limes

Lots of limes

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The first real harvest of citrus: 45 limes!

We’ve been pretty quiet about our citrus growing on this blog so far, despite having a lemon, lime, two oranges and a grapefruit in the ground. Why? Let’s just say, they didn’t prosper in their first 18 months.

What turned things around was some reading about their hungry nature. We’d been giving them regular handfuls of citrus fertiliser, but they were still struggling, barely growing, and not fruiting.

Then I read the following from two different sources:

Citrus trees need 0.5kg of fertiliser for each year of age … per year.

Eeek! That’s a lot of fertiliser, certainly a lot more than the handfuls I was applying.

Ramping up the feeding quickly showed the value of this advice, however. All the trees starting growing strongly, with the yellow vanishing from the leaves, and flowers sprouting. They’re now well on their way, and I’m expecting good things from them over the next few years.

The photo above shows our first real harvest of citrus. Noting that the lime tree was weighed down by fruit, I harvested a bucket’s worth. This turned out to be 45 limes, from a tree not as high as my shoulder. That’s more like it 🙂

Tree planting map for the food forest

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Rough map of the food forest tree planting

For your interest, and to help us keep track of things, this is what we’ve planted so far in the food forest:

  1. Fuji apple
  2. Cox’s Orange Pippin apple
  3. Granny Smith apple
  4. Sommerset Red Streak apple
  5. Golden Delicious apple
  6. Jonathon apple
  7. Kingston Black apple
  8. Sugar Loaf Pippin apple
  9. Maiden’s Blush apple
  10. cumquat
  11. Meyer lemon
  12. dwarf Kaffir lime
  13. Wurtz avocado
  14. dwarf Washington Navel orange

Not a bad collection to get us started! I’ll keep this page up to date, as we fight back the weeds and fill in the gaps…

Lemons, limes and oranges

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Orange, lime, orange and lemon
Orange, lime, orange and lemon

The last major task for the front garden this season was getting in the citrus trees.

Two weekends ago, I started by marking out a garden bed 5.5m x 1.2m, and then dug that down to a depth of a foot-and-a-half (a back-breaking job!). I then constructed a treated pine frame to build the bed up.

I hadn’t quite done the numbers first, and discovered that I’d need an extra 2 tonnes of soil, or thereabouts. So another call to the bulk supplier, and a lot of shovel work later, and the bed was full.

The local Bunnings had a reasonable range of fruit trees, and this is what we ended up putting in:

  • Orange, Lane’s Late Navel (full size)
  • Lime,Tahitian (full size)
  • Orange, Valencia (dwarf)
  • Lemon, Meyer (dwarf)

Now to wait a season (or two) for a full crop…