Woman gardening

Tips For Growing Your Own Organic Produce

You say you’re not the type for organic gardening. People who grow their own organic vegetables are the kind of people who practice yoga. They throw away their razors and change their names to Persimmon or Rutabega. They listen to new age music and Joni Mitchell. They replace all their tight-fitting clothes with sack-like hemp items. You would never fit the bill. Although it may be tempting to find some plausibility in this scenario, it is actually quite far from reality.

Organic gardening is actually one of the most practical things you can do. It’s the healthiest and cheapest way to produce food for your family; the transcendental meditation and is optional. If you’re thinking of growing your own organic produce, here are some tips for keeping it real.

Gardening

Green Manure
Green manure is a way to grow plant material while improving the quality of the soil. It’s usually planted in the winter and grows a few weeks before planting season. It retains nutrients while it grows, until it’s cut down and turned into the soil. Winter rye is a good source of green manure during the winter because it clamps onto the soil to prevent erosion. Comfrey is another excellent green manure option, which helps to add minerals, such as nitrogen and phosphate to the soil.

Compost
Compost is a nutritious humus made from rotting organic material, like grass clippings, wood chips, vegetable or fruit scraps. In fact, you can add anything organic to the compost pile to provide extra nutrition to your plants. Compost can be added directly to the soil and turned under, or you can leave it on the top of the bed and let the worms come and do the work for you. Using compost prevents water erosion and disease. You can make your own compost pile by setting aside a bin and adding organic material at regular intervals, adding it to your vegetable garden bed when the older material becomes finished.

mother and daughter

Mulching
Mulching is a way to slow down the growth of weeds while keeping the soil from dehydration. Although almost anything that provides cover for the bare ground between your vegetables can be used for mulching, organic materials will degrade slowly and add nutrients to the soil. The best organic materials for mulching include dry grass, wood chips, and hay. Spread a few inches of mulch onto areas of bare soil to keep sunlight from reaching the ground and drying the soil.

Companion Planting
Strength in numbers applies to the gardening world as well. Companion planting is the planting of certain types of herbs, flowers, and vegetables together to fight off disease and pests and provide nutrients to one another. Although herbs are the most regularly used for companion planting, there are certain vegetables that should be planted apart or together. For example, planting tomatoes with carrots will make your carrots turn out smaller than usual. Garlic is a natural fungicide that can fight off a large number of diseases and pests. In fact, garlic can even improve the flavor and production of certain vegetables. Beans are an excellent companion choice for corn and grains because they enrich the soil with the nitrogen necessary for these plants to thrive; melons and squash work well with corn as well, because their broad leaves provide the soil with the shade necessary for keeping the corn moist.

Are you going organic? Let us know what you’re doing to make your garden grow!

Beyond Brunch: Ideas for Mother's Day

You want your mother to have a magnificent Mother’s Day but it can be hard to think of things to do. You want mom to be relaxed, but still enjoying herself. After all, this day is devoted to honoring your mother. One of the most popular activities on Mother’s Day is to take her to a delicious brunch. However, if you are tired of just taking your mom out to eat, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Mother’s Day with your mom. Below we’ve listed some of our favorite creative ideas for showing mom how much you love her.

Family enjoying a picnic lunch.

Picnic
Okay, so this one still involves food, but it adds atmosphere and fun to your Mother’s Day meal. Going on a picnic often feels nostalgic and brings back memories of playing in the sun, popsicles and the sweet smell of flowers. Find a basket your mom that you can give to your mother after the picnic and fill it with utensils, plates, napkins and any other thing you need for dining. Once that is sorted, either make or buy some of your mom’s favorite classic foods. Great foods for a picnic include sandwiches, fresh fruit like strawberries and blueberries, homemade iced tea and treats like cookies. Handpick some flowers for your mom and give them to her at your picnic.

Mother and daughter at a spa.

Pamper Mom
Normally Mother’s Day is an affair that involves the entire family, but maybe what mom needs is a little quiet and alone time. Pampering activities can include a massage or facial at her favorite spa or a mani/pedi. However, pampering your mom on Mother’s Day does not have to come with any added expense. Simply let mom take a nap while dad takes care of the kids. Let mom watch her favorite TV or movies all day long or prepare her a relaxing bath with soothing scents (like lemon and jasmine) and let her soak for as long as she wants. Because moms are constantly doing something, it can be nice to give her some time to just do things that let her completely relax.

Mother and daughter gardening.

Plant a Garden
If your mom is an outdoor enthusiast, consider heading outdoors for Mother’s Day. Start a new tradition and plant a few of her favorite flowers. To give mom a bit of a break on Mother’s Day, plant a garden a few weeks before Mother’s Day so it starts to bloom brightly on her special day. The great thing about planting a garden for mom is that it truly is a gift that keeps on giving.

The ultimate Mother’s Day activity, and gift, is one that is tailored to your mom’s specific tastes and lifestyle. A few weeks before Mother’s Day, start making lists of activities your mother enjoys or food that you know she would love. Mother’s Day is all about your mom and there are many ways to celebrate her. The best gift is one that is thoughtful and benefits your mom, such as a book by her favorite author or a new coffee mug for her morning caffeine fix. You don’t have to stick with flowers and brunch, and you also don’t have to spend an extreme amount of money, just give your mom a gift from your heart and she will love it.