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Never give up on a plant no matter how pathetic it looks. The 3-inch-tall papaya tree in a 4-inch plastic pot that we had shipped to our home four months ago, looking so gaunt and pathetic that I was sure it would die soon, has blossomed into a 3-foot-tall, thriving beauty of a papaya tree with a thick trunk and huge leaves. I’m always impressed at how, with just a little care, most plants will make a comeback worth writing about.
I was inspired to keep a papaya tree after our most recent visit to the Moon Dog Café in Vermont – one of my favorite places in New England.
There, near a ceiling to floor window, they keep a massive papaya tree that is completely happy and gorgeous. It gets plenty of sun, and the large glass enclosure acts like a greenhouse; an advantage I don’t have.
Today is August 11. I’m starting to think about winter plant care. The best I can give our papaya tree is a large sunny window in our living room. And that’s what it’s going to get, with one more thing to help it along.
A gardening friend has turned me on to a full-spectrum, 12-watt grow light that she used last winter on her eucalyptus tree that she can’t stop raving about. She’s so enthused about this light that, for just $27, I’m buying two today – one for our papaya tree, and one for our lemon tree.
Supplemental light is key to giving indoor tropicals the best chance at survival through winter. These trees and plants are native to regions close to the equator, where the sun’s strength is intense. The glass enclosure at Moon Dog just happens to provide enough reflected light and continuous warmth to keep that papaya tree very happy.
Last night, I stroked the now fan-sized leaves of our papaya tree, and thanked it for surviving, and for being so beautiful. And yes, I told it I love it. My husband walked by as I did that. He rolled his eyes and went about his business. As the years pass, he seems to become more resigned to my weirdness.
It’s grown so big, it has to be potted up a second time. I'll pick up some sterile potting soil and do that this weekend. This papaya tree is going to be my ‘raison d’être’ this winter.
Our Meyer lemon tree is covered with small, green lemons. I hope that by the end of next month, they’re large and yellow and ready to pick. By September’s end, the cooler nights and shortening days slow citrus’s growth. Last year, our lemon tree fruited too late, so I kept it outdoors too long, and I believe the stress of it all contributed to its death indoors last winter.
Yes, it’s time to start thinking about winter plant care. Depending on how quickly autumn descends upon us, we’ll have to begin moving plants indoors in about 6 weeks. In a month, I’ll have to start keeping an eye on nighttime temperatures.
We’ve been rocking a Thai red curry coconut rice at our house all this week. I picked up a bag of ‘It’s That Simple’ Thai red curry rice at Foodworks last weekend. It looked intriguing.
I made it and substituted coconut water for some of the water in the cooking liquid, and after cooking, added some fresh, chopped pineapple, shaved coconut, and chopped lemongrass and Thai basil from our garden. Lastly, I sprinkled it with hemp seeds and more shaved coconut.
I made it once, we ate it two nights in a row, then I made it again right away, and we ate it again two nights in a row. We used up the whole bag. But it was amazing. Vegan food is so abundant.
Much love,Barbie xo