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!

woman with healthy skin

Foods For Healthy Skin

Why is it that some women always seem to look great? Obviously, there are some who invest in designer wardrobes, top of the line haircuts and treatments, manicures, pedicures, the list goes on. But there are some women who seem to need none of that stuff. No matter how simply they’re dressed, or how little effort they’ve put in, they just seem to shine. It’s the skin.

According to a PMC study on mate choices and facial preferences, healthy skin is one of the most important determinants in picking a mate. The study finds that, “there is a large and obvious selective advantage in detecting healthy partners for social exchange and mate choice” and people are “more willing to reciprocate trust from healthy looking social partners than from social partners who are unhealthy looking.” The research goes on to explain that, “skin health may be a particularly useful marker of current health condition,” and we all want to be attractive, right? Jessica Wu, MD and author of , “Feed Your Face,”says, “My conclusion is that naturally gorgeous skin often starts with your diet.” So let’s dig in!

1. Walnuts
Eat walnuts? If you do, you are eating the only nut that has a significant level of omega-3 fatty acid. That’s great news if your not too keen on fish, which also contains loads of the nutrient. Walnuts have alpha-linolenic acid, which protects from eczema, plus they’re great on froyo and ice cream.

2. Kale
Kale is a powerful source of both lutein and zeaxanthin, which are nutrients that neutralize free radicals from UV light, and can even safeguard against wavelengths that penetrate sunscreen. Just one cup of these mean greens give you 134% of you daily vitamin C and 133% of your daily vitamin A, both of which are known for their skin firming properties.

3. Rosemary
According to a study done by the International Journal of Epidemiology, the regular consumption of four or more herbs per day, such as rosemary or thyme, was known to reduce the risk of melanoma by 60%. These herbs contain large amounts of antioxidants and block the sun’s free radicals before they cause damage to the skin.

4. Almond Milk
Since Dr. Wu says, “Research shows dairy is highly inflammatory, which means it will aggravate acne, wrinkles, and rashes;” it is suggested that almond milk is used as a more skin-friendly alternative. Use it in your coffee and on cereal for better skin health.

5. Soy
A study of middle-aged women in Japan found that those who ate 40 milligrams of an isoflavone found in soy had improved elasticity and fewer lines in their skin when compared with subjects who received a placebo. The isoflavone, known as aglycone is effective in preventing collagen from breaking down, thereby decreasing the chance of sagging and wrinkles. You can get your 40 mg dosage in 1 oz. of dry roasted soybeans, 3 oz. of tempeh, or 6 oz. of tofu.

Got some more info on healthy skin food? We love to hear your comments. Let us know if you’ve tried any of these and what you think.