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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

From Lawn to Garden: Post 13-- Beginning to see the Fruits of all our Labor

We have been insanely busy with summer and the garden and its been awesome because we've been together for the ride and loving (almost) every minute of it! I did take pictures of our garden two weeks ago that I meant to share but then our computer was being funny and I couldn't share them, but to give you an idea of what was going on then here we are.. or were...or whatever:
Now, we picked our first batch of onions about three weeks ago and they have been curing and drying. I just snipped the tops off and they are drying out for the last week or so and then will be stored. We have a second batch going and soon we will be planting more for the fall. We did sets for the white and red onions and I'm happy with how they turned out. Our green onions we did from seeds and they are almost ready to be enjoyed fresh!
We are harvesting carrots, peas, and swiss chard on an almost daily basis. Every time I think, "This will be the last week of the snow peas for sure..." I am pleasantly surprised when they just keep on producing. I am almost soooooo happy we did the swiss chard since our spinach was a bust so far and the swiss chard just keeps on producing!
Our pickling cucumbers are doing really well and we have about 8-10 cukes that will be picked by the end of the week to be made into our first jar of refrigerator pickles.
I am positively giddy over the tomatoes and cannot wait for the first red one to be enjoyed. For now though the plants just keep growing and producing more fruit which is very exciting in and of itself.
Our pole beans are flowering and in august hopefully we will be swamped with beans! I can't wait since fresh beans from the garden taste unbelievably yummy! I love how some of the beans and grape vine have started to intertwine-- it gives it such a wild earthy feel.
Our zucchini is coming along-- although some of them are turning yellow which is odd since we planted black zucchini. Hmmm.
Our corn was knee high and then some by the fourth of july so we are excited to see if we get any from this sometimes tricky and finicky crop. Keep on praying!
And there you have it-- some of the highlights of whats growing. One of the nice things is we planted herbs throughout the garden so now as I weed I am delightfully intoxicated by different aromas which adds a slight delight to a never ending task. What's growing in your garden? What's your favorite recipe for pickles?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What Type of Seed--- What Type of Plant-- What Type of Produce to Buy for Clean Eating

I always hear people say, "But why buy organic? Its so much more money and they use some sprays and pesticides too!" This is all true. Organic produce is more money and they do sometimes use sprays. So, what should you buy?
First, Let's start with your seed. Ideally, this is the best way to go. Order your own heirloom organic seeds and grow them yourself with no pesticides or chemicals. To be truly at its best, you need to bring the plant up right and that begins with it's seed. A GMO seed has it's DNA interlaced with pesticides. That means even if you buy seeds from the store and grow them organically, the GMO seed will still most likely contain pesticides and genetic modifications already. So your best bet is heirloom seeds which have been passed down for at least 50 years (or before GMOs became so widespread and abundant), your second option is to buy organic seeds and raise them organically, and your third best option is to buy any old seed and raise the plant organic (although this should be a last resort-- but it's still a step in the right direction). We have ordered seeds from Incredible Seeds and Baker Creek seeds and been very happy with everything we've grown from them. It does take more preparation and planning, but if you're not quite that committed or perhaps some of your seeds didn't do so well then we can now look at what type of plants to buy...
So buying a plant you want to ask the grower about its seed and growing conditions. What type of seed-- heirloom? Organic? was it GMO? If you are buying your plants from any big box stores then we can just assume it was a gmo seed. These plants will grow bigger and faster but that's not always a good thing. Sometimes though, this is your only option so now that you have your plant, raise it organically. Try not to treat the plants and use organic compost and manure to help it grow rather then something like miracle grow. Better yet, look around on craigslist or ask some gardening friends if they have any extra you can purchase for them. Another option is to look for an organic nursery.
Now, let's say you didn't plant seeds or grow plants and let's be honest, even if you did those two things, you may still need to purchase some produce whether in the summer or throughout the year. So what do you look for and where do you go? You might think I'd say the farmer's market but I know many farmers who sell there and have no issue with Monsanto. So even though your food is growing closer to home, if it's being grown under the same conditions they are using hundreds of miles away it doesn't matter. So, no matter where you buy you are looking for non GMO organic produce. This means their seeds were not genetically modified and their plants have been raised as organically as possible and your produce is now the best it can be and as close to what God had in mind.
Okay, so you just took all that in and you might still be thinking-- but why GMO free and why heirloom anyway? Why shouldn't farmers use these methods in order to produce more food to meet the needs of our society? And I'm here to say if more people grew even some of their own food then these farmers would perhaps not need to mass produce and modify plants to produce these outrageously large plants and produce. Also, and this is kind of blunt, America has an obesity issue-- bigger plants that are modified contributes to people having more and eating more and it's not better for you. Corn is one of the most GM crops and is used for corn flakes, corn chips, cereals, etc. and do people really need to eat that many corn products in such crazy abundance? Probably not.
Now, lets talk price tags again. Organic is the most expensive but in order to save: grow your own, eat seasonally, and preserve it while it's at it's peak. And in the end, any fruit or vegetable is still better than a bag of candy so at least start there and then continue to educate yourself and make decisions that help bring growing conditions and seed quality back to what it was once designed to be.