I am a lemon addict.
I am out of lemons.
This lemon-less dilemma would not feel quite so tragic were I not home-bound the past few days with a summer cold, an energy-sucking nuisance that I have been treating with my best friend, the lemon. Squeezed into a cup of tea with two heaping spoonfuls of The City Farm’s Avocado Honey, or simply prepared, on its own, with steamy water from the kettle, a tisane I started making part of my morning routine after reading about its many health and detoxing benefits. And that skinny people do it. I’m not above vanity rituals, especially ones that offer to balance my pH levels, aid digestion, and seem so easy.
So easy, until you’re housebound without a lemon in sight. Car-free, there is no quick drive down to the store for me, there are running shoes and sweat is involved, which sounds exhausting to my cold-addled mind. I *could* order delivery from my local, spendy shop with their cute, city-sized vans and adorable wanna-be actors making a living bringing lemons to shut-ins. But that seems extravagant. Instead, I’ve decided it’s time to grow my own lemons. I live in Southern California, after all. The fact that I DON’T have a lemon tree is probably grounds to revoke my citizenship.
I’ll have to grow a container tree, as I don’t have any green space, but if you do, and want to add a lemon tree to your yard, according to SFGate, the hardy citrus tree is among the easiest to care for, demanding little attention, as long as you live in zones 8b – 11.
For those who don’t live in a lemon-growing green space, or want to plant in a pot to save space, Canadian gardener and author of Growing Wild C.E.E.D.S. has tips to start one from seed, eventually producing citrus that can survive and thrive indoors with the northern light of a place like her home of Toronto. It may take three to six years to produce fruit, so, if you’re like me and need a lemon fix from your front stoop, stat, pickup one that has already been started at your local nursery.
The National Gardening Association suggests you choose a smaller fruit, Meyer lemons are a favorite both for space, and for their level of acidity that grows well indoors. When looking for a lemon variety for your limited space, consider choosing one that is grafted to Flying Dragon (Hiryu) rootstock, as it “will be significantly dwarfed, thereby extending its useful life in a container.”
Do you already grow your own lemons? Have you had any trouble growing them inside, or from seed? Share your story in the comments, or tell us @TheCityFarm and @RebeccaSnavely.