Growing Heritage Apple Trees From Cuttings

Health And Healing

Every organic garden should have at least one good apple tree, I believe. Apples are very beneficial to the health.  An apple a day keeps the doctor away, the old saying goes.

Heritage apples have been shown to be much higher in nutrients than modern-day apples which are  grown mainly to appeal to the eye, rather than for their healthful aspects.  Heritage apples contain plenty of those antioxidants and phytochemicals which have been proven for their ability in helping  prevent diseases such as cancer and arthritis.

There is, thankfully, a trend now for people to procure heritage apple trees, which are very old varieties, for their garden orchards.

Putting down cuttings is a way in which you can propagate your own trees from an old variety of apple tree.  The method may not always work, but there is a good chance that you may get one or two lucky strikes from the cutting method of propagation.

The good thing about the cutting method is that the newly grown tree will be true to type and will produce the same kind of fruit as the original tree.

Some varieties of apple respond better to the cutting method than others.  I have had wonderful success from an unknown old tree in the Waikato which had smallish but sweet apples, similar to a Cox’s Orange.  Lately, I have managed to grow one cutting out of several I took from my daughter’s Dunedin orchard.  This apple tree is quite old and gnarly, but is overloaded with beautiful big apples every year which stew up into a lovely creamy sweet pulp, and also make good eating apples too.  I am looking forward to when it will begin to fruit.

I took most of my cuttings in the spring-time, just before the apples began to produce their new leaves.  However, I have still had results from taking cuttings at Christmas time in New Zealand, when the apple tree had very young leaves on it.

The secret is to not let the new budding shoots dry out, or the new green leaves, if they have sprouted. So put your cuttings in a dampish place where they will get the sun for only a short time of the day. Right alongside a compost bin on the shadier side is an excellent place. The nutrients from the compost infiltrate the soil around the bin, and these nutrients help the cuttings to grow roots. Make sure to water the area where the cuttings have been planted so that the soil does not dry out.

Take cuttings around 18 inches to 2 feet long.  Bury half of the length of the cutting in the ground.

Pushing the cuttings in at an angle amongst other leafy garden plants such as comfrey, which offer some shade as well as nutrients to the upcoming young apple tree can help the cutting to take root. Remember, again, to water enough so that the soil does not dry out.

I have found the occasional drink of watered down coffee grounds to be helpful in growing apple trees from cuttings. The high nitrogen content in coffee may be why this helps new growth.

Even if you think none have taken, try to leave the cuttings in until the following spring, when you might be surprised. Some cuttings will be obviously dead by the end of the summer, and you can remove those ones, but leave in those cuttings which still show promise, even though they may not be showing new leaves. Sometimes, the plant is busy building a root system below ground, even when it has not managed to sprout new leaves. You will know when springs comes whether it has made the grade or not.

Apples can help prevent constipation, acidity of the stomach, help digestion, help prevent arthritis, cancer and many other diseases.

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Fragrant Organic Gardens For Birds, Bees, Beauty And Medicine

Organic Gardening

Plant plenty of Bee-Friendly herbs to feed the bees a healthy diet.  Bee Colony Collapse Disorder can be prevented by avoiding the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides, and by planting herbs which contain natural medicines.

And keep some of those wonderful weeds such as Dandelion and Prunella Vulgaris, commonly called Self-Heal.  Bees love these plants, and they are so good for the soil.

We are losing our traditional cottage garden flowers and healing weeds.  So make an effort to keep our valuable healing plants by planting them in your garden, and letting some of those weeds grow too.

Less than twenty years ago, on Waiheke Island in New Zealand, many medicinal “weeds” such as dandelions, plantain, self-heal, comfrey, thistles, red clover, and hundreds of other useful and beautiful plants abounded, as well as self-sown peach and apple trees and goodness knows what else.

The keeping of cottage gardens helped keep the strains of the then-common weeds from becoming extinct, as well as many flower and shrub species which sadly now are quite rare to see.

There was always a nook and cranny to be found, amongst the incredible variety of flowers nurtured in the cottage garden, for the likes of a rogue thistle, or a hypericum seedling, to settle in for a bit.  We never used herbicide sprays or anything toxic in our gardens. Birds and bees, and beloved snails too, loved our gardens.

Our cottage gardens were the nurseries, not just of decorative annuals, rare shrubs and trees, but of medicinal weeds, many of which actually, and naturally, serve as medicines for the bees and surrounding plants.

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All weeds have their purpose in the big scheme of things.  Many actually enhance the quality of the soil, whilst helping other plants to grow.

Many cottage plants and so-called weeds, such as the feverfew daisy, lavender, and geraniums, help keep insects at bay. Some plants have the potential to cure the most common health ailments pertaining to man and his husbandry.

There was nothing more exciting for us nature lovers than to explore a cottage garden with friends and to find and try to identify the more rare plants, including the useful weeds: these had more than a small chance of surviving just long enough, in most people’s gardens, to proliferate somewhere else before being pulled out.

Our gardens were not only a paradise for the birds and bees, but a feast for our eyes.  The cottage garden flourished during the last few decades of the 1900’s, especially on Waiheke Island and in similar small villages around the country: but even in some suburbs of Auckland, such as Epsom and Mount Eden, many beautiful gardens have survived until fairly recently.

Alas, the original owners who tended these gardens have aged themselves. Many of their houses have been sold to a new generation who do not have an appreciation, or knowledge, of gardening. Land is expensive, and so gardens are dwindling to make room for new building developments.

Many newcomers to these areas, which previously were adorned with beautiful gardens, have come from other countries where, in their built-up cities, gardens like our cottage gardens simply do not exist, so there lacks an appreciation for the New-Zealand-style garden where a great array of plants are given a go.

Consequently, many gardens, such as in Epsom, Auckland, are rapidly being chopped out and their grand trees felled to have a concrete car-park laid, or a garage built, in their place.

Sometimes, of course, trees do have to be felled, and sheds built. However, it is sad to see the unnecessary ruination of an entire garden, when all that appears after its disappearance  is a stretch of concrete, or a stretch of concrete and a few palms.

Many younger Kiwi people also do not seem to care for our old gardens: they tend to go for some kind of Bahama-Island tourist-resort-inspired garden design which looks  like you live somewhere else. They feature plenty of slickly-laid pale-colored concretes, with just a few lonely exotic palms, a token native or two, and cacti, dotted about.

We are not fooled, and nor are the birds or the bees – this type of garden lay-out is for the lazy, so that no time needs to be spent weeding, or for the insensitive who can’t tell the difference, or just don’t care.  These gardens are entirely joyless. No life is permitted to exist there except for the token natives and the stark palms and cacti.

The concrete, the plastic sheeting underneath the stones, and the tree bark on the ground, puts paid to any weeds growing. This means that there are no insects for birds to eat. No room for a hedgehog, moth, butterfly, or a bee.

By comparison, the Waiheke Island of yester-year was a euphoric utopia. The many hedgerows along the rarely-sprayed stony tracks which we called roads, were home to insects, birds and bees. Wild climbing roses gave heart and soul to the place, intertwined betwixt and between the manuka, or a self-sown plum tree, or an old fence at the edge of a garden, enjoyed by all as we passed by, on our way to the beach. Or the shop. Or the ferry.

If you did not have it in your garden, there was usually some of what you needed to use for medicinal purposes, or simply for the eating, just down the road, growing on the roadside where today the concrete paths and road tarmac have ‘taken over’ the former habitat of this island-jungle-paradise.

On Waiheke Island, we had a variety of self-sown fruit trees: plums, apples, pears, peaches, quinces – and  grapes. Sometimes you would discover a patch of wild potatoes, or taro, hidden beneath the kikuyu, just waiting for the taking. Or squash. Or wild yams. Or yellow-flowering JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES, standing robust and tall above the weeds like a  “can-do” cousin of the more proud, but less hardy, sunflower.

Many of these edible plants, at a guess, probably survived from the days when Maori cultivated big gardens on Waiheke. These Waiheke gardens were, a hundred years or so ago, the market gardens which fed much of Auckland. This is why you could still find, in the ’70’s ’80’s and ’90’s, some very unusual kinds of potatoes and other root vegetables growing on unused banks and braes.

So many other treasures were to be found growing beside the dusty, curly, shingle roads of our island: There were flowers for the table: Dad bringing in the white-and-pink jasmine in the early spring with a sweetness which graced the whole house, and our hearts, and later, tall fantastic spikes of exotic, heady, sweet-smelling, sunny ginger plant celebrating the height of the summer.

Unfortunately, much of this vegetation has been lost. The regular spraying of herbicides on grass verges has killed off many decorative plants, as well as medicinal, herbaceous weeds. Comfrey and ginger plant have been named noxious weeds.

Few people keep cottage gardens any more. Many of us would-be gardeners do not own a property where we can plant all the things we love.

Keep the trees if you can.  If you must chop down a tree, plant another one or two somewhere else. Remember – Bird-life is dependent upon insects for eating, and trees to live in. Without these things, birds perish.

Small plants such as dandelions, plantains and other weeds have a part to play in the food chain, not just for bird and insect life, but for man too: for healthy agriculture, for honey bees, and for use as natural medicines as well. They can’t grow on concrete. They CAN grow in the cottage garden, and along grassy, unsprayed verges.

Nowadays,a dandelion plant is extremely hard to find, even in a field of grass, and if you should find one, you can’t be sure that it hasn’t been sprayed with a toxic chemical, so you had better not eat it.  In the country, agriculture chemicals, and the selected, commercial mixes of grass-seed which farmers(and house-holders) use, have just about eradicated the beneficial weeds from our environment. Many plants are almost extinct: plantain, nettles, water-cress,dandelions, to name just a few.

Urbanized Waiheke has lost most of its former charm. Many big trees,and all the self-sown fruit trees, have all disappeared from the road-side and the bush. The scrub and hedgerows where birds, hedgehogs, insects, and natural plant life thrived, have been cleared. Much planting of native trees and flaxes has been done in certain areas, however, there is a lack of colour and variety in these plantings.

It is rare to see  large trees such as an oak, or a birch, an aspen, a magnolia or a flowering cherry newly planted in public areas. And the ground is often covered with wood chips which renders it redundant as a food source for birds.

About all you can find growing wild abundantly now, on Waiheke Island, is a hardy variety of silver beet which has adapted to survive the salt of the sea at the water’s edge. Very clever, to escape the watchful, merciless eyes of the city council planners who employ the concrete-layers,weeders and spray-people to keep away such up-starts. It grows along the water’s edge in the virtually inaccessable parts of Surfdale and Blackpool.

You can still find wild valerian here too, although you have to look hard for it amongst the kikuyu grass now.

Just how, in New Zealand, can we revive our dwindling species of trees, plants, insects, and birds? Bringing back the cottage garden would help enormously. Having areas in cities and in the country where things are allowed to grow naturally without the use of any chemical sprays, or unnatural ground coverings which prohibit weeds from growing, would be another solution.

Councils could declare that so much of a householder’s property should be taken up with several trees and garden plants.  Trees and hedgerows could line the sides of all our roads: Big trees, fruiting trees, and small trees, not just the smaller, ever-green natives being planted about the city at the moment.

We need colour to gladden our hearts: some real flowers, or flowering trees such as magnolias, or flame trees. Not the mono-colored, ghastly mono-cultures of strange flaxes and grasses, planted in formation, such as Auckland City Council has planted around all their new bus stations. Disheartening and sickening, planted with the same idea, I guess, as some food chains have when making their interior design so barren and ugly that no body wants to stay there for long.

These joyless gardens prohibit anything else from growing as they are covered up with wood bark, so you don’t find any birds about these lonely, desolate spots. Like being on a west coast beach on a windy day. Why so barren? Trees- flowers-and weeds- should grow in these places perfectly well.  We need more gardeners.

The government could start a new programme to give people jobs – imagine thousands of gardeners working all over the country,and the city, say for 20 odd hours a week so that the job was always an enjoyable thing to do: Planting all the road-side areas with trees and flowers, and edible plants; keeping weeds from overtaking the gardens, but not eradicating them entirely. And time off for wet weather.

Chemical herbicides and insecticides could be banned forever. This will be the end to ‘Bee Colony Collapse Disorder’ and human cancers.

YES, WE WILL GROW MORE TREES, big trees, small trees, flowering trees, native trees, fruit trees too;  plant more gardens, anywhere and everywhere, wild yams and taro.  Let hedgerows flourish with their dandelions, honeysuckle, plaintain and wild roses, and make our world a better, happier place for all beings.

Medicinal Garden Herbs For You And The Bees

Natural Remedies

There are many wonderful healing herbs or weeds which you can grow in your garden for the purpose of helping cure many of the common ailments which allay us.  They will also help the bees to make good honey and stay healthy.

note – this article was originally posted up around 2010 – mistakenly, it was moved onto another site – now restored to this one

Below I list some of the easiest ones to grow, and some of the most useful, which you can add to your garden, whether it is large or small.

Caution: I do not recommend that people try these remedies without consulting a herbalist. They are recorded here below for interest, and as a resource in the case of circumstances of emergency which might make doctors and conventional medicines unavailable.  See your doctor if you are ill.

Medicinal Uses of Aquilega vulgaris,  also known as Granny’s Bonnets,  or Columbine.
Aquilegia is a Ranunculaceae , commonly known as ‘Granny’s Bonnets’, or ‘Columbine’. These plants have lovely bell-shaped flowers which come in various shades of purple, pink, maroon, white, or yellow.
They look very pretty, rising up a couple of feet or so from the ground, with their delicate flowers hanging most voluptuously from their spindly, slender-stalks. Once you have them in the garden, they will self-seed and give you more of the same the following year. As it is a perennial, the old plant will surprise you.  After it has died down, it will come up again in the spring to flower again.

Aquilegia, or Columbine, is an astringent,diuretic, and diaphoretic.
One teaspoon of plant root can be steeped for several hours in cold water: of this, you can take one tablespoon at a time, from three to six times a day for diarrhea, according to John Lust.  Personally, I would lower the dose to only a teaspoonful, to be on the safe side.
Dr Lust recommends the flowers be used in wine to promote perspiration. He does not state the recipe for using the flowers, but I would use one teaspoon only, soaked in a glass of wine for three hours, taken a teaspoonful at a time.  The dose could be repeated from three to six times a day. Build up the dose to one tablespoonful if need be.
I would not continue this remedy for more than a day or two.

Aquilegia Lotion For Arthritic Pains:
A lotion to help the aches and pains of rheumatism and arthritis can be made from the root of aquilegia. This is a safe remedy to try, as it is only applied externally. Chop or grate a quantity of root and soak for two days in just
enough vodka to cover. Strain and bottle. Rub onto sore joints as needed.

Culpepper says that the Columbine is ‘an herb of Venus’; that Tragus recommended a drachm of the seed to be taken with saffron in wine, for treating conditions of the liver such as yellow jaundice. Culpepper recommends the seed in wine for ‘a speedy delivery of women in childbirth’.  You would use even less of the seed: only 5 seeds to a wineglassful of wine,infused for a few hours; the dose – one teaspoon every three hours for up to five doses, in my estimation.
I must say that I did not get around to trying this remedy for an easy childbirth when I had my children. But there you have it.

Golden Rod, Solidago virgaurea:

Otherwise known as European Goldenrod, this  is another beautiful, now quite rare, perennial to grow inyour cottage garden. It reaches about three feet tall when it is ready for flowering, taking up about as much room as a maize, or corn plant. Its flowers are golden yellow, as its name implies, and these are formed amidst a furry down, a little like thistle down: this acts as its parachute to carry it off on the breeze.

Medicinal Uses of Golden Rod:

Golden Rod is well known for its therapeutic properties. It is astringent and diuretic. It has been used for the treatment of kidney stones and other kidney ailments; nephritis and arthritis; menorrhagia;  whooping cough; and
eczema and psoriasis. It can be used both internally and externally.
Culpeper holds it in high esteem: apart from ridding the body of kidney stones, he recommends it for internal bruising and calls it’a sovereign wound herb, whereby green wounds and old ulcers are speedily cured’. He also
recommends it as a rinse for ulcers in the mouth or throat or ‘privities’, and for firming up loose teeth.
Venus rules this herb, according to Culpeper.
The leaves can be crushed and used as a poultice for insect bites and other skin abrasions.
Dose: Make a tea by simmering one tablespoon of flowers in a cup of water for three minutes. Strain, and drink when cooled. Take one cup a day as needed, for up to three days at a time, and then a break.
Use the same tea for external use.

Ladies’ Mantle, Alchemilia vulgaris.
This is an herb which has a place in every cottage garden because of its attractive foliage, as well as its medicinal qualities. It loves to grow in shady spots, beneath, say, the cover of a linden tree, or a mulberry.
It is ruled by Venus, so Culpeper tells us.
In Sweden, it is a folk-remedy for aiding sleep in restless children, a sprig being put under the pillow. It is a great wound herb, as it helps to coagulate the blood. It is useful for all inflammations and ruptures, and can be taken internally and used externally.
Culpeper says that ‘the Germans, who, in all wounds, inward and outward, drink the decoction thereof, and wash the wounds therewith…’, and that it quickly heals ‘green’ wounds and old sores.

It is a great ladies’ herb, of course. Culpeper claims it aids conception and helps mastitis conditions in breast-feeding mothers. A poultice of the infused leaves can be laid over the breasts, and a tea taken to help painful lumps of mastitis. It can be used in a bath to help prevent miscarriages. It is a traditional remedy for treating infertility.
It can be used both internally and externally for thrush.

Dose: Make a tea using one or two teaspoons of chopped fresh Ladies’ Mantle leaves.
A tea made with one teaspoon each of marigold flowers and Ladies’ Mantle is reputed to be good for period pain.
John Lust uses four teaspoons of dried herb, soaked in a cup of water for ten minutes. A cup a day can be taken for up to one week at a time.
I would prefer to use the milder option of one teaspoon of fresh herb with marigold petals in a tea.

Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis
A small area in the garden should be given to this very useful and sweet smelling herb. Bees just LOVE it, which alone is a very good reason to grow it.
Medicinal Uses of Lemon Balm:
It may be taken freely as a refreshing and soothing tea. It aids sleep, and helps reduce anxiety.
Dose: Just add a few leaves to your pot of tea, or infuse on its own. Three or four cups a day of tea can be taken.
Take a cup before bed, sweetened with honey to help with attaining a good night’s sleep.

Feverfew, Chrysanthemum parthenium

This is also known as featherfew, or febrifuge plant.
This is a great little cottage garden plant: It is an attractive, small chrysanthemum which, when allowed to, will pop up along the sides of paths and between pavement cracks. It is not a menace by any means, as they pull up easily if you wish to remove some of them.

Medicinal Uses: Feverfew is carminative, an emmenagogue, purgative, stimulant and tonic.  It could be of use to the recovering alcoholic, or for people who have drunk to excess.
It is useful to cure migraines,fevers, help colds and flu, and indigestion.
John Lust, in ‘The Herb Book’, suggests it can be used for fixing the alchololic d.t.’s.
Dosage: Make a cupful of tea with one teaspoon of flowers or leaves. Take only one tablespoonful of this
mixture through the day, until the tea is finished.
Two cups per day is the maximum dose per day, taken always just a tablespoonful at a time.
Note: Do not use this tea every day, but only as is necessary, as a medecine.

Hollyhock, Althaea rosea:

Also known as Althea rose, malva flowers, and rose mallow.  It is related to the common Marshmallow, which is also a medicinal herb.

This is a lovely tall flowering plant which will add grace and charm to your garden.  It comes in colours similar to the Hibiscus:  peach, pink, crimson, white, cream, purple, and yellow.

Plant it alongside a wall, or in some sheltered, sunny spot where it will be protected from the wind. ‘The tall hollyhock has the most beautiful flowers which grow all along its upper length, giving the plant a spine of vivid colour’, to quote the eloquence of one herbal.  As it is economical on space, even if you have only a small patch of ground, there should be room in your garden for a hollyhock or two, perhaps outside a window.

It is very easy to grow from seed.  One plant will last for several years, coming up again from the ground after it has died down.

Medicinal Uses of Hollyhock:
Hollyhock is a demulcent, diuretic and emollient. It is a safe herb to use for helping bronchial complaints and chest infections, as it soothes the mucous membranes. I have used the flowers on many occasions to treat
chest problems in my children, and for myself, in combination with halibut liver oil.

Make a tea of one tablespoonful of flowers and covering with boiling water.  Leave to infuse for several minutes.  Drink the tea in sips over an hour.  Make some more tea if needed.  An adult could take 2 or 3 cups per day if necessary, whilst a child would take half this amount or less.
Note- see your doctor if your child is sick. You can safely use hollyhock in combination with any medication you might be given for a chest ailment.
Lavender, Lavandula augustifolia.
Lavender attracts bees into your garden almost all the year round, which makes it a ‘must’ to plant. Every good garden deserves at least one lavender bush.

It can be planted as a small hedge, or as border around areas of the cottage garden. There are many varieties to choose from.

Lavender is an antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, and tonic.  But be cautious with using lavender.  It is a strong herb, and only a small amount is needed.
It is a calmative which can be helpful for reducing high blood pressure, anxiety and heart palpitations. It can help regulate menstruation.

The vapours of lavender can help to calm a woman during childbirth, and it can aid in expelling the placenta after childbirth if a compress containing lavender oil is laid over the abdomen.
A tea made of equal parts of lavender, chamomile and calendula is said to help restore a new mother to health and aid in the production of milk, so says John Lust.
Lavender oil is a natural insect repellant and a disinfectant. The oil kills head lice, and will deter fleas.
Lavender oil is known as the ‘mother of all essential oils’, as it is so verstile.
Lavender oil can be applied directly to burns, bites and stings, and used as an embrocation for sore joints.
The oil can be burnt in an oil burner, or a few dried lavender heads burnt in an oven-proof dish along with dried rosemary stalks.  Just a little of the ensuing smoke will deter mosquitoes and other insects.
It combines well with most other oils, such as bergamot,eucalyptus, rosemary and pine.
The flowers can be dried to use in pot-pouri, and put in lavender bags to deter moths from eating your clothes.

Dose: Use the leaves for an infusion. Steep one teaspoon of chopped leaves in half a cup of water for two hours.
This dose can be safely taken twice a day for several days to help anxiety, sleeplessness, nausea and vomiting, migraines, clogged intestines, and lack of appetite.
Cease taking the decoction once improvement has been noted.

Valerian, Valeriana officinalis
Culpeper gives Mercury as the ruler of Valerian. Merciry rules the intellect and communication.
This herb has attractive red, pink, white, or yellow flowers. It is great to grow on clay banks where little else
will grow. It will spread over time, so the root needs to be divided once in a while.
The white flowered valerian is the one with the highest medicinal value. The root is the part used.
Medicinal Use  Of Valerian:
It is used as a mild tranquillizer, and to bring on sleep.
It has also been used as a counter-poison. According to Culpeper, boiled in wine, it can be taken for venomous bites
and stings.It was used, in Culpeper’s time, as a remedy against the plague.
For improving  the sight, it was used externally by first boiling a little root in white wine for several minutes.
One drop only of the cooled mixture was used for each eye.
For Wounds and Bruises:  It is another great wound herb, both internally and externally. The leaves and root can be crushed and applied to help draw out splinters.

Note: Ask your naturopath or doctor about using Valerian. It can become addictive, so beware. Hitler was said to be a Valerian addict.

More to follow…..

Culpeper, Nicholas. Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. Arcturus Publishing Limited, London, 2009
Lust, John. The Herb Book. Bantam Books, New York, 1974

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Improve Your Soil With Natural Green Manure and Seaweed.

Dig in a crop to fertilize your soil:  Plants which nourish the soil are comfrey, clover, chicory, lupins, buckwheat, lettuce, mustard, turnips, radishes and alfalfa or lucerne.  Grow any of these plants, then dig them into your soil to fertilize it and fix it with nitrogen.   Lupins and clover are extremely good for bringing nitrogen to the soil.  Lawn clippings, although they are  good fibrous  matter for the soil, especially useful for breaking down clay soils,   actually draw nitrogen from the soil as they decompose.  If you are using lawn clippings or seaweed, you can help the nitrogen content of the soil by putting diluted urine over this area of the garden.  Urine is especially high in nitrogen, and this makes it a good supplement to use for  nitrogen-hungry seaweed, and lawn clippings.   All citrus trees thrive on a weekly dose of diluted urine.  Dilute the urine about one part to eight of water.

Digging in seaweed picked up from the beach is also a good way to fertilize your soil.  This is the best way to bring Iodine and other important minerals into your soil.  Seaweed is not such a good supplier of nitrogen, so remember the tip for using diluted urine if you are digging in seaweed.   Your plants will have a higher content of Iodine and all other minerals if you replenish the soil occasionally with seaweed nutrients.   Just make sure not to let the seaweed touch the plants if you are laying it on the garden.  You can make up a liquid seaweed by soaking a bunch of seaweed in a bucket for 2 or 3 weeks.  Dilute the seaweed solution with about 8 times the amount of water, and spray around your plants.  This seaweed solution helps to bring the worms, as well as bringing nutrients directly to the plants in the garden.  Seaweed used this way is also a deterrent to troublesome insects.  It is a safe way to help control the insects you do not want around, as it does not kill bees and butterflies, which derris dust and pyrethrum insecticides  do.

Comfrey is also excellent:  This miracle herb brings silica and other nutrients which benefit the growth of plants.  If you are using Comfrey, then you would pick the leaves from another part of the garden to dig into your vegetable or flower garden plot.  Comfrey roots are very tenacious, so you would not grow a crop of Comfrey all over your vegetable garden, but instead, you would use some of the leaves from the plant which grows in the spot which you have allocated for it.    Alternatively, you can make a Comfrey liquid fertilizer by picking some Comfrey leaves, and soaking them in water for 2 or 3 weeks.  Dilute this liquid to put around your plants, or to spray on the plants.  This liquid fertilizer helps to bring the worms, and it is a good way to distribute the Comfrey silica and other nutrients throughout the garden.  Silica is an important mineral, because it helps all living things, including plants, to process other minerals and vitamins.

How To Grow Organic Food:  Any Green Crop can be grown as a natural green manure.  Let  your spare seeds of carrots, lettuce, silver beet, or turnips, clover and alfala, grow around your garden.  When they are about half grown, you can dig them into the soil. The plant leaf material, once dug into the soil, will attract the worms.   The worms  eat the leaf material, and carry it about while they digest it.  As they work through the soil, they aerate it, which is also beneficial for the growth of plants.  Once the leaves have been digested, they are  turned  into a rich, organic fertilizer which benefits the soil.

By using compost, or these natural green manures and seaweed solutions, and avoiding the use of chemicals,  your  organic garden will flourish.  Your vegetables will be more healthy with a higher vitamin and mineral content.  Gardening with compost, seaweeds,  and natural green manures makes your plants more resiliant to insects.  Using natural organic fertilizers helps to discourage insects at the same time as they increase the nutritive value of the vegetables.