Fed up with buying expensive flavourless lemons from the supermarket? Why not grow your own luscious lemon tree! It’s easier than you may think even if your ‘garden’ is confined to a small balcony or courtyard. These sunshine-yellow fruits are not only useful in the kitchen, but will add a nice pop of colour and intoxicating scent to your plot. Lemon trees are well suited to a raised garden bed (choose a dwarf variety) and thrive in protected locations with at least 6 hours of sun each day. They are fairly low maintenance but hate wet feet so need well-drained soil and only need to be watered once or twice a week (perfect for forgetful little green thumbs!). Plus Eureka varieties will provide a year-round bounty for an array of cuisines, desserts and fresh lemonade on a hot summer’s day (see recipe below). They are susceptible to pests and disease so use a good pest oil and prune to maintain healthy disease-free flowers and limbs.
What you’ll need
My First Garden
Dwarf Eureka lemon tree
Gravel or scoria
Good quality potting mix
1. Choose a location with plenty of sun and protection from the wind
2. Lay about a 5cm base of gravel or scoria at the bottom of your garden bed for better drainage
3. Plant your lemon tree in your raised garden bed with quality potting mix
4. Give your lemon tree a drink around once to twice a week (when the soil below the surface feels dry)
5. Feed with a specialised citrus fertiliser every 6-8 weeks or so
Fresh lemonade (serves 4)
1 cup (250mL) fresh lemon juice
2 cups (500mL) water
¾ cup caster sugar
1 lemon thinly sliced
1. Combine lemon juice, water and sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat.
2. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves
3. Remove from heat, transfer to a jug and add lemon slices.
4. Place in the fridge to chill.
5. Serve in glasses or jars with a paper straw and enjoy!
Lemons are just as good a source of vitamin C as oranges (if not better), a nutrient required to maintain healthy immune defences and protect us from nasty germs and bugs. They are also high in the mineral potassium and have detoxifying properties. Aunty Katie has a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon every morning to cleanse her system and kick start digestion.