Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Own Private Citrus Orchard

dwarf seville and mandarinquat trees
I've been wanting to expand my Citrus collection for some time now. Even though natural light is a rare commodity in our cape style home, I thought I'd have a go at it anyway. My Meyer lemon and Kaffir lime trees have tolerated being indoors during the winter months with only 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight per day. I'm sure that they will be much happier once they are set outside after our average last frost date (May 2).

four winds growers
On Wednesday, my two new trees arrived from Four Winds Growers. I had placed an order for an Indio mandarinquat tree (a cross between a mandarin and a kumquat) and a Seville orange tree a few weeks ago. As a gardener, I try to grow vegetable and fruit varieties that are hard to source locally or are unique in some way. These two definitely hit the mark.

As many of you already know, I am a huge marmalade fanatic. It would make sense than that I would want to grow Seville Oranges in order to make that quintessiantial English marmalade. I'm also looking forward to tasting my first mandarinquat, which is supposed to be sweeter and less sharp than an ordinary kumquat.

manarinquat and seville orange trees
Hopefully, these trees will enjoy their new home. I potted them up using a cactus/citrus potting soil mix amended with some slow release organic citrus fertilizer (the brand I use is Growmore). Although somewhat pricey (the cost of these trees, including shipping, came to $70.00), Four Winds has a great selection of true dwarf citrus trees. Chances are good that they will have what you are looking for.


  1. Your lemon tree seems quite happy in your care - so I bet these other citrus plants will be equally content and productive!

  2. They are so cute! I'm sure you'll have as much success with these newbies as you have with your Meyer...

    I want a manderinquat so bad! After discovering that Four Winds is only 30min from me, I've been having to use all my will power to NOT drive there and pick one up! Oooh, this isn't helping! LOL

  3. I am a fan of Citrus family myself, but I couldn't get the dwarf varieties here. I'll wait though. May be I'll get lucky in few months or ask one of my friends to get the seeds from the westerners.
    Those two look lovely.
    BTW, can you share the secret to grow German Chamomile? Mine haven't germinated yet. It's been more than a week now since I sowed 'em. I just spread the seeds and pressed it onto the coco peat + sand + compost mix, as I read that it needs light to germinate.
    Any trick that I should try?

  4. Thanks for continuing to post on this topic! I want to have my own little citrus garden as well here in France, but we live in a mountainous area where they'd freeze in the winter. . . so I'm excited about the idea of growing indoors and moving outdoors part time.

    By the way, my mother in law and I have been sticking seeds from oranges and tangerines into a little pot of dirt we keep by a window for weeks now and suddenly we have 3 little sprouts. I'm so excited.

    They may not bear fruit and we won't know for another 2-3 years, but I'm thrilled nevertheless.

    Although, when I get serious about all this I will probably get a few dwarf varieties like you!

  5. our meyer lemon tree already has new growth. your new trees were lucky to arrive at YOUR house, thomas! (thanks so much for the inspiration).

  6. The new citrus trees look very nice. They remind me of walking through the local farm stand in Florida where citrus trees of all sizes and types grew in a big greenhouse. Light is so hard to find here in the winter, I hope they love their new home and reward you with marmalade fruit!

  7. You've inspired me with all of your citrus. As so as I have room I'll start building my collection. An Indio mandarinquat tree? You should try to bring that up in conversation whenever possible!

  8. Interesting stuff Thomas. My second citrus should be arriving soon, I can see how it can easily turn into a collection! I am interested in checking out this grower you mentioned, but I probably shouldn' citrus tree a year should be my limit.

  9. Do you turn the trees once in a while, Thomas?

    And, as far as I am concerned, you are the king of marmalade.

  10. Thomas, best of luck with the citrus and if anyone can do it, you are the one!

    Your plants in prior posts all look wonderful and so healthy and I can't get over the size of your tomatoes. I just saw my first leaves. :((

    Your kale and Bok choy are wonderful, BUT just so you know, the seeds you sent: Choy Sum and Chinese Kale germinated in 3 days and the Shanghai Bok Choy in 2 days. I soaked them for 2 hours before planting in the soil blocks and they must have loved it. I'm happy to see you have Sun Gold; Jonathan is going to love them.. sweet as candy and makes the best when used in Bruschetta.

    My Japanese Long Purple Eggplant has taken forever; in fact only 4 have germinated thus far.

    Here's hoping you have a wonderful week ahead.

  11. Hey Marie - I don't....but I really should! I hope you are enjoying you journeys back home!

  12. Can't wait to see them grow and produce someday!

  13. I so wish I could have citrus. Maybe someday. I'll have to see if the new house gets enough sun.

  14. Great pictures! I've always wanted to try growing dwarf citrus trees, but it seems the bugs have their way with anything I try to grow! Do you use anything to protect your plants? I saw this Safer Brand EndAll spray that's certified for use in organic gardens. Have you ever tried this? It’s safe to use right up to the day of harvest.
    Here's that spray I'm talking about: