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Gardening

I didn't add any new plants this spring, our newest plant is a baby keffir lime tree we got during winter. Ideally we would've gotten a bigger one, but that was all The Great Outdoors had. The keffir lime tree is pretty important, because a lot of delicious dishes use them, and they're pretty hard to find here.

Anyways, I've been taking care of this baby tree very carefully. It's finicky, doesn't like too much water, doesn't like too much cold. Anyways, I came home and I saw this weird thing on it.




I was like.. Arrggh! ALIEN life form on my plant! That looks like a bird dropping! And squirms! I took a stick and pushed it away. It had happily nibbled on a couple of leaves though. Ate them all and neatly left the leaf stem.

I just found out that it turns into a giant swallowtail butterfly, and they looove citrus trees.  If my tree was big enough I wouldn't mind losing leaves to it since it turns into a beautiful butterfly.



On another adventure: I tried sprouting avacados from seed, even though it would take 7 years till they would bear fruit. I watched the seed slowly crack open. Then one day I found the seeds tossed around and half gnawwed at.

Arrrrgh!!! Squirrel.

And another ongoing adventure is mites. I've mites all over my peach tree. My lovely peach tree didn't fruit last year, but it is this year and I love love the fruit. But the mites are all over it and sucking out the chlorophyll. I've been carrying my jasmine, peach tree (which is not small) and keffir lime tree over to the water spout to get wash the mites off.

And those are the adventures of my little container garden. So far alive we have:
Jasmine, Peach tree, keffir lime tree, strawberry, mint, lime, orange, jalapenos.

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
sylke
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
Have you tried a pesticide for the mites? There are several organic and food safe brands out there. I use Organic Laboratories Organocide Insect/Fungicide for my tomatoes, and it keeps things pretty healthy. The ingredient list is ridiculously simple: sesame oil in a fish oil carrier, and lecithin, I assume as an emulsifier. So unless you have any severe allergies to those ingredients or strict vegetarian rules, it might be worth looking at. I got a spray bottle of it at Lowe's, and it lasted the entire summer on 2 tomatoes, 2 peppers, a cucumber, a zucchini, and a blackberry bush.

I'm envious you guys have the climate for a keffir lime! My husband would *love* if we could grow limes here, but I just don't think limes are going to thrive in Pittsburgh.
ripresa
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
Not yet, but I might when I get tired of trotting my potted plants over to the spout to wash them off.

I just don't want to put anything on my plants when I'm going to eat them. Unless it comes from the kitchen. I've sprayed some tea tree oil on them, not sure if that works. But maybe sesame oil next!

Also most citrus trees do really well indoors, so you could have your own lime tree. As long as you have a nice window spot for it, and I would put pebbles on top of the pot so that the kitties don't poop on it.

I actually have thought about putting some of the limes indoors, but Uchi loves eating plants. I think he might eat all the leaves. I might give it a shot though since for the Citrus, it seems too hot for them to fruit most of summer.

sylke
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I had similar reservations, but the ingredients are literally that simple, and all of them are things I eat regularly already. The guy at Lowe's pointed me to that spray in particular specifically because it is food safe when I brought in a spotty tomato leaf plant a couple years ago. I thought about just spraying straight-up sesame oil on the plants, but I'm not sure how important the concentration is. The premixed stuff was only a few bucks and I felt like I was spraying salad dressing on my veggies. ;)

I may well research getting a lime tree for the house. We don't have a hugely sunny spot, but through modern technology there are sun lamps after all, and it could still go outdoors for a few months a year on the back porch. Nathan would *love* a lime tree since he uses limes for drinks all the time and gets fussy about the winter limes not being flavorful or juicy. I can call it a belated father's day present, or maybe a belated 5th anniversary present.
ripresa
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
The first year I got a lime tree, it fruited abundantly. I was watching the fruits grow, and then one day, I came home and it was all gone! My potted plants are in my porch, and I think what happened was that the neighbors next door was having a party.. and was like.. where's some lime for the beer??? Anyways, I'm pretty sure it was the college kids because usually when my strawberries are nibbled on, I figured it's the Squirrel. But the limes were clean gone!

Grr. College kids.
sylke
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
Arg! There would be hell to pay if anyone took my limes. It's one thing to pull a single lime because you don't think they'll be missed (still wrong, but more a nuisance than anything), but picking the tree clean? I would seriously consider hiring a crotchety old man to sit in a rocker with a shotgun guarding the tree if that happened to me.

We live in a very family-oriented neighborhood, and the oldest kids are only around 12. Bit young to want limes for drinks, and too well disciplined to take them just for mischief. That, or we're getting a guard dog. >:-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )