I started growing things when I was about seven or eight. Someone gave me a Ladybird book on Indoor Gardening and my obsession with sticking things in soil began. Probably because it was way more interesting than reading Peter and Jane. I’m not sure why I decided to start with a lemon, but I did. I can’t even remember if it was Pancake Day, but the next time we had a lemon, I kept all the seeds and sneaked into the garden.
I didn’t have access to compost in those days, or even a flower pot, so I dug some earth out of a flowerbed using a kitchen spoon and placed it in a polythene bag. Then I planted my lemon seed, watered it, and hid the bag in the airing cupboard. To my amazement, it grew. And I’ve been growing things (with varying degrees of success) ever since.
So this Shrove Tuesday, being way too cold to go to the allotment, I decided to introduce J and D to the joys of indoor gardening – once they’d finished stuffing their faces with pancakes.
Growing a lemon from seed is certainly easier than tossing a pancake. Here’s how:
- Remove and wash the lemon seeds.
- Soak them in water for a couple of hours, or overnight. (If you haven’t got time to soak them, it probably won’t make much difference.)
- Fill a yogurt pot, Chinese takeaway container, or even a sandwich bag, with compost, plant your seeds, and water. Alternatively, you can germinate lemon seeds inside a wad of damp kitchen paper. We’re trying both methods to see which grows first.
- Cover the pot with clingflim or a lid to help retain moisture.
- Place the pot somewhere warm but not on direct heat.
- Repot as the seedlings grow.
For more tips, the RHS has some good advice on growing conditions.
Be warned, it may be ten years before your lemon tree produces any fruit! But don’t let that put you off, the kids will love it and you’ll still have an attractive plant in the meantime. Watch this space ….
And I’ve just found that Ladybird book of Indoor Gardening on Ebay. It now comes under the heading ‘Vintage’ which makes me officially old. But I think I might buy it for nostalgia’s sake.