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

A Winter Garden Update

Ignoring the tomato photos, it has been quite a while since I’ve updated. I actually had to go and look at my last update (end of September) to see where I left off.  Lots of the plants I had when I last wrote have gone to new homes, and I’ve gained a few as well. I think the total count at the moment is 30 plants and 10 cuttings, so about the same.

It’s now late fall/early winter, I think. Florida seasons really throw me for a loop.  I really have no idea how to garden here. Sometimes it seems like time doesn’t pass because the changes in weather and temperature are so subtle. The most noticeable in my opinion is that it’s now tolerable to be outside on most days. My plants are particularly happy about this because it meant I could move some of them outside.

 

The currant tomato and the black cherry tomato seem to be content in their pots.  When I first potted them they grew like weeds but I think they’re slowing down now. They’ve probably run out of root space. There are quite a few tomatoes on both plants but not as many as I expected, particularly from the Black Cherry (I’m basing my expectations on my experience growing them a few summers ago. I really have no experience with the currant tomato, so no expectations for that plant). I think the reason may be that, in living on the 10th floor, not many pollinators make it up to my plants. I have been “hand-pollinating” the flowers when I go out to check on the plants, which basically consists of me touching and shaking the flowers. Between that and me caressing the tomatoes to see if they’re ripe enough, I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy.

 

Sharing a balcony with the Black Cherry Tomato are my rosemary, thyme, and oregano plants. The rosemary absolutely loves the weather right now and seems to grow half an inch a week. The oregano is trying to spread out but isn’t finding any dirt outside its pot, and the thyme is starting to look like a miniature tree. I have a sickly looking basil plant (not sure what’s wrong with it) that’s keeping the currant tomato company on the other balcony and another that will be joining it shortly.

 

Speaking of trees, the apple trees are now between 6” – 12” tall. The fifth seed decided to sprout after it heard me talking about repotting the other 4 seedlings. It’s still the smallest tree but is also one of the straightest. It’s very interesting to watch how trees grow. Mine are beginning to form what looks like bark on their lower stems.

 Key Lime seedling

After another two months of seemingly no change, I decided to change the soil my lime tree was potted in. Boy do I wish I had done it sooner. In the ten days since I did it the little guy has all but doubled its leaf mass.

 

The strawberries finally reached a size where I could transplant them into bigger pots safely. They seem to be enjoying not having to share space with each other and are continuing to grow well. The biggest are now about two inches tall.

 I have one remaining lemon balm plant that I held back from the Community Garden sale (which was a success, both in selling plants and learning how to run a plant sale). It’s still too small to harvest leaves for tea, but it’s big enough that I now feel okay ruffling its leaves to get that wonderful lemon smell.

Cuttings and Grafted Cactus in window sill

As for the rest of my apartment, I gave an African violet to a friend (and received a pretty journal and book about going off the grid in return). My remaining African violet finally got big enough that it started to thin out its lower leaves that weren’t getting much light. I gained an English ivy plant and a Christmas cactus, both of which I’m not quite sure what to do with. Other than African violets, I don’t have a lot of experience with houseplants. I still have the grafted cactus, and it’s watching over the English ivy and African violet cuttings in my bedroom window. I’m hoping the cuttings grow into healthy plants that can be sold at the spring plant sale. I have some cilantro and dill I sowed about a week ago and they’re just now starting to sprout.

Now that finals are over (YAY!) I should have a bit more energy to devote to my gardening. I’m planning on starting some more tomato seeds to plant this spring, and trying to grow more Christmas cacti from cuttings. We’ll see how it goes.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

10 day old Key Lime seedling.
10 day old Key Lime seedling.

It’s amazing how much a plant can grow in 10 days. My seedling seems to be really happy under the grow lights.

Soaking up the sun(-light grow lights).
Soaking up the sun(-light grow lights).

So, wordless wednesday may become a thing for this blog. I know it’s cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason. Besides, with my current cognitive problems I’m having difficulty with words so the more verbose posts aren’t getting written.