Where to find citron seeds, gardening information
Q I would like to plant some citron, but none of my seed catalogs lists it. Do you know where I might find some? Two fruits are used for citron. Citrus medica has 6- to 10-inch oblong, lemon-yellow, rough, thick-skinned fruit borne on a small tree or shrub with short spines. The fruit is fragrant. Unlike other citrus, the pulp is very scant.
The citron melon is a variety of watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris, variety citroides). It has hard, white flesh, with little resemblance to true watermelon. It must be cooked before it can be made into preserves or candied fruit.
We assume it is citron melon that you want. Seeds are available from Nichols Garden Nursery, 1190 North Pacific Highway, Albany, Ore. 97321.
Q Even though our iris bed is in full sun and good soil, it hasn’t bloomed well for several years. Each spring the leaves appear to have some kind of brown spotting, especially along the edges. I have sprayed with Zineb, but the infestation does not seem to disappear completely.
Iris beds bloom best if they are divided regularly, about every three years, and if they are kept free of debris (which encourages borers). Also, the rhizomes should be above the soil in a sunny location.
You may have leaf spot, which the Zineb is probably controlling. Most likely, yours have borers, and they probably need dividing.
Eggs are laid on the bases of stalks and in debris in the fall. In spring, young larvae crawl up the leaves and enter, making pinpoint holes, later causing ragged leaf edges as they eat their way down inside.
Most areas become water-soaked looking and brownish. As they get to the rhizomes, the borers grow fatter and eat their way inside, often causing rot and complete destruction.
Control: Watch for holes and squeeze, running your thumb and forefinger up and down the leaf. Lift iris after bloom and cut out grubs and any rotted portion. Then dust with Benlate. Sprinkle a handful of bonemeal around each clump just before and soon after bloom.
Q I’ve just moved to New England and have space for a garden. I would like to grow vegetables and some small fruit. Being a novice, I don’t even know where to look for information. Should I go to the public library?
The public library would have many garden books, while your county Cooperative Extension Service would have specific information for your area. They are a link between residents and the state agricultural college and would be able to give you a list of bulletins available on a large number of garden topics. Also, they may be offering courses in gardening.
You might also contact arboretums and garden centers in your locale for services and courses they offer. Ask for a list of area nurseries and seed catalogs; both are valuable sources of information.
For a national list, write: Avant Gardener, PO Box 489, New York, N.Y. 10028. There is a $2 charge, but it is probably the most up-to-date listing of garden products available and includes more than 400 mail-order horticultural businesses.
If you have a question about your garden, inside or out, send it to the Garden Page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115. Doc and Katy Abraham are nationally known horticulturists, authors of several books on gardening, and greenhouse operators for more than 25 years.
Citron Red Seeded, Watermelon Seeds
The sprawling plant is fun to grow for families. Planting watermelons from seeds allows gardeners to handpick which sort of fruit they want, as watermelon comes in seedless, different colors, large and small varieties. Seedless is one of the more common plants, and although the fruit is not completely seed free, the seeds are small, transparent and edible.
Before Planting: A light, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5–7.5 and a southern exposure is ideal. Sow seeds outdoors after last frost is expect and soil temperatures are above 70°F. Triploid (Seedless) watermelon varieties need to be grown with Diploid (Seed) watermelon varieties for fertilization. Sugar Baby is good selection for a diploid fertilizer.
Planting: For direct seeding, sow 1–2 weeks after last frost when soil is warm, above 70°F, 3 seeds every 18–36″, 1″ deep. Thin to 1 plant per location when seedlings have first true leaves. If transplanting, sow 2-3 seeds, 1″ deep in a 2″ peat pot 2-4 weeks before last frost date (no sooner!). Germinate at 80°F then reduce to a constant 75°F). Keep well watered until 1 week before placing outdoors. Reduce water and temperature for a week to harden seedlings. Transplant 2–3′ apart in rows 6–8′ apart. Even hardened watermelon seedlings are tender! Do not disturb roots when transplanting, and water thoroughly.
Watering: When they are younger, watermelon plants require lots up water, up to 2 inches per week. If your able try not to water the fruits 1 week before harvest as over-watering can cause bland fruit.
Fertilizer: Prior to planting, amend soil with compost and a higher nitrogen fertilizer. Once vines begin to ramble, side dress plants with a 5-10-5 fertilizer and again once the melons are set.
Days to Maturity: There are 2 good ways to tell when a watermelon is ripe: 1) the tendril nearest the point on the vine where fruit stem attaches is browning/dead. 2) the spot where the fruit rests on the ground is pale yellow. (See each variety for days to maturity)
Harvesting: Once a watermelon is picked, it doesn’t ripen any further. To harvest, take a knife and cut
the watermelon from the plant, cutting the stem close to the fruit. Hold at 40-50°F and 85% relative humidity for 2–3 weeks. It is suggested to chill the watermelon prior to serving.
Tips: Pruning the plant is not necessary, but it may direct more energy to growing the fruits. If you choose to prune,
remove the small vines that grow laterally. To prevent rotting, gently lift the fruit as it gets bigger and turn it.
AVG. Direct Seeding Rate: 1 oz./340′, 1,000 seeds/500′, 3 oz./1,000′, 1⅓ lb./acre at 3 seeds every 18″, in rows 6′ apart.
Our Seed Promise
"Agriculture and seeds" provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.
The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, to genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems, and ultimately to healthy people and communities.
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