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Archive for May, 2017

Why You Should Consider Growing Your Own Horseradish

Why You Should Consider Growing Your Own Horseradish

horseradish

Horseradish isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when starting a garden, but it is one of those vegetables that can compliment many recipes rather nicely.  You can also process it into a condiment in order to add some heat to meals.  Horseradish can also be processed in a number of different ways and stored over the long-term as well.  Finally, horseradish is a very hearty and tolerant vegetable, and they can be grown in a wide range of climates with minimal effort.  Let’s take a closer look at the basics of growing horseradish, and see how easy it is to incorporate it into your garden this season.

Ideal Growing Conditions

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Horseradish can be planted as early as a few weeks before the last frost, and they are generally ready to be harvested in the fall or early winter.  You can stagger planting times in order to give yourself access to a longer harvest at the end of the season as well. 

While horseradish can thrive under a broad range of conditions, they require proper soil in order to thrive.  The plants are indigenous to silty, mucky soils that are found near rivers and streams, so planting them in similar soil is essential.  Horseradish also thrive in clay or soils that contain a good amount of sandy loam which is pH neutral.  The soil also needs to be kept moist, almost to the point of saturation.

Some species of horseradish need a season to become established before they can be harvested for food.  Consequently, make sure that you are choosing a variety that suits your timetable, but it’s also important to choose one that will yield the optimal amount for your needs as well.  You can also grow more than one species, and this will give you access to an early harvest while the others become established and available next year. 

Aside from providing the right soil conditions and keeping the plants moist, horseradish require minimal care and maintenance.  Keep weeds away, trim off damaged leaves, and prune burrs or flowers in the spring time as new shoots emerge.  Other than that, horseradish just need time, and a lot of it.  Expect harvests to be ready after the leaves on the plants start dying off after the first few frosts in the fall. 

Harvesting

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Horseradish is a root vegetable, and you can take a portion of the roots for consumption, storage or re-planting while leaving the rest of the plant intact.  When ready to harvest, simply loosen the soil around one side of the plant and gently rock it back and forth until it can be leaned over or lifted up.  Break off some of the roots before setting the plant back and covering it with the soil.  These are perennial plants that will regenerate and grow for years after they become established.  You can also harvest some of the root in the spring after the soil begins to thaw.

You don’t need a lot of plants to create a steady supply that will be more than enough for the average family, and they don’t require a lot of space to grow.  Learn more about how you can process, store and enjoy horseradish, and you’ll quickly discover how this vegetable makes the perfect compliment to any survival garden. 

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What is Propolis and Why is it so Beneficial?

What is Propolis and Why is it so Beneficial?

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Propolis is a substance that is made by bees as they combine their own waste products, some honey and a little bit of pine sap together.  It is primarily used as a glue, sealant or patch to secure and reinforce hives.  Propolis also gives us a number of benefits as well.  Let’s take a closer look at this amazing and abundant compound, and see how you can put it to good use now as well as in the field.

Antibiotic

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Propolis contains flavanoids, and these are key compounds that are found in many antibiotic, antifungal, antimicrobial or antibacterial sources in nature.  Propolis has been used for centuries, and in many cultures, as a first line of defense against infection from wounds.  Many recipes have also called for propolis as a way to ward off illness or to strengthen the immune system as well. 

Wound Protection

Wound-Healing

One of the flavanoids found in propolis is called pinocembrin, and it is known for it’s antibacterial and antifungal properties.  It is also thought to interact with other flavanoids and compounds in propolis in a way that can reduce inflammation and skin irritation.  Consequently, applying some propolis to a minor wound, burn or insect bite may not only help to protect the skin, but it can also reduce symptoms and promote faster healing. 

Viral Outbreaks

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Numerous studies have linked propolis with easing the symptoms of some cold sores.  Not only can propolis help to promote the healing of sores, but there is also evidence that suggests that it can also reduce the viral load surrounding the affected area.  In fact, a number of topical remedies for cold sores contain a small amount of propolis in addition to other healing agents.

Circulatory Health

There is also a compound in propolis that is thought to play a direct role in supporting the overall health of our circulatory system by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow.  Better blood flow lowers blood pressure and places less strain on the heart.  While the same compounds are also found in bee honey, and honey is known to be an effective remedy for hypertension, a greater concentration can be found in propolis.

Histamine Blocker

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Allergic reactions are the product of the release of histamines that cause swelling, redness, sneezing and runny noses.  Most of the anti-histamines that people take also contain ingredients that make us drowsy, groggy and lethargic.  However, propolis seems to be quite effective at blocking histamines without these unwanted side effects. 

Food Poisoning Inhibitor

Treats-Nausea

Some studies also suggest that propolis can inhibit the growth of some common forms of bacteria that lead to severe indigestion and food poisoning.  While it doesn’t work on all of the microorganisms that cause illness, having some on hand may be an effective alternative to antibiotics.  Furthermore, many have reported a speedier recovery time after using propolis when compared to antibiotics as well.

There are also claims that propolis contains agents that can disrupt the growth of certain types of cancer cells.  Others suggest that it is an excellent remedy for dental infections, abscesses as well as general tooth pain and sensitivity.  There are even claims that propolis can help the body to be more resistant to the effects of heat exposure, dehydration and over-exertion.

While some of these claims are easier to back up than others, there is little doubt that propolis does have strong medicinal properties.  Take some time to learn more about propolis, as well as how it can be an excellent compliment to your survival medicine cabinet or first aid kit. 

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