Citrus in Survival Mode and Insane Banana Trees

It looks as if the citrus trees have reached their indoors-for-winter-survival-mode plateau; about one third of foliage remains, there is no new growth, but they are alive. They’re waiting now, and holding on. All the tiny lemons that appeared in July have died and fallen off. They’re not pretty, and they don’t care. Keeping the franchise going is the only concern now. June will be here in time.

My amazing husband bought me a Sago palm tree. Sago palms are easy keepers with some nice tropical style. This is especially appreciated as winter closes in. It’s temporarily in the kitchen window, but soon, I’ll pot it up and give it some presence.

The basjoo banana trees are completely crazy. There’s no doubt that before Christmas I’ll have to pot them up into 3-gallon or larger pots. These were 4-inch-tall nubbins when we got them September 16. They’re absolutely crazy.

And I just learned that when planting outdoors in June, banana trees should be at least 5 feet tall. That will be no problem. It’s a good thing, and good luck, that I bought them when I did. They will be plenty big when the time comes to go in the ground.

I’ve switched over to adding a little magnesium-rich Epsom salt to the watering can for the indoor plants. Plants in pots quickly consume all the soil’s nutrients. Magnesium is great nutrition. The sulfur in Epsom salt is also a boost. But I’m holding off on any general fertilizing so the plants can do their resting. I’m also afraid that if I feed these insane banana trees, they will break through the ceiling and rule the planet.

We’re fighting a pretty beastly battle with fungus gnats right now. These little buggers lay their eggs in a plant’s soil, where they hatch, feed off the soil’s nutrients, then make more fungus gnats. It’s a very common problem with winter houseplants, but we hate it.

Being a veganic gardener is easy in summer, but in winter, not so. When these little brats show up, they must be removed before the house is swarming with them. My solution is small bowls of apple cider vinegar - infused with some sugar for extra fermentation, and some dish soap to break the liquid’s tension - placed around the plants.

The adult gnats are attracted to the smell of fermentation, get too close to the vinegar, and drown. Each week, I empty bowls of vinegar and dead gnats into the toilet, clean the bowls, and refill them with the vinegar mixture. It’s not a nice job.

I hate to kill anything at all, even the most seemingly-insignificant thing - even a fungus gnat. But they multiply at such breakneck speed, the house would be infested otherwise. I have a husband and dogs to look after. So, that’s not going to happen.

I’ve been craving bananas like a mad dog lately. I eat bananas everyday anyway, but in the past two weeks, I’ve been eating more than usual. My husband is complaining about running out of kitchen counter space. It looks like a banana farm in there. But the body wants what it wants. If my trillions of cells are calling for bananas, then bananas they will get. I’m a good mother.

Live in peace.

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