Besides this being the time of year when everybody gets sick, this is also the time of year that I start to go a little crazy. As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of cold weather, and by late January, early February I am very tired of winter. I’m tired of it being freezing outside, and I’m tired of being indoors all the time. Almost more than anything, I hate everything being gray and gloomy. I seriously start to get depressed without regular sunshine and by this point it feels like it’s been months since I’ve really seen the sun. Perhaps this doesn’t bode well for my move to northern Japan, but I’m hoping it’s at least sunnier than winter in Maryland.
Every year, these grey doldrums spur me to wage my own personal campaign against winter indoors. Primarily, I have a collection of house plants that I nurse through the cold months and periodically add to their ranks. Green things are good company in the dull winter months. They don’t smell funny, make as much noise as the kitties or Mr. Boy, or judge my singing (that I know of).
A few Christmases ago I received a neat little book entitled Grow It Don’t Throw It, and it was a cute guide to growing all kinds of plants from kitchen scraps. Many of the plants the book covers are annual or very short lived houseplants, but I tend to favor perennials. So I decided to grow a lemon tree. Now this wasn’t my first attempt at growing a citrus plant. There have been multiple attempts, but either the seeds never sprouted or my frail little sprouts met the fate of many a houseplant around here. (I forget to water things regularly. Only the strong survive!) With the help of the book I was much more successful this time around. The seeds actually came up, and a few years later I still haven’t managed to kill them. Not that I haven’t given it a good go. I am a fan of houseplants that can survive a bit of neglect, i.e. forgetting to water, and these little trees are pretty hardy if you get them past the seedling stage. Several times I have thought I killed them, only to have them miraculously revive after a good watering. They are also slow growing so you don’t have to worry about having a big tree in your house.
I love my plants, I’m not sure they love me…
So, without further ado,
How I Grew A Lemon Tree
(Also works for oranges, grapefruit, any other citrus fruit of choice)
- First I selected several of the biggest seeds from a lemon.
- I planted my seeds in individual (clean) jello/applesauce containers filled about halfway with well moistened soil. Then, I sealed all the little cups up in ziploc bags to keep them from drying out. The book said I should use peat pellets, but meh, my way was fine.
- After that I tucked my seed/cup/baggies somewhere out of the way near my baseboard heaters. I figured since they were warm weather fruits, a little heat couldn’t hurt. On top of the fridge would’ve probably been a good option too.
- The book said germination time was 2-3 weeks so I made a note to myself about when to start checking and then promptly forgot about them. A couple of weeks later I had of course lost my note, but I miraculously remembered to check them anyways. I was rewarded with adorable little green sprouts. Success!
When the sprouts got a little bigger I transplanted them into real pots. Per directions in the book, I added a bit of crushed eggshell in the bottom of the pot. My little trees have been living happily ever after (mostly). They like all the sunshine they can get. I put them outside in the summer, and in the winter they keep me company indoors. Since I’ve left them in small pots they haven’t gotten too big, which is fine with me.
Isn’t it a cute little guy?
This is about the time of year I would also start plotting out a proper garden and starting veggie seedlings. I love the anticipation of all those little green shoots emerging, even though I often manage to subsequently kill off a lot of them. However with my transcontinental move coming up in a few months, it seems a little pointless this year. I am saddened by the prospect of leaving behind all my veteran botanical companions. They’ve survived years of my dubious care and now I have to abandon them? Will they find a good new home? *tear, sniffle* I suppose I will have to see what sort of things I can grow in Japan.