Health Matters,  My Garden,  Self-Sufficiency

It’s a lemon

It’s a lemon is a common saying when something you buy is defective, particularly when buying a second-hand car.

However, what I am writing about is not a lemon in that context but how magnificent the lemon tree is, the one that produces lemons. In our previous garden we had an amazing lemon tree. It was a Meyer Lemon and it was a prolific producer of lemon. It did not get too much attention or fertilising but season after season it produced great fruit. Lemon trees like the sunshine and not too much wind but our Meyer Lemon we planted in Maleny managed wind and rain with no trouble at all. We kept it pruned low and it was around 15 years old when we left, still in a very happy state.

There are three popular lemon trees in Australia: the Eureka, the Meyer and the Lisbon.  The Eureka and Lisbon both need frost protection. We have had a Lisbon lemon but I found it not juicy enough and the tree grew too tall. The Lisbon is the best variety for jam making. The Eureka is a juicy lemon with high acid content. The Meyer Lemon is from China and apparently a cross between a lemon and mandarin or orange. The fruit of the Meyer does have a slightly different shape to the Lisbon or Eureka, it is more rounded. Meyer Lemon is my lemon of choice as I have had such a great experience with the Meyer. I am missing picking lemons from the tree out of the garden. Lately we have bought lemons for $1.50 – $1.70 each!

This is a photo of our Meyer Lemon Tree in our previous property. It was a prolific producer of juicy, sweet lemons.
This is a photo of our Meyer Lemon Tree from our previous property. It was a prolific producer of juicy, sweet lemons.

There are so many uses for lemons it should almost be standard in everyone’s garden. We will make sure we plant a lemon tree in our new garden. If I lived in a unit I would have one in a pot so you don’t necessarily have to have a garden but just make sure it is positioned to get a good dose of sunshine.

Lemons are anti-ageing and good for our skin. Now that I am older I need to drink more water with lemon juice! Lemon juice has antibacterial properties and is good to gargle if you have a sore throat or just drink a cup of tea with lemon juice added. Kitchen cutting boards can also be sanitised by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing over the board. When I see lemons at a good price I will buy extra and freeze.  All I need to do is place in a freezer bag whole and take one out at a time, as needed. Easy peasey! The many ways we can use lemons goes on and on and in my mind they are a celebrated citrus.

Lemon trees are so famous they have had a song written about them but more so the people who sang the song, Peter, Paul and Mary. The song was recorded in the 1960’s and I remember it well as a teenager. The lyrics describe a father’s warning to a young boy who advised him not to put his faith in love. The verse in the song states “lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat”. The tale told in the song is that when older the boy fell in love and everything was wonderful until his beloved left suddenly and went with another. The warning of his father rang out that putting your faith in love is like the lemon tree, the flower is sweet but the fruit impossible to eat and love can falter. If you are around my age and would like a little nostalgia you can click below and listen to the song. If you have not heard of the song then this is your moment of discovery about an iconic American folk trio.

Think about planting a lemon tree if you don’t have one in your garden or on your balcony. The Meyer Lemon is sweeter so the lyrics must not refer to the Meyer Lemon. It is also a very easy variety of lemon to grow. I have updated the lyrics for the Meyer Lemon Tree – “lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet and the fruit of the Meyer is so wonderful to eat”! When next you hear someone say “it’s a lemon” they just might be getting excited about the fruit from the lemon tree!

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