Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Recipes for Safe Weed Control

Happily spring is here  - trees are flowering, flowers and shrubs are blooming and lawns are turning green.  Oh lawns, we love them and we hate them.  They add beauty to the landscape and are a playground for our kids and pets, but to maintain a “picture-perfect” lawn requires a lot of time, money, energy, and usually toxic chemicals.    A conventional lawn is the largest irrigated “crop” in the country.  With an organic lawn you mow less, water less, thatch less and skip high nitrogen-based fertilizers and herbicides.  Organic lawns are clearly the safer alternative, but you have to be able to tolerate a few weeds as your lawn transitions from a chemical free lawn to an organic one.  

What can you do about those dreaded weeds?  First of all, realize that a monoculture, like a lawn, is not usual in nature.  With the more natural approach, there will be some weeds.   Change your perspective about them.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”  Weeds are a messenger of problems in your soil and will grow where nothing else will. Many are an edible and nutritious food.  If you really can’t stand them, try the simple and safe recipes for weed control I’ve listed below using ingredients right from your kitchen.

VINAIGRETTE “DRESSING” FOR DANDELIONS

A well-placed shot of vinegar right on the plant can thwart dandelions or other broad-leaved weeds.  Be careful not to splash it on the turf or any plants you want to keep, because vinegar will kill grassy plants as well. A section of newspaper or cardboard can act as a shield for desirable plants.

Ingredients

Vinegar (as close to 10% acidity as possible); Dishwashing Liquid (optional); Pump Spray Bottle

Directions

Fill the spray bottle with undiluted vinegar (or mix 3 parts vinegar to 1 part dishwashing liquid).  Spray a narrow stream, dousing the weed’s leaves and crown (the area at the base of the plant).   Rinse the sprayer well with water, especially if it has metal parts because vinegar is corrosive.  This is a spot spray only!

ALCOHOL ATTACK

Rubbing alcohol is a simple way to kill a weed.  Mix it with water and it will dehydrate almost any weed.  This also works against spider mites, aphids, and scale, but may require some experimentation to find the right level of effectiveness.  Test spray on one leaf to check for burning.

Ingredients

1-quart water; 1 (or more) tablespoons rubbing alcohol; Pump spray bottle

Directions

Mix water and alcohol in the spray bottle. (Use 1 tablespoon of alcohol for weed seedlings or thin-leaved weeds and 2 tablespoons or more for tougher weeds.)  Spray weed leaves thoroughly but lightly.  (Avoid surrounding plants.)

SORRY, CHARLIE

Creeping Charlie is a low-growing, yellow-flowered perennial weed that can be a real nuisance in lawns.  If you have noticed it in yours, borax can be a very effective weed-killer, particularly in late spring or early summer when weeds are growing most actively.

Ingredients

5 Teaspoons borax, like 20 mule Team Borax, for every 25 square feet of lawn; 1-quart water; Pump spray bottle

Directions

Mix borax in water.  Measure exactly: Too little and it won’t kill the weeds, too much and you could kill the grass too.  Spray to cover a 25-square foot area.  Water and fertilize your turf after the treatment so that it rapidly fills in the space left by the dead weeds.

SPRAY AWAY BROWN PATCH IN LAWNS

Brown or yellow rings that die out in your lawn, caused by rhizoctonia fungi, which comes from poor drainage, too much rain and/or too much nitrogen fertilizer, can be treated with this simple solution.

Ingredients

1 rounded tablespoon baking soda or potassium bicarbonate  (a better choice since it has less salt); 1-tablespoon horticultural oil; 1-gallon water

Directions

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Spray lightly on your lawn.  Avoid overuse or drenching the soil.

DELUXE BAKING SODA SPRAY

For a very effective disease and insect fighter, go no further than your kitchen.  This concoction works best as a preventative, so spray susceptible plants before disease  symptoms start and continue at weekly intervals.

Ingredients

1 ½ tablespoons baking soda; 1-tablespoon canola oil; 1 cup plus 1 gallon water; 1-tablespoon vinegar; Backpack or pump sprayer

Directions

Mix the baking soda, soap and oil with 1 cup of water.  Add the vinegar.  Don’t mix the  vinegar in until last or the mixture may bubble over.  Pour the mixture into the sprayer and  add 1 gallon of water.  Shake or stir to combine the ingredients.  Spray plants, covering the bottoms and tops of the leaves.

PLAIN AND SIMPLE GARLIC JUICE

If you are a garlic lover, you may want to use this simple recipe to fight diseases and insects on your plants.

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves; A blender; Pump Spray Bottle; Molasses (optional)

Directions

Liquefy 3 garlic cloves in a blender that is half-filled with water.  Strain out the garlic, then mix the remaining liquid with enough water to make 1 gallon of  spicy concentrate.  Two tablespoons of molasses will help the mixture adhere to the leaves.

CITRUS KILLER FOR APHIDS

Aphids and other leaf-sucking insects can cause considerable damage if you don’t control them.  This mixture neutralizes aphids and can also act as a deterrent to ants!

Ingredients

1-pint water; Rind from 1 lemon, grated  (or orange or grapefruit rind); Cheesecloth; Pump Spray Bottle

Directions

Bring the water to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the grated lemon rind.  Allow the mixture to steep overnight.  Strain the mixture through cheesecloth, and pour into the spray bottle. Apply the mixture to plant leaves that are under attack.  (This mixture must come in contact with the insects’ bodies to be effective.)

WEEDS IN HOT WATER

Use boiling water to eliminate weeds from sidewalk or driveway cracks.  Be careful not to splash it on to neighboring plants or turf.

Ingredients

Teakettle or pan

Directions

Boil a full kettle of water.  Pour slowly and carefully, dousing both the weeds and the soil immediately surrounding them.

For more recipes, email me at greenwithbetsy.com.

Recipes for organic weed, insect pests and disease controls compiled from Great Garden Formulas, 1998 Rodale Press, Inc.

 

Information compiled from: lawncare.about.com/od/lawncarebasics/a/historyoflawn.htm


 

Fight a Cold Naturally and Win!

Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...

USDA photo. Image Number K3644-12. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exposure to cold germs is inevitable and most people get at least one or two colds per year.  My husband and I recently felt the symptoms of the common cold coming on – scratchy throat, sneezing, slight headache, runny nose – and we stopped it dead in its tracks!   Besides following a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to maintain a strong immune system, the key is to attack it with natural remedies the minute you feel those initial symptoms.  The first thing I do is take Coldcalm, a homeopathic medicine you can buy at CVS.  Follow the directions exactly.  I also take extra Vitamin C (from supplements and Vitamin C rich foods) and Echinacea to boost my immune system.  American Indians chewed Echinacea root for centuries to treat colds and flu.  I drink several cups of hot water with a couple of tablespoons of fresh ginger (or powdered), cinnamon, lemon, and honey, which helps wash the virus right out.  Ginger contains nearly a dozen anti-viral compounds and has several chemicals that are particularly effective against common cold viruses.  The lemon is rich in Vitamin C and the cinnamon and honey add healthy flavor.  Adequate rest is important too.

Sometimes however, your body just succumbs to a cold and the symptoms worsen.  To the above remedies, add the tried and true cure of chicken soup with lots of garlic and onion, which contain several helpful anti-viral compounds including allicin, a potent, broad-spectrum natural antibiotic.  If you don’t mind the taste and smell of garlic, a soup made only with garlic, broth and parsley  is especially effective in lessening the duration of a cold.  Elderberry contains compounds that are active against flu viruses and offers relief from fever and muscle aches.  You can find elderberry syrup in the wellness section at Whole Foods and natural food stores.  Slippery elm is a safe and effective throat soother and cough suppressant.  It has actually been used for over 150 years and the FDA has now declared it to be effective in fighting throat and respiratory symptoms related to colds.  I also take Coldeze, a zinc product sold at CVS, which seems to shorten the length of a cold.

The above remedies are only suggestions that have worked for my family and me.  If you take medication and/or have severe or persistent symptoms, always consult a doctor.

One of my readers sent me some information about Shaklee’s Defend & Resist Product. It contains Echinacea, Elderberry Extract and Elderberry juice concentrate, Zinc and Larch Tree and works best if you start it just when you feel that first tickle and continue for 7 days.  You can chew it, dissolve and sip like a tea, or swallow. Sounds like an effective cold fighter to me!

Some information compiled from The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D.

 

 

THIEVES OIL

Image by secretofthieves.com

On Christmas Eve, my husband came down with a violent, highly contagious stomach bug, which of course ruined his holiday eating.  My daughter succumbed to it the next day and was even sicker. Fearing it would spread to the rest of us, I sprayed Thieves Oil around the house.  “What on earth is Thieves Oil and where did you find that?” my husband asked.  Having grown up with my “weird” remedies, my son piped up in his no nonsense way,  “She didn’t.  It just finds her.”  And I’m glad it did.

Thieves Oil is a powerful blend of germ-killing essential oils – clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary – that help eliminate airborne bacteria and boost the immune system. Research conducted at Weber State University, as well as other documented research, shows that most viruses, fungi, and bacteria cannot live in the presence of many essential oils. When bacteria cultures were sprayed in an enclosed area, Thieves Oil had a 99.96% success rate against airborne bacteria.

The name comes from the legend of four thieves who were captured and charged with robbing dead and dying victims during the bubonic plague, which killed so many people in Europe for about 600 years, peaking around 1300.  In exchange for leniency, the magistrate wanted to know how the thieves escaped from contracting the plague.  They confessed to rubbing themselves with a special concoction of aromatic herbs, including garlic, cloves and rosemary.   Hence, the name Thieves Oil.

There are a variety of Thieves® antiseptic products such as household cleaners, soaps, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, and mouthwash, formulated from the essential oils mentioned in the legend, that help fight against bacteria, fungi and viruses and ward off disease.  With more virulent and antibiotic resistant germs around, consider adding Thieves® products to your natural, wellness medicine cabinet, especially during cold and flu season.

I can’t say for sure whether it was the Thieves Oil or not that kept my son and me from getting the bug, but whatever the reason, it certainly didn’t hurt to spray this sweet smelling, non-toxic antiseptic around the house.

Information compiled http://www.secretofthieves.com.

 


FIGHT THE COMMON COLD NATURALLY, AND WIN!

Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...

Image via Wikipedia

Exposure to cold germs is inevitable and most people get at least one or two colds per year.  My husband and I recently felt the symptoms of the common cold coming on – scratchy throat, sneezing, slight headache, runny nose – and we stopped it dead in its tracks!   Besides following a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to maintain a strong immune system, the key is to attack it with natural remedies the minute you feel those initial symptoms.  The first thing I do is take Coldcalm, a homeopathic medicine you can buy at CVS.  Follow the directions exactly.  I also take extra Vitamin C (from supplements and Vitamin C rich foods) and Echinacea to boost my immune system.  American Indians chewed Echinacea root for centuries to treat colds and flu.  I drink several cups of hot water with a couple of tablespoons of fresh ginger (or powdered), cinnamon, lemon, and honey, which helps wash the virus right out.  Ginger contains nearly a dozen anti-viral compounds and has several chemicals that are particularly effective against common cold viruses.  The lemon is rich in Vitamin C and the cinnamon and honey add healthy flavor.  Rest is important too.

Sometimes however, your body just succumbs to a cold and the symptoms worsen.  To the above remedies, add the tried and true cure of chicken soup with lots of garlic and onion, which contain several helpful anti-viral compounds including allicin, a potent, broad-spectrum natural antibiotic.  If you don’t mind the taste and smell of garlic, a soup made only with garlic, broth and parsley  is especially effective in lessening the duration of a cold.  Elderberry contains compounds that are active against flu viruses and offers relief from fever and muscle aches.  You can find elderberry syrup in the wellness section at Whole Foods and natural food stores.  Slippery elm is a safe and effective throat soother and cough suppressant.  It has actually been used for over 150 years and the FDA has now declared it to be effective in fighting throat and respiratory symptoms related to colds.  I also take Coldeze, a zinc product sold at CVS, which seems to shorten the length of a cold.

The above remedies are only suggestions that have worked for my family and me.  If you take medication and/or have severe or persistent symptoms, always consult a doctor.

Some information compiled from The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D.

 


GARLIC – SO MUCH MORE THAN FLAVORING!

I can’t imagine preparing a meal without garlic!  But garlic is so much more than a flavor enhancement!  Just as some foods can harm our health, others have the ability to heal and garlic is one of those foods.  

Image by Kenny Point VeggieGardeningTips Flickr.com

Garlic’s healthful and healing properties are numerous and go back thousands of years.  It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic properties, which make it a powerful remedy for colds and flu.  It also eases ear infections and may relieve asthma symptoms.  It is an effective, broad-spectrum antibiotic, which can heal infections.   In World War II, garlic earned the nickname “Russian Penicillin” because it was used when the Russian soldiers ran out of penicillin for their wounds. 

Research has shown that garlic can boost the immune system and help prevent some of the conditions associated with aging.   It has also been shown to lower cholesterol and thin the blood, which may prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.  And there is increasing evidence that garlic may reduce the risk for and treat certain cancers.

It doesn’t matter how you consume garlic to benefit from its healthful properties – raw, cooked or as a supplement (good for massive doses or if you don’t like the odor).  When my children were sick with a cold or flu, I cut slivers and put them between apple slices for them to eat.   They didn’t like it, but it definitely lessened the severity of their sickness.  Make sure you cut garlic finely to release the protective compound allicin and cook only lightly so that beneficial compounds aren’t destroyed.

Garlic is abundant this time of year – I’ve found some wonderful, pungent new varieties at the Farmer’s market.  September is the time of year to plant garlic for harvesting next summer.  It’s easy to do – simply put several cloves in your garden and wait.  You’ll be nicely surprised!

Add lots of garlic to your diet for a healthier you!

Information compiled from The Doctor’s Book of Food Remedies and The Healing Home by Gina Lazenby.

Anti-infection Garlic Soup

This soup is a great preventative if you feel a cold or flu coming on, but also works if you already have an infection.  It tastes good too!

2 Tbs olive oil

1 head garlic, peeled, separated and chopped

1 box organic chicken broth, or enough to make a quart

1 medium bunch parsley, coarsely chopped

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened.  Add the chicken broth and parsley, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Drink a cup of soup every hour.

Recipe from Melissa Wood, ND, a naturopathic doctor in San Antonio, Texas

 

CONTROLLING MOSQUITOES NATURALLY

Along with the cookouts, volleyball games, hiking, camping and other glories of summer come mosquitoes and ticks.  But who wants to use pesticides or products containing DEET, which has been associated with a variety of health problems ranging from dizziness to seizures with children being particularly susceptible? There are several safer and effective alternatives.

A garlic spray in your yard provides excellent control.  Garlic has a natural sulfur which repels insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and even black flies, yet does not harm humans, pets, bees, butterflies or plants. Since mosquitoes are soft-bodied insects the garlic juice can be very toxic to them in increased concentrations. Mosquitoes are also extremely odor sensitive and the garlic can repel them for up to a month or more, as long as they can still detect an odor. Farmers have been using garlic for generations. Organic based landscaping or pest control companies often offer a garlic spray or you can buy a product called Garlic Barrier and do it yourself.

For small areas like patios or decks, certain aromatic plants keep mosquitoes away.  Marigolds planted with pungent herbs like catnip (nearly 10 times more effective than DEET) and rosemary are effective and make attractive containers.  I planted the new “mosquito plant”, which grows fast and seems to work.  This scented geranium was specifically designed to keep pests away.

For personal repellents sprayed directly onto your skin, soybean-oil-based products have been shown to provide protection for a period of time similar to a product with a low concentration of DEET (4.75%).  Other ingredients usually include pure plant extracts like citronella, cedarwood, eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass and peppermint, which are natural, effective and have a nice aroma.  Buzz Away and Bite Blocker are good brands that are potent and long lasting.

Two cultural practices, don’t keep standing or stagnate water around where mosquitoes can breed and consider putting up a bat house.  Mosquitoes are the primary food source for bats and some species eat up to 1000 of them an hour!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 316 other followers