Gardening highs and woes…

As many of you know, my lovely boyfriend bought me a Meyer lemon tree for Christmas last year. I just thought I’d update you on how he’s doing (the tree, not the boyfriend), now that it’s sunny and lovely outside.


In a word: Not much has changed. We moved him into a bigger pot, threw some organic fertilizer on top of the soil and are now putting him outside whenever it’s sunny and warm (he doesn’t like much water or temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius). He’s got about five flowers blossoming, as well as three or four lemons, one of which is pretty big:


But he’s not growing much. I think this is maybe because all of his energy is being directed into the lemons rather than creating new branches and leaves. Am I right? And is this a good thing or bad thing? Should I be pruning or picking off the buds?

Also, there’s a bit of a mould problem — his soil is looking mighty furry:


Is this due to over-watering? A bug infestation? What am I doing wrong?!

Sigh… gardening can be stressful. I can’t imagine actually having children to look after! Anyway, my other plants seem to be thriving, which is a good sign. I’ve got a shallow ceramic bowl of lettuce, which I’ve learned LOVES lots of water (it was totally wilted and dying until a big thunderstorm revived it overnight):


Then there’s my organic tomato plant, given to me by my editor and his wife as a congrats present for Sleeping Naked is Green:


Some spring onions, which Jacob wanted:


And finally, a wee blueberry bush (if you can call it that, which I don’t think you really can at this point). It might not produce anything edible until about three decades from now, but at least it’s still alive! Oh, and that’s a little Cosmos flower sprouting beside it.


That’s about it for my rooftop gardening experiment… in my actual garden down below I have some lavender, chives and a bucket full of herbs that my mom gave me. What do you have growing? Any disasters? Any lessons learned?

19 Responses to Gardening highs and woes…

  1. Vitor Leal says:

    I wish I had more space, but I don’t. Anyway, I have a ficus, some peppers and a bush of catnip. That REALLY grows fast, and takes over.

    I also have 1 onion that was so long on the fridge that it actually sprouted, so I’m thinking about planting it.

  2. EcoYogini says:

    OUuuu LEMON TREE!! very cool! I didn’t know us Canadians could grow them… lol.
    I really can’t help you on any of your gardening questions- but we do have an urban garden happening as well: organic carrots, peas and garlic and strawberries 🙂 I have no idea if any of it will be edible… but here’s to hoping! 🙂

  3. karissa says:

    I am sure someone more knowledgeable will answer your mold problem better then me, but you might try to water from the bottom if you can, in the little dish.

    And try and spray a little vinegar and tea tree oil mix on the top soil. do this every day for a while and I can’t see it growing, don’t over saturate.
    it won’t hurt the tree either.

    Now you have convinced me that I can have a lemon tree! maybe a lime too, we really love margaritas!

  4. victoriaklein says:

    Growing is always an exciting endeavors, and you have to expect “highs and woes” – that’s part of the “fun”. It teaches us that nothing is perfect, in life or in nature.

    I’ve never had a Meyer lemon tree, so I can’t offer much advice there, but I’m glad to hear that most of your plants are growing vibrantly 🙂

  5. ecogrrl says:

    always love reading about your adventures. as for my garden, this year celebrated a full year of being car-free and ironically, my long driveway is the only section on my lot that gets all the sun, so this year i got a bunch of galvanized steel planters from ikea for super cheap, nailed holes in the bottom, and made a driveway container garden. the combined southern exposure and insulation of the quickly-heating containers have done wonders for growing tomatoes and peppers, the latter which usually piddle around and give me one cherry-size pepper in november (if i beg). this year my pepper plants are several feet high and thriving. using every available space on that side of the driveway (including the lean stretch of gravel that i dug up and planted onions and zucchini in) has got the neighbors curious and my stomach rumbling for them to grow grow grow!

  6. Susan says:

    I would take all the fruit and blossoms off him and allow him to put his energy into growing for at least the first year. From your pic (and I could be wrong) I think he’s still not in a big enough container. (Can you advise height v pot size?)
    Water deeply and regularly but not little/often and allow to drain properly. I wouldn’t spray anything on the mould at all.
    There’s really no need to prune a Meyer lemon unless a. there’s growth below the graft b. there’s lots of crossed branches in the middle (inhibiting fresh air) c. the lower branches are sweeping the ground (same as b). He looks a lovely, rich green though so he’s obviously thriving.
    From Louie the Meyer lemon in Oz 🙂

  7. Sarah says:

    I used to read your blog all the time, then stopped since you had stopped posting for a while. I was in Chapters the other day and your book caught my eye – then I realized it was yours! It was such a happy moment – I felt so proud (even though we’ve never met…. so I hope that’s not too creepy…..) I’m glad you were able to write it! I’m hoping to buy it soon.
    So glad to see you are posting on your blog again! Best wishes with your book!

  8. zenfreckle says:

    I just finished reading your book and I can’t say enough about it! It was a fantastic, laugh out loud but make me really think kind of book. I am making my mother and many of my friends read it too! Thank you for sharing your experiences in such a an open and light-hearted way.

  9. erikka says: – for home plant care

    but to sum up – mold could be from over watering or a sign of a fungus in your planting soil. most fungi do not harm plants, but if you’re concerned, you could re-pot it. and also watch how much watering you are doing.

    good luck!

    i have a community garden plot and i’ve learned something fabulous – potatoes are SUPER easy to grow. throw in a hunk of potato with at least two “eyes” growing from it and viola, instant potato plant! And one plant gives about 5-6 potatoes! i’ve also got a raspberry bush, strawberries, garlic, basil, and tomatoes.

  10. Allison says:

    That’s a nice looking tomato plant!

    I tried growing one on my windowsill since I don’t have anywhere good to put plants outside. Total failure. It grew straight up, had one blossom, then dried up while I was away visiting my family last week.

    If it had survived to produce that single tomato I imagine it would have looked something like this anyway:

    I guess I’ll stick to non-edible house plants.

  11. gettinggreen says:

    Thanks for the tips, everyone! My mom stirred up the soil while I was away at a cottage this weekend and now the mould is gone; I’m also wondering about pH, though — I think citrus plants are used to growing in really arid conditions… places like Spain, the Middle East… and maybe I need to make the soil more alkaline. Mom suggested adding some chalk to it. Thoughts?

  12. Varina says:

    The mould is probably due to frequent waterings. Let the soil surface dry out *completely* (like bone dry) between waterings.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the lack of growth. It looks healthy … and you’re probably right about the energy going into fruiting rather than growth.

    As for pH, have you looked that up? You might want to check your theory before making changes to the soil. I’ve read that ash is good for lowering pH.

  13. CHAM says:

    The last 4 days, I’ve spent my free time with my nose in your book. I just finished reading it and absolutely LOVED it! Your sarcasm and honesty made me relate to you and a lot of your adventures. I’m telling everyone I can about your book, hoping they’ll read it and enjoy it as much as I did. Hopefully this will lead to even more people taking on changes, little by little.

  14. Emma says:

    P.S. when I was at your place last weekend I was tanning on your deck with cucumbers on my eyes…Wasn’t sure where to throw them after so they went into one of those pots. I’m assuming that’ll fix the mold.

  15. PeyPey says:

    Lovely pictures! I’m all the way down here in Georgia with some healthy tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, cinnamon basil (delish variety!), cilantro, and rosemary. My strawberries and cilantro are the most finicky; everything else is thriving! This is my first attempt at gardening and I might even say I’ve got a pretty green thumb! I’ve been composting for about 8 months now and when I planted my container garden, I was able to use all of my own compost!

  16. Bunnie in Maine says:

    first time reading your blog. your container grown blueberry bush intrigued me. i had wondered if you ever got any flowers on it…in hopes of even just a few berries, but then it dawned on me. blueberry bushes have to be grown in pairs, well more than one. they need a friend for the pollination process to work right. my in-laws gave us a pair of blueberry bushes when we got engaged…cause they need each other.

    get him a friend, and maybe a bigger pot. oh and they like it when you give them your used coffee grounds. just dump the grounds on the top of the soil. any kind of coffee will do, they don’t seem to have a preference. 😉

    even the tiniest plants that i’ve found in the woods can sprout a berry or two…so maybe next year you’ll have some for your yogurt.

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