Saturday, April 5, 2014

Adventures in Lemongrass or Cymbopogon!

Lemongrass after being split and trimmed!
When I used to think of Lemongrass all that came to mind was delicious Thai food. YUM!!!!!  Coconut and lemon; it is the most odd combination to my ears but in reality in food its amazing. Yum indeed!

Lemongrass grows in Florida like a weed with little maintenance required!!!!. If you have the space (even in a large or mid-sized container) it is easy and amazing to grow lemongrass. As it rarely flowers most varieties I have seen are clumping types. It is one of the most abundant medicinal/edible herbs I have ever come across in the tropical climate; must be a grass!

So you ask... What are the benefits and how can I use this?

In your garden it has unlimited benefits. If you have space it can help to fill in spaces as our clumps in central Florida have grown to about 3' by 3', the dreaded mosquitoes dont like them and they can be used in infusions creams or oils to repel them on your skin, they repel nematodes (really? this useful!), they have insect repellent properties and when you trim the tops (hedge trimmers work great) about once or twice a year (we only do it in the spring) the trimmed goods can be used as mulch in your garden beds to repel pests. The extracts and essences of the plant are anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and I am sure MUCH more...

Already you can see that it is a must have in the Florida garden and any other garden! It is well suited to culture in pots and is low maintenance. Once established it does not require water. It gives and gives, you will need to split you lemongrass every year and divide it. Give your friends some, make tea, dry it for using later, and put it in your food.
These are the stalks used in tea and cooking.

One of our Lemongrasses after the winter.
This picture shows the stalk you will want to use for cooking, tea, medicine, extract; you get the point! You will want to use gloves and long sleeves to harvest unless you are tough as nails; the soft looking blades of grass are razor sharp and quite aromatic. I get cuts, an itch and tend to get bitten by some insects that hide in the foliage if I don't pay attention to what I am doing. I go to the bottom of the plant and push it to the side then with a shovel or trowel, if yours is in a pot, I gently push about 2 inches from the clump 2 - 3 " down and start lifting the clump up or at least part of it. Once I get some of it loosened I just pull a few of the outer leaves off till I get to the inner green layer and then I cut off the top leaves and the bottom root. If you leave an inch or two of stalk on the root section you can pot that up and keep moist from underneath, i.e. do not water it from above, to make another plant. Take care to never over-water as they will die quickly! I dont tend to save the root sections since they are so abundant I just toss those in the compost pile especially if I am low on time. There you have it!!!! Keep your stalks fresh in the fridge to use soon or just dry and save for later. Some people use the tops but I prefer to put them on top of the soil around plants that are susceptible to insects as the smell will ward them off and give a little mulch too!

I have compiled a list of links if you are interested in diving into the wonderful world of Cymbopogon! Come on... Say that three times in a row! Tee hee hee

I am positive that if you dive into this fantastic herb you will not regret it! If you are in the central florida area I would be happy to pull some cuttings out for you or if I happen to have some in pots we can figure something out!

As always thanks for reading!




For health:

Doshaguru for those who like Ayurveda here is the low down!

India Parenting gives us a comprehensive and well written article about it. Good site!

Lets go healthy! Information is good and thorough!

Healthers has some great information and a nicely written article!

Making your own lemongrass oil:

Ehow and Nikki Jardin Bring us a nice way to make this at home! For those who like doing everything from the ground up!

For Beauty:

Sesame of VivaWoman give us great uses for our bodies with this magical herb! I love this article!!!!!

Alejandra Ramos amuses us with the mishap but goes on to tell us about this AMAZING sugar scrub she came up with!

For COOKING!!!!!! Yummers:

Jane Maynard give us 10 great recipes in this article!

Bon app√©tit offers us an excellent Lemongrass Coconut Curry!

Thanks for reading! I am feeling this Lemongrass after writing this article!




2 comments:

  1. Lemon grass oil can be used to lure a bee swarm to a bait hive.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that! Now I now for when I start keeping bees!

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