Four years ago, I was young and carefree. Then I planted citrus trees. Citrus trees do my head in. They make me feel inadequate like I can’t get it right and they never seem to produce enough fruit. My citrus trees include cumquat (unstoppable), lemonade (hardly any fruit), mandarin (no fruit!), lime (finally a good amount of fruit) and lemon (could be more fruit). I work with so many permaculturists who know EVERYTHING but for some reason I don’t bring it up- I don’t want to deal. That’s where lime mojitos come in. The Tahitian lime tree (Citrus latifolia) is going great guns at the moment so it’s time to fiesta! Basically it can take up to 3 years or more to harvest citrus (when planted in ground) and some things need to be done at the beginning that I didn’t do. Anyhoo, white rum masks the pain of citrus insecurities. Thank the Lord for reflection time with lime mojitos!
I wish I could tell my younger self…
Plant your citrus in a pot (dwarf varieties are best), not in the ground. You will have to wait longer when they’re planted in the ground.
Prune flowers off the trees when they appear for the first few years so the energy goes in to the roots for the plant to grow healthy and strong.
Don’t fertilise trees when they are flowering, it can cause the flowers to fall off and wreck everything.
Stink bugs absolutely suck the life out of citrus trees and sabotage future harvests. Eco oil works well (rather than flicking them off and stomping on them till they die and risking my eye sight).
Things I do not regret…
Taking the first fruit off the trees so the plant can focus energy on growing.
Watering in epsom salts when the leaves are looking a little yellow (can mean a magnesium deficiency).
Keeping weeds and mulch away from the base of the tree.
Using chicken poo pellets and liquid seaweed to fertilise every now and then.
Pruning trees to the shape I wanted in the first couple of years (aim for an upside down pear).
Not needing to water when the leaves are cool and firm to touch, only when warm and limp.
L I M E M O J I T O
small handful of fresh mint leaves (from the garden)
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Lots of ice cubes
45ml white rum
125ml soda water
Put mint leaves and 1 of the lime wedges into a glass. Crush the mint and lime with a muddler to release the oils and juice. Add the remaining 3 lime wedges, sugar and muddle again to release the lime juice. Almost fill the glass to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice and fill the glass with soda water. Enjoy!