Saturday, January 23, 2010

Meet Lucy and Today's Agenda

Last year when I made the initial garden purchases, I came in a little under budget. And right by the register, there was 1 baby Meyer Lemon tree and I just had to take her home. I think it was fate. You see, I had recently discovered The Incredible Meyer Lemon and was quickly tiring of the 30 minute trip to the nearest Whole Foods just to pick up a few (overpriced but beautiful) lemons. I knew next to nothing about growing meyers, but figured the price of the tree was a small price to pay for the opportunity to grow my own lemons. And with that little intro, I'd like you to meet Lucy. Yes, I named my tree. She's special. I'm not insane. No matter what they tell you.

And the blossoms. Oh, the blossoms!! I think heaven must smell like Meyer Lemon Blossoms....

Lucy is a good little tree, despite the fact that I know nothing about how to keep her healthy. She did, however, have a few problems:

But somehow or another healed herself. Those scarred, baby lemons disappeared, as did several other larger lemons. At one point, she had about 24 lemons growing (I hand pollinated) and I think it was too much for her to handle. I never did find any lemons on the ground by the tree, though, so I wonder if some wild animal took a liking to them. Or if the guys who mow our lawn thought they were limes... Ha ha! Joke's on them!

Even though she's small, she provided me with enough lemons to make Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones, Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake, Winter Fruit Salad, Meyer Lemon Marmalade, and even Preserved Meyer Lemons (which are sitting pretty in my fridge waiting for me to figure out some way to use them... anyone have any ideas?).

This was our first winter together, and although I tried, I accidentally left her outside a few nights when the temps dropped below 28 degrees. Sorry Lucy!! But, she persevered (she's a strong little tree) and she's still alive and kickin it, although she's looking a little rough. Today, I'm going to give her soil a little boost with some liquid whey (leftover from yogurt making - perhaps I'll post about that sometime soon). I hate throwing the whey out, so I hope the good bacteria will benefit Lucy's soil.

Also on today's agenda: starting seeds for peas, lettuce, bok choi, and carrots. This will be my first attempt at starting seeds indoors. I've purchased this grow light and indoor greenhouse with heat mat and hope to set them up and make them productive today:

I also need to pick up something to start the seeds in. I think I'll give Jiffy peat pellets a shot. Although I've heard good and bad things about them, they seem mess-free and easy to use. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some pictures for you of the entire (and hopefully working) Caffeinated Mom Seed Starting System (R).


Annie's Granny said...

Ooooh...Meyer lemons! Have you "met" Thomas, from A Growing Tradition? If not, you must! And I'd advise you to make or buy a soil block maker if you are going to be starting your own seeds. I wouldn't be without mine, which is a single home-made one. I love playing in the mud!

Erin said...

Love the Meyer Lemon tree! Unfortunately every time I see one around here they are about 60 bucks! Maybe I will just go ahead and get a small one mail ordered and just put up with the wait for it to grow! I have that exact heat mat & light system. I had to add 4 more lights and figured out the hard way that the cheap $9 lights work just as well! I usually have 4 flats going and so the one light isn't enough, and I don't even use the stand anymore instead I hung all the lights on chains. If you are just doing one flat it should be fine. Good luck and have fun doing the seeds! Also, I would skip the peat pellets, IMHO they are junk and start to mold quickly when damp!

Caffeinated Mom said...

Hi Granny - I do follow Thomas' blog - his Meyer Lemon tree is beautiful! I don't know much (read: anything) about soil block makers.. What are they used for?

Hi Erin - $60 IS steep. I don't think I paid more than $30 for mine. And I took your advise and went with the Jiffy mix instead of the peat pellets. Hopefully they work! Unfortunately I ran out of time to start the seeds tonight, but I did get the light and tray set up. And wow - 4 flats at once! You must have a lot of garden space for all those plants!!

T Opdycke said...

I discovered your blog through Blotanical and came over for a visit. Oh how glad I am that I stoppedy by...I yearn for a Meyer lemon tree!!! White Flower Farms have them available for purchase, but I'm looking for a bargain! I enjoyed reading how Optimus Prime saved the day, too! I look forward to reading more!

Caffeinated Mom said...

Hello, T Opdycke - thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you're enjoying the blog so far. I have to admit I was pretty surprised that Home Depot was only charging $30 for their Meyers.. I have seen them online for $60+ since then, so I guess I got it for a decent price. Hopefully you'll find a bargain soon!