Any enthusiastic gardener will tell you that gardening is food for the soul. Gardening stirs your imagination to be creative. It provides some fun along with physical exercise, fresh air, and sunlight. In addition, there is the delight of seeing the seedlings sprout, flowers bloom, picking fresh fruit, harvesting vegetables and having fresh herbs at your disposal.
An added bonus is seeing a variety of butterflies, birds, and frogs you attract to your garden. These are just some of the joys of gardening and creating a well-balanced ecosystem around you. So today we will discuss the importance of keeping your garden pest free and how to attract butterflies as well as providing a well-balanced eco-system for them.
“Every garden is an individual expression of creativity. So! You think you‘re not creative. Well, plant a garden and you may find out that you are far more creative than you thought.”
GARLIC (Allium sativum))
Everybody can grow garlic at home! Besides the wonderful taste it adds to your food, its benefits go far beyond its culinary uses. Many years of research have proven the exceptional power of garlic as a natural preventive for numerous diseases and illnesses including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, bacterial and fungal infections, as well as the common cold. Raw garlic is also used to fight parasites and viral infections. It can be eaten in many forms i.e. fresh, cooked, powdered, and dehydrated and in tablet form, as a supplement.
LEMON BALM/MELISSA (Melissa Officinalis)
In addition to antioxidants, lemon balm contains volatile essential oils, including citronella and citral A and B. In the Middles Ages, lemon balm was used to soothe tension, to dress wounds, and as a cure for a toothache, skin eruptions, dog bites and illness during pregnancy. As a medicinal plant, lemon balm has traditionally been used for bronchial inflammation, earache, fever, flatulence, headaches, high blood pressure, influenza, mood disorders, palpitations, toothache, and vomiting. A tea made from lemon balm leaves is said to soothe menstrual cramps and help relieve PMS.
• To make lemon balm tea, add a handful of lemon balm leaves to 1 cup of boiling water and steep for 5 minutes.
• For a soothing bath, put some fresh (or dried) crushed lemon balm leaves into a muslin bag, and allow the warm water to run through it as you fill the tub. Chop it finely and use it in your salads.
Caution: it is said that lemon balm can inhibit thyroid function. If you are hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) or are on thyroid medication check with a doctor before using large amounts internally. If you’re pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have any other questions or concerns, do further research and talk with a qualified health professional before use.
MINT (Mentha longifolia)
Mint, a favourite tea for many, is also a great addition to your fresh salads. You can use fresh or dried leaves to make tea. Due to its antibacterial properties and menthol content, mint is excellent for indigestion and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). It relieves some types of headaches by rubbing it on your forehead or nose and is generally relaxing for body and mind. Mint is easy to grow and does very well near garden faucets where it gets a lot of water.
OREGANO (Origanum vulgare)
There are many reasons why oregano should be used often. Soups, salads, sauces, meat dishes and eggs dishes are all enhanced with a few teaspoons of this powerful herb. Oregano can be used fresh, dried or as an oil. Vitamins A, C, E and K, fiber, calcium, niacin, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, and the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin are supplied by oregano. It's incredible antioxidant power and proven disease prevention are well documented. This fragrant herb can help the body detox, reduce fever, relieve diarrhoea, prevent colds, flu, indigestion and assist in the regulation of menstrual cycles. The oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
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I am offering a safe and natural alternative to conventional treatment, but these recipes, ideas and treatment should not be misconstrued or substituted for medical advice. Please always proceed with caution and test it first on a small area, or in small quantities, if you are uncertain. Should you suspect that you or your animal have a medical problem, I urge you to seek professional advice.