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Personal Gardens of Norfolk

This personal garden is located in Norfolk not too far from Norfolk State University campus. It is a raised bed garden with a black covering which has many benefits such as intensifying the sun, keeping pest away and increasing moisture retention. Its a wonderful example of a kitchen garden grown right here in the urban environment of Norfolk. It is a garden maintained in the yard next to a home with lettuces and vegetables such as tomatoes.

Do you know some one who has a garden in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia? Do you know of anyone with a garden outside of the area? Where?

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How to start a home garden

Source: CNN

May is not too late to start a garden. Here’s how to begin a vegetable garden for beginners, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a print and online periodical providing planting charts for gardeners, sky schedules, weather forecasts and recipes since 1792. Pick the right spot.Choosing a suitable location is important because it affects the quality of the vegetables, the guide says. Most vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight daily, so pick a sunny location.If you’re not buying soil, you should have the soil in your yard tested for lead. Lead contamination is common in urban areas due to years of industrial development and pollution from man made toxins, according to Garden Collage Magazine. If your vegetables are contaminated from the soil, that could mean lead poisoning for you or any pets roaming around. You can have your soil assessed by sending several samples to a testing site for a low cost. Plant the vegetables in damp, not totally saturated, soil. If you have soil that doesn’t drain well, plant vegetables in a pot that’s raised from the ground. You should also garden in a place where your plants can remain stable — exposure to strong winds, floods or constant foot traffic could damage your plants.

Choose a plot size. Beginners should start small, considering what they can handle and what they’ll actually eat, the guide suggests. The size it recommends is 11 rows wide, each 10 feet long. But this guideline is to feed a family of four through an entire summer, so feel free to downsize if it’s just you. Make sure there’s enough space between each row to be able to easily walk through to weed and harvest your plants. The rows shouldn’t be more than 4 feet wide, as you probably won’t be able to reach over a bigger width to care for the vegetables. Select your vegetables (or any other produce). There are several vegetables that are common and easy to grow: tomatoes, radishes, chard, zucchini squash, peppers, cabbage, lettuce and carrots. Also consider what you like to eat, and again, how much you’re likely to consume. Here’s a guide to figuring out which vegetables grow best in your state. You could buy individual starter plants or opt to start from scratch with seeds. But the seeds should be high quality, the guide says, so your money isn’t wasted if the seeds don’t germinate. The almanac recommends buying seeds from a plant nursery; you can order them online, too. Decide where and when to plant. Planting one or two vegetables doesn’t require much strategic planning. But if you’re growing a whole garden, you’ll have to think about where each vegetable will go and when it needs to be planted.

Some vegetables, such as lettuce and root vegetables, grow in the spring. Others, including tomatoes and peppers, should be planted in the warmer months. Plant taller vegetables on the north side of your garden so they don’t shade shorter plants. Check to see whether the information along with your plant says it needs a permanent bed. Lastly, stagger your plantings. Don’t plant all your seeds at one time, or you’ll have a vegetable bounty that needs to be harvested and consumed in a tight time window. If you stagger your plantings, you’ll have a steady supply of food coming in.

How has this article helped you? How will you apply what you have learned? What will you grow in your garden?

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The Best Indoor Garden Ideas for Bringing the Great Outdoors Inside

Chopped Garden Fresh Parsley

by MELISSA EPIFANO updated JUN 9, 2020
Source: Apartment Therapy

Vegetable gardens, patio planters, and flower beds undoubtedly add appeal to any home and make for some really fun hobbies. But sometimes you just don’t have the space, or you might prefer to spend your time inside where the elements (and bugs!) can’t really get to you. In these instances, you can never go wrong with curating your own indoor garden.

Lucky for you, the options for indoor gardens are never ending. You can cultivate your own indoor lemon tree, start a delicious herb garden, grow a living wall—or, if you’d rather start simple, try nurturing a small collection of succulents. What makes the indoor version of a garden so fun is how easy it is to mix and match the most random and diverse group of plants and the ability for you to keep your garden blooming and sprouting year-round.

To bring some greenery into your home and experience all the benefits different plants and flowers have to offer, see the ideas below to get started on your own indoor garden.

1. Similarly Sized Collection

Use a small cluster of mid-sized plants, like the ones in this Oakland home, to help take up awkward blank space. Their medium size makes a bigger impact than a small succulent display, but these plants aren’t as high maintenance—or difficult to move around—as large indoor trees.

2. Outdoor-Indoor Hybrid Garden

A half-and-half garden helps blend the inside and out, making your home feel even bigger. This colorful home in Mexico is the perfect example of how to make both an indoor and outdoor garden work with your style.

3. Eclectic Indoor Garden

Mixing and matching plants and pots, like the residents of this vintage Australian home did, makes for a visually interesting display for anywhere in your home. Old canisters, handmade pots, and antique finds all work well together.

4. Hanging Herb Garden

Your dinners will seem even tastier with a fresh herb garden at your fingertips. A hanging setup like this means you don’t even have to sacrifice any counter space to grow a small collection of herbs.

5. Indoor Garden Closet

Commandeer a set of shelves or closet for your indoor garden, as seen in this plant-laden Brooklyn apartment. If you already have enough storage space for clothes, what better way to deck out an empty nook than with plants?

6. Small Terrarium Garden

An indoor garden doesn’t need to be over-the-top or take up ample space, as proven by this terrarium in a comfy Austin home. A few glass display cases and a handful of your favorite air plants or succulents is all it takes to form a mini plant world.

7. Colorful Hanging Garden

One bonus to indoor planting? The ease of mounting planters from the ceiling to create a hanging garden. This maximalist Chicago home shows how colorful plant hammocks and a variety of leafy friends can make a fun statement in any room.

8. Mini Succulent Garden

If you have a tiny empty corner, you have room for an indoor garden. The owners of this Scandinavian-inspired Airstream trailer created a mini succulent collection that still adds a boost of greenery but takes up little room in their small home.

9. Floating Shelf Garden

Floating shelves let you display plants from floor to ceiling, as seen in this Brooklyn apartment. You can place plants based on their light preferences, or even rotate them as needed to keep them healthy.

10. Unique Indoor Garden

For a splash of personality and color, arrange your plants around and inside your non-working or faux fireplace like the tenants of this San Francisco apartment did. You can do this with working fireplaces, too, as long as they’re not getting use—so it’s a great display for warm spring and summer months, when the fireplace won’t be lit.

11. Indoor Greenhouse

As seen in this Nashville home, adding a few fronds and leaves to a mudroom or laundry room space instantly gives it greenhouse vibes. The plants help enliven these utilitarian spaces, adding interest to a room that doesn’t always get a lot of love.

12. Kitchen Garden

While herbs are popular for kitchen gardens, they’re by no means the only plants that can thrive in your cook space. The residents from the same San Fransisco home from above also allowed plants to take up room in their kitchen for a lively, fresh display.

13. Bathroom Indoor Garden

Convinced you have, like, zero room for an indoor garden? This Philadelphia row home will make you think twice. Your bathroom can be a glorious location for plants, whether you stack a few on a shelf, hang one from the ceiling, or drape one from the shower head (or all the above).

14. Indoor Cactus Garden

Terracotta pots and cacti are a simple but striking display when wall-mounted in cutout shelves, like in this poppy RV home. You could DIY your own version with wood boards and a jig saw.

15. Wall of Plant Cuttings

If you’re in full plant parent mode and have started to amass cuttings of your favorite plants, take a cue from this Charleston home and hang them in a chic wall display until they’re ready to be repotted.

Re-edited from a post originally published 5.17.16

Which indoor garden style is best for you? Why? Which plants will you be bringing in doors this fall and winter?

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9 Best Vegetables to Grow Indoors

harvested tomatoes shidonna raven garden and cook

Source: All Recipes
Make it easy on yourself by choosing plants that do best indoors. These vegetables have proven successful indoors:

1. Carrots

Carrots require don’t much space around them (or wingspan you could say) but they do tend to require deeper soil than other vegetables. They’re cool-tolerant vegetables that thrive at about 60 degrees F. Make sure they get plenty of light, at least 12 hours a day.

2. Green Onions/Scallions

Green onions do well indoors because they’re easy to care for and don’t require as much sunlight as some other veggies. You can either use seeds or you can simply replant the root end of the green onions after using the top.

Related: How to Store Green Onions to Keep Them Fresh

3. Herbs

Herbs (a subset of vegetables) love the sunshine, so you’re going to have to make sure they get a lot of it: 12-16 hours a day. They tend to do best around 70 degrees F. Some of the best varieties for indoor growing include: chives, parsley, cilantro, oregano, mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

4. Hot Peppers

Pepper plants are tropical perennials, meaning they thrive in warm weather and full sun. But because they’re self-pollinating, they can do quite well indoors. They need high levels of light between 14-20 hours a day, and thrive at about 70 degrees F. Pot them in a container that’s at least eight inches tall, and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

5. Leafy Salad Greens

Maybe the most reliable of the bunch are cool-tolerant leafy salad greens like spinachkale, and arugula. They’ll grow in as quickly as four weeks in compact spaces. They need about 12 hours of sunlight per day, and they do well at around 60 degrees F.

6. Microgreens

Don’t let their size fool you, microgreens are packed with 40 times more vitamins and nutrients than fully grown plants. You’ll grow them the same way you would leafy salad greens, but you’ll harvest them when they’re just about 2-3 weeks old. Try adding them to sandwiches for a nutritious crunch.

7. Potatoes

This one may surprise you, but you can grow potatoes (both sweet and regular) in soil from scraps. Start with a sprouted potato and cut it up into chunks, laying them out sprout-side-up on at least four inches of soil. Top them off with another four inches of soil and in about two months you’ll have potatoes! Make sure you have a large enough pot, because these can get quite large and you may have to continue adding soil as they grow to ensure that the potatoes are always covered with soil.

8. Radishes

Radishes are quick growers, with only 30 to 40 days from germination to harvest. They won’t need as much light as many other veggies, but make sure they’re not too crowded so their bulbs can grow.

9. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a warm-weather loving plant, but that doesn’t mean they’re hopeless indoors. They’ll need a lot of light, about 14 to 20 hours a day. Like peppers, they’re self-pollinating, but you can also shake them to help the pollen fall from flower to flower. Smaller varieties tend to do better in containers, and you’ll find the seeds germinate fairly quickly.

We still have a few plants out doors, but soon the winter weather will be here. Which vegetables will you be growing inside? Why?

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Prince Charles on the Importance of Organic

Prince Charles on the Importance of Organic
Source: Prince Charles
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

What are your thoughts on organic? Do you eat organic? Why? Why not?

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Using Tea Infusers

Using Tea Infusers
Source: The Tea House
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

What is your favorite type of tea? What is your favorite type of tea infuser? Why?

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Making Pumpkin Pie

Making Pumpkin Pie
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Now that Halloween is over, what are you doing to do with the pumpkin(s)? Pumpkin Pie is one options. What other options will you use?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Making Rose Water

Making Rose Water
Source: Mother Earth Living
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

We are all about food and health around here! Rose Water is used in one of my favorite desserts: Baklava! and many other wonderful foods. What are your favorite desserts? What other ways do you cook with Rose Water? What is your favorite dessert?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Making Echinacea Tincture – Medicinal Herbs

Making Echinacea Tincture – Medicinal Herbs
Source: Rosemary Gladstar
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

More wonderful than eating food for the taste is eating foods for their healing or medicinal purposes. In a time where the corona virus is running rampant around the globe and claiming lives at all levels foods that get at the heart of healing are a huge comfort. Enjoy this simple and straightforward method for harvesting your foods for their medicinal benefits.

Echinacea is one of our favorites because it boosts the immune system, which is especially comforting now and during any cold season. What are your favorite herbs? What are their medicinal purposes? What foods do you take when you become ill?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Echinacea: Medicinal Benefits – Health Line

Echinacea shidonna raven garden and cook

Source: Health Line
Research on echinacea suggests that it offers several impressive health benefits.

Positive Effect on the Immune System

Echinacea is best known for its beneficial effects on the immune system.

Numerous studies have found that this plant may help your immune system combat infections and viruses, which could help you recover faster from illness (8Trusted Source9Trusted Source10Trusted Source).

That’s one reason why echinacea is often used to prevent or treat the common cold.

In fact, a review of 14 studies found that taking echinacea may lower the risk of developing colds by more than 50% and shorten the duration of colds by one and a half days (11Trusted Source).

However, many studies on this topic are poorly designed and show no real benefit. This makes it hard to know if any benefits on colds are from taking echinacea or simply from chance (12Trusted Source).

In short, while echinacea may boost immunity, its effects on the common cold are unclear.

May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

High blood sugar can raise your risk of serious health problems.

This includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease and several other chronic conditions.

Test-tube studies have found that echinacea plants may help lower blood sugar levels.

In a test-tube study, an Echinacea purpurea extract was shown to suppress enzymes that digest carbohydrates. This would reduce the amount of sugar entering your blood if consumed (13Trusted Source).

Other test-tube studies found that echinacea extracts made cells more sensitive to insulin’s effects by activating the PPAR-y receptor, a common target of diabetes drugs (14Trusted Source15).

This particular receptor works by removing excess fat in the blood, which is a risk factor for insulin resistance. This makes it easier for cells to respond to insulin and sugar (16Trusted Source).

Still, human-based research on the effects of echinacea on blood sugar is lacking.

May Reduce Feelings of Anxiety

Anxiety is a common problem that affects close to one in five American adults (17).

In recent years, echinacea plants have emerged as a potential aid for anxiety.

Research has discovered that echinacea plants contain compounds that may reduce feelings of anxiety. These include alkamides, rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid (18Trusted Source).

In one mouse study, three out of five echinacea samples helped reduce anxiety. In addition, they did not make the mice less active, in contrast to higher doses of standard treatments (18Trusted Source).

Another study found that Echinacea angustifolia extract rapidly reduced feelings of anxiety in both mice and humans (19Trusted Source).

However, as of now, only a handful of studies on echinacea and anxiety exist. More research is needed before echinacea products can be recommended as a possible treatment.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation is your body’s natural way of promoting healing and defending itself.

Sometimes inflammation can get out of hand and last for longer than necessary and expected. This may raise your risk of chronic diseases and other health problems.

Several studies have shown that echinacea can help reduce excess inflammation.

In a mouse study, echinacea compounds helped reduce important inflammatory markers and memory-loss caused by inflammation (20Trusted Source).

In another 30-day study, adults with osteoarthritis found that taking a supplement containing echinacea extract significantly reduced inflammation, chronic pain and swelling.

Interestingly, these adults did not respond well to conventional non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) but found the supplement containing echinacea extract helpful (21Trusted Source).

May Help Treat Skin Concerns

Research has shown that echinacea plants may help treat common skin concerns.

In a test-tube study, scientists found that echinacea’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties suppressed the growth of Propionibacterium, a common cause of acne (22Trusted Source).

In another study in 10 healthy people aged 25–40, skin care products containing echinacea extract were found to improve skin hydration and reduce wrinkles (23Trusted Source).

Similarly, a cream containing Echinacea purpurea extract was shown to improve eczema symptoms and help repair the skin’s thin, protective outer layer (24Trusted Source).

However, echinacea extract appears to have a short shelf life, making it difficult to incorporate into commercial skin care products.

May Offer Protection Against Cancer

Cancer is a disease that involves the uncontrolled growth of cells.

Test-tube studies have shown that echinacea extracts may suppress cancer cell growth and even trigger cancer cell death (25Trusted Source26Trusted Source).

In one test-tube study, an extract of Echinacea purpurea and chicoric acid (naturally found in echinacea plants) was shown to trigger cancer cell death (25Trusted Source).

In another test-tube study, extracts from echinacea plants (Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pallida) killed human cancer cells from the pancreas and colon by stimulating a process called apoptosis or controlled cell death (26Trusted Source).

It’s believed that this effect occurs due to echinacea’s immune-boosting properties (27Trusted Source).

There was some concern that echinacea could interact with conventional cancer treatments, such as doxorubicin, but newer studies have found no interaction (28Trusted Source29Trusted Source).

That being said, human studies are needed before making any recommendations.

SUMMARY

Echinacea has been shown to improve immunity, blood sugar, anxiety, inflammation and skin health. It may even have anti-cancer properties. However, human-based research on these benefits is often limited.

Potential Side Effects

Echinacea products appear to be safe and well-tolerated for short-term use.

There have been cases where people experienced side effects, such as (3Trusted Source):

  • Rashes
  • Itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

However, these side effects are more common among people with allergies to other flowers, such as daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds, ragweed and more (3031Trusted Source).

As echinacea appears to stimulate the immune system, people with autoimmune disorders or people taking immunosuppressive drugs should avoid it or consult their doctors first (3Trusted Source).

While it appears to be safe for short-term use, its long-term effects are still relatively unknown.

SUMMARY

Echinacea appears to be safe and well tolerated in the short term, but its long-term effects are relatively unknown.

Dosage Recommendations

There is currently no official dosage recommendation for echinacea.

One reason being that findings from echinacea research are highly variable.

In addition, echinacea products often may not contain what is written on the label. One study found that 10% of echinacea products samples did not contain any echinacea (32Trusted Source).

This is why you should purchase echinacea products from trusted brands.

That said, research has found the following doses to be effective in aiding immunity (11Trusted Source):

  • Dry powdered extract: 300–500 mg of Echinacea purpurea, three times daily.
  • Liquid extract tinctures: 2.5 ml, three times daily, or up to 10 ml daily.

However, it’s best to follow the instructions that come with your specific supplement.

Keep in mind that these recommendations are for short-term use, as echinacea’s long-term effects on the body are still relatively unknown.

SUMMARY

Echinacea products are highly variable, which makes it hard to set a standard recommended dosage. The dosages vary with the form of echinacea you’re using.

The Bottom Line

Echinacea has been shown to improve immunity, blood sugar, anxiety, inflammation and skin health. It may even have anti-cancer properties. However, human-based research is often limited.

It’s considered safe and well tolerated for short-term use.

Suggested dosages vary depending on the form of echinacea you’re using.

Although it’s commonly used to treat the common cold, results in this area are mixed. While research has shown it may help prevent colds, shorten their duration or provide symptomatic relief, many studies have been poorly designed or shown no real benefit.

That said, there aren’t many products like echinacea with similar potential immune-boosting effects, so it might be worth trying it out.

During the pandemic many medical professionals are recommending immune boosting foods like echinace, vitamin c and d. What are you taking? How has it worked for you? Why do you take what you do?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.