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Astragalus Herb – How to Grow and Harvest Astragalus Herb

Astragalus Herb – How to Grow and Harvest Astragalus Herb
Astragalus Herb - How to Grow and Harvest Astragalus Herb
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Astragalus is an herb for more seasons than you want to count. For centuries, people relied on virtually any situation that required nourishment, healing, or decoration. It is the number one choice if you are looking for alternative medicine. Even if modern science and recent research have some reservations about the herb. It’s high in nutrients and vitamins, which makes it a decent source of food. And it has lush foliage and adorable flowers that blend well with any landscape. What can you not like about astragalus?

Astragalus herb grow harvest

And like many wild herbs, astragalus is very adaptable. In many cases, it is enough to throw the seeds on the ground and watch them grow. It doesn’t require any special setup or type of floor. In short, it is a versatile herb that has its place in any garden or setting. This article covers astragalus in more detail and explains how to grow, harvest, and use the herb at home.

All About Astragalus

Astragalus is a member of the legume family of over 3,000 species. That makes it a close relative of peas and beans. Most species grow in the wild without human assistance. This makes it easy to grow in your garden as long as you live in zones 5 through 9.

Depending on who you ask, Astragalus has a different name in different regions of the world. It has many names including Locoweed, Milkvetch, and Ziegendorn. This is because the plant has two types, as an herb and as a small bush . So if you have little space in the garden or backyard, you can grow the herb variety. However, if you want to get the most out of its green and lush foliage, this bush variety is ideal for you.

The leaves on the plant are small but with vibrant greens that shimmer in the light. Then, in spring, and just when the foliage is dense and full, clusters of small yellow flowers appear. They dot the top of the foliage, creating an amazing visual feast of colors and reflections.

If you prefer more colorful flowers, Astragalus alpinus and Astragalus hypoglottis are good candidates. These strains have purple flowers that last longer on the plant. Also, they are grown for ornamental purposes only, and their leaves and roots are not used for medicine or food.

But if you want to grow the plant for its medicinal and culinary values, then you have many options for the others Sorts. As long as you choose the types of herbs. The roots are the only edible part of the herb. It can be consumed as food, added to soups, sauces and stews to add flavor, and used in medicinal preparations.

What is astragalus good for?

Astragalus is a staple of many diets and cuisines. The herb’s roots have deep and rich flavors that are great on their own as well as with various dishes. Traditional medicine has always found many uses in the herb’s roots. But be careful, you should enjoy the following benefits with caution. Scientific research on this herb is still pending. In addition, when taken in large doses, the roots can have some adverse side effects. And if you have any health problems, you should avoid astragalus altogether.

  • In ancient times, folk recipes recommended extracts from the roots for nursing mothers. It was thought to increase lactation.
  • Astragalus is at the heart of traditional Chinese medicine, where it is used to treat fatigue and anorexia to cancer and hepatitis.
  • You can Grow it in the garden as a perennial because of its ornamental value. The lush green foliage and brightly colored flowers are a feast for the eyes.
  • Although eaten as food, it can cause side effects including diarrhea, blood pressure, and irregular blood sugar levels.
  • People who shouldn’t take astragalus are those who have diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.

How to Grow Astragalus

Astragalus herb how to grow

As a versatile herb you can grow astragalus either from seeds or by division.The good news is, the plant is very easy to grow. However, seeds can sometimes be difficult to germinate. This applies to old seeds. So, if you can’t get your hands on fresh seeds, dividing a mature plant is the best way to go, but if you don’t have access to a mature plant, try the following steps to start the herb from seed.

  • Scrape off the outer shell of the seeds with the back of a knife. This allows moisture to penetrate the inside of the seed and improves the chances of germination.
  • Fill a glass with warm water and drop the seeds into it . Soak them overnight.
  • Remove any seeds that stay over water for more than 5 minutes. These are bad seeds that won’t germinate .
  • Fill a shallow bowl with general potting soil . You can also use normal soil from the garden.
  • Put the seeds an inch (2.5 cm) in the soil and hold them an inch apart. Water the soil to make it moist.
  • Hold the bowl near a window that gets the morning sun until the seeds germinate.
  • If the soil dries out, add a little water to make it moist again. The seeds germinate within a week or two, depending on how fresh they are.
  • Astragalus grows well in r sandy soils l with pH levels between 6.0 and 7.0 .
  • Prepare the soil in the garden and choose a spot that will get full sun for about 6 hours a day .
  • When the seedlings 7 ., 5 cm tall with 2 sets of real leaves, transplant them in the garden.

Astragalus Care

It is easy to take care of the herb when you have the have gone through complex steps of starting the seeds. You can grow more than one astragalus seedling in the garden. However, make sure that the herb varieties are a foot apart and the bush species are at least 4.5 feet apart. The rest of the plant care is pretty straightforward.

Soil

You can plant the seeds in normal garden soil. Even clay soil is enough for this purpose. But if you want to transplant the herb or bush in the garden, you need to improve this heavy soil and loosen its texture. An easy way to do this is to add coarse sand or perlite to the soil. How much sand or perlite you need depends on the type of soil. But you know if the soil stays loose in your fist rather than compacting, you have the right texture.

The pH of the soil should be between 6.0 and 7.0. That is as close as possible to neutral or slightly acidic. You can use lime to increase the acidity of the soil.

Water

Astragalus prefers moist soil for a hardy perennial plant. So your goal would be to keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. And since it prefers sandy soils, which do not hold water well, you need to water it once a day in spring and summer. This applies to warm areas where the summer sun is merciless and moisture dries up quickly.

As for the water supply, the herb needs the same amount of water as many other plants in your garden. Give him about an inch of water a week and increase it in the case of the small bush type. Don’t let the soil dry out as your herb has a low tolerance to drought. Always try to water the plant deep and aim for the roots. Avoid spraying the foliage or flowers with water, as this would cause fungal infections. Astragalus does not tolerate high humidity either, so you need to improve the air circulation around the plants.

Fertilizer

Astragalus is a moderate fertilizer and the richer the soil, the greener the leaves and the lighter the leaves Blossoms. You can dress the herb aside with any type of homemade compost or aged manure. Chemical fertilizers tend to stress the plant from sudden spurts of growth, so I advise you to avoid them. However, if you are growing the plant for its foliage, use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer with a 10-5-5 label in moderate doses. For ornamental varieties you can also use fertilizers rich in phosphorus in the ratio 5-10-10 in small doses.

Use the fertilizer once a month. If the plant is not growing well, increase the dose and apply it every two weeks. Cover the beds with a 2-inch layer of mulch in the summer.This is more true of the bush species than the herb species. However, you will need to prune the plant regularly to keep it in good condition. The best time to prune this perennial is in the fall, when the flowers have faded and fallen off. Start by removing any damaged, broken, and tangled stems. In the case of bush varieties, cut off the idiosyncratic branches to maintain the shape of the bush. Also make breaks in the foliage to improve air circulation for the inner stems and branches. And if you don’t want the self-sowing plant to reproduce and reclaim every inch of the garden, core the flowers to keep the plant from producing seeds and becoming invasive.

Harvesting astragalus

Astragalus herb harvesting

You can harvest the roots of astragalus for culinary purposes once the plant is established. You should not harvest the roots too early as this could affect the growth of the plant. Most experts recommend that you start harvesting astragalus roots as soon as they reach the third year. This will give the root system enough time to fully develop.

To collect the roots, carefully cover the soil and harvest the tender roots closer to the surface. Do not harvest more than 30 percent of the root system at one time. Also, you shouldn’t use chemical fertilizers when you plan to harvest the roots. After harvesting, cover the roots with soil again, then fertilize with organic compost and water the plant.

As a piece of advice, don’t harvest the roots until about three weeks after the last fertilization. Do not harvest the roots immediately after fertilizing. They have an unconventional taste.

To use the harvested roots, place them in a bowl of warm water and keep them there for a day to remove unwanted odors. Then rinse well, cut into slices and place on a sheet of paper to dry. Keep the cut roots in a warm and dry place for up to three weeks. When they are completely dry, store them in a tightly closed jar. At normal room temperature they stay fresh for up to a year.

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