In the corner sat a Meyer lemon tree, a tree where normally the waxy leaves have a luster, the branches stand boldly upright against gravity, and the fruits remain firmly attached, however the tree had long shed those qualities and was waging a war for survival. It was minus 16 degrees below zero outside, the chilling wind of the wildly popular term ‘polar vortex‘ was howling like a banshee in the night, and I knew the Meyer lemon tree was in serious trouble. The corner was drafty, the light was sparse and the conditions were far worse than those that the tree was used to. Something had to be done, but what?

My father in-law was in town and doing some work for us on our house. He was a true handy man in every sense of the word. He could fix or build anything and this was a skill that I certainly did not have. One night, I was upstairs and I heard  him return from one of the frequent trips to the hardware store.  I thought nothing of this and continued on my work upstairs. Minutes later I hear my name called from downstairs and am beckoned to come down. I take a few steps down the stairs round a corner and I see a light, not the ‘light’ you see on your journey to the after life,  but a light none-the-less.

In the corner sat my Meyer lemon tree, but this time it was not in a dark and dreary corner, the corner had life, vibrancy, and to be literal… a light! My father in-law had installed a grow light, not a fancy schmancy grow light but one he made for less than $20 from the hardware store. A simple strip of lumber plunged into the container and a clamp on light was to be the savior of my container lemon tree. A day, now weeks, has gone by and the tree has bounced back with luster, with posture, and with fruits still firm. So, if you need a container garden grow light and don’t want to pay the amounts they are charging in stores for specialized lamps, I recommend implementing this simple container garden hack.

Have any container garden hacks you use to get your plants through the winter? I’d love to hear them on twitter @PubCap.