Archive for July 20th, 2010

Gardens Can Flourish in July Despite Hot Temperatures, Water Rationing

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

New watering restrictions come just as July heat typically takes its toll on landscapes. However, prudent planning using drought-tolerant plants, watering schedules and soil preparation can mean gardeners can still enjoy beautiful landscapes despite sizzling summer days and newly enacted water rationing.

Plant Low Water-Use Vegetation: Native plants usually require little or no water once they are established. Plants that have survived for hundreds of years through droughts and downpours will mostly likely survive in just about any backyard landscape. Dozens of varieties of native plants are available for gardeners. Popular types include sages, big berry Manzanita, buckwheat, bush poppy, California Aster and California Mountain Lilac.

Reduce Your Grass Area: Lawns use more water than any other landscape feature. Consider replacing a portion of your grass with low-growing, drought tolerant ground cover. You will first need to remove the grass, till the soil and amend with compost. Perennial ground covers include ornamental grasses, Alyssum and Verbena.

Mulch Around Your Plants and Trees: A two-inch layer of mulch (semi-composted wood chips) will help retain moisture within the soil and moderate soil temperature during dry weather. Other benefits include less weed growth, less erosion (making it ideal for use on hillsides and slopes) and the addition of organic matter and nutrients to the soil as the mulch naturally decomposes.

What is Garlic?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

If we were given a choice of growing only one species from the large genus Alliurn the decision would be very difficult, but many persons would doubtless choose chives. Chives can be easily grown, not only in the garden but also in a windowbox or in a pot on the window sill.

In the year 812 Charlemagne, aware of its culinary and medicinal properties (the essential oil it contains is still used to relieve flatulence), ordered that it be grown on his estates. It was believed to silence rumblings in the stomach, stop hiccups, and prevent the formation of intestinal gas; burnt seeds if placed on a wound were said to promote rapid healing. Nowadays dill is naturalized and grown not only throughout Europe but also in America and the West Indies.

Nowadays garlic is widely used as seasoning throughout the world, but it is used most by the peoples of southern Europe, north Africa and South America. It plays an important role in lands noted for their excellent cuisine, from France to China. Its uses are many: crushed together with salt in green salads; as seasoning for sauces, vegetables and meat dishes (beef and mutton), sausages and salamis, and fish. Besides being a seasoning it also has many important medicinal properties; it prevents flatulence and destroys intestinal parasites, checks the growth of bacteria, and is used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis. The chief exporting countries are USA (California), Egypt, Bulgaria, Hungary and Taiwan.

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