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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When life gives you a lemon, use it!

I am a big fan of indoor citrus. Outdoor citrus trees just don't work in Iowa. Miserable fact of life in this climate. So, I grow citrus trees in large pots outdoors from about May to October. In fact, Kelly just brought them inside for me. Even though I use large plastic pots (because clay pots would be impossible to move), they are still very heavy.

So why do I have this perverse desire to grow things that are completely unsuitable for my zone? Because I can! And why not?! I actually began with my first lemon tree when I still lived in Canada. I don't even remember where I bought it, but when I left Canada, I could not tolerate the thought of my dear lemon tree going in the dustbin. So, I did what any sensible woman would do. I sent it to my mother by FedEx. Brilliant! My mother has lovingly cared for my lemon all these years and in fact it is getting quite tall and bushy now, although it certainly has taken its time about it. I wish it would bloom for her, because the blooms are beautiful and the scent is exquisite. I keep sending it blooming thoughts, but it has so far not responded correctly.

Here in Iowa, I purchased a lemon tree (unnamed variety) from Lowe's. After actually having a lemon grow on it, I was all the more intrigued. I found a wonderful online vendor of citrus by the name of Four Winds Growers. I ordered from them 3 different plants: a Bearss lime, a Trovita orange, and a Eustis limequat, which is a cross between a lime and a kumquat.

More recently, Park Seed was having a sale on gallon pot citrus trees. I purchased from them a variegated lemon, a "Nagami" kumquat, and a thornless Mexican lime. I am waiting for them to arrive so I can get them started this winter.

The exciting thing about growing citrus indoors is that they actually produce fruit, because the blooms are self-pollinating. As proof of this statement, I present to you, the enormous lemon! It weighs 14.2 ounces and is the biggest lemon I have ever seen. You can't buy these in an Iowa grocery store! I haven't cut into it yet, but I assure you I will blog about it when I do. I have included the pop can to provide a sense of scale. I tried to research the world's largest lemon and found one from Israel that was 11 pounds, 9.7 ounces. OK, so I have a little bit of work to do, but this is still one massive lemon!

This is my Trovita orange. It is obviously not ripe yet, but I am just waiting for the day when it is. I have several limes and another lemon on the way. What a delightful way to enjoy the fruits of summer when it's winter in Iowa. The flowers that bloom in the middle of winter make my living room smell like a citrus grove, and are quite delightful when faced with blizzards out of doors. They keep me going, waiting for spring! In the meantime, I shall make lemonade.

1 comment:

henbogle said...

Hi, I found you on View from the Green Barn. I'm a henkeeper in Maine, and really enjoued your hen coats post! would you consider sharing the pattern?

I had a fabulous Myer Lemon in years past, after reading this, I may have to order another. The Meyer lemon was a bit sweeter, with an almost floral aroma, quite delicious.

Good luck with your new Namkin chicks and your rescued chickens!

Ali