Last Friday Joe Floyd of Abundant Edible Landscapes came out to prune all of the citrus trees in the back yard. The trees have possibly never been pruned, ever, and they were terribly tall and overgrown. This is a good before and after picture- the tree on the right is before. The tree on the left is after. There was a brief collieshangie when my elderly neighbor, convinced Joe was going to kill the trees, called my landlady, who had to drive over to see what was going on. Joe calmed everyone’s fears quickly, calmly, and professionally.
Branch after branch fell, covered in fruit. More fruit was knocked down with the falling branches. I worked on other tasks outside with him- planting seeds, pulling weeds, re-potting plants- staying out of his way. Finally he starting trimming the kumquat tree and I couldn’t stand it any more. I got out my big canning pot, sat down on the patio, and started picking ripe fruit off of the cut branches.
Buckets and buckets of tangelos, tangerines, huge ripe satsumas, hamlin juicing oranges, and a multitude of kumquats. An almost-overwhelming bounty and I was determined not to waste any of it. What can you do to use up hundreds of oranges in just a few days? I gave away two paint buckets of satsumas the next day and put my daughter and her friends to work cutting up and seeding kumquats. I invited friends to come over and take home oranges. Sunday afternoon I juiced two and a half paint buckets full of hamlins and navels. It took two hours and gave me two gallons of juice, which went straight into the deep freeze. I now have an appreciation for orange juice I’ve never had before.
The nice peels got set aside for candied orange peel. The yucky peels filled an entire bucket back up. Thankfully some friends came over just when my hands were giving out and helped clean the inside of the peels, wipe them off, and slice them into strips. I tried kumquat marmalade again but it never gelled so I ended up with kumquats in syrup. I added a bunch of fresh ginger cut in matchstick strips, poured it into jars, and put the jars in the fridge to give away. Those strips were par-boiled twice and then bagged and put in the fridge for candying later this week, along with the other 4 pounds of cut up kumquats for my second attempt at marmalade. Stay tuned!
The pile of cut branches reaches the roof of the house, but I refused to let Joe haul them away. I have begged, pleaded, bribed, and paid outright for yards and yards of chipped mulch I need to cover this sand… and here’s a huge pile of organic matter? No waste= renting a big chipper/shredder this weekend and chipping it all myself. That pile of branches is going to be the basis for my next compost pile.