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Mississippi Citrus

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December 30, 2018
When I moved to Mississippi I got all excited because I could grow my own citrus. In the late fall/early winter I love going out into my “citrus grove” to enjoy fresh picked home-grown fruit. Satsuma, kumquat, Meyer lemon, Oh My! Citrus are perfectly happy growing in containers. I grow mine in 25-gallon containers, in my opinion the bigger the better. Satsumas are prized for their sweet, juicy and tender flesh; and they’re pretty easy to peel, sometimes called zipper-skinned. I’m growing a couple of satsuma varieties, Brown’s Select and Owari. Owari satsuma are medium sized and start ripening earlier than other varieties and have few seeds. Brown’s Select produces larger fruit that are good for juicing. These are also mostly seedless. Every year I’m amazed how the thin branches strain at what seems their breaking point under the load of fruit. I have learned to really appreciate Meyer lemons. Unlike their grocery store, thick skinned sour cousins, Meyer lemons are thin skinned and really sweet. These are a result of a cross between a lemon and an orange that has been long lost to history. Not even 23andme can figure out the ancestry of Meyer lemon. But who cares because they’re delicious! The kumquats are just starting to color-up and in about a month will be ready for snacking. Now citrus are pretty tolerant of our winter temperatures, but need to be protected from extreme cold. Growing in containers allows me to wheel them into the garage. I horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.

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