Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Progress Report on the Lime Plantation of Our Neighbour

These are very, very recent pictures sent up by our neighbour from the Hacienda de La Vega.   

     In the above picture, one can see a "baby" lime tree after its first significant heavy rains since its having been planted.   The reason our neighbour sent up this particular picture is to show how quickly it responded to the rains.  The darkest green is the "old growth" that was present at the planting.   The lighter green is what has been put on since the rains of four days ago....totalling some 4.5 to 6 inches over a two day period....and the quick response of this and the other new trees has been very encouraging, to say the least.
     The reason for isolating on this one, individual sapling is to show its growth response and the exposed rubberised hoses that run throughout the planted area.  It is a matter of literally thousands of feet of drip-irrigation infrastructure....perhaps 40,000 feet or more.   Although the area fairly dependably receives 50 and up to 100 inches of rain per year, there are a couple of lengthy episodes during the annual cycle that can be pretty darned dry.   If those dry periods are especially hot and windy, and coincide with an early fruiting or flower-set with too much impact, it can reduce the harvest from 30 to even 50 per cent.

    The Johnson grass and other unwanted vegetation is another continuing and continuous fight.   It will require the almost constant weeding by hoe and machete by two to four men who know what they are doing.    The runways will have to be disc - plowed at least once per month in order to keep the access open to that time when the first harvest will take place.   We are hoping that 16 months now, will be the magic time.

     The trees as the viewer sees them are now twice the size as they were at planting.  If all remains anywhere near normal, they will be approximately 10 times the size seen here at this moment when they produce their first harvest.  They will never be the height or head of a Valencia orange or Red Grapefruit tree, but they will produce two or three crops per year, instead of just the one like their bigger first-cousins.

     Finally, this lime business has had considerable impact in the Santa Engracia area, where older  groves of orange and grapefruit have been removed and replaced with these particular limes.   Two or three of the major orchards are old enough to have produce marketable harvests and we are seeing buyers "scouting" the new fields such as the Hacienda de La Vega.   The major destinations for these limes are going to be areas with top-end saloons and night spots, gourmet restaurants, and resort areas.  New York, Miami, Las Vegas, LAX, the Austin-Houston-DFW triangle and similar places are known to have produce importers programming the importation of these specialty limes, as well as Mexico's huge demand centres such as Mexico, D.F., Guadalajara, Monterrey Metro, and the beach resorts.   There are already efforts to move product to France, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain, as well as Japan and Singapore.  

     So that is where we are.  If there are any questions I shall try to answer them.  If I know not, then it will be no problem to communicate with our neighbour Rafael to find out anything anyone might want to know.

El Gringo Viejo