Garlic is a member of the Allium or lily family. You may know some of its relatives: leeks and onions. The same sulfur compounds that are responsible for giving garlic its pungent odor are also to thank for its health-promoting benefits.
So, we know garlic is delicious, smelly and may or may not ward off vampires, but let’s take a closer look at the benefits of garlic:
Vitamin-rich. Garlic is a great source of manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and selenium; all nutrients essential for the proper functioning of the human body.
Lower Cholesterol. Garlic lowers blood triglycerides and it can also moderately lower cholesterol.
Heart health. There are compounds in garlic that protect our blood vessels from oxidative and inflammatory stress. It’s that combination of inflammatory and oxidative stress we want to avoid because of how it elevates our risk of plaque forming in our blood vessels, leading to blockages. Garlic also contains properties that prevent platelets in our blood from clumping together, forming clots. All good news for our hard-working hearts.
Lower blood pressure. Garlic has long been known for lowering blood pressure, but recent research tells us that garlic contains polysulfides which can help control our blood pressure as well. A double whammy for keeping our blood pressure at healthy levels.
Antiviral and antibacterial. Fresh garlic is famous for helping to control infections. There are people who swear that by eating several cloves of fresh garlic each day, they’re able to stave off germs.
Cancer prevention. Allium vegetables have important properties in protecting us against cancer. Garlic has actually been found to lower risks of all types of cancer, except for cancer of the breast and prostate. To maximize its cancer-preventing properties, try to increase your daily intake of garlic.
Iron absorption. Studies show that garlic can help the way our bodies metabolize iron. It may also increase our bodies’ ability to produce ferroportin which helps to circulate iron as needed.
When it comes to garlic, eating it raw will give you the most health benefits. Add minced garlic to cooked dishes at the last possible minute in order to retain the most nutrition.
2 to 4 grams of freshly minced garlic each day is the optimal intake we should be looking at. That’s equivalent to roughly 3 teaspoons. If you can’t imagine eating that much raw garlic, consider taking a garlic tablet each day.
I go through a lot of garlic. Maybe that’s why I haven’t had too many vampire encounters in my kitchen!
Here’s a free tip for you: to remove that garlic smell from your hands after you’ve been mincing away in the kitchen, simply wipe your hands on your stainless steel faucet. It might look a little strange but it will neutralize the odor.
What’s your favorite garlic tip? Let us know on Facebook!
by Matt Kokenes
Mulches are a vital part of organic gardening, especially in hot climates like the Southeastern United States. Here, heavy rains can wreak havoc on garden soils, and high daytime temperatures can quickly burn organic material out of the soil. Applying mulch over your garden’s soil protects it’s organic content and structure from compaction when the soil dries, and helps prevent erosion from rain. Mulches also stabilize the temperature of the soil, insulating microbial soil organisms, earthworms, and plant roots from temperature extremes. They help control weeds, and perhaps best of all, mulch helps reduce water consumption by reducing loss to evaporation. When applying mulch, remember not to spread it too close to the plant as this can cause fungal attacks due to the increased humidity it creates.
So what can you use to mulch your organic garden?
An excellent , popular mulch that is high in nitrogen, trace minerals, and the plant hormone triacontanol.
Great because it doesn’t mat and is free of seeds. Avoid using grass hay, as it’s loaded with seeds.
It’s light and easy to work with, and adds organic matter to the soil when tilled in.
Be sure to use only finished compost, as material that isn’t fully composted can rob the soil of nitrogen.
Dried Grass Clippings
Dried is the keyword here…spread only about an inch of herbicide free, dried grass clippings over your garden. Piles of fresh grass clippings will only clump and mat. And smell.
A nice looking, readily available mulch option that breaks down slowly, but also takes nitrogen away from the soil
Shredded, Dried Leaves
A high quality, readily available garden mulch that adds organic matter and trace minerals to the soil.
Not the most attractive option, but a very effective weed barrier between rows of vegetables.
Wood Chips, Shavings or Sawdust
Effective mulches that can temporarily rob the soil of nitrogen. Bone Meal and Dried Blood should be added to the soil before mulching to correct this. Do not use material from treated wood.