Citrus and Fig Update – plus Protect Your Deck from Grill Ash

In the tropical, keep ’em winterized indoors department, I got a new grapefruit sapling, and three baby fig “trees” that are less than sapling in size.  I live in Zone 5b, so these definitely need at the very least, a greenhouse for winter.

citrus, grapefruit, growing

Grapefruit flowers and a couple little pollinators.

So, my citrus tree list is:

  • Australian Finger Lime:  Nothing seems to be fruiting on this one.  Last year it had many flowers, this year not so many.  I really want to eat more of this lovely fruit!  There are some new branches but things are happening slowly here.
  • Blood Orange:  Not much happening here.  Not much happened last year, either.  It’s green.  That’s good…
  • Grapefruit:  It came with a grapefruit trying to develop, but that dropped off.  On the positive side, it has LOADS of flowers!  The season is not too late (especially since these plants come indoors around mid-late October) for fruit to develop.
  • Thai / Kefir Lime:  Lots of flowers and lots of incipient fruit.  Never mind that it is the leaves that are the attraction, if this thing delivers on limes, I will find some use for them, bitter as they may be!

    growing, kefir lime, thai lime, citrus

    Thai (kefir) lime with lots of little fruit. The ones over to far left are ahead on development. Lots of new foliage growth, too.

  • Bearss Lime:  This is your general supermarket lime.  I have many flowers, and one developing fruit that is getting to a good size.  Limes will eventually go to yellow if allowed to ripen that far, so I think I’ll wait to judge it’s ripeness by seeing even just a tinge of yellow.  And, maybe some of the other flowers will develop fruits, too.
growing, bearss lime, citrus

Bearss lime tree, with lime and flower. Also, note the two lowest branches. I cut them off immediately after, these are from the rootstock the plant was grafted onto, and will suck energy from the parts of the plant you want. (Had to do that last year, too.)

As far as the figs go, my Chicago Hardy fig went dormant and dropped all its leaves last winter.  It’s a thing, I discovered, in researching this plant.  This spring it sent out two branches and put three leaves apiece on those branches… it looks gawky.  It told me that if I took a photo, it would disown me.  And like there will be a few more years before I can even anticipate fruit.  I will transplant it into a bigger pot come late autumn, when the leaves will drop again anyway.  PS, his name is Figgy Stardust (I am not in the habit of naming my plants, but in this case, I  just couldn’t resist…)

The two new figs are:

  • Celeste Fig: Still small.
  • Texas Everbearing Fig:  Also still small.

There was a third one, but it rapidly decided to move to the fig heaven in the sky.  They were part of a special deal.  The two survivors will get transplanted again this autumn, too.

Oh, that olive tree?  Didn’t make it through winter, even indoors.  May try one again in a few years.

At any rate, come the Zombie Apocalypse, I’m nowhere near ready to depend on my citrus crop for any necessary Vitamin C in my diet.

potted citrus, growing, citrus, zone 5

Back deck faces due south, which the citrus thrive on. From left to right: 2 little figs, Finger lime, blood orange, grapefruit. The other two citrus trees are down further on the deck. PS: this is Zone 5.

Final note for today:

My Weber grill is now set up.  And I made a way to deal with the charcoal chimney on the wooden deck.  It’s almost too pretty to use!

I’d been wondering how to handle my new grill on a brand new deck.  At my old home, the grill had been on the porch, and I set the charcoal chimney off the patio, on a flat 15″ x 15″ stone.  This wasn’t going to work here, as there’s a drop off.  (Lighter fluid instead?  P – U!  I don’t need to smell that stuff.)

homesteading, charcoal chimney, deck protection

Weber, ash mat, and charcoal chimney set-up

So, anyhow, a random find at Ocean State Job Lot (gotta love that store!) is a mat for under your charcoal grill to catch — ashes.  So they don’t turn your deck dingy.  This is fire-retardant but NOT fire proof, btw!!!  It was long enough for me to come up with a plan.

I hit Home Depot and collected some bricks and arranged them for cooking.  I didn’t want any of the 35 pound or heavier things, for ergonomic reasons – I can lift that, but I don’t want to have to do it as dead weight from floor level more than I need to.  So, I got the little bricks and topped that with a 17 pound pathway “stone”.

By the way, every home should have at least one fire extinguisher.  Right now I have two, one in the kitchen and one in the basement.  I will be picking up a third for the garage.  Learn how to use them (there are videos) before you need to use them.  (AND learn how to cut your losses and run if you have to.)

citrus, growing, Thai lime, Kefir lime

Again with the Thai lime.

And, another citrus photo…

FYI:  You can now follow me on Pinterest.  I now have several boards there, about food, poultry, house design and architecture, and homesteading.  Drop on in and explore!

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About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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9 Responses to Citrus and Fig Update – plus Protect Your Deck from Grill Ash

  1. Your citrus grove is on its way! I have a regular lime tree and Meyer lemon tree in half wine barrels on my deck but after 5 years I think the lemon tree would be happier in the ground. I have kefir lime envy, I haven’t found one in California because of fear of pests. Your new deck is lovely.

  2. I love bee pictures and you photographed two of them! A friend gave me a fig plant once and it didn’t do so well – too much shade…

  3. Wish I could grow citrus. They all croaked on me. I suspect from scale infestation. My current fig (#4), though, manages to stay alive and has given me 3 ripe figs so far, 1 last year and 2 this summer! Remember you’ll be cohosting this weekend with Jhuls.

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