Lemons & Limes

Health Power

A great source of vitamin C and other phytonutrients, similar to other popular fruits and veggies. Vitamin C is the great immune booster and antioxidant that knocks out free radicals at the top of the inflammatory cascade. Helps reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Acting against free radicals, vitamin C can assist in cardiovascular health by preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, a step toward plaque buildup. Lemons and limes both have flavonoid compounds that act as antioxidants, too. Both help sterilize some foods by killing off bacteria. Citrus fruits also contain limonoids that fight a number of cancers and potentially lower cholesterol.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Vitamins – C
Minerals – Many but none of significant daily value

Disease Prevention

Immune system health and cell protection (possibly against cancer) come from antioxidant concentration of lemons and limes. The citrus limonoids defend against cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. The flavonoids may prove to protect against many common disease-causing bacteria.

How to Grow

Naturally subtropical, all citrus fruits need protection from frost. An exception, the Meyer lemon can handle brief temperatures below freezing in a protected spot. Pick a protected site with plenty of sun. Prefer soil on the heavy side. Amend the site generously with aged compost, manure or highly fertile planting mix. Soil pH should be 6-6.5. Raise beds 1.5 feet above ground. Plant trees any time of the year, especially in the South, but spring and fall are usually best times. Plant tree so that grafting point is a few inches above soil level. Space multiple trees 15-20 feet apart to avoid competition for nutrients or sunlight. Best way to feed is by applying organic fruit tree fertilizers, kelp meal, fish bone meal, alfalfa meal, organic composts or compost tea. Keep tree well watered, especially in first few years. If tree becomes thick and bushy, remove a branch for better airflow and light absorption. Prune shoots that point inward or have dead/diseased spots. Cut fruit off tree when ripe and use or store. To store, place fruit in a container and surround with dry sand or dirt to preserve for several months. Tree produces fruit all year in moderate climates.

Insect Control

See Oranges, which have identical pests as lemons/limes.

Tips

Once all fruit is removed from a shoot, trim it back to 5 inches to encourage more fruit-bearing shoots.

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