Hello fellow gin lovers, I wanted to share with you a few secrets and tips & tricks about growing the perfect lemons and limes to use in your gin and tonics.
The lemons we use in our Waitoki citrus gin are grown in my garden on our property in Waitoki. Before they became gin ingredients or garnishes, I grew them to use in our freshly squeezed breakfast juice, snapper ceviche and guacamole!
Lemons have such a great scent, glossy leaves and the most beautiful blossoms. Try rubbing the leaves – the citrus aromas are amazing…
In a nutshell, most citrus trees are hardy, like lots of sun and they need to be well drained and protected from frosts and pests (unlike our place that seems to be a possum sanctuary!). In my many years of tending to our home garden, I’ve come across a few handy tips to caring for limes and lemon trees, that I’d love to share. It might not work for everyone, but if you can takeaway something that helps – or share a few tips in return – then that’s great.
Feeding your Citrus:
Citrus trees liked to be mulched just short of their tree trunk (otherwise it can cause rot from the moisture). For extra treats, they love nitrogen, blood and bone, epsom salt, weed clippings and our neighbour Susan has had great results with using sheep dags around the trunk (apparently they suppress the weeds, retain moisture and release nutritional components – much like mulch).
Last year we adopted 10,000 worms (and growing!) and use all our veggie scraps to make worm tea for all of our gardens, and use the worm poo (like dirt) to put around all of our citrus trees. If you’re on a rural property and have good access to sheep or horse poo, chuck it into a bucket filled with water, mix it into a tonic and use it all over your garden!
Watering your citrus:
Lemon & lime trees have a shallow root system, so will need regular watering to keep them hydrated.
Maintaining your citrus:
To help air circulate, cut out any dead wood and prune lower branches. And – every now and then it doesn’t hurt to pee on them! Urine is quite high in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus – just water the area first, have a pee, and water again 🙂
If you keep your citrus well watered, fertilised and safe from pests and frosts, you will reap and harvest the most beautiful lemons and limes to add to your gin and tonic, (or lemon meringue pie if that’s your jam!).
If you’ve got any citrus tips to share, please do!
Thanks again to Upsplash for the image.