GROWING FINGER LIMES
Finger limes share many common features with most other citrus trees. They like a reasonable amount of sunshine but not necessarily full sun. Watering should be regular so they don't dry out too much and like all citrus they appreciate good drainage. You should feed them three times a year in November, March and May but being a native it is better to use a fertiliser suitable for native plants. Typically one that is a bit lower in phosphorus i.e. low P in the N:P:K ratio.
They are affected by the same pests as other citrus. Bronze citrus bugs, spine citrus bugs, scale, aphids and citrus leaf miner are the common ones. The usual sprays such as pyrethrin and oils can be used successfully to control these pests. We are limited to natural pyrethrin and eco oil by our organic status. We also use some natural lures for citrus leaf miner which attract the males with pheromone to control breeding. There also several species of borer that we have been unable to find a suitable control for.
They will flower and produce fruit at different times of year depending on the particular variety you have bought. Most commonly the main flowering time for us is around July and August. We usually pick our first fruit in late November and the last around June. However we have one variety that produces throughout the year depending on the season we are experiencing. The peak season for us is generally December through to March. Mature trees can produce between ten and twenty kilograms of fruit per season.
You can judge when the fruit is ripe to some degree by the change in colour of the skin in some varieties. The fruit is fully ripe when it comes away in your hand with a gentle twist. Some varieties are better picked a little before this stage as the flavour can be more appealing. Experience is your best guide here. Once you have picked your fruit it will last longer if you store them in the refrigerator. We find they will last up to three weeks. They can be frozen and the flavour is still quite good but you lose a little of the natural texture and pop in the mouth.