

The second Meyer lemon I bought for $5 was neither fruiting or flowering when purchased, and I was sure I would have to wait until next year (late winter?) to see anything. To my surprise, last week it began to put out several groups of buds! I cannot wait until they open, as the scent is delicious!

One of my two Eustis limequats. Originally hybridized in 1909, limequats are a cross between a Key lime and a round kumquat. The skin is sweet, and the pulp more citrus/sweet. I think I need to invent a signature cocktail to use them in...
My big hope is for this Meyer lemon to hold his fruit until ripe. This one is already about the right just needs to start turning yellow!

A smaller Meyer on the same tree. My original Meyer lemon, bought a few years ago as a stick with leaves, really put on a growth spurt this summer, and I hope he, too, will begin to flower in the next several months.
So I'm a bit nervous. I don't think the last three will fit, so someone may need to move to the sunny front windows. I was also hoping the figs may benefit from some of the grow lights, but there just isn't room! Perhaps I should try and wrangle the other set of shelves away from my sister...

I'm relieved to have them all moved now so I can concentrate on garden clean-up and more Fall planting, but I'm already thinking May can't come soon enough...I do still want to add a few, however. Like a kaffir lime, perhaps, or a Ponderosa lemon, or Buddha's hand, or variegated Striped Lemonade lemon...

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