Fertilizer, Morning Glory and Citrus walk in to a bar...

What do these three things have in common? A few years ago my hubby thought it would be cool to have a lemon tree, having no garden experience he asked if we got a tree would I take care of it for him and of course I said of course. Little did I know what a journey this lemon tree and I would take. We bought a two year old tree and as it grew I did as I had read which was to pick off the flower buds so that the tree could concentrate on growing. Well, it flowered a lot, beautiful sweet, suckled smelling blossoms that you wish you could sleep in, but it did not grow much and when we finally did let it produce fruit my husband was dubious about how such scrawny branches would hold a full sized lemon. Over the years I also struggled with keeping the leaves a lush green, they yellowed or turned a yellowish green a lot and often times they even fell off. Serendipitously for the lemon tree, I happened to be reading a thread on what to do about morning glories that don't produce many blooms (because yes, I was having that problem) a poster had suggested using rose fertilizer to force the plant...it seemed a novel idea to me and I wondered how else I could apply or what else I could apply rose fertilizer to, to make it bloom more. This year instead of following the gazillions of articles I'd read on citrus, lemons and meyer lemons I followed my instincts. I put the tree in the sunniest spot I could find, I made up my mind to not pinch off a single bloom and to let the tree fruit and flower all it wanted. I wasn't even sure the tree would be alive due to our particularly cold winter, but as spring approached it was clear there was life in him yet. I pruned back all of the dead portions of the tree, I bought what seemed to me a good citrus fertilizer AND some rose fertilizer. I crushed up the pelleted slow release citrus food* and incorporated that into the top soil, and when the time felt right I began using rose fertilizer in a fairly heavy dose every other week or so. Well, I've never seen the plant so green, or keep so many leaves. He had a million blossoms on him this year and since I wasn't picking them off I got to enjoy their divine smell every time I walked out the gate (oh what it must smell like in the middle of a citrus grove in the late spring!). Meyer lemons are notorious for dropping a lot of their tiny baby fruits and mine was no exception, it was hard to see them fall, but I held fast hoping that more than two or three would stay on. So, it seems that now we have about 10 lemons making their way towards becoming sweet yellow fruit. I continue to use the rose fertilizer and in a week or two will add a second dose of the citrus food. So, that is what rose fertilizer, morning glories and citrus have to do with one another. It would seem from scattered research and sources that rose and citrus fertilizer are the same thing or, at least very similar. However, I looked up the breakdown on some various options and Miracle Grow Rose Fertilizer which is what I’ve been using while having a similar N-P-K ratio to other ferts has a much higher level of N-P-K so perhaps it is this that sets the MG Rose fert apart and makes it so successful. Breakdown of Standard Fertilizer Options: Miracle Grow Rose Food: 18-24-16 I’m using this Dr. Earth Rose Food: 5-7-2 Miracle Grow Citrus: 13-7-13 Vigoro Citrus: 6-4-6 – I’m using this Basic Steps to Successful Lemon Trees in Containers and Elsewhere:  Sun, sun and more sun.  Fertilizer especially in containers! Try a rose fertilizer if your standard citrus version isn’t working.  Water less often than you think you should and when you do water deeply. It can be hard, but hold off on watering, if the lemon is in quite a large pot you need to give it time to dry out, more time than you think, so hold off a bit and then water and water deeply. Everyone says to do this, but really hold off a little longer than you think you should, and that's probably how often you should water.  Don’t let the tree fruit until it’s about 4 years old, this means picking off the blossoms when the tree flowers the first few years. This may seem an impossible task at the time, waiting so long for fruit, but you can do it and it will pay off. Or, fork over the dough and get a mature tree.  Once the tree is old enough to fruit let it do it how it wants to. Don’t pull off blossoms thinking it will give others a better chance to survive. The lemon will get rid of what it doesn’t want on its own. Hints: Container lemons will be far more finicky than lemons in the ground. But…they are doable, quite ornamental and can be taken with you when you go (to a new home, not the grave). *Am I the only one that feels like those slow release pellets need help breaking down? You can stick them in a pot and 20 years later I swear they’ll still be there


Do Not Look Behind the Curtain...

My Facebook Finale

A couple of weeks ago my mother emailed me asking if I had requested to be her friend on Facebook, stating that she had received a friend request from me. Finding this odd since I rarely go on the Facebook, I told her that I'd look into it, suspecting that what she had most likely received was a friend suggestion generated by the Great Facebook itself. Given my total lack of interest in Facebook and my overwhelming interest in almost anything besides, the promise to investigate this seemingly fraudulent if even existent, request to my mother was lost in the ether, until this evening. In boredom I finally decided to see what had been going on with the request and determined that what my mother had received was in fact a suggestion made by Facebook to add me as her friend. In turn it was she who had requested to by my friend. Because I like her I decided to go ahead and befriend my own mother, and then sadly turned around and placed her on a more highly filtered list of friends so as to keep some of my personal life private if for no other reason than to well, have a little privacy. After doing all of this I previewed the page as my mother would see it and realized that all of my interests and hobbies, had disappeared and there was a note from the Great and Powerful Facebook letting me know that all of my hobbies and interests could be linked to pages now, and that all I needed to do was to add these pages if I wanted people to see that I was interested in say, birds. Worse still, I couldn't even state simply to my friends that I was a Northeastern Alumni, I had to actually add the Northeastern page to my profile if I wanted them to know this information. Well, that was the end of it!

Sometimes, when you aren't certain what decision you should make it gets made for you, and here life was clearly telling me which way to go. I threw in the towel, citing in my reasons for leaving that the website was nothing more than an advertising whore. Okay, I didn't say whore, but I should have.

Predictably, quitting Facebook is not as straight forward as one would hope. You, the account holder clicks on deactivate account and "yes I really want to deactivate" and selects the reason they are deactivating, you click "continue" and poof you are told that your account has been deactivated. Success. Until, you go to your personal email and you read the message that lets know that all you have to do to reactivate your account is log in…

“Huh? I'm confused”...at least that's what I was thinking. So, I logged back in and "congratulations your account has been reactivated!", bah. I proceeded to the help section as I realized that there is no actual delete my account option, found the FAQ "How do I permanently delete my account?", read through the mumbo jumbo about deactivation, and got to the section that said “BUT if you really, really, really want to delete your account; if you think you really, really, really will never use your account again click HERE". I clicked THERE, but alas still, my account is not deleted. It is once again deactivated with the caveat this time that if I do not log in for FOURTEEN days then, they will permanently delete my profile. If I change my mind however, before the FOURTEEN days are up all I have to do is log in and hey, it will be like my account never went anywhere.

The people that I care about I see in person, I talk to, I email, I send cute little texts to and I post on my blog to keep them updated about highlights in my life; it seems cliché but I have no use for Facebook, I think sadly its Facebook that needs me and US.

Tonight The Great Facebook will just have to find another me out there amongst the masses, because I'm out. I've left the ranks and while yes, I realize the banality and the zombie mentality that perhaps even putting a post up such as this about the Facebook exhibits and is, I have cut the strings, I am untethered! Hooray!

Manufacture’s Disclaimer: Participant’s account remains active for a fourteen day trial period at the expiration of which they may choose to continue or permanently discontinue their subscription. We make no guarantee that Facebook will not in the future offer the member a chance to reactivate their deleted account from a semi-permanent deletion hold that Facebook places on all accounts for a period no shorter than twenty one days and not exceeding infinity.


Improvised Rustic Tomatoes & Pasta

Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
Dry Red Wine
Fresh Tomato, Roma or Plum
Garlic Fresh Minced
Purple Onion Chopped
Basil, Fresh or Dry

Fresh Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Begin by placing a large pot of water on to boil. Once the water comes to a boil, cook the pasta and drain when ready. If your pasta is cooked before your sauce put it back in the pot after draining and add some olive oil to keep it from sticking. Put the pot on the turned off burner to keep the pasta warm. As you begin to boil your water you should also start your sauce.

In a medium temperature skillet sauté onions with olive oil and salt. Once the onions are par cooked add in minced garlic and if using dried basil also add this in. Add olive oil as needed. Lower the heat if necessary to keep the garlic from burning. Once the onions have clarified add the red wine. Sauté. After the wine has partially cooked off add in tomatoes and if using fresh basil add this in as well. Sauté until tomatoes are warmed through. Once the tomatoes are warm place your pasta in a serving dish and top with sauce and fresh grated pecorino Romano cheese.

Recommendations: Use a mid range olive oil to give the sauce flavor; a light oil will make the dish greasy without adding any flavor. I strongly suggest using the Romano cheese in this recipe. However, if it is unavailable or too expensive try using Asiago as an alternative both of these will match the dish better than parmesan. For this dish I used a red wine called Langhe Nebbiolo (pronounced Neb ee o lo) which is similar to Chianti and can be substituted as such. To find out more about Nebbiolo wine go here: Wine Geeks to find out more about the Langhe Nebbiolo wine that I used go here: La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo I threw this dish together one night when I felt like cooking, but had nothing in the house. It's easy to cook and yummy to eat. Mangia, enjoy!


By The Light of the Moon

My moonflowers grow...