Making the Change to Organic & Gluten Free

Making the Change to Organic & Gluten Free

Historically, organic farms have been relatively small family-run farms[1] – which is why organic food was once only available in small stores or farmers’ markets. Now, organic foods are becoming much more widely available – organic food sales within the United States have enjoyed 17 to 20 percent growth for the past few years[2] while sales of conventional food have grown at only about 2 to 3 percent a year. Organic baby food is popular too, sales of which increased 21.6 percent in 2006, while baby food overall has only grown 3.1 percent in the same year.[3] This large growth is predicted to continue, and many companies are jumping into the market.

Fresh Organic Foods
Fresh, “unprocessed” organic food, such as vegetables and fruits are purchased directly from growers, at farmers’ markets, from on-farm stands, supermarkets, through speciality food stores, and through community-supported agriculture (CSA) projects. Unprocessed animal products like organic meat, eggs, dairy, are less commonly available in “fresh” form.

In Australia[7] and elsewhere[citation needed], organic eggs must be from free-range hens, rather than from battery chickens. Animals for the organic market may not be fed growth hormones or drugs such as steroids or antibiotics.

Identifying organic food
At first, organic food comprised mainly fresh vegetables. Early consumers interested in organic food would look for chemical-free, fresh or minimally processed food. They mostly had to buy directly from growers: “Know your farmer, know your food” was the motto. Personal definitions of what constituted “organic” were developed through firsthand experience: by talking to farmers, seeing farm conditions, and farming activities. Small farms grew vegetables (and raised livestock) using organic farming practices, with or without certification, and the individual consumer monitored.

Consumer demand for organic foods continues to increase, and high volume sales through mass outlets, like supermarkets, is rapidly replacing the direct farmer connection. For supermarket consumers, food production is not easily observable, and product labelling, like “certified organic”, is relied on. Government regulations and third-party inspectors are looked to for assurance.

A “certified organic” label is usually the only way for consumers to know that a processed product is “organic”.

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Eat Your Greens: How to Handle Tricky Vegetables – From Bbc Green

Eat Your Greens: How to Handle Tricky Vegetables – From Bbc Green

Some vegetables can be tough customers, admits Caspar van Vark. But with a little imagination, you can turn a hard tuber into a fabulous seasonal dish

Not all seasons are equal. The autumn months, for example, are a happy time for the cook. There are still some late raspberries and soft purple figs to eat with goat’s cheese or cured ham. Pumpkins appear in every size and shape, and there are crisp apples bursting with juice.

There’s a certain satisfaction to eating with the rhythm of the planet and catching things at their best. But the romance of seasonal eating starts to wane a bit once autumn has turned to winter. Sit at mother nature’s table and you have to eat what she serves.

Out go the vine-ripened tomatoes and golden ears of corn – instead, we are faced with muddy celeriacs, swedes and turnips. Even the most determined seasonal eaters will feel their heart sink when they open their food box and find yet another spooky, alien-looking root vegetable.

Eat ugly food

The easiest solution is to put the kohl rabi in the bottom of the fridge, wait for it go off and then throw it away. We’ve all done it, but there’s no need – all of these winter vegetables will reward you if you make a tiny bit of effort.

Take the Jerusalem artichoke – it sounds so exotic, but it looks like ginger and is the thing you usually find rattling around in your organic box after you’ve taken everything else out. Not only is this one ugly tuber, it also has a reputation for giving people flatulence!

But give it a chance – the Jerusalem artichoke has a good nutty flavour and really comes into its own if you peel it, slice it thinly and bake it with cream, like you would potato dauphinoise. It’s also a great source of iron, vitamin C, phosphorous and potassium.

To cut down on the windy effects, parboil the peeled artichoke and throw away the water. Callers to BBC Radio 4’s Veg Talk  programme have also recommended a cup of fennel tea afterwards or, more bracingly, a shot of cider vinegar.

Root down

Our other staple winter vegetables, such as turnips, swedes and celeriac, have much in common – they’re starchy, need peeling and they’re a bit intimidating. Traditionally, these vegetables have been boiled and mashed. And they are very good like that – just add a good knob of butter, maybe some cream, and plenty of salt and pepper.

Still, it can all feel a bit too beige and bland. Fortunately, these vegetables respond well to a kick up the bum. Try cutting them into wedges, brushing with oil and roasting (like potato wedges) Add some fire chilli or other spices, such as cumin or hot paprika.

Top tastes

Similarly, you can cut them into chip-shapes and roast them like oven chips. Blanch them in boiling water first, then let them cool off and dry. Next toss them in some oil and then put them in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. If you have several of these vegetables knocking about, you can mix them all up.

You can also get more creative. There’s a lot to be said for grating winter vegetables because it brings out their sweetness and a new texture. Try grating celeriac and mixing it with sour cream or mayonnaise for a winter salad – think Waldorf and add some walnuts and celery if you want.

A cure for sprout phobia

Some more familiar winter vegetables include Brussels sprouts and pumpkin. While not as scary as swedes and celeriac, people harbour prejudices about these foods. The sprout, in particular, has an image problem.

If you just boil your sprouts, it’s no wonder if you get bored – try steaming them for a couple of minutes and then stir-frying them in a smoking hot wok. Add what you like – onion and garlic, bacon, chopped chestnuts – and finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar. The stir-frying gives a sweeter edge to the sprouts and makes them less cabbage-like.

World inspiration

It’s also helpful to look around the world for inspiration. Pumpkins can seem bland, but in Argentina it’s traditional to hollow them out and cook meat in them for a thick, hearty stew. The pumpkin is then baked in the oven for an hour or so and the stew is ladled out of it.

Pumpkins are also popular in some Asian cuisines – Nigella Lawson has a recipe for a yellow pumpkin and seafood Thai curry – and it appears in South Indian recipes too. In the Caribbean, pumpkins turns up in braises and in the Middle East they are often stuffed with meat, rice and spices.

The comfort zone

And finally, think of the carrot cake and extrapolate from there. There’s almost no end of possibilities for creating savoury – or indeed sweet – muffins and cakes using winter vegetables. It’s precisely their sweet, starchy nature that makes them get on well with butter and flour.

A basic muffin recipe can be adapted by leaving out the sugar and adding a few cups of grated vegetables – carrot, parsnip, potato – and some cheese to make a savoury batch. If you have kids, this is a sneaky way of getting some extra vegetables into their diet. Apple and carrot work well together in a muffin recipe.

Winter always feels like ages, but it will seem like an eternity if you eat boiled turnips. Open your mind, be creative and you might even find yourself looking forward to the swede season next year. 

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How To Buy Organic Without Spending A Lot

How To Buy Organic Without Spending A Lot

If you’re interested in buying organic but are worried about the cost you will soon learn that not all organic food stores, online or off are created equal, and there are many places you can find affordable organic foods if you just take the time to look.

One important point that many don’t take into consideration is the strict standards that are associated with the making and selling of organic foods.  Companies claming to sell fully organic foods should do so with the backing of Quality Assurance International (QAI) or the USDA. When shopping, be sure to look for certified organic labels. All food that meets industry standards should be labeled properly. This is one of the best and easiest ways to make sure that you are buying organic food.

Another easy way that you can make sure that you are buying organic foods is by carefully choosing the stores that you shop at. If you have access to a organic or natural food store, you are urged to shop there. Locally owned and operated stores are often smaller in size; therefore you should be able to ask any question or speak with a manager if you have any concerns, which is a nice option for many to have. With that being said, you shouldn’t have any problems, as most specialty stores go out of their way to ensure that they are only selling one hundred percent natural, organic foods.

The internet can also be used to shop for organic foods, but you will want to be cautious of online grocery stores that sell a wide range of foods. This can sometimes make it more difficult for you to find and buy organic foods. For that reason, you may want to stick with specialty online organic food stores. You can also examine many organic product manufacturers, as some, like Earth’s Best Organic, have online stores where their products are sold. These online websites and stores can easily be found with a easy Google or Yahoo search.

As previously stated, a nice and safe way to shop for organic food locally is by visiting a specialty organic or natural food store. If you don’t have access to one of those stores and if you don’t want to shop online, you can examine your local supermarkets or grocery stores. Most do sell organic foods, but usually only a limited number. What you will want to do is look for an organic food section. This can help to make sure that you are buying organic foods. With that in mind, be cautious of your surroundings and be on the lookout for out of place foods, as they may not be organic, just dropped by a customer who no longer wanted the item in question.

The above mentioned steps are just a few of the many that you can take to make sure that you are buying one hundred percent organic foods. The good news is that these steps are all easy to implement. As previously stated, make sure that you are buying one hundred percent natural foods. For that reason, be on the lookout of foods that only claim to have some organic ingredients, as they may not be considered truly organic products.

Read about benefits of carrots and carrot facts at the Fruits And Vegetables website.

Learn About Certified Organic

Learn About Certified Organic

There are many new organic food eaters who wonder how they tell if they are buying organic foods. Although this question is commonly asked, it’s relatively easy to make sure that you are buying truly organic foods. One important point that many don’t take into consideration is the strict standards that are associated with the making and selling of organic foods. Companies claiming to sell fully organic foods should do so with the backing of Quality Assurance International (QAI) or the USDA. When shopping, be sure to look for certified organic labels. All food that meet industry standards should be labeled properly. This is one of the best and easiest ways to make sure that you are buying organic food.

Another easy way that you can make sure that you are buying organic foods is by carefully choosing the stores that you shop at. If you have access to a specialty organic or natural food store, you are urged to shop there. Locally owned and operated stores are often smaller in size; therefore, you should be able to ask any question or speak with a manager if you have any concerns, which is a nice option for many to have. With that being said, you shouldn’t have any problems, as most specialty stores go out of their way to ensure that they are only selling one hundred percent natural, organic foods.

The internet can also be used to shop for organic foods, but you’ll want to be cautious of online grocery stores that sell a wide range of foods. This can sometimes make it more difficult for you to find and buy organic foods. For that reason, you may want to stick with specialty online organic stores. You can also examine many organic product manufacturers as some, like Earth’s Best Organic, have online stores where their products are sold. These online websites and stores can easily be found by doing a search on Google or Yahoo.

As previously stated, a nice and safe way to shop for organic food locally is by visiting a specialty organic or natural food store. If you don’t have access to one of those stores and if you don’t want to shop online, you can examine your local supermarkets or grocery stores. Most do sell organic foods, but usually only a limited number of items. What you’ll want to do is look for an organic food section.  This can help to make sure that you are buying organic foods. With that in mind, be cautious of your surroundings and be on the lookout for out of place foods, as they may not be organic, just dropped by a customer who no longer wanted the item in question.

The above mentioned steps are just a few of the many that you can take to make sure that you are buying one hundred percent organic foods. The good news is that these steps are all easy to implement. As previously stated, make sure that you are buying one hundred percent natural foods. For that reason, be on the lookout for foods that only claim to have some organic ingredients, as they may not be considered truly organic products.

Choosing The Right Organic Store

Choosing The Right Organic Store

If you have just recently decided to switch to organic foods, you may be looking for the best places to shop at. After all, it’s no secret that organic foods can sometimes be difficult and costly to buy. With that being said, organic food consumption has increased in popularity over the past few years, as more individuals worry about their health. This means that you may have a number of different options when looking to buy organic foods.

You have a number of different options when looking to buy organic foods, so you may be wondering which option is best for you. For example, if you have two local, natural food stores, you may be wondering which one is actually best for you to shop at. When choosing an organic food store to shop at, there are a number of important points that you will want to keep in mind.

Price should play an important role in choosing an organic food store. As it was previously stated, organic foods are known for their increased prices. In fact, that’s one of the many reasons why not everyone chooses to eat organically, as many are turned off by the cost of doing so. If you’re looking to eat organically on a budget or if you are just looking to save money, examine the prices of your nearby organic food stores. Find a store that enables you to save the most money.

Product selection should also play an important role in choosing an organic food store to shop at. In addition to specialty organic food stores, many supermarkets also have organic food sections. As nice as this is, these sections are often extremely small in size. This means that you aren’t provided with the largest selection of organic foods. In fact, you may only have two or three organic cereals to choose from. To help ensure that healthy and tasty organic foods are consumed, the largest selection of products should be sought after.

Your alternatives should also be examined. Many supermarkets have small organic food sections. It is also important to note that many cities and towns are seeing an increase in organic food stores. If you have two or more natural food stores to choose from, be sure to examine them all. If you do have a choice, not only look for affordable prices and large product selections, but also examine the level of customer service that you receive. 

In addition to buying organic foods locally, they can also be purchased online.  When looking to buy organic foods online, be sure to do business with a trusted website or company. Does the website in question look clean, professional, and is it easy to navigate? Remember that you do have a number of different options when looking to buy organic foods online, so be sure to find the best for you.

Should you decide to shop online for organic foods, it’s important to examine shipping costs. As you likely already know, fresh and frozen organic foods need to be properly shipped, this may cost extra money, but it shouldn’t cost too much more.  You’ll never want to pay more money for shipping than you need to. For that reason, you should compare shipping costs just like you would organic food prices. 

Another great way to help you choose the organic food store that is best for your needs is by seeking recommendations from those that you know. Ask your friends, family members, coworkers, or neighbors for recommendations. It’s even better if these individuals are organic food eaters themselves. If you are interested in buying organic foods online, consider joining an online community, one that’s designed for organic eaters or health conscious individuals. Ask about organic food recommendations, not just online stores, but products as well. You’ll find a wealth of information online and might even make a few good friends while you’re at it. Friends that will help you choose and find the best places to buy organics and even some great recipes to try yourself or for the whole family.

Want to find out about growing asparagus and grilling asparagus? Get tips from the Fruits And Vegetables website.

Companies That Provide Organic Food

Companies That Provide Organic Food

If you have never tried organic foods before, you may be wondering what types of products are available for you to eat. One of the best ways to get a good idea is to examine a number of popular and well known organic food brands. There are quite a few brand names that aren’t necessarily known for Organic foods that are putting out new Organic foods.

Dean Foods is well known for selling a large selection of dairy products.  Just a few of the many products that they have available for sale include milk, soy products, creamers, ice cream, yogurt, and much more. Dean Foods has recently gone organic. Their website claims that they have over 130 organic foods currently available for sale. Since Dean Foods is a well known brand, many of these new organic foods are available for sale at supermarkets, as well as specialty natural and organic food stores.

Simply Organic is another well known organic food brand. Those who are looking for quick, yet easy ways to make tasty homemade meals will want to check out their large selection of organic foods that are perfect for accomplishing this goal. Just a few of the many organic foods and organic food products that they have available for sale include flavor and extracts, spices, Mexican mixes, chili mixes, pasta sauce, and so much more. Also, Simply Organic is known for regularly placing moneysaving coupons on their website, which are available for printing.

Amy’s Kitchen is another one of the many organic food brands that is well known. They are a supplier of frozen organic foods and dinners. This brand is ideal for families who want tasty meals, but also meals that can be prepared and cooked without any hassle. Their frozen foods are tasty, made with natural ingredients, and meat free. Amy’s Kitchen also recently unveiled a new line of frozen organic meals for kids.

Those living in Canada, as well as those living in certain US states, will want to examine McLean Organic Foods. McLean Organic Foods is known for their amazing lines of meats, which are all organic. Their meats come from specially selected and trusted farms. These farms do not use antibiotics, hormones or other chemicals and additives. Strict standards are put in place for the well-being of all animals, ensuring that you receive the best tasting organic meat products.

Earth’s Best Organic is another company that is well known for their production of organic foods. Earth’s Best Organic is known for their great selection of foods for newborns, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Many of their products have Sesame Street themes. For newborns, organic baby formula is available. For infants, first and second organic jarred foods are available. For toddlers and preschoolers, a wide range of organic foods are available for sale, including snacks, meals for dinner and lunch, as well as breakfast foods.

As you can see, there are a number of organic food brands for you to choose from. What is even more amazing is that the above mentioned brands and food types are just a few of the many that exist. You can get a better idea of some of the organic foods available for sale by visiting a natural or organic food store or by examining the organic food section at your local supermarket. It’s getting easier than ever to find Organic foods that both your family and your children will love, and costs are finally coming down so that most people can afford at least some Organics without breaking their budget.

Visit the Fruits And Vegetables website to learn about growing carrots and carrot seeds.

Make Gardening a Family Event

Make Gardening a Family Event

Show them how much you enjoy gardening. Spend time in your garden. It is especially easy to stimulate a child’s interests when they see you having fun.

Make gardening easy. Don’t expect a perfect garden. Allow your family to work at their own pace and within their attention spans and age range, especially children.

Dig it! Kids love to dig. This is a great way to teach the basics while letting them play and just have fun. 

Let them play an active role in planning. Take your children to the local nursery and let them pick seeds or transplants to start their garden. Take your time and let them browse and enjoy all of the beautiful plants.

Grow a theme garden. This is a great way to let your children use their imagination and express their creativity. The sky is the limit. Some great ideas are gardens that coincide with the holidays, alphabet gardens, a garden themed in their favorite colors, a sensory garden where you can experience different smells, tastes, textures and sights, or a “Freedom Garden”.

Give children their own “kid sized” tools. They don’t have to be expensive. You can go with an old spoon and a bucket that you have around the house or you can venture down to the garden center and purchase garden tools made for children’s hands.

Give them a space to call their own. It doesn’t have to be big. This will teach them ownership and responsibility, and your children will be able to take credit for their own little space.

Get crafty! Press or dry flowers to make a beautiful arrangement, make potpourri, or make a pomander ball. Children love making things and will be amazed at the crafts and gifts that they can make from the garden.

Grow a vegetable garden. Your children will be amazed that they can grow their own food. Be sure to use organic pesticides.

Use gardening to brush up your children’s math and science skills. Let them count the seeds they are planting, or teach them how plants are living things. Not only will you capture their attention, you will be polishing their skills as you go.

Have a contest. Kids love to be rewarded. Be sure to give each child a reward; the biggest tomato, the prettiest flower, or perhaps the best tasting herbs (a little Spray-N-Grow will help!)

Don’t try to do it all! Pick a few of these tips that you know are best for your family and have fun with them. After all, gardening is meant to be fun and easy. And with a little help, something the whole family can enjoy.

Original Article

Get Your Kids Eating Organic

Get Your Kids Eating Organic

If you are finding it difficult to introduce your toddler or preschooler to organic foods, please continue reading on, as a number of helpful tips are highlighted below.

One way to help your child get use to eating organic foods is to not tell them that what they are eating is organic. Of course, you want your child to know that they are eating healthy and it’s important for children to know what organic foods are, but you may want to wait until your child has already decided that they like eating organic, which they should. This is important for toddlers and preschoolers, as some may be turned away by the word “organic,” especially if it’s a new word for them. There is really no reason why you need to tell your child that they are eating organic soup, when you could just simply say soup. Since most organic foods don’t taste too much different, it shouldn’t be that hard of a switch. The hardest part will be getting your child over the packaging, since most children are use to seeing certain boxes or cans, they might question why the one you are taking their food from is different.

Introducing your child to organic foods slowly is another great approach. If you are making the switch to organic foods, consider making it a transition, instead of a traditional switch. Although your child will likely not be able to tell the difference in organic foods, some children are able to taste even the slightest differences in foods, especially if they are use to the extra sodium and sugar that is used in most brands of non-organic food. This is where there are benefits to slowly introducing a child to organic foods. For example, start with snacks or one meal a day, such as an organic breakfast.

Speaking of snacks, they are a great way to get your child excited about eating organic foods. Did you know that there are a number of organic snacks, many of which are designed for toddlers and preschoolers? Earth’s Best Organic offers fruit snack bars, organic cookies, and organic crackers. Also, most of their products for toddlers and preschoolers come with Sesame Street themes. Snacks are a positive and fun way to introduce young children to organic foods. Also consider offering your child a reward for eating all or most of their organic meals. This is great for picky eaters, offer an organic cookie or an organic cracker as a reward if all or most of your child’s lunch or dinner is eaten.

Another easy, yet fun way to get your child excited about eating organically is by letting them help you shop. This is ideal if you’ll be doing your shopping locally. When using this approach, it’s best to visit a specialty organic food store, because no matter what your child chooses it should be healthy and natural. For smaller children, point them in the right direction. For example, set your child in the cereal aisle if you are looking to buy cereal, and so forth.

The above mentioned ways are just a few of the many ways that you can successfully introduce your child to organic foods. These approaches are ideal for those at the toddler and preschool levels. Many find that this is the age range that’s most difficult to make the switch to organic foods, as many children at this age dislike change, especially where their food is concerned.

Want to find out about cucumber nutrition and growing cucumbers? Get tips from the Fruits And Vegetables website.

Why Is Organic Farming Bad – If It Is?

Why Is Organic Farming Bad – If It Is?

Why is organic farming bad, if it is? We have been told that organic farming is good for our health. Proponents have trumpeted the message that organic farming is good for the environment. How could it possibly be bad?

It seems that, increasingly, life is being divided into traditional and alternative. Each side claims their methods to be better than the other’s. Each tries to win people to their side. Traditional schooling fights alternative schooling. Conventional medicine fights alternative medicine. Mainstream culture fights alternative subcultures.

Farming, too, is involved in a battle, conventional farming against organic farming. Environmentalists and those concerned with their health assure us that organic farming is preferable in many ways. But others argue that organic farming is bad.

Why is organic farming bad?

Research Results

In 2002, Swiss scientists at the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture published in “Scientist” a highly publicized study. Their study, which covered 21 years, compared four types of farming. Two of those types were organic farming. The other two types were conventional farming.

Reporters quickly stated that the study proved organic farming was more efficient. Organic farming’s advocates said the study showed that organic farming uses 50% less energy. The facts?

1. Conventional farming is 20 percent more productive than organic farming.

2. Crop yields were significantly lower in organic farming.

3. The above two facts meant energy savings in organic farming were actually only about 19 percent per unit of crop produced, not 50 percent.

4. The study did not test organic farming against the most current methods of conventional farming. If it had, experts say, the 19 percent advantage of organic farming would disappear.

5. Current conventional farming matches organic farming when it comes to environmental advantages. Both have beneficial insects, produce less pesticide and fertilizer runoff, and reduce soil erosion.

6. Food quality was almost identical in conventional and organic farming. Advocates of organic farming had long claimed their food was far superior.

7. Current conventional farming methods produce the same or greater yields mentioned in number 1 above.

This research does not, of course, conclude that organic farming is bad. On the face of it, the conclusion is more that organic farming is not very different from current conventional farming. There most be other reasons for people believing organic farming is bad.

Organic Farming Can Kill

Many took from the Swiss study a realization that, as Cambridge chemist John Emsley said, “the greatest catastrophe the human race could face this century is not global warming, but a global conversion to ‘organic farming’- [where] an estimated 2 billion people would perish.”

Organic farming may supply food for small markets, but how can it feed starving nations? Its adversaries claim that current conventional farming is the only hope for these people. If we turn entirely to organic farming, they say, we will doom billions to die of starvation.

Challenging Organic Farming

Alex Avery, Director of Research and Education for the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues, recently published a new book, “The Truth About Organic Foods.” (2006) In this book, Avery offers an unemotional look at the odd origins and unscientific basis for organic farming.

Nobel Peace Prize Winning Agricultural Scientist, Dr. Norman Borlaug, says about this book, “The Truth About Organic Foods gives consumers a thorough and straight-forward explanation of why organic foods offer no real health or safety benefits. More importantly, Avery communicates why organic farming’s lower yields and reliance on scarce organic fertilizers represents a potential threat to the world’s forests, wetlands and grasslands. The book offers scientifically sound evidence that more-affordable conventional foods are healthy for families and also good stewardship of nature.”

Skimming Mr. Avery’s book, one finds statements that indicate:

1. Organic farming started in the 1920s when a German mystic advised use of only animal manure because synthetic fertilizers had no cosmic energy.

2. Soon, the wealthy decided manure-fertilized produce was better.

3. J.I. Rodale first published his “Organic Gardening Magazine” in 1942, and the organic farming / organic gardening movement was named.

4. In 2007, organic farming advocates still have no credible science to support their beliefs.

5. Organic farming does not avoid pesticides. About 5 percent a vegetable’s weight is natural pesticides, some of which are cancer-causing.

6. Foods from organic farming have more illness-causing bacteria. (The January 2007 issue of “Consumer Reports” showed that chicken from organic farming has 300% more Salmonella than that from conventional farming. University studies have found more bacteria in vegetables from organic farming than in vegetables from conventional farming.

7. If organic farming, which decries synthetic fertilizer, was chosen over conventional farming, we would have a choice. We could kill millions of people to reduce global food needs, or we could sacrifice wildlife habitat in the amount of millions of square miles so we could produce more manure.

Why is organic farming bad? Mr. Avery believes he has the answer.

Notwithstanding Mr. Avery’s new book, I am not sure whether organic farming is bad or not. It is often difficult to sort through rhetoric and find fact. I do know that my forefathers had large organic farms. The produce was good and it was nourishing. Before I can turn my back completely on organic farming and organic gardening, I need clearer evidence. You probably want to do more research, too.

© 2007, Anna Hart. Anna Hart invites you to read more of her articles about organic farming on a small scale at http://www.organicspringtime.com. Anna is posting new articles regularly, each one dealing with some facet of organic gardening. If you want to know how to make your own organic fertilizer, you will want to read Anna’s article on the subject.

Dealing With Caterpillars And Your Garden

Dealing With Caterpillars And Your Garden

Butterflies, especially the colourfully marked types are very pretty to watch as the undulate through the summer breezes but there are certain varieties that can cause losses in your vegetable garden.

The cabbage white butterfly

The main culprit is the cabbage white butterfly which is mostly attracted to a chemical emitted from the leaves of brassicas. The brassica group covers such vegetables as cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. The butterfly lands on these plants and in itself is harmless but the eggs it deposits are the problem, or what eventually emerges from these eggs. Emerging quite soon after are the dreaded caterpillars which are hairy and about 3 to 4 cm long.

Caterpillars

Caterpillars are the larvae or the young of the butterfly; this is the main feeding and growth stage of the butterflies’ life cycle. As most vegetable growers know caterpillars are very hungry and a small handful can turn a head of cabbage into a skeleton within a day or two. Infested leaves are quite toxic to animals and humans even if washed thoroughly.

Control methods

So how can you battle against the caterpillars, well there are various chemical and organic methods. The chemical methods are available in all good garden centres in the form of sprays, dusts and bug guns with names too numerous to mention. With cabbage, broccoli etc being food crops that you may grow at home organically to avoid chemicals you should try to tackle the menace organically. Cover your plants with sheer netting whilst the butterflies are around, if they cannot touch the plants then they cannot lay their eggs on them. Ensure the netting allows sufficient sunlight through to enable growth.

Companion plants

Try planting tomatoes and celery as companion plants close by as their scents tend to cancel out the scent emitted by brassicas therefore deterring cabbage white butterflies. Finally if all else fails try sending your cat or cats on holiday during the summer, you’ll be surprised how many songbirds start to visit your garden. Songbirds just love caterpillars.

For tips on garden snails and how to plant a garden, visit the Starting A Garden website.

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