Any successful 'Gold Nugget' mandarin growers in SF?

TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)February 18, 2012

I ask this given the famous quote incorrectly attributed to SF by Mark Twain that goes "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" (see attached SF Chronicle article, that also gives a flavor for our unusual summer climate).

Indeed, the average high temps here between Jun-Aug is about 62F, and evenings can get even colder - down to the low-50s! It isn't until Sep-Oct, when the fog has dissipated a bit, that we MIGHT reach 70F...Too cold, unfortunately, to be able to grow the majority of oranges and grapefruit - so says Pam Peirce in 'Golden Gate Gardening' (but I'd love to hear if you've actually grown these in the City!).

I've read anecdotal evidence that Trovita orange, since it can ripen without summer heat can grow here. I actualy planted one last summer to test the theory, but I'm cautiously optimistic since I've only heard anecdotal evidence and have read contraditory posts on this forum of its success in cold, coastal areas. The same goes for 'Gold Nugget' vs. 'Owari Satsuma' mandarin.

Undaunted, last week I bought and planted the following Four Winds 'Gold Nugget' mandarin from Lowe's. It stands about 2.5 ft and is just about to start a growth of new leaves. I thought this might be a good mandarin to try out since Four Winds' site claims it doesn't need heat to sweeten the fruit, and that it hangs long on the tree (enabling more concentrating of sugars over the growing season). Also, I like the idea that this mandarin, unlike the majority of others, has fruit ready in the spring/summer months.

I'd love to hear about the experience of other SF growers (or coastal growers with similar temps) who've tried this mandarin and can comment on the fruit's flavor.

'Gold Nugget' mandarin


Here is a link that might be useful: Fog Heaven article - SF Chronicle

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, I'm a little warmer than you, Tim, but I can tell you that the folks at UCR Citrus Variety Collection were amazed at their 'Gold Nugget' mandarins during some record low temps there. They told us during the tour that the 'Gold Nugget' mandarin trees actually fared better than their Frost Owari Satsumas did. So, I think you picked the right mandarin for sure. They are really supposed to be superb, and they lived up to that when we taste-tested them during the tour. Rich, complex, perfect balance of acid to sugar. Great cultivar, and it also warranted a spot in my garden :-)

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 11:06AM
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TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)

Frost isn't really an issue here (fortunately!), Patty. I've lived in SF now for nearly 20 years and we haven't gotten down to freezing temps except maybe 2-3 times during that period(?). I recall once in the early '90s we had a hint of snow in the air, but it quickly disappeared by the time it hit the ground.

The micro-climates in the region are REALLY intersting. Down the Peninsula or across the GG Bridge in Marin, which may be as close as 5-10 miles away, they may experience frost (sometimes occasionally during the winter!), and SF will always be warmer than these adjacent counties due to the tempering influence of water along its 3 sides. When others are freezing, we usually get no colder than the low 40s, maybe 38F or so at the worst... But the ocean's moderating effect also holds true in the summer - when others are sunny and warm/hot, we are foggy and COLD, and herein is my problem for trying to grow certain kinds of citrus.

Oh well, "no pain, no gain", I guess. The only way to truly know whether orange/mandarin varietals will grow in my area is to give it a try, right? I just wished it didn't take the better part of 3 years to derive an answer! I'll keep my fingers crossed that my 'Gold Nugget' will make it through to fruit, as I'm quite keen to taste a mandarin that has such a high reported brix content (up to 17.5%)!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:07PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

The microclimates all along the California coast are really unique. Exactly the same, here. We live in a very unusual area. Altman Nursery, one of the largest commercial nurseries in California has a large growing grounds very close to me, about maybe a 1/8 mile away. They told me they love this particular growing grounds because we have some unusual thermals that keep us very moderated. We rarely freeze here, too, and our temps rarely hit 90, even on the hottest of summer days, as we are at the top of a valley to the ocean (I have a lovely ocean view from my front yard.) If I drive "down the hill", it can be up to 8 degrees warmer (and colder). And, we are JUST enough inland (about 6 miles) to miss most of the marine layer. I can see it lying in the lower areas, and unless it's really heavy, we are just clear of it.

Your 'Gold Nugget' looks good, and it's flushing so that's a good sign. Will be interested to see how it does for you. And remember, brix isn't everything with citrus. It's that magical acid to sugar ratio! 'Gold Nugget' has that.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:17PM
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Hi Tim,
I already have some mandarin trees, and I would like to get some tree without seeds.
Where do you by your gold nugget tree?

Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:28AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Manuel, you're probably better off starting a brand new message thread with your request. You can check off to be notified of responses, and then that thread is all yours, and not part of Tim's. To answer your question, the best mandarin out there also happens to be very seedless. That would be the Seedless Kishu mandarin. They are small, but they are the best tasting mandarin going. Love them.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:19AM
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