The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Citrus reprieve

Uprooted citrus treeThree years ago, we got a dwarf meyer lemon and a dwarf tangerine to keep as houseplants.  The lemon started producing right away and has given us more fruits each year, but the tangerine thought it would be more fun to just grow a huge bush with massive thorns.  After some research, I started thinking that perhaps my "tangerine" was actually the dwarfing rootstock with the grafted tangerine part dead, so I decided it was time to cull the "tangerine" from our crowded sunroom space.

I dumped the whole plant out beside the compost pile a few weeks ago...and was surprised to see that it survived several heavy frosts.  I don't want you to think I was nice to it --- actually, the tree's roots were bare, its leaves face down, and yet it continued to live.  Then, this week, I noticed that the crazy citrus had decided now was a good time to bloom.
Young tangerine tree
Mark talked me into giving the tree one more summer to shape up.  I plopped it in the ground in the corner of the chicken pasture and will look forward to seeing some fruits to prove its identity.  If I'm wrong and the tree turns out to be a tangerine after all, we'll dig it back up in the fall to move inside, and if it's the rootstock, we'll let it die out this winter.  Trifoliate orange --- the most common dwarfing rootstock used for citrus --- is hardy in our region, but our tree lacks trifoliate leaves and is probably the less hardy tangerine dwarfing rootstock --- Cleopatra mandarin.  I guess time will tell whether our citrus deserved its reprieve.

Our chicken waterer never spills or fills with poop.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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