Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mystery Fruit

I learned a little more about taking care of the grafted citrus tree last year.  For one thing, I fed it monthly when it started to flower, then produce.  I also gave it a deep watering once in a while, since it isn't getting much help from above and I cut back drastically on my landscape watering.  As a result, I have more than double the number of oranges as in previous years, and one branch that has not produced in the past five years has three fruits on it.

Here's where the problem lies: all the plastic ID tags on the branches got brittle and fell off years ago.  Papa Smurf took pictures of all seven of them when they first got the tree, so at least I have a general idea of what I might have.  Navel oranges and Meyer lemons are pretty obvious.  The smaller oranges are either Valencias (more probable) or really pale Clementines.  So the question for my mystery fruit is whether it's a misshapen tangelo, the biggest lime in the world, or a very bumpy grapefruit.  I tried scratching the skin to smell the fragrance, but all that did was scar it.  I can't tell what it is.

I'm really hoping for grapefruit.  I've been eating at least one a week since they came back in season, and buying the 4-pound bags when there's a good price.  Citrus keeps quite nicely in the fridge.  If this branch has found its mojo and I can get a few off it each year, I will be very happy.  I don't know what killed the three missing varieties.  I'm just glad this one has come back.

And my lone tomato sprout died in the February heat wave, so I'm trying beets in the front planter.  I'm also starting some basil seeds in seed cups.  Some are for people at work, but I'm also going to keep one or two.  My basil out front is several years old and spends more time flowering than making leaves.  Time to replace it with a less woody plant.

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