Saturday, October 23, 2010
Posted by Kate at 2:41 PM
The Meyer lemon tree I ordered early this year is blooming. Actually, it first bloomed during the summer, and while I noticed it, there was a ton of other garden stuff occupying my mind. So much so that I forgot that lemons need to be hand pollinated in my part of the world, since whatever insect normally performs the service for lemons doesn't live where I do. When I remembered that I was supposed to be a proxy in plant sex, it was too late, and I was sad to see that no fruit had been set.
So I was pretty psyched to notice little buds all over the tree when it was time to pull it inside for the winter. The tree was giving it another go! Now I'm servicing the blooms once a day with a tiny paintbrush. They are amazingly fragrant and sweet-smelling. Being a novice at sex surrogacy for lemon trees, I'm not too sure of my technique. Do lemon blossoms like it rough or delicate? Are they chaste (prefer pollen from the same blossom), or lascivious (pollen from as many blossoms as possible, thank you)? I'm hoping that what I lack in finesse and experience I can make up in diligence. Also, I'm pampering the tree with good nutrition by regular feedings with worm tea from our worm bin.
It's pretty thrilling to look at all the buds on the tree and imagine that even half of them may turn into lemons. Which reminds me of the old adage about unhatched chickens. Still, it's hard not to be a bit giddy about the prospect of homegrown Meyer lemons. It also makes me think about seasonality. I think lemons normally ripen in late winter. So strange to think of a fruit, especially the lemon, ripening at that time of year. I associate lemons so much with lemonade and summer drinks. Just goes to show you how out of touch we are with the food we eat. Lemons in winter? Guess that'll mean lemon curd.
I'll definitely let you know if we get any fruit from the tree. In the meantime, if any of you have lemon trees I'd love to hear any tips you have for keeping them happy and productive, and what time of year you get a harvest.