Tag Archives: gardening

Routine lemon tree care, and potato trenches.

I am loving my veggie patch at the moment, but after such a long period of neglect there are a lot of jobs to do.

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I think it is a Meyer lemon, but the tag got lost a long time ago. It’s such a good tree, but will need a prune to shape her after this growing season.

Today I spent some time caring for the Grand Lady of our garden: the lemon tree. Our tree produces beautiful sweet juicy lemons, nearly year round. We bought her for our first wedding anniversary, so clearly she is special to us. 3 or so years of neglect have left her nutrient depleted, and suffering several bug afflictions.

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Those big lumps are from gall wasp. It was a pretty bad case, and those holes mean the adult wasps have escaped.

My first job was to give her a light pruning. Gall wasp has gotten into several branches, so I pruned them off. Gall wasp causes lumps in the branches, as the wasp lays it’s eggs into the branch itself. These lumps can lead to a reduction in fruit, so I pruned them all off and threw them into the green bin. Pruning is the only real way to control the wasp. I had to chop a few branches that had growing lemons on them too, but if you take them with a little piece of stem attach, they will still ripen nicely.

We also have a bit of citrus leaf miner, some scale and a sooty looking mould. These can all be treated with organic controls, but since none of them are seriously attacking the plant I am on watch and wait alert. A good feed, and some repeated deep watering, might allow the plant to control this herself

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Multiple diseases can be seen here

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Leaving some stem helps the lemons ripen. Baby hands adds some cute factor too.

Next, the girls and I cleared all the grass and weeds from beneath the tree so we could fertilise her. A light hoe got all the growth out pretty easily , and I actually left it piled around the outside to make a little moat. This will stop the water and fertiliser from running down the slope away from the tree.

Lemons need to be fed three times a year: March, July and November (yes, I’m a little late!). I always use a commercial citrus food, but I’m sure you could find some amazing organic options. I choose one with trace elements as well, but you could use rock minerals in combination with a standard NPK fertiliser. There is a dose of fertiliser for lemons, which is 125g per year of plants age. I’m a little less exact than this though, and just toss a couple of handfuls under the tree. It seems to work alright 🙂

Lastly, I mulched with straw from the chicken coop, which provides both manure and soil cover.

Today’s other job was the potatoes. I never buy seed potatoes, as I nearly always have some growing in the potato box anyway. Potatoes are so easy to grow. I wait until a few eyes sprout, then I cut them into pieces, making sure each piece has an eye. I dug a big trench this time, and then planted them into holes at the bottom of each trench. The plants have now sprouted above the top of the trench, so I had to push all the hilled up dirt back into the trench. This will give a better yield then just planting them at ground level (which I’ve done before too). I think next autumn I will do an even deeper ditch, as these plants are doing so well I could use more soil over them.

Tomorrow I will have to start training the unruly beans and peas.

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You can see the tops of the potatoes sticking above the trench here.

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All filled in, and mulched up!

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The joy of a kitchen garden

For the first time since having my girls I have a productive garden. I didn’t come from a gardening family, but in my early 20s I developed a real passion for it. There were a couple of events that occurred in my life that started this passion. The first was coming across a Women’s Weekly book called The Kitchen Garden. This lovely book contains gardening information, storage tips and recipes, and I delighted in it. It seemed such a dream though; the sort of thing women on farms had. The second event occurred when we were living in inner-City Adelaide. In my opinion Adelaide has the best produce in Australia. The Tradie and I were completely inspired by food while there. We moved into this tiny unit in a fancy area and our back veranda overlooked the house of an old Italian man. He had transformed his tiny backyard into a market garden. The variety was amazing, and it was the first time I realised you didn’t need a lot of space to grow enough food to feed you (and more!).

You can always compost your mistakes

Over the years I have learned quite a lot about gardening, most of it through trial and error. I live by the quote above. Today when I ran to the garden to get a couple of things for dinner, I felt so inspired and happy. So, I’ve decided to blog a little about my adventures in the garden too. Life is always good in the garden.

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