C is for Citrus

Or C is for Cumquat, as we spell Kumquat in Australia.

I have an urban orchard that began with a pair of cumquat trees.    They are a Citrus/Fortunella hybrid called Calamondin here.  New fruit are round like tiny oranges but as they grow old and saggy, they resemble miniature mandarins.  You wouldn’t eat them out of hand like a true Fortunella with the sweet peel but they make the best marmalade.  They were perfect to start with for a novice fruit grower.  Hardy and almost pest free.

The pair stood like sentries in lieu of a front gate and took the place of a car that used to sit in the car space outside my front door.  That car space was the only area I had with enough sun for a fruit tree.  The far reaching branches of a giant jacaranda hangs over my yard.  Later I would hire an arborist to lift the canopy of the tree and let in more light but back in the summer (that is December down under) of 2007, the sun shone only on that car space of 20 sq. m (approx. 200 sq. ft), now my orchard.

If orchard is a word that conjures up rows of perfectly spaced fruit trees with enough space to drive a tractor through – press the pause button now.  That’s not what you would find here.  Along the two sides of the 20 sq. m that leads directly to my front door, I have two rows of containers packed tight against one another.  About sixty fruit trees share that space.

The cumquats had lead me to believe that I can grow citrus so I started with those.  Now lemons, oranges, mandarins, limes, tangelo, lemonade, grapefruit and even a pomelo join their rank.  As confidence grew, I added a quince, figs, guavas, persimmons, a loquat and pomegranates.  Oh, that’s an Etrog, a citron, in the picture.

The cumquats are still the backbone of my orchard.  Now I have six, half of them are Fortunellas that I can eat off the tree, as they are.

C is for citrus.  C is for cumquat.

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4072376.htm – a video (4:33) on part of my urban orchard.

About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
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