Besides the economic benefit gardening offers, it is also therapeutic and can be a productive hobby for anyone. Whether you are simply bored, or you wanted to design a garden for growing food, planting and gardening are never too complicated to start.
First, you start deciding on what kind of plants you wanted to grow either in your backyard, front yard, or perhaps utilize and recycle empty containers and let them grow indoor. You can buy seeds, or simply remove them from the fruits or vegetables that you purchased from the supermarket.
If you try to find out the most commonly purchased fruits from the market, lemon is perhaps one of always-present in the grocery baskets!
Uses of Lemons
Lemon is a super fruit because it is one of the most used fruits in the kitchen and many beverages and refreshments. It is rarely eaten raw; well, no one can stand to eat the entire fruit due to its sourness. Instead, it is used as a flavoring to many dishes and even desserts. Lemons can also be best used in sauces or as a complement to fish and poultry.
Besides the scent that it gives. Lemons in sauces and foods help in digestion, especially of fried foods. In baking cakes and bread, lemons provide a light, fresh flavor to the baked pastries. Usually, not the whole lemon fruit is utilized as a flavoring, but it’s only its zest. You can also use them as a garnish or for some food presentation.
Besides its flavoring value, being rich in vitamin C, lemons can be used to prevent fruits and vegetables from discoloration when exposed to the oxygen in the air. Lemons are also good meat tenderizer and can be a substitute for vinegar in dressings.
Among all citrus trees, lemons are the most cold-sensitive. It is advisable to plant them on the south or west-facing side of your home. Place them to the part of your house where the sun gives off most of its light, so they have adequate growth. They also need protection from frosting during the cold season, unless they come from the kumquats, which are the most cold-tolerant variety.
It helps if you plant lemons in pots for easy transferring when the weather suddenly changes. During summer, you can put them outdoors in a sheltered sunny position.
Low temperatures will inhibit lemons flowering and may cause damage or even death.
A 10°C (50°F) is the minimum winter night temperature needed for lemons and limes. For Calamondin oranges, its 13°C (55°F) minimum winter night temperature.
Kumquat is exceptional citrus. It’s eaten whole, including its skin. These plants have a higher tolerance to very low temperatures down to 7°C (45°F); they can still be very bushy and productive.
It is not good to place them inside a centrally-heated room as they are generally too hot, lack humidity and light that would stress the plants.
Feeding and watering
Citrus are hungry plants! They need regular and enough feeding with high nitrogen citrus summer feed on late March to October. Shift to winter feed that is specific to citrus during wintertime.
During summer, water them, ideally with rainwater. In winter, wait for the surface to partially dry out before watering them again. Overwatering in winter is one of the most common problems and reasons that the plants die.
When planting indoors, high humidity should be maintained. It can be achieved by standing the pot on a large saucer or tray filled with ‘Hortag’ or gravel. When watering, the water level should only be just below the surface of the gravel. In winter, hand mist regularly to ensure pollination.
Training and pruning
Citrus plants, including lemons, only need minimal pruning. You can reshape the plants by thinning out the overcrowded branches.
Mature plants may produce ‘water shoots’ or the unwanted, fast-growing shoots. When these shoots appear the main branches at the bottom or middle of the plant, remove them as they shorten those arising near the branch tips. Be watchful and immediately remove shoots from below the graft on the main stem.
Do not prune over one-third of the three in a year. Begin to prune from the first to the second year of the tree to train it to grow the way you want it.
Lemons can be propagated by seeds, cutting, or by air layering. Using seeds when growing lemons, the growth is significantly slower than rooting large cuttings.