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« Portland: recycling is up, garbage is down! | Main | The rewards of homemade gifts »

Fruit trees: the gift that gives back

Home-grown-lime Have you heard this Chinese proverb? I love it:
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
In the past year, we planted four dwarf fruit trees: a peach, a pear, a lime and a lemon. So now all we need is 20 years, right? I don't know if it was amazing beginners' luck or something, but our lime tree bore the most beautiful green lime over the summer. And we just looked at it, and let it hang there. Not quite sure what to do. The obvious thing would be to pick and eat it, but somehow we couldn't do it. This is how I get in trouble in the garden. I adore my fruits and veggies instead of eating them while they are tender and fresh, thus ending up with zucchinis that would make even Dirk Diggler feel insecure.

Back to the lime. It's in a pretty clay pot that sat on our front porch all summer, and was brought inside (along with the lemon) a few weeks ago, once it started to get really cold. We picked our sole lime over the weekend: Best. Lime. Ever. We've pretty much stopped buying tropical fruit and have been getting our fruit fix from the local bounty: fall pears and apples, and berries and melons in the summer. Maybe that was another reason why we waited to eat this lime. In the middle of summer, it might not have seemed special. During these dark short days of fall and winter, it was like a burst of sunshine. Of course, then we went and squirted the lime into some really non-local beer from Mexico. Oops.

Our lemon, which we bought and potted this fall now has blossoms. I can't wait until the flowers open and share their intoxicating scent. So this waiting thing isn't all bad.

If you're still looking for a holiday gift idea, consider a local tree farm or nursery. I read recently that many in our state are hurting terribly in this recession. Trees and especially fruit trees are gifts that keep on giving, and they bring out the treehugger in me!

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