Growing Great Garlic

In the garden, garlic makes a wonderful companion crop and tends to repel most bugs. Planted among members of the cabbage family, it helps repel imported cabbageworm. Many gardeners have also found using sprays made from garlic to be very effective in helping to control plant diseases such as powdery mildew, bean anthracnose, and brown rot in almonds, apricots and peaches.

Garden Preparation
Garlic prefers well-drained, moderately-fertile soil in a sunny spot of the garden. Raised beds are ideal so that water drains quickly and the soil warms earlier in the springtime. If the soil is too fertile, you will end up with lush leaf growth and smaller bulbs.

Before planting, loosen the soil with a rake or hoe. You may want to amend the soil with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus (the middle number) like bone meal or rock phosphate.

Just before planting, break apart each bulb of garlic into its individual cloves, trying to keep as much skin on the cloves as possible. Next, simply poke your finger into the soil until about your third knuckle (2 inches), drop the clove in pointy side up, cover the hole, and pat firmly. Space the next garlic 5 inches further down the row. Each row of garlic should be about 15-18 inches apart. After planting, water the buried cloves well.

To form cloves, garlic must be exposed to temperatures below 41 F (5 C). Thus, if planted too late in the spring, garlic will tend to form large onion-like bulbs instead of individual cloves. In the North, garlic is normally planted in October so that it can establish roots before winter and really take of in the spring. Southern gardeners can only plant garlic if they know the temperature will dip low enough. Often, they can wait until November or December to plant.

Growing & Harvesting
In springtime, the green tips will start to emerge and the garlic should be side-dressed with fertilizer again by placing the fertilizer 2 inches away from the row and lightly scratching it into the soil. During the growing season, keep garlic keep a mulch of grass clippings or similar material around the garlic to help conserve water and suppress weeds.

When the tops turn yellow in early summer, stop watering. Allow the bulbs to cure in the soil for 2 weeks and then harvest the garlic by pulling the whole plant out of the soil and tying the leaves together. Allow the bulbs to dry on a rack in a warm, dry spot.

Garlic types
Silverskin – This type of garlic is the one most often seen in grocery stores. As the name implies, the skins are silvery-white and the taste is mild & garlicky. Silverskin garlic, often referred to as soft-neck garlic, stores incredibly well and is the type used for making garlic braids.

Rocambole – Also known as serpent garlic, rocambole is classified as a hard-neck. During the growing season, this type of garlic will form flower heads which need to be cut off so they do not drain the resources of the bulb. Most rocambole-types have a very pungent, almost hot flavour and are often identified by the purplish tinge to their skin. Although this is a much more gourmet garlic, it does not store well, usually just a couple of months.

Elephant – The cloves of this garlic can weigh an ounce and will usually give up to 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic. Elephant garlic is actually a member of the leek family and thus, has a much milder taste. If your growing conditions are cool & damp, this is the garlic to choose. The bulbs of elephant garlic should be spaced farther apart, usually 10 inches, to give the plants enough room to grow.

Sources of bulbs
The best source of bulbs would be local growers who sell seed garlic at local markets. These varieties are well adapted to your growing conditions.

A second best, or to get more variety, try mail-order catalogues such as Territorial Seeds or Garden City Seeds. The best selection I’ve seen by far, however, is Salt Spring Seeds. Dan Jason, the owner, keeps about 40 different varieties.

If it’s getting late, as a last resort, I would buy organic garlic from a health food store and plant it. Normal garlic is often sprayed with sprouting inhibitors which prevent the cloves from sprouting in the store. No good if you actually want them to sprout for you in the garden.

A Great Read
Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers by Ron L. England – an in-depth look at the history of garlic evolution and a how-to guide on planting, growing, and harvesting garlic.

Arzeena Hamir is an agronomist and President of Terra Viva Organics. When she’s not planting peas or picking zucchini, she answers questions about organic gardening at: You can also read her gardening articles on Vegetable Gardening at

A Tisket a Tasket

There’s something pretty wonderful about having a variety of daisies in your garden. They are user friendly, cheerful and easy to grow. They look charming plunked in a vase – my apologies to real flower arrangers.

As children, all of us have delighted in picking a bouquet of daisies growing along the roadside or in an open field as a special present for our mothers. As adults, these flowers evoke great memories and bring a smile to our faces.

Today, the variety of great daisies to choose from is outstanding. One of my particular favorites is the Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum xsuperbum). In 1890, Luther Burbank, a great North American hybridizer, brought us this popular plant. It reminded him of the pure snow on Mt. Shasta. Shastas are wonderful white daisies with yellow centers. They grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8 (AHS Heat Zones 12 to 1) in full sun. All they require is good drainage and average garden soil. These daisies are reminiscent of childhood, when you plucked a daisy and said “he loves me, he loves me not.” All these lovely plants require is deadheading to keep them blooming. They start in June, the month of graduations and weddings, and are the perfect plants for these events. ‘Snowcap,’ is 14inches tall and produces lovely compact plants with many intensely white blooms. When in flower, it is hard to see the foliage. Plants hold up in all kinds of weather. ‘Summer Snowball’ is a stately tall cultivar (30 inches) with double white daisy blooms. It bears large flowers that really make a wonderful statement in the garden.

Erigeron speciosus is called Daisy Fleabane. Sometimes a great plant has an awful common name, which puts people off and they don’t buy it. Supposedly this native North American plant originally was used as a flea repellent. It is hardy (USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8; AHS Heat Zones 8 to 4), flowers easily in full sun, blooms for quite a few weeks and will grow in just about any soil. If deadheaded, they will continue to flower. ‘Prosperity’ is a wonderful lavender-blue hybrid with large double daisy flowers and a yellow center. It is 14- to 18-inches tall and can also be used as a cut flower. So don’t let the unattractive common name dissuade you from buying this diminutive charmer.

Aster xfrikartii (USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9; AHS Heat Zones 9 to 1) is known as Frikart’s Aster. This 20-inch plant is for full sun and well-drained garden soil. It is a wonderful disease- and insectfree plant that flowers in early summer for more than eight weeks. The cultivar ‘Flora’s Delight’ is a charming plant. It produces scads of lilacblue flowers that are very large in comparison to the diminutive size of the plant. Many of the other cultivars develop urban sprawl, but ‘Flora’s Delight’ stands nice and straight through the whole season. This particular Aster merits a place in your garden just for its long season of bloom.

Later on, three great sunny, golden daisies bring magic to the garden. Rudbeckia speciosa Viette’s Little Suzy’ is a delightful plant for the front of the border (USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8; AHS Heat Zones 9 to 2). This dwarf Black-Eyed Susan, 12- to 14-inches tall, is small but mighty. The single daisy flowers are golden-yellow with dark black centers that combine really well with Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue,’ the perennial plant of the year.

For those who are thinking tall, try Heliopsis helianthoides, the False Sunflower. This plant is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9 (AHS Heat Zones 9 to 1). All you need is full sun and well-drained soil. Heliopsis begins to flower in midsummer and, with deadheading, continues to enchant you until the fall. Each flower of the cultivar ‘Bressingham Doubloon’ is extremely large and showy on stems that are (more)

2 ad daisies 48- to 60-inches tall. The 2- to 3-inch double, golden-yellow flowers with undertones of orange make it irresistible. For almost 10 to 12 weeks, it energizes your perennial border. For something slightly different, check out ‘Loraine Sunshine,’ a really unique perennial. Beautiful, big and bold, orange-gold daisies are nestled among leaves that are white with dark green veins (30-inches tall). This is truly an eye-catching plant. No garden is complete without a showstopper, and this daisy with variegated foliage is a winner.

As summer begins to wane, Helenium autumnale, Helen’s Flower, comes into its own. Flowering starts in mid- to late summer in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8 (AHS Heat Zones 8 to 1). Not to be outdone by the yellows, golds and orange-golds of summer, ‘Coppelia’ bears coppery-orange flowers on sturdy 3-feet stems that don’t require staking. The small daisies simply smother the top of the plant. Its dark centers and extraordinary color capture the flair of the late-season summer garden. This is a perfect plant for the back of the border and particularly handsome when back lit, catching the sun’s rays. It is a great plant for using with early flowering fall grasses. The two companion plants are a joy in the garden.

I cannot imagine my garden or any perennial garden without these wonderful, carefree daisies. In jolly old England, the name daisy really meant the “day’s eye,” later simply corrupted to daisy. To tell the truth, I feel they are a group of plants that novice and advanced gardeners can enjoy not only for a day, but for the entire gardening season.

Ms. Cohen is Adjunct Professor at Temple University Dept of Landscape Architecture & Horticulture, Ambler Campus, 20 years; Mid-Atlantic representative o’ the perennial Plant Association; and her articles have been featured in leading consumer and gardening publications.

The Headache Prevention Cookbook

The Headache Prevention Cookbook
Houghton Mifflin
David R. Marks, M.D. and Laura Marks, M.D.
List: $16.00

Order it now!

If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from headaches, you can eliminate the pain entirely just by changing the way you eat. A headache sufferer himself, Dr. David Marks treats thousands of patients a year at his internationally known headache clinic. The recipes in this book can help you ward off headaches while ensuring that you eat well in the bargain.


The following is an excerpt from the book The Headache Prevention Cookbook: Eating Right to Prevent Migraines and Other Headaches
By David R. Marks, M.D. and Laura Marks, M.D.
Published by Houghton Mifflin; July 2000; $16.00US; 0-395-96716-3
Copyright © 2000 David R. Marks, M.D. and Laura Marks, M.D.


If you’re reading this, chances are that you or someone you know suffers from headaches. Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone! Headaches affect as many as 50 million Americans a year and account for more than 18 million visits to the doctor. In fact, headaches are the leading cause of absence from work; some researchers have estimated that 30 million workdays are lost each year because of the problem.

But numbers do not even begin to tell the story. The pain of a headache can completely disrupt a person’s life. I have seen patients whose headaches are so severe that they are afraid to plan activities such as vacations, weddings, dinners, or dates. Their lives center on the dread of the next headache attack. Mary P. is a perfect example. When Mary came to my office, she had suffered from two to three headaches a week since her early twenties. Now that she was forty, her headaches were occurring on a daily basis. She complained of a constant throbbing sensation from the back of her head to her forehead. The headaches had become so severe that she was having difficulty taking care of her seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. The constant pain was also taking a toll on her marriage. The only way she could get through a day was by taking a lot of pain medicine.

Like Mary, many patients complain that their suffering is worsened by a feeling of helplessness. They have been told by friends and physicians alike that they will have to “learn to live with it.” At one time or another, most headache sufferers have also been told, “It’s all in your head.” Often they blame themselves for their condition. The combination of fear, helplessness, and self-criticism can lead to depression and/or the chronic use of pain medication.

Many doctors now think that heredity may play a major part in the underlying cause of headaches. As I often tell my patients, if you really want to cure your headaches, you need to pick your parents better! I suspect that what a person inherits is the predisposition to getting headaches. I think of it like this: Everyone is born with a certain threshold for getting headaches. Some people have such a high threshold that they never get a headache, no matter how many “headache triggers” they are exposed to. Others have a headache threshold that is high enough so that they suffer from headaches only occasionally, and usually only with extreme triggers, such as severe stress or sleep deprivation. Frequent headache sufferers, on the other hand, are very sensitive to trigger factors and may get headaches in response to a multitude of them.

Headache Triggers
Stress, lack of sleep, bright lights, weather changes, and strong odors are all potential headache triggers. But what many people, including many doctors, don’t realize is that some of the most common causes of headaches are ordinary foods that most of us eat every day. Avoiding those so-called food triggers can be one of the most effective and least invasive ways to treat headaches, without the risk of side effects and allergies (not to mention the cost) associated with the use of medications. In fact, by just following an appropriate headache-prevention diet, you may be able to get rid of most or all of your headaches!

You may still need to take medication for your pain. But medications have side effects especially when they are taken too frequently. Indeed, one of the most frustrating things about treating headache patients is that they tend to be more sensitive to medications and experience more side effects than people without headaches. Whenever possible, it is ideal to be able to treat headaches without resorting to the use of medication. This is where diet modification is useful.

Diet modification worked for Mary P. After stopping her chronic pain medicines, we were able to identify many food triggers that she had previously been unaware of: Chinese food (even without MSG), cured pork products, aged cheeses, bananas, citrus fruits, and peanut butter cookies. Each of these foods caused a severe headache within hours of consumption. Once Mary identified her headache triggers, she modified her diet to avoid them. Her headaches became less frequent, and her relationships with her husband and children improved dramatically. Mary is just one person who has been helped by eliminating trigger foods from her diet. There are many others:

Indira P., a thirty-year-old Indian woman, moved to America in 1996 to make an arranged marriage. Shortly after her arrival, Indira developed headaches that occurred almost every day. But she spent the following winter in India and had no headaches while there. When she returned to the United States, her headaches recurred.
Indira did not believe that any of her headaches were caused by foods. However, I became suspicious after hearing that she had experienced no headaches while vacationing in India. I asked her what her husband did for a living. As it turns out, he operated a food truck that served sandwiches, and every day he would bring some home. Indira usually ate either a turkey and Swiss cheese or a cheese steak sandwich for lunch. I advised Indira to eliminate cheese from her diet, and when I saw her two months later her headaches were much better.
Sharon M. had daily headaches for about a year. The symptoms were typical of chronic tension-type headaches: a “tight band” around her head that was fairly constant and usually not associated with nausea or vomiting. After ruling out any serious cause of Sharon’s headaches, I put her on the headache-prevention diet. Sharon kept a detailed record of everything she ate. (She is a bit compulsive, and in this case, it worked to her advantage.) When I next saw her two months later, she had experienced only a few headaches. Then, after slowly reintroducing the foods known to be common headache triggers, Sharon identified freshly baked bagels, pickles, chocolate, and citrus as some of her headache triggers. As a result, her life was, in her words, “totally changed.”
John R. loved diet cola. At his initial evaluation, he said that he drank four glasses a day. Since diet cola contains artificial sweeteners and caffeine both potential headache triggersI recommended that he gradually reduce his intake and switch to something else. But, like many patients, John was reluctant to give up his favorite soft drink. He stopped drinking it for a short period of time, then tried to reintroduce it. Within hours, he suffered a severe migraine headache. John tried on four more occasions to reintroduce diet cola. Each time ended with the same result: a migraine. Finally, he was forced to admit to himself that his favorite soft drink wasn’t worth the pain.
Trisha P., age fifty-nine, suffered from headaches since she was eight. When Trisha first came to see me, she complained of frequent headaches and was taking too much pain medicine, which can cause “rebound” headaches. I discontinued her medication, and within a few short weeks, Trisha’s headaches became much less frequent. To see if we could eliminate the rest of her headaches, I suggested that she avoid certain foods. After doing so for a few weeks, Trisha gradually began adding them back to her diet, one at a time, to try to identify the offenders. She reintroduced cheeses, artificial sweeteners, and pickles without any problems. One night, Trisha decided to have a piece of ice-cream cake with chocolate sprinkles on it. Seven hours later, she awakened with a migraine. Three days later, she ate a chocolate candy bar and developed a migraine within four hours. Since cutting chocolate out of her diet, Trisha has been doing fine, with only an occasional headache.
When I first saw Nancy R., she drank the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day. On top of that, she was taking a caffeine-containing pain medicine for her headaches on an almost daily basis. I warned her about the problems of “caffeine-rebound” headaches, but she insisted that she couldn’t make it through a day without caffeine. After one year, Nancy’s headaches became so severe that she began to feel desperate. Again I brought up the issue of her caffeine use, and we developed a plan: Nancy would stop her caffeine-containing pain medicine immediately and would begin tapering off her coffee intake, reducing it by one cup every three days until she had given up coffee completely. During the first couple of weeks off caffeine, Nancy had a number of bad headaches, but when I saw her a month later, her headaches had virtually disappeared.
Chocolate, caffeine, and red wine are common headache triggers, but as the stories of Mary, Indira, and John suggest, there are other, less well known offenders: most cheeses, citrus fruits, beans, freshly baked bread, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives, to name just a few. (A list of foods that frequently trigger headaches can be found on page 27.) Not all these foods cause headaches all the time — most people are affected by only a small number of them. Some of my patients are unaffected by chocolate but will get a pounding headache from bananas.
Amy C. came to my office complaining of daily headaches that would get so bad that she had to close her office door and turn out the lights for hours at a time. Amy worked as a newswriter and producer, a high-stress position that regularly required twelve- to sixteen-hour workdays. She was not sleeping well, not exercising, and not eating properly. Amy skipped meals frequently, and when she did manage to eat, she ate as quickly as possible. She had gotten into the habit of eating bananas every day because of their convenience. Unfortunately for Amy, bananas are on the headache hit list, at least in large quantities. When Amy cut them out of her diet, her headaches improved.
Rhonda B.’s headaches, which used to trouble her only a few times a month, had become a daily torment. She had lost over forty pounds on a diet that prescribed eating three oranges and one grapefruit each day in addition to other low-fat foods. In Rhonda’s case, it was the quantity of the citrus fruits that was the problem. Cutting back on her consumption of oranges and grapefruit helped keep her headaches in check.
Some people are affected by a particular food only at certain times. Eilene M., for example, was troubled by migraines around the time of menstruation. The migraines lasted for up to three days at a time, causing her to miss work. Eventually, Eilene noticed a pattern: Beginning about two days prior to her period and continuing until its end, eating bananas, grapefruit, or yogurt would cause her to develop a severe migraine within ten minutes. During the rest of the month, these foods did not affect her. Fortunately for Eilene, her menstrual cycle is regular, so she can avoid those food triggers during that time of the month.
Identifying Troublesome Foods

Not every headache sufferer is sensitive to food triggers. The first step before undertaking any regimen is to see a doctor and determine if there is any underlying condition that may be causing your headaches.

But a significant percentage of sufferers are affected by food, and I see it every day in my practice. Unfortunately, there is no physical sign or blood test that will tell you if some of your headaches are caused by food. And if you’re not paying very close attention, you may not notice a pattern even if it’s there. For that reason, I recommend that every headache sufferer try diet modification, at least temporarily. To discover if your diet is contributing to your headaches, you’ll need to start with what doctors call an “elimination diet,” in which you will try to eliminate all potentially troublesome foods.

You can follow an elimination diet by using the recipes in this book and by creating your own recipes that avoid foods which can trigger headaches. You should avoid these foods for at least two months and record whether your headaches improve during this time.

After the two-month period, you can begin to reintroduce the potential trigger foods into your diet, one food at a time. Wait for a week or two before adding another. That way you can more accurately determine the effect of a particular food on your headache pattern. If your headaches increase after introducing a food, then you should assume it is a trigger and avoid it permanently. If the food does not result in any change in your headache pattern, you are not sensitive to it.

Paula S., a twenty-eight-year-old Italian woman, came to my office complaining of headaches that occurred three days a week. She was understandably distressed by their frequency but had noticed no particular pattern to them. Three weeks after starting the elimination diet, Paula’s headaches improved dramatically. She was feeling great, but she wanted to go back to her normal diet. As Paula slowly began to reintroduce one food at a time, she remained headache-free, until she came to her favorite cheese-filled Italian foods: ziti with mozzarella, pizza, and lasagna, which she had previously indulged in several times a week — the same frequency with which she used to get headaches!
Another patient, Carla L., had discovered that she was sensitive to aged cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan. But when she ordered a chicken Caesar salad in a restaurant one day, it never occurred to her that the small amount of cheese in the dressing would be a problem. Big mistake! Within an hour, she developed a severe migraine.
Sometimes people have reactions to foods that don’t usually cause headaches. These items are not included on the list of “forbidden” foods because they rarely cause problems. Unfortunately for some people, “rarely” is not the same as “never.”
Gail H. was a teacher who went on the headache-prevention diet. One night she ate a lobster dinner. Within an hour, she developed a severe migraine. After that episode, Gail decided to experiment, and three days later, she had lobster bisque for lunch. Within an hour, she had a migraine. Because lobster is not a common headache trigger, it is not on the list of prohibited foods. But by paying careful attention to her headache pattern, Gail was able to determine that this food had an adverse effect on her.
Michael N.’s food reaction was one of the strangest I have seen in my practice. Michael never had a headache for the first thirty-five years of his life. One day, while driving, he bought a roll of hard butterscotch candies and put one in his mouth. Within fifteen minutes, Michael developed an excruciating cluster headache. He had trouble staying on the road but was able to make it to his destination. When he arrived, he was almost totally incapacitated. Fortunately, this attack lasted for only an hour and a half. However, Michael did not make any association between his headaches and the butterscotch candy. Three days later he ate another butterscotch candy while driving his car. Once again, within fifteen minutes he had a severe clusterheadache.
Why Do Certain Foods Trigger Headaches?

What is it about these foods that trigger headaches? There is certainly no factor common to all of these foods. The truth is that while theories abound, we are a long way from knowing what really causes the pain in your head. It is probably the result of a complex interaction between the nerves, blood vessels, and biochemicals located in the brain. The details of these interactions are unclear at present, but according to one theory, constriction of blood vessels to the brain decreases blood flow to the sensory area of the brain, resulting in the aura that often accompanies migraines. The blood vessels then expand, sending pulsations of blood to the brain, producing throbbing pain. Many headache specialists think that a neurochemical called serotonin plays a crucial role in bringing about these changes in blood vessels and other brain activity, altering blood flow and setting off a complicated cascade of events in the brain that results in a headache.

Food seems to be able to cause headaches regardless of whether you tend to get migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches. (For a discussion of the various kinds of headaches, see page 24.)

Although a few health-care practitioners maintain that allergies to certain foods set off headaches, most experts believe that such allergies play virtually no role in causing headaches. It is more likely that substances contained within some foods trigger the headaches either by changing the amount of serotonin in the brain or by affecting the blood vessels in the head. Amines, biochemicals involved in causing blood-vessel constriction and dilation, are found not only in the brain but in many different foods, such as cheese, chocolate, nuts, and certain meats. One common amine, called tyramine, is suspected by many experts to be a major factor in triggering headaches.

Preservatives such as nitrates and sulfites, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin, and food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) have all been implicated as headache triggers. They contain amines, which alter the constriction of the blood vessels. But for many of the foods listed below, the reason they trigger headaches remains a mystery. Scientists do know that alcohol can dilate blood vessels, and this may be one reason that alcohol can cause headaches. Many alcohols also contain amines such as tyramine and histamine. Caffeine can be a good treatment for headaches when used in moderation. Paradoxically, however, when it is taken on a daily basis, it can cause more headaches. Caffeine, in fact, is one of the most common food-related causes of headaches that I see in my practice, and it’s the one thing patients often have the most resistance to giving up, until they discover that doing so can help them eliminate disabling pain.

Using This Book

All the recipes in this book have been created without using the major ingredients that are known to be headache triggers. We have noted which foods should be eaten in only small quantities and have tried to suggest the appropriate limits.

We encourage you to add your own headache recipes to ours. We would love to hear about them so we can share them with other patients. By doing so, you will be helping a fellow headache sufferer.

Headache-Causing Foods

The list of foods that have been reported to trigger headaches is long and varied. The foods included here are the ones most commonly reported to cause headaches; that’s why it’s difficult to avoid them without following the headache-prevention diet. Some of you may be susceptible to many of these foods, others to only a few. If you are lucky, you’ll find you’re not susceptible to any of these foods. The only way to tell is by going on the headache-prevention diet. If you discover an ingredient that triggers your headaches and is not on this list, you should obviously avoid it too.


Prohibited: Beans (lima, Italian, pole, broad, fava, string, navy, pinto, garbanzo, lentils, snow peas), pickles, chili peppers, olives.
Allowed: All other fresh, frozen, dried, and canned vegetables and vegetable juices. Limit tomatoes to 1/2 cup per day; limit onions to 1/2 cup per day.


Prohibited: Dried fruits that contain preservatives (such as raisins, dates, figs, apricots), avocados, papayas, passion fruit, red plums, banana-peel extract.
Allowed: All other fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and juices. Limit citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, limes) and pineapple to 1/2 cup per day. Limit bananas to 1/2 banana per day. (Technically, a tomato is a fruit, so remember to limit tomatoes to 1/2 cup per day.) Organic dried fruits without preservatives (particularly sulfites).

Breads and Cereals

Prohibited: Any fresh yeast product straight out of the oven; for example, yeast breads, crackers, pizza dough, doughnuts, soft pretzels.
Allowed: Store-bought and homemade breads (white, whole wheat, French, Italian, bagels, etc.) are fine as long as they are not straight out of the oven and have been allowed to cool (it’s OK to reheat them). Just be careful that they don’t contain other prohibited ingredients, such as raisins, nuts, chocolate, or cheeses. Likewise, you can eat all hot and cold cereals unless they contain specifically prohibited items, such as dried fruit or artificial sweeteners.

Dairy Products and Eggs

Prohibited: Most cheeses. Sour cream, whole milk, chocolate milk, buttermilk, cream.
Allowed: Skim milk or 1% homogenized milk. Cheeses: American, ricotta, cream cheese, Velveeta, pot, farmer, cottage. Skim milkbased yogurt (limit it to 1/2 cup per day). Eggs.


Prohibited: Alcoholic beverages, especially red wine; beverages containing chocolate or cocoa; diet beverages containing artificial sweeteners.
Allowed: Fruit and vegetable juices, noncaffeinated drinks (if they don’t contain artificial sweeteners). Limit caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea, or soda, to 2 cups (approximately 16 ounces) per day. For soda, that’s a little more than one can a day.


Prohibited: Most canned soups and bouillon cubes (they usually contain MSG, preservatives, or other prohibited ingredients).
Allowed: Homemade soups and stocks, unless they contain other specifically prohibited foods, such as beans, cheese, or large amounts of onion or tomato.


Prohibited: Chocolate, carob, and licorice; ice cream; desserts containing other prohibited foods, such as nuts or dried fruit, or those made with liqueurs; whipped cream.
Allowed: Cakes, cookies, candies, and pies, unless they contain prohibited ingredients; gelatin, sherbet, and sorbet.


Prohibited: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and tenderizers containing MSG; soy sauce; vinegar, except for white and cider vinegars; salad dressings containing wine or vinegar, unless it is white or cider vinegar; cooking sherry; olive oil; seeds, nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter; all artificial sweeteners; preservatives, such as nitrates and sulfites; coconuts; capers. Most mustards, ketchups, and mayonnaises.
Allowed: Anything else not specifically prohibited, all herbs and spices, white vinegar, cider vinegar, honey, jams, jellies, dry mustard.

Meat and Seafood

Prohibited: Bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, sausage, salami, bologna, ham; organs (liver and other organ meats); all aged, canned, cured, or processed meat products; caviar.
Allowed: All fresh beef, poultry, fish, or pork products, unless specifically prohibited; tuna and other canned seafood that is packed in water.


Sample Recipes:

Orange Blossom French Toast

Serves 2

An unexpected burst of orange flavors this morning standard, which is also served with an orange sauce.

Our kids look forward to having this on Sunday mornings.

3 large eggs

Rind of 1 orange, finely grated

1/3 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

6 slices day-old white bread

2 large navel oranges

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

Beat together the eggs, orange zest, juice, and orange extract in a baking dish large enough to hold the bread slices in a single layer. Dip both sides of each bread slice into the egg mixture. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer in the dish and let the bread soak up all the egg mixture, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the oranges, being careful to remove all the white membrane around the outside. Using a sharp knife, separate the oranges into sections, cutting between the inner membranes. Discard the membranes and any accumulated juice.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and the brown sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. When the mixture foams, add the orange sections and cook, stirring, just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove the orange sauce from the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or brush it onto a large griddle over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter foams, add the bread slices and cook until golden brown, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately with the orange sauce.


Veal Chops with Lemon-Basil Butter

Serves 2

This simple dish has a light, lemony flavor that enhances the taste of the veal.

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 1-inch-thick veal loin chops

Preheat the broiler.

Combine the butter, basil, lemon rind, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Hold each chop on its edge, fat side up. With a small, sharp knife, cut through the fat and halfway through the chop to create a small pocket. Stuff some of the butter mixture into each chop, then spread the remaining butter mixture on both sides of the chops.

Place the chops on a broiler pan and broil about 4 inches from the heat, turning once, for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and tender. With a fork, pierce the chop, checking often for doneness; overcooking will toughen the veal.

Serve immediately.


Grape Tarts with Vanilla Pastry Cream

Serves 6

These tarts look like a fancy restaurant dessert.

The tangy grapes contrast well with the smooth pastry cream, creating a unique and satisfying dessert.


12 ounces (about 1 box) vanilla wafers

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pastry Cream

6 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups skim milk, heated

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1 cup apricot preserves

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, stemmed and halved lengthwise

1 1/2 cups seedless purple grapes, stemmed and halved lengthwise

Crust: Chop the vanilla wafers into fine crumbs in a food processor. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter. Line 6 removable-bottom 3-to-4-inch tart pans with the wafer mixture. Chill in the refrigerator.

Pastry cream: Whisk the egg yolks in a medium saucepan, gradually adding the sugar and salt. Whisk until the yolk mixture is thick and lemon colored. Sift the flour over the egg mixture and whisk it in. Gradually whisk in the milk.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. The custard will start to get lumpy but will become smooth as you whisk. Reduce the heat to low and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring. Press the sauce through a fine strainer into a medium bowl and stir in vanilla. Cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Glaze: Heat the apricot preserves, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Press the preserves through a fine strainer into a small bowl, then return to the saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Cover the top with the grape halves cut side down, alternating red and purple, arranged close together in a circular pattern. Brush the grapes lightly with the glaze. Chill the tarts in the refrigerator. Remove the outer ring from the tart pans and let come to room temperature before serving.

Copyright © 2000 David R. Marks, M.D. and Laura Marks, M.D.

Basic Tree Care for the Home Yard

Your trees are the most important part of your home landscape. They provide beauty, shade, and enjoyment. They are expensive to remove when dead or damaged, and they are impossible to replace once they gain a little size. Learn to take care of your trees.

I have received a number of phone calls this spring reporting various stages of die back in the tops of a number of large, shade trees. Most of this is due to the two or three years of drought preceding the “wet” summer we are experiencing now. Many of our yard trees are growing on disturbed soils (disturbed when the house or community was built) and they tend to develop rather shallow root systems. Combine this with a prolonged period of dry weather and these trees become stressed. Stressed trees don’t accumulate a sufficient food supply during the summer and the following year they often lose branches, especially those in the top (the youngest) of the tree.

The sad part of this story is that there’s no way to replace the branches lost due to stress. They simply should be pruned out for safety purposes. This is often an expensive undertaking, especially if the tree is near the house. Hopefully the tree still looks ok after the dead branches have been pruned out, otherwise it may be best to have the entire tree removed.

Tree Companies don’t possess any special magic to fix these drought stress problems. They can look the tree over and make sure there’s are no other problems. Last week a homeowner called our office and reported most of his tree had turned brown and died. When he brought a sample to the office the problem turned out to be a common leaf fungus, oak leaf blister. The leaves on his tree had indeed turned brown, but his tree was by no means dead, or even dying. Brown leaves often means big trouble, but not always.

The two tips I have for taking care of your existing trees are (1) don’t do anything to disturb the trees root system, and (2) try and give them supplemental water during periods of summer drought.

A good root system is the key to maintaining your tree in good condition. Any major digging or soil disturbance that occurs beneath the canopy of your tree can cause serious problems. Removing soil, adding soil, or any type of trenching can hurt the tree. Compacting the soil by parking vehicles under the tree, or just excessive foot traffic around arid under the tree can hurt.

When your area has not received a significant rainfall within two weeks in summer it’s time to water your trees. Remember, you are applying water to the root system and the root system spreads out at least as far as the branches reach. You should set up a sprinkler, let it run for about 20 to 30 minutes, and then move it to another location under the tree. Continue moving the sprinkler in this way until every areas has received at least 60 minutes of watering. It takes a long time to properly water a large tree but it’s the most important thing you can do for your tree.

Take the time to look at your trees in the next week or two and reflect on their importance to your yard and landscape. Give thanks for the wonderful shade they provide and promise yourself that you will give them that drink of water they need during the next summer drought we experience. Your trees are a great natural resource, take care of them.

Your ‘When To’ List

One of the questions many home owners have concerning their landscape is, “when should I do this, or do that? ” Here’s a brief guide that gives you the best time of the year to perform some common home landscape chores.

In the home landscape there are seasons to reap and seasons to sow. Here’s a few tips on the best time of the year to take care of a few important landscape maintenance items.

Lawn Fertilization
To keep your lawn in tip top condition you should schedule to apply fertilizer sometime between September 20th and October 20th and a repeat application approximately one month later. This applies to lawns made up primarily of Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, fine fescues, or any combination of the four. If you have one of the rare lawns of zoysiagrass you should target your fertilizer application for sometime between June 1st and August 1 St. Most zoysiagrass lawns only require a single fertilizer application per year.

Tree Pruning and Trimming
If you need to prune off a single limb, the one that keeps hitting you in the head when you try to mow under it, you can prune it out anytime of the year. If you are planning a substantial amount of pruning on a single tree, removing more than 20 percent of the total branch area, you should carry out this pruning operation when the tree is dormant, sometime between mid December and mid February.

It’s nice to prune evergreens, such as holly and pines, in December and use the prunings for house decorations for the holidays. One warning here, pines and spruce are two trees that resent severe pruning. If you cut branches back beyond the point where any needles remain, you are unlikely to have new shoots appear on these branches. They will remain as ugly, wooden stubs. Most other plants will eventually produce new shoots from the cut branches, but pines and spruces won’t.

Tree and Shrub Fertilization
This has been the source of much confusion over the years and I have heard and read many differing recommendations. My current belief is that the fall, sometime between October 1st and November 15th, is the best time to fertilize trees and shrubs here in Maryland. If your tree is well established, more than ten years old, and is in a lawn area, the normal fall lawn fertilization will provide adequate nutrients to the tree.

If the tree is young and you want to maximize growth, you should have a wide clear or mulched area surrounding the tree and apply the fertilizer there. A ten foot tall tree should be surrounded by a cleared, or mulched, zone that’s at least ten foot in diameter. I know this is much larger than what you normally see, but this will help maximize your new tree’s growth rate.

Groups of shrubs should also be surrounded by a cleared, or mulched, zone and this is where you want to broadcast the fertilizer in mid fall.

Bringing the House Plants In
If you have given some, or all, of your house plants a summer outside you will want to bring them back inside well before the first killing frost in the fall. In Prince George’s County the first killing frost averages on or about the 20th of October. Some years it’s a bit earlier, some years a bit later. I don’t like to gamble with my plants and I schedule them to begin coming back inside in mid September with the entire move completed by the end of the month.

I move about 200 cacti plants outside every summer so I know all about the “great plant shuffle.” It’s dangerous to try and schedule the move at the very last moment. Just when the weather forecasters are predicting that first killing frost you may have a lot of other things to do, so get the house plants in a bit earlier, by the end of September.

Putting the House Plants Out
In Prince George’s County the last killing frost in the spring averages on or about the 1st of May. Since it is a real hassle to have to move the plants back inside right after they have been moved out, play it safe and wait at least two weeks beyond the average last spring frost date. This schedules the putting out of the house plants sometime after May 15th. Obviously if you live in the far southern end of the County, Brandywine or Accokeek, you can sneak things in a few days earlier, and if you’re up north, in Beltsville or Laurel, you may want to wait a bit later than May 15th to be on the safe side.

Remember, the one thing we can be sure about concerning the weather, is that we can never be sure about the weather.

When to Divided Perennials
If you are growing hosta, daylilies, chrysanthemums, or a host of other clump forming perennials, sooner or later you will want to dig up the clump, divide it into smaller parts, and replant. The best time of the year to tackle this chore is early fall, sometime in October, after the foliage

has deteriorated and turned brown, or in early spring, sometime between March 20th and April 20th, just as the new growth is appearing. One exception to this rule is the bearded iris, or flag lily as my mother use to call them. These are best divided in August when the plants are dormant and the hot, dry weather reduces the chances of rot in the fatty, fleshy rhizomes.

Applying Crabgrass Preventers
Crabgrass is the single most serious weed in our lawns and it is also relatively easy to prevent through the use of a preemergence crabgrass weed killer. These materials have to be applied prior to crabgrass seed germination. In Prince George’s County crabgrass seed usually sprouts in early April so target your crabgrass preventer application for the last two weeks in March.

Depending on the active ingredient in the crabgrass preventing product you use, you may be required to apply a second application in June. Read and following the product label carefully and you’ll get the maximum benefit from your product.

Getting Help for Other Yard and Garden
Timing Questions
If you have questions concerning gardening chores that were not covered in this article, you can call the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center. The Center is open on Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 1:00 PM. You can reach the center from any location in the State of Maryland via their toll free phone number: 1-800-342-2507

Article supplied by MD Cooperative Extension.