Multipurpose Plants (and Mushrooms!) for the Garden

Sunday, 03 June 2012 00:35

 By Steve Gabriel

Shiitake mushroom

In permaculture, the aim is to design gardens and farms for two things — the provision of human needs and the improvement of ecosystem health. When looking at any individual plant, animal, or structure, permaculturists consider first and foremost how it relates to the bigger picture.

Often I am asked, by those enthusiastic to the ideas of permaculture, "Where to begin?" My answer is always the same: take a class, and pick just a few things that excite you. Plant these the first season and observe, learning their habits and life cycle. Then add some more each new year.

Listed below, in preparation for the upcoming growing season, are a few of the many amazing multipurpose plants that should have a home in every garden. All of these plants are perennials — meaning you plant them once and they return year after year. They're easy to grow and propagate. Finally, they all offer benefits to human health as well as to the ecosystem they inhabit.

Read more: Multipurpose Plants (and Mushrooms!) for the Garden


Homeopathy — A Medicine of Renewal

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 11:52

By Carrie Stearns, P.D. Hom.

Cherry BlossomsAs I write, it is a beautiful, bright spring morning. We are already in the heart of spring here in Ithaca. The daffodils are at their peak and tulips are just around the corner from blooming, with the lilacs not far behind. I have spent my morning drinking tea, reading poetry and periodically checking in (via my computer) on a pair of nesting herons at Sapsucker Woods, all while thinking of writing this article for the GreenLeaf about my work as a homeopath.

Homeopathy and spring actually have a lot in common. Spring is a time of renewal, and homeopathic medicine holds great potential for deep and lasting renewal of health. Spring is full of energy and possibility, born out of a time of darkness and stillness. Homeopathy is energetic medicine made from nature (plants, animals and minerals) that stimulates the body to transform symptoms of illness into health. The darkness and stillness of winter is a very real metaphor for illness. In my work as a homeopath I approach healing with the idea that illness offers us opportunities through which we can discover places in need of change that then can bring about greater health.

Read more: Homeopathy — A Medicine of Renewal

The Principle of the Edible House

Sunday, 01 April 2012 17:37


By Sarah K. Highland

highland-edible-houseIf a fundamental principle of health is that you are what you eat, then the basic premise of healthy homebuilding is that you ought to be able to eat your house. If you have kids or pets, you may know what I'm talking about. For the rest of you, imagine a door viewed through a very powerful microscope. Every time it opens and closes, particles of the door rub off and waft through the air or fall to the floor. If the door is made of real wood, with an edible finish, well and good. If, however, it's covered with paint or made of a plastic composite, those particles floating around the house won't be so good for you, especially if they land on a kitchen cutting board.

Now let's take a microscopic look at a wall. There may not be visible cracks in the surface, but anywhere there's an electrical outlet there is a hole in the wall that may connect directly to the insulation cavity. Any drafts coming through that little hole are going to carry in with them tiny particles of insulation. Therefore, you may want to consider both of these facts when you evaluate or choose the insulation in your walls: some kinds are much more effective than others (fiberglass, though cheap, is actually not a very good insulator); and some are friendlier than others to inhale. I'd sooner eat straw than cellulose, and you couldn't pay me enough to take a mouthful of fiberglass or foam.

Read more: The Principle of the Edible House


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All products from Gaia Herbs are on sale — stock up on high-quality cold- and flu-fighting supplements.

Good news for your health! Gaia Herbs (my personal favorite herb company) is having a 20-percent-off sale through November. Stock up now on their popular Olive Leaf and Oil of Oregano, two customer favorites among their many liquid phyto-caps (all vegetarian). Bolster your immune system with a bottle of Gaia's Elderberry Syrup, made with certified-organic elderberries, or their Echinacea Supreme tincture, formulated with certified organic Echinacea roots, seeds, and aerial parts. If you're a fan of organic essential oils for immune support, note that we now stock diffusers and nebulizers from SpaRoom. Diffuse your favorite immune blends from Veriditas Botanicals into your home or workplace. Speaking of Veriditas, we've expanded our supply of their certified-organic oils and blends and now carry their therapeutic hydrosols as well. Infuse a little Veriditas rosewater or orange-blossom water into your baked goods this season and prepare to wow your fellow foodies.

  • By Jaime Hazard, 

    Tompkins Community Action

    Are you noticing drafts in your home? Wondering whether your heating system is safe or efficient? Are you looking for ways to save on your energy costs? With winter coming on fast,  Tompkins Community Action wants to help keep your home warm. Every day, TCAction hears from homeowners, landlords and renters looking for information about our energy efficiency programs. With so many energy efficiency loans, rebates, grants and tax incentives available, it can be hard to fi...

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