Ahh February...Spring is in the air (even if Punxsutawney Phil does say we have six weeks to wait). And in the Spring I get the itch to start planting and growing things. The only problem is this year we're moving so I'm not going to be planting a garden here in Texas. OK, I have to admit that yesterday I did plant three or four tiny onion bulbs that had started sprouting in their basket, and one shriveled up fingerling potato with several shoots-what else was a girl to do, throw them in the compost? I've learned in Texas, if something wants to try to grow, grow it!
I'm so tempted to start some plants but I so know it really is not sensible to be moving seedlings across the country. In an effort to squelch these urges I've opted to tend to some plants that need some extra TLC.
Remember that poor Meyer Lemon of the Lemon Aid post? Well, it did survive but it still doesn't look like much. I can't leave it out all winter because citrus trees don't like freezing weather. We don't have many freezes but I hate relying on the weather man ( and my memory) each night to determine if a plant needs to come inside. Our house doesn't have any sizable south facing windows so it's in our entry hall which has large east facing windows -not nearly enough light for a citrus tree. I've been fertilizing it very little thinking wintertime was a period of dormancy.
The few leaves on the tree are new growth since it was stripped in July
A little research has led me to question that theory. It seems that whereas outside plants have a period of dormancy when temperatures fall below 54 degrees at night, they thrive in temperatures of 55-70 degrees. So henceforth I will start a regime of carting this plant outside on days where temperatures are over 55 and back inside for the night. Apparently this will be better for the plant than trying to eke out an existence in the mudroom.
Also moving the plant outside during the day will afford me the chance to mist the plant with water -something that the meyer's love. I have also read that meyer lemons enjoy a soil PH of between 5.5-6.5. My tap water comes out of the tap at about 8.5! A little vinegar added to the water should bring PH down (I'll test with my PH meter and come up with a formula).
I'll also start fertilizing the plant again as hopefully it'll be enjoying more sunlight. The fish emulsion I use is a great fertilizer if there is available biota in the soil to break it down into its raw elements. Since the plant was repotted and harbored inside since July there probably isn't much biota at work in the soil. It has been recommended to use a 5-1-3 NPK ratio fertilizer. I really want to stick to organic growing so I'm currently researching how to make a good organic citrus fertilizer.
Ahh a project in the making. I knew I could find a beneficial way to satisfy the Spring gardening itch.