Wednesday, 28 October 2009

It's Easy to Grow Herbs in Pots

Mint leaves.

An Interesting article on mint, one of the most used herbs worldwide. Not need to buy mint ever again if you take someof the tips given here.

Herbs can also be grown indoors in pots or containers. They can also be grown in window boxes or hanging baskets. Growing herbs in pots is not anymore difficult then growing herbs in an outdoor garden. Indoor herb gardens need the same growing requirements that garden herbs need.

All plants need three main things in order to grow successfully; sunlight, soil and water. Herbs are no exception. Sunlight is key to growing any type of plant including herbs whether they are grown indoors or in a garden.

You should place herbs grown in a kitchen or other room in a south or west facing window to get the best kind of sunlight. Different types of herbs have different light requirements but, for the most part, all need a sunny location.

Some home herb growers supplement the light source with "grow lamps" or fluorescent lamps. Herbs also need a well drained, not too rich soil to grow in. Add two parts of sterilized potting soil with one part coarse sand or perlite for herbs that are grown in containers.

You will also need about an inch of gravel at the bottom of each pot to ensure that the plant has good drainage. Herb grown in pots indoors can also be supplemented with one teaspoon of lime per 5-inch pot to ensure that the soil is sweet enough for the herbs.

Herbs grown in pots also need water. Misting the plants and moistening the pebbles will help to keep the herbs within humid conditions. Since they are being grown in containers they do need to have more water then herbs that are grown in a garden but, you should avoid getting the roots of the herbs drenched or soggy.

An advantage to growing herbs in a container is that you have the freedom to move them about as you please. Annual herbs can spend all of their time indoors but, perennial herbs do better if they were to be placed outside during the summer.

Although all herbs should be brought inside before the first frost in order to avoid the loss of foliage. This rule is over looked when it comes to mint, chives, and tarragon. These types of herbs will go into a rest period then form firmer and fresher growth after it is introduced to a light frost.

All herbs can be grown in containers but some herbs do better then others. Mint is an herb that needs to be contained or it will take over the garden. Over all it is fairly easy to maintain an indoor herb garden. It keeps the herbs handy and within reach anytime you need them for cooking.

With these tips listed above, you will be able to care for your herbs and ensure a healthy plant. You should also include periodic light feeding and yearly repotting for optimum health of the herbs. You will also have to remember to replant annuals each year and move perennials outdoors when needed.

Plus, use your herbs as much as you want as well as harvest them occasionally. It is no secret that pruning plants encourages new growth. This rule also applies to herbs. So use them in your recipes, store them and give them away to friends.

Author: Mary Eule Scarborough
Mary E. Eule, BA, MS is a professional writer and researcher who been an avid container herb gardener for over 25 years. She is also the author of the comprehensive, step-by-step guide, "The Down to Earth Guide to Easy Container Herb Gardening," Visit her website: http://ContainerHerbGardening.com to purchase her e-book, download her free herb e-course or to get additional tips and articles on growing herbs in pots .
Occupation: Author, Marketing Expert and Speaker
Mary Eule Scarborough, an unassailable marketing expert and thought leader, helps businesses of all sizes get and keep more profitable customers. A former Fortune 500 marketing executive, she is also the founder of two successful small businesses, an award-winning speaker, certified Guerrilla Marketing coach and the co-author of two new books, "The Procrastinator’s Guide to Marketing” (Entrepreneur Press, November, 2007) and “Mastering Online Marketing" (January, 2008). She has a BA in Journalism/English from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in marketing from The Johns Hopkins University. Log onto her website: www.StrategicMarketingAdvisors.com for free marketing articles, tools, tips and templates…or to learn more about her books and services.



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Sunday, 18 October 2009

A Natural Remedy for Menopause - Herbs and Foods

A Natural Remedy for Menopause - Herbs and Foods.

It's dreaded by every woman beyond child-bearing years. Obviously there's no cure. Menopause is an entirely natural process, like going through puberty when a woman develops breasts and begins her menstruation. Just as puberty reveals that a young woman is able to have children, menopause signifies the end of that part of a woman's life cycle. Menopause is almost like puberty in reverse process.

Menopause's arrival is made known it's by the slowing and eventual ending of menstruation. Other signs are diminishment of breast size and density, and the body's eradication of hormones linked with child bearing. It is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, insomnia, osteoporosis, night sweats, and erratic mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy, is often prescribed by gynecologists, however, the link of these medications to breast cancer is still the subject of debate.

So it is no wonder that today more and more women are choosing a natural remedy to ease the symptoms of menopause. One hundred years ago, women used Lydia Pinkham pills, a combination of vitamins and herbal substances, to make menopause easier. Today, if you reject take hormone replacement options, and after discussing with your physician, you may wish to try a natural remedy for menopause.

In traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda), Shatavari is a particularly useful treatment as a natural menopause remedy for hot flashes. Since it is a natural diuretic, Ayurveda practitioners recommend that women who use it fortify potassium intake to avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking orange juice and eating bananas.

Chinese natural healing uses an herb called Dong Quai to treat women's health issues such as menopause symptom, menstrual cramps, and premenstrual symptoms. Even though its effectiveness has not been confirmed by the FDA, many women find it helpful and recommend it to other menopausal women.

Black Cohosh Root is a particularly popular natural menopause remedy. This herb was used in the original Lydia Pinkham tablets during the turn of the century. It's a general tonic for menopause, relieving hot flashes, irritability, headaches, vaginal dryness and insomnia. It has few, if any, side effects and is tolerated well by most.

Two important cautions about Black Cohosh Root: it should not be confused with Blue Cohosh, a potentially harmful root that has no relation to Black Cohosh. Herbalists recommend that Black Cohosh Root be taken continuously for only six months.

Another favorite natural menopause remedy is Soy Isoflavones. This is a substance derived from soy beans and their by-products tofu and soy milk. Soy acts like a mild natural form of estrogen. It is found particularly useful by women who choose not to use prescription hormone replacement. Herbalists recommend eating soy-containing food rather than taking soy pills or capsules. Soy Isoflavones should not be used if you have a history of breast cancer.

Like Black Cohosh Root, Red Clover is a favorite herb for natural menopause remedy. Red Clover is particularly helpful for easing hot flashes. It may also lower cholesterol levels in post-menopausal women. As a mild form of estrogen, it should not be used by women who have a history or are at risk for breast cancer. Nor should it be combined with blood-thinning medications like Warfarin.

Lastly, gaining ground as natural menopause remedies are alfalfa leaves and seeds. Further research is needed on these plants, but it's been established that alfalfa has an effect on the body similar to estrogen. Those with diabetes or an autoimmune disease such as fibromyalgia or lupus should avoid using alfalfa.

Natural menopause remedies are generally safe and non-toxic if used correctly and with the precautions noted. They are available in many major supermarkets, in natural health and food stores, and of course, on-line.

Was the information in this article helpful to you? For more in depth information on menopause natural remedies, subscribe to this free newsletter, or download this report.


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Thursday, 8 October 2009

Can I Eat Sprouting Garlic?

The Phenomenon of Sprouting Garlic

Many of us like to cook, and eating garlic seems to go hand in hand with healthy living. Unless you buy it in small quantities at the farmer’s market every week, you end up getting several cloves all at once. If you don’t use it for a little while, or if it’s old when you purchase it, then you’ll eventually begin to see green shoots sprouting out of the tops of some of the cloves. So what does sprouting garlic mean?

What to Make of Sprouting Garlic

Sprouts tend to be good for you to eat – alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts and onion sprouts all have plenty of health benefits. But what about garlic? Most people tend to follow the direction of either culture or parenting when it comes to this subject. Namely, either their culture has dictated that some dishes work well with the sprouted garlic, or else you saw your mother picking the garlic sprout out before using the clove, and made your decision that way.

Is Sprouting Garlic Safe to Eat?

Some may have heard that it is unwise or unsafe to eat garlic that has begun sprouting. A bit of investigating around cooking chat rooms will show the casually interested that plenty of people have eaten it and despite the bitterness of the taste, they’ve lived to talk about it.

In my kitchen, if there is only a small amount of the green shoot growing from the garlic clove, I remove it and use the garlic like always. If the sprout is larger, or if there are blemishes in the clove, darkening, squishiness or a funky smell (beyond the normal one), then I dispose of it altogether.

Some cooks say that the sprout in the garlic clove is indigestible, and that you should remove it before using the garlic. This is easy to do. Using a paring knife, you simply cut the clove in half length-wise, and remove the shoot from the center of both sides. Some cultures around the globe use the garlic sprout in dishes, so aside from the bitterness, consider giving it a taste and decide for yourself.

If you are going to boil the garlic, then you can probably leave the sprout in tact. The process of boiling the cloves will remove the bitter taste.

What Else Can I Do With Garlic That Has Sprouted?

It never hurts to try planting the sprouting cloves, in the ground or in a pot so the green tips are just a little below the soil line. After a while, you should end up with new bulbs to use, provided you properly look after them. You can roast the entire head of garlic and make a spread, or peel and mash the cloves, freezing them for later. Or consider using the green garlic sprouts in a recipe, perhaps a stir fry with other vegetables.

Find more excellent tips on eating healthy, the environment and green living at the green blog: Green Eggs and Planet

Author: Matty Byloos
Occupation:
SEO Marketing Project Manager
Matty Byloos attended Santa Clara University where he received a B.A. in English. He later attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he received an MFA in Painting. After teaching city college English classes for over five years, he took a position as a Project Manager and Editor for the Search Engine Marketing company called CKMG in Santa Monica, California. He exhibits his paintings with SandroniRey Gallery in Culver City and Toomey-Tourell Gallery in San Francisco.



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