2 Little Limes were Sitting in a Tree…

…G.R.O.W.I.N.G! 

Maybe anyways. An unfortunately timed heat wave here last week stressed the key lime so out of the ~15-20 flowers only two turned into limes that stayed on the tree, and it is quite possible that it’ll drop those soon as well. That’s okay though, the flowers were exciting and lovely themselves and now I know to be ready for next year.

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Lime Tree Blossoms and a Brief Update

Hello, it’s been a while. I’m still here, still making things (and selling them on Etsy here and here), still growing plants, and still learning. I’m also still sick and looking for treatments that help (so far not much luck). I do hope to start writing a bit more or at least sharing my projects sometime soon, and the format of this blog will likely change but I’m not sure how yet.

Anyways, that’s not really what this post is about. This post is about my Key Lime tree. Remember it? I started it way back in 2013 (four years ago) and shared updates about its growth on a fairly regular basis. Well, it’s time for another update: there are flowers! My key lime tree is flowering!

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I’ve been pretending to be a bee and pollenating the flowers with a paint brush and doing a bit of reading to see what I need to do to help the tree set (and keep) the fruit, so we’ll see what happens!

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Lanky Lime Tree

My lime tree has been growing like crazy this winter and is now a whopping 3 feet tall (well almost). I know that this isn’t actually tall as far as trees are concerned, but since my lime is an indoor tree, if it grows much taller it’ll be a bit too big.

Lime tree and measuring tape
A whopping 33.5″ tall.

In order to halt vertical growth, and hopefully redirect growth horizontally to form branches, I’ve decided it’s time to head my lime. This involves chopping off the top few inches, which will remove the apical meristem. The apical meristem is responsible for the upward growth and also secretes hormones that inhibit certain other types of growth (like branches) from taking place near the top of the plant. Hopefully with it gone the lime starts to branch out and become more tree-like instead of looking like a leafy stick. I have no idea if it’ll work that way, but I’ll keep you updated.

Lime tree after pruning
Post Pruning

February Garden Update

Happy February!

It’s a new month, though there’s not much change in the garden department. The Thanksgiving cactus looks like it’s going to bloom soon, which would be exciting.

Pink flower buds on a Thanksgiving Cactus

The lime tree seems to be a bit confused by the whole concept of winter and has started growing again. It’s almost 2 ft tall now! It has a new branch with the cutest tiny leaves on it. If it is this happy in the winter I can’t wait to see how it reacts when summer rolls around!

Baby Branch on Key Lime Tree

As for the rest of my photosynthesizing friends (ivy, rosemary, and African violet) they’re all holding steady.

We had a bout of warm weather last week, which was such a tease. I sat outside on my deck and looked through seed catalogues, dreaming of spring. I’m still a bit unsure of how much space I’ll actually have to garden in this year (the community I live in still hasn’t settled on what the restrictions are), but I may have found a community garden with available plots about half a mile away. If all goes well, I’ll get a plot there and not have to worry about what the HOA decides.

This year I’d like to grow:

Vegetables (culinarily speaking)
Tomatoes
Carrots
Spinach
Kale
Zucchini/Squash
Beets
Garlic
Beans (both green and soup varieties)

Fruit
White Soul Alpine Strawberries

Herbs
Basil
Dill
Lemonbalm
Sage
Rosemary
Thyme
Oregano
Mint

Flowers
Flax
Marigolds
Sunflowers
Poppy
Calendula
Lavender (Planted this Fall)
Roses (Planted this Fall)
Chrysanthemums (Planted this Fall)

Now whether I have space or time for all of these is still to be determined, but a girl can dream right?

What are you planning on planting this year?

Busy Bee notebook with gold bee and blue cover
My new garden notebook!

December Garden Update

There’s actually not much going on gardening-wise right now, so this won’t be a very long update.

The basil and oregano cuttings I took this fall ended up dying. It was a little weird because they looked good for a few weeks after I potted them, then one day they were dead. Some scallions have taken their place as the plants that may or may not survive.

Everyone else seems happy. The ivy is now living on my mantel above my fireplace and the rosemary is keeping my humidifier company. The key lime tree and African violet don’t quite understand the concept of winter and are continuing to grow new leaves on a regular basis. The Thanksgiving cactus may or may not be trying to bloom; I don’t know if it has decided yet.

Plants in pots
All together for a family photo

As for me, I have several seed catalogues to pore over and several months to come up with a plan of attack for the spring. I hope to have a garden full of beautiful, useful plants come summer.

Lime Tree Lessons

Often our greatest teachers come in the most unexpected forms.

Top view of a key lime tree seedling

I have a key lime tree. If you’ve followed my blog, this is nothing new to you. I started it from seed on a whim this June. The little seedling grew well, gaining leaf after leaf, until all of a sudden it stopped growing. I tried repotting it a few times. I tried fertilizing it with different fertilizers. I tried watering it a lot. I tired barely watering it. I even tried moving it out from under the grow light to see if I could get any response. Nothing happened, no change at all. It stayed in this state, not growing yet not dying, with its four little leaves, for months.

I distinctly remember telling my mom how frustrated I was at the lime tree for not growing, that something was wrong with it, and that I should just throw it away. Then I stopped, realizing that I was in the same position as my lime tree was in, in limbo, not getting better but not dying. I felt horrible about what I had said. I realized that when I looked at the tree a part of me saw myself, which is why it bothered me so much that I couldn’t get it to grow. It was also why it was so important for me to keep trying.

Recently, a month ago, I decided to try changing the lime tree’s soil. I removed all the dirt from the pot and knocked as much off of the roots as I could and put it in a different potting mix. I didn’t expect it to make a difference, but it made a huge one. The little tree started growing at a rapid rate, nearly doubling its leaf mass in the first week. It has continued to grow at this impressive rate and shows no sign of slowing down.

Now what’s the lesson in that, other than that I’m a weirdo who identifies with plants?

Close up of Key lime tree leaves

Well, what my lime tree taught me was perseverance. I clearly didn’t give my lime tree the optimal environment for its growth, but it grew the best it could until it couldn’t anymore, then it stayed alive. While it couldn’t have been happy, the tree never gave up and died, it did the best it could with what it had. I kept trying things to make it grow, and they wouldn’t work, so I’d try something else, and it wouldn’t work, so I’d try something else. The trial and fail pattern was eerily similar to what has been going on with my health. Some times I want to stop trying, but then I remember the lime tree. Even in times when I ready to give up on the lime tree, it kept living, waiting for me to try the next thing and eventually the next thing worked. It taught me that it’s important not to give up, because sometimes things take time, and that sometimes the things you least expect can make all the difference in the world.

Since I’m the lime tree, now I just need to figure out what’s my dirt.

A Brief Garden Update (with lots of pictures)

So, a lot has happened in the past month plant wise. Everyone survived the transition to the apartment, which was a pleasant surprise. My green leafed friends seemed to love the change in location and sunlight.

 My tomato sprouts seemed to greatly enjoy their new home. I put them in bigger pots (paper cups) about a week after I moved them in. They were growing quite well until they started exhibiting some very weird symptoms. One day I noticed these blister like formations on the underside of their leaves and on some of their stalks.

The leaves and stems that had the blisters were severely curled and would quickly turn yellow and drop off. After searching the great wide interwebs for a diagnosis, the closest thing I could find that matched their symptoms was tomato edema (still not 100% sure that is what they had). I cut back on my watering and performed an emergency transplant, and the tomatoes seemed to stop getting the blisters. Crisis (hopefully) adverted.

 This past week I’ve been hardening off the tomatoes and the habaneros in preparation for planting them in the community garden. I’m hoping to keep two for my balcony, but if I end up with more than that, well, I like tomatoes.

Instead of moving all the African violets to the new apartment with me, I gave most of them to the president of the Community Garden in preparation for the eventual plant sale. I have four left in my apartment and they are growing much faster than they did in the old place.

The lime tree got repotted, even though I swear it hasn’t grown any taller. Its roots were starting to poke out the bottom of the old pot so I figured it was time for a bigger one.

The basil, peppermint, oregano, and half the lemon balm sprouts (the other half stayed under the grow light and are doing well) moved outside to one of my patios. I think initially it was a shock, since I probably wasn’t as gradual with their sun exposure as I should have been. They seem to be doing well now that they’ve adjusted, and in my year and a half of owning the mint, I’ve never seen it so green.

I started the white soul strawberry seeds and the sprouts are now about ¼ inch high. The strawberries are supposed to be slow growers so I’m not surprised they’re so tiny.

 

I also started some apple seeds that I discovered had sprouted inside the apple when I went to prepare my breakfast one morning. So far 4 out of the 5 seeds have broken the surface of the pot, and although I know any fruit that comes from these plants is highly unlikely to be like the apple I found them in, it’s exciting to see what apple sprouts look like.

I have some rosemary, sage, and thyme cuttings in my window rooting, and it seems to be taking them a while. The grafted cactus is keeping them company. 

Plants to be Repotted

Next on my list of things to do is find pots for the tomatoes I’m keeping and plant them. I also want to repot the rest of the lemon balm now that it’s getting bigger.  I’m trying very hard to fight the urge to take more cuttings or start more plants, at least until the ones that are designated to live elsewhere move out. It’s okay though, means I have time to decide what I want to grow next. Any ideas?