It has been quite a while since I have updated my blog! I am attempting to discipline myself to write again. There is so much to write about that at times I feel I can’t choose a topic, so I have decided just to plunge ahead with whatever comes to mind first!
It is definitely springtime here in Baja! Our weather is beautiful. We had a brief shower this morning and the sun has come out, luring me out the door to walk around the garden.
My spring bulbs have started blooming and the freesias that I planted a few years ago along my entry walk are perfuming the air. I always have to stop and cut a few to bring into the house because I love their scent! They are so reliable here, multiplying and returning each year. They disappear completely during our warm, dry summers and sometimes I forget where I have planted them. On occasion, we have moved an entire garden (we think) only to be surprised the next spring with random freesias blooming where we have forgotten them.
A hallmark of our Baja spring is that our citrus trees ripen their fruit and begin blooming with next year’s crop. A citrus tree in full bloom is a heady experience, indeed! Those tiny white blossoms are amazingly fragrant! The sight of a citrus tree filled with ripe fruit and white blossoms is a real showstopper!
To achieve the perfect color for an orange is an interesting phenomenon. Different types of citrus have varying degrees of sensitivity to low temperatures. Our oranges love our summer warmth but don’t need desert high temperatures. To get the beautiful orange color they actually need cooler nights, around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few nights the oranges will turn their true color. If they hang on the tree too long after the nighttime temperatures rise, they will turn green again, in a process appropriately called “regreening”. The inside stays orange, but the peel becomes partially green again.
The first year we grew oranges, we weren’t sure when they were ripe and actually left the fruit on until the next crop turned orange! The first crop was really strange inside; kind of coarse, pale and tasteless. It is a lot easier to tell when our Minneola tangelos are ripe! The fruit turns orange and develops its telltale “neck” at the top of the fruit. It is easiest by far to tell when our Mexican limones, or Key limes, are ripe. The trees drop the beautiful yellow fruits to the ground!
I feel very lucky to live in an area where the occasional rain is a treat and I can garden all year around. I can step out my front door and pick a perfectly ripe orange and enjoy the “fruit of my labor”!