Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Monday, October 7, 2013

Typical October Harvest in VA

Oh, yes, a typical October harvest here in central Virginia.  A few remaining string beans, tomatoes, eggplant, muscadine grapes, Asian persimmons and Key limes.  Key limes?  As in the Florida Keys? Yep.  I have written about growing citrus before, so this is sort of an update.   I enjoy growing plants that are atypical for my region (the Asian persommon is another exmaple, though I have seen a few of these trees around the area recently).  Citrus are not very difficult to grow if you have indoor room (like my heated attic) and some shop lights suspended a few inches above the plants (as I do). I grow:

 Key lime, 
Kaffir lime (grown for its pungent leaves used in Thai cooking) 
and a Meyer lemon (not pictured).

So, do I get much fruit?  This is the ultimate gardeners' bottom line. The Key lime seems to be the most productive of the bunch, but I get all the Kaffir lime leaves I need and some Meyer lemons. How much? Enough for a little fresh eating and to make about three Key lime pies per year.  If I had a greenhouse, I would get much more.

How difficult is it to care for citrus in a non-citrus growing zone (we are zone 7, most citrus is grown in zone 9 and 10)?  I set them outside when the days have warmed reliably, in mid-May.  I water and fertilize them with liquid seaweed and fish emulsion, and sometimes a citrus tab (I know, not organic) and recently I had to  bury a rusty nail in the soil for iron (the leaves were yellowing a bit, a sign of iron deficiency).  The only pests I have had are spider mites, which respond to the blast of a hose and a little insecticidal soap, and fungus gnats (many houseplants get these), which I control with a BT granule solution that kills them (BT is a naturally occurring bacteria that is safe to use, unless you are a target insect).  When the trees bloom in winter (filling my house with a lovely scent) I hand pollinate them with a paintbrush.  I (read my strong son) bring(s) them inside around mid-October (definately before the first frost) after blasting them with the hose and spraying with insecticidal soap (if needed).  I occasionally prune them to keep them from getting too tall.  It might be time to re-pot them next spring and I will use a good quality, organic potting soil amended with finished compost!

Happy gardening!  (Spell check is not working, sorry!)


Haddock said...

I like the colour of your brinjals. Ours are the dull violet colour.

Anita said...

I know I've said this before, or something similar, "You had to be born with your talent for gardening!"

It's sounds almost harder than taking care of children. :)

Good that you were, and all the other nature/science types of the world, so that the rest of us can enjoy the harvest.

Judy Thomas said...

Haddock, This brinjal (eggplant or aubergine) is Lavender Touch, a wonderful variety. There are other stiped ones that are great too!

Judy Thomas said...

Thanks, Anita, but you know me, I believe many things we take for talent are the result of work and learning!

Weekend-Windup said...

You have a good talent in Gardening Keep going. I love gardening but we have little amount of pace where we live, so it is difficult for gardening.