Browse Category: Citrus

A Thing Or Two About Fruit Trees



fruittree1For anyone interested in growing fruit tree(s) and anyone interested in how their fruit is grown.

With exception to tropical fruit, most of the commercially available fruit (citrus, apple, peach, avocado, etc) does not exist in the wild. The fruit we consume was created from selective breeding (hybridization) and accidental discovery. These fruit are mutant fruit; if you will.

“Hybridization occurs in one of three ways. People can manually cross citrus through assisted sexual reproduction, transferring pollen from one plant to another and seeding from resulting fruit. This kind of trial-and-error, wait-and-see experimentation requires great patience. Alternatively, people can hunt for desirable varieties that appear spontaneously on eccentric tree branches– mutations known as bud sports or chimeras. In the atomic age, plant breeders gained a third technique: bombarding seeds with radiation to induce mutations. (The popular Rio Red grapefruit came into being at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.) Once a desirable varietal has been created or discovered, it must be asexually copied to be perpetuated. Citrus hybrids are unstable: sweet orange seed may sprout into a sour lemon. Only grafting produces uniform, predictable results.”

Farmer, Jared. Trees in Paradise: A California History. New York: W. W. Norton, 2013. 227-228. Print.
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Planted Moro blood orange tree

The Moro blood orange tree has been in decline for some time now. With fruit on the tree, the task of planting it into the ground was held off.  It is time to plant the tree now that the fruit had ripen. Further, new leaves are growing. There is a rush to plant now as opposed to later when the shock of planting will disturb the leaves. Having lots of prep for spring to complete, planting the blood orange tree is a priority item.

 

Tools to get the job done.
Tools to get the job done. (L-R) Trench shovel, pick mattock, spade shovel, hatchet, bypass pruner

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January 2015 garden tour

Bok choy and gai lan harvest. Incidentally, too much bok choy is potentially harmful.
Bok choy and gai lan harvest. Incidentally, too much bok choy is potentially harmful.
Robertson navel orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck ) blossom.
Robertson navel orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck ) blossom.
Peas have really pretty flowers. Heirloom snow pea (Pisum sativum) called, "Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea"
Peas have really pretty flowers.
Heirloom snow pea (Pisum sativum) called, “Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea”
'Sharp blue' blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum sp) blossom. A young plant I didnt expect to start setting fruit.
‘Sharp blue’ blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum sp) blossom. A young plant I didnt expect to start setting fruit.
Heirloom snow pea (Pisum sativum) called, "Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea"
Heirloom snow pea (Pisum sativum) called, “Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea”
Bok choy (Brassica rapa Chinensis group) Ready for harvesting and thinning out.
Bok choy (Brassica rapa Chinensis group)
Ready for harvesting and thinning out.
Water droplets from the evening's dew on the gai lan (Brassica oleracea).
Water droplets from the evening’s dew on the
gai lan (Brassica oleracea).
Water droplets from the evening's dew on the gai lan (Brassica oleracea).
Water droplets from the evening’s dew on the
gai lan (Brassica oleracea).
Fragrant hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis). The first of the spring flower bulbs to bloom.
Fragrant hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis). The first of the spring flower bulbs to bloom.
Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale). I've been trying since 2010 to get a flower. The tiny seeds have high germination rates but once sprouted, they are super delicate. They are easily damage and uprooted by the terminal velocity of a droplet of water. Last year, I was able to nurse them to a good size-- about an inch tall. Then one day to my horror, I found all ten or so of them chomped down to soil level by a single catepillar. Furious and devasted, I swiftly dealt with the problem and held out little hope that the plant would grow back. Grow back it did. I have two plants that have leaves about 6 inches long. Now that we're in the clear, it is a waiting game.
Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale). I’ve been trying since 2010 to get a flower. The tiny seeds have high germination rates but once sprouted, they are super delicate. They are easily damage and uprooted by the terminal velocity of a droplet of water.
Last year, I was able to nurse them to a good size– about an inch tall. Then one day to my horror, I found all ten or so of them chomped down to soil level by a single catepillar.
Furious and devasted, I swiftly dealt with the problem and held out little hope that the plant would grow back. Grow back it did.
I have two plants that have leaves about 6 inches long. Now that we’re in the clear, it is a waiting game.
Freesia (Freesia) bud
Freesia (Freesia) bud
Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale)
Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale)
Gai lan
Gai lan
Some softneck garlic variety that was available at the supermarket. The fine green strands are garlic chive spouts. I had a gazllion seeds to scatter with haste after the rain got to the container holding them.
Some softneck garlic variety that was available at the supermarket. The fine green strands are garlic chive spouts. I had a gazllion seeds to scatter with haste after the rain got to the container holding them.
Strawberry
Strawberry
Shallots. These were first grown in the garden last year from shallots that sprouted before they could be cooked.
Shallots. These were first grown in the garden last year from shallots that sprouted before they could be cooked.
African daisy (Osteospermum)
African daisy (Osteospermum)
This goji berry has been overwhelmed by the fugi that was triggered by the rain. The course now: strip the leaves.
This goji berry has been overwhelmed by the fugi that was triggered by the rain. The course now: strip the leaves.
My first time growing celery. I use it in gumbo and chicken noodle soup; and that's pretty much it.
My first time growing celery. I use it in gumbo and chicken noodle soup; and that’s pretty much it.
Bok choy grows quickly and will be my staple vegetable crop.
Bok choy grows quickly and will be my staple vegetable crop.
Recieved fresh garlic in a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) box last year and decided to dry it out and grow it. I dont know what variety it is other than that it is a softneck.
Recieved fresh garlic in a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) box last year and decided to dry it out and grow it.
I dont know what variety it is other than that it is a softneck.
The kaffir lime air layered last year by John. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/landscape/air-layering/ This year, I hope to see more leaves on it. With the leaves, I use it for green curry.
The kaffir lime air layered last year by John.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/landscape/air-layering/
This year, I hope to see more leaves on it. With the leaves, I use it for green curry.
Carrots, celery, gai lan
Carrots, celery, gai lan
wood sorrel (Oxalis bowiei)
wood sorrel (Oxalis bowiei)
'Green Globe Improved' artichoke
‘Green Globe Improved’ artichoke
Elephant garlic with 'Chesnok' garlice (foreground)
Elephant garlic with ‘Chesnok’ garlice (foreground)
Elephant garlic
Elephant garlic
'Turkish Giant' garlic. Appears to be slow growing.
‘Turkish Giant’ garlic. Appears to be slow growing.
'Turkish Giant' garlic
‘Turkish Giant’ garlic
'Chesnok' garlic
‘Chesnok’ garlic
Dill
Dill
Recieved fresh garlic in a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) box last year and decided to dry it out and grow it. I dont know what variety it is other than that it is a softneck.
Recieved fresh garlic in a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) box last year and decided to dry it out and grow it.
I dont know what variety it is other than that it is a softneck.
Blueberry blossom. Blooming early this year. 'Sunshine' blueberry
Blueberry blossom. Blooming early this year.
‘Sunshine’ blueberry
Blueberry fruiting early this year. 'Sunshine' blueberry
Blueberry fruiting early this year.
‘Sunshine’ blueberry
Garlic chive wintering
Garlic chive wintering
Heirloom snow pea (Pisum sativum) called, "Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea"
Heirloom snow pea (Pisum sativum) called, “Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea”
Daikon
Daikon
Blueberry (Vaccinium x 'Sunshine Blue') The leaves have green from a rust color.
Blueberry (Vaccinium x ‘Sunshine Blue’)
The leaves have green from a rust color.
Mystery plant. Very likely planted by a bird. I like the purple fringe. I am going to see if it'll flower. A flower will certainly yield another clue.
Mystery plant. Very likely planted by a bird. I like the purple fringe. I am going to see if it’ll flower. A flower will certainly yield another clue.
Roquette Arugula (Eruca sativa) Ready for making a Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana, Monterey Park arugula salad: roasted chicken, bacon, goat cheese, corn, & arugula.
Roquette Arugula (Eruca sativa)
Ready for making a Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana, Monterey Park arugula salad: roasted chicken, bacon, goat cheese, corn, & arugula.
Tea (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis) seeds from Shenzhen, China. There is nothing particular about Shenzhen other than that this ebay seller had the lowest price. If I can get any of these tea seeds to germinate, I will have to wait three years before I can start making my own tea.
Tea (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis) seeds from Shenzhen, China. There is nothing particular about Shenzhen other than that this ebay seller had the lowest price.
If I can get any of these tea seeds to germinate, I will have to wait three years before I can start making my own tea.
Upon closer inspection they were indeed leaf buds (and not bugs). The is the Goji berry that had its leaves striped off because they were infested with fungi.
Upon closer inspection they were indeed leaf buds (and not bugs). The is the Goji berry that had its leaves striped off because they were infested with fungi.
Goji berry leaf buds
Goji berry leaf buds
Walking by this pot I spot what appears to be leaf buds.
Walking by this pot I spot what appears to be leaf buds.
Walking by this pot I spot what appears to be leaf buds.
Walking by this pot I spot what appears to be leaf buds.
Ranunculus tuber
Best I can do is to hope that these will still grow.
I might be a bit late on getting these Ranunculus tubers back into the ground. There's mold caused by the winter rain.
I might be a bit late on getting these Ranunculus tubers back into the ground. There’s mold caused by the winter rain.
There are a bunch of seeds attached to this Ranunculus floret. When loose, they resemble crushed red peppers. The germination rate is said to be very low. I have thousands. Surely one will grow.
There are a bunch of seeds attached to this Ranunculus floret. When loose, they resemble crushed red peppers. The germination rate is said to be very low. I have thousands. Surely one will grow.
Ranunculus seed florets
Ranunculus seed florets
Gai lan
Gai lan

February: fruit in the garden

'Sharp Blue' blueberry
‘Sharp Blue’ blueberry
IMG_6785
Pomegranate
First ripe strawberry of 2015
First ripe strawberry of 2015
Strawberry
Strawberry
IMG_6866
Robertson navel orange blossom
IMG_6861
‘Sunshine’ blueberry
IMG_6878
Bearss lime blossoming
IMG_6880
Goji bery
IMG_6720
Robertson navel orange

 

Moro blood orange on the tree, 2015.
Moro blood orange on the tree, 2015.
Ripen dropped Moro blood orange, 2015.
Ripen dropped Moro blood orange, 2015.
Dropped Moro blood orange, 2015.
Dropped Moro blood orange, 2015.

The Moro of the story

Moro blood orange on the tree, 2015.
Moro blood orange on the tree, 2015.

It was not too long ago when I started to seek out fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants. Many of these sought after fruits and vegetables are not likely to found at the local produce section. The reasons are that these crops are generally not commercially viable or not in demand enough. A ‘non commercially viable crop’ is crop that either: do not produce enough, take longer to produce, do not ship well, are difficult to grow, etc. Because of those factors, the price for the crop will be too high for the average consumer. Unable to sell their crop, the growers and sellers then would more likely to be left with crop rotting in the stands.

Where these goodies are not likely to rot are on the farmers’ market stands. With much lower overhead, the growers are able to provide market goers with reasonable prices. When in season, one of the fruits one expects to find at a farmer’s market are blood oranges. The fruit of the blood orange is more likely to be tart. Tartness is a characteristic one does not seek out in an orange. What is sought after are the antioxidant properties.

There are a few types of blood oranges with the most commonly available blood orange variety being the Moro blood orange, Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck. As for the availability of blood orange trees, they are now widely available. Like at the farmers’ market, the tree variety most commonly available is the Moro. That was the first tree I picked up.

Is that the Moro of the story?

Moro blood orange tree, 2015.
Moro blood orange tree, 2015.

No, that is not the Moro of the story. The Moro of the story is to do with what I discovered about oranges this year. When I brought the tree home almost a year ago, I did not plant it into the ground. Instead, I kept it in its container. The reason is that I was not sure if the spot I selected would be its permanent home. Staying put in its container, it set blossoms and then fruit. It was doing well through summer. When fall came around, it started to become sad. It began to shed leaves. Unable to support all the fruit, it began to drop them. It is still winter and more than half of the fruit have been dropped. When the fruit is dropped, they are usually green. I would collect them and put them into the compost bin.

Dropped Moro blood orange, 2015.
Dropped Moro blood orange, 2015.

Today, I noticed that another fruit had dropped. In the hunt for the dropped fruit, I also recovered a ripen orange from amongst the ivy. That led to the discovery that oranges continue to ripen despite being disconnected from the tree.

Ripen dropped Moro blood orange, 2015.
Ripen dropped Moro blood orange, 2015.