The lemon (Citrus – limon) is a species of small evergreen tree native to Asia. The tree’s ellipsoidal yellow fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its juice, which has both culinary and cleaning uses. The pulp and rind (zest) are also used in cooking and baking. The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives a sour taste. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade and lemon meringue pie. The origin of the lemon is unknown, though lemons are thought to have first grown in Assam (a region in northeast India), northern Burma or China. A study of the genetic origin of the lemon reported it to be hybrid between bitter orange (sour orange) and citron.
Lemons entered Europe near southern Italy no later than the first century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome. However, they were not widely cultivated. They were later introduced to Persia and then to Iraq and Egypt around 700 AD. The lemon was first recorded in literature in a 10th-century Arabic treatise on farming, and was also used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens. It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between 1000 and 1150.The first substantial cultivation of lemons in Europe began in Genoa in the middle of the 15th century. The lemon was later introduced to the Americas in 1493 when Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola on his voyages. Spanish conquest throughout the New World helped spread lemon seeds. It was mainly used as an ornamental plant and for medicine.
HOW TO GROW
- Moisten the potting soil so that it is damp, but not soaked, all the way through.
- Fill the smaller pot with soil, all the way up to an inch below the rim.
- Cut open your lemon and remove a seed. Remove all of the pulp from its surface. A good way to do this is to simply suck on it until it is clean.
- Do not delay to plant. The seed must still be moist when it is buried into the soil in the smaller pot. Plant the seed about half an inch deep in the middle of the pot.
- Spray the soil that is directly above the seed gently with water from a spray bottle.
- Cover the pot with clear plastic wrap, seal the edges with a good rubber band, and poke small holes in the top with a pencil.
- Place the pot in a warm, sunny location.
- Spray on more water occasionally, not allowing the soil to dry out. Do not cause water to puddle though. Just keep the soil somewhat moist.
- After about two weeks, when the sprouting emerges, take the plastic covering off. If you need additional light for your lemon plant, you can use a grow light to supplement the sun’s light.
- Take care of the young plant by keeping the soil damp, by making sure it gets at least eight full hours of light per day, and by giving it moderate doses of organic fertilizer like compost.
- Watch over your plant to ensure it is not attacked by bugs or diseases. Prune off brown, dead leaves when necessary. Use pesticides if you must. Protect your new lemon tree!
- When the plant outgrows its small pot, put it in the larger pot. You will go through much the same procedure when you re-plant it as when you first planted. Younger plants need more water than older plants, but they all do need adequate water. Don’t starve your poor plant after all that work of growing it!
- A few weeks after planting, and for the first few years (before bearing age), feed the tree a balanced (such as 6-6-6) fertilizer.
- For newly bearing trees, provide nutrients to continue branch and leaf growth but also to replace nutrients lost by fruit forming. A citrus blend is ideal.
- Check manufacturer’s directions, or ask a garden nursery, as to how often and how much to apply during each year of a tree’s growth.
- Mulches are not recommended for citrus trees, but if trees are located in a cultivated plant bed where mulch is used, keep at least 12 inches of bare ground between the tree trunk and the mulch. Pre-emergent herbicides may be used to prevent weed seeds from germinating.
- Fruit thinning is unnecessary.
- Spider Mites
- Root and Crown Rots
- Fungal Leaf Spots
- Fruit Flies
- Tristeza Virus spread by Aphids
- The health benefits of lemon include its use as a treatment of throat infections,
indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, rheumatism, burns, obesity, respiratory disorders, cholera and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin care,. Known for its therapeutic property since generations, lemon helps to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and it is considered a blood purifier. Lemon juice, especially, has several health benefits associated with it. It is well known as a useful treatment for kidney stones, reducing strokes and lowering body temperature. As a refreshing drink, lemonade helps you to stay calm and cool.