I always look forward to the last few days of October, because that is when the Satsuma mandarin oranges in our garden turn bright orange. While this time of year is usually associated with another orange fruit, the pumpkin, the mandarin is so much easier to grow and enjoy.
Unlike the pumpkin, which needs a lot of water and space during its growth cycle, the mandarin orange tree is smaller than a lot of other citrus trees and needs relatively little water. Following a pumpkin’s harvest, you need a sharp knife for cutting and carving. Then, there is a stringy, sticky, seed filled mess to deal with. Later, you have to fire up a hot oven to roast the seeds. With the mandarin, you simply pick the citrus off the tree, easily peel the skin, and eat the sweet fruit.
Mandarin orange trees, as noted earlier, are relatively small. Our small tree gives up a “bumper crop” of only about a half a dozen oranges each year. Since the tree is somewhat shaded by larger trees, both its height and the number of oranges it produces is probably reduced. But, the small crop is enough for us to enjoy for a day or two every fall, just about the same number of days most folks enjoy their pumpkins.
So enjoy carving up that pumpkin. I’ll be enjoying something much sweeter without all the effort and mess.