Lemons come from a beautiful evergreen tree. It is native to Asia but grown around the world for its distinctive sour taste (that comes from about 5% of citric acid). Lemons are incredibly versatile and has countless medicinal, culinary and non culinary uses.
Lemon trees like to grow in well drained soil in a sunny location and appreciate organic fertiliser every year. If your soil drainage is poor it would be better to plant the tree in a raised bed. The soil pH should be between 5.5 and 7.
How to Plant
While you can grow them from seed it is probably best to buy a tree that has already been grafted onto a good root stock. Plant the tree in fertile soil (use compost) in a sunny spot and allow enough room for the tree to grow without being crowded, or alternatively as a hedge or in a large pot. You can plant add organic fertiliser in the spring and mulch year around.
How to Water
Water the lemon tree at least once a week if there is no rain. While the tree is young keep the soil moist without being saturated.
The best companions for a Lemon (or any citrus tree) are Thyme, dill, hyssop, lemon balm, parsley, marigold, nasturtium, borage, comfrey, clover, and alfalfa. Lemon trees will grow better with enough nitrogen so plant it with comfrey.
How to Propagate
Growing lemon trees from seed is possible but they wont be true to their parent and it will take 3 to 6 years for it to produce fruit. Its best to take a cutting from an existing tree, through air layered or purchase a tree from a nursery that has been grafted onto good root stock. There are several varieties to choose from, even some that will produce flowers and fruit throughout the year.
How to Harvest
The fruit is usually harvested in the winter when the vitamin C content is the highest. Cutting them off with pruning shears or simply full them from the stalk. Undamaged fruit can be stored for several weeks.
The fruit juice and peel are used, the pith and peel contain volatile oil and most of the flavonoids.
The juice can be combined with hot water (and a pinch of cinnamon and clove of garlic) for colds and a sore throat (gargle). Drink lemon water first thing in the morning for cleansing (Do not brush your teeth immediately the citric acid can damage your enamel).
Acne and Boils, arthritis, bites and stings, chilblains, colds and flu, cold sores, sore throats, weak digestion, preventative, immune system booster.
Grated lemon and/or the peel is excellent in food.
Volatile oil 2.5% of the pell, limone (up to 70%), alpha-terpinene, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, citral, coumarins, Flavonoids, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C.
Antiseptic, Anti-rheumatic, Antibacterial, Antioxidant and reduces fever.