The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Limes, lemons and things that suck your cheeks in are al­most sta­ples in most cuisines and bev­er­ages. An abun­dant lime tree is one of the hor­ti­cul­tural and real es­tate as­sets when you con­sider what you are buy­ing that comes with a house pur­chase or sell­ing one for that mat­ter.

There are home buy­ers who’s pur­chase will be made up by a gar­den. In bal­ance, there are prob­a­bly oth­ers who’s mind is made up not to buy be­cause of a gar­den.

Space and po­si­tion will of­ten dic­tate what sort of tree you will have to com­ple­ment a lime tart, gin and tonic or a good curry.

Kaf­fir lime is a good choice for its leaves and culi­nary as­sets. This is the lime that has a ‘waist’ in the leaf shape. It’s the pow­er­ful favour of the oils in the leaves that gives its true value. The fruit is not juicy but ex­cel­lent for a nice, tart lemon or cit­rus mar­malade or zest in cook­ing. The leaves can be frozen for later use. West In­dian is about the nicest of the lot (but re­ally, they all have their good points). The fruit is smaller, but has great flavour.

Tahi­tian is the most fla­vored and has juicy good, ‘golf-ball sized’ fruit that should be picked when green. A large crop can be picked and the juice frozen.

A dwarf ver­sion called Tahiti does the same as its big­ger cousin but grows half the size (maybe 2m at best).

Lo­cal fin­ger lime is a na­tive from the Rus­sell River re­gion. It is a spiky, gan­gly plant that grows to about 3m, but pro­duces ter­rific, long-shaped fruits that pro­duce easy-to-re­move seg­ments and are great for smash­ing and cook­ing or as a mixer for drinks (hard and soft).

All these lit­tle beau­ties grow to 3 to 4m. They need at least six hours’ sun a day. They will grow in large tubs with good-qual­ity well-drained soil to start with (in a tub or ground) and cit­rus fer­tiliser in April and Novem­ber.

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