Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Lemons and Limes and Labs Oh My!

During a visit to the nursery last week to find a plant (eventually a Lavens Lavendula Grosso) to place over Snowball's grave I found that Lemon and Lime trees were 25% off. This was kind of exciting, as some level of citrus independence was listed on my goals and citrus is something that is within my ability to do here.  And so, one day later, off to the nursery I went...

(Labrador Retriever not included  with citrus trees in all states.  Consult your local regulations for details.)

The upshot was that I acquired two Mexican Limes and two Meyer Lemon trees for under $100 out the door (In cash.  Thank you very much).  The Mexican Limes are dwarfs naturally and will theoretically top out at 6 to 10 feet; the Meyer Lemons can grow taller but (as I discovered) are controlled by the size of the container.

These are not trees for year round outdoors.  Not at all.  We run the risk of getting pretty cold here - we have dipped to 19 F and seen 25-30 F regularly at nights in winter - which these trees will not tolerate.  However, with large pots the idea of an orangerie becomes possible, where the trees are migrated into a greenhouse or house (or in my case, my garage with my spiffy new insulated garage door that has windows) for the winter.

Is this going to completely resolve my citrus needs?  Not at all - even with fantastic production, lemons and limes will only carry me so far.  I need more - a Satsuma orange (mandarin) or two would be ideal (they are apparently much more cold tolerant but were not on sale) and even a graperfuit tree would help.  Still, every little bit is an advance - and lemon/lime juice can easy be frozen for use later on or (potentially) preserved for later use (I've read about this - never tried them though).

But I have to remind myself in such moments that every little advance makes a difference.  Even if I just get enough to not buy lemon or lime juice, that is money in my pocket and a little more independence in my life - and, let us be honest, citrus blooms are both peculiarly fragrant and attract bees....


PioneerPreppy said...

Good God Man I am glad Labs, or any dags, are not provided with tree otherwise I would have 100 trees to plant and my wife would be buying 100 new collars.

You bring up an interesting point about the citrus thing though. I need to look into that.

kymber said...

TB - congrats on your purchases! i always say that 3 things i won't ever give up that come from over a hundred miles is lemons, limes and avocadas! when we build our sunroom-addition i am going to try lemon and lime trees - but that's few years off yet.

until then, i will have to vicariously grow them through you! i can't wait see your first produce! make sure to take a pic!

your friend,

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

That is one of the takeaways I got from Alas, Babylon. One of the characters specifically mentions that the had oranges. We are just slightly too far north for a full time outdoor citrus orchard but the French have done it this way for some time, I believe.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Thanks Kymber! I am excited to see how the project goes. The winter worries me a bit in terms of light but I can always move them inside if needed. Apparently one good thing about Mexican Limes is that they can be grown from seed instead of grafts.

Lhiats, TB