Monday, 16 November 2015

Make Some Organic Anti-Flu Brew!


Seems that cough, cold, and flu season is once again upon us, so here is a recap of my all time favourite, organic, homemade cough and cold fighting syrup. It also works well as a preventative as it boosts your immunity.

This yummy flu brew is my go-to remedy whenever the throat begins to tickle or the chest feels heavy. I make loads each winter to share with family and friends, plus give as gifts.

   
What you need? ...

Organic lemons - Homegrown or organic as you will be adding the peel, too.
Ginger root - Just a small knob will do you! 
Honey - I am blessed to have a terrific local honey farm just a few minutes down the road. Support local, if you can. 

How-to...

I use one half to one whole lemon per jar. Scrub the lemon well, and slice into thin wedges, quarters, slices, anything you like. I tend to use really thin half slices or thicker wedges that I quarter. Remove seeds and any tough, pithy bits.

Peel the knob of ginger and slice into small discs. I like to slice the disks into slivers so that you are sure to get a bit in each cuppa. Use as much or as little as you like. I am not a huge fan of the taste of ginger so I use less, however, I have found that the zing nicely mellows as it sits, so if you are a fan, use more. 

Place a few layers of lemons into the washed and sterilised jars. Toss on a few pieces of ginger, and repeat till full. Cover with honey, letting it ooze into all the crevices. Let sit and settle for a few minutes and then top up with more honey, covering all the lemon and ginger slices.

Refrigerate.

The juices from the lemons will settle on top, so give a good stir before you scoop out a spoonful of goodness for your cup.... or dig through the layers and grab a bit of everything on your way.

Add a spoonful to your cuppa tea or into a cup of hot water. It tastes terrific both ways! 



Why it works...

Ginger helps to control and calm the symptoms that come with colds, flu's, upper respiratory tract infections, and bronchitis. It also helps to reduce muscle pain, and settle the tummy if one has nausea or vomiting.

Lemon aids in controlling fever and chills as well as adding that much needed boost of vitamin C to soothe your sore throat. It has anti-septic properties and also gives one a boost when feeling fatigued. If taken before you get sick, it helps to build up your defence system and prevent flues, colds and inflammation.

Honey has natural anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties so helps to boost immunity to fend off colds, coughs and flues, plus aides in the healing and soothing of symptoms if you do get sick. It is also a soothing cough suppressant.


Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
An Irish Saying
~ ~ ~

Monday, 2 November 2015

Fall Garden Chores - November ramblings

November is generally the second wettest month of the year here on the west coast (second only to January). Luckily, there are a few garden chores that we can still get out of the way before we hunker down for winter.


What to do this month? ...

My wee little Meyer's Lemon tree

In the Greenhouse ... 

- Bring your citrus trees into the greenhouse/shed/cool bedroom for the winter. Is not that it is too cold for them yet, but it sure is starting to get too wet for them. Citrus prefers to be kept on the dry side at all times so all this rain will make them very unhappy.

Please remember that citrus trees do not want to go indoors to a warm room, they will suffer dreadfully. If you bring them indoors for the winter, choose a bright yet cool room, kept at 5c to 10C.

- Water sparingly and carefully. Keeping greenhouse plants on the dry side and not wetting the foliage helps to prevent mould and stem or root rot issues.

- Remove any spent blossoms or yellowing leaves immediately to prevent fungal problems.

- Clean greenhouse walls and surfaces. Wipe down with a 10% bleach solution to kill any pest or diseases lurking about.

- Add a layer of bubble wrap or another layer of poly to save money on heating bills, especially over vents and other openings. If yours is an unheated greenhouse, this extra layer of poly really helps as it adds an extra 2 degrees of warmth.

- If you have no power plug, run an extension cord into the greenhouse now so that you can plug in a small heat source when night temps drop below zero.

 Cuttings....  

What to sow in pots in the greenhouse now?

- Chives and garlic chives.
- Sweet Peas
- Parsley
- Take cuttings of rosemary, lavender, geraniums...
- Pot up Christmas! Amaryllis, hyacinths, and paper-whites can be potted up now.

 Pot up some pretty spring colour for your front porch

In The Yard...

- Plant spring flowering bulbs. Toss some in pots, too, for your front porch spring planter.

- Keep picking and hoeing those weeds now, so that they are not out of control in spring.

- Gather your leaves. Shredding them with the lawnmower first helps them to break down faster. Use now for mulching perennials or top dressing garden beds. Alternately, place into a heap to break down into leaf mould over the winter months.

- Cut back your roses by 1/3. The proper pruning will be done in late winter (February-ish), but for right now you just need to remove any long canes and some of the bulk. This pruning helps prevent breaks, cracks, snaps and toppling, due to heavy rain or snowfall.

 
 Garden beds cleaned up, tested, amended and top-dressed.

In the Garden... 

- Weed now to prevent craziness in spring.

- Still time to plant garlic! Get it in as soon as you can.

- Test your soil and amend accordingly. 

- Top dress all your beds with organic material. I like to add leaves/leaf mould plus compost and/or manure. Add as much as you can, ideally 2 to 3 inches annually. The earthworms and winter rains will carry the nutrients down so that you are ready to plant in spring. No digging, turning, amending needed.

 Chesnok Red - a gorgeous Purple Striped Hardneck Variety

What to sow outdoors? (yep, I can still add this part to the post this month!)

- Broad Beans
- Peas (mulch)
- Sweet Peas (mulch)
- Garlic!  


Indoors...

- Order seed catalogs, start dreaming.

- Make notes of what you had planted where in your garden this year, so that you can rotate them next year. Do this now while you still remember what was where!

- Journal what worked this year and what did not, thoughts and ideas of what you want to try next year in the garden. This is when I choose my colour scheme for next summer (varying hues of purple, silver and white ...with a dash of orange) and the veggies I want to add or drop.
 
Happy Gardening!