Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Chance Citrus Seedling

Each winter I juice lots of my own citrus fruits plus ones my neighbors give me, and seeing seedlings pop up in beds and compost from discarded peels and pulp is a part of my life each spring.  I generally pull and compost them. But a few years ago (4-5?) one EXCEPTIONALLY vigorous seedling appeared so I potted it, then maybe a year later planted it by my south fence, knowing the extreme unpredictability of citrus from seeds even if you KNOW what fruit bore the seeds. Crushed leaves, sniffed, suggested to me and most folks that it came from one of my Meyer's lemons....a few felt the leaves smelled like orange tree leaves. Last spring it FINALLY bloomed for the first time, lightly, and set just one fruit, which dropped to the ground ripe this week. Definitely a lemon seedling, but the pulp was not very juicy and the skin was very thick and scaly...the tree is not worthy keeping. So I will chop it down and chopped it up to use as mulch around the nearby banana. I have one other vigorous Mystery Citrus seedling in a large pot and so will plant it somewhere, maybe the west bed I keep considering turning into a grass-based pasture for periodic chicken and duck grazing. All in all it was a fun experiment....bummer though the fruits did not turn out to be tasty and useful and numerous!  John

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