I have nine citrus trees on my property: a meyer lemon, a Ponderosa lemon, a navel orange, a blood orange, two Algerian tangerines, a Valencia orange, a lime, and a ruby red grapefruit. I planted all but one of them. They are like my children. They do beautifully in our desert heat. It's wonderful to be able to pick lemons year round. I love having freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast, and using the limes to make guacamole and limeade. The navel oranges make great snacks in Winter. They taste so much better than the oranges that I used to buy at the store. I didn't realize how old those were. These seem like a different fruit, entirely. The freshness translates to flavor.
The past of couple days I have been fertilizing my citrus trees with homemade compost. I save all of my leaves and yard trimmings, and pile them into a huge mound at the back of my property. I add all of my fruit and vegetable scraps, scooping them into tunnels. I also put in used coffee grounds, tea bags, straw, manure, and spoiled produce. The result is a rich, black compost. It makes great fertilizer, and it's free.
Citrus trees need to be fed four times a year. I correspond it with the four seasons. I notice an immediate difference in them after I have fed them. My meyer lemon tree was worrying me last week. Normally it has lots of small green lemons on it this time of year. This season, I could barely see any. After raking back the mulch, shoveling fresh compost around the base of the trunk, and giving it some water, a whole new set of blossoms appeared the next day! The bees and hummingbirds are busy out there now, pollinating. I can see that there are going to be many more lemons on the tree, thanks to the compost. It still amazes me how immediate the effect is. Trees need nutrients, just like we do.
I love the cycle of fruit trees. They are always in a different stage, depending on the time of year. I find giving them compost tea now and then also makes them more healthy and vigorous. My German Shepherd loves to lay under the pomegranate bush and watch me work in the orchard. Animals thrive when they are out in nature. We do, too.I follow their example. It really relaxes me. I am looking forward to December when the lemons will be at their peak. They make delicious sorbet, puddings, cakes, and poppyseed breads.
Right now I am still harvesting the ruby red grapefruits. I have this tree planted in my driveway. It's just a few years old, but it will eventually produce hundreds of grapefruits. It's a nice privacy plant, as well. I like having a supply of fresh produce growing in my yard. It's a great feeling. Do you grow fruit? How is your orchard doing?