When to pick oranges and tangerines

When to pick oranges and tangerines

A friend asked me how to know when to pick the tangerines from his tree. My first thought was, it’s obvious, you pick them when they taste good. But then I remembered that for some people gardening is full of rights and wrongs; he was afraid there was a correct...
Keep mulch away from tree trunks?

Keep mulch away from tree trunks?

When some people visit my yard or see photos of my trees, they spot a violation of the rules: Aren’t you supposed to keep mulch away from the trunks of your trees? (That’s my rule-breaking lime tree in the photo above.) It’s true, there’s no real benefit...
How to plant and stake an avocado tree

How to plant and stake an avocado tree

Even though I’ve planted many avocado trees, I was nervous putting in this little Jan Boyce, or JB for short (pictured on left). It is a particularly fine-tasting variety that I’d been trying to get my hands on for years. But I needn’t be too nervous. I’ve...
Hand pollinating avocados

Hand pollinating avocados

It was 95 years ago that J. Eliot Coit, who would later be called the father of the avocado industry, wrote the article “How to make the avocado tree bear.” In other words, we’ve always wished avocado trees gave us more fruit. One way to encourage production is...
What’s the best kind of avocado to grow?

What’s the best kind of avocado to grow?

This question is unanswerable in an absolute sense. For who has tasted, let alone grown, every kind of avocado? Certainly not me.  But I’m game to attack it with a more fun and more practical twist. I’m imagining that I just moved into a new house with a...