June 29, 2009
A garden must have water available to it everyday. A gardener must be available to water the garden everyday. It is not as simple as it seems.
Don't use a sprinkler, it doesn't reach all the plants and or allow you to really check your plants each day. Don't rely on soaker hoses, they have limited range and dependability. Don't buy a cheap spray gun. I use one now which has multiple water settings, spray, jet etc. I am enjoying it, but all nozzles have a limited lifespan. I since there is sand in my water I have been through many, many nozzles. For years I simply pressed my thumb on an open hose end and bent the hose to stop the flow. Messy, but very enjoyable on a hot day.
Not all plants need the same amount of water. The amount of heat and shade affects water retention in the soil. When you touch the soil and it is warm and dry it is definitely time to water. The amount of plants and the age of the plants also are variables in watering needs.
Most people know not to water when the sun is shining very hot. If you do the drops of water on the tender leaves will magnify the rays and literally burn the plant.
Some plants don't like to have their leaves wet, like tomatoes. Tomatoes, peppers, beans and basil don't like to be cold at night so water them in the morning.
Most vegetables need a lot of water on a hot day to develop properly. Plants like celery, cabbage family, onions, and salad greens benefit from being watered in the evening after a hot day in the sun.
Water the bed until it is all dark and puddles are starting to form. Water before dusk and after dawn to avoid the mosquitoes. Don't work with plants when they are wet especially beans. Try not to get water spray in the vegetable flowers. Start watering furthest away from the house, that way you are home when you are done.
Thank God when it rains.
Neem oil has been used for hundreds of years in controlling plant pests and diseases. Many researches have shown that the spray solution of neem oil helps to control common pests like white flies, aphids, scales, mealy bugs, spider mites, locusts, thrips, and Japanese beetles, etc. Neem oil also works as a fungicide and helps control powdery mildew. Some people have also experienced good results with neem oil spray on black spot. Orchid owners use pure neem oil spray to control pests like mealybugs, spidermites, etc. One of the main ingredients in neem seed oil is Azadirachtin that works as an insect growth regulator, thus preventing the larval stage to molt into an adult. As neem is very bitter in taste, it also works as an antifeedant thus making the leaves sprayed with it very distasteful for the bugs to eat, and the bugs choose to starve themselves than eat the leaves treated with neem. Neem oil is bio-degradable and has proven to be non-toxic to mammals, birds, bees or earthworms. It is biodegradable and breaks down easily and quickly. Neem has also proven to be not harmful to adult beneficial insects, since it primarily affects only plant sap-sucking insects, which feed upon the treated plants. However it is recommended that care should be taken not to spray neem oil solution when honey bees and the larvae of beneficials like ladybugs, etc. are present. Neem oil spray like any other oil spray can also burn leaves if sprayed in sun.
I did not write this, one of my first cut and paste attempts, if these are your words accept my apologies and let me know so I can give you credit. Peace
I swear by this stuff. I have linked the title to a good neem site. Peace
June 26, 2009
From when there is no moon until the moon is full, plant annuals and biennials that produce food above ground. During the week following the full moon, plant perennials, trees and bushes, and biennial root vegetables. Seeds planted in this way have the best chance for strong germination and development. They will grow to their fullest potential joined with the forces of nature.
The following week, when the left side of the moon is lit, until there is no moon at all, no planting is done. Instead, this week is for removing unwanted plants and attacking unwanted insects. Trim plants that have grown too large now to discourage new growth. It is the ideal time to harvest food so it will keep well during long term storage.
It is a relief to surrender to the power of nature by planting and harvesting by these ancestral edicts. Do not underestimate the force that rules the entire the world. From the tides created to pull the world forward through loss and gain, winter and summer, birth and death, is the same water which will bring your seed to life.
I don't need to link this one, I wrote it all by myself.
If you have mites then they are on the birds themselves. I know you have quite a few chickens but the best way to get rid of them is hold the birds down in a tub of warm water. Not to drown the bird of course but the mites all drown quickly. Then i rub a mixture of neem and tea tree oil on their feet. I add olive oil to this mixture and slather it in their boxes, before adding new bedding, and along their sleeping perches. I have only had to do this once after I brought new birds into my flock. The effects are immediate - relief for the birds. I noticed some birds are more prone than others, some not having any mites at all. It could explain the malaise you have been experiencing in your coup, it is hard for a bird to tell you they are "itchy as hell and can't stand it no more" peace for all
June 24, 2009
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is native to Indonesia and southern India, and is widely used as an ingredient in curry dishes and yellow mustard. As research into this powerful spice has increased, it has emerged as one of nature’s most powerful potential healers.
Said Dr. David Frawely, founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico:
“If I had only one single herb to depend upon for all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose the Indian spice Turmeric. There is little it cannot do in the realm of healing and much that no other herb is able to accomplish.
Turmeric has a broad spectrum of actions, mild but certain effects, and is beneficial for long term and daily usage. Though it is a common spice, few people, including herbalists know of its great value and are using it to the extent possible. It is an herb that one should get to know and live with.”
Turmeric’s Beneficial Effects in a Nutshell:
*Strengthens and improves digestion
*Reduces gas and bloating
*Assists in the digestion of protein and with rice and bean dishes
*Improves your body’s ability to digest fats
*Promotes proper metabolism, correcting both excesses and deficiencies
*Maintains and improves intestinal flora
*Improves elimination of wastes and toxins
Supports healthy liver function and detox:
*Turmeric helps increase bile flow making it a liver cleanser that can rejuvenate your liver cells and recharge their *capability to break down toxins
*Helps to prevent alcohol and other toxins from being converted into compounds that may be harmful to your liver
*Supports formation of healthy tissue
Purifies your blood :
*Stimulates formation of new blood tissue
*Anti-inflammatory: Helps to reduce irritation to tissues characterized by pain, redness, swelling and heat
Contains curcuminoids that fight cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s :-
*Curcuminoids are potent phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) that contain powerful antioxidant properties
*Counteract the damaging effects of free radicals in your body
*Relieve arthritis pain and stiffness, anti-inflammatory agent
*Anti-carcinogenic: “Curcumin has been shown to prevent a large of number of cancers in animal studies. Laboratory data indicate that curcumin can inhibit tumor initiation, promotion, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis.”
*Supports treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: “Because Alzheimer’s disease is caused in part by amyloid-induced inflammation, curcumin has been shown to be effective against Alzheimer’s. Clinical trials are in progress at UCLA with curcumin for *Alzheimer’s.”
Curcumin: Turmeric’s Active Anti-Inflammatory “Ingredient”:-
Most notably turmeric is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, which come from curcumin — the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow-orange color, and which is thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal effects. There are an estimated three to five grams of curcumin in 100 grams of turmeric.
Curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, and it can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been implicated in inflammation.
Turmeric’s Cancer-Fighting Properties:-
In India where turmeric is widely used, the prevalence of four common U.S. cancers — colon, breast, prostate and lung — is 10 times lower. In fact, prostate cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, is rare in India and this is attributed, in part, to turmeric.
Numerous studies have looked into this potential cancer-fighting link, with promising results. For instance, curcumin has been found to:
*Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
*Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
*Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
*Enhance liver function
*Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
*Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth
As for the results of research studies, a study in Biochemical Pharmacology found that curcumin can slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.
*Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch,” said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal.
*Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells.”
A second study in Biochemical Pharmacology also found that curcumin inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, a regulatory molecule that signals genes to produce a slew of inflammatory molecules (including TNF, COX-2 and IL-6) that promote cancer cell growth.
Turmeric’s Essential Role for Your Liver:-
Your liver’s primary role is to process and remove toxins carried in your bloodstream. When functioning at its peak, it can filter up to two liters of blood per minute and easily break apart toxic molecules to reduce their toxicity. Your liver is also a crucial part of vitamin, mineral, protein, fat, carbohydrate and hormonal metabolism.
However, poor diet, allergens, pollution and stress can cause your liver to become sluggish, and this can impair its vital functions. This is where turmeric can be a very useful part of your liver support system. Studies have shown that it:
*May increase important detoxification enzymes in your liver
*Induces the formation of a primary liver detoxification enzyme, glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes
Turmeric is also a natural cholagogue, a medicinal agent that promotes the discharge of bile from your system. Increased bile flow is important to help your liver detoxify and to help your body digest fats.
I hope I am linking this right.
June 16, 2009
I have been living in self-imposed isolation for so long I was beginning to go mad. My little farm, my childhood dream, my Shangri-La, my sanctuary had become my prison, my torture, my depravity, Everyday for ten years now, day after day, the chores of farm life never cease. The labour of living is more than a urban person could imagine, everyday I make all the coffee, make all the snacks and meals, wash all the dishes. This time of year, I water my garden, feed my animals, collect my eggs, harvest what we will eat, put what we don't away for winter.
Where we live, we only get one or maybe two chances a year to harvest food plants. If I don't start my tomatoes in March, I won't have any in December. Every vegetable and herb has its own special time table, I become their servant taking care of their needs until they take care of mine. I spend hours picking, preparing and processing food for later. It is great to have all your food stored for the winter, but can you imagine coming up with ways to make meals nutritious and interesting with the same ingredients over and over for months.
Why don't I just go to the grocery store? Because I have had enough of being force fed plastic wrapped chemical laden food that is grown from the sweat of the poor in other countries, but don't get me started I am a little opinionated here. It is just that, enough is enough, well enough of that back to me, lol.
We eat meat. I need it to be healthy. I wish I didn't. We raise our own chickens and turkeys. Last year I did a wonderful job of hatching, brooding and raising over 100 chickens. They were mostly roosters. They crowed for hours in the morning. The last batch of chicks was born outside the pen to our best chicken Little Mama. They were so cute. But in the end they were wild and brave and we couldn't catch them. We really wouldn't have wanted to put them in with all the other birds anyway. Even though they have a very, very, very large free-range pasture, the chaos of having so many males wrecked the sweet nature of the flock. So many birds to kill. All winter we couldn't get our minds around killing all those critters we had cared for since they were eggs. The males ate the eggs the hens laid. We lost some chickens in a freak blizzard, a weasel, and a raccoon. The roosters outside the pen took shelter in my husband's workshop (it only has a roof and 2 sides), pooping on and digging through everything while they sat out the winter. Yes they are all in the freezer now. We even gave away half our flock. Today the yards are full of cute little chicks and all I can think is the killing ahead. I have never killed more than mosquitoes, I even let some spiders live the winter in my house, so when I tell you raising animals for food is hard on my heart you must believe me.
We lost parts off 3 roofs this winter. So things were damaged and all need repair. It got colder than ever before -18 and broke some water pipes. So we have to dig out the pipes for the garden and find the leak. The weird freezing and thawing created some much creosote that it is now dripping down on the outside of my chimney in the house. I don't want to ever use it again, to be it looks like a fire waiting to happen. So now we are saving for a outside furnace before the snow flies. The ice also came in through my kitchen window, no one was hurt, but little shards of glass everywhere, still need a new window and new screen.
Since we bought the place we have been upgrading it. Plumbing is all done and i have a great shower. We have a spa tub we paid 5 grand for sitting waiting 3 years now, until we can find someone to put it in. New addition, kitchen all almost done. Now we are working on reinforcing the floors room by room. Bit by bit we upgrade our electricity. Now we need our septic cleaned that will be $500 because of travel time.
Our water comes from a little box in a stream. Every week we go up the mountain side, literally I kind of crawl down, to clean out the filter so the water keeps running. This is a b##h in the winter. We also feed the fire 3 or 4 times a day in winter, shovel off roofs and paths and clean our own driveway. There is another filter in the basement of the house and usually it gets cleaned out 3 times a day especially when it rains.
All my garden beds need new soil added, but we couldn't afford the insurance for the truck in time. This means the soil level in the raised beds is low and some young plants won't get enough light, and others like tomatoes won't get enough nutrients from the soil. It doesn't mean they won't grow, it just means there will probably be a decrease in production.
I only leave the farm once per month for groceries. We have lunch in town when we go. I can't eat wheat, the only thing I can eat out in this little town is breakfast and fries and my eggs are better. I sell jewellery I make from a little bus in front of our farm by the highway and someone keeps stealing my signs, 3 times now, and we painted them ourselves. It is a small community with less then 300 people in a 50 miles radius, but still I have only had 6 local people come to my store in 3 years. Yes I am complaining but I want to paint the picture here I wanted to throw in the towel.
My husband found another little farm, it was all done he said. It was closer to a city and more people and we were going to move. I stopped planting and weeding, we sold some birds, we didn't mow the grass. We stopped fretting over what had to be done. It was like a holiday. We were peaceful, we had fun. We imagined how our new life would be, how we could start fresh. We would take everything we wanted from here there and leave what we didn't want behind.
I could do there exactly what I did here. I had my lists, what I would take. The plants that were coming, my hydrangea, the tree from my now dead sister, my gingko - but after that there were tears - but what about all these berry bushes I started as seedlings long ago that produce so much good fruit and are so easy to pick and take care of, my 40 year old grapevines and walnut trees, my cherry trees, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus not too mention the 50 or so herbs that I grow here. You can't just uproot an acre of plants. You can't move a waterfall or a stream of glacier water. You can't replace the pleasure of silence and solitude enveloped in nature. This place sustains us, we have nurtured it like an indentured servant and it does the same for us.
It took turning away to make me realize my life was only a pressure cooker because that is how I perceived it. I had everything I wanted now and what had to be done was just a process of living. I have to do something in a day and I would rather it be raising birds and growing food and nurturing my family. My personal sacrifice is also my personal success.
My husband came back from a trip yesterday. He had been at "the new house" early in the morning to take pictures. "You wouldn't believe the mosquitoes", was all he said. I knew there would be no "new house" and I couldn't be happier.
June 15, 2009
And the winner is....................Ruralrose! Congratulations and please e-mail me your address so I can get your giant box of beads in the mail to you ASAP! I'll be sending them via Fed Ex so I need an actual street address and not a P.O. Box.
Okay, so the contest ends on Friday, June 12th, and so far, I've been a little disappointed in the level of interest (no offense to those of you who HAVE been nice enough to cross-post on your blogs). I was just hoping to generate a little more action.
See how that entire cardboard box is OVERFLOWING onto my bed? OVERFLOWING WITH BEADS, people! FREE BEADS!
A closer look at the FREE BEADS!
In this pic you can see lots of cube beads, large delica beads, some Czech glass black cat beads and a whole bag of black hex-cut seed beads.
Pretty cloisonne beads and large pink fiberoptic oval beads. Also, a baggie of clear/pink Czech firepolish ovals in the upper left corner.
Some green size 10 delicas and some Miyuki pink/amber triangle beads.
Getting into the blues and greens here: A strand of blue lace agate graduated rondelles and barrels, some green cube beads, green/clear Czech glass flowers and a green stone star.
Some mini bugle beads and a pink rhodonite donut peeking out in the center of the picture.
In this bag? A strand of genuine emerald oval beads.
And this is just a taste of what is in the box.
So, get out there and post on your blogs and leave a link in the comments here to your posting before midnight on Friday, June 12th, to be entered!
Thank you very much!!! I hope this is linked properly. Peace
June 12, 2009
This is a special flourite creation as each stone was handpicked from hundreds to compliment the others perfectly. It is the unique colours that makes this necklace a real eye catcher. The stones have been faceted by hand and each retains the imperfections which make this gemstone so appealing.
June 11, 2009
by Raymond Francis
More than 90% of homes in the US have a microwave oven. Builders routinely install these ovens in new homes and hardly a restaurant is without one. They are fast, convenient, economical, and ideally suited to the fast pace of modern lifestyles. There is only one problem with microwave ovens—they are extremely hazardous to your health. It is hard to conceive of any reasonable person who would eat microwaved foods if they understood the hazards. Obviously, very few people truly comprehend these hazards. And no one is rushing to educate them! Let's have a look at some of the problems with this technology:
Microwaves, very short waves of electromagnetic energy, are just part of Mother Nature's energy spectrum. This spectrum includes visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light along with radio waves, x-rays, and so forth. Microwaves are generated by the sun along with visible light and the other invisible parts of the spectrum. However, there is a big difference between what the sun generates and what is generated in a microwave oven. This difference is the result of the alternating current used to generate the oven microwaves.
Here is how microwaves cook food: All electromagnetic waves change from positive to negative with each cycle of the wave. Alternating current simply makes these cycles happen faster. Water molecules have a positive and a negative end. Because of this, when exposed to microwave energy, which is changing from positive to negative, the water molecules rotate. This is similar to making a pin rotate on a surface by using a magnet. Microwaves, generated by the alternating current in an oven, cause the water molecules in the food to rotate billions of times per second. This results in an enormous amount of friction among these molecules, thus causing the food to get hot.
It has been generally assumed that microwaved foods are safe to eat. In fact, the only concern of our regulators has been about the leakage of microwaves from the oven. Surprisingly, regulators have never questioned whether the microwaved foods themselves are safe.
In 1991, an early clue that microwaved food is not safe came to public attention in the form of a lawsuit. The family of one Norma Levitt sued for wrongful death. It seems Norma went to the hospital for hip replacement surgery. The operation was a success, but the patient died. Norma died after being given a blood transfusion where the blood had been warmed in a microwave oven. This was our first big clue to the fact that heating things in a microwave does something fundamental and harmful to the chemistry of what is being heated. If microwaving, only long enough to warm the blood to body temperature, could make the blood toxic enough to kill, then what happens when we microwave food for a longer period at higher temperatures?
A lot more goes on in a microwave oven than just making things hot. The enormous amount of energy going into the food molecules is sufficient to break protein molecules apart and cause them to react in ways that they would not otherwise do. As a result, a lot of strange new molecules are created and this is the problem. The molecular structure of the food is changed, thus producing molecules that the body does not recognize. These strange new molecules are unnatural to the body and can be carcinogenic and toxic. This explains why significant biochemical changes have been measured in those eating microwaved food.
Experiments performed in Switzerland by Dr. Hans Hertel along with Dr. Bernard Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that microwaving damaged the nutritional quality of food. They also measured pathological changes in the blood of volunteers who ate the microwaved food. Hertel and Blanc's findings are both profound and shocking. These researchers found a decrease in the hemoglobin content of the blood. This means that the blood will carry less oxygen and that the body's tissues may not be getting all the oxygen they need. White cell count and cholesterol both increased. An increase in white cells indicates stress on the body. White cells go up in response to acute infections, toxins, and cell damage. Lymphocytes decreased. Lymphocytes are a particular kind of white cell that is important to antibody production. None of these happenings are good for you. An immune system in crisis and oxygen starved tissues may not be what you had in mind when you put the food in the oven. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they also found that serum from the blood of the volunteers who ate the microwaved food caused an increase in the luminescence of light-emitting bacteria. It appears that energy from the microwaving was stored in the molecular bonds of the food. This caused changes in the energy pattern of the blood, thus stimulating these bacteria to emit light when exposed to the blood serum. This finding raises the question of whether it is even safe to drink microwaved water. There may be residual energy stored in the atomic bonds of the water atoms. What all this is telling us is that microwaved food contains both molecules and energies that are not normal to the food. Introducing abnormal molecules and energies into the body is not conducive to good health. Let's see what other studies tell us this can mean...
Studies in the Soviet Union
A significant amount of research into the hazards of microwaves was performed in the former Soviet Union. These studies were conducted at the Institute of Radio Technology at Kinsk. They led to the discovery of serious health problems associated with exposure to microwaves and the consumption of microwaved food. As a consequence, the Soviet Union outlawed microwave ovens in 1976 and set very strict limits on microwave exposure. The Soviets issued an international warning on both the environmental and biological health hazards of microwave ovens and other microwave devices. Some of the Soviet findings were published in this country by the Atlantis Rising Educational Center in Portland, Oregon.
The Soviets found that microwaving food caused the production of well-known carcinogens, regardless of the type of food. Meats, dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables all formed known cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, these researchers observed disorders in the digestive systems, malfunctions in the lymphatic systems, and an increase of cancerous cells in the blood of those who ate microwaved foods. They found a statistically high correlation between those who ate microwaved foods and cancer of the stomach and intestines and a gradual breakdown of the function of the digestive system.
The Soviets also found decreases in the nutritional quality of all the foods researched. The nutritional quality of microwaved food decreased by 60 to 90%. These included decreased bioavailability of minerals, B vitamins, vitamins C and E, and lipotropic factors. Even the nutritional value of proteins was decreased.
Hormonal abnormalities were also observed, especially in the production and balancing of male and female hormones. A destabilization in the electrical potential of cell membranes was observed. Maintaining a normal electrical potential in cell membranes is critical to cellular health and to cell-to-cell communication. Continual eating of microwaved food caused permanent brain damage resulting in memory loss, inability to concentrate, emotional upsets, and a decrease in intelligence.
Dr. Lita Lee
Dr. Lita Lee, author of Health Effects of Microwave Radiation—Microwave Ovens, has been a guest on my radio show. She wrote in her book that every microwave oven leaks radiation, and that foods cooked in them develop toxic and carcinogenic by-products. Dr. Lee observed disease patterns among consumers of microwaved foods that included lymphatic disorders, which often lead to the increased probability of certain types of cancers, including increased rates of stomach and intestinal cancers, and higher rates of digestive disorders.
There are three things to remember here. One is that microwaving food creates new chemical compounds that are toxic and even carcinogenic. The second is that the nutritional value of the food is significantly reduced. The third is the silent, but measurable effects in your body when you eat microwaved food. Such foods appear to promote cancer, hormonal imbalances, lymphatic disorders, digestive disorders, blood and immune abnormalities, emotional problems, permanent brain damage and even heart disease.
Given all the above, it is difficult to conceive of anyone who would want to continue to eat microwaved food. To be sure of avoiding all microwaved foods, one has to ask in restaurants if any of the food you are ordering will be heated in a microwave. If so, don't order it. Based on the data I have seen to date, I recommend that you unplug your microwave and never use it again.
Raymond Francis is an M.I.T.-trained scientist, a registered nutrition consultant, author of Never Be Sick Again and Never Be Fat Again, host of the Beyond Health Show, Chairman of the The Project to End Disease and an internationally recognized leader in the field of optimal health maintenance.
Reprinted with permission from:
Beyond Health® News
Subscriptions: Call 800-250-3063
Copyright 2000, Raymond Francis
Growing Ginger Root
Zingiber Officinale (True Ginger)
Learn How To Grow Ginger At HomeWhen I started growing ginger root I expected it to be difficult. It's not.
I've been growing ginger at home for years, and ginger would have to be a serious contender for the title "most neglected plant" in my garden.
(Which is a shame. Ginger is a beautiful and beautifully scented plant. I really should move it. One day...)
I look at my ginger plants exactly once a year, at harvest time. I harvest them, replant them, and then forget about them for another year.
I easily grow a year's supply of ginger root from them. I also have plenty left over to give away, both ginger root planting material and ginger for eating.
You can get started using store bought ginger root. And you can easily grow ginger in pots or tubs, so growing ginger indoors is a possibility in cooler climates.
On this page I tell you everything you need to know about growing ginger, so you can grow your own fresh ginger, too.
Growing Ginger Root Is Not That Hard......provided you get a few basics right. Let's first look at some pictures of ginger plants and the roots:
The picture on the left shows the foliage of ginger plants. On the right you see a rhizome.
To talk about ginger root when talking about the edible part of the ginger plant is actually incorrect. You eat the rhizomes, and as you can see, rhizomes have roots... Two different things...
But I'll keep talking about ginger root anyway, that's what everybody does and you know what I mean.
What ginger plants like and dislike:Ginger loves a sheltered spot, filtered sunlight, warm weather, humidity, and rich, moist soil. (What else did you expect from a tropical plant?)
What ginger can't stand is frost, direct sun, strong winds, and soggy, waterlogged soil.
Planting Ginger RootThe easiest way to get started growing ginger root is to get a few fresh rhizomes of someone who does grow ginger, at the time when the plant re-shoots anyway (early spring). Otherwise just buy some at the shops at that time.
Make sure you select fresh, plump rhizomes.
Look for pieces with well developed "eyes" or growth buds. (The buds look like little horns at the end of a piece or "finger")
Some people recommend to soak the rhizomes in water over night. That's not a bad idea, since shop bought ginger might have been treated with a growth retardant.
I also read the advice to sit rhizomes in water until they sprout roots. That's nonsense. Your ginger plant will be much happier if the roots are in the ground and can breathe right from the start, rather than having to deal with the transplanting shock and the change in conditions. If the ground is moist and warm they will root very easily.
Whether you grow your ginger root in a pot or in the ground, you do need really good soil to start with. It needs to be rich enough to feed your ginger (you can always add some fertiliser, see below), it needs to hold enough moisture so it doesn't dry out, but it needs to be free draining so the ginger roots don't become water logged.
Good compost is of course ideal. I use a mix of one part of my best compost with one part of my sandy garden soil. The compost supplies the nutrition and holds water, and the sand/loam makes sure the mix drains freely.
If your garden has reasonable soil just dig in some compost and that should be good enough. If your soil is too heavy you can make a raised bed or a small hill or ridge to improve drainage.
The best planting time is late winter/early spring (late dry season/early wet season, in the true tropics). Make sure you select a spot where the plants get plenty of light but no direct sun, and where they are protected from wind.
You can cut or break up the ginger rhizomes in little pieces with a couple of growing buds each. Or just plant the whole thing. Plant your ginger root five to ten centimetres deep, with the growing buds facing up.
How much space?Growing ginger doesn't take up much room at all. Every rhizome you plant will first only grow a few leaves, in the one spot. Over time it will become a dense clump and very slowly get bigger, but only if it isn't harvested.
The rhizomes underground also don't seem to mind if they become a bit crowded.
Ginger only grows to about two to three feet in height.
A 14 inch pot easily holds three average rhizomes, a rectangular styrofoam box holds about nine to a dozen. If planting them in the ground plant them about six to eight inches apart. And if you want to plant a whole hectare order 1000 - 1500 kg :-).
How much water?Ginger needs a lot of moisture while actively growing. The soil should never dry out. Don't overwater, though, because the water that drains away will take nutrients with it.
Ginger loves humidity. If you have problems with dry air then regular spraying and misting might help. Dry air can cause problems with spider mites. But that's rather a problem for people who try to grow ginger out of its range and indoors. A sheltered, moist spot in a warm climate will provide enough humidity.
If you are growing ginger in the ground mulch it thickly.
It helps to keep the ground moist, it helps feed the ginger as the mulch breaks down, and it also keeps down weeds.
(Ginger is a slow growing plant and easily overgrown by others.)
Towards the end of summer, as the weather starts cooling down, your ginger will start to die back. Reduce the water, even let the ground dry out. This encourages the ginger to form rhizomes. Once all the leaves have died down your ginger is ready for harvest.
How much and which plant food?If you are growing ginger in good, rich soil it shouldn't need anything extra. I grow mine in tubs. I put in fresh compost mix every year and never add any extra fertiliser.
If you don't have good soil, or if you are growing ginger in some standard bought potting mix, then you have to feed it regularly. You will also have to feed it if you are growing ginger in an area that gets torrential summer rains (many tropical regions do). Such rains leach all the goodness from the soil.
Work in some organic slow release fertiliser at planting time. After that you can use some liquid fertiliser like seaweed extract or fish fertiliser every few weeks.
When to harvest ginger root?If you are growing ginger root in the garden you can start stealing little bits of it once it is about four months old. Just dig carefully at the side of a clump. (This "green ginger" does have a lot less flavour than the mature stuff, though.)
The best time to harvest ginger is any time after the leaves have died down. Usually it takes eight to ten months to get to that point.
You can now dig up the whole plant. The reason that I grow my ginger in tubs is that it makes the harvest so easy. I don't have to dig, I just tip out the whole thing.
Break up the rhizomes, select a few nice ones with good growing buds for replanting (you can replant them straight away), and keep the rest for the kitchen. (I simply peel, chop and freeze the whole lot.)
The rhizomes that have been replanted or left in the ground don't need any water or attention until the weather warms up again. Mine still get watered where they are, and that doesn't seem to hurt them either.
The other way to grow and harvest ginger is to have many clumps growing around your place, and to just dig up what you need, when you need it. The plants grow outwards from the mature rhizomes. Once a clump is big enough you can harvest the mature tubers without damaging new shoots.
By the way, if you are serious about growing ginger at home then resist the urge to harvest it for a year or two. Rather build up a good resource stock first. I started with one little rhizome and dug it up the first time after two years. I replanted every single promising looking bud and still had some to eat. Next year I did the same, and after that I harvested enough to last me a year.
When does ginger flower?When growing ginger as outlined above you won't see any flowers. A clump needs to be about two years old to flower. So if you want to see your ginger flower leave it in the ground, and just dig very carefully at the edges of it to harvest bits here and there.
The flowers of culinary ginger are green and insignificant anyway.
There are however some spectacular flowering gingers. If you are after great flowers get some of those. They are grown exactly like the culinary ginger, just skip the harvest :-).
There's also a pretty variegated ginger, with white and green striped leaves. All the ornamental varieties are evergreen in the tropics (meaning they don't die down like the culinary ginger).
A few final notes for people in cool climates:Don't expect to be harvesting much of your ginger plants. You'll be growing ginger mostly as an ornamental plant. It is a really pretty plant with its glossy strap leaves, and it smells beautifully when you brush against it.
Start your ginger indoors, it will be too cold outside in spring. Don't worry about the dappled sunlight. In your parts of the world the sun isn't as intense. Your ginger should be able to handle it and it needs all the warmth it can get.
You may or may not be able to keep it alive over winter, depending on where you are. Definitely move it inside at the first signs of cold weather. Once the leaves die back keep it reasonably dry and cool or the tubers will rot, and with a bit of luck your ginger may grow back next year.
June 09, 2009
if I wait to be
before I love myself
I will always be
if I wait until
all the flaws, chips,
and cracks disappear
I will be the cup
that stands on the shelf
and is never used
-- Joyce Rupp
I am still trying to figure out how and why to link. I want to link really I do. Anyone out there who can show me how I would appreciate it. Peace for all
June 02, 2009
The Ladybug has something of a strange life cycle and one that surprises many people. From egg to fully grown ladybug, join us on a journey of a lifetime - literally!
The male has an insect penis which is called an aedeagus. A “lock and key” fit means that if he gets it wrong and tries to mate with another species of ladybug, he will not get to third base! Fertilization, as you can see, is internal, which surprises many people. It doesn’t exactly start with a kiss, but with a little Barry White in the background this could almost be classed as romantic! Almost, but not quite!
Harmonia axyridis lays its eggs. Many people believe that the ladybug will lay the same amount of eggs each time it mates. This would be true if conditions were always at a constant: what happens is that when conditions are harsh, the ladybug will lay many eggs that are infertile. Only laying a few eggs that will hatch is not just to maximize the chances of survival of those that are fertile, however. The infertile eggs will actually provide sustenance for the lucky ones who survive through to hatching before they start roaming for live prey. If times are harsh, however, this particular species will gladly feast on the eggs of other ladybugs and different species of insects.
This particular set of eggs belongs to the species Harmonia axyridis which is also known as the Harlequin Ladybug or Asian Lady Beetle. It was first introduced to North America and
Hatching takes place after three to five days, which is pretty quick, even for an insect the size of a ladybug! Six legged larvae about one eighth of an inch emerge and start devouring as many aphids as they can – they have quite a metamorphosis to undergo before they are adult and they need as much food as they can get! If the conditions are right, then the larvae will grow very quickly. The whole process from egg to adult can take as little as twenty four days.
The ladybug larva goes through several stages and is best described as looking something like an insect equivalent of a crocodile, only black and with (occasionally) orange markers. The larvae eat about twenty five aphids (or equivalent!) a day. That’s nothing to what the adult can get through – roughly about fifty. This is why many ladybugs are popular with farmers and gardeners. In fact their name comes from a time in the Middle Ages when people thought that they were sent as a gift from the Virgin Mary to help with controlling pests. It is not, as many people believe, a protogynous hermaphrodite. This is when an animal begins its life as a female. So, if you thought they were so named because the vast majority (or as some believe, all of them!) were female, then put that thought out of your mind!
Many people assume that the ladybug – adult and larva alike – have only one food source, that is the aphid. Again, this is not true. They will eat scale insects (such as the cochineal). They will also make a tasty meal out of any mealybugs they come across (mealybugs are unarmored so make an easy and tasty meal!). They will also eat mites, which to our eyes are pretty much invisible, but to a ladybug will make the equivalent of an in-between meal snack! Does the (some would say poor and unfortunate) aphid have any protection? The only defense it has is gravity! Aphids will simply let themselves fall off the leaf if they can, and plummet to the ground, in order to escape being on the day’s menu.
There isn’t much respect between the species, either! Here, a Harlequin ladybug makes a meal out of one of the smaller native ladybugs in a
When the larva has grown to its full size it will then attach itself to the stem of a plant. It splits along its backside and exposes the pupa underneath. This sounds like something out of one of the “Alien” films and it really doesn’t take long to figure out that they didn’t get those ideas straight out of their imagination! The pupa, though, is wrapped up in this final stage of its metamorphosis and so is safe from the elements – but not from predators. It is at this stage it is at its most vulnerable. If it approached close to its hatching time by a possible predator it will shake itself dementedly to try and warn off the unwelcome visitor! This last stage takes just a few days and then the adult ladybug is ready to emerge.
Like any newly hatched insect, the ladybug must take some time to ‘dry out’. When it emerges it is completely soft and its exoskeleton and elytra (see below) must harden. This is made of chitin, which is a protein much like the one that creates our fingernails. For the first twenty four hours or so the ladybug will have no spots. Then it will go and find its first meal. Recently, four ladybugs and a whole heap of aphids were sent up in to space to try and ascertain how the aphid would try and escape from its enemy without the assistance of gravity. With some time to while away, the astronauts (on a 1999 mission) gave the four bugs names: John, Paul, George and Ringo. The result of the experiment? Ladybugs do very well in space, aphids don’t! Quel surprise!
Adult ladybugs come in a variety of colors and these are no accident. In nature there are colors that warn off potential predators. The main colors that the five thousand (or so) species of ladybugs have are red, black and yellow. Unsurprisingly, these are exactly the colors that tell would be diners that this dinner is not going to taste very pleasant! Ladybugs also have one other trick up their sleeve. They ‘play dead’. They pull their six legs up so they cannot be seen and do a ‘reflex bleed’. This is when they excrete a little amount of their ‘blood’ (which is yellow and smells horrible to predators). Anyone reading this that could once have been classified under the genus “boy” and who had a fascination with insects will recognize this little trick of the ladybug!
The ladybug uses the part of its body which gives it its color for more than just protection from predators. The elytra (if you can’t remember that, then you can call them shards) on its back are actually a modified forewing. Instead of using it to fly, the ladybug uses it to protect its hind wings, which are positioned underneath. Although it can get battered over time, it usually ensures that the ladybug retains the power of flight for the duration of its life (which is usually anything up to nine months). In some species of bugs the elytra fuse with the hind wings – and so we have the thousands of varieties of insects that cannot fly!
This of course, is not the case with the ladybug. It is one of the most popular insects on the planet (certainly among children) and has found itself at the center of many a myth and legend – as well as the occasional nursery rhyme. As the next generation flies off to feed and mate, perhaps it is appropriate to end with the most famous (in the English language at least). We will leave it intact, with its original UK English name – “ladybird”.
“Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one, and that's Little Anne
For she has crept under the warming pan.”