Category Archives: Gardening – Growing

Holiday Peace…just for today?

 

I heard the Pope is calling for world peace today and many in the nation, including politicians are going to church today to celebrate Easter. My husband and I don’t celebrate holidays. We believe they are man-made and commercialized for the banks and corporations to get people to spend money they would otherwise not. 

Having grown up in the church and graduated from a Christian university, I wasn’t always this way — jaded toward holidays and religion. But life and learning stepped in. Buying special news clothing, toys and goodies for the children at times when I didn’t have the money put undue stress on me. Giving money to the church; buying endless gifts for family, friends and teachers; attending parties for everyone kept me broke and frazzled. For over 30 years — my child rearing years — I was usually stressed and running like a chicken without a head trying to make ends meet to keep up with the dictates of society while trying to put food on the table. Much of the stress left me when I met my husband and he convinced me to get off the nightmare-go-round of the holy days (holidays).

The wealth and criminality of many churches and corporations says they are anything but holy, peace-filled and worthy of our money and attention. Many of these churches — The Vatican as an example — have their hands bloody from instigating wars and teaching their congregations they are necessary — not to mention their pedophilia and sex scandals. When our soldiers return from these wars of convenience and fabrication battered and broken, these institutions are nowhere to be found to help them.

This is not to put a wet blanket on anyone’s celebrations and festivities. It is just a way to say how we saved ourselves. Rather than practice peace and be nice to everyone on Easter Sunday, we do our best to practice this every day (trust me…it ain’t easy). I do this by staying politically engaged (it’s a civic duty, you know!) to fight against wars, corruption and encouraging others to vote and know who to vote for. Rather than buy mindlessly from the very corporations who are ruthlessly working against our basic needs (jobs, education, health, food, air, water, environment), I grow half of my own organic food and am careful who I buy from. I avoid corporations like the plague. I use gas sparingly, driving only one day a month to shop. We plan to go off grid this year. 

This day that is a man-made holiday, we plan to spend the day in the garden, planting seeds for food to harvest late summer and fall. Food that is unpolluted and will help nourish our bodies. We will end the day with a home cooked meal — produce grown from our yard — and a glass of wine, a game of dominoes and good music. 

That’s the plan and the best use of our time as we create our own holiday with meaning for our particular lives. ♥

 

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5 Hidden Healers in Your Kitchen: Your Spice Rack as a Medicine Cabinet

These herbs have saved my life. Really. I’ve written before of a bacterial infection that nearly had me a goner, and the ongoing pain of osteoarthritis. Five years later, I am pain free, no infections, have not had a cold or flu and — drumroll, please — enjoy the flexibility of my legs again. I grow sage, oregano, basil and several other herbs on the patio in pots. I use them daily in food and teas. They are easy to grow, lovely to see and reduces the cost to about nothing as they grow year after year, as opposed to buying fresh in the store which is expensive if you use daily as you should.

Via Natural Society

You don’t have to be a chef to know that some herbs and spices taste good in certain dishes. Likewise, you don’t have to be a professional herbalist to use many of these same spices and herbs to treat and prevent illness and disease. Your kitchen should double as your medicine cabinet, as you’ll often find what you need without having to hit the drug store or the pharmacy.

While we could write a book on healing herbs and spices (many such books have been written), we’ll just give you a brief run-down of some of the more commonly overlooked herbs and spices with healing properties. Here are 5 healers that can be found in your kitchen.

1. Sage

Common sage is often used in meat dishes and in cooking with root vegetables. But sage has many health benefits. Made in a tea, you can use the herb sage for sore throat relief, to soothe digestion, calm a cough, and even boost memory. One study found consuming sage can improve scores on memory recall tests. Maybe best of all, you can grow your own.

2. Turmeric

The many benefits of this golden yellow spice are really no secret, unless you haven’t been following natural health news at all in recent months. It’s a powerful antioxidant, can be used to detox the liver, and even relieves pain. There is evidence that turmeric can protect against Alzheimer’s disease and even prevent breast cancer. Perhaps the most documented benefits of turmeric is in its ability to fight cancer cells.

3. Oregano

You might put it on your pizza or in your pasta dishes, but what you probably didn’t realize is how oregano could be benefiting your health. Oregano and the oil derived from it has been shown to encourage weight loss, promote healthy digestion, treat sinus infections and even sooth toothaches. It is an anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-histamine herb. And like sage, you can easily grow your own to experience oregano benefits.

4. Cinnamon

Everyone should be getting some cinnamon in their daily diet. This spice is great on everything from desserts to teas. And it’s good for managing diabetes, promoting a healthy heart, fighting Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer, and PMS.

5. Basil

More and more you can find fresh and actually live basil plants in the grocery store produce section. This isn’t only good for your salads and pesto sauce, it’s great for your health. Basil can improve circulation, reduce cholesterol oxidation, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity. It can also treat stomach cramps, nausea, and headaches. Check out some information on sweet basil, one of numerous basil varieties.

There are numerous other herbs and spices in your kitchen right now that are great for your health and can double as medicine. What are your favorite spice-rack healers?

 

   

10 Reasons to Buy Your Fruits & Veggies at Your Local Farmer’s Market

By Dr. Edward Group for Wake Up World

Which of these two scenarios sounds more vibrant for overall quality of life and health?

The wind on your face, the sun on your skin, you talk with a local farmer about the size and taste of this year’s harvest of peaches, as you pop a slice in your mouth. After tasting several different varieties, you choose your favorite one, walking away with a great memory of the farmer in your mind.

Or…

You stand shivering in the freezer section at your local mega-mart, your eyes begin to glaze over from the halogen lights and the neon-colored cardboard boxes containing substances claimed to be food products? You decide on the one with the least amount of additives and make your way to the self-check-out line, excited to get in your car and out of the supermarket.

Clearly, most of us would agree that the first scenario, at the local farmer’s market, is much more appealing than a trip to a big chain grocery store. But what, besides the aesthetic factor, are some of the other benefits of supporting your local farmers market? Here are ten reasons why I believe you should shop at your local farmers market.

1. Buying Locally
Buying from your local farmer allows you to support local agriculture. This means that the food you are eating comes from nearby, and does not require us to waste lots of energy and petroleum to ship the food half-way around the world. You are eating food in your own environment, where it has perfectly-created nutrients for your specific climate and region. You are also supporting the environment by reducing the usage of fossil fuels.

2. Cheaper Organic Fruits & Veggies
You can find a variety of fresh, organic produce at more affordable prices than in a supermarket. There are also many farmers that carry products that are not technically “organic,” (as this is a costly and often beurocratic-heavy process), but have many low-priced foods that are pesticide and herbicide free. The advantage at a farmers market is that you can actually talk to the farmer, learn about their methods, and then decide for yourself and in most cases they will allow you to come and visit their farm.

3. Supporting Your Local Economy & Farmers
You are supporting human beings and the local economy, not massive agribusiness GMO food conglomerates.

Not only will your money be staying in your area, but you will happily please the farmer that worked to grow that food. Your belly will remember the farmer’s smile as they handed you that juicy peach.

4. Eat Seasonally
By shopping at the local farmers market, you will eat seasonally, fresh and ripe. This is another great way to increase your overall health. Supermarkets offer too much variety and the food is picked before it has ripened decreasing the vitality. The body does not need to be eating imported pineapple in the dead of a Montana winter!

5. Safer Foods
Food from your local farmers market is generally safer. Remember the recent outbreaks of E. coli in bagged spinach? These things happen mostly in large industrial settings, where business-men work to mass produce food, preserve it and bag it in mass amounts.

6. Fresher Fruits & Veggies
The food from your local farmers market is, quite frankly, fresher. Because it was grown locally, there is a good chance that the apple you buy from the farmer was picked a few days ago. This is virtually impossible in a big supermarket.

7. Great Variety
There is usually an amazing variety of fruits and veggies at your local farmers market. Each farmer may have his own method for growing tomatoes or peppers. This is something that never happens at a grocery store.

8. Better Taste
There is no doubt that locally-grown foods just simply taste better. You will never be able to eat a carrot from the grocery store again!

9. It’s Healthy!
There’s just no way around it, eating fresh, locally-grown fruits and veggies are great for your health.

Buy yourself some local honey, which is sold at most local farmer markets. It has just the right components for allergy prevention in your neck of the woods, not to mention it’s tasty!

10. Most Importantly — It’s Fun!
We stated it in the beginning, but farmers markets are just plain fun for the whole family. Meeting your local community is an excellent way to feel connected to the world around you, increasing health for body, mind and spirit.

Or Just Start Your Own Organic Garden
An even better solution would be to grow your own food by creating an organic garden in your yard or even on your balcony. Of course, this will take extra time and money, which a lot of us seem to lack these days.

Find a Farmers’ Market near you

The USDA directory is available at http://farmersmarkets.usda.gov/

http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/
 
 

My vegetable garden – summer 2012

My vegetable garden started out of necessity. My health failed me and I learned that non-GMO, pesticide-free organic vegetables is the way to go. My gardening journey began about 5 years ago and each year my health and the garden gets better.

July 2012 harvest of cucumbers, tomatoes and basil. The cucumbers grew as large as 18″! They were flavorful. The tomatoes grew through October and we had them almost every day. The basil survived until frost. 

 

 

Swiss Chard grows all year long and this green is now in its 2nd year! Once it finds a place it likes, it keeps reseeding right in place. Talk about nutritious! If you grow only one salad green, this is it. It can also be sauteed with garlic and onions for a fantastic side dish. We enjoy Swiss Chard about 3 times a week.

Cilantro grows easily and goes great in salad, vegetable and egg recipes, and Mexican dishes. With pollution in the air and toxins all around, Cilantro binds metals and toxins in the body and eliminates them, protecting the system from cancer and other disease. 

 

 

The tomatoes went crazy this year. Juicy, tasty, I grew three pots so I would have tomatoes every day. I give away excess vegetables to my neighbor who exchanges her fruit with me. We’ve got it going on! 🙂

 

 

Tomatoes, beets, onions and bell pepper. There’s nothing like walking out to your garden and picking your meal. Eating fresh cut/picked vegetables and fruits provides the maximum amount of nutrition. Each day after it is picked, it loses nutrients. 

 

 

Cucumbers, Romaine Lettuce and Cilantro is grown in a covered Grow Camp, which protects from squirrels, bugs and flying pests. 

 

 

 

The corn was tasty this year. We figured out that we had to protect it from crows, squirrels and pests. Did you know that the tassels at the tops are males and you have to shake the dust from them to mate with the females to grow corn? We figured that out too, lol! 

 

 

 

Most times, we ate the corn raw. Absolutely delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marigolds are interspersed around the garden vegetables to keep away pests. They also give up lots of color for the yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary is grown around the yard to keep pests away. But more important, it keeps arthritis at bay for me. It serves as a sleep aid and has many more therapeutic healing properties.

 

 

Sweet Basil like so many other items shown here is easy to grow. This herb sits next to the tomato plants and keeps the tomato worms out. I cook with it almost every day and the fragrance is awesome!

“The Red Hook Community Farm was under more than two feet of water during the storm, executive director Ian Marvy told us. Even the crops that remain after flooding are a total loss and cannot be sold or donated because of water pollution. The farm also lost two bee hives; it’s unclear how much of the equipment can be salvaged.

It is likely that flood waters also destroyed Battery Urban Farm in Lower Manhattan. Phones were not working and emails to staffers went unanswered, but reports of extensive flooding on the streets surrounding the farm leave little doubt that the agricultural operation is more than likely done for the season, if not longer.

It was a pattern that played out consistently across the city: the bees, birds and the plants withstood the gale’s winds, but not even the most diligent preparations could stop the floods.”
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Truly sad. This is a lesson for us all. We should consider this an opportunity to learn and prepare for the future. Many growers overseas are now growing above the ground in buildings and on platforms. I’ve seen many successful gardens grown in above ground beds, on stacked crates and other structures. Whenever there’s a problem, let’s look for solutions rather than repeat the problem. 🙂

Grist

Yesterday, we brought you the sad story of the Brooklyn Grange’s lost beehives. Today, there’s more bad news on the urban farm front in New York City. From Brooklyn to Manhattan, some farms fared OK while others were entirely drowned.

The New York Observer reports:

The Red Hook Community Farm was under more than two feet of water during the storm, executive director Ian Marvy told us. Even the crops that remain after flooding are a total loss and cannot be sold or donated because of water pollution. The farm also lost two bee hives; it’s unclear how much of the equipment can be salvaged.

It is likely that flood waters also destroyed Battery Urban Farm in Lower Manhattan. Phones were not working and emails to staffers went unanswered, but reports of extensive flooding on the streets surrounding the farm leave little doubt that the agricultural operation is more…

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Growing Ginger

Benefits of Ginger

I use ginger almost every day to keep arthritis at bay. It’s also anti-inflammatory, keeps cancer away, helps with nausea, stomach issues, colds and more. Since I use it so much, I decided to grow it. Turns out it grows well in hot weather. Lucky me! So this is a new herb I’ll be growing next Spring. The rule for a gardener is: if you eat it or use it regularly, learn to grow it. http://naturalsociety.com/benefits-of-ginger/

 

How to Grow

Knowing how to grow ginger involves a few things. Knowing what your plant needs for location, temperature, time of planting, water and nutrition ensures success in growing. Follow these tips and you’re on your way! http://www.growguides.net/how-to-grow-ginger.html

Ginger tea
http://vegetarian.about.com/od/morerecipes/r/GingerTea.htm

Healthy ginger recipes
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_ginger_recipes

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie – my favorite!
http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/05/blueberry-ginger-smoothie-recipe.html

Ginger smoothies
http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/recipes/fresh-ginger-smoothie-recipe-ideas/