This month is very exciting for us – not only are we picking the more traditional gooseberries, raspberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants, but also, and this is the exciting bit, we are picking lemons (well, just the one so far, but more on the way) from the tree that we planted earlier in the year. Despite both our lemon & lime trees still being quite small, we have been transported into the fragrant world of a Mediterranean citrus grove, the smell of the freshly picked lemons is unlike anything that you are likely to find in the supermarket. And it’s not just the fruit that has a wonderful fragrance, citrus trees are one of the few that flower and fruit at the same time, all year round, and the scent of the flowers is amazing. Mock orange (philadelphus) is similar but pales by comparison.
The lemon was used as a ‘cure all’ in Roman times and we can smell why, just the scent of them whilst we are picking lifts our spirits. They are so much more than just a garnish for your Gin and tonic, they can be used for household cleaning and beauty treatments too. The healing effects of the lemon are vast, they are full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for collagen production, wound recovery and boost immune function. Additionally, lemons are one of the many foods that contain antioxidants which fight against free radicals in the body.
Wake your system up in the morning by adding a slice of lemon and a spoon of honey to a cup of hot water, your body will thank you for it!
Lemons are a little challenging but it is entirely possible to grow your own in this country. Ideally plant your lemon trees in pots and place in a sunny conservatory or warm greenhouse (we’ve planted ours inside the polytunnel that our Volunteers helped construct last year). If this is not possible, planting near to the house will help shelter your tree in colder weather. If the weather becomes very cold or there is likely to be a frost, insulate with a blanket or bring your tree inside. And remember that lemon trees prefer a good watering once a week rather than every day.
Give it a try and let us know how you get on …