October 3, 2015
Moving My Citrus Collection Indoors
As many of you know, I have quite a large collection of warm weather plants at my farm, including citrus trees and a vast array of other tropical specimens. Because I live in a four-season region, during colder months, it’s vital these plants move indoors, where the temperature and humidity levels can be controlled. Fortunately, I am able to keep them in high-grade greenhouses, where they can continue to thrive all year long.
This week, the forecast called for drenching rains and high winds - remnants of a hurricane. Thanks to a very strong outdoor grounds crew, the proper equipment, and some fast footwork, we moved the plants to safety before the brunt of the storms. Here are some of photos…
1 Dwarf citrus plants can be kept outdoors as long as temperatures stay above 40-degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the pending strong rains and winds, it was a scramble to get my collection indoors a couple weeks earlier than usual.
2 Before moving the plants, my citrus hoop house next to my Equipment Barn needed to be set up with the appropriate storage shelving.
4 Aside from using the center ground space for my taller container plants, I wanted three tiers of shelving on both sides of the hoop house for the shorter ones.
5 These high-quality wooden boards can withstand the weight of multiple pots.
6 My outdoor grounds crew began assembling the shelves. Here, Dawa and Ang positioned the tallest level, which was about three feet.
7 The shelves were easy to make without any nails or screws. Those logs are very secure in the gravel - they won't go anywhere.
8 One row down, and two more rows to go.
9 Here was the second level, about a foot lower than the first. Once the third and lowest level row was built in front of these, it was time to bring in the plants.
10 I examined each of the specimens and directed the crew where to place them. It became a fast moving process, which was good because the rain was on its way.
11 Tall citrus trees were placed on the gravel floor.
13 I did a little pruning too.
14 The pots were extremely heavy, and had to be moved in carefully, so their branches wouldn't be damaged, and their fruits wouldn't fall.
15 How many strong, young men does it take to remove an old plant from a pot?
16 These planters are made of specially formulated fiberglass - they're very heavy, but still much lighter than real stone.
17 Ryan and Phurba removed the roots of an old, dead planting, and prepared it for another.
18 Here we found a praying mantis egg case. This case will hatch up to 200 tiny mantises once they sense warmer weather.
19 Citrus plants dislike abrupt temperature shifts and need to be protected from chilly drafts and blazing heaters. Consider the needs of the plants when deciding where to store them indoors.
20 I am so fortunate to be able to grow citrus here in the Northeast. My potted citrus plants thrive in this temperature controlled hoop house during winter, and provide such delicious fruits.
21 In this hoop house, I also store my collections of clivia and cymbidium orchids.
22 Space filled up quickly, but there was ample room for all the plants.
23 This 'Ponderosa' citrus tree was the last pot to be stored in the hoop house. I always keep it in the front just behind the doors. This plant produces huge lemons, often up to five-pounds each!
24 All the shelves look great.
25 And, all the citrus plants are now safely tucked into the hoop house for the cold season.