Looking for ways to beat high blood pressure with few or no drugs? The latest findings show beets can help. The juice of the blood-red root crop is high in nitrates; these convert in the body to nitric acid, which relaxes blood vessels to lower blood pressure. Many people with hypertension currently take a prescription form of nitrates, but researchers found a pint of beet juice may work just as well. Researchers noted effects in people with normal and high blood pressure, and the results were more profound among those with higher initial readings. Bottoms up! (Via BBC.)
A spring planting guide while you’re planning what to plant
Gardeners have a big advantage during deep darkness of a northwest winter: We get to pore over garden books and catalogs that offer shards of sunlight and whiffs of spring. Dreaming about striped tomatoes, salivating over the prospect of a fresh melon, imagining the thrum of a snapping pea, gardeners know that their dreams and will be rewarded with a well-stocked kitchen when the sun returns.
While curled up by the fire or the space heater with your summer hopes this winter, consider adding the flowerful, textural and healing world of growing medicine along with your food. The results will improve your garden — many medicinal plants also support beneficial bugs while confusing problematic pests — and improve your health.
It is absolutely irresponsibly unfair to ask any herbalist to narrow their favorite herbs down to a measly ten, and reasonable people will disagree heatedly about how to go about trying. This particular list is intended as a general top 10 list of medicinals that are easy to grow from seed or starts. This article is not intended to substitute for medical advice, as each person has a specific history and specific needs. (more…)
What’s new for 2010: organic Floriani red flint corn, green meat radish, Bolivian rainbow pepper, purple pac choy, ruby streaks mustard.
This is why I started gardening – I was awed by the incredible diversity of life I could sustain on my little corner of earth.
There were other reasons too. After my urban upbringing, I longed for the pastoral and bucolic ideal of self sufficiency and thriftiness. And certainly there were the political reasons: getting off the corporate food trough while promoting biological diversity and personal health.
But what really pushed me past reading and into action was a full-color catalog that arrived one Winter’s day. I saw purple carrots, speckled lettuces, striped snappy string beans, and a bright orange tomato that turned out to be an eggplant! If your vegetable education came largely from mainstream supermarkets as mine once did, you’ll understand my shock. Who knew there were purple potatoes, or that we could grow Thomas Jefferson’s beans or the Anasazi’s corn?
These days I’m a passionate gardener and my garden supports over 100 species. Here’s why you should tend a garden, even if it’s just a couple of plants: (more…)