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Lemon Tree Growing Guide

Lemon Tree Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Citrus Limon
FAMILY RUTACEAE
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.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

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

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.

Watering

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.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

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.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

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.

Harvest

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.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

The fruit juice and peel are used, the pith and peel contain volatile oil and most of the flavonoids.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

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).

Plant Uses

Uses

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.

Constituents

Key Constituents

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.

Key Actions

Key Actions

Antiseptic, Anti-rheumatic, Antibacterial, Antioxidant and reduces fever.


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.

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Elder Tree Growing Guide

Elder Tree Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Sambucus nigra
FAMILY ADOXACEAE
InformationElder tree is a deciduous tree that grows up to 10 meters, with oval leaves, cream flowers and dark berries. There is allot of folklore attached to Elder tree, for example in England many people won’t cut down an Elder tree and woodcutters would apparently recite a placatory rhyme to the Elder Mother (1). Elder tree is mostly used for flu, colds, hay fever (1), diarrhea, rheumatism (3) and as food in cordials, marmalade and syrups.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Elder trees will grow in a variety of conditions including both wet and dry fertile soils, primarily in sunny locations. They can also be planted as a bush in a pot or outside in the garden. They are native to European woods and hedges (1).

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Its easiest to buy a tree or grow your own from a cutting taking during spring.  Plant in fertile soil (use compost) in a sunny or partly sunny spot and allow enough room for the tree to grow without being crowded (a few meters).  You can let the tree grow large or cut down a third every year which is said to increase fruit production.  You can also add organic fertiliser in the spring and mulch year around.

Watering

How to Water

Water the trees at least once a week during warmer and drier periods and every other week during the winter but ensure the ground does not dry out completely.  Elder trees prefer moist areas and should be watered frequently enough if there is no rain.  Mulch helps to keep weeds away and keep the moisture in the ground.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Elder tree is beneficial because it attracts bees and insects when flowering and birds when the berries are ripening.

There are no specific plants but you can have other edible shrubs but remember to consider the shade given by the tree as many edible and medicinal plants prefer a sunny spot.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

You can grow elder tree from seeds, sources recommend planting the seeds in trays and cover with plastic, keep them moist but not soggy, they will apparently germinate the following spring, but it can be sooner depend on how warm it is.  Its easy to create cuttings in late spring or early summer when the new growth appears. Take softwood cuttings from vigorous stems, strip off the leaves from the lower third, use rooting hormone or honey and insert into a prepared pot. New growth should appear four to six weeks later.

Harvest

How to Harvest

Flowers are harvested late spring and the berries are picked in early autumn. Its easiest to cut of entire clusters of flowers or berries.

The branches will start to drop when the berries are ready. You can remove the berries from the branches with a fork.  Unripe berries can be separated in water, they will float.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

The fresh flowers can be used and also dried. The berries are toxic raw and should be cooked, both the fresh and dried berries can be used.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

Infusion of the flowering tops can be used for colds (take half a cup of infusion 3 times a day), a tincture of the flowering tops works for hay fever and rheumatism / arthritis (1 tsp with water taken a few times a day), a cream can be made from the flowering tops and berries, and a decoction of the berries can be used for rheumatic aches (1).

Plant Uses

Uses

Coughs and colds, catarrh and allergies, arthritis, acute infections with fever, headache and nausea, rhinitis, asthma, croup, hay fever, conjunctivitis, rheumatism, pharyngitis, diarrhea, tonsilitis, and stomatitis (1,3).

Constituents

Key Constituents

Flowers & Berries: Flavonoids, triterpenes, volatile oil, sterols, tannins, mucilage, Minerals, vitamin A & C, iron, sambucin, anthocyanocides, pectin, sugar, fixed oils (linoleic, linolenic). Leaves: Cyanogenic glycosides and Bark: Lectins, tannins, baldrianic acid (1, 3).

Key Actions

Key Actions

Flowers: mild diaphoretic, mild laxative, diuretic, alterative, demulcent, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, anticatarrhal, caminative, emetic, anti-inflammatory. Berries: diaphoretic, laxative, diuretic, anti-rheumatic, emunctory stimulant (all excretory organs or ducts), anti-neuralgic, alterative, carminative, emetic (1, 3).

Research

Research

In a placebo-controlled study from Norway, elderberry was shown to be effective for treating Influenza A and B. People using the elderberry extract recovered much faster than those only on a placebo (20).


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.