Gardening

Home Grown Oranges

I’m sure people living in Florida will disagree with me but I believe the best oranges are grown in Michigan. I base that opinion on the flavor of the fruit growing on my Valencia orange trees.

These trees started their lives in Florida about 15 years ago. They came to Michigan about 12 years ago and have been happily supplying us with oranges every year.

They spend the summers outside. Since I don’t have a greenhouse for them, I keep them in a semi-dormant state through winter in my garage.

This method of over-wintering seems to have mixed up the ripening season. Valencia’s peak ripening occurs during March through June down south. Most of mine ripen toward the end of summer and into fall. There are several oranges waiting to be picked right now as the trees start to wind down.

It’s just my guess, but I think the wide changes in temperatures from winter to summer may have something to do with intensifying the flavor of these oranges.

In the meantime, I’ve been taking advantage of the relatively mild November temperatures and moving the trees outside everyday and back in at night. That way they can get as much sunshine as possible before the final move of the season into the garage.

There will never be an orange growing industry in Michigan unless a very dramatic climate change takes place. Since I’m somewhat of a locavore, growing my own oranges without having to move to Florida is pretty gratifying.

Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.