Passionfruit (Passiflora edulis)

Passionfruit - Granadilla
As wonderful as passionfruit is both from an aesthetic and culinary point of view, it does not, as some sources will tell you, offer sedative and anxiety reducing effects.

Passionfruit, also known as Granadilla, is a delicious fruit to grow in your organic garden. It is native to subtropical wild regions of South America and probably originated in Paraguay. Botanically the purple passionfruit that you know and love belongs to the family of Passifloraceae, and has the species name Passi flora edulis.
There are a some golden or yellow varieties of passionfruit available these days that go by the botanical name Passiflora edulis flavicarpa (Panama Gold passionfruit). Just to confuse the issue further there are also some purple varieties of the P. edulis flavicarpa (known as Panama Red) that are now available. The two latter varieties are favored by some people as they produce larger and juicier fruit than the traditional passionfruit.
The passionfruit plant is an avid climber that grows on anything it can get its tendrils through and around. Passionfruit grow upwards so you get lots of fruit for little space and in hot areas you can even grow them up trees. They also grow in large pots on a balcony.
Passionfruit - Granadilla
Your healing passionfruit
Perhaps the greatest gift that passionfruit has to give you is its taste but that does not mean that it is without nutritional value. Around 100 grams of passionfruit pulp contains about 400 kilojoules and is also a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber.
Passionfruit is a good fibre source, with 100 grams of frut pulp providing around 10 grams of fiber. Fiber in your diet helps balance cholesterol as well as acting as a bulk laxative. Passionfruit is also a good source of vitamin C. providing about 30mg per 100g. It is not a massive dose but certainly a useful one and as well as all the actions of vitamin C for immunity there is another benefit as well. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron and this is especially relevant since passionfruit also contains iron.
Passionfruit also contains vitamin A at around 1274IU per 10Og. Both vitamin A and vitamin C are antioxidants and the antioxidant effects of passionfruit are boosted even further by the flavonoids beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin- beta. As well as being antioxidants, these flavonoids, along with vitamin A, are useful insupporting good eyesight.
Potassium is an important mineral for many functions throughout your body, including muscle function, and 100 grams of passionfruit pulp contains about 348mg of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cells and body fluids, and helps to regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Passionfruit is also a good source of copper, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Don’t be fooled
As wonderful as passionfruit is both from an aesthetic and culinary point of view, it does not, as some sources will tell you. Offer sedative and anxiety reducing effects.
What these sources are doing is confusing the plant that is widely used in herbal medicine for these purposes and which is known as Passion Flower. The botanical name for Passion Flower is Passiflora incarnata, so it is certainly of the same family but the fruits of Passion Flower (also known as Maypop)are yellowish to orange and about the size of a chicken's egg.
While the use of the leaves of Passion Flower to make a tea to reduce anxiety and improve sleep goes back to Aztec times there is no evidence that passionfruit offers any of these benefits.
Grow Your Passionfruit
When to plant: Plant vines from early From September to December. After the frosts have passed in cooler regions.
Climate: PassionFruits grow throughout Australia. Check at your local nursery to find the best variety for your area.
Aspect/placement: Likes Full sun and plenty of room. Frost sensitive.
Specific needs: Grow your passionfruit vine on a structure, such as a trellis. Likes well-drained soil, but not wet Feet. Keep the water up to your vine, particularly during Fruiting periods and when it's dry. Vigorous growers, so keep in check with regular pruning of the old. Woody growth in late winter, early spring. This will encourage new growth and flowers. Passionfruit are heavy Feeders so add plenty of composted chook manure twice a year in autumn and spring. Mulch around the roots with pea straw to protect From the sun. Some passionfruits are grown as grafted plants, so remove suckers that grow From beneath the graft.
Harvesting: Vines usually crop within at least 18 months of planting in cooler temperate zones, but in hot and subtropical climates expect Fruit within six to eight months. Fruit drops when ripe, taste it, or watch For when it changes color usually From green to black.

Silverbeet (Beta vulgaris)

If there is any plant that you want to grow in your garden silver beet may be it. That’s not because of any magical properties it has but because it is highly perishable and is best eaten 10 minutes after it is harvested. IP you wrap it tightly in an airtight bag and keep it refrigerated, it might keep for five days but it is best eaten fresh.
There has been confusion in Australia between silver beet and spinach (Spinacea oleracea) but. as their species names tell you, they are two quite distinct plants although they do belong to the same Family along with beets. As we shall see later there are some significant nutritional differences between spinach and silver beet.
Silver beet is also known as Swiss chard in places like America, despite the Fact that it did not originate in Switzerland. In Fact, silver beet began in the Mediterranean and as Far back as the 4th century the Greek Aristotle was lauding its healthy properties.

Your healing silver beet
Silver beet is a great dietary source of fiber, iron, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene. In addition it contains a range of antioxidant flavonoids. In Fact, it might be that one of these flavonoids could help with blood sugar control because it reduces the action of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down carbohydrates intosimple sugars. If this enzyme is blocked fewer carbohydrates get broken down and blood sugar is able to stay more steady, this is especially useful after a meal. Add this to the high fiber content of silver beet and the potential benefits for blood sugar are many.
Silver beet is also a useful Food For your bones. It contains reasonable amounts of calcium and importantly contains vitamin K as well. Vitamin K does a couple of things to support your bones. Firstly it stops excessive activation of cells called osteoclasts whose job it is to big up bone. On top of vitamin activates osteocalcin which anchors calcium molecules inside bones. While there are oxalates present in silver beet and they do reduce calcium absorption to a small degree, the evidence is that there is more than enough calcium present in silver beet to make up For that.
So with vitamin K and calcium, silver beet is a great bone food.

Silver beet vs Spinach

In the section on spinach we will spell out the many benefits of that particular leafy green vegetable, but since Australians can sometimes use the names silver beet and spinach interchangeably, it is worth a quick look at the nutritional differences. Spinach has almost double the fiber content of silver beet. A100 gram serve of cooked spinach contains around 6.3g of fiber while silver beet contains around 3.3g.That same 100g serving of spinach contains 2190 micrograms of betacarotene compared to 41Omcg in silver beet.
In addition, spinach contains around three grams of iron and three grams of protein per 100g, compared to 2.2 grams of iron and 1.9 grains of protein in silver beet Spinach also has around 1.5 times the vitamin K content of silver beet. In one cup of spinach you get around 244mg of calcium compared to around 1OOmg from silver beet.
Silver beet contains 108mcg of folate compared to 90mcg in spinach per 1OOg. Silver beet has almost twice the vitamin C content of spinach.
Silver beet contains less of the undesirable oxalates only having 645mg per 100g compared to 750mg in spinach. On the other hand, spinach has less sodium (which can increase blood pressure), only having 2Qmg per 100y compared to 185mg in silver beet.
Overall, particularly since a lot of people eat these foods thinking that they will get an iron boost, spinach comes out ahead of silver beet Of course, that doesn't mean that silver beet is not a wonderful and nutritious food (because it most certainly is). It just means that spinach is even better.

Grow Your Silver beet
When to plant: Soak seeds, contained in a cork-like coating, overnight to help with germination. Sow directly into the ground or in trays and transplant. Plant throughout the year in Frost-free areas. In cooler regions plant in spring through to autumn.

Climate: Tolerates a range of climates. Watch For Fungal diseases in the humidity.
Aspect/placement: Grows in a sunny but well-drained position.

Specific needs: Likes plenty of nitrogen, potassium and water to ensure plants grow quickly and produce large, tasty green leaves. Prepare soil by adding manure and compost. Liquid Feed with seaweed solution and mulch with pea straw to retain moisture. Grows well in a pot.

Companion planting: Onions, beetroot.

Harvesting: Start picking the outer leaves as soon as they are big enough  this usually takes about six weeks Cut them or break them with a downward action. Remove flower stalks.


(Perenials – mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme)
(Annuals – basil, coriander, parsley) 
Defining a herb is a tricky business. Technically, a herb is a plant whose stem does not produce woody, persistent tissue and generally dies back at the end of each growing season. By that definition, rosemary is not really a herb but we would all think of it as such. So perhaps a herb in modern usage has become something that does not form a main part of a meal but which is used to add flavor or for medicinal effect. You can find your own satisfactory definition of “herb” somewhere within that but by any definition there are hundreds of herbs. The ones that we have chosen here are the favorites and the most useful ones that you can plan to include in your organic garden from a culinary and a medicinal point of view.

Your healing herbs


Mint is a useful herb for soothing
the digestion the breath
Mint (Mentha spp.)
Perhaps the most ubiquitous herb today, the power of mint to soothe digestion and sweeten breath is attested by the many mint products available. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a mild mental stimulant, a decongestant and a digestive relaxant. Peppermint oil has been used with success in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This success has come mostly when using enteric-coated peppermint capsules. Spearmint (Mentha cardiaca) has similar properties but is believed not to be quite as strong or effective as its peppery cousin. All mint is carminative, meaning that it will relax intestinal smooth muscle.


Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Oregano is primarily a culinary spice. It is fantastic as a strong flavoring agent for all sorts of stews, gravies, and cheese sauces. It is closely related to marjoram and is a member of the mint family and so offers the same benefits of mint although to a lesser degree because it contains less essential oil. However, it does offer culinary benefits and in one study was part of a herb mix that helped deal with fatty meals. The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, was designed to test the effect of herbs on the response to fatty food. The researchers prepared meals on two separate days for their test subjects. The meal was a chicken curry with Italian herb bread and followed by cinnamon biscuits. It might not sound like the most synchronous combination of foods but it allowed them to test a range of spices. On one occasion the men
were given the meal without spices but on the other occasion they had two tablespoons of spices added to the meal. The spices included rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic and paprika. These spices were chosen as they all have proven antioxidant qualities. Blood tests showed that after the meals with the spices added antioxidant activity in the blood increased by 13 per cent, insulin response decreased by 20 per cent, and triglyceride response decreased by 30 percent.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
The name rosemary derives from the Latin ros meaning dew, and marinus meaning sea, hence one of its common names is dew of the sea. Whatever you call it, this herb has been revered by cultures throughout history.
In ancient Greece, rosemary was burnt at shrines to drive away evil spirits and illnesses. It was believed that a fresh twig beneath your pillow could ward off nightmares. A necklace made from rosemary was also believed to preserve your youth and growing rosemary was thought to attract elves to your garden.
Throughout Europe during the Middle ages rosemary was one of the herbs used to flavor beer and wine. In Spain and Italy it was considered a safeguard against witches and evil influences generally. The Sicilians believed that young Fairies, taking the Form of snakes, would lie among its branches. Across the world it has also had a reputation For enhancing memory which is why we still use it as an emblem of remembrance and the evidence is quite strong that this belief in rosemary's effect on memory has a strong basis in fact.
One of the main components of the essentialoil contained in rosemary is 1,8-cineole. It is the aroma of rosemary that is held to impact memory so researchers tested this (Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacologrf by exposing subjects to varying evels of rosemary essential oil aroma and then measuring blood levels of cineole. The subjects were then given tests to measure the speed and accuracy of their cognitive Function. The higher the concentration of 1,8-cineole in the blood, the greater the speed and accuracy for all subjects. The fact that both speed and accuracy improved showed that overall cognitive function was improved by exposure to rosemary aroma and that there was no “trade off” between speed and accuracy.
This may all be happening because of 1,8-cineole which is a “terpene" and is Fat soluble. It can be inhaled and enter the bloodstream via the nasal or lung mucosa and since it is Fat soluble can cross the blood-brain barrier into the brain. Previous research has shown that 1,8-cineole will stop the breakdown of the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Although less pronounced the aroma also had an effect on mood. People were more content when smelling rosemary than when not smelling it.


Mix herb pot

Sage (Salvia officinalis)
A European proverb states, "Who has sage in May, shall live for aye". Indeed sage does seem
to help some of the infirmities that come with age. Sage may help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and the oestrogenic activity of sage has been Found beneficial for menopausal symptoms. It is also a great antiseptic and astringent which is why sage is
so good as a mouthwash to cure sore throats, mouth ulcers and sore gums. Just pick a few
leaves, add them to a cup of boiling water, let it stand for five minutes and you have a great home-made herbal gargle.


Thyme was praised by the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in
the mid-17th century as a notable strengthener of the lungs
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme was praised by the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in the mid-17th century as “a notable strengthener of the lungs”. Thyme is an excellent antiseptic and is still used to treat respiratory problems. It is useful for bronchitis and other respiratory infections as well as being a handy treatment For intestinal worms.
When you rub thyme between your fingers you will smell the delicious essential oil of the plant. Research published in the Journal of Lipid Research has found that thyme essential oil, along with the oils of clove, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot. reduces the production of the inflammatory enzyme COX-2 in cells by at least 25 per cent. The greatest effect was from thyme oil which reduced COX-2 levels by almost 75 percent. The major ingredient in thyme oil responsible for the effect was carvacrol which when used on its own cut COX-2 by o/er 80 per cent.
A surprising new use for thyme may be in treating acne. Researchers (Society for General Microbiology have tested extracts of thyme, mangold, and myrrh on the bacterium that is involved in the skin pores of acne sufferers, Propiombacterium acnes. The results of the trial were that all three herbal preparations were able most effective of the three. Additionally, thyme was found to be more effective than benzoyl peroxidewhch is the active ingredient in many anti -acne preparations. To make the preparations used in this trial the researchers steeped thyme in alcohol for three weeks and then used the alcoholic extract which had drawn the active ingredients from the thyme plant


Harvest basil leaves often, and remove flowers so plant
don't put energy into seed production

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
In Tudor England, basil represented affection and respect and was given to departing guests. In India, it meant sacredness. In Italy it stood for love, and Hindus still plant it to protect both the living and the dead. In Italy and England, they say the seeds need to be sown accompanied by curses and profanity, so next time you inadvertently let fly with an expletive just explain to the neighbors that you were planting basil.
Basil is strongly aromatic, a quality that derives from its volatile ol content Medicinally it acts mainly on the digestive and nervous systems to relieve flatulence, stomach cramps, indigestion and colic. Applied externally basil acts as an insect repellent or the juice of the plant rubbed onto insect bites will bring relief.

Coriander (Coriander sativum)

Coriander gets its name from "coris”, an ill- smelling bug that reminded people of the unusually scented leaves, and is though to have grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon Coriander was certainly mentioned in the Ebers papyrus dating back to 150DBC and the Chinese have also used it for centuries. Hippocrates, father of modem medicine, was also a big fan.
Today, coriander is primarily used for its taste and mild digestive actions. There is also another somewhat specie use for coriander in your cocking: it can reduce the smell produced when cooking chitterlings.
On the fourth Thursday of every November is the American celebration of Thanksgiving. This is a holiday express gratitude to God, family, and friends for all the blessings of this life. Inexplicably, this often celebrated by the consumption of chitterlings, sometimes known as ‘chitlins’-. No name however, can conceal the fact that what is being consumed is pig intestines The word “chitterling” dates back to the Middle Ages and chitlins have been consumed around the world for hundreds of years. Usually the pig intestine is boiled or stewed and on some occasions it is deep fried and then served with cider vinegar and sauces; presumably lots of sauces.
Even If your soul is at peace with the concept of chitlins as a food there is a drawback to the preparation: Stewin' up some chitlins can release a stench reminiscent of their original contents. Onions are sometimes used in the stewing process to ameliorate this but they are not apparently; entirely effective. Researchers however, may have come up with an answer to this particular challenge to chitlin consumption.
The researchers (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry) reasoned that s nee coriander is used in other cuisines to reduce unpleasant smells as well as add flavor, perhaps it might lend its aromatic powers to the chitlin-cookin' dilemma. They treated samples of pig large intestine with various extracts of coriander and asked a lucky panel of human sniffers to rate how badly the intestines smelled. Several substances in coriander were able to reduce the foul odour of chitlins but one substance. (E.E)- 2-4- Undecadienal had a flowery fragrance that could suppress the smell at concentrations as low as 10partspe'billion (that is, 10drops in an Olympic-sized swimming pool).
You dont have to embrace chitlins but if you do have a dish that you love the taste of but the
family, or the neighbors, can’t stand the smell then perhaps you- home-grown coriander may be the culinary deodorizer that you need.

Parsley was used medicinally befor it became
popular as a food, most likely during
the Middle Ages.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Parsley is native to the Mediterranean and has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. Initially .t was used medicinally before it became popular as a food (probably during the Middle Ages) and like most herbs parsley has a colorful past Eating parsley has been said to entrance lust and lovemaking. Wearing a wreath of it is said to prevent drunkenness. Folklore aside, the fresh leaves of parsley are highly nutritious and are virtually a natural vitamin and mineral supplement in their own right they contain flavonoids, vitamins A. C and E  and good levels of Iron Parsley also contains a compound called apigenin n that has been the subject of promising research.
In research published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research rats that had breast cancer were exposed to apigenin, a component of parsley and also celery. The rats that were exposed to apigenin developed fewer tumors and showed a significant delay in tumor formation compaec to rats not exposed to apigenin. One of the things that we know about breast cancer is that some synthetic hormones used in hormone replacement therapy (HR T) can accelerate breast tumor development. For instance medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) supports breast cancer progression by encouraging blood vessels to grow into tumors giving them the nutrients they need to grow. What these researches also found is that apigenin blocked new blood vessel formation within tumors therefore delaying and sometimes stopping the development of tumors. The exact dosage of apigenin required for humans remains to be found but its another reason to enjoy the delights of your home grown organ c parsley .

BASIL: Grow From seed when temperatures warm and Frosts have passed. In cooler areas treat as an annual. Likes warm, moist conditions and humus-rich soil. Plant in full sun with good drainage. Protect From Frost. Needs regular water, but constant dampness encourages Fungal disease. Excellent in pots. Harvest leaves often, and remove Flowers so plants don’t put energy into seed production.
Companion plant: Tomatoes.

CORIANDER: Sow seed during the cooler months—autumn, winter and spring — otherwise it tends to bolt to Flower and seed. Likes a sunny, well-drained spot, with high soil Fertility. Keep up the water and Fertilize with liquid seaweed. Will grow in a pot. Pick leaves continuously to encourage new growth but also use stems and roots in cooking.
Companion plant: Radishes, spinach.

PARSLEY: Plant seed directly in spring, summer and autumn. Seed can take time to germinate. Likes a humus rich, moist spot and appreciates some shade. Pick to promote growth and allow it to flower and self-seed in the garden. Usually lasts between one and two years, depending upon where it’s grown.
Companion plant: Asparagus.

Heterocydic amines (HCAs) are compounds that cause mutations in cells that can lead to cancer. They form when meat and fish are cooked at high temperatures, especially when the meats are grilled, pan-fried or barbecued. The US Department of Health classifies HCAs as carcinogens that can increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Hence, there is always investigation into how to reduce HCA content in food. In this study(Journal of food Science) rosemary extracts were added directly onto ground beef patties and cooked at two different temperatures; 204 or 190 degrees Celsius for six minutes each side. All of the rosemary extracts used were effective at reducing HCA content in the beef. So next barbeue, throw some rosemary on with the beef.

Your organic herbs do not only have to be food for you, they can be drinks as well. Since all of the herbs we have covered here are comprised of the soft aerial parts of the plants (except for woody rosemary and you are using the Softer leaves anyway) you can make an in fusion rather than a decoction. This means you just need to take the freshly picked leaves, cover them in boiling water and let them stand for at least five minutes. If you want to dry your herbs to have tea on hand when your plants are not flowering the drying process is quite simple. You can hang bunches of the herbs on your clothesline or string them up on your verandah. Equally you can by them out in trays, preferably ventilated trays, and dry them in the shed or garage. Once the herbs arc crispy just put them in an air-tight container and store them away from light until you fed ready for a herbal tea; then just treat them like any loose-leaf tea and infuse them in boiling water. Don’t fed restricted, experiment with combining your herbs and find taste combinations that work for you. Your garden teas will be a delightful creative, caffeine-free, part of your day.

Grow Your Herbs
Can be grown from seed, cuttings, or for thyme and oregano division provides good results too. These are hardy plants that are best suited to a Mediterranean climate. Choose a sunny spot with excellent drainage — they don’t like wet feet. They like slightly alkaline soil and you should avoid over watering and humidity.

MINT: Is best grown in pot or container because it’s prone to run wild. Plant seed in spring and summer; take cuttings; or propagate by root division. Likes moist soils, grows best in the shade. Tip prune or harvest regularly to ensure new growth.
Companion plant: Broccoli.

OREGANO: Makes a great groundcover. Harvest as needed or prune to the ground. Stems can be dried in bunches.
Companion plant: Beans.

ROSEMARY: Regular harvesting helps prune to shape. Grows well in pots. Many forms including dwarf, and prostrate available. Plant a hedge of larger growing varieties.
Companion plant: Cabbages, beans.

SAGE: Harvest leaves as needed. Has pretty mauve flowers. Grow around the vegetable patch to attract bees and repel pests.
Companion plant: Cabbages, beans.

THYME: Leaves and flowers can be harvested.
Companion plant: Cabbages.


(Rheum rhaponticum, Rheum officinale, Rheum palmatun)

If you are considering growing rhubarb in your garden you are probably thinking of the lovely desserts that you will have when you bake up the luminous, long, red, snappy stems. This is a perfectly understandable ambition but the added bonus for you is that you will be growing a plant that is part of a family that has been part of the medicinal horde of herbalists for millennia.
Rheum rhaponticurn is the garden rhubarb that you will grow. It is related to R. pomatum and R. officinale which have been Favorites of Chinese herbalists for more than 2000 years but it is the root of the plant that they use. Not the stems. In recent times Western herbalism has also embraced rhubarb root as a powerful medicine. While your garden rhubarb (R. rhaponticuni is not as powerful in its medicinal effects as the other rhubarbs, it does still possess them to a lesser degree.
One thing to be aware of with rhubarb is that you should beware of the leaves. While the roots are medicinal and the stems are a food, the leaves can be poisonous due to high levels of oxalic acid, so don’t get carried away and eat the whole thing.
Your healing rhubarb
Rhubarb contains vitamin A, vitamin C. calcium, and potassium. It is other substances though that attract all the attention to rhubarb. notably anthraquinones and anthocyanins. The major healing effect that herbalists use rhubarb for is that it is a laxative. It contains substances called anthraquinones that irritate nerve bundles in the colon and as a consequence get things moving. If you want to use your rhubarb root in this way you can make yourself a decoction by chopping up between 20 and 40 grams of the root and covering it in around 750ml of water. Bring it to the boiI and let it simmer until you have reduced the liquid to about 500ml. Strain it offand you have three to four doses of rhubarb tea.
Of course, when it comes to the stem the rich color tells you that your eating rhubarb is loaded with antioxidants. In Fact, analysis has shown that rhubarb contains more than 40 antioxidants including powerful anthocyanins. The question is of course whether these antioxidants survive the cooking process.
In a study published in the journal Food Chemistry this question of how the various cooking methods affect the antioxidant effect of rhubarb was addressed. They found that fast stewing, slow stewing and baking all increased the total polyphenol content and overall antioxidant capacity of rhubarb compared to raw. uncooked rhubarb. The patterns of anthocyanin content and total polyphenol content between the different cooking methods suggests that there is a balancing act going when you cook rhubarb. On the one hand cooking facilitates the release of polyphenol compounds from the rhubarb but at the same time it initiates the breakdown of those released compounds.
Baking and slow stewing were found to offer the best maintenance of color through preservation of anthocyanin and the highest antioxidant capacity. In feet, baking for 20 minutes provided well-cooked rhubarb with the highest antioxidant capacity and the highest anthocyanin content.
Interestingly, whereas baking caused an increase in antioxidant anthocyanins. There was a greater decrease in anthraquinone content the longer cooking time progressed. For antioxidant bang for your buck though, bring on the rhubarb crumble, because baked rhubarb is the hot item on the menu.

A word of caution
Anthraquinones are very effective laxatives but this strong effect may not suit everyone. Pregnant women, people with gastrointestinal complaints, and people taking other laxatives should not use rhubarb root. Pregnant women in particular should avoid rhubarb because anthraquinones can cause contractions of the uterus. You should also not use rhubarb root for long periods since long-term use of anthraquinones can eventually lead to the bowel becoming non-responsive.

Grow Your Rhubarb
When to plant: Best grown from crowns, usually available in winter. Can be grown from seed, but it takes longer to produce edible stalks.
Climate: Adaptable but grows best in cool to warm conditions, quality is said to decrease as the temperature rises above 27°C.

Aspect/placement: Likes an open sunny position, but also tolerates some shade and will withstand some frosts.

Specific needs: Rhubarb is a hardy perennial that grows to about 1m by 1m in well-drained soil. Before planting prepare soil with well-rotted manure, compost and blood and bone. Keep plants watered and mulched. Apply well-rotted manure annually for continued leaf growth.
Remove flower stems as they appear. Grows well in a pot. The leaves are poisonous, containing high levels of oxalic acid. These can be added to the compost heap. Rhubarb is a perennial that happily grows in the same spot for about three to four years. Then divide it and replant the crowns.

Harvesting: To harvest, pull the outermost stalks in a downward motion away from the crown (don’t cut the stems because this may cause rotting). Don’t over- harvest. be sure that more than half the stems remain on the plant.

Radish (Raphanus sativus)

The radish is one of the first recorded cultivated vegetables. In China there are records of radishes being grown as early as 700 BCE and these humble little root crops were also favorites of the Egyptian pharaohs.
The name "radish” comes from the Latin, radix, which means a root. The first portion of their species name, Raphanus, in Greek translates to "quickly appearing”, which you will find is very apt once you start to grow these delightful vegetables. Indeed the very rapidity of their growth makes radishes a wonderful way to get children involved in gardening because the rewards for their efforts are almost instantaneous.
Radishes are not exactly nutritional powerhouses but they are a good source of vitamin C, and make a tasty appetizer or salad ingredient. Used in succession planting, radishes are very easy to cultivate and can be grown i n any part of the country if planted at the proper time. They are frequently used to mark rows in the garden because of their quick germination and rapid growth. Radish seed is often mixed with slow-germinating beet seed so that the radishes will mark the beet row.
The most popular part for eating is the root, although the entire plant is edible and the tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. The bulb of the radish is usually eaten raw. Most often in salads but tougher specimens can be steamed. The raw Flesh has a crisp texture and a pungent, peppery Flavor that is caused by chewing this action combines substances called glucosinolates in the radish with the enzyme myrosinase. which when brought together Form allyl -isothiocyanates, also present in mustard, horseradish and wasabi.
Your healing radish
Radishes (the root) are rich in ascorbic acid. Folic acid and potassium. They are a goodsource of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper and calcium. In addition, they are very low in calories. One cup of sliced radish bulbs provides approximately 20 calories or less, coming largely From carbohydrates, making radishes, relative to their size, an extremely filling food for their caloric value. The fact that you can fill up on radish without consuming too many calories has led to them being recommended for weight- loss programs.
While radish has not been extensively studied in recent times it does have a traditional reputation as being able to treat liver disorders. It does this primarily by stimulating the Row of bile and because of this action it also has a reputation as a "detoxifier" In Europe there has been a long-standing use for radish juice. This is simply the juice that is expressed from fresh chopped radish and it has been used for centuries to treat cough, arthritis and gall bladder problems. The method of taking it has been to combine the juice in equal parts with honey. There is no hard, dinicalevidence that radish will work in this way but years and years of use suggest there may be something to it.
When it comes to eating, if your radish lacks a bit of zing you can make it crisper by soaking it in ice-water for a couple of hours. The young, green radish seed pods may be used for pickling, alone or with other vegetables, and are considered a fair substitute for capers.
The seeds of the radish can be pressed to extract seed oil. Wild radish seeds contain up to 48 per cent oil content, and while not suitable for human consumption the oil has promise as a source of biofuel. There could be a big future for the humble radish

Grow Your Radish
When to plant: Seeds can be planted pretty much all year. Sow directly and thin as appropriate.
Climate: Grows in all climatic conditions.

Aspect/placement: Sunny well-drained position.
Specific needs: Radishes are a hardy crop that suit most climates, soil types and even tolerate light frosts. In very hot conditions they are prone to bolting to Rower and seed. Select season appropriate varieties and sow small lots every few weeks to ensure a successive harvest. Keep them well-watered to prevent roots splitting and to improve the taste. Try in pots too.

Companion planting: Lettuce, carrot.
Harvesting:  Radishes are quick growers and can be ready for harvest in just three weeks. Thinning crop — to about 3-5cm spacing — is a good way to start harvest and allows room for the others to grow. They taste better when young and tender. Pick the young leaves, Rowers and pods for salads too.

Corn (Zea Mays)

“Corn" is a term that has been used to describe whatever is the leading cereal grain in a given area. In England for many centuries “com" referred to wheat In Ireland and Scotland “corn” was oats. It is all very confusing and makes it virtually impossible for marketers to come up with snappy names for their breakfast cereals. In Australia today the term "corn”, or "sweetcorn” refers to Zea mays, the plant that produces delicious golden com cobs and this is the plant that we are talking about here. Around the world this plant has often been referred to as "maize" and it has a long history of use.
The first domestication of corn in Mexico and Central America actually dates to somewhere between 9000 and 8000 BCE. By the time of the Mayan and the Olmec civilisations, around 2000 to 1500 BCE, com had been adopted as a staple food but also played a role in everyday rituals and religious ceremonies. Today com is still a popular food although no longer quite so sacred since a lot of it in the world today has been genetically modified.
While com is regarded as a grain the sweet com kernels are actually tine fruit of Zea mays.
Typically we think of corn as the golden yellow variety with which we are familiar but there are more than 100 varieties of Zea mays and some can come in red. pink, blue or purple. While com occupies loads of your garden space out of all proportion to its yield, the sheer delight of its taste may make you want to grow it and as we shall see, there are some surprising benefits you can find from parts of the plant that you might normally throw away.

Your healing corn
As a food corn provides fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Corn contains around 10-11 per cent protein which is low compared to other grains but still useful, although of course the protein is not "complete". Yellow corn varieties provide good amounts of the antioxidant nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are compounds called xanthophylls, which are yellow pigments that occur naturally in many plants and vegetables. In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight, especially from high energy light rays called blue light. In addition to being found in plants lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentrations in the macula of the human eye, giving the macula its yellowish color. In fact, the macula also is called the “macula lutea” (from the Latin macula, meaning "spot," and lutea, meaning "yellow"). It is believed that lutein and zeaxanthin in the macula block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina, thereby reducing the risk of light- induced oxidative damage that could lead to macular degeneration (AMD). They are also believed to help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
In 1994. no Farm acreage in the United States had been planted with genetically modified (GM) corn plants, but today more than 70 per cent of all 91 million acres of corn in the United States are planted with genetically modified varieties. For instance, some corn has been modified to become more insect- resistant by transferring a gene from the soil bacterium. Bacillus thuringiensis, into the corn (this is known as Bt corn). A protein toxin produced by this bacterium helps to kill certain insects that might otherwise eat the corn. There is no substantial research in the health impact of GM corn but inserting novel proteins into food does raise the risk of adverse reactions. Organic foods of course, are non-genetically modified. In Australia genetically modified corn is currently not allowed (although GM corn ingredients can be imported in some foods). Any seed you seek in this country should be non-GM but in case seed somehow comes from another source it helps to be aware of what is happening overseas.

While you will get a lot of Food value From your corn crop, you can also get some medicinal qualities From a Frequently disregarded part of the corn plant. Corn silk can be used to make a healing tea that has a range of benefits. Corn silk tea is diuretic but it also has a soothing effect on the urinary tract. Herbalists use corn silk in combination with other herbs to treat problems like cystitis, urethritis, and prostatitis. To make a cup of the tea you need two teaspoons full of Fresh or dried corn silk. Pour a cup of boiling water onto it and leave it to in fuse for 10-15 minutes. The fresh form is best but if your crop is not producing when you need the tea then dried corn silk will do. Ideally you should have the tea three times a day if you want a medicinal effect.

Zea mays averta is the variety of com specifically bred for popping. Research from the American Chemical Society has found that if the dried kernels are "air popped" rather than popped in oil or butter, the antioxidant polyphenol content of the corn remains largely intact yielding around 300mg of polyphenols per 10g of corn kernels.

Grow Your Corn
When to plant: Sow fresh seed directly into the patch in blocks rather than long rows. This helps with wind pollination later. Wait until the soil warms, frosts have passed, and temperatures are above 16°. In humid and tropical areas it’s best to avoid the wet season with its heavy rainfall and humidity.
Climate: Grows in all climatic zones in Australia. 
 Aspect/placement: Full sun, but provide some protection from wind.

Specific needs: Needs a nutrient-rich soil, so try planting after peas or beans and add plenty of manure because corn are heavy feeders. fertilize with seaweed solution. Hill up soil around the stems when plants are about 30cm high to encourage stability and root growth. Mulch with pea straw or lucerne.

Companion planting: Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, beans.

Harvesting: Corn is usually ready to harvest at between 12-14 weeks. Test your cobs by piercing a kernel, if it gives out a milky substance and is soft then it’s ready for picking. When the silk withers it is another telltale sign of readiness. Twist the cob with your hand and pull down to pick.