SGV Tribune

How to ensure you’ll have sweetest homegrown citrus

Here’s what to do in the garden this week.

1. Feed citrus trees again – the third of four annual feedings for mature citrus trees. We apply high-nitrogen citrus food about every six weeks in the first half of the year – in late January, mid-March, late April and mid-June. Apply four cups of ammonium sulfate, or two overflowing cups of ammonium nitrate, or 1.5 cups of urea, each time you feed your trees.

2. Remember to get the sweetest-possible home-grown oranges and other citrus fruits be sure to apply micronutrients, such as “Grow More Citrus Grower Blend” or “Tru-Green Citrus Growers Mix,” because Southern California soils are notoriously low in micronutrients, as well as nitrogen. These products are available from many garden centers, nurseries and home-improvement centers. Twice-a-year applications – sprinkled on dry and watered in, or mixed with water and sprayed directly onto foliage – make a fabulous difference in the sweetness of oranges – and fruits of all kinds. Use at least in spring and again in fall, or more often in accordance with instructions on the label.

3. Prune Euryops (the yellow daisy shrub) as needed after the first major flowering of the year so the plants stay compact and shapely. One type has glossy deep green foliage, and another form has grayish foliage. Cut plants back about half way. Also prune spring-blooming climbing roses and hybrid English roses immediately after flowering to control their size and yield more beautiful flowers next season.

4. Harvest home-grown asparagus spears from plants over two years old. Cut spears below ground level as they lengthen but before the heads begin to branch out. Continue for several weeks until newest spears are pencil thickness or less, then let them grow out for the summer. Feed asparagus generously and water frequently.

5. Plant summer annuals and groundcovers. Campanula poscharskyana is a low-growing evergreen groundcover that prefers shade or filtered sunlight and blooms in spring with heavy clusters light blue inch-wide stars. Most of the year it is under three inches high but flower clusters may rise to a billowy eight inches for a short while. Add sea lavender, or perennial statice, Limonium perezii, for another beautiful shade of blue in the garden. It blooms throughout spring, summer and fall, sometimes even through winter as it did this past season.