While it may not seem very “winter-y” outside yet in coastal Georgia, the season is upon us and the cold weather will be here soon. Whether or not it will stay cold is a different story! As we embrace this change in temperature, other aspects of our environment are changing, too. We’re seeing winter plants like roses and camellias blooming and our citrus trees are bearing fruit! Fresh fruit is a favorite across the board and when you get to pick it, or plant it or just look at it- it’s even better.
Currently, our office kitchen is full of the sweet, fresh aroma of oranges, tangerines and lemons. No, we didn’t head down I-95 to Florida for these citrus fruits. We picked these right here in Liberty County. Just a few miles down the road, a few nice locals with citrus trees let us come collect bags of the fruit and photograph their trees. (They thought we were a little loony for that part!)
We tend to associate citrus fruits with our neighbors to the south of us. The plants do, however, grow well in our coastal climate. Citrus plants are very versatile and can be kept as container plants or in the ground. They should be planted in areas of full sun for the best opportunity to produce fruit. We do have to mention though, that while they won’t produce fruit as well, citrus plants can survive under the shade from a Live Oak tree. The tree’s sheltering limbs will help trap warm air underneath, thus offering protection from freezing temperatures.
Our first fruit collected were satsumas. These fruits are the most successful citrus plants here on the coast and are like oranges. They handle our slightly harsher winters much better than other varieties. Satsumas are a little sweeter and easier to peel than traditional oranges. We got to collect a bag full of these thanks to a friendly local. As he stood in the tree and shook the limbs we frantically ran around underneath grabbing up what we could! Believe me even at my age, there was something still so exciting about collecting the ripe fruit up off the ground like a weird Easter egg hunt.
Tangerines also do well in our neck of the woods, being cold hardy like the satsumas. They can withstand freezes other plants may suffer under. In fact, tangerines are often too sour or bitter until early to mid- December so the chances of going through at least one freeze is high.
Meyer lemons are popular in this region of the state as they handle the cold, too. Lemons begin ripening in the late summer early fall and continue for several months. These citrus fruits are great for lemonade and home use since they typically are seedless. Are you planning a fresh pitcher of lemonade right now? We are!
So take up a hobby in the new year and plant a citrus tree in the backyard or on the porch. You could be having oranges and lemonade on Christmas next year.
-Erin Johnson, Creative & Content Manager for the Liberty County CVB
The Right Blend Blog is written by two different authors employed by the Liberty County Chamber/CVB. As we are able, we rotate weeks and each writes about our individual experiences, opinions and let our writing reflect our personalities and creativity. All content provided on The Right Blend blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.