Harvest Mondays, April 30, 2012 – Lemongrass Update


Not a productive week and certainly not a happy week.

Due to severe allergy issues, was confined to the indoors and in mostly a horizontal position instead of a vertical one. The good news is by listening to my body and taking the aforementioned actions plus drinking gallons of water, I avoided getting bronchitis (to which I am prone) and am ready to get into the swing of planting if the weather will cooperate.

Nothing to report on the garden front, my poor seedlings are suffering from a week of neglect but hopefully, this week, with some TLC will recover.

The lemongrass I potted up grew tall, but that’s it. I will plant both in a sunny location in the garden after the last frost (the way the weather is behaving, wonder when that will be).

Was going to plant one in the ground and one in a pot but decided to put both in the ground as lemongrass needs plenty of water (but not water logged), the potted one will suffer during periods of my absence.

Will pot up a piece before the first frost and bring indoors to overwinter as a houseplant.

Once established in the ground and forming clump, I can start harvest stalks as needed.

To harvest: Ideally, the stalk should be at least ½ inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the outer stalk off at soil level, avoid trying to break off the stalk (doing so may damage the remainder of the plant).

Lone fig on the tree

Had more than 20 tiny figs on the tree, all fell except this one.
The first set of figs for the year never matures so this is normal, what is abnormal is this lone fig still on the tree and growing. Will it ripen? Only time will tell.

A second set of fruits will soon appear, these will mature and ripen to the sweetest figs you ever tasted. This is a brown fig, the person who gave it to me did not know the variety name.


Copyright © by Norma Chang

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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72 Responses to Harvest Mondays, April 30, 2012 – Lemongrass Update

  1. Hi Norma,

    Sorry to hear you have been poorly and glad to hear you are feeling better now.

    Lemon grass plants are growing well it seems-good luck for a crop later on. Weather here in Wales dreadful with still continious rain…will it ever be sunny again!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello GD,
      Thanks. Weather is crazy. Headline above the fold on the front paper of our local paper reads “Valley’s fruit farmers fight frost” I did not wheel my fig tree back into the garage last night, hope there was no damage. My Asian pear was also unprotected, will have to wait and see.

  2. I am sorry you’ve been sick. I am glad you didn’t get bronchitis.

  3. Daphne says:

    I was hoping to taste a homegrown fig this year, but the plant died back to the soil level. I’ll have to protect it this winter. The local expert says that if you protect the stems they won’t die back and will give figs. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      My fig tree is in a giant container and I overwinter it in the garage. I was told it would not survive the winter in the ground unless well protected which is a huge production to bury and cover the whole plant with thick layer of leaves, etc.

  4. Your garden seems to be growing beautifully – look at that height 😀
    I also look forward to your fruit plants 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Liz says:

    I find that with lemongrass it seems to concentrate on bulking up each stem before producing new ones – which actually is quite useful from a harvesting perspective.

  6. Phyllis Smith says:

    Hi Norma, Glad you are feeling better. I have Jamaican friend who uses the lemon grass for hot tea. Loves it and says it is common there. I grow it in a container on deck. Phyllis

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Phyllis,
      Thanks. Do you bring your lemongrass indoor for the winter?

      • Phyllis smith says:

        I treat lemongrass as an annual and pick up a new one each Spring. I shall try to overwinter the next one. I just like the way it looks so graceful in a pot.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Phyllis,
        I know gardeners who succeed in overwintering lemongrass indoor. I too treat it like an annual but this year I am going to bring some indoor to see how it will fare.

  7. Phyllis Smith says:

    I have trillium in red and white. Beautiful flower.

    • Norma Chang says:

      The color of my trillium is insignificant, it’s grown for the beautiful leaves. Are the red and white ones easy to grow and deer resistant?

      • Phyllis smith says:

        The red and white ones are pretty little flowers. Leaves are only green. They are under my rhodos so deer can’t get at them easily. I think they would eat them if they could. They come up every year with little care.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Phyllis,
        I should look into getting some red and white ones. I would have to do mail order as I do not think any of the local nurseries carry them. The deer so far have not touched the one I have even though it is in the open.

  8. Glad to hear you took care of yourself and are feeling better!

    How cool that you’re growing lemongrass! There are still thing (lemongrass included) that I say, “Oh right! I never thought you could actually grow that at home!” Silly me, right? 😉

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Melissa,
      Yea, for once I listen to my body and did the right thing.
      Years ago I grew lemongrass, then I forgot all about them, so this year I decided to grow them again. They look nice among the flowers and the deer leave them alone.

  9. ChgoJohn says:

    I hope your allergies are letting up a bit for you, Norma. For years, my Grandfather attempted to keep a fig tree. The man tried everything, even burying it one Fall. Eventually, he planted it in a half-wine barrel, equipped with coasters so that he could move it indoors. I don’t remember him getting more than a few figs each year but, for him, it was a grand harvest!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      Thanks, I am much, much better. This is an unusual year because of the strange weather pattern and other factors.
      My italian neighbour buries his fig tree every fall, it is quite a production. Mine is in a tub with wheels and overwinters in the garage. My best harvest year was about 3 quarts.

  10. maryhysong says:

    Haven’t tried growing lemon grass yet. Figs grow like crazy here as long as they get some water and I’ve seen older trees that were huge with no apparent watering going on at all. I just planted a white skinned Kadota; I had white figs in Italy and they are really yummy so can’t wait.

  11. My allergies have been bad as well. I decided that I will spend most of this week indoors because they just aren’t passing this year like they did in the past. I hope you feel better bc we’ve got to get back out into the garden :).

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello SM,
      I think it has to do with the crazy weather pattern. Yea, I really need to get into the garden, not sure what’s growing, I see lots of birds in there hope they are eating worms and not my seedlings.

  12. Courtney says:

    Hope you’re feeling better soon! Darn allergies have gotten my oldest down, too. 🙂 That lemongrass looks so neat!

  13. Barbie says:

    Wow that lemongrass did get tall! The fig may be lone, but it’s hanging in there, I hope it makes it to harvest.

  14. I always wonder what’s going to appear in your garden on Mondays Norma. I love that you are growing your own lemon grass — it is such a unique plant. I’m wondering if that would grow well here in Toronto — our summers can get pretty warm. Hope that this week finds you out and about!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello P and P,
      The only way to find out is to give it a try. Next time you visit an Asian market buy a stalk or 2, sometimes you can find some already rooted and that will give you a head start.

  15. Kim says:

    Oh Norma that sounds terrible. Is it getting worse each year?
    I’ve been lazy and mostly been quilting and not gardening.

    Take care

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kim,
      It was. I don’t think it is getting worse each year, it is just that the crazy weather this year combined with the fact that I just recently recovered from the horrible comtaminated heating oil espisode I told you about, my immune system is still not up to par so doesn’t take much to get me sick.

  16. mac says:

    Hope you feel better soon. My fig tree always die back then sprouts new shoots from the ground in spring, it’s more like a shrub in our garden.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mac,
      I am feeling a whole lot better, thanks.
      What zone are in? Do you get figs from the new shoots? Our growing season is very short. I did not wheel my fig tree back into the garage last night and it got slight damage from the cold snap.

  17. Juliana says:

    Oh Norma, sorry about your allergy…your lemongrass is sure getting big…I am still looking for one that I can pot…
    Hope you feel better 🙂

  18. Prairie Cat says:

    Sorry to hear about your allergies! We have been getting a lot of rain here, so that has helped keep the pollen out of the air and my nose, thankfully!

    Your lemon grass is huge! I hope putting it in the ground works out for you.

  19. Eva Taylor says:

    Your azaleas are beautiful, Norma; my garden is starting to burst with blooms (the crab apple tree is almost there, yes I’ve said it before…) We’ve had a cold spell here too, but this week it should finally warm up. So sorry about your allergies; I used to get sinus infections all the time because of allergies, so my doctor suggested I just take allergy pills for the duration of my allergies…I haven’t had a sinus infection in years!
    I had no idea we can grow figs in our climate. I will have to check it out.
    The Trillium is Ontario’s Flower, and we are not permitted to cut them or uproot them (protected by law). For some bizarre reason, we have one lonely trillium at the very back of our property by our shed, in the shade. I saw it flower about 5 years ago, and low and behold, it’s flowering again, all by itself. The forest at the cottage is littered with them and I so want to dig some up and bring them home…but alas it is illegal!
    Eva kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

    • Norma Chang says:

      I have to put up deer fence in the fall and remove them after the azealeas burst with blooms otherwise the deer will eat all the leaves and buds. The deer fences are really unsightly but either that or get rid of the plants. I decided to live with the fences for the winter and early springs months so I can enjoy the flowers. Have to do the same with my mountain laurels.
      I did not know trillium is Ontario’s flower. What colors are your trillium? I think the one I have is a hybrid, could be wrong, was givene to me by a garden friend.

      • Eva Taylor says:

        Hi Norma, our Trilliums are predominantly white, but some have white and a bit of pink in them. Having said that, I believe I did see a burgandy one when I was a kid, but that was a billion years ago!
        We don’t have deer problems in Toronto (although there was a deer spotted downtown a few years ago, he wandered out of a ravine in the city and ended up right on University Avenue (a huge north south boulevard in the centre of the city)). At the cottage, we like au naturale! I never plant anything up there.
        Have a great day, hopefully it will get warmer soon—they are promising 24°C as our high today, but I won’t hold my breath!
        Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Eva,
        That must be a pretty sight when they are in bloom. The days may be warm but the night temp is going to be quite low part of next week according to the weather report.

  20. Kristy says:

    I hope you’re feeling better Norma! Allergies can be so debilitating. And I’m so glad you posted a photo of a trillium. I heard of them for the first time last week and had yet to look up what they looked like. They are just gorgeous! 🙂

  21. What spectacular azaleas, Norma, but am sorry to hear that they are contributing to your allergy problems. I am still waking congested from the continued high pollen count here, but am fortunate in that the worst result are cold-like symptoms. The trillium is very beautiful too, very exotic looking. Hope you feel better soon!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello B and B,
      Yea, that azelea has such cheerful color. It is raining and a calm day, I hope this means a pollen free day in my area and hope it is the same in your area and you are feeling better.

  22. It seems like some bug have been going around too… Glad to hear you are getting better Norma! Your lemon grass is looking good, mine is still in the water. I am hesitating to plant it as we may be moving to another place, so I am keeping it as is for now.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Marina,
      Has your lemongrass rooted? If yes, I would pot it up. How exciting, moving again, how far this time.

      • Thanks Norma! Yes, lemongrass has rooted, and I will plant it soon in a pots. Well, this moving is not very exciting, This place just seems to brake apart and we’ve had enough dealing with our landlord. I don’t want to move, I have garden all going now, and if we move, most of it would be left behind… I made some curry with green papaya, come see it, I’d like to hear your opinion. 🙂

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Marina,
        You are welcome. Losing a garden that one established is heartbroken. Good luck in your new home.
        Did my reply to your dried shrimp question help?
        I am not familiar with cooking with green papaya but will check out your post.

    • Yes Norma, Thank you. I will buy dry shrimps next time I am there and try it out. Sounds tasty to me!

  23. zestybeandog says:

    Glad you are feeling a bit better! The farm that I am a CSA member at is starting a lemongrass crop, they are looking for trimmings from locals out here to get it started!

  24. Figs! I LOVE figs! Figs, a glass of Proseco, a wonderful aged cheese, sitting in the yard with a warm breeze blowing!

    Also, I’ve never had any luck with lemongrass, ever!

  25. Ooh, figs do sound good right now. Great progress from the looks of the photos!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Yummychunklet,
      Unfortunately after the photo was taken we had a few freezing nights, amazingly it is still hanging in there and I am rooting for it.

  26. Charles says:

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better Norma – it’s never nice to feel ill. I love fig trees – near where my parents live there’s a little old church and the enormous vicar’s house next door. He has huge fig trees which spill over the wall…. I hope he profits from the fruit he must get each year and doesn’t let such a beautiful thing go to waste!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charles,
      Thanks. Oh how I wish I could have my fig tree in the ground. Well I could if I wanted to go through the trouble of burying it every fall and unburying it in the spring which is what my neighbour does, it is a big production, all is kids come and help.

  27. Diana says:

    I hope you feel much better soon. Your lemon grass look good so I think it can defend itself awhile in your absence.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Diana,
      Feeling much better, thanks. I hope so, our night time temp will be dropping to the 40’s next week, so I need to wait until later in the month to put them in the ground.

  28. ooooh, how exciting, Norma!! I hope you feel better soon, too =D

  29. I hope you feel better soon, Norma!!! =D (not sure if my last comment went through, lol)

  30. Dear Norma,

    I hope you are continuing to get better and you manage not to contract bronchitis and that you have a happy weekend.

    The photos are great, azaleas are so pretty at this time of the year and your one is beautiful.

  31. Sophie33 says:

    I hope you feel better with your allergies! 🙂 xxx Your lemongrass is certainly growing bigger & your azaleas look so vibrant in colour! I love azaleas! I also have a fig tree & they are more then 50 smll figs growing; I am so happy too!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Sophie,
      Thanks I am feeling a lot better, still an issue on very windy days but I am out and about. We had a few freezing nights and my fig tree is slightly damage but will recover. Do you have your fig tree in a container or in the ground? I have to bring my container grown tree into the garage for the winter months.

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