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How does your garden grow?

I think that I would grow vegetables even if there weren’t good reasons for growing them. I love gardening.

The only thing that I like better than writing about vegetable gardening is the act of gardening itself. I absolutely love gardening! I love the faith that I have that when I put the seeds in the ground. I love the excitement of seeing those green first leaves as they push through the soil. I love watching that first flush of growth as the little plants sprint to see which one will grow the fastest. I love watching blossoms appear and am even more excited when the first fruits start to form. Those first fruits seem to take the longest to ripen, but then every ounce of energy goes into the fruits and what seemed to take weeks for the first fruit takes a matter of hours for fruit that comes on later. Finally the day comes when I can pick what’s ripened. I love it when I can use what I pick for that evening’s meal, or I can put it up in freezer or with the canner.

However, not only do I love the process of gardening, but I love the fact that there are some very practical reasons for growing a garden. Here’s a few reasons you might consider.

Food Security

By learning to do food gardening, you become less dependent on the grocery store. The next economic downturn could mean a loss of your job. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your food system is more secure because you have a garden that you can fresh vegetables? A long-term crisis could take 10 years or more to recover. You need to eat during this time. When you grow your own food with your health in mind, use water catchment, recycle home and yard wastes by composting, and save your own seed, you develop a sustainable food source that can get you through that rough patch.

Aquaponics systems are interesting, but not always practical and can be quite expensive and require special skills to set up. Starting a traditional vegetable garden just requires a few hand tools. A shovel, a rake, a hoe, a watering can and a place to start a compost pile is all you need to convert a small spot in your yard into food production.

In addition, aquaponics systems need electricity in order to function. In case of an EMP or even a short-term blackout caused from grid overload or ice damage to the electrical system, all your plants and fish will die. Unless you have a home electrical plant such as solar or a gas generator, this system is not sustainable.  

 A food stockpile can be expensive and hard to rotate and maintain as it grows. It isn’t a bad idea to have some food storage stockpiled, but space is limited and once it is gone, it’s gone. You never store as much as you think you have. What seems like a lot of food during times of plenty ends up being far less when you need to use it.

Food Safety

By raising your own garden, you know more about where your food came from and how it was handled. There have been numerous recalls on fruits, vegetables, meats, and processed foods where salmonella and e-coli have been blamed for illnesses and deaths from consuming those foods. Most of the time, these illnesses are caused either by animal waste from CAFOs (a potential subject for another future article) or from workers who didn’t properly keep their hands washed. When you raise your own garden, you have control over the sanitary conditions upon which they are raised.

In addition, many crops are grown using GMOs in which the primary reason for creating the GMO is for allowing the use of the herbicide glyphosate (brand name-Roundup) in the fields where the crops are grown. Recently 2 billion dollars has been set aside for individuals who have contracted Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma because there is a strong probability that glyphosate causes this type of cancer. In addition, this chemical kills earthworms, and other healthful flora and fauna in fields. These organisms help create the symbiosis required for the plants to absorb the nutrients into the plants that we eat.

Food Quality

The nutrient density of food has decreased anywhere from 15 to 65 percent in the past 65 years. The reasons for this have a lot to do with the way that our food is grown. In many cases the same crop has been grown on the same land for years. The farmers add nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to the soil and the plants will grow and produce a crop, but since the farmers are not adding micronutrients, the plants lack the nutritional value. When you grow your own food using homemade compost created from household and yard wastes and adding other organic amendments, you’re not just feeding the plants, but you’re feeding the soil as well.

Even plowing itself has been linked to the decrease in food quality. When a field is plowed and it rains, nutrients are washed downstream. Exposed soil is also subject to other aspects of weather. Exposed soil is subject to rapid change in the weather. Plants planted in exposed soil are more likely to succumb to frost and heat alike. When growing your own garden, you can avoid these pitfalls when you mulch your garden or even use gardening methods like the Ruth Stout method, Lasagna Gardening, and Back to Eden Gardening to name a few of the most common.  

Food for Thought

When you grow your own food organically, you can become part of the ecosystem rather than an enemy of it. You start recycling yard wastes and household food wastes back into your garden through composting. You learn that it’s not about feeding plants, but about feeding the soil.

The more you learn about growing your own food in a responsible way, the more you’ll learn about how what you do affects the world around you. You’ll lower your carbon footprint because tankers and trucks won’t need to haul food from where it’s grown to where you live. You’ll feel a connection to nature. You’ll see yourself as doing something positive for the environment.

Food Connoisseur

You’ll learn that home grown food really does taste better. When was the last time you ate a fresh ripe tomato right off the vine or sweet corn picked at the peak of sweetness and cooked within minutes of picking? It is an experience no human being should miss.

Where Do You Start?

Start where you are right now, doing what you know how to do and then research what you know you don’t know. I am writing this in the middle of the summer, but It doesn’t matter what time of year you are reading this. You can start your garden at any time and in any place. Matter of fact, right now I have the seeds that I will use for my fall garden that I am currently growing on my patio. I have had gardens all my life and I have learned that even if I don’t have a yard, I can start growing plants in an apartment or on a balcony.

Make a list of what you know about growing your own food and then start researching what you still need to know. One resource I suggest is my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. To learn more about this book, Click Here.


greenbeans_galoreThis month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work.

 

 

In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.
I have been a fan of organic gardening since reading my first issue of Organic Gardening Magazine when I was twelve years old. The principles of organic gardening always made sense to me. The ideas put forth by organic gardening principles offer solutions to many problems of modern life.

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This week I am offering a 25% discount on digital copies of my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. From today through March 10, 2018 instead of the digital book being $2.99, it will be just $2.24 for a copy! Get Yours today before the promotion expires! Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/517230 to download your copy today!

Coupon Code  LY88C

Autumn Leaves are a Wonderful Resource You Should Never Burn

We often face problems in the autumn with the leaves that fall from the trees. In our hectic busy lives, we often don’t have time to deal with them until spring. When spring comes, we often pile them up and set a fire to them. This is a mistake. Here’s an article that I wrote on Hubpages.

Stop Environmental Pollution of Burning Autumn Leaves-Use Them Instead

https://hubpages.com/living/Autumn-Leaves-Dont-Burn-Them-Dont-Bag-Them-Use-Them

Compost

It is easy to make compost. Basically you need green materials (fresh green grass, manure, chopped kitchen garbage) brown material (leaves, shredded paper, chipped wood), soil, and water. In an area of your yard that is convenient to both the kitchen and the garden, layer a couple inches of each type of item listed above and let set several months, and turn the pile every couple of weeks. If you get more than an inch of rain every week, you won’t have to water the pile, but if you do, be sure to soak the pile well one time per week.

Kelp

I often question whether I have enough of the right trace minerals in my compost, so I often add kelp powder to the pile along with the other ingredients.
Kelp can be used in other ways in the garden as well. I like to use it directly as a planting nutrient. I simply sprinkle kelp to the bottom of the planting hole when planting both seeds and plants.
I also add kelp to goat and chicken feed for two reasons. The first one is to guarantee that the animals get the nutrients that they need. Many illnesses that animals get are related to nutritional deficiencies. The second reason is that the kelp in the animal manure will be passed on to plants.

help from kelp photo

Kelp is beneficial in other ways too and I have written about it in my book Help from Kelp. It is available

on Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0QNN1O

and in print

http://www.lulu.com/shop/cygnet-brown/help-from-kelp/paperback/product-22518936.html

Wood Ashes

When we had a woodstove for heating, we put all our wood ashes in the garden. In addition to working the wood ashes into the soil to add the nutrients, if certain vegetables are attacked by plant eating insects, wood ashes can be sprinkled on the leaves. The wood ashes don’t taste good to the insects, so they avoid the leaves treated with the ashes. For some reason, one application is enough, but it can be reapplied after a rain.

Diatomaceous Earth

In the absence of wood ashes, DE can be used in the garden as an insect repellent. Just dust it on the plants. For more information on how to use diatomaceous earth, check out another article in Hubpages:

Why I use Diatomaceous Earth in My Home and Garden

https://hubpages.com/living/DEinhomeandgarden
Although wood ashes and diatomaceous earth do keep insects off your plants, you can over do it and as I wrote in my article, not all insects in the garden are bad, good insects do exist.

Not All Insects in the Garden are Bad

https://hubpages.com/living/Not-All-Insects-in-the-Garden-are-Bad

DE Photo

 

In addition to Help from Kelp I have another book Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard You can get this book for free in a digital format at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/617019

Or if you prefer a book in print go to http://www.lulu.com/shop/cygnet-brown/using-diatomaceous-earth-around-the-house-and-yard/paperback/product-22638910.html

 

 


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Use Heirloom Seeds for Seed Saving

Do you know that you can save your vegetable seeds from one year to the next? Some people worry about violating Monsanto’s seed patents, but the truth is, the seeds that you get from a seed catalog or from an online source is not GMO. Unless you have signed a form saying that you will not save seeds from a plant because it is GMO, your garden produce is not GMO. If eating GMO foods is something you don’t want to do, then growing your own garden produce would definitely give you the security of knowing that the vegetables that you are serving your family are not GMO. The main concern with vegetables that you grow in a home garden is not from GMOs, but the concern whether you are growing heirlooms or hybrids.

If you don’t know the difference between hybrids, heirlooms, and GMO plants, check out the article that I wrote: The Difference Between GMO, Hybrid, and Heirloom Seeds  http://hubpages.com/education/What-is-the-difference-between-GMO-Hybridization-and-Heirloom-seeds

How to Save Different Types of Heirloom Seeds

So, as you see, unless you want to experiment cross breeding, the seeds you really want to save heirloom seeds. Several of my articles include a section on how to save seeds. Check them out!

The Hottest Tips for Growing Hot Peppers http://hubpages.com/living/Hot-Peppers-in-the-Garden

Sustainably Growing Zucchini with Heirloom Seed http://hubpages.com/living/Zucchini-in-the-Garden

Heirloom Tomatoes How to Grow and Save Their Seed http://hubpages.com/living/Growing-and-Saving-Seed-from-Heirloom-Tomatoes

Is Anything Easier to Grow Than Okra? http://hubpages.com/living/Is-Anything-Easier-to-Grow-Than-Okra

 

And, of course, we cannot forget the video. This time we have: Vegetable Seed Saving Video-The Basic Rules! Enjoy!

 

IMG_8330 final copy

 

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and buy her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 


I remember reading back in the 1970s about the gypsy moth infestation that was killing trees all over the country. A series of photographs that I saw at the time, showed that as the moths were sprayed with insecticide, the gypsy moth population spread. Before spraying occurred, gypsy moth populations were small, but when the spraying occurred moth populations temporarily decreased in that area, but the population spread as the moths tried to get away from the poisonous spray areas.  In addition,  predators of the gypsy moth were killed off. In other words, the spray did not control the problem, the spray caused the problem. In addition, less resilient moths were killed off, but the moths that had some tolerance to the chemicals requiring more lethal chemicals to control the populations. See this photo about how the gypsy moth population has spread since 1900 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsy_moths_in_the_United_States

Chemicals are not only toxic to the insects but can but are also toxic to us. Insects can build a resistance to chemical controls, however, diatomaceous earth is not a chemical control, but a physical control rather than poisoning the insects, diatomaceous earth has tiny glass-like shards that cut and dry out insects. To learn more about diatomaceous earth in the garden, read my hubpages’ article why I use Diatomaceous Earth Around my House and Garden.http://hubpages.com/living/DEinhomeandgarden

One Article Not Enough Information?

if you would like more information read my free book  Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, on pdf, kindle or nook as well as other formats at Smashwords.https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/617019

DE Photo

 

Diatomaceous Earth Video

Not willing to take my word for the benefits of diatomaceous earth? Check out this and other videos of people who love the benefits of this naturally occurring substance.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Today’s Gardening Subject is Bugs.

caterpillar-garden-insect

Should you or should you not kill this caterpillar?

Before you start running away screaming in the night, It’s time we realized that–

Not All Bugs in the Garden Are Bad

Not all insects in the garden are bad.I know that may surprise a lot of people who keep a can of pesticide handy every time them see a bug, but the truth is, there are a number of good bugs.Just because you see a bug crawling on your tomato plants, does not mean that you have to run screaming for the insecticide.

Although it is true that many of the insects on your plants are herbivores (meaning they eat plants), some insects are not on your plants to eat the plants. These insects might instead be predators which means they eat other insects. They might instead be what are known as scavengers. In other words, they could be read more

Top Ten Garden Insect Pests of the US and How to Control Them Organically

Now that you know that not all bugs in the garden are pests, you still shouldn’t head for the insecticide. Insecticides are toxic not only to the bad bugs, but to the good bugs, your pets, you and your children. That’s why it makes sense to try to use safe nontoxic organic methods of controlling garden pests. Here are the top ten pests and how you can combat them read more

How to Get Rid of Garden Pests Organically Video

Here’s a YouTube Video with a couple other suggestions for getting rid of garden pests.

 

For Even more information about ways to get rid of bugs in your garden, check out my FREE e-book Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available on Kindle, Nook, PDF and more, click here

IMG_8330 final copy

 

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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