Kishu Tangerines

My tree is loaded this year! They are exactly what I wanted my tangerine tree to be, although they aren’t as sweet as they could be. Other than that, I love that the skin almost falls off and there are NO SEEDS!

I bought this tree three years ago and it was called a citrus cocktail because there were five different kinds of tangerines grafted on to the main trunk, but the Kishu has become dominant and I’m pretty happy about that.

Kishu Tangerines are weighing heavily, in a good way!
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Tuesday Trees – Apfeln

Or Apples for you non-German speakers.   Twenty five years ago Mi Esposo got orders to Stuttgart, Germany and we moved there with two small boys right before winter set in.   I remember eating fresh, crisp apples at our twice-a-week outdoor market while the kids ate their hot, soft pretzels – good times!   This time of year always takes me back to those great years and simpler times.

So, to get back to our Tuesday Trees, I am excited to say that I am harvesting apples now from my Fuji tree.   I was in the garden yesterday morning and ate an apple right off the tree.  The shine comes from a little buffing on my t-shirt.  It was so juicy I was not a very neat eater!

You, too, can grow apples, even on the coast.  Coastal areas have 100-300 chill hours so it’s very important to make sure to choose a variety that is low-chill or you’ll never get fruit.   If I were to do it again, I would probably plant all Fujis.  The taste and crispness are perfect for me.  I don’t have a lot of room on my property so I planted my tree on the fence and am keeping it  trimmed to espalier.  At least that’s what I’m trying to do, but I’m not doing a very tidy job of it.   Despite my learning curve, the tree is thriving and I’m getting apples so all is not lost.

The  apple (Malus domestica) is a member of Rosaceae, the rose family.  January through March is the ideal time to plant apples in their bare-root stage.   Plant where they will get good good drainage and full sun.  Nitrogen and zinc are two of the most important nutrients to supply apple trees. Fertilizing twice per year, once in the spring and again in the fall, will keep your apple tree vigorous.  Glückliche Gartenarbeit!

 

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Melia

Melia is the Hawaiian translation for Plumeria. Yesterday I heard a talk about plumeria trees. Tom Cook of Tom’s Plumerias in Solana Beach brought a lot of flowers of different varieties to show, as well as plants and cuttings that were available to purchase.

Plumeria need at least six hours of full sun and good drainage, should be planted south facing, and they should be allowed to dry out in between waterings to prevent rot. San Diego, inland and coastal, grows beautiful plumeria, in an array of colors.

They are potassium feeders so it’s important to fertilize with a heavier potassium mix (a higher P number in the N-P-K numbers) when the leaves are starting to bud out. It’s important to remember not to feed plants as we get closer to cold weather because the nutrients will promote tender growth that is easily frost damaged. The potassium will promote a stronger bloom which is, of course, the main reason we grow these tropical beauts. Also, now is a great time to feed your plants with Sul-Po-Mag. Sul-Po-Mag is a naturally occurring mineral containing significant quantities of sulfur, potash, and magnesium. Another dose of these trace minerals in the spring will really boost the health and bloom potential.

Cuttings are easy to cultivate for new plants. There are two kinds of cuttings – stem cuts and tip cuts. Early spring is the optimal time for cuttings, but in our mild weather, you can cut pretty much year round. RooTone isn’t necessary, but it sure can’t hurt. RooTone has nutrients for a good solid start, and a fungicide to prevent diseases. Soil type is important because good drainage is crucial. A mix of 2/3 E.B. Stone (Edna’s Best) potting soil and 1/3 perlite is a good soil medium. Again, don’t keep the starts soaked or you’ll just end up with a rotten mess. Roots take about 4-6 weeks to begin developing. Patience is a virtue….

Stem cuttings are sections of a plumeria branch, with both ends of the branch cut. A little trick if you aren’t sure which end is supposed to be up, is to look at the leaf nodes and make sure they look like smiley-faces. The advantage to stem cutting is that the stem will do more branching out.

Tip cuttings are only cut on one end with the natural end of the branch at the other end. Important note when cutting tips – Trim or snap off all the leaves on the branch. If the leaves are left on, the transpiration process will continue and the stems will dehydrate. The advantage of tip cuttings is that they are early bloomers, but beware that growth will be slowed because the plant’s energy is being diverted from root development to make those flowers.

I have one tree in the front yard, but am not inclined to have any more because I’m out of room, but I bought two cuttings (‘Lanai’ – pink, and ‘Celadine’-yellow) from Tom that are different colors and I’m going to attempt to graft them onto my existing tree. (I’ll document that when it happens.) I learned alot today and will strive to do better with my existing plant.

An interesting tidbit I learned with more research: Plumeria were only introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1800s. They are native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America. I had no idea!

Some handy websites to check out:
Tom’s Plumerias – the guest speaker.
Southern California Plumeria Society
Plumeria Society of America
Exotic Plumerias

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Thin It Out – Part II

I sat down to leaf through my gardening magazines and came across an article in the June/July 2010 issue of ‘Organic Gardening’ magazine about fruit thinning that shed more light on my rather vague post of a few days ago.

The article talks about apple tree thinning in particular. The natural fruit drops that occurs as an apple tree sheds excess fruit as a natural thinning process that is normal for apple trees. The more fruit a tree brings to fully ripe and ready to be picked, the more energy the tree is expending on developing the fruit and keeping the tree healthy. If a tree has a particularly heavy crop one year, it is less likely to bear so much fruit the next. Even with the natural fruit drop it is usually helpful to do more selective thinning of little apples (the article says the size of a dime) to promote a better crop.

So, how to thin…. The article says to start with diseased or deformed apples first, then identify the largest apple in the cluster and remove the other apples around it. The rule of them is to have the apples spaced approximately six inches apart along the limb.

I was glad to find this information and, in retrospect, it makes total sense.

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