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Q: A friend of mine grows her own lemons quite successfully. What is the best way to do this in B.C.?
Growing lemons or limes on a small scale is relatively easy if you follow certain steps diligently.
Ask your local nursery for a Meyer lemon and/or a key lime shrub. Meyer lemons look similar to grocery-store lemons, while key limes are small and juicy.
One: You will need to baby your lemon or lime plant as it is not hardy. Keep it inside in a sunny spot, or preferably in a greenhouse, for most of the fall, winter and early spring. Water your shrub only when dry and fertilize regularly.
Two: Come late spring or summer, haul your potted shrub into a sunny spot in your garden or on your patio. Stake stems that bear heavy or multiple fruits.
Three: Harvest fruits in fall when they are of uniform colour and medium firm.
Four: To make herbal lime or lemonade, bring 4 cups (1 L) of water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add 1 cup (250 mL) of fresh edible flower petals (lavender, rose, chamomile) and ½ cup (125 mL) sugar. Stir to dissolve and then allow to cool. Strain the infusion into a pitcher and add 1 cup (250 mL) freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Stir well and serve over ice with a mint or edible flower garnish.