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Tips & Ideas

  • Easy Setup Ideas for Indoor Citrus Trees

    Once again this is the time of year when trees are inside for the winter months and depending on how many trees you have, this can prove to be a daunting task.

    I think I made all the mistakes one can possibly make through the years, making it an interesting adventure. From purchasing very flimsy catch trays, to having terracotta cumbersome heavy plant trays. I found out the hard way that it is better to purchase good quality trays that are large solid hard plastic and lightweight.

    To make the job easier I have recommendations for set up.

    Purchasing  20" (outside diameter) catch trays and a small plant stand is the way to go, even if you have the tree still in a small pot. As your tree grows and transplanting into larger pots, eventually you’ll need the larger trays.

    To save money, I would recommend a tray that can hold a lot of water and the tray in the photo can hold over a gallon.

     

    plantstand

    Plant Catch Tray with Plant Stand

    After doing the deep watering method, the water pours from the holes in the bottom of the pot into the tray and any water in the tray will just add humidity in the air.
    When the trees are placed outside for the spring and summer, the trays can be cleaned and stacked one upon another to make storage easy, until you need them again in the fall/winter.

    Having the plant stands situated inside of the trays will make watering so much easier, without the worry of the bottom of the pots sitting in standing water.

     

    meyerlemononstand

    The dimensions of the tray in the photo:
    Diameter of TerraTray is 17.05 Inch, made to fit Fiskars 20 Inch TerraPot

    Product Dimensions: 17.05 x 17.05 x 2.80.

    Iron Plant Stand
    Measures 9" diameter by 5" height.

    Advantages

    ○ prevents the trees from sitting in standing water
    ○ prevents overfill if you water with a gallon of water
    ○ prevents having to move trees around, just to water.
    ○ durable, lightweight and stack-able for easy storage.

    Remember you will probably water far less in the winter than you do in the summer.
    Normally I water a few times a month when following the fertilizer recipe.
    It is very important to rely on a moisture meter. I recommend one that reads from 1-10 (water when meter is on 4).

     

    moisture-meter

    Moisture Meter

    I hope these suggestions make winter set-up a little less daunting.
    Nancy

  • Delightfully Delicious Meyer Lemon Roasted Turkey Recipe

     

    This year you can use those Meyer Lemons that you've grown to perk up the flavor of your Thanksgiving bird! This recipe will work with other types of sweet citrus too or you can use more than one type of citrus to come up with your own version of this delicious recipe. Cooking should be fun and experimenting with cooking makes it even better. I have included substitutes for every ingredient that's easier and/or healthier to find or use.

     

    Our Ingredients:

     

    Approximately a dozen Meyer Lemons (Or your favorite sweet citrus fruit)

    8 Cloves of Garlic (You can substitute 1 Clove with either: 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes; 1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder; I do not recommend using Garlic Salt as a substitute but if that's all you have then you can substitute 1/2 Teaspoon to equal 1 Clove then use half as much salt than our recipes calls for below)

    1/4 Cup Fresh Rosemary (You can substitute dry herbs for fresh but you need to use half of what the recipe calls for. So 1/4 becomes 1/8 of a cup)

    1/4 Cup Fresh Thyme (You can substitute dry herbs using half as mentioned above)

    1/4 Cup of Salt (You can substitute with the potassium chloride if desired)

    1 Stick of Butter (You can substitute with 6 Tablespoons of Olive Oil)

    1/8 Teaspoon of Black Pepper (White Pepper can be substituted with the same measurements or a pinch of Cayenne Pepper can used)

     

    Directions:

     

    1. 1. Prepare your oven per the package directions of the Turkey that you are using for this recipe.
    2. 2. Zest Six of the Meyer Lemons, Finely Chop your Garlic Cloves & Fresh Herbs then set aside.
    3. 3. Cut Four of your Meyer Lemons into quarters and set aside.
    4. 4. In a medium saucepan melt the butter (or warm the olive oil) then remove from heat.
    5. 5. Add the Zested Meyer Lemons, Chopped Garlic, Salt & Fresh Herbs into the butter/oil and mix well. Allow the mixture to cool.
    6. 6. Rinse the Turkey and dry with clean paper towels. Rub the turkey with the butter/herb mixture completely covering the entire turkey.
    7. 7. Place Seasoned Turkey into a roasting pan, stuff turkey with the quartered lemon pieces. Then roast per the directions on the Turkey label.
    8. 8. Use the remaining Lemons to garnish your turkey after cooking is complete.

     

    Additional Tips:

    Typical roasting times are 20 minutes per pound at 350 Degrees.

    Roasting the Turkey upside down for the first 45 minutes of roasting can significantly improve the moisture retention of the meat.

    Adding an inch of Turkey or Chicken stock to the bottom of the roasting pan can improve the taste of the turkey and help maintain moisture in the meat.

    Using a meat thermometer can simplify your roasting. Just remove the turkey when it reaches 170°F.

    Using Food Service plastic gloves during the preparation of the turkey especially while rubbing the seasoning can keep your hands clean and prevent abrasions from the salt which can be very painful.

     

    All of us at LemonCitrusTree wishes you & your loved ones a very HAPPY Thanksgiving!

     

    mlt_turkey

  • Health Benefits of Citrus

    Eating citrus and drinking the juice is more than just a yummy treat. The health benefits are immense. In fact, when I looked into it I was blown away by how good for your body citrus really is. Citrus lowers blood pressure. Sweet oranges and tangelos are the richest food sources of hesperidin. Hesperidin helps lower blood pressure along with a vast amount of other benefits. It is also found in most other citrus as it is a Citrus Bioflavonoid.

    Boosts immunity, and digestion: Great for cough and sinus issues. Helps with dandruff, acne and overall skin health. All of these can be attributed to the high levels of vitamin C found in citrus.

    Reduces “bad” cholesterol: Limonin helps clean out all of the unwanted cholesterol

    Good for vision: help prevent night blindness and muscular degeneration. - Carotenoids are to blame for these amazing side effects.

    Anti-aging and beauty treatment: Phytonutrients help eliminate free radicals which in turn keep your skin young.

    Soluble Fiber: An anti-inflammatory and helps with pain of arthritis etc. It also helps cure inflammation of the blood vessels, providing protection against heart attack, strokes, and heart disease.

    Arthritis: The citric acid found in limes and lemons works wonders, helping move pesky uric acid through and out of the body. Uric acid is what causes arthritis.

    Muscle spasms and cramps: Citrus is high in potassium, this will help your muscles get some rest.

    Hydration: Just like our bodies, citrus contains lots of water and is extremely hydrating.

    Weight loss: The acids and vitamins found in citrus work as an appetite suppressant as well as helping break down fat.

    These are just some of the vast amount of benefit consuming citrus fruit has on your health. Drinking a glass of citrus water, eating your favorite citrus as a snack or just finding a way to get it into your meals will benefit more than just your taste palate. Citrus is truly one of nature's many magic medicines! It’s so wonderful having fresh citrus on hand!

  • Holiday Citrus Garland Decorations

    Elegant Citrus Lemon, Lime, Kumquat Holiday Garland with Pomegranate door decoration:
    Things you will need.

    ☼ 1/2-inch-diameter rope
    ☼ Evergreen (Citrus Leaves smell wonderful) or salal leaves or any natural looking leaf garland found in craft stores.
    ☼ Small oranges, lemons, limes and/or kumquats
    ☼ Fake cranberries found in craft shop
    ☼ Cinnamon Sticks
    ☼ 30-gauge florist's wire
    ☼ Scissors
    ☼ Pine cones

    Whole fruit will last one to two weeks, possibly longer if the room is on the cool side.
    Or you can dry out the fruits prior to usage and this will last the whole season.
    To do this, slice the fruit and bake in an oven at 200 degrees to dry them (be sure to dry out on a cookie sheet, flipping them every so often) or you can dry them using a food dehydrator. Follow manufacturer's instructions on drying the fruit.

    Cover the rope with leaves by attaching them with wire. Run the wire through off center of large fruit and then back through fruit and attach to garland. Run wire up through one hollow of the cinnamon stick and back down through another hollow of the stick. Add 3 or 4 cinnamon sticks to a cluster.

    Secure the fruit to the rope leaf garland where you would like. Add the cinnamon sticks.
    Attach the cranberries throughout. Small pine cones can be added by screwing in c hooks on the bottom of the cone, and attaching them. To make it more secure and position the cones  I recommend cutting small wires and bending the wire into the shape of a U . Situate where you want the cones, slip the U shape between the garland and push both ends of the wire into the bottom of the cone, this helps hold the cone in any position you want.

    Pomegranate Door Decoration:
    Make a Pomegranate door decoration by making a ribbon loop around a door knob pushing wire through both ends of ribbon into the Pomegranate, add a nice floppy bow.

     

    Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

    All of us at LemonCitrusTree

    Citrus Garland

  • Winter Recommendations For Inside Citrus

    Winter can be hard on everything, including the trees that need to go inside for the winter.
    It is so important to have a good fertilizing program during the spring and summer months so the tree is hearty for the winter. A good fertilizing recipe is found on our blog here: http://lemoncitrustree.com/store/citrus-blog/2015/08/11/feeding-recipe-for-a-happy-tree/

    Trees taken inside for the winter can continue to be fertilized, because there is no fear of frost damage.

    Good lighting is a requirement for all citrus, and this can be daunting task when sunshine is rare in the winter months. Trees taken inside for the winter are considered to be in a partially sunny environment throughout the season.

    Citrus need FULL SUN 6-8 hours a day. Anything less than 6-8 hours of full sun, is considered partial sunshine. So a tree placed near a window that gets full sunshine a few hours, in NOT full sunshine. Any real sunshine your tree might receive in the winter can be very limited, unless you have a sunroom and that will also depend on the location of your sunroom. So a good rule is, unless you have a sunroom any sunlight your tree may receive is minimal. Without a sunroom, additional lighting will be required throughout the winter months and possibly even with a sunroom you may find you need to supplement lighting.

    My main concern is to help the winterized citrus get through the winter months, and I also tried to be conscientious of costs. I wish I could recommend a metal halide (MH) as it is the best choice for citrus, but I can’t recommend them, due to the costs involved. So my second choice ( to keep costs low) I recommend a compact fluorescent light (CFL) 5000k grow bulbs, which  is full spectrum bulb which promotes overall plant growth. This should be screwed into a reflector, so the light is directed onto the tree and not used just as a bulb in a standard lamp or overhead light. Without the reflector the light is too dissipated to be of much use.

    The lights can be purchased as a full set, bulb with reflector at http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/lights.shtml

    If you chose the above option, the reflector can take up to a 150 watt bulb, so you can increase the wattage from a 40 watt that comes with the reflector up to a 150 watt, if that is your preference.

    You can also purchase the grow bulbs through Amazon with higher wattage bulbs than what is offered with the reflector at littlegreenhouse, just be sure you also purchase a reflector. Make sure whatever reflector you buy, you don’t go beyond the wattage recommended for that reflector. Please don’t inadvertently buy a reflector that takes up to a 150 watt bulb and screw in a 200 watt bulb.

    Another choice is the  MarsHydro 2PCS Mars Ⅱ 700w LED Grow Light 320W Power Draw 5W Full Spectrum Panel. Because it is an LED light, it is a great choice and will not gouge you with a high electric bill every month. These have been found on Ebay and Amazon, just copy and paste the light in your browser.

    The grow lights should be left on a minimum of  8-12 hours at least. If the tree gets good sunshine and the sunshine is shining directly on the tree a few hours EVERYDAY, then you may be able to turn the lights off after 6 hours.

    I also recommend Dyna-Gro DYFOL008 Foliage Pro. Used during the winter months.
    Dyna-Gro is suppose to help plants thrive in low light environments and that is exactly the concern in the winter. Dyna-Gro should be used an hour BEFORE lights are turned on in the morning, at least once a month (or not more than the package directions.)

    When lighting is supplemented, turn lights out at night. Plants require day and night.

    Misting trees with a spray bottle will help with humidity, adding water to the catch tray also helps, just don’t allow the bottom of the pot to sit in standing water. If you mist the tree to add humidity, only mist about an hour before the lights are turned on, as wet leaves might cause burning.

    When watering trees in winter, keep in mind the water coming out of the tap is a lot colder in the winter. Water the tree with warm water ONLY.

    It’s important not to place the tree near a heat vent, this will dry out the tree. Turn off the vent if possible or redirect the heat away from the tree.

    If you have green leaves dropping off the tree after you have placed it inside for the winter, it is more likely a lighting issue. You will need to keep the grow lights turned on longer, or may need to up the wattage of the bulb.

    Happy Winter Growing,

    Nancy

  • Bugs on Citrus; Friend or Foe?

    Most people who see any bug in the garden automatically assume that it is a “bad bug" or harming their plants.

    It’s really important to know the difference between the good, the bad and those that aren't quite so attractive.

    I always recommend people wash their trees a few times during the summer when they fertilize, as a pest preventative.

    Washing with dawn dish soap and warm water with a washcloth helps if there is honeydew on the leaves.

    Presently I have a spider that has decided to make himself a home in my Meyer Lemon. He popped out of the thick foliage and introduced himself in late spring, when I fertilized the trees and was doing the normal washing of the trees.

    I named him Eli and decided he can stay as long as he wishes. I left Eli’s home alone and moved on to washing the other trees. Eli is protecting my tree from predatory insects.

    Interesting enough, of all my citrus trees, the one tree that Eli has taken residence in, is the healthiest of all my trees.

    I made the right decision in allowing him to stay, so he gets free room and board. I just wish the rest of his family would have joined him in moving into the trees next to him.

    Right next to Eli's tree, is a tree that had a recent visitor,  the infamous leaf miner.

    Although admittedly Eli's family may not have been able to prevent the mining operation that is ongoing,  one can hope Eli was on his toes, because no mining operation is occurring in his home.

    The little guy you allow to live, could be the best of all preventatives.

    Please make certain the bug you kill is your enemy, because predators can do a better job of protecting your investment, because they are on guard 24/7.

    Moral to the story, distinguish between Friend and Foe.
    Nancy

  • Bath Time for your Citrus Tree

    People who have talked to me about pest issues on their Citrus Trees know I’m a real fan of bathing my trees. Spraying soapy water onto a leaf is only useful if used as a biodegradable wetting agent to maximize adhesion to the leaf surface, so foliar nutrients don't just roll off the leaves.Although the soapy spray will probably drown the offending bug, it won’t fix all the issues the pest caused your tree. So I don’t recommend it.

    If you are spraying soapy water to drown the offenders, you are not fixing the massive problem of honeydew.  Honeydew is a sweet, sticky liquid that plant sucking insects excrete as they ingest large quantities of sap from a plant. Eventually, if the honeydew isn’t washed off, fungi will begin to grow which is sooty mold. Although sooty molds don’t infect plants, they can indirectly damage the plant by coating the leaves so it reduces photosynthesis,  which can stunt plant growth and cause leaf drop and in sever cases branch die-back.
    THINGS YOU WILL NEED

    • ☼ Warm Water
    • ☼ Dishpan
    • ☼ Dawn Dish Soap
    • ☼ Washcloth
    • ☼ Toothbrush
    • ☼ Ziplock Bag
    • ☼ Wide Masking Tape
    • ☼ Tanglefoot

     

    1. 1. Squirt Dawn dish soap into a dishpan with warm water, make sure your solution is nice and sudsy.
    2. 2. Pick one branch and start washing top and bottom of leaves with a wash cloth. Pay attention to the bottom of the leaf, this is where most eggs and pests will be found. Also pay attention to any distorted leaves. Some aphid species inject a toxin into plants, which causes leaves to curl and distort. Depending on the severity of the underside of the leaf determines what approach I take. Sometimes I will wash the leaf repeatedly, most the time If I find a pest and it’s distorted the leaf I will  remove the leaf and store in a ziplock bag.
    3. 3. Use toothbrush in crevices that the cloth can’t reach.
    4. 4. Once the tree is completely washed, treat top and underside of leaves with Horticultural Oil OR Neem Oil.
    5. 5. Wrap masking tape above or below the graft area, STICKY SIDE OUT.
    6. 6. Add Tanglefoot to sticky part of tape, this is a barrier to keep crawling pests from gaining an access point to your foliage.

     

    Do NOT place tree against anything where foliage is touching a railing or wall. Check tree in a week, you may have to rewash only a section. Re-apply oil to the whole tree again.

    I give my trees about 6 baths annually, because happy trees are clean trees.

    Wishing you the best success in your citrus growing!

    Nancy

  • Feeding Recipe for a Happy Tree


    How would you feel if I was in charge of your care, but I simply failed to feed you?
    How long would you expect to survive? Yet this is what happens in many cases with plants that are expected to produce.

    If you starve a tree, it will starve you.
    If you feed a tree, it will feed you.

    Citrus are heavy nitrogen feeders and nitrogen leaches out the fastest of all nutrients.
    It is important to have a good fertilizing schedule, due to the leaching of nutrients in sandy soils and the fact that citrus require high nitrogen intake. Trees simply cannot produce fruit if the tree is lacking nitrogen. When watering your Citrus many nutrients are lost. So FEED FEED FEED your trees!

     

    RECOMMENDED FERTILIZERS

          • ☼ Osmocote Flower and Vegetable Smart-Release Plant Food: twice a year.
          • ☼ Espoma Citrus Tone for Citrus and Avocado:  every 30 days (approx. 3 tsps. for a 15" pot)
            OR
            ☼ Miracle-Gro Miracid, Acid-Loving Plant Food 30-10-10: every 2 weeks to 30 days. (DO NOT USE IF YOU'RE USING ESPOMA)
          • ☼ Fertilome Concentrate Fish Emulsion Fertilizer
          • ☼ Dyna-Gro DYFOL008 Foliage Pro
          • ☼ Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix

    If you have just received your tree, then I suggest you not re-pot your tree until you have waited at least 2 weeks to insure the tree is not in shock. Re-potting is the worst thing you can do to a tree that is under stress. If your tree is having issues, DO NOT RE-POT!
    Many people make this mistake thinking they will fix a problem and end up making it worse.
    Use Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix, when you’re ready to re-pot.


     

    FERTILIZING SCHEDULE

     

    February (beginning of the fertilizing year)

        • Osmocote

     

    March through October

          • Week 1:  Espoma OR Miracle-Gro, Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
          • Week 2:  Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
          • Week 3:  Fish Emulsion, Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
          • Week 4:  Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage

     

    November

        • Osmocote

     

    December and January are rest period for trees planted in the ground, if tree is inside you can continue to feed.

    Foliar feeding is important and Dyna-Gro has 16 of the minerals essential for optimum plant growth. Using Dyna-Gro gives plants the nutrition they need. Plants take up the complete nutrient formula and foliar applications have greater mineral uptake than regular soil fertilizing.

    Foliar Application: Mix a quarter to half tsp. per gallon of water and spray directly on leaves. It is important that this is done only in the morning and sprayed on underside of leaves as well, use a biodegradable wetting agent to maximize adhesion to the leaf surface, so the nutrients don't just roll off the leaves.

    If you have any questions about fertilizing, you can reply to this blog with a comment or call us at 229-299-5555.

    Wishing you great success in your citrus growing!
    Nancy

  • Best Citrus Varieties for Indoor Growing

    By far, the Meyer Lemon is the most popular. Like all the lemons, it is easy to grow, prolific and does not need a lot of heat to ripen the fruit. The Meyer is slightly sweeter than the classic commercial varieties (Eureka). Its soft skin develops an orange hue when fruit is fully ripe, and its distinctive, mystical flavor combines lemon with a hint of tangerine. The Meyer lemon can be very productive, even indoors, and does not need a lot of heat to ripen the fruit.

    Kaffir Lime leaves are used extensively in Thai and Cambodian cooking, and zest of the fruit is an ingredient in some curry paste recipes. Keep your Kaffir lime tree close at hand in a sunny window and you'll be able to create authentic recipes year-round.

    Calamondin (Kalamansi) is a diminutive tree originating in the Philippines. It's ornamental form, fragrant blooms and small tart orange-colored fruits have made it a favorite for centuries. The sour juice of ripe fruits can be used in salad dressings and other recipes.

  • DYI Orange Slice Ornaments for Christmas

    dried-orange-slices-1Christmas is just around the corner! This is one of our favorite times of the year. To celebrate we will be running sales until Christmas, so be sure to check our Facebook for our newest coupon. Click here for a printer friendly version of this project.

    The holiday season is all about family and there is no better way to celebrate family than spending quality time with your kids. So here is a fun project that you can do with the little ones while making your house smell wonderful with the freshness of oranges.

    The ornaments also serve a practical purpose if you have cats. Cats hate the smell of citrus, so when you use these ornaments they will avoid your Christmas tree!

    Pretty Orange Slice Christmas Ornaments

    Now this recipe is not limited to just oranges, you can try this with any citrus that you have but oranges tend to have a longer lasting smell and the smell mixes well with the cinnamon used in the recipe, so good that you might be tempted to eat the ornaments!

    Here are some popular varieties used to make ornaments.

    Large Orange Varieties: Washington Navel; Valencia; Summerfield

    Medium Orange Varieties: Owari Satsuma; Red Navel "Cara Cara"; Moro Blood

    Small Orange Varieties: Clementine; Calamondin; Louisiana Sweet

    (Note: Blood Oranges keep true to the traditional red Christmas color, so if you're not too sure about putting the color orange on your tree; then you can opt for the Blood Orange instead.)

    Things you need:

    Oranges (4 Large Oranges, 6 Medium Oranges or 8 Small Oranges to provide good coverage on a 7' Christmas Tree)

    Sharp Knife (appropriate for slicing the oranges)

    Hobby or Exacto Knife

    Fabric Ribbon

    Scissors

    Paper Towel

    Ground Cinnamon or Cinnamon Oil (optional)

    Cotton Swabs (optional for use with Cinnamon)

    Glitter (optional)

    Glue (optional for use with Glitter)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

    2. Slice the oranges crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices, discard the ends. If your oranges have seeds, remove them and discard. Lay the slices on paper towel. Use paper towels to blot excess juice on the slices.

    3. Apply Cinnamon to a Cotton Swab and apply the Cotton Swab to the white rind of the orange very generously. Be sure to not get cinnamon on the actual fruit because it will darken the area which will not allow the Christmas lights on your tree to shine through the fruit. (optional)

    4. Place the orange slices directly on the oven rack for best results. You may use a cookie sheet but if you do you need to spray the orange slices very lightly with cooking spray or they will stick. Allow slices to bake in the oven for an hour.

    5. Turn down the temperature in the oven to 215. If you used a cookie sheet, you may need to flip the orange slices for even drying. Once turned, return to oven to dry for an additional two hours. Once two hours has passed check the slices for dryness. If the slices are not dry allow for more time, be sure to check the slices often. Once they are dry, allow to cool completely.

    6. Take the Hobby Knife and cut a 1/3 inch slit into each orange just under the rind.

    7. Cut a piece of Ribbon at least six inches long with your scissors and fish the ribbon through the slit you just made on the orange slice. Then tie a bow towards the two ends of the ribbon, so you have a hoop that you can use to secure the ornament on the tree.

    6. Now you can get the kids involved by decorating the orange slices.  You can glue the Glitter as suggested in this recipe or decorate any other way you like! It's best to use a very thin coat of white Elmer's glue. Be very careful to use the glue very sparingly, you don't want to rehydrate the orange slice! Silver or Gold Glitter lightly applied to the fruit of the orange gives a lovely sparkling glow when close to lights on the Christmas Tree. Be sure to allow any glue to dry completely.

    7. Decorate Your Christmas Tree!

    Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas from LemonCitrusTree!

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