Saturday, January 28, 2012
OUR FIRST MEYER LEMON HARVEST
It's been a long wait -- almost two years -- since we bought our dwarf Meyer lemon tree at Lowe's. It was small then, and we planted it in a smallish pot and placed it on our patio. Last winter, it came inside our house. By the time the winter was over, it needed to be repotted to a bigger container. It was repotted again in early fall to yet another, larger, container and placed on a caddy with wheels. We relocated the tree to just outside our garage doors, so that it could easily be wheeled inside during frigid weather.
Most of the first blooms fell off, as predicted, and others we picked off, leaving just two lemons for our first harvest. As the lemons grew, they were dark green, then lighter green, then yellow, and finally orange-yellow.
The Meyer lemon tree is a cross between a Mandarin orange and a lemon, producing a sweeter, less-tart fruit that chefs and food enthusiasts love. (Wal-Mart carries bags of Meyer lemons, and Harris Teeter carries the individually priced fruits at close to $1 each.) Since Meyer lemon trees are a dwarf variety, they are perfect for container growing on a patio, or even inside the home in a sunny location. They do require at least eight hours of sun daily, so location is critical, and care must be taken to not overwater them. They can be planted in the ground in areas where winter weather is short and not severe, but they must be covered when temperatures dip below freezing. Though the trees can reach 10-20 feet in height when fully grown, it is possible to keep them in containers if the trees are cut back once a year.
Our tree is completely covered with new blossoms now, some of which have already started to form fruit.
The intoxicating fragrance of the citrus blooms permeates the garage area, in a good way. We're looking forward to a Meyer lemon meringue pie soon, hopefully by Memorial Day.