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Master Gardeners of Douglas County

Master Gardeners of Douglas County

Plant Cleaning

In the Garden with Extension Educator Larry Zilliox

March 24, 2008

Some days just can't get any better than this morning. The sun appeared bright and clear lighting up my sun room in full glory. I opened my refrigerator to look for something to make for breakfast and noticed my last two lemons from my lemon tree. A couple of juice oranges laid on the counter ready to be squeezed. A refreshing summer drink is lemonade and orange juice so why not make up some with these fresh fruit. Both fruits are very juicy so it made a nice batch to be enjoyed later in the day. It was time to water my plants before leaving for work. Lo and behold to my surprise on my lemon tree were the first buds of the year starting to burst open. I knew that it was going to happen soon as the tree had sent out new shoot growth the past couple of weeks. The flowers are very sweet smelling, strange as the fruit is sour, and give off an aroma that can be smelled as one walks into the house. Now I know I will have to be around next week to hand pollinate the open flowers and then wait to see how successful I was by the number of lemons on the tree. I think I will kick back my feet this weekend and enjoy that glass of orange/lemon drink. Oh yea the day keeps getting better with the warm rays of sun shinning in my office, enough to want one to find a reason to be out side the rest of the day.

This is the time of the year to have quality time with your house plants before your attention turns to the outdoors. A light fertilization while watering the plants would help them as they start growing again. Repotting may be needed for some who have been in the same pot for several years. Just adding new soil in the pot will spur on others to grow. Giving some of them a shower or just washing their leaves will encourage them to take off this spring. It is amazing how much dirt accumulates on the leaves over winter preventing some of the sunlight from getting through to the sugar making cells. If the plant is small take it to the shower and give it a good rinsing. Cover the pot with a plastic bag so the soil is not washed out of the pot. Set the plant on the counter to dry and then trim it up if it needs it, before moving it back to its favorite spot. Several of mine will have to wait till it warms up outside for a good sprinkling, because they are too big to move into the bathroom. With this accomplished you too can sit back and enjoy a glass of lemonade and enjoy them before turning thoughts to the outdoor gardens.