Citrus Week: Navel Oranges

Orange
When we first toured this house five and a half years ago we realized quickly that it fit everything on our ‘must have’ house list. Including a big yard. And just to make the icing on the cake a little sweeter we found an apple, pear, and orange tree. Well, honestly saying ‘orange tree’ is really an exaggeration. It was more of a newly planted orange stick. For years it remained an orange stick with maybe only an inch or two of growth gained per year. It would blossom and fill the yard with it’s sweet scent, but we never had any oranges before. Until we read about how heavily they needed feeding. They have a voracious appetite for nitrogen, so we decided to be good citrus parents and feed it, along with the meyer lemon, with Dr. Earths Organic Citrus Fertilizer. Two years later it’s grown about three times its original size and has probably about a half a dozen oranges on it. Which is about twice as many as we got last year. Six oranges, is just about enough for a batch of marmalade, which has been my passion for a few years now. Frog Hollow, found at the San Francisco Farmers Market is my all time favorite.

Navel Orange trees can get pretty big, which is fine in my book. I wouldn’t mind a huge orange tree in the spot that it is in. However while they are frost tender when young. So while they are small enough, it’s a good idea to throw a blanket over them when the weatherman warns of a freeze. Or you can just look around as you drive through town at the neighboors citrus trees. Come December (in our town) you might notice all sorts of odd blankets and sheets strewn across people yards.

Do you have an orange tree? What do you do with the bounty?

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Citrus Week: Navel Oranges

  1. Nothing like some good citrus porn in the morning. :-)

    I’ve been following the blog for a while as a lurker and really enjoy it. The subject of citrus is definitely bringing me out of the corner. My wife and I live in Houston and are in the process of getting our citrus up and going at our new home. As soon as the threat of a freeze is over, we’re going to start experimenting with what I think is a fairly new idea regarding the planting of fruit trees. Texas A&M calls them “High Density Home Orchards”. (http://www.urbanharvest.org/classesevents/calendar/high_density_fruit.html) <–For a little more information and an explanation.

    Currently, we have an Heirloom Navel, Spanish Pink Lemon, Moro Blood, Chang Shou Kumquat, Lakeland Lime Quat, Eureka Lemon, Bearrs Lime, Kaffir…ok, ok…I’m obsessed…

    Oh and they’re all babies. I wasn’t aware of citrus’s nitrogen dependency–might have to order some of the Dr. Earth’s fertilizer.

  2. Whoops! Sorry. I was almost certain that link said more about what High Density Home Orchards entail and on a second read, I realized it didn’t. Basically, the concept does away with the traditional rule of spacing fruit trees 15′-20′ apart. With this idea, the trees are basically planted 2′-3′ apart and are allowed to grow together. Then, they are pruned as if they were one tree. It enables more varieties in a small space. And now, I’ll stop rambling.

    • asonomagarden

      Hi Morgan, How fantastic that you have all of those varieties of citrus in your garden! You definately need to add a Meyer Lemon to the mix though. I’ll check out that link you posted. Any methods that allow home gardeners to be able to plant more food baring trees/plants is always a good thing. Thanks

  3. Yeah, we’re in the process of creating a quasi-hedgerow on the western side of our house of densely planted citrus trees (about 2 1/2′ apart). We’re training the trunks of the trees to grow straight up for about 4 feet. Then we’re going to allow the trees to branch out and into each other, eventually just pruning them as one long tree. In front and under the ‘hedgerow’ we’re going to attempt to do an espaliered ‘citrus fence’. Obviously, we won’t get enormous yields from each tree, but it will give us a wider variety of fruit and an extended harvest season.

    I guess it’s obvious that we’re obsessed with fruit trees. We didn’t want our home to look like we’re crazy orchard people though. This gives us the opportunity to use functional landscaping in an ornamental way. We have very precious and limited space on which to plant.

    • asonomagarden

      That sounds like its going to be really beautiful when it is all grown in. We have I think 13 fruit trees, so we are sort of the crazy orchard people :) We tried to make some sense of the plantings though. They are either grown in rows along fences or mixed into the landscape as ornamental-ish trees. I’d love to have a wall of citrus though!

  4. Pingback: Rain & Marmalade Making « A Sonoma Garden

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