Friday, May 7, 2010

New Directions: The Tahitian Lime Wears White Stockings

The lemon tree has a new citrus friend in the garden. Everyone, please meet Mr Tahitian Lime (pictured above.) He ventured into the balcony garden the other week (in the midst of my icky bout with the flu) and settled in nicely. He has a few issues. I did buy him from Bunnings (with my last voucher) which for those who don't know is a bit of a generic hardware store with a reasonable(ish) garden collection. There were only two limes to chose from and he was the better looking. I just hope he is good quality. He looked well enough, healthy waxy leaves and a firm upright growth habit. That, and I wasn't going to come back another day in hope of there being more. I wanted a lime then and there, and he was it. Problem number two was getting him home. He fit into my car fine, with a little bit of his top smushing against of the top of the car. Still seemed happy enough - until I turned a corner and he toppled over sideways. Apart from some dirt spillage on the back floor (which I only realise now is still not cleaned up!!!) he seemed unharmed. No broken limbs or falling leaves. Hardy fellow I hope.

Step two was fitting him into the garden. Space is limited and I have some trouble adding new pots. This mean I needed to reuse an existing pot. Problem was this plant was full with a mix of things; old, half dead sunflowers and basil, and also young, newish seedlings of broccoli and cornflowers. The cornflower from this pot was moved to its own little pot.

So too was the broccoli, though with this one I got a little arty, using a round pot within a square pot (mostly to help with drainage.)

The sunflowers were binned (except for the two remaining flower heads, one being a bud, which are sitting inside the house and making one lovely posy)

The basil was turned into a yummy pesto and the seeds saved.

Meanwhile, I soaked the base of the lime tree in seaweed solution while I cleaned the pot and added good quality potting mix. In went the tree, a backfill of potting mix and hey presto, a new fruit tree joins the lemon and nectarine already in the balcony garden. Seems to fit well into his spot next to the eggplant, beans and more

It gets pretty windy here, and last week was no exception. The lime tree needed serious staking to help it settle in for its first few months. Given the lack of twine in my house, or within a 25 million km radius he is currently making do with my impromptu staking, complete with sparkly white stocking leftovers.

I'll change it for twine when I remember to buy some.

My overall plan is to subtract some of the annuals and add some more fruit trees to the balcony garden. This will help make looking after the place a little easier, particularly when it comes to waters, but also means I will save a bit on potting mix (three plantings in a year or so means three times the potting mix versus a fruit tree which needs an initial load and a change every two years.) Fruit trees take a few years to establish and produce fruit properly though hopefully I will get blossoms on this lime tree at some point in the next year, even if they don't fruit. Now to save up for the next fruit tree venture but what will it be? A fig? A blood orange? Two apples (one a golden or a granny smith, the other a pollinator)? A cherry? Or something completely different!?!


Rainforest Gardener said...

I wish I could grow stuff like that on my balcony! Full shade will do that...

Anonymous said...

You're so adventurous with your balcony plantings...seems I always end up with the same old tired arrangements. I think I might mix it up a little this year, too! :)

Chandramouli S said...

YAY! This sounds interesting. I am a fan of fruit myself and had a Pomegranate which I lost last summer due to lack of watering. I suckers for fruits! I saw lemon two days ago at the nursery where I bought Gerberas, Spider Lily, Rose, and Michelia. I so wanted to buy that plant after seeing tiny fruits on them, but was discourage when I saw brown spots 75% of leaves on the plant.
Apples in containers!!!!??? Would they flower and fruit?? I'd be interested in seeing them growing in your balcony.
Good luck!