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Garden journal entry


November 18, 2017. While I was still living in an apartment after moving to Houston, before the family followed me over, Amy visited me for a househunting trip in late February. The thing she liked best about the area was all the citrus trees bearing colorful fruit poking up above fences in residential gardens. So once we were ready to start our own garden, citrus was definitely high on the priority list. Our first attempt was a 'Lisbon' lemon tree, but it promptly died in the one hard freeze of winter. We learned that most lemon trees around the area had perished, and that satsuma oranges were the safest (that is, most cold-hardy) citrus to grow. So we bought two at a master gardener fruit tree sale and gave them homes along the back fence. They flowered in early spring, and even though the trees were quite small, they set a nice little crop of fruit. We were aware of the advice to remove fruit for the first year or two so that the trees could put their energy into growth, but we couldn't resist leaving a few to see how they'd do. Through the season, they grew steadily, and in October the fruit on one of the trees started coloring up. Today, the tree looked as in this picture: heavy yellow-orange fruit pulling down on the poor thing's limbs. So we decided it was finally time to harvest our first satsuma. It was amazingly easy to peel, but the orange inside was disappointing: not very juicy, and not very flavorful. We then tried harvesting a still-green fruit off the other tree, and although it too wasn't at its prime, it had a little more flavor. So I think we need to harvest earlier in future years, before the peel colors up. Either that, or the youth of our trees prevented them from producing fruit of the quality expected from more mature trees. It will take at least a couple more years before we can test that hypothesis – we'll enjoy watching our trees grow and hopefully flourish in the meantime.

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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