Another lemon tree update + compost progress…

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Everything seems to be getting better with leaves now shooting out-May 29th

Everything seemed to be getting better with leaves shooting out-May 29th

My lemon tree has been a disaster. I last blogged about this in April in my Lemon Tree Update Post. At the end of this period, I had hope for the tree as I had changed the situation of the plant by potting in a larger plant, adding fertilizer, and mixing in more dry soil. Well, things got worse! All the leaves fell off and some of the stems began to dry up. I was at a loss and knew this tree was dying. I was so sad especially since it is my (quite expensive) Valentines gift and it seemed like a bad omen for our relationship. Silly, I know, but still it crossed my mind.

I was going to do more research on this problem and ask experts but one day in early May, while I was at work, my husband decided to plant it outdoors without telling me. I was not happy as it is an indoor tree and chances are that it would die in the winter. However, he had already done it and I figured we would first see if it even survives.

June 27th-Nice strong leaves!

June 27th-Nice strong leaves!

I watched it carefully as a few weeks rolled on by. There was no action for a time and I trimmed off all the dry branches hoping this may help. A few weeks passed and I inspected it one day and found a few tiny green leaves developing! I was thrilled-it had not yet died and there was hope. A few weeks later, these have developed even further-enough so I know that the tree is safe at last!

Since then, I have been keeping an eye on the tree and the leaves that are growing. Since it was quite hot most of June and July, I had been giving it water every other day or so. The fact that the leaves are growing seemed a good sign and gave me hope that everything may be okay after all.

July 14th-condition of the tree

July 14th-condition of the tree

Now, I just hope the tree has grown enough in the dirt so that the tree is stable by the time winter comes around as I would not want it to die then. So far it has had several false starts which could not have been healthy! I doubt we will get any lemons next year despite the fact that when we bought it there were already 5.

I do plan on wrapping it up for the winter to protect it but for now, I made sure to fertilize it once more to help it along. The good news is that due to El Nino it may be a very mild winter. As you can see from the photos, my husband was right to plant it outside as there has been significant progress.

This is how it is doing today. Am hoping for a warm winter to keep this guy alive and well.

This is how it is doing today. Am hoping for a warm winter to keep this guy alive and well.

I also wrote a post in August declaring I would make my own compost. I am well on the way. Since I want to expand my garden next year I decided to build my raised garden bed frame and do the composting directly in it. I ended up digging a pit within this frame (I figured it would give me more room and enrich the soil even deeper) and since then I have been tossing in grass clippings, potting soil and dirt from old containers that housed plants that died, newspapers, kitchen veggie scraps, cardboard, leaves (we had a big windstorm in August and all the leaves conveniently blew into a big pile right in front of my house!), and a giant bag of coffee grounds and filters from the local Starbucks. Am not a fan of Starbucks personally but the staff are very nice and the company is happy to give away coffee grounds upon request to anyone who asks.

My compost pile after I did some rotating today.

My compost pile after I did some rotating today.

It rained a few times in the last few weeks so the pile has been staying damp enough but if it gets too hot I hose it down a bit. Today I decided to rotate this pile (to give it some air) and noticed a lot of decomposing, tons of worms (when I first dug the pit there were none as the soil is quite poor), many other insects, and bees or wasps hanging around. I think all of that is a good sign. My normal garden bed still has tomato, cucumber, and herbs growing in it which I assume will grow the rest of this month at least. Once it is all done I plan to throw all the leaves into my pit and top it all off with some of the soil from the garden bed. I will then get to work on doing some composting within the original garden bed so that soil stays nice and rich as well. Will ask Starbucks for another bag of coffee grounds to beef it up a bit later in the year. Composting, I must say, has been quite a fun and practical project.

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