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Under Cover: Lemons in Canada in the Fall

by | Nov 14, 2017 | Food, GARDENING, VIDEOS | 0 comments

Lemons are edible and delicious even before they turn yellow

Do you have a hankering to grow your own lemons? I have friends in Calgary who grow lemons indoors but it is tough to keep the humidity up and their lemons and limes often lose leaves in the dry indoor winter air. These leaves will regrow in spring, but growing new leaves again slows down the whole flowering, fruiting process.

Because lemons and limes can tolerate minus 7 degrees Celsius, a garage or insulated shed with light might be all you need to grow lemons in a cool climate. In your cold spot (a partially heated garage with a window?) humidity is less relevant and overwintering lemons  with all their leaves is a possibility.

But if you live in the Pacific Northwest? You can grow lemons and limes outdoors, under cover. My recent video is based on the good work of Bob Duncan at Fruit Trees and More in Saanich, B.C., Canada (See his site Here.) Bob showed me his lemons four years ago. He inspires gardeners to grow lemons and limes and when we spoke last, he was harvesting 120 lemons per tree, in February.

My little trees are only four years old now and last winter they were officially moved out of their pots and planted in a raised bed where they go “under cover” for winter. This year I only have one lime on my lime tree but I have 22 Meyer lemons on my 60 cm (2 foot tall) lemon.  The good thing about lemons is that you can harvest them early or wait for them to turn yellow with no loss of flavor. The oils released when you cut them are incredibly fragrant.

Helpful Husband drew a plan to give us an idea of the size and look of the lemon cover

Helpful Husband’s plan, based on Bob’s ideas,  employed the steel bending abilities of Wayne Goodwin in the lower mainland, B.C. ([email protected]). Wayne’s normal job is building hoop houses for commercial growers but he agreed to work with Helpful Husband (HH) to get it right for my lemons. HH built a south-facing fence to catch the sun and then he installed the plexiglass in the steel roof to trap the heat. So far, so good.

Last winter we had two weeks of temperatures at about minus 7 but the lights kept the lemons alive

To push the warm season a bit, Bob leaves the Reemay (also called Fleece or Floating Row Cover) on his lemons until May so the trees start to bloom and produce lemons early. I did that too and I am delighted with the results. All summer and into fall before covering, I also spray the trees with water to knock off any mites or traveling insects. Here is the video I made last week about the fall cover-up. Enjoy and please like and comment on YouTube  and below.

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