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My Gardening Secrets

Updated on May 5, 2014

My Gardening Secrets

  1. Plant heirloom vegetables. They’re open pollinated, not hybrid, and you can save the seeds of your favorite vegetables for next year. Hybrids revert back to the parent plants, which you may not like.
  2. Plant root vegetables that can be stored into the winter months. Carrots are one of the few vegetables eaten raw that are actually more nutritious for you when eaten soft. In cooking, the walls of each carrot cell is broken down to release more of the carotene and vitamins thus giving you more health benefits. You will get carotene from raw carrots. For two years, in my early twenties I was a lovely shade of orange from eating raw carrots, about one pound a day.
  3. Plant the most nutritious foods (so you get more bang for your buck) – sweet potatoes, broccoli, Kale, daikon radish, parsley.
  4. If you have a small garden, skip the sweet corn. It takes up a lot of minerals from the soil and you only get 4 or 5 ears of corn. It’s not practical. Native Americans did plant corn but also added beans and squash plants and used the corn as a trellis. They also added a fish with each seed planting as fertilizer.
  5. Putting black or clear plastic on your raised beds at least 3 weeks before the last frost warms the soil more quickly. It also kills new young weeds. Store the plastic carefully for reuse.
  6. For your tomatoes sprinkle a small teaspoon of Epsom salts onto the compost going into the hole for your tomatoes. They will love the extra magnesium. (Soaking in an Epsom salts bath will also draw toxins from your body.)
  7. Plant your tomatoes deep. All those little hairs on the main stem will become new roots. I’ve actually cut branches from my favorite tomato plants, rooted them in water and brought them to the flowering stage. Alas, tomato plants need full sun and I could not overwinter them.
  8. Tomatoes love to be transplanted, unlike peas, beans, and cukes.
  9. If you transplant more delicate plants, let the soil around the plants get a little dry so you can pull out the whole seedling without disturbing the delicate roots.
  10. Plant fruit and nut trees. The more mature the tree, the sooner it will yield. (Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.)
  11. Make portable cold frames. They can greatly extend your growing season for most greens.
  12. Fungi draws toxins from the soil and breaks them down into harmless minerals. They can break down petroleum and mercury.
  13. If you can’t dig, check out lasagna gardening. It’s the layering of cardboard, compost, and mulch (straw) to make raised beds. If you do it in the fall it could be ready in the spring.
  14. Herbs can make a great medicinal garden. An herbalist recently told me about a great herbal infusion for women. Mix a heaping table spoon of oat straw, nettles, and raspberry leaves into a gallon mason canning jar, add boiling water and let stand for several hours. Drink throughout the day. (If you’re getting sick, take vitamin C, ester-C, before you go to bed at night. The body heals in sleep and the vitamin C really kicks in.)
  15. Because I keep my house on the cold side, I sprout my seeds in my car. It really heats up during the day and most of my seeds sprout very quickly. I used to use an oven with a pilot light. Just make sure you check them every day.
  16. Save those heirloom seeds!!! The daytime heat in your car is the perfect place to dry your seeds. In light of what Monsanto is trying to do it is important that we preserve the diversity of our true food heritage and independence. This year I was given seeds passed down from the Cherokees (on their long march in a “Trail of Tears” to a reservation).
  17. For people with limited time, space, or physical capacity there are many things that can be grown in containers. Be sure to water them frequently as pots dry out faster.
  18. Garlic should be planted every fall (October or November). Use only organic, unsprayed garlic. For its medicinal properties alone (antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anticlotting) it’s an amazing medicine chest. Whether or not you will get its benefits depends on how you prepare it. Raw garlic contains the ingredients needed to make allicin. Allicin is created when two substances in garlic come together. One is a protein fragment called allin and the other is a heat sensitive-enzyme called alliinase. In a garlic clove these compounds are isolated in separate compartments. They do not combine until you slice them, dice them, press them, or chew them and rupture the barriers between them. Then the alchemy begins. However, if after breaking the clove you immediately heat it you destroy the heat sensitive enzyme that triggers the reaction. As a result, no allicin is created and you just have something delicious. So, follow the 10-15 minute rule, give the garlic a rest and then you can do whatever you want with it and receive all of its medicinal benefits.
  19. For all pesto makers there are healthier and less expensive substitutes for the cheese and pine nuts. For those who are lactose intolerant, Miso is a tasty substitute. Miso (and seaweed, from Maine not Japan) is a good way to clean the body from the residue of any kind of radiation like x-rays. Since pine nuts are way out of my budget I use sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds (and onions) sustained many Russians during their various revolutions.
  20. Ticks. I’m a fanatic about how I protect myself!!!! Since I’m a long time gardener and I love hiking in the woods I go out of my way to keep ticks off of my body. I use The Ultimate Net, a natural tick repellent, on my hair, face, and hands. I spray a deet product on my gardening and hiking clothes whenever I use them. I wear tall boots. My body is so full of freckles, moles, scrapes and scabs that it’s hard to pick out a tiny tick bite. This summer I actually though that two tiny ticks had gotten under an armpit, but I wasn’t sure. I got a prescription from my doctor for two Amoxycillin (antibiotic) pills and took them, just in case. I didn’t even ask for a test. Better to be safe than sorry. Lyme ticks have been around far longer than anyone realizes. Sometimes I think that diseases like Fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, and different forms of arthritis are from tick bites.

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