Saturday, February 21, 2015

Raised Citrus, Fertilized and Planted

This week I had an arborist here to look at the Carrotwood Tree in the back that isn't looking happy.  I've changed the water, fertilized and still it doesn't look good.  His best bet is that the roots have an infection of some sort.  The tree has 3 trunks and it seems like one of those trunks is less happy.  In the past it has been topped and those suckers are dying back, especially on one side.  He just recommends deadwooding it at this point.  I don't want to do anything too drastic to it, since it is a great climbing tree for the kids.

While he was here, he also looked at the sad mandarin citrus on the back slope.  Again, I've tweaked water, fertilized.  Recently I painted them to prevent sun damage.  Now the upper mandarin is flowering like mad, but the lower one still looks quite sad.  Very sparse leaves on both.  He wiggled them and we dug for roots.  He felt that they were planted too deep.  Citrus needing their top root flare to be happening at the surface to breathe.  I'm thinking this is true for most trees, right?  (Not for tomatoes, I know, but other plants?)

BTW - he said that painting the trunks of citrus is not usually required here in San Diego.  When I showed him the lemon that has a cracked branch he agreed that it was sun damage.  That tree doesn't have much of a canopy to protect it from the sun, so he agreed it was a good decision.  I'm thinking painting the mandarins was good, too, 'cause they have no canopy to speak of.

Yesterday, we dug around the mandarins in a wide well and lifted the trees up several inches such that the root flare was at the surface.  While doing this, I found a number of grubs.  These I took to a garden event today and the folks in the know didn't think they were a problem for the citrus but still worth removing from the garden.  We also added fresh homemade compost and Dr. Earth's Organic Citrus and Avocado fertilizer.  We watered deeply, and I did that again today.  I hope those two trees survive their "root lift".  None of the blossoms have fallen off the top tree yet, although I expect them to.

For today's garden event, I went to Sunshine Care, which has a unique garden program for its residents.  They also host lectures for the community monthly.  Today's talk was by Farmer Roy on Tomatoes.  The man has plenty of tomato experience, having farmed them commercially in Baja for years.  I came home from the talk with a transplant of Nova Grape Tomato.  I'm glad to give this one a try because it is one of a few cherry tomatoes that has some resistance to nematodes.  I planted it in a large pot, hoping to keep it isolated from my nematode infested garden beds at home that are still covered in clear plastic.  I think I'm going to leave that on for months, well into the summer, to get the temperatures required to solarize.  In a fit of spring optimism, I also picked up a basil plant and put it in another large pot.  Is that thing going to die a cold and horrible death?  I'm hoping not.

I continue to get good harvests from the community garden plot.  This week I had broccoli and kale leaves (which I stir fried with crimini mushrooms), broccoli, purple cauliflower "Carnival", lettuce (romaine, I'd saved from seed), and raddichio (my first and only - I haven't eaten this yet, so the jury is still out).

Sadly, the Cheddar Cauliflower, like some of the kale, broccoli and Carnival Cauliflower had too many aphids for me to want to eat.  I'd like to be blasting the aphids daily with hard water sprays, but I'm not devoted enough to go to the community garden daily.

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