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Ellendale Mandarin

26 January 2009 4 Comments

Ellendale mandarin tree.Sometimes, it’s interesting to do a bit of background research on some of the plants and trees you grow. When choosing our mandarin variety, I did exactly that and found something with a little bit of Australian history to it.

The mandarin I planted a couple of days ago is an Ellendale mandarin. It is named after the Ellendale Orchard on the banks of the Burrum River near Bundaberg, in Queensland. It originated around 1878, and is believed to be a natural hybrid between a mandarin and an orange.

The Ellendale mandarin is now regarded as an old-fashioned variety, ditched by commercial growers in favour of new varieties that give more consistent flavour (not necessarily better!) and that are easier to peel. Ellendales are also moderately seedy, and many growers prefer seedless varieties now.

Ellendales have both high sugar and high acid content. The acid content declines during storage, so they are a good fruit to put away (they last more than 3 months at 3-4 C). Their eating quality is actually improved by storage. They can also be left on the tree long after they have ripened, giving an extended harvest period – great for home gardens!

As a late-season variety (maturing in July – August), the Ellendale mandarin can be paired with an earlier variety such as Satsuma or Imperial to give a good supply of fruit for much of the year. This is exactly what we’ll be doing when we get some more garden beds built!

Organic food growing for beginners manual.


  • Sarhn said:

    Hi Darren,

    I have a lemon and a mandarin tree growning in our courtyard. As we have a small inner city of Sydney courtyard we selected trees that could grow in pots.

    We have had a couple of lemons but as yet no mandarins. The fertilizer from our worm farm has made a huge impact for the good.

    Love your blog!

  • Darren (author) said:

    Hi Sarhn. You’re becoming a familiar face here :-).

    I reckon every Aussie home should have a lemon tree. They’re a national symbol.

    I’ve heard that citrus generally do well in pots. They look great, can be pruned and shaped, stay green all year, have beautiful-smelling flowers and provide fruit – what could be better?!

    My worm farm is a bit neglected at the moment. I want to try to increase their production of castings and worm wee, since I’ve got so much more garden to fertilize now. It’s on the backburner at the moment though.

  • Greenerme said:

    I was finding that we were producing too much waste for our little worm farm. After chatting with Bokaski Composting in Australia, I bought a Bokashi bin. Now all our green waste goes into one bin and it is placed into the worm farm fortnightly.

    This has saved us time going to the worm farm every day. Also as the EM bokashi powder stops methane being emitted it is even better for the environment. Lastly the worms love the food after it has been through the EM bokashi system. They eat it faster and hence we know no longer produce too much green waste – the worms eat it all!

    Thought it might help Darren.

  • Darren (author) said:

    Thanks for the info Sarhn! My local council (Kiama) is the only one in Australia at the moment (well, as of late last year when I last checked!) that sells subsidised Bokashi bins. They’re $70 for the starter pack. They also have a “bring back your bucket and refill it with bokashi powder for $7/kg” system. Not bad.

    One problem I’ve now got is that almost all our kitchen scraps go to the chooks. So I need to deliberately divert some of it to the worms. Maybe I should start taking food scraps home from our kitchen at work. Also, the worm population is down a bit due to neglect, so I need to build them back up. I’m all ears if anyone has any tips here!