Monday, January 14, 2013

Indoor Gardening Fun!

People always laugh when they come into my home in late winter. One year I had a 3 foot tomato plant growing on my kitchen table. It came up from my compost and I was curious to see how it would do inside! Last year it was a giant pot of sugar snap peas in the kitchen - trellis and all. This year, I have a variety of somewhat unusual plants. The herbs are nothing special, aside from the fact that it's the first time I've successfully grown enough herbs inside to be able to use them.

But the lemons, now those were a surprise. When I brought the plant inside in September, it completely shocked me by starting to bloom! I didn't think the amount of sunlight was very conducive, but apparently the plant had other ideas. I think that coming from the autumn chill into my cozy kitchen tricked it into blooming. And we're talking 20-30 flowers on this small plant. They had a very pungent odor that my mom recognized the moment she walked into my kitchen. She had this sudden flashback of her childhood in South America, climbing lemon trees with a saltshaker and eating salted lemons right off the tree, while avoiding the sharp barbs on the new growth. Yes, these puppies have BIG thorns!

My next surprise was the onset of, you guessed it, tiny lemons. I know I shouldn't have been surprised, but seriously, there was a foot of snow on the ground and 8 hours of sunlight per day. This picture was taken about a month ago. The largest lemon is now an inch in diameter! It still remains to be seen whether or not it will ripen without long sunlit days. Most of the flowers turned into tiny fruits, but the majority of them fell off unfortunately. Perhaps that's a result of the low photosynthesis happening in winter - the plant can't sustain that many fruits. Now there are 3 "large" and one tiny new one.

This last photo is of something I tried mostly to satisfy my curiosity. Would it really work to sprout celery from the butt end of a grocery-store stalk? Apparently, the answer is yes! Put it in a glass of water for a couple weeks then plant! I'm anxious to see if they continue to grow, since they didn't develop much of a root system in the water. I think I should have raised it up so it wasn't sitting right on the bottom of the cup. Oh well. It was a cheap experiment. :)

Now it's your turn! What have you been doing indoors in this extra-long winter?

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