Meet Kweku Ayuba of the Blue Skies Organic Collective in the Central Region of Ghana. Kweku is the winner of the 2006 National Best Pineapple Farmer in Ghana.
Video Rating: 5 / 5
Meet Kweku Ayuba of the Blue Skies Organic Collective in the Central Region of Ghana. Kweku is the winner of the 2006 National Best Pineapple Farmer in Ghana.
Organic is it Worth It?
When you head to the grocery store or supermarket, shopping for products like eggs, meat, fish, milk, and produce can be very confusing. Everywhere you look food is labeled as natural, organic, or a number of other things—but what is the difference? Learning what certain names mean, can help you decide if you should pay that extra money on a product if it is simply a marketing ploy.
Natural is a term associated with a number of fruit and vegetable products. Typically, this is a simple marketing ploy to convince you to buy the product. After all, all fruits and vegetables are natural, right? Unless it’s a new kind of food that has been developed and processed, the product is natural. What you really want is organic. Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers. There are two main benefits to organic foods. First, you are helping the environment because the chemicals are not being introduced into nature. Secondly, you are avoiding eating foods with chemicals and are therefore eating more healthy food. However, organic products are usually more expensive. So if you are on a budget, skip over organic fruit and vegetables that you can peel, like oranges and bananas. After all, once you’ve discarded the peel, you have also discarded the chemicals. Instead, opt for organic items like apples, where you eat the peel. No matter what you buy, make sure that you rinse off the food when you get home,
Just in case.
Another label you will see is “no hormones.” This is usually regarding milk and meat products and this is false, since all animals naturally produce hormones. Hormones are what helps an animal (even a human) regulate body organs, having young, and otherwise function. All meat products have hormones. What the labels really mean is that no hormones were unnaturally given to the animal, which is sometimes done to increase milk production. Regardless of hormones, however, the milk and meat is safe for human consumption and not a violation of an animal’s rights.
Lastly, the label on eggs and meat can indicate if the animal was caged or penned. This does not make a difference in the quality or nutritional value of the meat, but is simply a matter of animal rights. These products may be a bit more expensive, but if you want to make human decisions, that are the way to go. Reading the label and making healthy choices can sometimes be difficult, but learning what they mean can help you make the best choice for your diet.
A Garden is Natural Art
A gardener’s inspiration and motivation for gardening can vary, but most of the time, gardening is a hobby done either as a recreational form of natural art, or as an experiment in self-sufficiency. And with so many plant varieties available ranging from flowers to vegetables, it would be quite rare to find two identical gardens.
Most gardening takes place in regions with temperate weather, and each season bears the potential for new beauty. Planting can take place anywhere from early spring through mid-autumn depending on the location, climate, and plant.
Getting your gardening materials ready
Before you get started on your gardening project, there are a few tools and materials necessary to begin. Of course, you’ll need a plot of land or area within a yard to plant your garden. The size and design of the garden largely depends on what kind of garden you will grow.
Once you have determined how your garden will be physically laid out, you’ll need some basic tools to get started. A hoe or small plow will be needed to turn the soil in which you will plant. For small flower gardens, a hoe or even a small trowel may be sufficient. For larger gardens and for many vegetable and fruit gardens, a plow, or rototiller, would probably be more desirable.
After you have planted your seeds or plants, they will require water. A garden hose or watering bucket can be used to help irrigate the garden, particularly in months when rain may be at a minimum. Automatic sprinkler and irrigation systems may also be installed to maintain your garden.
Finally, some gardeners insist on the use of fertilizers and plant foods. While these may not be necessary, they may have a significant impact on your garden. If pests and other insects may be a problem, you might also consider investing in a safe insecticide for treating your plants.
Common challenges faced in gardening
We aren’t all “green thumbs,” but everybody faces the same basic problems in the planting and maintenance of a garden. First of all, insects and other pests can cause serious issues for an otherwise healthy garden. Many nurseries can offer you guidance in common pests and plant diseases that might be prone to your region or type of plant, and should be able to help you pick out a pesticide.
The weather can also seriously hamper your efforts at maintaining a successful garden. Brutally hot temperatures, lack of rain, and other weather conditions during the growing season can stunt growth, prevent blooms, or even kill entire gardens. And, of course, unexpected changes in the weather can catch even the most experienced gardener off-guard. Be prepared for anything in terms of weather, and this will help prevent surprises later on.
Gardening for beauty
Flower gardens greatly add to the overall landscaping of a home or business, and can add color at any time of year. Understanding the difference between annuals — which bloom only once and typically die at the end of the season — and perennials — which, if cared for properly, will return again season after season — can be of great benefit to establishing a garden.
Many flower gardens feature a set of perennials as part of the landscape, requiring the gardener to simply fill in the open space with annuals each year. Popular annuals for flower gardening include impatiens, begonias, daisies, tulips, and pansies. Some gardens may be designed around a color scheme or theme, and are often designed to be incorporated into the larger landscaping theme of the home or business.
Gardening for food
Many gardens are created for the sole purpose of growing and harvesting edible fruits and vegetables. In some regions of the world, fruit and vegetable gardening is so popular that nearly every home on every street or road has at least some size garden filled with fruits and vegetables.
While planting and growing flowers from seed is fairly simple, knowing when to plant seeds for a vegetable garden can be a more of a challenge. Many novice gardeners choose to purchases small plants to grow, leaving most of the work in maintenance of the garden.
Most vegetable and fruit gardens are planted in rows, which makes working in the garden, the weeding and watering for example, easier. Planting in rows also eases in harvesting the yields of the garden, as a person can walk through the rows next to plants to harvest and pick the food. Common plants in fruits and vegetable gardens include beans, tomatoes, all varieties of peppers, corn, and radishes. Most fruit and vegetables are summer gardens, although the yields may not be harvested until fall for some vegetables and fruits such as gourds and pumpkins.
For those who like plants for beauty, or those who want to grow fresh food in their backyard, the rewarding hobby of gardening is well worth a try.
Gardening and Children a Winning Combination
It may seem like an odd time to think about gardening, as the temperature drops and the leaves disappear from the trees. Not for Vanoka Morris-Smith of Berlin, Md. She lives and breathes gardening. It’s been her greatest love since she was a young girl.
Just about the only thing she enjoys more than an afternoon elbow-deep in soil is sharing her passion with children. One could say that transforming computer, cell phone and television-addicted youngsters into “little growers” is what makes Morris-Smith bloom.
The seed to inspire youngsters was planted in her mind eight years ago after glimpsing a young African-American girl on the cover of an old gardening magazine. That little girl with a fistful of basil and mismatched earrings showed such joy that Morris-Smith knew she had to reach out to children.
Her thinking isn’t novel — children (and adults) spend too much time indoors and they are losing touch with nature. Often called Nature Deficit Disorder, the phenomenon is detrimental to us all. No one is looking at the leaves, she says. People can’t tell the difference between an oak leaf and a ginkgo leaf.
She would do her part to change that.
Within a short time she was volunteering at a school in Philadelphia where she often visits a close relative. Morris-Smith’s gardening passion and desire to influence young minds proved to be a winning combination.
She and her little growers have won several gardening awards over the years. In 2007 transformed a run-down lot of leveled houses into an environmental learning center for a Philadelphia elementary school. It was one of three first-place winners for best school and children’s garden and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s 33rd Annual City Gardens contest. That same year she was named an exceptional mentor by the same group. In 2007 she took herself back to school and master gardener so she would “know the answers when the children asked the questions.”
A postage orchard with Hale peaches in her Berlin yard is possibly her next project and she hopes to become involved with local children. She’s often seen in town wearing her “horticulture hat,” the one adorned with a big sunflower. The hat is a reminder of the giant sunflowers — as big as car tires — grown by some of her protégés.
Organic gardening using heirloom seeds and plants is her specialty. To qualify as heirloom, a plant must come from a seed family that has been grown in a garden for at least 50 years. Often, the seeds have been handed down from generation to generation over hundreds of years. It is this element that is perhaps most important to her.
Sure, organic gardening is good for the environment. The exercise has helped her lose weight and better manage rheumatoid arthritis. But for Morris-Smith, gardening is a link to the past, present and future all at once. This, she says, makes it good for the soul too.
Anita Ferguson Todd has written for radio, television and newspapers since 1988. She is currently the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Coastal Bays Program in Ocean City, MD. The Coastal Bays Program protects the land and waters of Assawoman, Isle of Wight, Sinepuxent, Newport, and Chincoteague bays. She writes a weekly column on environmental issues for the Daily Times newspaper.
This is week 3 of my patio garden and I can’t believe how much it has grown!
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Learn about the materials you’ll need for square foot gardens with expert gardening tips in this free video clip on growing grid gardens. Expert: Yolanda Vanveen Contact: www.vanveenbulbs.com Bio: Yolanda Vanveen is sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. Filmmaker: Daron Stetner
Video Rating: 4 / 5
Sourcing organic ingredients for the private label industry
Going out for food ingredients like health snacks and beverages is fast growing up to becoming a common American habit. Being fun filled is a popular habit of the American and world youth and at the same time having a healthy food habit is fast being adapted by a large population of health conscious individuals. While in past, most food bars served food stuff rich in oil, fat and spices (and were thus, termed as ‘junk food’). In modern times, most of the food and beverages served in food bars are made up of organic ingredients. http://www.agcommoditiesinc.com/index.htm points out to you some of the major benefits of consuming health snacks rich in organic ingredients.
Foods containing Organic ingredients are not only tasty but also your one stop solution to good health. Grown without the harmful effects of pesticides and other toxic substances, organic farming is a very popular alternative to regular farming in today’s world. Almost 10% of America’s farmland is involved in organic farming and we can hope that this trend will soon grow up to greater figures in the near future. The growth of organic farming in America is also a colossal 477% within a gap of 6 years from 1977-2003. With this increase in demand it is hardly surprising that the products will become more and more popular as time goes on. Thus, as http://www.agcommoditiesinc.com/index.htm points out, sourcing organic ingredients for health bars and other such eateries is gradually becoming an extremely profitable and important business venture in contemporary America.
Today, leading active lifestyles in the modern metros, people often tend to overlook matters of health and consume food products most satisfying to their taste buds. While this not only increases the quantity of artificial materials in the body, but if continued over long durations of time, can also lead to different types of serious illnesses. With time, as an increasing number of people are gradually becoming more and more conscious of their health, they are modifying their basic diets in order to keep their mind and bodies in perfect healthy conditions. While on one hand, a large number of individuals, realizing the benefits of consuming various fruits and vegetables, are gradually either becoming vegetarians or including large proportions of fruits and vegetables in their diet, on the other, not only at home, but also in the outer world in order to get readymade health snacks rich in organic ingredients various food bars exclusively dealing with heath snacks are being set up.
The best part about the entire issue is that the younger generations are becoming more and more concerned about the health and environmental benefits of organic farming. The situation is changing when compared to the state 10 years back when obesity was a major problem with a staggering percentage of American children. However, today, a high percentage of our children, especially girls, would opt for healthy food ingredients like a bowl of salad in place of a sticky candy bar. Food bars have played a great role in bringing about this change, by transforming dull vegetables and fruits into a menu that’s sure to be a feast for connoisseurs. Besides its obvious health benefits organic ingredients help in the conservation of our environment as well…an issue that thankfully finds a lot of supporters among Americans today, thanks to websites like http://www.agcommoditiesinc.com/index.htm. Following America’s lead, food bars specializing in the sell of heath snacks are today being set up in different countries all around the world.
http://www.agcommoditiesinc.com/index.htm also enlightens you about some of the major benefits of cultivating and eating health snacks. While invention and use of pesticides and insecticides were primarily meant for preventing insects and pests from attacking crops and food grains, later research revealed that such pesticides used during the cultivation of food crops also accumulate in the crops themselves over long time periods and such food products rich in chemical pesticides are consumed by human beings the chemicals enter the human system and may cause different types of diseases. The use of pesticides and harsh treatment meted out on to the soil during ordinary farming has far reaching impacts on our planet. Besides containing dangerous percentages of toxic chemicals thanks to the 1000s of gallons of pesticides that are sprayed on the vegetation, during farming, non-organic food is unsafe because they lack the strict maintenance of quality control that organic ingredients have to pass through. Thus, by encouraging the intake of food ingredients and beverages, which are organic in nature, health bars have really made a difference to the food habits of Americans. Consequently, the consciousness for healthy food, nutrition that is available from agricultural commodities has changed American food styles to a great extent, thereby bringing in health. Now, a close look at the statistics show lower mortality rate on accounts of diseases resulting from bad food habits and obesity. Keep up the good job, guys!
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NetworkNewsToday: 19 December 2009 – The World Bank: Egypt: Egypt is managing waste by recycling solids like glass and metal, making compost from kitchen waste and capture and combustion of methane from landfills. Tons of trash from Cairo, Africas biggest metropolis is dumped at this facility south of the city every day. It is the end of the line and the start of a new one. Workers sort the garbage, taking out glass, paper, and plastics. A magnet sucks metal off the belt: these will be recycled and sold. Kitchen scraps and plants are piled into windrows and turned into compost that is sold to farmers. Cairo is aiming to treat 90 percent of its waste this way. SOUNDBITE (English) Fayez Mekhail, engineer, ECARU: Garbage is a treasure, if the men try to get benefit from it, so its very important for us in Egypt to get use from garbage and benefits from compost. But garbage disposal also can cause pollution, releasing gases such as methane that add to global warming. Work is underway in Egypt to put less in landfills by reusing more trash and by the capture and combustion of methane from the waste that is sent to landfills. With the World Bank as broker, this solid waste facility will be the first in Egypt to sell carbon credits to industrialized nations for recycling and composting. If they were just to put all of the garbage that is being reused into a landfill, it would release the equivalent of just over 500000 tons of emissions over seven years. The facility also makes …
Video Rating: 5 / 5
Organic Compost – 5 Tips To Free Organic Compost
Whether or not you are growing organic food as a hobby, or you have a full fledged organic gardening business, one of the most important ingredients that you can make for yourself is organic compost. Using terms such as mulch or a type of soil amendments, this natural fertilizer can improve the growth of your crops by making your soil more rich through added moisture capacity, increased aeration, which will stimulate healthy root growth due to the soil’s fertility levels. This can include increased levels of microorganisms, nutrients such as potassium or nitrogen which can be made with scraps that you would throw away on a regular basis. Here are 5 tips on how you can generate rich organic compost on your own without it costing you a cent.
The process of creating compost is actually quite easy to understand. Life is about cycles and different organisms that serve different purposes. In the natural world, small organisms such as bacteria and worms break down organic materials on a daily basis all over the world. If you have ever looked at the ground in a forest, especially near the base of trees, you can see how natures system for decomposition works to replenish the soil using this reoccurring cyclical process. This same process of decomposition can be replicated in your home or on your property as long as you know a few simple things.
First you will need a source of material that can decompose on a regular basis. This could be food scraps that you normally would throw out such as vegetables and breads that can easily be found in any household. By saving these up, you will begin the first part of this five-part process for creating free organic compost.
The next thing you will need is an area where you can place your composting pile. This pile will consist of dirt, perhaps some initial composting material that you have left over or any soil that you have on your property that is dark and rich. This is where you will begin putting your biodegradable material which will serve as food for the composting process.
Next, you must consider aeration of this pile. This can be done in a labor-intensive way by using a pitchfork to turn your pile from time to time, or by adding PVC pipe with holes in various parts of the composting pile so that air can freely infiltrate this pile as the composting process begins and continues. This can also be accomplished by using some sort of the bin or drum that can be rotated easily from time to time.
Now you will need to gather some worms. Red worms are a great composting friend which will not only produce excellent compost for you on a regular basis, but they will reproduce themselves allowing you to create more compost as the population increases over time. Worms should only be added after the pile heats up and then cools back down. Some worms may enter the pile on their own.
The last thing to consider is the temperature and moisture content of the soil itself in which the worms will form their habitat. Within a closed area such as a composting bin or a covered mulch pile, with proper aeration, watering, and consistent food, you will be well on your way to a beautiful dark, crumbly, compost that is full of natural ingredients created by the worms within your composting bin.
There are of course a few things that could go wrong which are easily fixed. One of the most common occurrences is nothing occurring in your bin or pile despite having added the proper ingredients and worms to the mix. Always consider things such as not enough nitrogen or oxygen within the initial batch. Temperature levels and moisture levels are also very important to monitor when looking for an optimal production level for your compost.
Always remember that once you’re organic compost is done, you can either mix compost with soil for plants that you are planting for the first time, or you can add the compost on top of existing plants, near their base (called top and side dressing), and water them as usual so that they nutrients percolate down into the soil itself to the roots of the planet.
Creating organic compost can be fun and rewarding depending upon how much time you put into it and what your goals are as far as creating an organic garden. Composting can be a very easy process, especially once you have tried it numerous times and have gotten the feel for how the ratio of carbon to nitrogen should be and the amount of worms that are necessary to create a proper composting environment. Using these five tips, you should be well on your way to creating all of the organic compost you will ever need.
Open pollinating seeds are the best seeds to harvest. But what are open pollinating seeds and why are they so good for harvesting? Find out in this free online gardening video. Expert: Gale Gassiot Bio: Gale Gassiot makes her own organic compost or “gardener’s black gold.”
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www.tourfactory.com For more information, contact: Jim Striegel 972-899-0634 Coldwell Banker RES Lovely home on over 1 acre lot! Features high ceilings, hand scraped wood floors and decorative molding. Two story ceiling in family room with stunning stone wood-burning fireplace and built-in entertainment center. Study offers French doors, wood floors, and wall of built-in desk, shelves and storage. Chef’s dream kitchen is well appointed with marble backsplash, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, stainless steel Kitchen-Aid appliances, double oven, gas cooktop, large pantry, breakfast bar and island with storage. Huge master suite with sitting area, trey ceiling, gas log fireplace, access to patio. Master bath offers decorative wall treatment, custom cabinetry, double shower, Jacuzzi tub, granite counter tops, decorative tile and oversized walk-in closet. PebbleTec salt water diving pool with cascading rock waterfall, spa, and large covered patio. Backyard offers organic fruit trees and garden currently growing tomatoes, peppers, squash, and watermelon.
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Earth Friendly Tips For A Rosy Garden
Tip 1: Grow your own fruit and vegetables
There are so many reasons to grow your fruit and veg. Having your own vegetable garden means you will have vegetables which taste amazing, are fresher and have higher vitamin content. Organic gardening also means no packaging, no carbon footprint from transportation, and it will save you money every day! On top of all that, it’s really easy to do. Phew. That’s quite a long list of benefits. Many crops can be sown in March – so start preparing your beds today.
Find out more about growing your own vegetables
No garden? Don’t despair. Many crops can be grown in pots on balconies and window ledges. Or, if you want more space, get an allotment.
Tip 2: Teach your children where food comes from
The more we can teach children about healthy eating and caring for the environment, the better. And there’s no better way to learn about food than getting your hands dirty and growing some yourself. It’s mucky, fun and rewarding, which makes it perfect for kids. Why not give your child their own patch in your organic vegetable garden and help them sow seeds and care for the plants as they grow? The more children understand where our food comes from, the more respect they will have for sustainable living.
Tip 3: Keep your head above water
Water is a precious commodity, even in a country renowned for rain. There is likely to be another hosepipe ban this year so the thoughtful gardener needs to plan ahead. Use water butts to collect rain water throughout the year and then use this to water the garden during dry spells. Old bath water and washing up water can also be collected and used on the garden – but make sure you are using organic, biodegradable detergents and soaps that won’t harm the local ecosystem.
Tip 4: Keep out the chemicals
Many fertilizers and garden products are laden with chemicals that could cause damage to the local ecosystems. Opt for natural organic fertilizers that have no negative effect on the environment. Or make your own compost and use that. Ehow.co.uk has a video to show you how to get started.
Tip 5: Recycle and compost organic waste
All garden waste and most food waste can be composted and used again to feed your soil. Collect all this waste in a compost bin and it will provide a free, year round, nutrient- rich organic fertilizer. Recyclenow.com has a great step-by-step guide to getting started and lists what you can put in your bin.
Tip 6: Share your garden
If you have a large garden that is too big for you to manage on your own or have spare garden space, you might benefit from Landshare. Landshare aims to link people with spare garden space with people who want some. Owners, growers or helpers can post listings describing what they are offering or looking for so people in their area can respond. It’s a great way to share resources.
Tip 7: Encourage wildlife
Birds, hedgehogs, frogs, toads, slowworms, ladybirds and bumblebees are your friends as they like to dine on the worst garden pests – snails, slugs and aphids. Encourage them to visit your garden by leaving a slightly wild area with longer grass, piles of logs and fallen leaves. This will provide a perfect habitat for them to thrive. Also, consider installing a pond or leave your water butt open for them to drink from. Bird boxes and lady boxes can also help.