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Archive Page 2

22
Jan
12

Planting now

Burnt orange zinnias, brilliantly fluffy celosia and showy zinnia swizzle cherry and ivory heading now for the LPLL garden beds. Thanks Mitre 10.

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21
Jan
12

A quick round-up: Less glyphosate, more mind-dump.

Valerian – Used by many to help with sleep. Flowering prolifically here right now, but there’s not much sleeping going on.

For 9 months I almost had the perfect baby–happy, healthy and slept like a hibernating bear! From six weeks my little darling slept through the night – 11-12 hours. And now the bear has awoken and won’t go back to sleep.

My mind is off on more tangents than a trigonometry convention. And so time to note them down here so I can be held to task later, when I finally get some sleep. I will someday sleep again, right?

In the works right now, I’m a’workin’ on:

  • NZ Food Bill – I’ve been trying to write something on this for the last two months. Every time I try, I get more confused. I’m trying to write something that illuminates rather than adds to the murky misinformation and just plain scaremongering out there now. Something will be up soon, hopefully before the bill gets passed.
  • While we talk about Bills, find out about the Natural Health Products Bill and have your say, so we don’t get into the same mess.
  • Working on posts about blood pressure, water meters, a GE primer, organic farming and seed collecting.
  • Planning a new Friday feature for the blog, which I think is pretty exciting.
  • And I’m working on a new website…actually, two. Details as they happen.
  • And I’m thinking it’s about time for a redesign for this one.
  • I’ve got a couple of seedsaving workshops coming up. Look out for Edible Backyard’s Summer Festival and the Sustainable Home & Garden Show.
  • I’ve kept it simple this year and I’m only growing several types of lettuce, herbs, flowers and beans for seed at the moment.
  • I’m updating the seeds and info that you can buy online. And thank you to the dear people who are buying my seeds on Trade Me. You’re keeping me in raspberry slice and I am eternally grateful.
  • My garden beds need to be rescued from a forest of lemon balm.
  • I’m building a more organised area for raising seeds at home so I can do more seedlings and better germination testing.
  • Zinnias – I have a wee obsession forming. Think my old potato bed is about to get a makeover.

All of this unfolds around an upwardly mobile baby menace and a hungry, hungry husband. So stuff is happening but sometimes the pace is a bit glacial. Stay tuned for more exciting botanical adventures.

18
Jan
12

Two Sides to the Food Crisis

via Food+Tech – Connecting Food and Tech Innovators

Recommended on LovePlantLife.com

While in Global Food News…

A rather depressing/unsettling piece from The Telegraph linking the current political unrest in the Middle East and Africa with food supply issues. They point out that the surge in global food prices is hitting hardest the countries with an accelerating gap between rich and poor. So while industry leaders here claim that the NZ economy will benefit from a rise in these prices, families are suffering. Not a good sign for equality or our children’s nutrition. Read more…

15
Jan
12

Beautiful capsicum mandala

If you love great pictures of plants and landscaping, get Russian blog Landscape74 into your feedreader now.

07
Jan
12

NZ Food Bill Madness

Please repeat after me: the NZ Food Bill does not make gardening illegal and it won’t be rushed in over xmas holidays. (Politicians have long summer holidays – not back until Feb 7)

Nice to have everyone talking about food policy though!

More on this later….

04
Jan
12

12 Medicinal Herbs I Grow and Use Often

Images left to right from top: comfrey leaf; thyme; dill flowers; dried hops flowers; St John’s wort flowers; potted kawakawa; broad-leaved plantain; yarrow flowers; yarrow leaves; lemon balm; feverfew; aloe vera; peppermint. 

There are masses of websites with info on medicinal herbs and quite frankly most of them are rubbish. Written by writers, not by doers they run of a list of ‘facts’, historical details, and an dizzying list of healing properties. What they don’t do is offer actual, real walk-out-into-the-garden-and-use details.

Here are a list of herbs I grow and use the most that don’t need a medical, herbal or botany degree to use or recognise. All have scientific backing. All are super easy. I’m not a herbalist, just a very keen gardener. I believe you should see a herbalist for the proper internal use of herbs (lots of active ingredients in plants can cause all sorts of issues).

Comfrey

I had monumental back and hip problems having a baby. My doctor suggested using comfrey poultices because my tailbone ached for months after. For me, it was a miracle cure. I scrunched up a couple of leaves, put them in a cloth and poured hot water of it and sat with it on the sore bit for 15 minutes a night. I was cured–could walk properly, carry my child and wasn’t constantly in pain. Sore knees, sprains, strains? Go find yourself some comfrey.

Thyme

For sore throats and mouth ulcers I boil the jug and pick a handful of thyme, or use the dried thyme I’ve collected. I let the thyme steep for 30 minutes and add a spoonful of salt. Tastes much better than store bought alternatives and works just as well.

Dill

I collect the seeds of my dill each year and they’ve been a godsend with a windy baby. After the first couple of months I stopped using gripe water (active ingredient is dill), and made herbal teas with crushed dill seeds and gave her tiny sips.

Hops

I have a tin next to my bed of hops, rose petals and lavender. When I’m having trouble getting to sleep I open it up and waft away with the delicious scents.

St John’s wort

St John’s wort is mostly associated with depression, but that’s a whole medical aspect I’m not prepared to get into here. But looking at those brilliant sunshiney flowers will definitely lift your mood. I use St John’s wort for burns and bruises by making a tincture which you can read about here. Warning! Weed alert: grow St John’s wort in a container.

Kawakawa

I battle winter colds with a kawakawa, lemongrass and ginger tea. Kawakawa is a native of New Zealand with a peppery bite. I collect and dry the ingredients and store them in an airtight container. I also chew on the leaves if I’ve got a toothache. Use the kawakawa leaves with lots of holes, the insects are showing you which leaves contain the most medicinal compounds.

Plantain

Insects love to bite me. Luckily I have lots of plantain growing everywhere. I grab a leaf and rub the underside on bites and it takes the itch right out of it.

Yarrow

There tends to be lots of cut fingers in my household–bloody DIYers. Beautiful white yarrow grows as a weed in my garden and wrapping a furry green leaf around the afflicted digit stops the bleeding.

Lemon balm

Brewed into a tea, lemon balm is marvellous for headaches, anxiety or when friends arrive feeling a bit down. It’s also said to be helpful to drink if you have a coldsore. I haven’t had a chance to test that yet.

Feverfew

I used to eat a leaf a day to ward off migraines. They taste pretty awful so I’d roll them into a ball and cover them with honey or mashed potato or peanut butter or just about anything to cover the bitterness. This is a longterm strategy, it will take about a month of continual use before the active compounds start kicking in. I haven’t taken it while pregnant or breastfeeding and suggest you don’t either.

Aloe vera

Sunburn, skin irritations, after-waxing redness? Aloe vera is my summer go-to plant. Grab an aloe vera spear, slice off the spikes, slit in half and rub juicy, refreshing aloe vera innards all over the skin. Instantly cooling, really soothing.

Peppermint

Nausea is the mindkiller-when you’ve got it, it’s very hard to think of anything else. Use peppermint for a zesty herbal tea to ease the quease.

03
Jan
12

Bring the noise: Summer is definitely here

To me, the arrival of summer is a real three stage process. There are three very clear, progressive signs that we are here. The first being the glorious arrival of flowering pohutukawa. The second, the brief sightings of my pasty-white legs. The third and final ‘yeah it’s actually really summer now’ signal–the raucous behaviour of thousands of cicadas wanting to get laid. This male cicada photographed today on my clothes line deafening the neighbourhood.




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