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From a native New York City girl to a Northern California homegrown garden, I have learned so much over the years about citrus fruit trees and row crops. My husband is a native Californian and has grown up learning about citrus trees and other fruit trees all his life. It is still a wonder to me to be able to go out back and pick fruit off the trees as well as vegetables from our garden. Oh, the miracles of Nature!
1) The Navel Orange Citrus Tree has been living in the yard for many years, and it keeps bearing oranges by the hundreds each season. Right now, they are not yet at their peak of sweetness. We keep testing them every few days because they are almost ready.
They’re super juicy and great for juicing or just plain eating fresh. There’s such an abundance of fruit on this tree that we share the crop with lots of friends and neighbors. Here is what we found on Amazon, and we use this juicer for the oranges and for large lemons.
This tree doesn’t get too much pampering from us throughout the year. On occasion, we will make a ring of compost under the drip line of the tree.
Also on occasion, it will get a treatment of fertilizer, but on the whole, we just water it and trim it back when the fruit season is over. We admire it and say nice things to it, which must help because other than that, it pretty much does its own thing. It’s a very nice looking tree, too, and adds a lot to the appearance and ambiance of the yard.
Almost four years ago, my husband planted three small trees that he bought at Costco. They seemed to take forever to grow, but they are nice looking trees now. Each of them has a good crop of fruit this year for which we are grateful.
2) A Tangerine Citrus Tree is one of the three from 2014. Kevin planted this tree primarily for the enjoyment of his Mom. She always wanted us to buy “cuties” for her from the grocery store. Kevin thought it would be nice to grow her own tangerine tree.
Unfortunately, she passed away last year and is not here to enjoy the first really full harvest on this young tree. It took a while for the fruit to get to a sweet enough stage to be enjoyable, but they are ready now! We find ourselves grabbing one or two of them off the tree as we walk by in the yard – ummmm, so good!
3) Another tree that Kevin planted in 2014 is a Meyer Lemon citrus tree. We use lemons a lot in this house, and they can be fairly expensive to buy in the stores. When I make a green smoothie drink for us for breakfast or make a green juice, I use one or two lemons at a time. I also squeeze a lemon into a large carafe of water each morning to drink throughout the day.
This tree started to put on fruit from the first season it was in the ground, which was wonderful. They were big and juicy and plentiful right from the start. Each year, it has not disappointed us, and we are enjoying the lemons as well as sharing them, too. I used several of them the other night when I made the Lemon Chicken recipe again. For us, we think the Meyer Lemon is the best tasting lemon of them all.
This is the lemon juicer that we use for lemons and for limes:
4) The third tree that Kevin planted in 2014 was a Mexican Lime citrus tree. These are the small round limes that are cut in half and placed on top of a bottle of Cerveza when you’re traveling in Mexico. Very juicy and flavorful. They’re also great for juicing and mixing into Guacamole.
We were wondering if this tree was ever going to bear fruit, but this seems to be the magical year when all the trees are doing so good. We learned quickly, though, that this tree can hurt you bad if you go plunging your hands into it without looking. It has thorns, and they’re BIG, heavy, strong thorns that really hurt if they stick you. Watch out when harvesting these tasty little limes.
5) The fifth tree was planted in 2016. It is a Bearss Lime citrus tree. These limes are two or three times larger than the Mexican limes. They are delicious! Very juicy and great for squeezing into Guacamole, too, as well as sprinkling the juice on top of a fresh, green salad.
We were pleased to see this tree put on fruit the first season after it was planted in the yard. It was a little larger when we planted it than the other three which were pretty small. We were told that we needed to see the fruit on this tree turn from green to yellow to know when they are ripe. They are so large that when they are in the fruit bowl, I sometimes mistake these limes for lemons.
We didn’t plant anything this year for our winter garden, but Spring is around the corner, and we’ll soon be getting the ground ready for our summer crops. In the meantime, we’re certainly enjoying our citrus, vitamin-C rich citrus trees fruit.
How is your winter garden doing? Are your oranges sweet yet?