Tuesday, March 16, 2010

super comfrey

Healing with Comfrey

Generally comfrey should not be taken internally. Pregnant women should not use Comfrey at all. If the skin is broken it should not be used.
Comfrey is which is known as knitbone or boneset is used for healing bruises, sprains and broken bones.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

bountiful peanuts - glorious groundnuts

Botanical Name of Peanut

Arachis hypogaea is the botanical name of the humble peanut or groundnut.

Growing Peanut

Peanuts are planted in-situ. Plant the groundnuts in the heat of the summer. Look for good seed that is unblemished. Water well when planting and wait till the peanuts appear, then water well again. Do not over water as it can make the seeds mould. It should about 10 days or so for the peanuts to appear.
Use good compost for your peanut crop to be really successful. They thrive on a diet of rich compost. You can also mix a bit of liquid manure into the water when they germinate to give them a boost.
Make sure that you ridge the plants as they grow. This will allow for maximum production. Peanuts are a legume so are a great soil improver.
Allow them to lie in the sun for two weeks after harvesting. This process is called curing. After the two weeks of curing you can remove the peanuts from their shells and store them in containers in a cool dry place. Groundnuts can also be stored in the shells. Peanuts are a legume and can be used as a green manure crop.
The shells and the plant residues make excellent mulch and compost.
Not an inch of your peanut crop will go to waste.

Peanut Companions and Antagonists

Maize, Melon, Sunflower and Walnut all do well around peanuts.

Peanut nutritional value

Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin E are all found in peanuts. They are rich in protein and natural sugar. Peanuts reduce the risk of heart disease and keep cancer at bay. They are a powerful antioxidant.

Cooking with Peanut

Peanuts can be ground (hence the name groundnut) into a butter, which is rich and nutritious. Peanuts can be eaten raw or roasted with a little salt to flavor them. Chilli can be added to give an extra zing of flavor when roasting.
Eat peanuts as a snack in between meals. When mixed with sunflower seeds and raisins, they make an excellent “weaning from smoking” snack.
Cooking with peanut butter is delicious, add a tablespoon or two to stews. Celery sticks with peanut butter is a yummy snack – this sounds odd, but is so addictive and incredibly refreshing. Actually just about anything with peanut butter is delicious.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Yarrow in the Garden

Botanical Name of Yarrow is Achillea millefolium

Growing Yarrow

Yarrow’s feathery leaves can be propagated by root division. When establishing the plants, give them lots of water, ensuring you don’t drown them of course. This will help the yarrow to thrive. They are not fussy plants and will happily produce new leaves. Keep them well watered but not saturated. The plant can be propagated by seed. Toward the end of summer, the flowers appear. These will be pink or white. Butterflies are attracted to the flowers. Parasitic wasps, ladybird and hoverflies are drawn to yarrow. These insects all have an important function in natural pest control. The plant itself is an insect repellant, keeping plant pests at bay.
Yarrow is an important compost plant. It contains many minerals and contributes to soil health as it is deep rooted. The plant can be used to prevent soil erosion. Add a few yarrow leaves to the compost heap as it is one of the plants that activate compost.

Yarrow Companions and Antagonists

Yarrow is a really good companion to Cucumber, Maize, Raspberry.
It grows well around most plants. Yarrow is an insect repellant as well as a beneficial insect attractant.

Herbal value

Flu and fever is treated using yarrow tea. It can assist to dull the pain of toothache. Yarrow is a styptic, which means it helps to stop bleeding. For this reason is can be used on cuts and wounds. It helps to relieve inflammation and bruising. Yarrow is great for relieving pain for women during the menstrual cycle. Steaming with Yarrow helps with relief from hay fever. Yarrow has a myriad of uses.

Cooking with Yarrow

Young Yarrow leaves have a bittersweet taste. The leaves can be added to soups and stews or used as “spinach”. The leaves can be dried for later use. Generally it is used as a tea for treating various ailments.

Yarrow tea

Boiling water
2 – 3 thumb length yarrow leaves

Allow the water to stand for a few minutes after it has boiled. Break up the yarrow and place it in a cup. Pour the boiling water over the yarrow and cover the cup with a saucer. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Add honey to taste. Enjoy a cupful of detoxing tea.
Warning: drink this tea occasionally!