The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, January 21, 2001
Garden Life

Learn to grow lemon
By Satish Narula

EVEN though horticultural scientists have made it possible to get almost any fruit throughout the year and that too of an acceptable quality and rate, yet growing one’s own fruits gives one extra taste and satisfaction. Those living in the submontane belt comprising Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur (except Batala), Dera Bassi and Chandigarh are fortunate in that they can grow a number of fruit species successfully.

If space permits and one has access to quality plant material, one should go in for a variety of fruit trees. The biggest advantage of the area mentioned above is the possibility of growing litchi and chiku, both of which need high humidity for fruit setting and growing. Such conditions are met here.

There is, however, one plant whose fruit is commonly used by most people. It is lemon. Commercially considered to be of minor importance, this plant is a must for every household. In the submontane areas where the kagazi lime cannot be grown due to certain pathological reasons, lemon comes as a boon. The best thing about this plant is that some of its strains bear fruit aplenty and throughout the year.

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Lemon: An all-time favourite It is essential to have a good quality lemon plant Punjab Agricultural University offers PAU Baramasi Lemon-1, a seedless variety that bears lemon yellow fruit. The skin of the fruit of this variety is smooth and thin. Alternately, if you know someone who has a similar plant with good quality fruit, you can grow a plant on your own and the plant thus prepared will have all those qualities that the mother plant had.

The propagation in lemon is done by the gooti method. For this, you can select any pencil thick branch and leaving about a foot and half from the terminal end of the branch remove an inch wide upper skin. Two circular cuts an inch apart and one horizontal cut in between will make it easy to remove the skin. The exposed portion is then wrapped in moss grass with a polythene. The poly strip should be about four to five inches wide and the grass should be wetted at night before the operation. It is then squeezed to remove extra water. Both the ends of the polythene are secured with a firm thread. There is no need to add any more water or open the knots. After a few days you will be able to see the roots through the poly cover. At this stage the stem behind the poly cover is cut and the plant is planted in a pot or at a place where it has to be grown. If the stem can hang down and touch the ground while still on the mother plant, you can do away with the polythene and moss grass. Simply give the round cuts, cover it with soil and attach a weight at the cut end, keeping it underground. Keep it moist. It will strike roots within a few days. This operation should be carried out in February. So be on the look out for a good lemon plant till that time.

In lemon thin, wire-like stems grow in the middle of the plant which unnecessarily shade the fruit growing below. This is the time when you should cut the extra branches. Lemon bears fruit regularly and thus needs a good dose of farmyard manure. Make sure it is ready to be used. During summer months you may see white patches on the upper surface of the leaves. This is sun burn. Keep giving water at intervals of four days. This will also reduce the incidence of fruit splitting.


This feature was published on December 17, 2000