The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

2011 lemon harvest

Dwarf Meyer lemons

Our urine fertilizer really paid off, with 31 ripe or nearly ripe fruits on our dwarf Meyer lemon tree.  The fruits were all a bit smaller than in previous years (which means this year's lemons were roughly the size of storebought fruit.)  If we have the same bonanza of blooms this winter, I'll thin the baby fruits so that the tree isn't overwhelmed.

Lemon zest

I picked the first six lemons of the year and grated off the zest to use in baking.  Our homegrown lemon zest will go fast because Meyer lemons are a hybrid of an orange and a lemon, so their skin is only about half strength.  I double the zest portion of any recipe when using Meyer lemon zest.

Fresh lemon juice

The juice is similar to that of a storebought lemon, though a bit sweeter.  One cup of lemon juice is just enough to bake a double strength lemon meringue pie.  Too bad the dessert has to cool overnight before I can cut and taste it.

We've already got more flower buds on the lemon tree even as the other 80% of the fruits grow out of their last tinge of green.  Meanwhile, another dwarf citrus has bloomed and started to set tiny fruits.  In a very un-Anna-like move, I let the labels wash off the pot, so I don't know whether we'll be trying out homegrown navel oranges or key limes this time next year.  I guess it will be a surprise!

Our chicken waterer never spills on uneven terrain of pastures and tractors.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Comment by J Sat Nov 5 10:59:21 2011
Me too! You might be able to fit a Meyer lemon in your city homestead --- all you need is a few feet of space in a sunny window.
Comment by anna Sat Nov 5 11:19:07 2011

My myer has 10 ripening and another 23 small and green lemons from three differrent blooms. It did drop some leaves when I brought it inside and then went out of town for a week, so I hope it will bloom again this winter..

Myer lemons are sweet enough that I enjoy eating them (and the peel) by themselves.

So, your mention of pie reminds me that I was going to ask you if you would have any interest in playing games tomorrow... :)

Comment by joey Sat Nov 5 11:26:40 2011
Oh also, my lime has not bloomed, but if you smell or taste a leaf, it's clearly lime, so you could use that as an easy ID. Keep meaning to use my lime leaves in cooking..
Comment by joey Sat Nov 5 11:28:31 2011

Good point about lime ID --- I'll have to go taste the leaf.

I'm going to hope that two of your lemons fall off the tree so you don't beat me in lemon numbers this year! :-)

I'd love to see you tomorrow (or even today.) The pie might still be here....

Comment by anna Sat Nov 5 11:37:14 2011
Thanks for coming over and running a taste test for us! Looks like we're in for a crop of navel oranges next winter. Yum!!
Comment by anna Sat Nov 5 18:28:23 2011
Everytime you do a post involving your Meyer lemon tree, it starts me thinking about just how much we could use a lemon tree of our own! :) However, we have limited space for indoor plants, due to the feline members of our family. Do your cats leave your dwarf citrus trees alone, or do the trees and kitties need to be kept segregated?
Comment by Ikwig Sat Nov 5 20:58:20 2011

I'm going to have to see if I can track down a place for a small citrus tree. I'll have to get my wife on board since inside the house is her domain.

I love to hear about people using urine. I use it in the winter to help compost down the fall leaves. All that nitrogen helps jump start the composting process. When people ask, I call it homemade compost booster.

Comment by Fritz Sat Nov 5 21:53:33 2011

I keep meaning to do a lunchtime series on our dwarf lemons --- people are always very interested in them.

Lisa --- Our cats don't seem to be interested in houseplants, probably because they've got the whole garden to scratch up. Huckleberry slept in the pot a time or two, but that was about it.

Fritz --- I slacked a lot on collecting urine over the summer, but as soon as the world turns brown like this, I seem to get interested again. It is extremely helpful on my "compost piles" --- really just stacks of high carbon summer weeds that need a bunch of nitrogen to rot.

Comment by anna Sun Nov 6 08:13:49 2011

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