This section is from the book "The American Garden Vol. XI", by L. H. Bailey. Also available from Amazon: American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants.
Residents in our citrus regions will be interested in the following excerpt from Fruit Trade Journal: Lemons in Sicily are divided into two classes, the true lemon and the bastard lemon. The true lemon is produced by the April and May blooms; the bastard by the irregular blooms of February, March, June and July, which depend upon the rainfall or regular irrigation and the intensity of the heat during the summer and winter seasons. The true lemon requires nine months to reach maturity, from the bloom in May to the mature fruit in January. There are but three harvests of true lemon. The first is the Novemher cut, when the lemon is green in appearance and not fully ripe. Lemons of this cut are most highly prized. They possess remarkable keeping qualities, and are admirably preserved in boxes in warehouses from November until March, and sometimes as late as May, and then shipped. The second cut occurs in December and January. Lemons of the January cut must be shipped three weeks after gathering. At this date the lemon has acquired a yellowish appearance. The third cut occurs in March and April. The fruit is shipped as soon as gathered, spring prices being always high.
The uniformity in size of lemons, as we meet them in the trade, is due to their monthly harvestings from October to March. No sizer is used or even known here.
Bastard lemons present well characterized peculiarities in shape and appearance. The inner skin is fine and adheres tenaciously to the meat. They are hard, rich in acid and seedless. The bastard lemon produced from the bloom of June 1st is still green the following April, and ripens only toward the end of July. It remains on the tree over a year and sells well in summer. Besides the March and June bastards, there are yet others that remain on the tree from twelve to eighteen months. The true lemon can be left on the tree until the end of May or the first week in June, but it interferes with the new crops, drops off from over-maturity, and is liable to be attacked by insects. The bastards, on the contrary, withstand bad weather and parasites, and they mature from June to October. It is estimated that four times more oranges than lemons are lost in the groves and warehouses.