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    Hi there

    We have a lemon tree in our yard. It has never been treated, composted, pruned etc and is infested with several very interesting parasites. We get two large crops of lemons from it every year but most of it gets left to rot. I was wondering what I could use this highly acidic compost for and also does anyone have ideas for what we can do with all these lemons? We usually make a few liters of lemonade but that’s about it.




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    Hi Teresa, As I understand it, a purist permaculture approach would advise to just leave the tree, soil and fruits to look after themselves however if you have less than optimal conditions you will probably have “problems” until such time as that natural balance is established.

    It sounds like you have a very productive tree, but from your description the growing environment is currently conducive to pests and diseases. From a more conventional horticultural perspective, I would be taking a more active management approach and pruning the tree to improve air circulation and sunlight in the centre of the tree. This should help to reduce the conditions for fungal problems.

    Pruning is also indicated to enhance access to fruit in the tree and to remove dead,crossing and decaying stems and branches. By reducing the growing stems you might also reduce the fruit crop too (addressing your abundance problem), although you may find that the fruit is better quality because the tree is able to direct energy and nuturients more efficiently. I would also suggest remove rotting fruit from the ground as this can also provide habitat for pests and diseases.

    Whilst the fruit may be acidic, I am not sure that this is going to acidify your compost heap; particularly if you also add plenty of other organic matter. I’m guessing that once it is broken down, it will all tend to balance out



    Lemons can be preserved several ways:
    salted: see this recipe:
    lemon butter:
    frozen juice: (make ice blocks out of the juice and keep them in a container in a freezer)
    candy the peel:
    Dry the skin: just grate off the zest (outside skin) and dry it for use in cooking

    Don’t put too many in the compost, cut them up well before you do.



    peels in vinegar in mason jar let sit for several weeks…strain very effective non-toxic cleaner…great as a de-greaser & general cleaner…i read a column recently that to increase the juice pick green…put in a single layer in a corner to ripen you can freeze juice in ice trays…store in freezer bags to have lemon juice year round



    I live in (near) Denver Colorado (mile high city) and I know Sepp Holzer grows lemons at 3000 meters in Austria with deep winter snow. So, what exactly is his technique? I have heard he uses rocks but I haven’t found any useable information either online or in books. If anyone is growing citrus trees in the open (not indoors) in a similar climate to mine I would love to hear how you did it.

    I am also interested in growing coffee, and carob if anyone has any information to share.

    Richard Boettner



    Citrus (including lemon) slows down the composting process. Better keep a separate compost area for citrus.

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