Saskatoon couple breed lemon trees for Prairie windowsills
Retired engineer and plant physiologist breed small, low light lemon trees
A Saskatoon couple is trying to bring tropical life to your living room.
M.P.M. Nair, a retired engineer, and his wife, Karen Tanino, a plant physiologist at the University of Saskatchewan, have been breeding special lemon trees that thrive indoors in Prairie light.
"It makes sense, that especially in northern regions where we're heating our homes anyway," Tanino said. "Why not utilize the windowsills to then convert that to food material."
It began with a challenge
The challenge is growing a lemon in low light.
Nair says a colleague of his wife's once told him he couldn't do it. "I ended up taking it upon him 16 years later that I fed him lemonade from my tree that I produced in the house."
"I've got one of these reputations, that if somebody says you can't do something, that I will make an attempt to do it if I think it's feasible."
The fruit grows in clusters, almost like a bouquet of lemons. Nair said the young plant can produce as many as 30 fruits a year.
Nair claims it's the first low-light windowsill lemon tree. He and Tanino are currently registering the fruit with the federal government and are also working on a patent.
The hope to have these trees available to the public in a couple of years. Tanino said it's a pleasure to watch them grow inside her home.
"They look so beautiful on the plant, that I almost hate to pick them."