Lemons are another not-so-good crop for frosty, hot, dry Newstead. However there are gardeners who have a nice north facing sheltered spot, or a lovely brick wall that retains the winter sun, or other microclimates. We have moved our lemons again; the first spot no good and now one of them is doing well, but suspect the second one doesn’t like being near peppercorn roots, no matter how protecting the tree is.
Books have been written about lemon trees and many garden talkback hours spent on the ‘What’s wrong with my lemon tree’ question. So this is a quick rundown, as we wait and see whether they’ll actually grow in the garden. But lemons are something that every backyard, and kitchen, needs.
Autumn – Mulch with basalt dust or sow a good bug mix around the base of the tree to create a living mulch and attract pollinators and predator insects.
Winter – Feed with compost. Consider a tree paste application or BD 500 application. Harvest now and into spring.
Spring – Plant in a well-drained, frost-free site. Full sun is good. Mulch well because they are shallow rooted. Foliar spray of seaweed and wormjuice each month. Prune the long watershoots that take over from the branches to open up the tree and encourage growth.
Summer – Keep plants mulched and watered. Withholdong watering for a few weeks mid summer can mean a heavier than normal autumn growth and lead to a good harvest the following summer.
Generally – Fruit takes 7-14 months to ripen. Flowering takes place on the current season’s growth (new growth is purple) branch ends. Of our two types, Lisbon is one of the more hardy, is thornier and has a smaller summer crop. Meyer is most common in home gardens with sweeter fruit, thinner rind and grows in colder areas – not the lemoniest lemon however it is hardy.
Eating – How not to use lemons!?