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Have you ever had a sunburn?  Maybe a better question is, “Who hasn’t?”  

Well, did you know that many plants get too much as well?

I recently made a house call for a client who was worried about her newly planted citrus trees.

new citrus trees planted in pots.

Sunburned Citrus

This particular client has a large courtyard with several new citrus trees in pots.

The citrus were planted in spring and as summer progressed, the client noticed the leaves on her orange tree turning yellow.

sunburned citrus

Now yellow leaves can indicate a number of different problems.  But in this case, the diagnosis was rather simple – her citrus tree has a case of sunburn.

Here are some common signs of sunburned plants:

– The areas of the leaf that are yellow are in the center and NOT along the tips or edges.

– Often, the yellow areas begin to turn brown.

– Signs normally occur in the summer months.

– The sunburned leaves are usually located on the south and west-facing parts of the plant.

– This particular citrus tree is in an area that receives reflected, afternoon sun.

So, what can you do to prevent sunburned citrus?

In this case, the solution is simple – moving the citrus tree to another part of the courtyard that receives afternoon shade is all that is needed to prevent further sunburn damage. OR, 50% shade cloth can be used from mid-May through September.

Citrus do best when planted at least 10 – 15 ft. away from walls, which absorb the heat of the day and re-radiate it out.

Avoid planting where they get the full force of afternoon sun.

lemon tree

Well, it is that time of year again, when citrus trees are full of fruit and that includes the lemon tree at Double S Farms.

Growing up in California, we always had a lemon tree in the backyard and I kind of took them for granted.  Then I grew up and moved into my first house in Arizona, which didn’t have a lemon tree although we did have grapefruit and oranges.

I love lemon trees and will maybe plant one in our side garden next year.

You know who else likes lemon trees….. Jose, the migrating hummingbird.  Jose is a Costa’s Hummingbird and he is quite tame, letting us approach him fairly closely to take pictures.  You can read more about Jose here.

Okay, back to lemons…..I am so thankful that my mother and sister are very generous with their lemons and I frequently have more lemons then I know what to do with.

*By the way, it is time to fertilize your citrus trees, if you have not already done so this year.

In order to make the lemon harvest last longer this year in my kitchen, I filled ice cube trays with lemon juice and then put them in a ziploc bag that I keep in the freezer.  So, when I need a little lemon juice for a recipe, I just grab an ice cube or two.

I also zested the lemons and have also frozen that as well.  So, I am well prepared for cooking.

You can learn how to freeze lemon juice and zest, here.

Another thing that you can do with your lemons is to make natural air fresheners.  They really do scent the air without having to use ‘air-fresheners’ made from chemicals.  You can learn how to make your own, here.

Each year, my mother (Pastor Farmer), makes a delicious lemon cream pie.  It is very light and just so yummy.  She graciously wrote out the recipe so that I could share it with all of you.

I hope you enjoy it!

CITRUS MOUSSE

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Two 12 oz. containers of whipped topping (Cool Whip)

One 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup grapefruit juice

Beat together whipped topping and sweetened condensed milk.  Then add the lemon and grapefruit juice.

Pour into graham cracker pie crust and chill for at least 2 hours.

*This pie can be frozen and you can substitute more lemon juice for the grapefruit juice if desired. 

Okay, I know that I am terribly late in blogging about Christmas.  As a result, you will probably not be surprised that I didn’t get organized enough to send out Christmas cards this year either 😉

But, we did have a wonderful Christmas.  Much of Christmas day was spent at Double S Farms, where my mother, my sister and her family live.  

It was a beautiful day and I stole out into the garden to take photos of all that is growing….

My mother's vegetable garden is growing like crazy

My mother’s vegetable garden is growing like crazy….

We always enjoy fresh broccoli from her garden in winter.  We all love it....even the kids.

We always enjoy fresh broccoli from her garden in winter.  We all love it….even the kids.

Curly Parsley with Marigolds planted nearby to discourage pests

Curly Parsley with Marigolds planted nearby to discourage pests.

My mother makes a delicious salad using her Romaine lettuce.  I promise to share our family's special salad dressing recipe sometime soon

My mother makes a delicious salad using her Romaine lettuce.  I promise to share our family’s special salad dressing recipe sometime soon.

Lemons are ready for picking at Christmas time

Lemons are ready for picking at Christmas time.

So are the grapefruit.

So are the grapefruit…

The apple trees are almost bare

The apple trees are almost bare.

The chickens are oblivious to all the festivities

The chickens are oblivious to all the festivities.

Although their coop is decorated with a Christmas wreath

Although their coop is decorated with a Christmas wreath 😉

Wonderful Christmas, My mother's beautifully decorated table.  Notice the table gifts are decorated with a feather from the chickens

Wonderful Christmas, My mother’s beautifully decorated table.  Notice the table gifts are decorated with a feather from the chickens.

We had a wonderful day and a delicious dinner.  It was so much fun enjoying each others company and the fact that now we all live within 20 minutes of each other.

This Christmas was extra special to me because of my new granddaughter, Lily….

Wonderful Christmas

She is just so darling and makes me so happy.

Not so special was turning 46 the day after Christmas…

My nephew, Finley getting ready to help me blow out my candl

My nephew, Finley getting ready to help me blow out my candle 🙂

Although, I must say that I was so grateful to have my family all around to spend my birthday with.

I must say, that I feel pretty good being 46….so far 😉

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We are finishing up our special project that I mentioned earlier.  This project is for my mother’s 70th birthday, which is coming up this week.  I can’t wait to share it with you all once we are done!

I hope you are having a good week.

January GBBD – Winter Flowers in the Garden…

Growing up, we had a lemon tree in our backyard in California.  I loved to be able to go outside and just pick lemons whenever we needed them.  As an adult, I must admit that of all the different kinds of citrus trees – lemon are my favorite.  Our first home in Phoenix came with two mature citrus trees in the back garden….grapefruit and orange, but sadly no lemon trees.  We did plant one, but moved a year later and so did not get to enjoy any lemons.

Cannot wait for fresh lemonade

Cannot wait for fresh lemonade

We have lived in our current home for over 10 years and we have no fruit trees growing in the garden (I may be changing that soon).  We have been blessed by the residents of Double S Farms (my mother, my sister and her family) who have many different types of fruit trees and they share their bountiful harvests with us.  The best part is that they have a large lemon tree and I get to use all the lemons that I need.

Right now, the lemon tree is covered in green fruit that will soon ripen.  Can you see the lemons?

Cannot wait for fresh lemonade

For healthy citrus trees and delicious fruit, a regular fertilization program is needed.  They need to be fertilized three times a year….Feb/Mar, May and Aug/Sept.  You can use either a regular citrus fertilizer or you can go the organic route and use an organic citrus fertilizer.

If you have not already fertilized your citrus trees, now is the time.  You can read more about citrus and their needs in my post from last September if you like.

Cannot wait for fresh lemonade

Soon these green lemons will turn yellow and then it will be time to pick them…..

lemons

One of my favorite things to do with lemons is to juice them and freeze the juice for later use throughout the year.  Right now, my frozen lemon juice is running pretty low.  I cannot wait for new lemons and my kids cannot wait for fresh lemonade 🙂

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend.

I am getting ready to seed my vegetable garden today 🙂