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Garlic: The Stinking Rose
Garlic (Allium sativum) has been used for centuries for both cooking and medicinal purposes. Known as the 'stinking rose' and Russian penicillin, its medicinal purposes have been documented for centuries and have always been a popular remedy for colds, coughs, and sore throats. Garlic was used in World War I and World War II to cure many diseases and because it is a potent antiseptic. Garlic is universally known for its health benefits. It is an excellent source of phytochemicals and contains vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), C, iron, phosphorous, sulphur compounds, and calcium. Medical studies have shown that it lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and hypertension, prevents some cancerous tumours, protects against bacterial and fungal infections, and is good for the blood and heart. It is useful as an expectorant in respiratory ailments, eliminates toxic metals, and supports the immune system. Garlic may prove to be useful for diabetics, as it seems to regulate blood sugar levels.
As a culinary spice, the Indians, Egyptians, and Europeans have appreciated garlic for thousands of years, and most notably the Italians and Chinese who have made extensive use of this much-loved plant. There are records of garlic use dating back 3,000 years and botanists believe that garlic probably originated in central Asia thousands of years ago. In North America, early colonists discovered that the First Nations people were using a native species of garlic to treat a variety of medical problems including snakebite and intestinal worms.
Garlic is a moderately hardy herbaceous (herbaceous means a plant that lacks woody tissue and dies to the ground at the end of the growing season) perennial. It grows from 2-3 feet (0.6-1m) tall and has flat, long, pointed green leaves extending from the base. The young leaves grow 2 feet (0.6 m) tall and have a delicate chive-like flavour. Garlic has erect, hollow, green stalks that support pink or whitish flowering clusters or bulbils that appear in mid-summer. The leaves are organised into segments called cloves and may have anywhere from 4?15 cloves in a bulb. Garlic does best in rich, well-drained, highly organic soils, prefers full sun, although it will grow in partial shade. Avoid over-watering or the bulbs will rot. Garlic has white energy for chromotherapy purposes.
Garlic is available throughout the year but it is easy to grow your own. To plant, separate cloves from the head and plant cloves with the pointed end up. Garlic can be planted in early spring or late fall. It is best to plant cloves or bulbils available from nurseries or garden catalogues as store bought garlic is often sprayed with a sprout and root inhibitor that confuses its natural growth cycle. Fall plantings produce the best yields, as garlic needs a long growing period and a cool period below 10° C (50° F) for two months. If over-wintering in zones 3 or 4, plant cloves at least 3 inches (8 cm) deep and mulch with leaves or straw; otherwise plant bulbs 2 inches (5 cm) deep and 6 inches (15 cm) apart. (In the winter, I plant store-bought garlic in pots and snip the leaves to impart a fresh garlic flavour to salads and soups.) Garlic is generally pest and disease free.
Harvest garlic when the leaves die back and begin to turn brown and collapse. Pull up the mature plants and dry in the sun for a week; then trim or braid the stalks and hang the garlic braids in the shade to dry further. To store, keep in a dry, dark place with good air circulation. Garlic will keep for up to 6 months if stored in temperatures no higher than 0° C (32° F). Leaves, bulbs, and bulbils may all be eaten.
In the garden, garlic helps protect plants from fungus and pests. Scientists at New Castle University have shown that a barrier of garlic oil is an effective slug and snail repellent. Planted near roses, it aids in fighting black spot. Garlic spray is used to discourage many insects and combats various blights found on vegetables and flowers. To make garlic spray, mince garlic and add water. Some people add a few drops of vegetable oil to the spray to make it cling to flowers and foliage. Garlic spray is a non-toxic alternative to using harmful chemicals in the garden.
In the kitchen, garlic can be used fresh, dried, or powdered. Fresh is best. To peel, place the garlic cloves on the work surface and whack with the flat edge of a knife. The garlic will crack out of the skin making it easier to peel. You can also put the garlic in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain, and then peel when cool. Crush with the flat edge of a knife and slice or chop as necessary. Garlic can be used to enhance the flavour of seafood, salad dressings, stews, casseroles, vegetables, soups, meat dishes, pasta, vegetables, and poultry. When roasting meat, make slits in the meat, sliver garlic, and stuff into the slits. Roast the meat as usual. Roasting or baking garlic mellows the taste. To eliminate garlic breath, chew the traditional breath fresheners: parsley, fenugreek, or fennel.
Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer, garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of Peace ? Gardening For The Soil, Gardening For The Soul. She owns the website Gwen's Healing Garden where you will find lots of free information about gardening for the soil and gardening for the soul. To find out more about the book and subscribe to her free Newsletter visit http://www.gwenshealinggarden.ca
Gwen Nyhus Stewart © 2004 ? 2005. All rights reserved.
It?s Gardening Season!
It's gardening season again! Are you ready? Whether you are a seasoned gardener, or are looking to start gardening, you will likely need supplies and plants. If you shop smart, and use the tips below, you can get that garden running with very little money. And you can save a lot of money on your grocery bill as well.
Are There Really Black Roses?
Wind Chimes Go Great With Gardening
What could be more relaxing than gardening on a nice summer morning? Listening to your wind chime while you garden! Wind chimes are not only fun to look at but they add much more to your garden then just visual appeal.
5 Simple Steps To Dividing Your Hardy Water Lilies
If you missed the springtime window of opportunity to divide your hardy water lilies, don't worry, it's not too late. Although springtime is the best time, you've actually got the entire normal growing season to get it done.
Add Value to Your Home - Landscaping
Just recently my friend had his house appraised between $800,000 and $815,000 by two different independent house valuators. He spent two days hard work in the garden placing new grass on mats, bringing in new plants, putting creepers on the wall, and adding a water feature. He sold his house at an auction two weeks later for $853,500. It only took him a few hours of his work and a few thousand dollars to make a lot of profit.
The Truth About Tulips
Roses may be beautiful but Tulips are magnificent. The huge colorful blooms we associate with Holland make stunning bouquets. Did you know that Tulips did NOT originate from Holland? Actually, most species of wild tulips came from central asia and western asia. Tulips that originated in Europe were mainly from the Mediterranean. How much would YOU pay for a tulip bulb? Did you know way back in 1635, a single tulip bulb could fetch the equivalent of $35,000 in present day money. No other flower ever generated such an insane following. But why? Part of it is due to the beauty of the flower and the rarity of the tulip back in those days. It became a status symbol. People wanted to outdo one another with tulips. So the demand for tulips went sky high. The insanity that came next can be compared to the insanity in the stock market prior to stock market crashes. Investors would then buy tulips at ridiculous to sell at even crazier prices. Needless to say, when the inevitable crash came, fortunes were lost. Lessons learnt from that incident can be applied to the stock market today. Same thing happened in the dot com boom and bust. Same thing is going to happen over and over again. Greed leading to blindness. The only remedy is to keep your eyes open and look at the facts. The important thing is how much something is really worth. Not what others say it would be worth in the future. Tulips are valued for their beauty. They are treasured across nations. The Dutch crown princess fled to Canada for refuge during the world war. At the end of the war, Tulips became their gift of friendship. The Dutch gave Canada 1 million tulips in gratitude for the friendship displayed in the war. Such is the value of Tulips. Tulips are considered to be a symbol of friendship. Even today, you can see that magnificent display of Tulips in Canada. Reminding one about friendship in times of need. These days, tulips are no longer as expensive as back then. An entire garden blooming with tulips during spring time is very affordable. All you need are some great tulip bulbs. Tulips bloom after snow. So if you live where there is snow, then plant them in September. Tulips need the cold before then can bloom. If the winters are harsh, then cover the bulbs with straw or leaves. Uncover them in spring. What do you do if you live where there is no snow? Well, if you have a refrigerator, use it. Put the tulip bulbs in a paper bag and refrigerate it for 6 to 8 weeks, but keep them away from the fruit. Then plant the tulips.
Solar Garden Lights
Solar lights are very popular for lighting yards and gardens. They are virtually maintenance free, easy to install, and cost almost nothing to run. Once you have bought solar lights, the only future maintenance costs are for replacement batteries.
June Gardening Tips
These are just a few gardening tips for you to consider here in late June. Many people seem to think that just because all the plants have been put into their places for the summer and your perennials are blooming, or past bloom, there is no more work to be done. The garden is full of multi-colored flowers, so there must be little or nothing to do. Right? No, there is always work that may be done.
Flowers That Beautify Your Home and Garden
To help gardeners choose flowers, various systems for rating hardiness have been developed. A plant is considered hardy in a region if it can grow and thrive there without requiring special protective measures such as insulating with straw mulch.
Gardening for Birds Part 2
We've had some well needed rain this past week, though it makes it a bit difficult to get chores done outside.
Easy Pond and Water Garden Construction
Today's successful water garden usually is designed as an ecosystem that uses a balance between fish, plants and bacteria keeping the water clear. The type of pond I'm talking about is self-contained (not fed by a spring or stream) and between 100-900 sq ft; a backyard water garden that is easy to maintain and adds value to your lifestyle and property. 20 years ago the typical do-it-yourself water garden was a muck-filled cesspool waiting to happen, while the successful koi pond required deep water and unattractive out of the pond filtering equipment. Thanks to a better understanding of the pond ecosystem and some equipment ideas borrowed from the pool equipment industry, anyone with the ability to dig, make things level, and move rocks and dirt around can create a beautiful living water garden if they use proven equipment and methods.
External vs. Submersible Pumps. Which One Should You Use?
For many people, it's never been a question of whether to use a submersible pump vs. an external pump because most people have smaller ponds and are used to just using a submersible pump. They're easy to install, and are pretty reliable - so why even consider an external pump?
Safety On Lawn Tractors
Every gardener riding a lawn tractor should be concerned about safety. But, most homeowners don't take much time thinking on how risky can be driving lawn tractors. It is obvious the indestructible feelings that you feel when driving a large lawn tractor. You are there, sitting on top of a extremely powerful machine which responds to your orders instantly. However, there are many things, not desired, that can happen very quickly, putting you as operator and others in a terrible danger. Statistics out there say that year after year, many people experience lawn tractors accidents due to either an incorrect or unsafely use.
Think of cyclamen and the chances are that Mothers Day immediately comes to mind, which is something of a pity. Now don't misinterpret me, there's nothing wrong with mothers or with having a day for them, but it does seem a little unfortunate when such beautiful, adaptable and useful plants become so commercialised that there's difficulty escaping that association.
Organic Hydroponics - Simplified
These days, it's easy to get lost in the wealth of knowledge available on hydroponics cultivation. The dizzying collection of fertilizers, additives and supplement doesn't necessarily help the situation. From foliage to root, there's something for everyone and for every kind of situation.
Gardening Tips and Tricks for Late Autumn
Preparing for the Winter Months: Gardening in October
How To Prune Your Roses For Stunning Results
Pruning and deadheading are essential to proper rose care. Alas, there are nearly as many opinions about how and when to prune as there are roses in need of pruning.
Colour in the Garden
Colour affects our emotions, moods, physical, and spiritual well-being. It has a significant effect on everything we eat, drink, and touch and influences our physical environment including our home, office, and garden. Colour reflects our personalities. The colours we prefer for home interiors carried out to the garden, provide continuity between our interior and exterior living spaces. Colours are a useful tool in creating different moods in the landscape. In order to effectively create with colour it is important to understand the meaning of the different colours.
The Rich History of Chrysanthemums
Did you know that those lush, colorful blooms called chrysanthemums are rooted in beliefs of human immortality and perfection? Today the "mum" graces gardens, cut flower arrangements and even salads (yes mums taste great), but they were taken much more seriously after T'ao Yuan Ming started it all in China around 500 A.D.
Laying Out Your New Landscape
When planning your new landscape, the first place to start is by driving around your neighborhood and seeing what other people have done with their landscapes. Bring a sketch pad or digital camera to record things you like. Your next stop is your local nursery or garden center. Look at what plants do well in your area. Look at any displays they have setup to get an idea of which plants work well together. And don't be afraid to ask questions.
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