Lemons are the most common of all the Citrus for the home garden. Lemons have both fragrant foliage and flowers, hence they add a lot more to the garden that just fruit.
A huge variety of Lemons are available:
Lemon Meyer – is the hardiest and easiest to grow.
Lemonade – has a sweeter taste and needs protection from frosts
Yen Ben - Lisbon type of lemon, smaller in growth. Very juicy variety
Genoa - small tree that well suited to home gardens. Produces a heavy summer crop.
When, where and how to plant:
Plant in a warm sunny spot, with plenty of air circulation. Generally lemons do not like frosts. Lemon Meyer is one of the few Citrus plants that will handle frost. Keep them warm through the winter months. Choose a well-drained sandy loam or loam soil, which is high in organic matter. If your soil is a little light add plenty of compost to the soil before planting.
Fertilise twice a year with a Citrus plant food, once in July/August as the sap starts to move again and then again the summer December/January. Poultry manure is excellent for Citrus. Water plants well before and after applying fertiliser. Look for specific Citrus fertiliser, with a good level of Nitrogen for leaf growth and potassium for fruit. Scatter the fertiliser around the “drip line” edge of foliage, keeping it well away from the trunk of the tree, and water it thoroughly into the soil. Prune young trees when they are young to create a good shape. Once the plant is mature prune to shape and remove any old and damaged branches. Remove the majority of flowers when lemons trees are young, this encourages the plant to put on more vegetative growth, and your plant will establish itself much quicker. Lemons have very shallow root systems. Do not dig or cultivate around the soil under your Citrus. Regular watering is most important during February and March if trees are to produce good crops later.
Harvest once lemons turn yellow, they do not tend to ripen that well if picked when they are green. Once picked store in a cool, dark and most importantly dry place. Any moisture will cause the fruit to spoil.
How to use:
Use in jams, marmalades, pies, puddings, drink and liquors. Lemon cello liquor is a firm favorite with many.
Lemon cello – Vogan style:
3 large jars or attractive bottles that you can fit sliced lemons in easily – preserving jars are fine
2 bottles of vodka – cheap and cheerful works fine
Lemons – enough to fill the 3 jars.
Sugar – 1-2 cups
Patience – amount depends on the type of individual you are
Simply wash and finely slice the lemons and pack into the jars. Fill each jar with vodka and add approx ½ - ¾ of sugar to each jar. Seal and shake well to blend sugar through the vodka and lemons. Store in a dark cupboard and shake every 2-3 days for the first month. After this simply leave for another 2 months. This is where the patience is required.