Friday, December 16, 2016

Learning about and planting citrus Limon

Coverage sector
Science & Technology
Finance & Economy: Life Skills

Lead: Nitya Poudel
Assist: Shaswat Badal

Common name: Lemon
Scientific name: citrus Limon
Benefits: Vitamin C, health and beauty, herbal medicine, cleaning

Experiment: To remove seeds from the citrus Limon fruit and initiate the germination process
Secondary exercise: To calculate how much money can be earned by planting lemon

Lemon is a very sour fruit and at this time, it has become expensive in Nepal. Pallav sir says, we have about 10 lemon trees in Dhading where we will go to learn farming. At home in Jhapa, I have a lemon tree which gives many nice and sour lemons. I like lemons. I am told it is a great source for Vitamin C. Sometimes I suck on the fruit directly, sometimes we make lemon tree, sometimes we make fresh lemonade, and sometimes we make pickles. Before starting the experiment I was tasked to collect information about lemon. Both I and Utu were using Wikipedia but we have been told to use other options as well. After one hour of collecting information we started the experiment. I had to write what I had researched on the white board.

-          Lemon is believed to come from Asia.
-          It entered Europe in the first century AD and the Middle East in 700 AD.
-          It was commercially cultivated in the fifteen century in Europe.
-          Unlike other fruit, lemons flower and bear fruit throughout the year.

I talked about other things I had learned through online exploration, then we started working on the experiment. We had two fresh lemons in front of us. We also had cellophane wrap, tissue paper, and water. Pallav sir cut the lemon differently. He said that because we wanted the seeds to be intact, we would be leaving the area where the seeds are located safe.

We talked about how planting good seeds from good fruit would result in a better plant. And we could see that the lemon that was being cut was very good as a lot of juice was coming out of it. After cutting the lemon, Pallav sir gave us all a slice of lemon to eat. It was very sour and juicy. He also took out some of the seeds from the lemon. After eating lemon he removed the outer covering from the lemon seed. We had 28 seeds altogether.

Next he tore the tissue paper and wet it so that water was not running. He then put the lemon seeds (some of which had outer skin removed and some did not) in the wet tissue and folded the paper and assuring that the tissue and the seed were tight, wrapped them in cellophane wrap in a way that there was no air trapped inside. After that he cut another lemon and did the same with the second one like what we did with the first lemon. After he had shown us how this should be done, it was our turn. Each of us got to prepare our own seeds in tissue and cellophane wrap. Altogether at the end of the process, we had 20 seed packs ready for processing.

We put the seed packs in a pot and in a cool dark place. We will leave them there for 12 days and open them to see if the seeds have germinated.

Material required:
-          Chopping board
-          Knife
-          Tissue paper
-          Cellophane wrap or zip lock bags
-          Lemon

Step 1: First cut the lemon
Step 2: Take all the seed out of the lemon
Step 3: Peel the outer cover of the lemon.
Step 4: Take tissue paper and wet it so water does not run
Step 5: Put the lemon seeds inside and fold the tissue (make sure the seed is in the center)
Step 6: After that, cover the tissue with cellophane wrap (do not let the air trap inside the tissue)
Step 7: Put the seed packets in a cool dark place to open after 12 days.

1.       The lemons were very big and juicy.
2.       The shape of the lemon was spherical, the color was yellow.
3.       The lemons were very sour on tasting and very juicy.
4.       The lemons had a lot of healthy seeds, more than 14 each.
5.       Big and nice lemons are expected to yield better trees and fruit. This is called genetic selection, we were told.
6.       We drew lemons and their slices. We need to draw the seeds.
7.       The outer cover of the seed can be removed, there is a light brown cover under it and light green pods can be seen when the second layer is removed. Because we were not sure which layer should be removed the first only or the second also, we would have samples with the first removed, the second removed, and none removed.
8.       Second fruit was bigger and better than the first one. We ate one piece of lemon each, I felt that the second piece was more sour and tastier than the first one.
9.       Tissue was prepared and wet in a manner that it was wet but not too wet.
10.   One seed was placed in the middle of the tissue.
11.   After folding the tissue, placing the seed in the center, it was wrapped in cellophane.
12.   After doing two, we were asked to take over. We also took one lemon seed at a time and repeated the process.
13.   It was a little difficult to put the lemon seed in the middle of the tissue while it was easy to wrap the tissue with the cellophane wrap.
14.   We put the 20 seed packs in two plastic cups. We put the cups in a clay pot and put the pot in the chimney as the chimney is not in use and would house the seeds safely.
15.   We will open the seed wraps in 12 days. That will be 27 December.

We then calculated that if one lemon costs rupees 10, at least. If we or a farmer grows 25 trees, one tree would give us at least 100 lemons over three months. If we sell 100 lemons from each of the 25 trees we could earn rupees 25,000 every three months or Rs. 100,000 over the year. This money could pay for a child's education in a decent manner. Remember that lemons flower throughout the year if properly taken care of unlike other fruit which are seasonal.

Then our plantation of lemon was done. I hope the lemon grows in the coming days. If it does not, I have learned that we will do this again and again until we find success :). This will be fun as I have been placed in charge of this effort!

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