HOW TO GROW BLACKCURRANTS




Sitting on the back of the blueberry super-food craze, the humble British blackcurrant is having somewhat of a revival. With most of the country’s blackcurrant production going to either Ribena or Danish bacon – they use it as an edible ink for printing the words ‘Danish Bacon on their food – the current fashion for any food that has credible medical benefits has started to see a change in the blackcurrants fortunes.

Recent research has shown that the blackcurrant is

“…bursting with more health-promoting antioxidants than most other vegetable and fruits, including blueberries…”

Not only do they contain more vitamin C 'weight for weight' than a fresh orange, they are also packed with high levels of vitamins too.

Research has also shown that these high levels of potent antioxidants have beneficial effects against a range of illnesses and conditions including heat disease, Alzheimer’s and the super-bug MRSA. Blackcurrants also contain several rare nutrients, like GLA ( Gamma Linoleic Acid, a very rare Omega-6 essential fatty acid) and MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors).

The high levels of anthocyanins that are found in blackcurrants are also shown to be beneficial in warding off ailments including heart disease, cancer, again - Alzheimer’s disease (2006 Tuft’s University Study), diabetes and high blood pressure. But using blackcurrants to treat illness isn't a new phenomenon as they been used since the middle-ages to treat bladder stones, liver disorders, coughs, chest ailments, urinary problems, and various skin conditions

Once an illegal berry in the United States, blackberries have now been proven to have higher levels of antioxidants, and range of vitamins and minerals than virtually any other fruit - including blueberries and pomegranates - for health-giving qualities.

Eating fresh blackcurrants or drinking blackcurrant juice is an easy way to get access to these health promoting natural chemicals but if you are buying them from the supermarket then you will need to be aware that the longer these fruits stay on the shelves - the further the vitamins levels inside the fruit will drop.

Worst still, if you are buying blackcurrants in a carton of refrigerated smoothie you will see on the packet that they have been pasteurised to maintain their freshness. Unfortunately the pasteurisation process also destroys many of the natural health giving enzymes and proteins that are contained within the fruit. The truth is that – at least with regards to blackcurrants - the fresher they are, then the better they are for you, and if you want the freshest crop then you can do no better than growing them in your very own garden.

Growing blackcurrants

With increasing competition from imported exotic fruits the old fashioned blackcurrant has been falling out of favour since the Second World War. For years it has been the ‘preserve’ of jams and fruit cordials, but recently it has gained a new identity as one of the latest additions to the recent super food craze.

On English soils the blackcurrant is relatively easy to grow although they will do best on a slightly acidic, heavy clay loam situated in a sunny, sheltered site away from strong winds and late frosts. Preparation is - as always - important so before planting, dig over your soil adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure. On lighter soils you may also wish to add leaf mould or any other organic matter as this will help to reduce its free draining properties and typical leaching of nutrients.

Blackcurrant bushes are usually bought as pot grown plants but you may also be able to purchase them bare-rooted from specialist nurseries during their dormant period of November to February.

As blackcurrants produce fruit on stems grown the previous year it’s important to achieve a regular supply of fresh growth year on year. This is done by either growing it as a multi-stemmed bush or by using the ‘stool’ method which allows the bush to grow out from a single basal stem. By raising the main bush up from the ground this way you are also allowing good air flow around your plants and in so doing reducing the incidence of grey mould which can be particularly troublesome in most soft fruits.

Water your plants well after planting and continue to do so during hot dry weather in the first year as blackcurrants are relative shallow rooted.

Space the bushes between 5ft and 6ft apart depending on the variety, and for all new plants cut back all the growth to a couple of inches of soil level.

If you are you are growing a multi-stemmed bush then you have nothing more to do, but if you want to encourage stooling then you need to remove all but one healthy stem which again is cut back to within a couple of inches of the soil line. These can now be left for two more years before they need pruning again

In subsequent years mulch your bushes every spring with a well rotted farm manure, this will help to add valuable nutrients to the soil, conserve moisture and help to keep down the weeds as blackcurrants have difficulty competing with them. If your plants are growing strongly then you may wish to change your mulch to something less rich such as straw, leaf mould or wood chips.
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WHY ARE THE LEAVES ON MY LEMON TREE TURNING YELLOW?



If you have ever grown lemon trees before then you will know that they are not a particularity difficult species to look after. However, it doesn't take long for those glossy, green leaves to start losing their rich, verdant colour.

Lemon nursery
Whilst the new growth will still open out in that gorgeous bronze colour, they eventually mature to a light green, maybe a yellowish green, or worst still with inter-venial yellowing. But why?

Well, if you are from northern Europe then your specimen lemon tree was probably produced in that famous, north Italian growing region of Pistoia.

There you will find row upon row of stunning citrus specimens  - all pot grown - connected to nutrient rich, drip feeds.

So why should there be a problem when you get your lemon tree home.

The problem is this. If your soil has a neutral pH or worse still, veers on the side of alkalinity then your lemon trees will have difficulties when it comes to taking up the nutrients iron and magnesium through the roots. This is a physiological disorder know as Chlorosis. Unfortunately for those trying to grow them, lemons have a particularly high need for magnesium. However, knowing the problem means that you can treat the problem.

What is Chlorosis?

Chlorosis is a common term used to describe symptoms of uniform yellowing of leaves.

It may be caused by any number of stresses and although it can affect many plant families is is most commonly seen in acid loving plants - generally known as ericaceous, but this is not strictly accurate - such as Rhododendrons, Camelias, Pieris, Liquidamber and of course citrus.

Chlorosis on citrus
In alkaline soils, plants from the Ericaceae family have difficulties in taking up iron and magnesium from the substrate through the roots. This is typified by the characteristic inter-veinal yellowing of the leaves as both iron and manganese are vital for the formation of the green chlorophyll pigments within them.

This characteristic patterning is a direct response to these specific nutrient deficiencies and occur because the chlorophyll pigment found in the vascular bundles – the leaf veins – will remain unaffected for longer periods than chlorophyll pigment found in the cells between the vascular bundles.

Also, because of the low mobility of iron within the plant and relatively higher concentrations within older leaves due to the formation of iron binding proteins, leaf discolouration is far more prevalent in the new, juvenile leaves found near to the growing points. In extreme cases newly formed leaves can grow through almost pure white in colour.

How do you treat chlorosis

Foliar feeding lemon tree
Chorosis can be treated by spraying the leaves with soluble iron foliar feeds every 2 - 4 weeks or by lowering the soil pH.

This is achieved by applying chelates, ferrous sulphate, aluminium sulphate, or sulphur to the soil surface and allowing them to dissolve into the soil by watering and rainfall.

A traditional method used by Victorian plantsmen was to add a tablespoon of Epsom salts, dissolve it in half a gallon of water and water it in at the base of the plant. Alternatively, apply as a foliar spray.

Epsom salts are the common name for magnesium sulfate and are used to correct magnesium deficiencies in soil.  This is something that lemons are particularly prone to as they are particularly magnesium hungry.

At the very least, use soluble, acidic plant fertilisers such as Miracid or Seqestrian as a weekly liquid feed. Be aware that it will take weeks and not days for the effects to show through.

How do the Italian growers solve this problem?

Epsom salts - image care of www.motherearthliving.com
Well, as mentioned before, the irrigation drip pipes also have nutrients pumped through them. Nitric acid is also added to the nutrient mix which helps to prevent the build up of nutrient scum inside the irrigation pipes.

The nitric acid also reduces the pH within the soil enabling the uptake of iron and magnesium and also providing additional nitrogen to the roots. The up shot of this is dark green, glossy leaves. However, once you take the the lemon tree off the irrigation system and water it straight off the tap, nutrient issues arise and the leaves begin to turn yellow in response.
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WHY IS MY TREE FERN DEAD?





Before I start, I am going right back to basics. Why? Because there is a difference between knowing and understanding. Knowing why your tree fern has died is one thing - too cold, too dry or both. But understanding how this has killed off your precious, and usually expensive tree fern will prevent you from the ignominy of having to explain why that ugly, dried out trunk is doing 'pride of place' in your garden.

You could be unlucky and find that your tree fern has been attacked by some catastrophic fungal infection. But lets face it, it is unlikely and if you do have an fungal disease it has probably taken hold because the plant has become weakened. Tree ferns are tough, if they weren't then they wouldn't have survived the passed 80 million years.

Dicksonia antartica
Firstly, and tree ferns aside, put your hands up if you can tell me how many tree species can survive if you cut their roots off?

Secondly, how many regular ferns can survive if you cut their roots off?

Ignoring all those wiseacres who mentioned mistletoe - which still has a root system otherwise it would fall off its host tree- the answer is none. So why do so many of us believe that tree ferns are perfectly capable of surviving, in fact thriving without roots? This is probably down to our perception of the plant when we first purchase one. Tree ferns have had their root system sawn off when they are imported to our country and yet we witness with our own eyes that they are still capable of throwing up strong shoots from the crown - a miracle indeed!

How is this possible? Well, within the fibrous trunk there is a series of thick tap-roots that run from the crown of the plant, down to the base of the plant. Because the original thick head of foliage has also been removed to prevent these roots from drying out during transportation, there is enough water and carbohydrate in these internal tap-roots to power out one last round of fronds.

Typical garden centre specimen
Of course, watering both the crown and the entire length of the trunk will allow the root system to take up the necessary amount of water required to survive, but don't forget that without an complete and operating root system you are going to need to water the trunk in this way up to three times a day. Even more if you have positioned your tree fern in full sun!

The next issue is nutrition. How many times have you seen tree ferns kicking around your local plant retailer with stunted and pale green fronds. Too many in my experience. Look at any images of tree ferns in their natural environment and you will see thick, dark, luscious green foliage. Look in the garden centre - and perhaps even your garden - and you will see something that looks like a neglected, yellow bonsai on a stick. So what has gone wrong? It goes back to the root system and watering. Without a soil based root system the tree fern is unable to take up the macro and micro nutrients that it requires to grow. No nitrogen, no chlorophyll, no growth.

Unfurling frond
Therefore it is not enough to water regularly, you need to feed regularly too. If you are forgetful than place a small hand-full of controlled release fertiliser - such as osmocote -  in the crown. If not, water the tree fern with a water soluble fertiliser such as Miracle-gro. There is no harm doing both.

Get this right and your tree fern will have enough water and fertilizer to support itself until it has re-grown a root ball large enough to support itself without your help.

Back to over-wintering. I am not going to go into the details of how to protect tree ferns over winter as this has already been covered in a separate article. However, I will say that if your tree fern is relatively new and still without an effective root system you will still need to water during warm spells. Forget this and you can till end up with a dried out husk when you remove your winter protection. In my northern european garden I have a habit of removing the protection during the day when it is reasonable warm so that I can water and then replace the protection before nightfall.

For related articles click onto:
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THE SECRET TO GROWING GIANT LEMONS

Can you do better?



Have you ever wanted to impress your fruit growing friends with exceptionally large lemons? The chances are that you probably haven't, but the need to grow bigger and better fruit that your peers has been the goal of amateur and head gardeners for centuries.

So when it comes to growing enormous lemons there isn't really a secret formula.

You just need to be growing a cultivated variety that produces naturally large fruit.

Suitably large species and cultivated varieties include Citron medica, the Ponderosa Lemon, and the Feminello Lemon.

Be that as it may, there are some cultivational points that you can employ in order to improve your chances.

Remove - also known as thinning - half the juvenile fruit when they are about the size of a marble in order to encourage the remaining fruit to grow larger.

Lemon trees are more sensitive to frost damage than other types of citrus so try to provide a frost free environment during the coldest part of the year. Furthermore, plant your lemon tree into a slightly acidic, free draining soil and provide adequate light, warmth, nutrition and water. Although the perfect nutrient breakdown is still argued by professionals try using  5-1-3 NPK with a monthly feed of trace nutrients.

It should go without saying that you should be relentless with pest and disease control - organic, of course.

So, just what is my secret to growing giant lemons?

Well, there is no secret as such, although I will admit to a little cheating.

While the tree is indeed a lemon tree, the giant lemon hanging from its branches was certainly not produced by it.

It was recently purchased from a lemon stall in Sorrento, Italy, and tucked carefully away in my suitcase for the flight back home.

A cotton cradle was carefully sewn into the top of the lemon by the future Mrs. Eaden, from which it was hung in place. Deception complete!

For related articles click onto:
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How to Grow Citrus Trees
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How to make Limoncello
How to propagate the Foxtail Lily
Recipe for Cauliflower Cheese
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Why is my Lemon Tree Dropping Leaves?
Why are the Leaves on my Lemon Tree Sticky?

THE BLUE AGAVE




The Blue Agave - Agave tequilana, is an important economic crop, native to the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. Why so important? Because the blue agave is used to produce the base ingredient of that Mexican nectar known as tequila. Like other plants within its family, the blue agave grows to be a large succulent with spiky fleshy leaves that can reach an impressive 2 metres in height.

The blue agave thrives in the rich and sandy volcanic soils that are found at altitudes of more than 1,500 metres.

In their native environment, agaves will produce a tall and distinctive flowering stalk once they get to about five years old. This stalk will then grow an additional 5 metres topped with yellow flowers. If the blue agave is being grown for commercial reasons then this stalk is removed in order to save diverting energy away from the heart of the plant.

Agaves are an ancient family and so unlike most other insect pollinated plants, their flowers are pollinated by bats. In this case it is the native bat - Leptonycteris nivalis. Once pollinated, an agave is capable of producing several thousand seeds per plant. Unfortunately, once the blue agave has produced its seed it will die. However, all is not lost as suckering basal shoots would have emerged from the base of the dyeing mother plant.

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HOW TO MAKE LIMONCELLO





If you have spent any time in southern Italy, and in particular Sorrento, you will find that almost everyone and anyone is producing and selling home made Limoncello. From pizza parlours to small factory set-ups in high street shops, wherever you go you can find yourself being offered free tasters of someone's secret family recipe.

Unfortunately, with my old man tastes buds, all Limoncello's taste the same, but is no bad thing as that just means they all taste amazing.

The problem is that once you have finished off the non-breakable bottle you smuggled home in your luggage, you are left wanting more but can't justify the air fare to purchase another bottle.

Of course you can probably buy a Limoncello facsimile in your local supermarket, but why bother if you can pool the raw ingredients yourself and manufacture your own family brand of 'unique' Limoncello  I am aware that it is far easier to just buy a bottle down the road from Tesco's, but that isn't the point of this article.

Ingredients

Limoncello is made using only four ingredients:

Fresh lemons
Alcohol
Water
Sugar

You will also need a number of bottles.

The lemons need to be fresh and organic as any chemical sprays used on the lemons will taint the final flavour. The water has to be of excellent quality.  Tap water should be fine, but if you are not convinced then use mineral water. Sugar has to be refined white, otherwise the Limoncello will end up looking muddy. The best alcohol to use is clean and clear 90% or 95% (180-190 proof). While this is easily obtainable in Italy you may not be so lucky where you live. In which case consider using Vodka instead.

The two recipes below are for both alternatives. The ‘pure’ alcohol version will give you a Limoncello at a very pleasant 31-32% liqueur; the Vodka version will get you to 28-29%, which is still very good.

With 95% alcohol

Wash 6 large or 10 small lemons thoroughly in cold water and dry. This is to remove any dirt or reside that may be on them.

Scrape or grate the lemon zest, but only the yellow skin. Do not go into the white pith and certainly no juice. Place the zest into a completely clean 1.5 litre bottle that has a air tight seal-able top.

Now pour in 1 litre of 90% or 95% clean and clear alcohol and seal the lid. This can now be stored in a cool dark place.

Leave for 4 weeks, but give the bottle an occasional shake. During that time, the alcohol pulls the colour and the essential oils from the lemon zest.

When the four weeks are up, boil 1.5 litres  of pure water in a clean pan. Once it boils, turn the heat down to simmer and add 400g of refined white granulated sugar. Keep stirring the sugar until it dissolves then turn off the heat and let the syrup cool down until its just about tepid.

Prepare the bottles you are going to use for storing the Limoncello - re-used 750ml fizzy pop bottles will do, so longs as they are properly clean.

However, if you are making limoncello on a regular basis then it may well be worth investing in some old fashioned glass bottles with the rubber ring, stopper and metal latch.

At this stage you will have 3 litres of liquid, so you will need at least four of these 750ml bottles

Use a funnel and pour the alcohol mixture into a decanting bottle first. This is to separate out the liquid from what remains of the lemon zest. If you prefer you can put the zest into a muslin bag to squeeze out the last remaining alcohol.

Pour the filtered alcohol into the pan with the syrup and stir gently. Once fully mixed, use the funnel to pour the fresh Limoncello into your bottles and cap them.

Limoncello is best served cold you your new batch can be placed in the freezer until required.

With 40% Vodka

For this recipe you will need more lemons - 8 large or 12 small - as the weaker alcohol level won’t be as effective. Everything else regarding the preparation of vodka Limoncello is exactly the same as above. However, the quantities are slightly less. Instead use 1 litre of water and 300 grams of sugar

Good luck and good health.

For related articles click onto:
How to get rid of black mould on a lemon tree
How to Grow Citrus Trees
How to make Limoncello
Recipe for Cauliflower Cheese
Recipe for Crumble
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Sorrento Lemons
The Secret to Growing Giant Lemons
Where is Sorrento?
Where is Sorrento?
Why are the Leaves on my Lemon Tree Turning Yellow?
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Why are the Leaves on my Lemon Tree Sticky?

WHAT IS LIGHT POLLUTION?


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There have been many reports recently about the disappearance of our native wildlife with headlines focusing on the decline on bats numbers, endangered butterflies, falling numbers in insect eating birds, and loss of natural habitats. However there is one issue that is far more wide-reaching and insidious than any of these and you have probably never heard of it.

Like some silent, stealthy assassin it works by sucking night-active insects away from their natural feeding grounds and drawing them towards almost certain death.

The reason for this is startlingly simple and it’s all down to their hypnotic attraction to bright light. It is only now that the modern phenomenon known as light pollution - once only the concern of astronomers - is now slowly being realised to be the biggest global killer of insects known to man.

A German study back in 2003 concluded that a single street light would kill, on average, 150 insects a night. In direct relation to this Philipp Heck - president of Dark Sky Switzerland - has suggested that the 50,000 or so street lights left on in Zurich would kill over one million insects every night. But their attraction to night luminescence isn't the biggest problem here.

Whilst transfixed in its glare the captivated insects seem unable to feed, drink or procreate, only to end their lives dead from exhaustion. This environmental situation is made far worse by the fact that many of these insects are common place pollinators. With the current decline in bee populations - due in part to the Varroa mite and Colony Collapse Disorder - the need for pollinators has never been so great.

Eradicating the world of night lighting will never be an acceptable solution, but there are steps that can be taken which will reduce its impact. At the very least we can give these nocturnal organisms a fighting chance to recover from the worst effects of man's intensive night lighting. Where appropriate, using timer switches and passive infer-red (PIR) motion sensors on outdoor lighting can at least reduce the amount of time they stay on, reducing both insect death and electricity costs.

Perhaps the most useful way the man in the street can help is to plant flowers that – unlike most plants - are nectar rich during the night. This way, exhausted insects have a chance to recover their precious energy needs by dawn. Such plant species would include Red valerian – Centranthus ruber, the common evening Primrose, old mans beard – Clematis vitalba, summer jasmine – Jasminum officinale, the perennial sweet pea – Lathyrus sylvestris, Verbena bonariensis, white campion – Silene alba, honeysuckle and the night scented stocks.

As a second line of support sanctuaries can be created in our own gardens (more specifically front gardens due to their locality to street lighting) that will encourage all stages of insect life cycles. Many species start their life in an aquatic environment so a wild life pond is a fantastic opportunity to promote the next generations of life. The key to success is to stay with native aquatic plant varieties and not to include fish. For oxygenators use hornwort, water milfoil and water starwort. For marginal plants consider the bog bean, flowering rush, the brooklime, ragged robin, rosebay willow herb, the lesser reed mace, lesser spearwort, marsh marigold, water mint and the yellow flag iris. Native floating-leaved plants can include Potamogeton natans, the common water crowfoot and frogbit.

For over-wintering adult insects having a log pile set aside will give protection to many species require over the coldest months. Don’t forget to periodically add new logs as the old ones rot down.

In urban areas, rather than local councils constantly paying out for the maintenance on acres of grass verges, and roundabouts, we should consider re-introducing pollen rich populations of native wild flowers. Not only will they require less maintenance costs, they will also look far more spectacular.

However, the best solution is through government legislation. One suggestion is that all-night lighting should only be permitted in urban areas, and on major thoroughfares in suburban areas where people are active at night. Elsewhere, a curfew from 23:30 hrs until dawn should be imposed on minor suburban roads. Lighting in rural areas should be kept to a minimum maintaining the distinction between town and country. There is already one glimmer of hope however; as a Government White Paper from 2000 has recognised that light pollution of the night sky is an increasing intrusion into the countryside. (CPRE Night Blight, 2003).

By taking these measures we can at least slow down the decline not only within our native insect species but also with those animals further up the food chain.. However, if we stand by and do nothing then we will all become responsible for paving the way for a future where today’s environmental damage will never be recovered.

This article was inspired by the hard work of Graham Cliff and Colin Henshaw.
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For more information on the damaging effect of light pollution click onto: http://www.lightpollution.org.uk/
http://www.illinoislighting.org/
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Images care of http://chawedrosin.wordpress.com/2008/05/26/light-pollution-tenerife-canary-islands/ and cestomano.com and http://stephens-views.blogspot.co.uk/2012_07_01_archive.html

SORRENTO LEMONS




If you have ever travelled the roads along the Amalfi coast then you have probably noticed the huge number of fields that are devoted to lemon production.

The introduction of the varieties of lemons grown on the Amalfi Coast and the coastline surrounding Sorrento date back to Roman times, and have changed very little over the passing 2 millennia .

In fact, mosaics and paintings that survived in ancient Roman villas in Pompeii and Herculaneum show lemons that are shaped remarkably like those grown in Sorrento today.

However, it wasn't until much later, from the 10th-11th centuries, that the cultivation and production of lemons would start to become an important part of the economy on the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento.

Cultivated under traditional, tall wooden frames, these lemon groves require protection from cold winter winds, rain, hail and - rather surprisingly, the occasional frost.

And when I say tall I mean it, you can be looking at frames of up to 5 even 6 metres tall.

Why? Because the lemon varieties grow in Sorrento can get as tall as 8 metres. They are easy to spot as they are often left to protrude through the netting and have there fruit unharvested.

The tops and sides of the wooded structures were traditionally covered with a kind of rush, twig or bamboo matting - something that you can still see. However, growers are now starting to modernise and converting over to black plastic shading

The inhabitants of the small town of Sorrento are rightly proud of their lemons. In fact, these locals believe that their lemons are the best in the world!

Found in Campania region of southern Italy, sorrento lemons - otherwise known as the Limone di Sorrento, Ovale di Sorrento, Massese or Massalubrense lemon, is a highly regarded lemon variety whose popularity outside of the United States rivals that of the Eureka.

Even as late as the turn of the twentieth century, Sorrento lemons were sold individually and could only be handled by women who had to have trimmed nails and wear cotton gloves to handle them. Why? Well, the rind of the Sorrento lemon is relatively fragile and any damage to it will quickly allow fungal rots to take hold.

Me purchasing private supplies of limoncello
The Sorrento lemon has a lemondrop yellow, highly fragrant, medium-thick peel. Its ovate in shape with tapered ends.

The pulp is translucent yellow in colour and yields a large quantity of semi acidic juice. Although the flesh is very low in seeds and often found to be seedless, the lemon cannot be sold as a seedless variety.

In Italy the Sorrento lemon is the lemon used in the making of the popular and very tasty Italian liqueur, Limoncello. In fact 60% of the lemons cultivated are reserved for Limoncello. It is also the most widely used lemon for fresh consumption in Italy.

In November of 2000 Sorrento lemons earned their own IGP recognition (Protected Geographical Indication), similar to the prestigious AOC designation for cheeses.

For related article click onto:
How to get rid of black mould on a lemon tree
How to Grow Citrus Trees
How to make Limoncello
Sorrento Lemons
Sorrento Lemons
The Secret to Growing Giant Lemons
Where is Sorrento?
Where is Sorrento?
Why are the Leaves on my Lemon Tree Turning Yellow?
Why is there Black Mould on my Lemon Tree?
Why is my Lemon Tree Dropping Leaves?
Why are the Leaves on my Lemon Tree Sticky?

HOW TO GET TO THE NAPLES NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM FROM SORRENTO




If you are checking 'Trip Advisor' or looking at Google maps to see how to get to the Naples National Archaeological Museum then everything will look pretty straight forward.

There is a metro station right next to the museum, so how hard can it be?

Napoli Garibaldi train station
Well it turns out that physically getting yourself to the Naples National Archaeological Museum is a bit of a mission.

Especially when the directions on 'trip adviser' tell you to get off at the wrong train station.

If you are travelling from Sorrento then you take the circumvesuviana train from Sorrento train station that terminates at Napoli.

But don't get off at Napoli station or you will be in for a 15 minute walk back to the station you really want which is Napoli Garibaldi.

Why? Because that is the station that connects to the metro line.

Once you arrive at Napoli Garibaldi you can purchase return tickets to Cavour. This is just one stop on from Naples Garibaldi.

It is on Line 2 and you pick it up from platform 4. make sure you confirm the platform in case it has changed since writing this article.

It is when you get to Cavour that things get tricky as this station is also linked to another metro station called 'Museo'.

Now you will read that you leave the station at Cavour, and the Naples National Archaeological Museum will be 100 yards on the left.

Well you can stop right there because it doesn't.

There is a warren of stairs, travelators and  escalators that need to be overcome before you are anywhere near the correct exit, and guess what - there are no signs to help you!

What you do is this.

You remain inside the metro station and make your way towards 'Ai treni Linea 2' until you find a tobacconist shop sited at the end of a corridor.

Once you have found the tobacconist there will be a 'hidden' corridor leading off to the left that you were unable to see before until you reached the tobacconist.

From this point there will be two sets of travelators leading you into the distance.

Get on them to the end where you will find a sign for 'Museo Nazionale' and an arrow that leads you to set of enclosed stairs that go up about three flights.

This then opens up to what looks like another station entrance, but filled with Roman statues and archaeological affects.

Have a look around if you wish - but these are all copies.

Instead you will need to find the exit and then you turn left and walk 100 meters to a flight of steps that finally lead you to the main entrance of Naples National Archaeological Museum.

Napels Archaeological Museum - finally!
Well done, enjoy your visit although you may find that sections of the museum are closed if not enough staff turned in that day, or that some of the better exhibits are on loan to other museums.

Although there won't be any signage for this either, if you are over 18 don't miss out on the 'Secret Room'.


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