I did some work on the herb garden this weekend. One of the plants I’m growing is called burdock. I was asked to plant this a while ago by one of the secretaries in my office. In Hawai’i burdock is commonly called gobo. It is a root vegetable and is used frequently in Japanese cooking. It is rather tough and fibrous, but softens nicely when cooked. Burdock can be eaten raw; it’s usually cut in very thin slices and is put in a slaw with carrots and spices. I’ve seen this root at the farmer’s market before, but have never bought one. They kind of look like a whitish/brownish carrot, kind of stick looking, but more cylindrical.
I did try growing it before when my secretary asked me to, but apparently it didn’t grow very well, because I’ve never harvested any of it here. This time, however, I’m putting it in a raised bed, and it will have really rich deep soil in which to grow. Burdock grows well in almost any type of soil, but I’m hoping, the deep soil will help in harvesting the root. It’s been known to be a bit if a bear to dig up.
When researching for my medicinal garden, I decided to get burdock because of all it’s health related benefits. The entire plant is edible: the roots, leaves, and seeds. The root when consumed is a good source of nutrition, but much of its benefit can be seen when used long term. The seeds have a more immediate benefit, and have have been used to help swollen throats or urinary problems. Burdock is regularly used to keep skin healthy skin (it aids in the treatment of a number of skin conditions from acne to eczema and psoriasis), it is used as a diuretic, and is also known for cancer support. It aids in digestion and supports liver health. The leaves can be made into a poultice to aid with burns, and cuts and infections of the skin.
Burdock is what is known as a monocarpic herb. It takes approximately two years until the root has grown enough to support the production of a flower stem. The plant then dies after flowering. I didn’t know this until after I started doing more research. I’ll have to be patient in order to reap the benefits, but I’m also thinking about starting a fresh new batch every 6 months so that I’ll be able to utilize this plant year around.
This weekend I spent some time painting the pavers to be used in the garden. Each paver has a name of one of the herbs. I’m not the best artist, but they didn’t come out too bad.
I used acrylic paint, and then sprayed the cement blocks with a sealer. We’ll see how long they last!
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