How Does My Orange Grow?

I am excited to report that my single orange is still thriving. The summer months have kept it happily growing along with a bi-weekly dose of Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer. You can order this directly from Neptune’s Harvest, but if you want it in a smaller size check out your local hardware store (mine came from Lowe’s).

Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer

Back to my mighty orange, and it is certainly mighty.

The orange still on my tree.
Photo taken June 4, 2019
Photo taken July 17, 2019
Photo taken August 21, 2019

As you can see from the series of photos that it is growing like a champ! The fruits’s skin texture has gone from a very shiny, lime green to a rougher surface and a deeper shade of green. I am looking forward to seeing it start to change from green to orange.

The tree’s leafs are a bit odd. I’m not quite sure what to make of them. It is as if I have two different trees coming out of the same trunk rather than a hybrid.

The “old growth” (left) are leaves from when I originally bought it, and the “new growth” (right) is what came in since it has been home.

The old growth image on the left shows the leaves are wide and somewhat flat, whereas the image on the right shows the leaves as much more narrow with a bit of curl. In addition the old growth leaves are pointed at the tip and the new growth have rounder tips.

I have seen apple trees that were grafted to have multiple types of apples on a single tree and I am wondering if this is the same thing.

I did look around online and the two species have similar shaped leaves although the grapefruit leaf is larger than the orange. It also looks like the orange leaves can vary. I’m no expert, but I have to wonder if the leaves are a little stunted due to the altitude? I am curious if the tree was originally grown at a much lower altitude (I’m at 6,000 ft), would that make all the newer leaves smaller? If you are knowledgeable in this area please let me know. You can share your wisdom in the comments.

Until next time, please share your fruit growing experiences with us. Leave a comment or share my story.

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Monarch Lake, Colorado

Hiking Monarch Lake Trail and Cascade Falls Trail

Monarch Lake trail system has several options to choose from to satisfy any hiker. Monarch Lake Trail is an easy 4.2 mile hike that winds around the circumference of the lake. The single track trail is mostly flat with a few rocky stretches. Perfect for even the youngest hiker. On leash Dogs are welcome, but remember to pack enough water for you and your fury friends.

Monarch Lake

Close to the half-way point along Monarch Trail, you can either go all the way around the lake, turn back, or head off to the left, onto Cascade Falls Trail. If you take Cascade Falls Trail, you are in for a hard hike (8.8 miles round trip including the Monarch Lake Trail portion), but the top of the trail is so worth it. Depending on how far you actually go, this trail accesses Crater Lake (7.3 miles), Gourd Lake (7.3 miles) and Pawnee Pass (8.7 miles) where there are areas for camping.

The trail head for Monarch Lake is the beginning of several trails.

We hiked up Cascade Falls Trail and the ascent started right off. As I said before, this trail is rated difficult and I agree that going up is quite a challenge. The altitude gain is enough to warrant a hot air balloon filled with spare oxygen. We are in good physical condition, and by the time we got back down to the base we were well worn. If you are not, know your limits. You have to get all the way back to the car so turn around before you are exhausted.

The hike up follows Cascade Creek. Depending on the time of year, the creek can be swollen with snow melt, or tumbling over the rocks later in the summer. Today the creek ran pretty high so we were treated to sections of wild running rapids (nothing to ride a tube down!).

There were plenty of spots to rest along the way, most above the creek, but still within earshot of the roar. We enjoyed three stops along the way. One was a little perch above the creek and another was creek-side. We initially thought this might be Cascade Falls. Out of curiosity, we continued up the trail and were rewarded with the falls. You will cross two bridges on your way up to the falls. Once you cross the second one you are getting pretty close. At least within a half mile.

Taking a break at the top of Cascade Falls.

There are essentially two sections to the falls. One spot to view them is near the base of the falls themselves and the other on top. We rested on top for about an hour before we trekked back.

If you happen to do this hike, keep an eye out for a pair of women’s prescription glasses. I discovered I lost them about a mile down the trail. We went back up (adding about 2 miles to our hike) to look for them, but I fear they landed in the river at some point.

Monarch Lake’s trail system is fairly easy to get to from either Granby or Grand Lake. You will be in the Arapaho National Wilderness Area and will need a day pass. Bikes are not allowed on these trails.

Be ready for a thick layer of dust on your car. It’s a 10 mile drive on a dirt road. The parking lot is on the small side. It accommodates maybe 40 or 50 cars, but there is plenty of space to park along the road as well. This is a popular area to hike in so get there early to find a spot to park. We arrived in the afternoon (on a Saturday) and were lucky to get on of the last spots.

Directions: From Granby turn north onto U.S. Highway 34, travel approximately six miles to County Road (CR) 6. Turn east onto CR 6 (Arapaho Bay Road/NFSR 125), and drive 10 miles to the parking area.

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Granby Ranch, Colorado

Hiking Vista Ridge Trail

This trail at the top of Granby Ranch ski mountain, is an easy path that winds through the forest with a number of opportunities for breath taking vistas. When I hiked this trail I was also treated to many wildflowers. This trail is rated as “easy” and I agree with that rating. There are a couple of uphill/downhill challenges, but nothing too difficult. For the most part it is a smooth trail, but there are some rocky spots. Nothing that will twist an ankle though.

Getting to the trail head is as simple as riding the Quick Draw Express chairlift to the top. The ride up and back down was only $10.00. Once at the top just walk

Top of Quick Draw Express Chairlift

Top of Quick Draw Express chairlift.

off the lift and go straight. Make a quick stop at the trail map to get familiar with where you are going. The trails are well marked, but it is always smart to be prepared. Better yet, grab a map before you head up on the lift.

Your first stop is a wonderful view of Arapaho National Park.

vista of Arapaho National Forest

Set up your tripod to view soaring eagles or an easel to paint the beauty.

It is hard to turn away from such a vista, but this is just the beginning of the trail. From here just follow the trail markers and follow Vista Ridge Trail. Stay on the single track to wind through the forest. There are plenty of photo opportunities to be had on this trail. Look for a wide variety of wild flowers including Colorado’s State Flower; the columbine.

Colorado State Flower - Columbine

Columbine, the Colorado State Flower

You can branch off of Vista Ridge at any point and hike down to the base, or do an out-and-back hike. I suggest branching off at Nature’s Way if you are hiking to the base which will cut off to the right before you reach the first kiosk. If you do the out-and-back you will find two kiosks along the trail that you can take a look at the map. The second kiosk is about one and a half miles from the top of the lift. This is a good point to turn around and head back.

Hiking around Granby Ranch can be a little tricky due to the fact that most of the trails are shared with mountain bikes. If you decide to do Vista Ridge Trail be on the look out. The bikers are usually considerate of their two footed trail mates, but keep your eyes and ears peeled for the few that are having too much fun. I was lucky in that I only came across a couple of bicyclists and a few hikers. Otherwise I spent the entire hike walking, taking pictures, and listening to the birds.

Granby Ranch is 86 miles from Denver, Colorado. Head west on I-70 and exit at Colorado Hwy 40 toward Empire/Winter Park. Before you drop down into Winter Park, make a stop at Berthoud Pass to take a break. It’s worth it. After passing through Winter Park, Fraser, and Tabernash, look for Granby Ranch a couple of miles before you get into the town of Granby (on the right). The base is only a mile from the highway.

 

 

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Hail is in the Bag

One of the growing hazards here in suburbs of Denver (and all of the Colorado region) is hail. We can be pummeled with golf ball sized ice balls that shatter windshields, destroy crops, and bury gardens. Hail comes with the intense afternoon thunderstorms that roll through here in June and July. I have watched it pile up like a blizzard and destroy plants in a matter of seconds.

So far, for my location anyway, the hail hasn’t been too bad (I am knocking on wood as I write this). The orange tree I am growing is now living outside along with the lime tree my daughter potted. Recently, we had a storm and I brought in my orange tree, but the pot for her lime tree is too big for one person to handle so it had to stay outside. Luckily the damage was very minimal with just one leaf with a hole knocked in it.

Hail damage to lime tree leaf.

The other day I was out doing errands when huge, black, storm clouds came rumbling in and I wasn’t able to bring my tree inside like I usually would. My imagination pictured my orange tree decimated and the single orange smashed to the ground. Thankfully, it was just my imagination. When I returned home, we didn’t have a drop of rain and the orange still hung happily from the branch.

The orange still on my tree.

Because I have just a single orange I, like any good plant mom, want to protect it from our nasty spring weather. But how? After much thought I came up with a plan. I don’t know how well it will work, but it was the only thing I could come up with. I bagged it.

I hope this will protect it from hail damage. Time, and the next storm, will tell. I also hope that it will prevent any squirrels, raccoons, or other sneaky creatures from nibbling on the fruit once it gets to that delicious stage. One can only hope.

Do you have any experience growing a potted orange tree? Add any tips you have learned in the comments.

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How Do My Oranges Grow?

I am on a new growing experiment.  Orangelos, are a cross between an orange and a grapefruit. They purportedly are a sweet flavored grapefruit and easy to grow in a pot. Because I live in a winter to summer climate, I couldn’t grow it outdoors so a pot was necessary. I did a little research on how to feed and care for an orange tree before I bought it to be sure I purchased one that did well in a pot. I bought it this past fall so it wintered by the back door where it got a lot of sun, but stayed warm inside.

This spring it blossomed. Not only are the blossoms beautiful, but they smell wonderful. My kitchen and living room were the best places to be while there were flowers. I was so excited to see so many flowers that I thought I would have a huge orange crop too.

Orange Blossom

This is just one of the many blossoms.

It pushed out about 20 of these little fruits.

Tiny orange fruit

See the little green ball on the right and at the bottom edge of the frame?

I knew that not every blossom would produce fruit, but I did hope for at least 5-10 orangelos. Unfortunately, all but one fell off. This last little one has been hanging on and it is my hope it continues to grow.

Last surviving orange.

This is the last one. As of this posting, it is about 2x larger than any of the others I lost.

I will keep you posted on how well this one does. Maybe I will be able to enjoy one single orange later this year.

What about you? Have you ever tried to grow fruit in a pot? What lessons did you learn along the way? Leave your comments. We love comments!

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How Does My Garlic Grow? Time to Harvest

In December 0f 2017 I started four cloves of garlic in a pot on my windowsill. Now, ten months later, I think I will harvest my crop of three sprigs. I did pull the fourth one a couple of months ago to see where it had gotten as far as the number of cloves. I was a little disappointed to see that it looked more like a green onion than a garlic. So, I left the final three to grow for another few months.

Garlic plant before harvest

 

Today, I decided it was time to pull it all up. I read a number of articles last year, when I started this project, that stated it would take about 9 months for cloves to form. The greens did grow quickly, but the cloves? Well, not so much. After a little bit of careful pulling I found the plant to be quite root bound.

Root Bound Garlic

I suppose this isn’t too surprising because of how fast they grew and the size of the pot. Add to the fact that they grew much too close to one another it all resulted in what looks like green onions.

Garlic peeled to reveal root

After peeling back the outer layers I found a beautiful white core and a strong aroma of garlic. Although these beauties were not segmented into cloves, I’m still very happy. If the smell is any indicator of the flavor then these will be a successful first attempt at growing garlic.

For next time? The cloves will be started in a pot, but they will mature in the ground. Garlic seems to need the room that my pot could not provide.

Do you grow garlic? Share your tips for success in the comments.

Until next time!

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How Does My Garlic Grow? June Update

I am most excited that not only is my garlic still alive, but it is doing really well too. Yeah me! I took these photos today. Aren’t these guys looking great?

If you browse back to my post from 3-16-16 and compare the photos you can see that today the garlic has grown quite a bit. The photo on the right also shows a bulb forming. I moved the pot outside earlier in the season, and it really took off. Fresh air and sunshine does a soul (and garlic) good.

It will be a couple of months before full bulbs form. After reading up on the subject it takes about 9 months from sprout to bulb. I planted the sprouting bulbs back in December so there is still a month or two to go before I can pull them up. Interestingly, the one on the right that is set apart from the others is a bit bigger. It must have more room to stretch. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next year’s crop.

Have you ever tried to grow garlic? I’d love to hear about your successes and challenges.  Until next time.

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The Universe

I believe in the idea that there are powers greater than ourselves keeping tabs on the ebb and flow of our existence. This energy could be called Karma, God, Allah, or, as I like to refer to it, the Universe. I can’t really say if our lives are drawn out for us beginning at conception, or if it is decided as we go along, but I do believe that when we need something, truly need something, we are graced with the gift from the Fates.

It is these small things that are given that have convinced me that there is something more out there than meets the eye and we are given what we need, when we need them in order to get through life. Some of the gifts are small, and some might be hard, but each and every challenge we face brings us to exactly where we need to be for the  next step in our lives.

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How Does My Garlic Grow?

Several months ago I posted that I was growing some garlic for the first time. Believe it or not, it’s still alive. I am the first to admit my brown thumb when it comes to plants that are needy. Thankfully garlic is not one of those kinds of plants. I have been told that the bulbs take awhile to grow, so I am not ready to yank one out to see how it is growing. With my luck all four of them would come out and I’d have to start over. Until I pull them out, here are a few photos of how fast it grew.

My first post was back in December and the photo there shows the plants just peaking out from under the dirt (taken December 2). Within a week the sprouts were already an inch tall, and by the 13th they grew to 4 or 5 inches.

December 13, 2017

 

January 8, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 15, 2018

It doesn’t look much different today than from this photo from back in March. The leaves still look scraggly, and deformed but I am hoping the goodness below the soil is beautiful.

I’ll keep you updated on my success or failure growing my first batch of garlic.

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A few Thoughts on Retirement

I am doing my 20’s for the third time so I am getting closer to “that age” for retirement. In my opinion, retirement is a thing that died out with pensions and my parent’s generation. I know, not the entire generation is gone. My mother is the last in my family from her generation. It is the Baby Boomers who are now retiring. Or, trying to. I think the word may, one day, fall into disuse being categorized by the dictionary as archaic.

I do not feel I will ever stop working unless I drop by death, stroke, heart-failure, or some other malaise that ties me down. It’s just not in my DNA. I get restless if I don’t have a job. But, I do keep it real….I’m strictly a part-timer and I keep my calendar open for long vacations. I still have to visit the Isle of Man, New Zealand, Australia, and most of Europe. Visiting farmer’s markets in every state? Now THAT’S a great idea!!

What does retirement look like for you?

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This post inspired by a friend of mine who posted her thoughts on retirement. I ended up writing a reply that was nearly as long as her post.

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