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BFF’s

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Empowerment
BFF’s

Digging Deep for May
By Cynthia Brian

B.F.F.’s (Best Friends Forever)

“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends
you choose for you will become like them.”
W. Clement Stone

lavendar-roses-companions

People have acquaintances, friends, and best friends. We may like or dislike our acquaintances, get along with our friends, and really love our best friends. In fact, when it comes to our best friends, we sometimes feel that we couldn’t live without them. Most of the time, we discover that we are different than our B.F.F.’s, yet complementary. In the world of nature, plants have favorite companions as well as ones that they wish they’d never encounter. By planting our gardens in potagers that include herbs, fruits, and flowers instead of rows, we gain destructive insect –repellent properties, beneficial insect attractors with benefits of higher yields and healthier plants.
calendula & fennel
As we start digging in our enriched earth this spring to plant our veggies, it is useful to know what specimens are compatible and which ones repel one another. Like humans, plants encounter plants that they don’t like and when planted near one another, neither thrives. The idea behind companion planting is to mix flowers and herbs in a patch together. Herbs have high concentrations of aromatic oils that protect vulnerable plants from insect attacks and many gardeners find that growing certain plants together actually increases flavor in fruits or vegetables and fragrance in blossoms.
beans
Some of the helpful herbs are rue, tansy, lavender, chamomile, Artemisia, savory, dill, rosemary, catnip, sage, thyme, and pennyroyal.  Supportive flowers are marigold, nasturtium, and nicotiana. Garlic and chives are happy bedfellows with roses and several other plants, giving off an odor that deters aphids and blackspot. A brew of garlic tea sprayed on plants keeps pests at bay. Chamomile has often been called “the plant’s physician” because it has a reputation for improving the health of surrounding flowers and herbs. Pennyroyal keeps ants away and marigolds deter beetles, white flies, and maybe even rabbits. Nicotiana works on a trap principle where it will attract a predator, which are then caught in the sticky stems and leaves. Nasturtium is repulsive to many bugs, beetles, moths and improves flavors while providing a cascade of edible flowers with long blooming times.
chamomile 2
It is fascinating that while one plant may be beneficial to many plants, it could be harmful to some. Experiment companion planting with some of these popular home-grown vegetables and see if you experience a difference in quality, quantity, flavor, and pest resistance.
nasturium orange-yellow
BEANS: Friends of beans include eggplant, beets, potatoes, peas, radish, chard, cucumber, everything in the cabbage family, and marigolds. Enemies of beans are garlic, onions, and chives as they stunt growth.

KALE: Kale is currently the most hailed of the cabbage family. It’s B.F.F.’s include beets, celery, spinach, lettuce, and chard. Plant garlic nearby for improved growth and flavor.

CARROTS: Tomatoes, peppers, peas, radishes, and beans all are happy around carrots. Chives will increase flavor, rosemary and sage will keep the carrot flies from destroying the crop but keep the dill in a galaxy far, far away or you’ll have stunted growth.

CORN: Don’t plant corn next to tomatoes as the same worm munches on both. Instead, corn enjoys companionship from parsley, melon, pumpkin, and beans. Plant marigolds to fend off Japanese beetles.

EGGPLANT: One of my most favorite vegetables to plant, it thrives with peppers and beans. Again, marigolds are friends with eggplant.

LETTUCE: So easy to grow in a home garden, throw some seeds nearby strawberries, radishes and beets. Boost flavor and aphid control with garlic and chives.

POTATOES: Allies are my favorite eggplant, corn, cabbages, and beans. Keep tomatoes and potatoes away from one another or you’ll attract blight. For protection from beetles, plant marigolds.

PUMPKINS: Every kid wants to grow his/her own Halloween Jack O’Lantern. Squash and melons are good buddies with pumpkins. Nasturtium and oregano provide the pest protection.

STRAWBERRIES: Thyme serves as border patrol. Lettuce, bean, onion, and spinach all like to party with strawberries but don’t invite cabbage.

TOMATOES: We already know that potatoes and corn are not to be planted with tomatoes, but you need to know that dill and kohlrabi will stunt growth. Friends include basil, chives, mint, celery, cucumber, onion, parsley, and pepper-all the delicious ingredients of a summer salad!

When you go out into your garden this spring, think about building a community of symbiotic friends. Don’t forget the Iroquois threesome called “The Three Sisters”–corn, squash, and beans, inseparable sisters that grow and thrive together.
It’s great to have a B. F. F. , especially in the garden.

Cynthia-bouganinvilla

“Good friends are like stars….
You don’t always see them,
but you know they are always there.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

CLEAR debris from your home and garden perimeter. Dried limbs, leaves, and weeds need to be removed. Fire season is upon us.
WATER deeply once or twice a week rather in short spurts. You’ll encourage stronger roots and save on your water bill too.
DOWNLOAD a new FREE App: “GrowIt!”. The app combines user-uploaded photos and GPS utilization with the ability to rate plants to help people find specific plants and inspiration for your locale available at both the Apple App and Google Play stores.
CUT twining stems of clematis for arrangements that will be colorful and full for three weeks or longer.

Happy Gardening, Happy Growing.
Read more HERE

©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian – Harvest a Medicine Chest

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Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian – Harvest a Medicine Chest

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“Flowers always make people better. Flowers are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.” Luther Burbank

Whether you have a sore throat or a sore hip, your prescription for optimum health may be as close as your garden.  Since the dawn of humanity, even before recorded history, herbs and plants have been used for medicinal purposes. Ancient cultures including the Chinese and Egyptian documented on papyrus the benefits as early as 3000 B.C. One fourth of pharmaceutical drugs we find on the market today are derived from botanicals. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 80% of the earth’s population depend on herbal remedies as primary health care. 

The falling autumn leaves signal the beginning of the influenza season as most of us rush to our local internist or drug store for the updated flu shot. I have already been vaccinated and now am preparing my first aid kit with natural remedies from my garden pharmacy.  Many fruits, vegetables, herbs, seeds, and leaves that are growing in your garden can be harvested not only to be added to your dinner menu, but, to boost your immune system, clean wounds, calm bites, reduce fevers, and arrest pain. Always consult your physician before beginning any new regimen and of course, if you need medical attention, seek a physician.

Here is a short list of my favorite common specimens and the ailments they relieve. 

Mint: Spearmint, peppermint, hyssop, or any mint except pennyroyal (poisonous), is not only great for making your breath smell fresher, but is useful for soothing headaches, reducing fatigue, calming stomach aches, fighting nausea, and keeping colds and flu at bay.  For indigestion or diarrhea, chew on peppermint leaves. Nosh on mint raw, add it to salads, garnish dishes, or make mint tea. Mint is one of the wonder drugs.

Catnip: Besides making cats euphoric, catnip relieves cold symptoms, toothaches, flatulence, and breaks fevers. It is a member of the mint family, can be eaten raw or made into teas. Pregnant women should not consume catnip as it may induce contractions.

Rosemary: This Mediterranean herb is part of the mint family also. It’s called the “remembrance” plant because it improves circulation to the brain. The oil in the flowers act as antibacterial and anti-fungal agents. Add rosemary to meats on the barbecue grill.

Sage: The name says it all. Salvia, derived from the Latin, salvere, meaning to be saved. Sage is a lifesaver as it aids in multiple ways. Sage reduces diarrhea, relieves cramps, kills bacteria, minimizes inflammation, reduces swelling, and fights colds. Make a poultice or salve for cuts, burns, and bruises.

Red Clover: It may be growing in your lawn or you may use it as a cover crop.  The pink flowers can be made into a broth to ease coughs and colds.

Allium: Increase your intake of onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives not only for the aromatic culinary delights, but also if you suffer from arthritis, rheumatism, or joint pain. Researchers have found dialyl disulphide, a substance found in alliums inhibit enzymes that cause damage to joint protective cartilage.  Raw or cooked the delicious allium appear to boost your immune system. When we were kids, we even put a clove of garlic in our ears with a bit of olive oil to battle earaches. Garlic is reputed to keep vampires away, too.

Parsley: After a garlic infused meal, a bite of fresh parsley sprigs freshen your breath. Parsley also inhibits the secretion of histamines, which cause allergies and hay fever. A tea of parsley seeds or leaves is also helpful as a diuretic or laxative.

Dandelion: We all have dandelions sprouting somewhere in our gardens. Instead of cursing these tough weeds, embrace them as a nutritious addition to your diet to enhance the elimination of toxins. Dandelions may be used as a diuretic to help with PMS symptoms. Chop the leaves and add them to salads ramping up the intake of vitamin C and beta carotene.

Elderberry: Hippocrates named his elderberry tree a “medicine chest” in 400 BC. The blue/black berries made into jams, syrups, and wines are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and iron.

Grape: Grind ripe grapes into a juice and drink without adding any other liquid to relieve migraines.

Winter savory: You use it to flavor stews, meat, and soups, but did you know that the leaves are effective antiseptics and also an ointment for insect bites and stings?

Lady fern: Roll some leaves in the palm of your hand and mash them to sooth minor burns, stings, and cuts.

Lavender: What is a garden without the soothing smell of lavender? Besides being a bee magnet, rubbing the flowers or leaves between your fingers then inhaling the fragrance is a sure stress reliever and tension liberator. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, lavender soothes the soul. Make a tea of lavender to induce sleep or use the petals in the bath as aromatherapy to bring on the calm.

lavendar[1]

Lavender

Sunflower: It’s not just the seeds that are nutritious, but a tea made from the leaves works as an astringent, expectorant, and fever reducer. Use sunflower tea to treat colds and coughs. 

Aloe Vera: This is a plant that everyone must have around the house. For burns and minor abrasions, pop open a leaf and rub the jelly on the wound to keep it from getting infected. Aloe is a great mild laxative when added to water and alleviates heartburn and sunburn.

Cabbage: Crush a handful of leaves, wrap in a cloth, and apply to forehead as a compress to help with headaches. When the compressed leaves dry out, replace them with fresh leaves.

Lemon: I use every part of the lemon for a variety of health treatments. Before any speaking engagement, radio or TV appearance, I drink a hot concoction of Meyer lemon rinds, juice, and pulp mixed with mint, water, and honey to clear my throat and enhance my vocal chords. Feel a cold coming on? Drink this brew with added torn lemon leaves, shredded ginger root, and Echinacea flowers. To clean my hands after gardening, I cut a lemon and rub them over my dirt stained digits. Want lighter, brighter locks? Squeeze the juice of any lemon on your hair and enjoy the sunshine. Migraine? Grind the peel and apply as a paste to the forehead.

Chamomile: Use fresh or dried florets and leaves to making a tummy calming tea. Chamomile helps steady jittery nerves and anxiety.

Rose: The fruit of the rose is the rose hip, one of the richest plant sources of vitamin C, high in vitamin A, B, and the antioxidant lyopene. Eat raw, cooked, or brewed to prevent colds and flu as well as an anti-inflammatory to relieve the pain of arthritis. Use the petals of rose to make a lovely scented rose water for an astringent, skin toner, and body bath.

Apple: Filled with antioxidants, pectin, and fiber, apples fight tooth decay, decrease risk of diabetes, lower cholesterol, protect against Parkinson, cancers, and perhaps Alzheimer’s diseases, prevent cataracts, gallstones, and boost the immune system. An apple a day will keep the doctor away.

These are just a smattering of the plant based healing that you will find in nature’s drug store, also known, as your backyard garden. If the year was 1692 and I lived in Puritanical Salem, I’d be hung as a witch for prescribing these “devilish” herbal remedies. Since it’s 2013 in Lamorinda, I’ll keep stirring the cauldron of healthy natural choices and caution you to use these powerful potions wisely.

Happy Harvest. Happy Halloween Haunting. Happy Gardening and Growing.

 

©2013
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  
Cynthia will answer one or more questions every other issue as space allows. Email your comments or questions to Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com 
 
Cynthia Brian is the producer and host of StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® heard LIVE every Wednesday on the Voice America Empowerment Channel from 4-5pm PT at . More information is available at http://www.StarStyleRadio.com

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