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Ed Said


dadHistory says natural cures highly recommended

Well, the shortest day has come and gone with the worst of winter weather we have yet to bear. For gardeners, woe betide if you didn’t plant your garlic on the shortest day.

Together with lemons, which now abound, these two ingredients form a large part of our ‘insurance’ against winter ills and both have a very long and very colourful history.

Planting garlic on the shortest day of the year has long been the edict of Kiwi gardeners but there is no evidence as to why. Few places outside New Zealand follow this course.

In colder climes where the ground freezes it is accepted that planting a month or so before the shortest day allows a suitable root system to become established before the ground temperature drops and slows growth.

We tend to think of garlic in terms of Spanish, Greek or Italian dishes but it’s history is much more romantic, dating back thousands of years and emanating from China which is by far the biggest producer in the world.

A belief in the sacredness of garlic can be traced back to the third millennium BC when it was offered to the gods, painted on the walls of Egyptian tombs – even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, Egypt’s youngest ruler.

Today it is widely used in cooking and medicines assisting in curing many common ills.

Our gardening guru Gael McConachy gets some garlic growing in her latest column (see link below). On the other hand the origin of the lemon
is a mystery, though it is thought that lemons first grew in southern India, northern Burma, and China.

One of the earliest records of ‘lemon’ appears in a Middle English customs document of 1420–1421.

Lemons also have a long history in traditional Indian medicines, the vitamin C content highly revered worldwide. Juice, pulp, zest, a garnish in modern foods and sauces, cleaning products, aromatherapy, insecticides and deodorisers are just some of the modern uses.

And, of course, many modern alcoholic drinks and liquers just wouldn’t be the same without that slice of lemon. That should make you feel better.

Cheers, Rob

Gardening with Gael - Garlic goes from menu to medicine

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