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Category Archives: Garden

8 health-promoting veggies that can easily be regrown over and over again

by: David Gutierrez – Natural News

People who are new to gardening sometimes feel intimidated by the leap of faith required to grow plants from seed. Others find it daunting to save seeds from their plants, but dislike the idea of purchasing new seeds for the same crops year after year.

Fortunately, there are a great number of food plants that can easily be regrown by saving and replanting just a small portion of the plant after harvest.

Like all vegetables, the following eight plants need light, water, air and nutrients (typically in the form of soil). Though many will thrive best outside, they can all be grown indoors, given sufficient light (five to six hours per day, including in winter), and good drainage.

Super herbs

Some of the easiest and most rewarding plants to grow are green onions. Nearly the entire plant is edible – the leaves taste like chives and the bulbs taste like onions – and if you submerge the inedible roots in water they will resprout into a full plant! So you can just grow the same onion again and again, and meanwhile add plenty of vitamin C and the super-antioxidant quercetin to your diet.

Cilantro, also known as coriander, can sprout from even a single leaf submerged in water. Once the plant has formed roots, it should be transplanted. In addition to providing a distinctive flavor to your dishes, cilantro is also a potent antiseptic and antifungal, aids digestion and helps remove toxic metals from the body.

Basil will also sprout into a full plant from just a single leaf, as long as the stem is just under two inches long. Once the new plant has doubled in size, it should be transplanted. Basil has been shown to lower levels of stress hormones, detoxify the liver, improve respiratory function, lower blood sugar and improve circulation. It is rich in iron and a potent anti-inflammatory.

Perhaps the greatest of the herbs is garlic, a superfood among superfoods. Garlic produces edible leaves, but it is most prized for its pungent bulbs. A single one of these bulbs, if placed in water, will sprout into a full plant.

Garlic is a potent immune booster and one of the broadest spectrum antimicrobial agents known. It has been shown to help prevent cancer and even shrink some cancerous tumors.

Perpetually growing veggies

You’ve heard that potatoes can be regrown from their eyes, but these veggies make that process look downright difficult!

You can regrow bok choy – which is an anti-inflammatory, lowers blood pressure and prevents cancer – by placing the roots in water. Transplant after one to two weeks and harvest again when it reaches full size.

Romaine lettuce needs a little more mass to grow back; save half the plant and place in water. It can be transplanted as soon as the leaves start growing back. You can pick and eat lettuce leaves as the plant grows, adding a rich source of vitamin C to your diet.

Carrots are famous for being rich in beta-carotenes that produce vitamin A, but did you know that beta-carotenes also have cancer-fighting properties? Best of all, carrots are incredibly easy to grow: Just save the top part that you are already cutting off and submerge it in water. Watch the roots and leaves grow almost at once!

You can use a similar trick with celery, submerging the base that is typically cut off and discarded. The celery can be replanted as soon as leaves appear in the center of the plant. While it may have a reputation as having limited nutrient content, celery is actually very rich in micronutrients. It has a long history of use as a medicinal plant, and contains plant compounds that have been shown to boost immune function and stop the growth of cancer cells.

Sources for this article include:

BrightSide.me

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

Science.NaturalNews.com

The Health Benefits of Cucumbers

Most people are unaware of the immense health benefits of cucumber and would avoid eating cucumber where possible. Fresh cucumber may taste “bland” to some but its thirst-quenching and cooling properties are refreshing. It acts as an anti-oxidant when taken together with fried and barbequed foods.

Here’s a list of health benefits of cool cucumber:

Acidity:  The alkalinity of the minerals in cucumber juice effectively helps in regulating the body’s blood pH, neutralizing acidity. The juice is also soothing for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.

Blood pressure:  Like celery, this colorless drink can help regulate blood pressure because of its minerals and traces of sodium.

Connective tissues, building:  The excellent source of silica contributes to the proper construction of connective tissues in our body as in the bones, muscles, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.

Cooling:  During dry and hot weather, drink a glass of cucumber + celery juice. It wonderfully helps to normalize body temperature.

Diuretic:  Cucumber juice is diuretic, encouraging waste removal through urination. This also helps in the dissolution of kidney stones.

Fever:  The temperature regulating properties in cucumber juice makes it a suitable drink when you have a fever.

Inflammation:  The Chinese think that cucumbers are too “cooling” and not suitable for people with rheumatism. But we know now that cucumber can help counter uric acids that are causing inflammation in joints. When cucumber is taken it does its cleaning work at the joints, thus stirring up pain as it eliminates the uric acid. This means it also help other inflamed conditions like arthritis, asthma, and gout.

Hair growth:  The silicon and sulfur content in cucumber juice makes it especially helpful in promoting hair growth. Drink it mixed with carrot, lettuce or spinach juice.

Puffy eyes:  Some people wake up in the morning with puffy eyes, probably due to too much water retention in the body (or having cried to sleep). To reduce the puffiness, lie down and put two slices of cucumber on the eyes for a good ten minutes.

Skin conditions:  The high amount of vitamin C and anti-oxidants in cucumber makes it an important ingredient in many beauty creams for treating eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc.

Sunburn:  When there is a sunburn, make cucumber juice and rub it on the affected area for a cooling and healing effect.

Water retention: It supplies the necessary electrolytes and restores hydration of the body cells, thus reducing water retention.

Consumption Tips

Choose cucumbers that are dark green in color and firm to the touch. Avoid those that are yellowish or are wrinkled at either ends. Thinner cucumbers have fewer seeds than those that are thicker.

Store cucumbers in the fridge to retain its freshness. Cut cucumbers should be kept wrapped up or in an air-tight container and kept in the fridge. Consume within a day or two.

Caution

Where possible, buy organic as cucumbers may be waxed or have pesticides.

 

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7 Big Herbs You Can Grow at Home

By Erica Glasener – networx.com

I admit it, I live to eat. I also enjoy cooking and having fresh herbs to use for soups, stews and salads. With this in mind I grow herbs in pots and in the ground. As far as I’m concerned one can never have too much basil, parsley or rosemary. The good news is that many of these large herbs are easy to grow and not only are they tasty but they are pretty in pots whether you grow them on their own or combine them with other herbs and flowers.

For best growth and production most herbs need full sun (4 to 6 hours of direct sun) and excellent drainage but you don’t have to have a big garden to grow them. A balcony or window box will suffice. Depending on what part of the country you live in there are annual, biennial and perennial types.

1. Giant Italian Parsley

Giant Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a biennial in Zones 6 to 9, but often grown as an annual. I prefer the taste and look of this giant flat leaf parsley to that of the more common curly parsley. Plants get large and bushy and produce many leaves. In mild climates it stays evergreen all winter.

2. Rosemary

Another evergreen herb, native to the Mediterranean, is rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). A perennial in Zones 8 to 10, it is great for seasoning meats and vegetables. Its delightful scented leaves make it a welcome addition to flower arrangements too. While often seen in small starter pots, rosemary plants will become bush-size if allowed to flourish.

3. Sage

Winter hardy in Zones 5 to 10, sage (Salvia officinalis) can grow 2 to 3’ tall or taller and 2’ wide. This aromatic herb is popular for seasoning meats, sauces and vegetable dishes.

4. Lemon Balm

Also known for its fragrance is the perennial herb lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) hardy inZones 4 to 9. The lemon scented leaves are popular for making teas or adding to baths for a calming effect. Plants easily grow to 2’ tall.

5. Lavender

If you love lavender scented soaps and sachets, try growing some of your own lavender, including the cold hardy English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia); perennial in Zones 5 to 9 and popular as a companion for roses. Spanish or French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) has large showy purple flowers and is also aromatic. Both of these lavenders are good candidates for containers.

6. Large Leaf Italian Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a popular herb used (both fresh and dried) for Italian cooking including pizzas, salads, sauces and pesto. Large leaf Italian or lettuce leaf basil (Ocimum basilicum var. crispum) has leaves that look lettuce-like and can be up to 3 to 4 inches long on plants that grow up to 2’ tall. This annual can be started from seed indoors (under grow lights) in late winter and transplanted to the garden or a container outdoors, once the fear of frost is passed. For a contrast try growing the large purple sweet basil too.

7. Hyssop

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a perennial herb in Zones 4 to 9. The aromatic leaves are used to season soups, salads, liqueurs and stews. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Like rosemary, this herb will grow as high and wide as a small bush.

About the Author

Erica Glasener is an Atlanta gardener and horticulturist.

3 Steps to Building a Garden by Using Containers

Garden_Containers

by Elizabeth Renter

Whether you live in a city condo with a south window, or a suburban apartment with a deck, you don’t need to have a sprawling backyard or acreage to get in on growing your own food. On the contrary, container gardens can be budget- and space-friendly, while providing a bountiful harvest.

Most of the fruits and vegetables in your grocery store have traveled thousands of miles to reach you. In fact, the average plate full of food on an American table travels 1500 miles on average before being eaten.

In order to survive the journey, they’ve been sprayed and bred to withstand bumps, drops, and extra-long transit times. One of the side effects of this is they taste nothing like they should. The more out of season your fruit or vegetable is for your geographic region, the further it’s had to travel and the more likely it’s faced some sort of treatment to survive the journey.

You can seek out only in-season produce and even buy from stores that support local growers, but nothing quite compares to produce you can grow yourself.

 

Step One: Find the Containers

If you’ll be growing on a patio, you can use pots from your local garden center, or just about anything you can repurpose to hold some soil and crops. Just remember, your container needs holes for drainage, so if it doesn’t come with any, you’ll need a drill.

If you’re hoping to grow indoors, consider window baskets that can hang either outside or inside your bright window. You can turn them to the outside on warmer days and bring them in when the weather is questionable. (Indoor growing requires a very bright window and south-facing windows are best.)

 

Step Two: Choose Your Plants

The plants you choose depend largely on how much light they’ll be able to receive. If your deck or window receives all-day sun, you can go with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and other heat- and sun-loving crops. But if sunshine is limited, stick with lettuce, kale, herbs, radishes, and those who don’t need full-day sunshine.

Start with seeds if you are feeling ambitious, or visit a local grower for starter plants.

 

Step Three: Get Your Soil and Plant Your Garden

Big box stores usually carry organic potting mix. For container gardens, you’ll want a potting mix, not necessarily a garden soil. You can also find potting mixes like this at greenhouses. If you compost, work some of your composted mix into the soil before planting.

All plants are different, so do some research on the water and sunlight needs of your container crops. All gardeners make mistakes. Don’t get discouraged if you run into problems; it’s a learning process.

Source: http://naturalsociety.com/want-garden-land-try-containers

No Garden? Here Are 66 Things You Can Can Grow At Home In Containers

By Rachel Cernansky – planetgreen.discovery.com

Growing your own food is exciting, not only because you get to see things grow from nothing into ready-to-eat fruits and veggies, but you also don’t have to worry about the pesticides they might contain, and you definitely cut down on the miles they—and you—have to travel.

As it turns out, with pretty minimal effort, anyone can be a gardener. My boyfriend and I are essentially first-timers this season and so far have the beginnings of strawberries peeking out, tomatoes are on their way, the basil’s about ready for a big batch of pesto, and once the last frost hits, the peppers, kale, spinach, chard, and mesclun will be on their way, too. All on a tiiiny little terrace.

If you’re up to the challenge—and it really isn’t much of one—growing your own food can be so rewarding. And so much cheaper! Just be sure to choose the right planter or container, learn how to maintain it properly, and go find yourself some seeds! (Or starter plants.)
Like this idea? Be sure to check out these 6 Crazy Concepts for Micro Gardens That Actually Work to get inspiration for designing your own garden in a small space.

Here’s a starter list of all the crazy things even urban gardeners, without space for a garden, can grow at home.

Tree fruits – including apples

1. Apples can be grown in a container; you can also grow them on the balcony or other small space using a technique called espaliering.
2. Kumquats
3. Avocados
4. Blackberries
5. Blueberries (sometimes helpful videos are available online)
6. Pomegranate
7. Cherries
8. Figs
9. Pears

Citrus fruits

Citrus trees in particular are said to be good for beginning gardeners and are easy to grow indoors, so don’t let inexperience or lack of outdoor space stop you from enjoying fresh-picked, hyper-local fruit.
10. Dwarf oranges
11. Grapefruit
12. Tangerines
13. Meyer lemons
14. Limes

Tropical fruits

Tropical fruits can also be surprisingly easy to grow indoors, even in non-tropical climates. Such as…

15. Bananas (look for container gardening tips online)
16. Pineapple
17. Papaya
18. Guavas (several varieties)

The real surprises

19. Hops—yes, as in the “spice” ingredient in beer. Turns out they’re easy to grow!
20. Aloe Vera
21. Strawberries
22. Tea (well, herbal tea)
23. Quinoa!

The non-surprises

24. Tomatoes
25. Summer squash
26. Other squashes, like acorn and pumpkin
27. Hot Peppers
28. Sweet peppers
29. Cucumbers

Melons

30. Small cantaloupe
31. Jenny Lind melon (an heirloom cantaloupe)
32. Golden Midget Watermelon

Herbs

Just about any herb grows well indoors—just be sure that if you’re going to do any container-sharing, you do your research first about which herbs co-habitate well together. (Some will hog water, for example, and leave the others dried out.)

33. Basil
34. Oregano
35. Parsley
36. Rosemary
37. Chives
38. Catnip
39. Thyme
40. Sage
41. Parsley

Leafy Greens

42. Kale
43. Mesclun greens
44. Spinach
45. Swiss chard
46. Lettuces (plenty of options there, from micro-greens to head or loose-leaf)
47. Mustard greens
48. Collard greens
49. Arugula

Root Vegetables

50. Carrots
51. Beets
52. Potatoes

Other healthy-sounding stuff

53. Sprouts
54. More sprouts: mung bean and lentil sprouts
55. Wheatgrass
56. Kohlrabi
57. Turnips
58. Rutabagas
59. Celeriac
60. Parsnips
61. Jerusalem Artichoke
62. Sugar snap peas
63. Rhubarb (not ideal in a container, but it can work)
64. Mushrooms (again, more tips online if you look)
65. Pole Beans
66. Aaaand… asparagus, although some disagree that it does well in a container. Try it if you’re ok with a risk!

Bonus 67: You can grow your own loofah, too, but you’d need a garden rather than a container for that.

 

 

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