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  • Starting A Garden

    I have toyed with the idea of getting a dwarf Meyer lemon tree for several years now – every spring, I’d think about it, but chicken out because of my appalling black thumb. I was certain that I would kill anything I put on our patio, which gets the full effects of the brutal summer sun. But recently, reader Harvey gave me hope in an email when he said that he’d had a Meyer lemon tree that had thrived despite neglect and heat. So I’ve been thinking about it more than ever.

    Today is a holiday for our local school district, honoring civil rights activist César Chávez (the official state holiday was yesterday, but school is closed today). On the spur of the moment this morning, I took Alex to a garden shop, where I figured we were most likely to find someone knowledgeable about container gardening and who could walk me through everything I would need to do.

    We were in luck, because the first employee we met turned out to be an expert. He showed me the trees, and told me what kind of container I would need to transfer the tree to. I only bought four things – the tree, the new pot, soil and food. The total came out to just under $100, so it was not cheap. The tree is going to have to produce about 250 lemons that I actually use just for me to break even. On the bright side, though, the tree is supposed to live for years so I just might get my money’s worth.

    And it was a nice shared experience with Alex – we got home, transferred the tree, and watered it together. I’m confident he’ll try anything I make using lemons from our own tree. In fact, if this works out, we might end up with a real garden on the patio – the garden shop expert said that as long as I water them well, edible plants would grow great in the hot sun. First, though, we’ll see how this tree turns out!