affiliate disclosuremedical disclosure

Dandelions For Your Health

Though dandelions are thought by many to be a useless weed, dandelions are powerful herbs and a good source of nutrients, like:

  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Potassium
  • Beta carotene
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Protein (more than a same size serving of spinach!)

If your neighbors happen to use commercial weed killers, you won’t want to consume the dandelions growing in your yard. Unfortunately, if your neighbors are using commercial weed killers, they’re in the groundwater and that means they’re tainting  your yard, too.

Dandelions for human consumption are best picked out in the country, away from pollutants found on manicured lawns and lots.. If you don’t have access to them outside of the city, you can grow them in pots from seeds (even on a city balcony). Two of the easiest and ways to utilize dandelions are in a salad or as dandelion tea.

Dandelions as Salad Greens

If you’d like to add dandelion greens to your salad, harvest them just as you would any other salad green, cut off the ends of the leaves, wash them well, chop them up into your salad, and enjoy.

Dandelions as Tea

Another great way to use dandelions is in tea, either raw or roasted. The best leaves for dandelion tea are the youngest, smallest leaves.

To make raw dandelion tea:

  • Wash the leaves thoroughly and steep them in hot water for about 10 minutes
  • Strain the liquid, add some honey and a little lemon
  • Keep the steamed leaves to eat later (much like you would eat steamed spinach)

To make roasted dandelion tea:
Roasted dandelion root makes can be used to brew a dark drink similar to coffee.

  • Dig up the root and wash it thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear
  • Preheat your oven to 300°F
  • Chop the washed dandelion root into small pieces and place it on a cookie sheet & roast for 2 hours
  • Steep the root pieces in hot water for no more than 10 minutes to keep it from being bitter. Add honey to sweeten and enjoy!

Before You Eat Dandelions

Important info you need to know:

  • If you’re allergic to ragweed, marigolds, daisies or other plants like these, you may also be allergic to dandelions.
  • Dandelion can cause some antibiotics to be less effective.
  • If you take diuretics, dandelion is also a diuretic and it might cause harm to your body.
  • Dandelion is really good for detoxifying the liver and it can affect how the liver breaks down some medications such as Elavil, Haldol, Zofran, Inderal, any of the statin drugs for high cholesterol, Valium, morphine, or Ativan. This could mean the drugs aren’t effective.
  • Talk to your doctor before you starting drinking dandelion tea on a regular basis.

Dandelions For Your Health

Save

Save

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

affiliate disclosuremedical disclosure

Homesteading for BeginnersHaving a homestead can provide a lot of economical benefits and environmentally friendly perks. Of course, you have to start somewhere. These are a few tips to help get your feet wet in the world of homesteading.

Count the Cost

You don’t want to have your dream of being ecologically independent crushed by running out of money in your budget before you’re able to have a profitable return. You need to know what you’re going to have to do to make your current living situation compatible with your goals. It’s a good idea to learn about the land you plan to work on. The quality of the soil can help or hinder your efforts. Water drainage and soil erosion are factors that can affect your strategy.

If your property already has dense foliage, you may consider using the trees as firewood, for building fences (to keep deer and other wildlife out of your garden), or even for building. Using the wood for heat can help out in the winter if you’re trying to minimize your presence on the grid, plus bundles of firewood can fetch a good price if you decide that you want to sell it locally.

Speaking of firewood, learning to swing an axe and other construction skills wouldn’t be the worst idea for starting a homestead. It’s possible to make a fence from scratch using wire. A thicker gauge like 12-14 is good unless you’re going for a chicken wire pattern. Some homesteaders have home made wooden boxes that are used as raised garden beds that you can fill with choice soil. These types of beds tend to cut down on weeds and are easier on the back.

Homesteading for Beginners

Garden

No homestead would be complete without a garden. If you don’t have land to grow on, you can garden in containers quite effectively. You’d be amazed by how much you can grow on a balcony or patio!

Using cement bricks as a foundation for your enclosure can discourage pests and you can use sticks that are too small to use as firewood or lumber as posts. If you’re into reusing grey water you can install an irrigation system that will trickle downhill and cut back on what you spend watering your garden in dry spells.

Be sure to choose organic and heirloom seeds where possible. Look for local seed swapping groups! You may also want to include flowers that bees love, like Cosmos, Sunflowers, Lavender, Zinnias, and Calendula — just to name a few.

Don’t Be Afraid to Raising Chickens (or Other Animals!)

Raising chickens may feel like it’s out of your comfort zone but the payoff is worth it. The biggest hurdle is discouraging predators. This can be done by burying chicken wire below the ground and fanning it away from the chicken’s area. Before investing, or getting your hopes up, you will also want to make sure that keeping animals on your land is legal, since laws vary from state to state, city to city, and township to township.

Ask for Help (and Be Willing to Give It, Too)

It can be very helpful (and encouraging) to remember that you are not alone, especially when you feel overwhelmed. Talk to people around you that are trying to do the same thing — you may be pleasantly surprised! People that are reaching out to help the environment are usually willing to help you too. Many homesteaders even have a trade and barter system, so if you have a surplus, try offering it for something you need. If no one else is doing it locally, there are countless blogs and websites about strategies and personal experiences of successful homesteaders.

Homesteading for Beginners

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

affiliate disclosuremedical disclosure

How to Grow Plants From ProducePlants are a great way to spruce up your home, and plants from produce add function too! All you need to get started are groceries, planters (get creative by upcycling containers), soil (or a bit of quality compost), and a patience.

Herbs

Rooted herbs are hardy and often available in organic versions at the grocery store. If you don’t have rooted versions you can place sprigs in water with a few leaves below the waterline to encourage root growth.

A rooting aid can come in handy! Keep them in a window or other well lit place and you’ll have fresh herbs at your fingertips all year long.

Avocados

I’ve tried to grow avocados a number of times but was never successful until recently. There are a number of methods floating around online, but the method that worked best for me might give you flashbacks to elementary school.

All you’ll need is an avocado seed, a plastic baggie, a wet paper towel, a windowsill and patience. Lots of patience. If you’ve got a good see you should see roots rather quickly, and you’ll want to give them plenty of time to grow. (I gave mine a few weeks or so.) After you’ve got strong roots started it’s time to plant your avocado in soil, and in a sunny and warm spot. Cover the roots completely, but not the seed! Leave the top uncovered a bit. Keep the soil moist — you may even want to cover it with a plastic film or dome to create a bit of a greenhouse. After about a month (perhaps sooner) you should have a sprout! Once it sprouts your avocado should grow quickly.

If you live in a climate with evenings below 60 degrees Fahrenheit you’ll want to bring your new plant indoors.

I keep mine in a window where I give it a little water every few days. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to enjoy fruit from my little tree here in Ohio, but I certainly enjoy the foliage from my little plant!

How to Grow Plants From Produce

Greens

Greens are easy to grow and quite useful. They’re obviously great in salads, but can be tossed into a variety of meals or uses to provide a lovely garnish.

If you’d like to grow them from scraps you’ll want to purchase greens with a bit of root attached. Place them in water until they’ve regrown some strong roots and then plant. Be sure to clip leaves to use as your plant grows. If it goes to seed (you’ll know!) you can easily harvest and plant them for fresh growth!

Peppers

Like other obviously seeded produce, the seeds from the pepper plant can be easily harvested and used. Pepper seeds require special conditions to germinate because of their waxy outer coating. You’d want plenty of warmth to help the water penetrate the coating. Some people even give each seed a tiny nick to help speed the process along.

Pineapple

If you live in a warmer climate, pineapples could be a reality for you. Northerners may envy you (though they can always try their hand at growing them indoors!) Place the cut top of a pineapple in water until roots form (this could be a few weeks!) and then move to a pot once well established. These plants can be large, so you may want a dwarf variety if you plan to keep it indoors.

How to Grow Plants From Produce

Ginger

Soak a piece of ginger and then transfer it to a pot with soil. You’ll want to keep the soil moist. Eventually you will begin to see new roots, which can be harvested.

Fruit Trees

Depending on your climate you may be able to germinate seeds in a baggie or in tiny soil pods and then transfer to larger pots to get established, and ultimately place them outdoors. If you live in a cold climate you may choose to keep the plants indoors.

For citrus plants, you’ll want to help get the seeds going by sucking on them to help remove the outer coatings of the seeds and then germinating as usual. Apple and pear seeds can go straight to the germination process. I prefer the plastic baggie method, as I have found it to be the most effective.

Growing your own plants can be rewarding. Be sure to choose organic starters! You can find more gardening tips on Pinterest.

How to Grow Plants From Produce

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

affiliate disclosuremedical disclosure

12 Simple Tips for Conserving Water at HomeWhether you live in an area prone to drought or not, conserving water is a worthwhile endeavor for your wallet and the environment. Water treatment requires a lot of resources and at a great cost to the planet we live on. These easy tips can help you reduce the amount of water you consume without too much effort or thought – mostly:

  1. Take showers. Reasonable showers (not long relaxation showers) use less water than your average bath.
  2. Take a shorter shower. Get the morning routine down pat and minimize the time you spend waking up in the shower. Grab a cup of coffee before you hop in if you must. As a bonus, the reduced time spent in that steamy water will be much easier on your skin (oh the dryness!)
  3. Always run your dishwasher as a full load. Don’t pack it in so tight that you can’t get the dishes clean, but running a half full machine is just no good.
  4. Always run a full washing machine. Same as above. There’s no need to wash just a few items. If you can’t make a full load, think about any bedding, curtains, or table cloths that might need washed.
  5. Water your plants with grey water reclaimed from the shower (provided you use safe products) or water left from boiling pasta, rinsing produce, etc.
  6. Install a grey water system. If you want to go all out on grey water, you can even install a house system to make it easier!
  7. No leaks! Be sure to check faucets, and the pipes below, a few times a year to be sure that there are no leaks. Those costs can really add up – especially when damage becomes involved.
  8. Turn of the faucet. Turn it off when you are brushing your teeth or hand-washing dishes. There’s no need to leave that faucet running when you aren’t using it and this is an especially important lesson to model for kids – who tend to be a bit forgetful.
  9. Install low-flow shower heads and faucets. These fixtures have special features that choke down the water flow, but good ones won’t make you sacrifice on water pressure, so be sure to shop around and read reviews!
  10. Drop a full water bottle in your toilet’s tank. This will reduce the amount of water needed to fill the tank — saving water with ever flush!
  11. Keep drinking water in the fridge, if you prefer it cold. This will save water over running the cold water until it meets your temperature needs. For healthier drinking water, choose one with a good filter. You’d be surprised to learn what’s in municipal water.
  12. Use a bucket to wash your car, and get a clean one to rinse it off. It’ll use much less water than your hose and be just as effective.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }