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Updated: Sep 1, 2021

When we moved to Springfield we got pretty much everything we were looking for in a property.

One surprising absence was any citrus trees. Even the 80 year old original farm house didn’t have a single lemon tree.

In the three years since we have planted around 30 citrus trees;

Oranges, lemons, mandarin, lemonade, grapefruit and a range of limes including native finger and blood limes.

At our old home, “Jamberoo Valley Farm”, we had an abundance of citrus trees including 200 native blood limes we'd planted and a number of locally famous Naval and Valencia oranges that we and many of our neighbours feasted off.

As we planted the new trees here, the hardest thing over recent years has been removing 90% of the flowers and 100% in the first year to divert energy into the tree branches and roots. But it’s paid off in our third year and out trees are flourishing, even the potted ones.

Citrus trees enjoy well draining slightly acidic soil in a north facing warm sunny spot. Each year around this time I give the trees a handful of blood and bone and a drink of potash and a little iron sulphate. Every six weeks from Spring to Autumn they get a handful of a poultry based aged manure or an organic based citrus food. Citrus trees are very hungry.

Young trees are best planted anytime from Autumn to Spring, you usually see flowers late winter to Spring with most fruit ripening late summer although some varieties fruit throughout the year. Citrus needs regular watering and a well drained soil and because of the shallow feeder roots they benefit from mulching, I use Whoflungdung.

Disease and bugs can be a problem. Stink bugs need to be hand removed and don’t forget to wear glasses they are dead shots and your eyes are there target. Most other bugs like scale, mites and citrus leaf minor can be kept under control with a regular spray of Eco Oil and Eco Neem, from Spring to Autumn. A regular organic liquid feed will be quickly absorbed through the foliage if sprayed early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Good liquid feeds have a range of micro nutrients critical for healthy growth and fruit development and is particularly beneficial for citrus in pots.

Early morning we have a lemon juice and warm water, Shannon’s suggestion for a great start to the day for your gut, and we finish the day with a lime or lemon in our pink rhubarb and ginger Gin as the sun sets over Life at Springfield.

Farmer Pete.

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