Friday, January 27, 2012

Meyer Lemons and Basil

The lemons are growing and soon it will be time to use them.  According to Wikipedia, this citrus fruit is native to China and thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange.  The fruit is more round than a typical lemon, and it's skin is fragrant and very thin.  The juice tends to be sweeter and less acidic than a true lemon.  They have a compact size which makes them suitable for container growing.
This is the third year my dwarf Meyer lemon has produced fruit.  Each year the crop gets a little larger.  Right now there are 12 lemons.  Unfortunately we knocked a few off when we brought the plant indoors late in October.
Prior to setting fruit, the flowers are white with a purple base and and share their wonderful orange blossom fragrance.
I wanted to try growing basil hydroponically this winter.  Two of the containers are clear plastic and the center one is made of green glass. I filled the 'pots'  half way with clay balls then carefully held the basil plants with their long white roots in place while filling the container with more  balls.  Then I added water to just below the surface line.  The most important thing to remember is to get every bit of soil off the plant roots before putting it in this water environment, or the roots will rot.  I've been enjoying fresh basil all winter and will have good sized plants to set in the ground when the time comes.  I'm calling this experiment a success.

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