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

Feeding the Dwarf Meyer Lemon

Dwarf Meyer Lemon nutrient deficiencyOur movie star neighbor has an absolutely stunning Dwarf Meyer Lemon that he brings inside for the winter.  Last year, he got 91 delicious lemons from a tree no more than three feet tall (though more like six feet wide.)

Mark's mom heard us enthusing over our neighbor's tree, and Christmas 2007 a baby lemon tree was waiting for us at her house.  We put our tree in a five gallon pot, showered the lemon with love, compost tea, and vermicompost, and ate our first four lemons at this time last year.

This year, there are two big fruits starting to ripen, seven baby lemons no more than a couple of inches in diameter, and another passel of blooms just opening.  But as you can see in the photo above, the older leaves are starting to look chlorotic (turning yellow between the veins), denoting a nutrient deficiency.  Our movie star neighbor fertilizes his tree regularly with Miracle Grow, but we're trying to go the organic route.  This spring, we topdressed with a gallon or two of compost, which prompted scads of blooms, but our lemon has clearly worked her way through all of the nutrients.  I fed her again this week, this time with a gallon of composted horse manure, and am hoping that the recent rain has washed enough nutrients over her roots to keep her producing.

Mark dreams of some day having two mature dwarf lemon trees, which we figure would be just about enough to keep us in lemons all year.  I'm hoping our dwarf tangerine (a year younger than our lemon) will join the mix and keep us citrified.  Citrus is often one of the hardest things for locavores to give up, and we'd like to avoid that sacrifice.

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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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