Satsuma

There is always something to grow and something to harvest in our Gulf Coast gardens — even during the month of December. Whether you are an enthusiastic citrus grower or just interested in tasting an array of locally grown citrus fruit, plan to attend the 2017 Upper Gulf Coast Citrus Tasting & Seminar to be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, at the County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park.

William M. Johnson/Courtesy

When you think of citrus, images of grapefruits, lemons, limes, and oranges are most likely to come to mind. It’s unfortunate that the citrus you see in the supermarket represents a very small portion of the variety of citrus that can be grown locally.

I grew up in Virginia and my parents traditionally ordered two boxes of citrus for consumption by the family over the Christmas holiday season — there was one box of oranges and another box of grapefruits.

Fast forward to the present and my Christmas holidays in Texas still have a citrus presence with two important exceptions: 1. I now get to experience many more types of citrus and 2. all of my holiday citrus are homegrown thanks to many of my friends who grow citrus and the two rather productive citrus plants in my backyard.

A greater diversity of citrus types can be grown here than is available on the commercial market. Not surprisingly, homegrown citrus is of superior quality compared to supermarket fruits.

Area gardeners grow a remarkably wide variety of citrus ranging from grapefruits to kumquats to lemons to oranges.

Many types of citrus are easier to grow than many “traditional” fruit trees such as peaches. Many residents grow citrus not only for the fruit but also for the ornamental value that trees provide to the landscape.

Now visualize one of several types of citrus trees that you can grow in your yard to produce homegrown fruit to give as a distinctive and personal gift to family, neighbors and other friends. Sound too good to be true? Are you interested in sample-tasting an array of locally grown citrus fruit? Are you interested in learning about the basics of growing your own citrus?

Whether you are an enthusiastic citrus grower or just interested in tasting an array of locally grown citrus fruit, plan to attend the 2017 Upper Gulf Coast Citrus Tasting & Seminar program Tuesday, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The program will be conducted at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Offices located in Carbide Park at 4102-B Main Street (FM 519) in La Marque.

Citrus grown by local gardeners will be available for taste-testing starting at 6:30 p.m. At 7:15 p.m., Monte Nesbitt, Texas A&M extension specialist in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at College Station, will provide a PowerPoint presentation titled “Growing Citrus on the Gulf Coast.” The Citrus Tasting & Seminar program is free-of-charge but preregistration is requested (call 281-309-5065 or email galvcountymgs@gmail.com) to ensure adequate availability of fruits and seminar handouts.

Upcoming Seminars

• Turning Dirt Into Soil: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday. Galveston County master gardener Jim Gilliam will explain the difference between dirt and soil, soil structure and characteristics, pH, nutrients, sources and strategies for soil amendment, soil testing and cultural practices. He will emphasize how to improve your existing soil. Location: Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Preregistration required (phone 281-309-5065 or email galvcountymgs@gmail.com) to ensure adequate availability of seminar handouts.

• Growing Tomato Transplants From Seed: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Dec. 9. Galveston County master gardener Ira Gervais will provide a presentation on seed variety selection and the care needed to have the tomato varieties of your choice ready to transplant to the garden in February for a bountiful crop of the tasty tomatoes. Location: Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Seating is limited and preregistration required (phone 281-309-5065 or email galvcountymgs@gmail.com) to ensure adequate availability of seminar handouts.

• Journey of Two Frugal Master Gardeners — Plant Propagation For Beginners: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 9. Propagating plants is an inexpensive and easy way to get new plants from many of the plants you already have. Galveston County master gardeners Nancy Langston-Noh and Brenda Slough will provide a presentation that will explore the varied types and techniques of plant propagation for you to discover which type(s) will best fit your gardening needs. Location: Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Seating is limited and preregistration required (phone 281-309-5065 or email galvcountymgs@gmail.com) to ensure adequate availability of seminar handouts.

William M. Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County Office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

(1) comment

Gary Miller

In the 70's a fellow employee at UCC grew a Myer lemon that was sweeter and jucier than any orange or grapefruit I ever ate. Freezes in later years killed his tree and killed the two Myer lemons I tried to grow. Milder winters lately might make this citris a good choice.
I have planted tomato seed in flats as early as mid December with great results when transplanted outdoors in January. To protect them from cold weather I watered them heavy and used 5 gallon buckets to cover them. Was eating vine ripe Beefsteak and Roma starting in Feb. By March was giving away over production.

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