Blog | August 8, 2022

A juicy mission to save the citrus

By Louise FitzRoy

We are on a ground-breaking mission to take care of citrus using only natural remedies.

The Brasserie’s Head Gardener, Aide, is leading the project to create natural formulas that will encourage strong growth, plenty of fruit that will develop to its full potential, and keep pests and diseases away.

“We feed the plants an organic potassium fertiliser, using our own recipe, to ensure the flowers have sufficient vitamins to develop into fruit, rather than fall to the ground. This is an all too common occurrence during rainy season, and such a shame to see so much potential fruit go to waste,” she says.

Before the natural fertiliser was applied.

“To control the fungus, we have made another formula using the ashes from the Caboose and Brasserie, being mindful to avoid using the Caboose ash where meat fat has dripped on the coals. These ashes go into the compost, so still not wasted, and the rest are mixed with water to spray on the flowers. It’s working really well.”

The first test run was conducted in June, and in just two months, a significant difference can be seen in the leaves and overall health of the citrus trees at the Coco Bluff coconut plantation and in the Cricket Square grounds.

After three weeks of using the natural fertiliser. The difference in leaf colour, size and form is significant.

With the success of this trial, the next goal is to start growing more citrus. Currently there are 10 trees in total in both locations of key lime, Seville orange, and Persian lime. Aide is also grafting a cross between a tangerine and a lime.

“It was an experiment to grow the citrus in the coconut plantation, as we weren’t sure of the impact the salty air would have with the trees’ proximity to the sea.”

Aide says the Agriculture Department stopped importing citrus because the plants are susceptible to pests and disease on island such as mites and fungus. One of the most destructive fungal diseases during summer is Colletotrichum acutatum. This disease can propagate very quickly and contaminate other species like mango and avocado trees, causing dark lesions on the leaves.

The solution. Aide propagates the trees from seed in the nursery, and now with her organic natural fertilisers, hopefully you will start to see more citrus trees popping up around Cricket Square. In fact, right now, we have a kaffir lime tree near Phase Six growing an abundance of fruit that we are harvesting for The Brasserie kitchen.

If we can increase production using these new methods, our hope is that one day we can sell the juicy surplus at the Market.