15 Foods That Are Tooth Pain Triggers

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Sharon had tooth pain that wouldn’t go away, so she went to the dentist. Her dentist asked if she had been indulging in the tomato harvest. Sharon smiled and nodded her head. The dentist told her that tomatoes are one of those foods that can erode the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth pain or sensitivity.

Nobody looks forward to his or her bi-annual visit to the dentist. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to lower your chances of needing expensive dental work with some eating strategies?

How food damages your teeth?

There are two main food ingredients that harm your pearly whites: sugar and acid.

Sugar

The millions of bacteria already in your mouth are super-happy when you eat Sugars, especially sucrose (table sugar). The bacteria feast on plaque buildup and produce lactic acid, which erodes tooth enamel. Sucrose is the worst form of sugar because it sticks to teeth making it (and the bacteria) difficult to remove even with brushing.

Acids

Acidic foods, including some fruit, eat away at the tooth enamel and directly break down your teeth. In this case, the bacteria aren’t necessarily producing acid and causing tooth decay.

Wash away natural acids by drinking water. Ironically, brushing after consuming acidic foods or beverages causes more damage. Teeth are porous and acid softens them. If you brush immediately afterward, it breaks down the enamel even further. After consuming acidic foods, rinse your mouth with water and wait at least an hour before brushing.

If you want to keep your teeth in good shape, there are a lot of foods to avoid or consume in moderation.

Avoid these foods for Tooth Pain Relief

1. Soda.

No surprise here. Soda is one of the top foods to avoid for sensitive teeth. There are two ingredients in soda that irritate teeth and cause pain: sugar and acid. It’s a double whammy.

2. Ice cream.

Sad, but true. Ice cream is cold, and it has sugar that causes teeth to be even more sensitive. People who have sensitive teeth lack the enamel layer that acts as a protective barrier.

3. Coffee.

Coffee is also a double whammy. Not only is coffee a hot food, which can cause your teeth to hurt. The caffeine in coffee is very acidic, especially when consumed in large amounts, which can make your tooth pain even worse. You’ll want to limit your consumption.

4. Hard candy and cough drops.

Lollipop, peppermints, and cough drops. Oh, my! When you have sensitive teeth, skip the hard candy and cough drops. They are full of sugar and could also cause teeth to chip or break.

5. Citrus fruits.

Pineapple, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes are all highly acidic fruits. The acid makes your teeth more sensitive because it eats away the tooth enamel. While highly nutritious, eating these fruits and drinking the fruit juice is a cause of tooth sensitivity and pain. Moderation is key with citrus fruits.

6. Tomatoes & Tomato-based pasta sauces

When the tomato harvest is in full swing, many dentists report higher instances of tooth pain. Although tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, they’re also highly acidic. Note that tomato sauce, as well as raw tomatoes, trigger tooth sensitivity. Again, moderation is key!

7.  Sticky candy.

Toffee, caramel, gummy bears, and licorice are especially bad for people with tooth sensitivity. They are full of sugar and stick to your teeth. Extremely sweet and sticky foods stimulate the nerves in the Dentin, the layer below the Enamel. This is what causes the pain.

8. Dried Fruits.

There are several sticky foods, such as raisins, figs, and dried apricots that are packed with nutrition but can cause tooth sensitivity. Dried fruits and fruit leathers are high in sugar and can do a number on your teeth. The sugars in the fruits, even though it’s minimal, stay on your teeth and feed the plaque bacteria. Rinse your mouth with water right after consuming and brush your teeth about an hour afterward.

9. Pickles.

The vinegar used to make pickles is highly acidic. They are often made with sugar as well. While the cucumbers are healthy, the brine damages your teeth. Drinking water with your meal helps wash away acid and sugar, but remember to brush an hour later.

10. Wine.

Alcohol causes a dry mouth, which reduces your saliva production. The sugars are deposited on your teeth and cause tooth pain. White wine and sweeter reds do the most damage. If you have sensitive teeth, consume wine in moderation.

11. Potato chips.

Oh, these crunchy, salty flats of addiction. The texture of chips, which gets gummy as you chew, tends to linger in your mouth and get stuck in the biting surface of your teeth. No one can eat just one, so it is a non-stop snack of acid production. The acid-producing bacteria indulge in your snack and up your risk of tooth decay.

12. White bread.

There are a number of reasons why refined carbohydrates, like sandwich bread, aren’t good for you. For one, they are full of simple sugars that quickly dissolve in your mouth. As you chew it, white bread gets a gummy consistency. This means those sticky particles get trapped on the biting surface and in between your teeth. The dissolving sugars cause a surge of acid that erodes tooth enamel.

13. Sports drinks.

Isn’t a sports drink a nutritious re-hydrator after your morning workout? Nope! Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acid. Cavities, erosion, and tooth sensitivity are heightened because we tend to swish these drinks around our mouth to rehydrate.

14. Vinegar.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods from salad dressings to sauces. However, vinegar can trigger tooth decay. There is a bit of good news: Lettuce combats the damaging effects of vinegar, so keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad.

15. Apples.

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but the acid in this fruit may have you at the dentist. Apples are full of nutrition, but they are high in acid and surprisingly hard on your enamel. Eating apples is fine, but be sure to rinse your mouth with water shortly after, and brush your teeth an hour later.

Taking Care of Your Tooth Enamel

What do you eat to take care of your teeth?

If you have sensitive teeth, it’s possible that some of your enamel has worn away.

To prevent further damage

Eat acidic and sugary foods in moderation, or if your teeth are extra-sensitive avoid these foods for a while.

Don’t brush too hard. If you brush your teeth with a heavy hand, stop! You’re taking off more than just plaque. Side-to-side brushing right at the gum line takes your enamel away faster. Use a soft-bristled brush and work at a 45-degree angle to your gum to keep enamel clean and strong.

Snack on these foods:

These treats moisten your mouth and fight acid and bacteria that eat away at your tooth enamel. Your saliva is a natural way to deal with acid, plaque, and the bacteria.

  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Plain yogurt

Drink green or black tea. 

Chew xylitol gum.

Rinse your mouth with water after consuming an acidic food. Wait an hour or so before you brush your teeth.

Read more about how to care for your teeth naturally here.

If you have sensitive teeth, and the symptoms last for more than a few weeks, be sure to talk to your dentist. Sensitive teeth may be a sign of a cavity that needs to be treated.

Do you have tooth pain due to eating acidic foods? Tell us your story in the comments below. We’re all here to help each other.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

Save

Save

The post 15 Foods That Are Tooth Pain Triggers appeared first on The Grow Network.

15 Foods That Are Tooth Pain Triggers

Sharon had tooth pain that wouldn’t go away, so she went to the dentist. Her dentist asked if she had been indulging in the tomato harvest. Sharon smiled and nodded her head. The dentist told her that tomatoes are one of those foods that can erode the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth pain or sensitivity.

Nobody looks forward to his or her bi-annual visit to the dentist. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to lower your chances of needing expensive dental work with some eating strategies?

How food damages your teeth?

There are two main food ingredients that harm your pearly whites: sugar and acid.

Sugar

The millions of bacteria already in your mouth are super-happy when you eat Sugars, especially sucrose (table sugar). The bacteria feast on plaque buildup and produce lactic acid, which erodes tooth enamel. Sucrose is the worst form of sugar because it sticks to teeth making it (and the bacteria) difficult to remove even with brushing.

Acids

Acidic foods, including some fruit, eat away at the tooth enamel and directly break down your teeth. In this case, the bacteria aren’t necessarily producing acid and causing tooth decay.

Wash away natural acids by drinking water. Ironically, brushing after consuming acidic foods or beverages causes more damage. Teeth are porous and acid softens them. If you brush immediately afterward, it breaks down the enamel even further. After consuming acidic foods, rinse your mouth with water and wait at least an hour before brushing.

If you want to keep your teeth in good shape, there are a lot of foods to avoid or consume in moderation.

Avoid these foods for Tooth Pain Relief

1. Soda.

No surprise here. Soda is one of the top foods to avoid for sensitive teeth. There are two ingredients in soda that irritate teeth and cause pain: sugar and acid. It’s a double whammy.

2. Ice cream.

Sad, but true. Ice cream is cold, and it has sugar that causes teeth to be even more sensitive. People who have sensitive teeth lack the enamel layer that acts as a protective barrier.

3. Coffee.

Coffee is also a double whammy. Not only is coffee a hot food, which can cause your teeth to hurt. The caffeine in coffee is very acidic, especially when consumed in large amounts, which can make your tooth pain even worse. You’ll want to limit your consumption.

4. Hard candy and cough drops.

Lollipop, peppermints, and cough drops. Oh, my! When you have sensitive teeth, skip the hard candy and cough drops. They are full of sugar and could also cause teeth to chip or break.

5. Citrus fruits.

Pineapple, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes are all highly acidic fruits. The acid makes your teeth more sensitive because it eats away the tooth enamel. While highly nutritious, eating these fruits and drinking the fruit juice is a cause of tooth sensitivity and pain. Moderation is key with citrus fruits.

6. Tomatoes & Tomato-based pasta sauces

When the tomato harvest is in full swing, many dentists report higher instances of tooth pain. Although tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, they’re also highly acidic. Note that tomato sauce, as well as raw tomatoes, trigger tooth sensitivity. Again, moderation is key!

7.  Sticky candy.

Toffee, caramel, gummy bears, and licorice are especially bad for people with tooth sensitivity. They are full of sugar and stick to your teeth. Extremely sweet and sticky foods stimulate the nerves in the Dentin, the layer below the Enamel. This is what causes the pain.

8. Dried Fruits.

There are several sticky foods, such as raisins, figs, and dried apricots that are packed with nutrition but can cause tooth sensitivity. Dried fruits and fruit leathers are high in sugar and can do a number on your teeth. The sugars in the fruits, even though it’s minimal, stay on your teeth and feed the plaque bacteria. Rinse your mouth with water right after consuming and brush your teeth about an hour afterward.

9. Pickles.

The vinegar used to make pickles is highly acidic. They are often made with sugar as well. While the cucumbers are healthy, the brine damages your teeth. Drinking water with your meal helps wash away acid and sugar, but remember to brush an hour later.

10. Wine.

Alcohol causes a dry mouth, which reduces your saliva production. The sugars are deposited on your teeth and cause tooth pain. White wine and sweeter reds do the most damage. If you have sensitive teeth, consume wine in moderation.

11. Potato chips.

Oh, these crunchy, salty flats of addiction. The texture of chips, which gets gummy as you chew, tends to linger in your mouth and get stuck in the biting surface of your teeth. No one can eat just one, so it is a non-stop snack of acid production. The acid-producing bacteria indulge in your snack and up your risk of tooth decay.

12. White bread.

There are a number of reasons why refined carbohydrates, like sandwich bread, aren’t good for you. For one, they are full of simple sugars that quickly dissolve in your mouth. As you chew it, white bread gets a gummy consistency. This means those sticky particles get trapped on the biting surface and in between your teeth. The dissolving sugars cause a surge of acid that erodes tooth enamel.

13. Sports drinks.

Isn’t a sports drink a nutritious re-hydrator after your morning workout? Nope! Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acid. Cavities, erosion, and tooth sensitivity are heightened because we tend to swish these drinks around our mouth to rehydrate.

14. Vinegar.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods from salad dressings to sauces. However, vinegar can trigger tooth decay. There is a bit of good news: Lettuce combats the damaging effects of vinegar, so keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad.

15. Apples.

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but the acid in this fruit may have you at the dentist. Apples are full of nutrition, but they are high in acid and surprisingly hard on your enamel. Eating apples is fine, but be sure to rinse your mouth with water shortly after, and brush your teeth an hour later.

Taking Care of Your Tooth Enamel

What do you eat to take care of your teeth?

If you have sensitive teeth, it’s possible that some of your enamel has worn away.

To prevent further damage

Eat acidic and sugary foods in moderation, or if your teeth are extra-sensitive avoid these foods for a while.

Don’t brush too hard. If you brush your teeth with a heavy hand, stop! You’re taking off more than just plaque. Side-to-side brushing right at the gum line takes your enamel away faster. Use a soft-bristled brush and work at a 45-degree angle to your gum to keep enamel clean and strong.

Snack on these foods:

These treats moisten your mouth and fight acid and bacteria that eat away at your tooth enamel. Your saliva is a natural way to deal with acid, plaque, and the bacteria.

  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Plain yogurt

Drink green or black tea. 

Chew xylitol gum.

Rinse your mouth with water after consuming an acidic food. Wait an hour or so before you brush your teeth.

Read more about how to care for your teeth naturally here.

If you have sensitive teeth, and the symptoms last for more than a few weeks, be sure to talk to your dentist. Sensitive teeth may be a sign of a cavity that needs to be treated.

Do you have tooth pain due to eating acidic foods? Tell us your story in the comments below. We’re all here to help each other.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

Save

Save

The post 15 Foods That Are Tooth Pain Triggers appeared first on The Grow Network.

5 Cheap and Easy Solutions For Small-Space Composting

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Whether you live in an apartment, condo, or tiny house, here are some easy and practical ways to combat your small-space composting dilemma.

Growing your own food is important to your overall health, as well as the planet’s. You want to do as much as you can, but you live in an apartment or condo with rules about what you can and cannot do on your balcony or patio. You barely have enough room to grow anything much less have some sort of compost pile.

There are a number of challenges you face as a Small-Space Composter

Space.

You barely have enough room for growing your own food. Where in the world are you going to put a compost been?

Ease of set up and easy-to-use.

A compost pile is daunting. You want the composting solution to be easy-to-set-up and easy-to-use.

Won’t attract bugs.

There is nothing worse than bugs in a small space. No bugs in the compost bin!

Works as fast as possible

Do you want to use the compost as soon as possible? There are solutions for that, too!

Small-Space Composting Solutions

There are many solutions for your small space composting. It all depends on what is important to you from the above list. What is your priority?

Here are some solutions to consider for your small-space situation:

Worm Bin

The easiest way to compost indoors cheaply, easily, and quickly is to use a worm bin. Vermiculture (or worm composting) produces worm castings that make worm tea that is perfect for feeding the soil of your container plants.

Read more about vermiculture is small spaces here.

Plastic Storage Bins

These are an excellent choice because they’re fairly inexpensive and easy-to-find. They come in a variety of sizes so that you can get the right size bin for your space. Ten to eighteen gallons is a good size. You can even stack the bins to save space. Make sure you drill aeration holes near the top to allow air into your bin.

Five-gallon buckets

Another option is very inexpensive and stackable. You can find 5-gallon buckets with lids at home centers and big-box stores. Also, large kitty litter containers work great, too! Be sure to drill aeration holes near the top of the bucket.

Boxes

Old wooden boxes or wine crates can be turned into an indoor composter. Add a plastic bag stapled to the inside and cover with hinges or painters’ canvas.

Bokashi (Japanese term meaning “Fermented Organic Matter”)

The Bokashi method is easy and composts everything—from kitchen scraps to meat and dairy. You mix an inoculated bran filled with microbes into the Bokashi bucket and tightly cover it. When the bucket is full, seal it shut and set it to the side for 10 to 12 days. Every other day, drain the bucket (which also makes a nice compost tea). You’ll have a pre-compost, which can be put in worm bins or leave it for a month to let it break down further.

Where do you put a compost bin?

  • Under the Sink
  • Under a plant stand
  • In a hall closet
  • Out in the open (it’s a great conversation starter!)

How much do you put in?

Two types of material make composting work. They are nitrogen materials, such as food scraps and grass clippings, and carbon materials, such as leaves, shredded paper, and corrugated cardboard.

What to put in your compost bin:

  • Fruit & Veggie scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags (If the bag is slippery, don’t put it in your compost)
  • Shredded paper
  • Trimmings from houseplants
  • Hair (yours and your pets)
  • Toilet paper rolls torn into small pieces
  • Dryer lint

What not to put in your bin

An indoor compost bin, doesn’t heat up as much as a hot outdoor bin, so there is less microbial action happening (except for the Bokashi method). This means that the kitchen scraps won’t break down very quickly, especially if you add in:

  • meat
  • dairy
  • fats
  • large chunks of anything

It’s also probably a good idea to avoid composting very smelly items, such as onion peels. You may smell it in the rest of your house. Try to avoid watery items, such as melons or squash. They might make your bin too soggy.

Tips for Success

If you want to be successful with indoor composting and get a bit of compost, too, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Have shredded paper or dry leaves handy. Every time you add food scraps or coffee grounds, plop in a handful of the shredded paper or leaves. This will keep your bin from getting too wet. Note: Junk mail works perfectly for this purpose as long as it is not the slick-coated advertisements.
  • The contents of your bin need to be turned often. Turning the contents of your bin warms it up and microbes very happy. It also mixes the contents, so they don’t get too wet or too dry. Move everything around with a hand trowel. An advantage to the round bucket method is that you can roll it back and forth a few times to mix it.
  • No matter what kind of bin you have, add small pieces. Pulp from your juicer will breakdown much faster than chunks of vegetables. Chop up your food scraps or put them through a blender, and be sure to shred your paper or cardboard.

It is possible to compost in small spaces, such as apartments, condos, or tiny houses. After a while, you’ll get a feel for what works and what doesn’t with your chosen composting method. It will be a great feeling to know that you’re saving waste from the landfill and making compost for your container garden.

What is your favorite composting method? The comments are waiting for you.

 

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The post 5 Cheap and Easy Solutions For Small-Space Composting appeared first on The Grow Network.

Small-Space Vermiculture, Step-by-Step

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According to the EPA, 20 to 30 percent of what is thrown away should be composted. If you’re the type of person who hates to throw out kitchen scraps, but don’t have room for a compost pile in your small apartment, small-space vermiculture is for you!

What is vermiculture?

Vermiculture, or Vermicomposting is the breakdown of organic material by vermis, which is the Latin word for “Worms.” The worms take that waste and turn it into nutrient-rich “castings” or worm poo that helps build the soil. It is the most efficient way to compost most of your household waste.

Steps to your Vermicomposting happiness

Let’s bypass the trash collector and have your worms “eat” your garbage!

Make your worm bin

Start out with a cheap bin to get started. A $10 system works just as well. A 5-gallon bucket, large kitty litter bucket, or 16 in. X 24 in. X 8 in. (or 10-gallon) plastic bin will work just fine.

Next prepare the bedding

Shred about 50 sheets of newspaper into 1/2 in. to 1 in. strips. Avoid color print. It is toxic to worms.

Place the shredded newspaper into the bin. Add water to the newspaper until the bedding feels moist like a damp sponge. Add more dry strips if it gets too wet.

Sprinkle two to four cups of potting soil or soil from your yard into the bin. This introduces the beneficial microorganisms.

Get Your worms

Red Wigglers, or Eisenia fetida, are the worms you want for your worm bin. You don’t want Earthworms because they are large soil movers, and don’t do well in worm bins.

Get worms from a local source (if possible), because they are acclimatized to conditions in your area. Ask around, look on Craigslist, aquaponics or hydroponic stores, or ask other vermicomposters in your area.

How many worms do you need?

Say you bought a pound of worms. A pound of worms will eat half to their full eight every day. They are the best recyclers in the world! Think about how much waste you have.

Feed your new friends

Worms are vegan, but they can eat quite a bit. You’ll want to feed them a balanced diet, not just coffee grounds! As your bin gets going, you’ll feed those worms about half-a-pound to a pound of food in 24 hours.

Fun Fact: The worms don’t actually eat the scraps. They eat the bacteria that is breaking down the food scraps.

What to feed?

Feed your worms veggie and fruit scraps, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea and tea bags (the ones that aren’t shiny), such as peels, rinds, cores, etc. Cut or break the food up into smaller pieces. If you run it through a blender, that would be even better! For instance, juicing pulp is fantastic!

What not to feed?

Limit or eliminate citrus fruits and onion peels in your worm bin. Also, do not add meats, bones, oils or dairy products.

How to feed your worms?

  1. Feed your 1 lbs. of worms about three times their weight each week. So, for one pound of worms, you’ll feed 3-lbs of food each week, or slightly less than half-a-pound.
  2. Bury the food in the bin.
  3. Lift up the bedding. Add the food scraps. Then, cover the food with the bedding again.

Check the bin every week to make sure the worms are eating all of the food. Adjust the amount accordingly.

Harvesting the black gold

There are many methods to harvest the worm castings. These two techniques  work great.

  1. Try a melon. Place a piece of melon in one area of your bin. The worms really love musk melon or watermelon, because they don’t get it very often. Put that little piece of melon in the corner of the bin, and the worms will herd over there. Then, scoop out the castings from the other side of the bin.
  2. Vertical migration system. The whole point of a vertical migration system is to let a layer finish out and put a new layer on top with new paper and new food. The worms migrate up into a new layer where the food is. They don’t want to live in the lower layers that is filled with their poop. Essentially the system separates the casting for you, but in a much slower way. The lower bins still may have a few worms, but you can hand pick them. It’s not bad to get worms in your finished compost either. They’re going to end up living in the soil in your garden.

Tips for success

  • Place a full sheet of dry newspaper on top of the bedding. This will help maintain the moisture of the bin. It also keeps odor problems in the bin and prevents fruit flies.
  • If you find fruit flies or the bin is too wet, replace that top layer of dry newspaper.
  • Cover your bin and choose a place for your worms. Worms like it dark and between 55°F and 75°F. Under a sink, in a closet, or wherever is convenient for you, so you remember to feed and check on them.
  • Castings are high in nutrients and micronutrients, so make worm tea in a 5-gallon bucket. Or add it to your potted plants for a healthy boost.
  • We don’t always produce a pound of kitchen scraps in a day, or we’re on vacation or busy. You don’t need to micromanage your worms. You don’t have to feed them a pound of food every day.
  • Sometimes we produce more than a pound of kitchen scraps, or your worms aren’t eating as fast. If this happens, simple put the scraps in a container or baggie and put that in the refrigerator until it’s time for a feeding.
  • Worms don’t like light, so be sure to keep your bin in a quiet out-of-the-way place. They like warm, dark places.
  • If your bedding dries up, spray it with a bit of water. Fluff the bedding once-a-week to give the worms some air.
  • If you live in a cold climate and have your bin outside, be sure to bring it inside.
  • Rotting food will produce a strong odor. Stop adding food until your worms have caught up. Adding air by stirring the contents will help.
  • If the worms are crawling out of the bedding or onto the sides or lid, they may need more air, the bedding is too wet, or the bin is too acidic. Did you put too many orange peels in there?

Need other ways to compost in a small space? Check out this article!

Now we want to hear your wormy stories! Do you practice small-space vermiculture? Tell us in the comment below.

Resources:

EPA. Composting At Home.

 

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The post Small-Space Vermiculture, Step-by-Step appeared first on The Grow Network.

Small-Space Vermiculture, Step-by-Step

According to the EPA, 20 to 30 percent of what is thrown away should be composted. If you’re the type of person who hates to throw out kitchen scraps, but don’t have room for a compost pile in your small apartment, small-space vermiculture is for you!

What is vermiculture?

Vermiculture, or Vermicomposting is the breakdown of organic material by vermis, which is the Latin word for “Worms.” The worms take that waste and turn it into nutrient-rich “castings” or worm poo that helps build the soil. It is the most efficient way to compost most of your household waste.

Steps to your Vermicomposting happiness

Let’s bypass the trash collector and have your worms “eat” your garbage!

Make your worm bin

Start out with a cheap bin to get started. A $10 system works just as well. A 5-gallon bucket, large kitty litter bucket, or 16 in. X 24 in. X 8 in. (or 10-gallon) plastic bin will work just fine.

Next prepare the bedding

Shred about 50 sheets of newspaper into 1/2 in. to 1 in. strips. Avoid color print. It is toxic to worms.

Place the shredded newspaper into the bin. Add water to the newspaper until the bedding feels moist like a damp sponge. Add more dry strips if it gets too wet.

Sprinkle two to four cups of potting soil or soil from your yard into the bin. This introduces the beneficial microorganisms.

Get Your worms

Red Wigglers, or Eisenia fetida, are the worms you want for your worm bin. You don’t want Earthworms because they are large soil movers, and don’t do well in worm bins.

Get worms from a local source (if possible), because they are acclimatized to conditions in your area. Ask around, look on Craigslist, aquaponics or hydroponic stores, or ask other vermicomposters in your area.

How many worms do you need?

Say you bought a pound of worms. A pound of worms will eat half to their full eight every day. They are the best recyclers in the world! Think about how much waste you have.

Feed your new friends

Worms are vegan, but they can eat quite a bit. You’ll want to feed them a balanced diet, not just coffee grounds! As your bin gets going, you’ll feed those worms about half-a-pound to a pound of food in 24 hours.

Fun Fact: The worms don’t actually eat the scraps. They eat the bacteria that is breaking down the food scraps.

What to feed?

Feed your worms veggie and fruit scraps, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea and tea bags (the ones that aren’t shiny), such as peels, rinds, cores, etc. Cut or break the food up into smaller pieces. If you run it through a blender, that would be even better! For instance, juicing pulp is fantastic!

What not to feed?

Limit or eliminate citrus fruits and onion peels in your worm bin. Also, do not add meats, bones, oils or dairy products.

How to feed your worms?

  1. Feed your 1 lbs. of worms about three times their weight each week. So, for one pound of worms, you’ll feed 3-lbs of food each week, or slightly less than half-a-pound.
  2. Bury the food in the bin.
  3. Lift up the bedding. Add the food scraps. Then, cover the food with the bedding again.

Check the bin every week to make sure the worms are eating all of the food. Adjust the amount accordingly.

Harvesting the black gold

There are many methods to harvest the worm castings. These two techniques  work great.

  1. Try a melon. Place a piece of melon in one area of your bin. The worms really love musk melon or watermelon, because they don’t get it very often. Put that little piece of melon in the corner of the bin, and the worms will herd over there. Then, scoop out the castings from the other side of the bin.
  2. Vertical migration system. The whole point of a vertical migration system is to let a layer finish out and put a new layer on top with new paper and new food. The worms migrate up into a new layer where the food is. They don’t want to live in the lower layers that is filled with their poop. Essentially the system separates the casting for you, but in a much slower way. The lower bins still may have a few worms, but you can hand pick them. It’s not bad to get worms in your finished compost either. They’re going to end up living in the soil in your garden.

Tips for success

  • Place a full sheet of dry newspaper on top of the bedding. This will help maintain the moisture of the bin. It also keeps odor problems in the bin and prevents fruit flies.
  • If you find fruit flies or the bin is too wet, replace that top layer of dry newspaper.
  • Cover your bin and choose a place for your worms. Worms like it dark and between 55°F and 75°F. Under a sink, in a closet, or wherever is convenient for you, so you remember to feed and check on them.
  • Castings are high in nutrients and micronutrients, so make worm tea in a 5-gallon bucket. Or add it to your potted plants for a healthy boost.
  • We don’t always produce a pound of kitchen scraps in a day, or we’re on vacation or busy. You don’t need to micromanage your worms. You don’t have to feed them a pound of food every day.
  • Sometimes we produce more than a pound of kitchen scraps, or your worms aren’t eating as fast. If this happens, simple put the scraps in a container or baggie and put that in the refrigerator until it’s time for a feeding.
  • Worms don’t like light, so be sure to keep your bin in a quiet out-of-the-way place. They like warm, dark places.
  • If your bedding dries up, spray it with a bit of water. Fluff the bedding once-a-week to give the worms some air.
  • If you live in a cold climate and have your bin outside, be sure to bring it inside.
  • Rotting food will produce a strong odor. Stop adding food until your worms have caught up. Adding air by stirring the contents will help.
  • If the worms are crawling out of the bedding or onto the sides or lid, they may need more air, the bedding is too wet, or the bin is too acidic. Did you put too many orange peels in there?

Need other ways to compost in a small space? Check out this article!

Now we want to hear your wormy stories! Do you practice small-space vermiculture? Tell us in the comment below.

Resources:

EPA. Composting At Home.

 

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5 Inexpensive And Homemade Natural Cleaning Products

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We live in a toxic world, but we can choose to step out of that world and create our own natural cleaning products that work just as well. Going completely chemical-free has been a goal of mine for a while now.

Going Chemical-free

I moved into an apartment (insert your sympathetic groan here). I’m working hard to establish my potted plants in my patio garden and implement my chemical-free lifestyle as quickly as possible in the transition.

Commercial products

There is a lot to like about chemical-free cleaning products on the market, but holy-moly, that stuff is expensive. Did you hear the whole, “I had to move into an apartment,” thing? I’m not exactly raking in the dough.

D.I.Y. cleaning products

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars to get every single chemical-free cleaning product on the market, I decided to find natural recipes for making them myself, or developing my own recipes.

Adding therapeutic-grade essential oils (EOs) in my cleaning supplies gives an extra-boost of bacteria-killing and cleaning-oomph to my cleaners.

Essential Oils for cleaning products

Before we get to the recipes, let’s talk about how EOs add to the power of cleaning supplies without the chemical yuck.

EOs are distilled from plants (woo, natural). Think of it as “plant blood”—they oxygenate and move nutrients through the plant, so it can grow and flourish.

When EOs enter your body through inhalation, absorption, or digestion, the essential oils oxygenate your blood and move nutrients through your body. The oils improve your immunity and help support every system in your body, from muscular to endocrine.

They keep our families and ourselves healthy!

Chemical Cleaning Supply Hazards

We know the dangers of inhaling bleach.

We have heard the horror stories of harsh chemicals that get splashed and irritate or burn the skin or cause rashes.

You probably have the local poison control number posted on your refrigerator. It’s in case you know someone who accidentally ingests poison in the form of laundry detergent or all-purpose cleaner.

Typical cleaning supplies …

… like bleach or laundry detergent, contain chemicals that fall into three categories:

  • carcinogens
  • endocrine disruptors
  • neurotoxins

Look at the label to see if the cleaning product has a warning.

If the label says:

  1. Protective clothing should be worn while using this product
  2. Says “proprietary blend of” anything as an ingredient, but doesn’t list the actual ingredients in that blend
  3. Warnings against major skin irritation
  4. Contact poison control in any occasion of use other than the intended use

The product probably has a nasty chemical that may be shown to cause cancer, mimic human hormones in the body, or disrupt brain activity.

Let’s stay away from those.

Stick with natural cleaning supplies that are cheap, easy-to-make, easy-to-use, and reasonably inexpensive.

Benefits of Natural Cleaning Supplies

With EOs, you get cleaning power and peace-of-mind, without having poison control on speed dial.

Not all EOs are created equally. Most essential oils on the market fall into one of three categories:

  • Aromatic
  • Perfume
  • Food Grade

Only the pure form of essential oil—the only one without chemical fillers or carrier oils added—is Therapeutic Grade.

How can you tell that an essential oil company sells only therapeutic grade essential oils?

Find out if the company owns and operates their own farm and has a promise of purity. If their standards are high, they grow their own plants, build their own distilleries, and are open about their processes and systems, you can bet that they are honest about the purity of their essential oils.

Using Essential Oils

I use essential oils in my cleaning supplies, but also in my food, in my fitness supplements, and in my personal care products. A lot of the same oils blend across the board, so cleaning with the same substances that I put on my skin is not a problem.

I won’t break out in hives from a laundry detergent I made with lemon, citronella, rosemary, and lavender essential oils. When I make my all-purpose surface cleaner with cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils, I know my skin isn’t going to burn when I touch residue left behind from cleaning the counters.

5 Inexpensive and natural cleaning products

Here are my recipes, equipment, and methods for making and using chemical-free cleaning supplies!

Chemical-free, Laundry detergent

Supplies: Glass Jar, Food Processor or Cheese Grater, Measuring Cups, Mixing Utensil

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing soda
  • 1 Natural Bar Soap (Dr. Bronner’s, Lavender is great), grated into fine shavings
  • 15 drops EO, 3-4 drops each of Lemon, Citronella, Rosemary, and Lavender (whatever smells best to you will work!)

How to make and use:

  1. Grate the natural bar soap of your choice (bonus points if you make your own!) with a cheese grater or food processor.
  2. Stir in Borax and Washing Soda.
  3. As you stir, add drops of EOs to distribute the oil in the mixture evenly. Store in an air-tight glass jar. A large canning jar works great.
  4. Add 1 TBSP of the mixture to your laundry. Use warm or hot water—especially if you don’t grate the bar soap small enough. If the soap pieces are too big, cold water doesn’t dissolve the soap very well. Also, add a couple of drops of EOs directly to your laundry for added freshness (Extra drops of lavender when you wash bedding is heavenly).

Note: I’ve had great results using Lemon EO for stain remover in the laundry. Apply a couple of drops and rub it into a stain (common stains like dirty knee stains from garden) before washing it with the laundry detergent above.

Chemical-free, All-purpose cleaner

Supplies: Amber Glass Spray Bottle, Measuring Cups, Funnel

  • 1 cup Distilled water
  • 1 cup Hydrogen peroxide
  • 15 Drops of EO, 3 drops each of Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary

How to make and use:

  1. Use a funnel to pour all ingredients into an amber or brown glass spray bottle.
  2. Shake gently to combine.
  3. Spray to clean counters, appliances, and other surfaces. Wipe down with a rag.

Degreaser Variation

Add extra-lemon EO and a little lemon juice to the all-purpose cleaner above.

Window and Glass Cleaner Variation

Use less EO, and cut the Hydrogen peroxide amount in half for window or glass cleaner. Try white vinegar as another window and glass cleaner alternative.

Chemical Free, EO Dishwasher Detergent

The ingredient amounts are in “parts,” so you can make large batches. It’s easier to measure the ingredients into a large container in general amounts.

Supplies: Glass Container, Funnel

  • 2 parts Borax
  • 2 parts Washing soda
  • 1 part Kosher salt
  • 20 drops or so Lemon EO

How to make and use:

  1. Fill the container with equal parts Borax and Washing soda.
  2. Add half of that amount of Kosher Salt.
  3. Add the EO, so it smells the way you want it to. It will depend on how much detergent you make.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a large canning jar. Stir while adding drops of the EO to distribute it equally.
  5. Scoop 1 TBSP of this mixture into the soap chamber of your dishwasher, and add 1 tsp of Citric Acid to each load. (I use LemiShine, but you can find citric acid at natural grocery stores in bulk, or on Amazon).

Note: For hard water, add more citric acid in each load and increase the Lemon EO amount in the recipe.

These are just a few of the natural cleaning products that you can make for your healthy home.

Do you make your own cleaning products? Share your ideas below.

 

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Leave a More Powerful Legacy With Genetic Diversity

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In 2002, scientists discovered something unexpected in Southeast Michigan—a beautiful, iridescent green and scarlet insect that had never before been seen in the United States. This is one reason why genetic diversity is so important!

Beautiful, but deadly.

This jeweled beetle had a particular taste for ash trees. Since it was non-native, it had no natural predators here in the United States. And, in the past 14 years, it has destroyed hundreds of millions of U.S. ash trees in nearly 30 states—and threatens the 8 billion+ ash trees that remain.

Now, ash can be used to make tonics and astringents, and it has a few edible properties … but it’s certainly not the most popular cultivar among homesteaders. Not by a long shot.

What ash does provide us with, however, is a really valuable object lesson: This is what can happen to one particular species if the wrong bug or plant disease enters the scene.

It’s why diversity is so important in our food supply. Imagine how history would have changed if potatoes had been just one of many staple crops back in mid-1800s Ireland.

Unfortunately, we’ve come to rely so heavily on centralized agriculture that we’ve forgotten many of the heirloom fruit and vegetable varieties that gardeners used to preserve in their own backyards …

… The varieties that were bred to overcome the challenges of a particular region …

… Or for big, beautiful fruits and stunning flavor …

… Or to withstand long-term storage, like the squash I grow today and keep for use throughout the winter and spring.

Those traits sound good, don’t they? So, where can you get your hands on these seeds today?

The truth is more than a bit horrifying.

Recent studies estimate that, over the last century, we lost as much as 94 percent of our heirloom vegetable varieties.

This loss is largely due to the rise of centralized agriculture, which means people no longer have the same vital need to grow their own food.

But, you and I recognize the truth that we lost more than just vegetables in those 100 years.

We also lost the work of our ancestors’ hands … and significant buffers against our own food insecurity.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, we had 75 percent less plant-based genetic diversity in 2000 than in 1900.

How can we stop this destruction and reclaim the diversity (and security) of our food supply?

Watch this video chapter of Grow: All True Wealth Comes From the Ground to find out—and to learn how you can leave your own descendants the most powerful legacy of all.

(Video length: 34.30 minutes)

After you watch, I’d love to know:

What’s your favorite heirloom fruit or vegetable variety?

I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

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Pueblo Farming Methods For Your Resilient Garden

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I spent the morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s Resilience Garden learning about the history of Pueblo Farming Methods. There are 19 Pueblos of New Mexico represented at the center.

The Resilience Garden tells the story of pre-contact foods and traditional farming methods all the way to modern plants and gardening methods for urban communities.

Watch the Interview (15:49 minutes):

Irrigation

The Zuni Pueblo is highly represented in the Resilience Garden because of its unique irrigation method, called a waffle garden. It is a brilliant technique to harvest and conserve water and is several thousand years old.

Zuni Pueblo Waffle Garden

Without a permanent water source, you can’t water a large area of crops. The waffle garden acts like a puddle. You hand-carry water to the beds and make sure the water stays concentrated where you put it.

The walls of the waffle bed are hand formed to catch any rainfall and focus that precious water around seeds and the roots of plants. It keeps the soil damp during the weeks of the dry season.

Water is a vital, life-giving element, especially in this desert climate. Pueblo cultures honor water through sustainable practices, as well as seasonal dances praying for generous rains, healthy plants, and a bountiful harvest.

pueblo-farming-methods

Acoma and Laguna Flood Garden

Seasonal rains were crucial in Pueblo agriculture. Many of the Pueblos are located near plateaus. When the seasonal rains come, the rain runs off of the plateaus and into the flood gardens.

A wall around the flood garden holds the water in a particular area to water their crops. There were often multiple flooding areas, so if one area filled up with water, a wall would be removed so the water flowed into the next area and so on.

Pueblo crops planted in these types of gardens

The waffle and flood gardens were planted with melons and squash. The heavy amount of water would undermine a corn plant’s root system causing it to fall over.

Plants

The Pueblos are scattered throughout the state of New Mexico with a wide-variety of climates, from mountains to desert and plateaus to scrub. However, the Pueblo People concentrate their gardening around the Three Sisters (Corn, Beans, and Squash).

Community food production

Most of the crops grow in communal plots. Land was not owned, making it easy to move your garden each year. You weren’t planting in the same place (preventing pest and disease issues, and giving the land time to rest). By the time you got back to your original growing space, nature had time to rebuild healthy soil.

Want to know more about community food production? Click here to watch I Don’t Want to Grow All My Own Food. 

Prior to European Contact

Prior to contact with Europeans, there were many berries and different types of shrubs that were wild harvested.

Other pre-contact plants:

  • Mint
  • Cotton
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Wild Spinach
  • Yucca
  • Wild Celery
  • Tea (a tall grass)
  • Chokecherries
  • Wild plums
  • Wild mushrooms

Traditional herbs and many plants were not cultivated but harvested where they grew naturally.

Learning through history

Lessons were learned throughout history in places like Mesa Verde and Bandolier. These sites were built into cliffs with little or no space for agriculture to support such a larger community.

Corn is one of the oldest plants, which came from Mexico. The Pueblos have had corn for many thousands of years.

It is unknown when or how Beans and Squash came into Pueblo agriculture. There isn’t an exact story of where these plants came from.

The stories that have been handed down through the history of Pueblo culture speak to why they garden as they do and the way plants are cultivated or not.

When the Spanish came to the New Mexico, the pueblos were thriving. They had seven years-worth of food stored. The stored food kept the Spanish from conquering the Pueblos. It was the generosity of the Pueblo people that helped the Spanish survive in this harsh environment.

The Spanish, in turn, brought sheep, horses, chickens, and even the fruit trees that are grown today.

There are still families at the Pueblos who grow in the traditional methods and incorporate modern plants. Even the younger generations are becoming interested in the agricultural traditions once again.

Pueblo Ceremonies

Pueblos have many ceremonies throughout the year. The dances and songs vary from Pueblo to Pueblo. The reason many dances are not open to the public is because they are sacred. The dance and song are prayers to the soil, the plants, the pollinators, and gratitude for the harvest.

The season starts in the spring with ceremonies for preparing the soil and starting seeds. The ceremonies also bless the land with songs and dances.

Then throughout the summer, there are many dances that bless the field and crops, bring in the pollinators like the butterflies, and for a good harvest.

All of the dances, songs, preparations, plantings, and seasons lend themselves to the story of living life close to nature and gardening in a sustainable way.

Your Resilient Garden

At the Resilience Garden, they’re inspiring modern gardeners. Their methods are thousands of years of trial and error.

If you got out in your garden for the first time today, you would still come up with these methods on your own. Learning some of the best methods right away and adapting them to where you live will only help you create an abundant harvest.

The Resilience garden shows what gardeners have learned over the years:

  1. Preparing the soil is the foundation to sustainable gardening
  2. Planting the right plant in the right place
  3. Harvesting with gratitude
  4. Sharing knowledge with others

Resilience is a common theme for the Pueblos throughout history. They have survived contact with many nations and still remain humble, loving, and incredibly generous. The Pueblo agricultural methods and seeds are still alive after thousands of years. That’s pretty amazing!

The name of the garden is powerful and inspiring for the Indigenous people of the area, and anyone who comes to this space. There is even a Seed Bank, where the Pueblo people drop off seeds that have been in their family for many generations. That’s better than money!

If you’re in Albuquerque, please stop by and learn more about Pueblo Culture and the Resilience Garden. Click here for more information.

Resources:
Historic Images: Library of Congress
Dance footage courtesy of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

 

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Prepare For A Natural Disaster – Your Family And Your Homestead

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Natural disasters happen all the time all over the world, fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. There is pandemonium and chaos, fear and heartbreak each time. Is it preventable? Most of the time, no. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature. But there are some things you can do to prepare for a natural disaster. Do you know how to prepare you, your family, home, pets, and livestock?

Right now, Marjory and her family are preparing for Hurricane Harvey, which is going to hit the Texas coast today.

Her homestead is expecting 20+ inches of rain and sustained winds of 40 mph. She says that is 2/3 of their annual rainfall.

Marjory knows how to prepare for a natural disaster. They’ve been to the grocery store, cleaned up the homestead, boarded up the windows, and scattered cover crop seeds in the pasture. In her words, “We’ve been broadcasting seed for the fall planting of pasture cover crops. Yes, the time to plant is before the rains or your likelihood of germination goes way down—you never know if/when it will rain again.”

Look for updates on Marjory right here on this blog post!

UPDATE August 25, 2017, 8:03pm CST: Hurricane Harvey has intensified. It is now a Category 4 storm as it makes landfall. Marjory has “battened down the hatches.” They are as prepared as they can be.

Prepare your family for a natural disaster

In 2004, my family and I were living in Florida. We went through 4 hurricanes back-to-back. Two boys, two cats, and I were huddled in the inner bathroom of our house. I lost three refrigerators full of food, and we lost power for weeks each time. It was the tornadoes spawned by the storm that finally got us. A 100 ft. pine tree with a 6-ft. diameter missed my car by inches. Our neighbors were not so lucky.

Make a plan

It’s better to prepare for an emergency or a disaster long before it happens. Choose reliable information sources, and know the warning systems in your area. Talk with your family about your plan, even young children will understand and not be so frightened. Be sure to include your pets and even neighbors in your plans.

  • Choose a safe place to meet.
  • Decide how you will contact each other (if cell service or electricity are out)
  • How will you find each other?
  • What will you do in different situations (fire, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, zombie apocalypse)?

Okay that last one was a bit of a joke, but all joking aside … what is your family’s disaster plan?

Create a disaster kit or bug out bag

Your emergency kit should be stocked and restocked regularly. Be sure to consider all of your needs and don’t forget your pets! You and your family may need to survive on your own for several days. You’ll need to be prepared with food, water, and other supplies for at least 72 hours.

Basic Disaster Supply Kit, or Bug Out Bag

Store everything in airtight plastic bags or put your entire disaster supply kit in one or two easy-to-carry plastic bins or duffel bags. Check the items regularly to make sure they work and have not expired.

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. This is for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio or NOAA Weather radio with tone alert. (Don’t forget extra batteries in your kit.)
  • Flashlight – battery-powered, solar-powered, or hand-crank (Personally, I prefer the hand-crank. I know it will work)
  • First Aid Kit – Check it regularly to make sure it is stocked.
  • Extra batteries – make sure you replace these regularly or use rechargables that get charged regularly.
  • Whistle to signal for help – A whistle is much easier to use than your voice and carries over a longer distance. Make sure that each family member has one.
  • Dust mask – in case there is debris in the air
  • Plastic sheeting – makes a great impromptu shelter
  • Duct tape- I never go anywhere without duct tape!
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Manual can opener for your food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with solar charger or a battery backup

Personal Emergency Supplies

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications (pain-relievers, anti-diarrhea, antacids, and laxatives)
  • Glasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet supplies – Crate or carrier, pet food, and extra water for your pet
  • Cash
  • Way to cook food
  • Family documents (copies of insurance policies, identifications and bank account records, saved in a waterproof, portable container)
  • Sleeping bag and warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in waterproof container
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
  • Mess kit, cup
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, cards, or other activities for children

After you create your disaster kit, remember to check it regularly.

Keep your canned food in a cool, dry place and replace expired items as needed. Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic containers. Rethink your needs each year.

Prepare your homestead for a natural disaster

Now that your family, pets, and you are safe during a natural disaster. Do you know how to prepare your homestead so it stays running?

  • Remove any debris that could become a dangerous flying object. This includes tomato cages!
  • Generator – if you have solar or wind power, it’s still a good idea to have a backup generator in case your alternative energy sources are damaged or destroyed by the natural disaster.
  • Reliable water source
  • Secure your livestock and small animals – have extra food, water, and bedding ready for at least a week. Have your halters and leads ready.
  • Stock up on vet supplies, including bandages, antibiotics, supplements
  • Make sure housing, food, and supplies for small animals (chickens, ducks, rabbits) are ready to withstand high winds or rising water. Create a make-shift pen in your garage, if necessary.
  • Put heavy farm equipment under cover and tie it down.
  • Tools & gloves – There will be a lot of mending after a natural disaster.
  • Keep a written inventory of all livestock, including breeding and expense records, with your other important family documents.
  • Make sure all animal branding, tagging, and other identification information are up-to-date.

Are you prepared? Tell us in the comments below.

Resources:

Ready.gov. Be Informed
Tractor Supply. Storm preparedness on the farm.

 

 

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How To Choose A Natural Dentist

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You are taking control of your dental health. Now it’s time to choose a natural dentist. But where do you even begin?

As the evidence grows, it’s becoming clear that more and more people around the world are fed up with their treatment for oral health. It’s not just about a beautiful smile—it’s much bigger than that! Your overall health depends on a healthy mouth.

Finding out about the dentist’s beliefs and practices should be a top priority. You’re looking for the best match for your individual health needs, values, and priorities.

First be clear on your needs, values, and priorities where your oral health is concerned. Why are you considering holistic dentistry? This one question helps you come up with other questions that are relevant to your dental care.

Choose several holistic dentists in your area to meet and interview. Yes, you can do that!

Do an Internet search for “Holistic Dentistry” or “Natural Dentists” in your area. Check out there website for your values and priorities that you’ve already listed. Then, dial the phone!

Ask the receptionist … “May I talk to you about my dental health situation over the phone or should I make an appointment to visit your office?”

At your meeting whether on the phone or in person, ask some questions that are important to you.

Here are some questions you might want to ask the dentist:

Why did you decide to practice natural dentistry?
This will tell you whether the dentist is in it for profit or because he really cares of about his or her patient’s oral health.

What are your diet and lifestyle like?
You want your dentist to have similar values as you. If you have decided that oil pulling is one way that you will take care of you teeth, does your dentist understand and accept this practice?

Don’t know about oil pulling? Check out this article on 10 Ways To Take Care of Your Teeth … Naturally!

How much training and education have you had with the issues of toxic dental practices and materials?
You want to make sure that your new dentist understands and is knowledgeable about the latest toxic dental practices and materials.

Do you use bio-compatibility testing?
These tests tell whether various materials used in dentistry are compatible with your immune system and how sensitive you are to the different dental materials. A bio-compatibility report tells your dentist which materials are safest for you for each particular dental procedure.

During the initial exam and consultation, what can I expect?
Your initial exam should be longer than normal. It should include a thorough cleaning, a look at both hard (teeth) and soft (gums, neck areas) tissues, and x-rays to see what is happening below the surface.

Ask if the X-rays are low-dose radiation and if they use a neck guard to protect your thyroid.
The x-rays should show problems with your teeth, like fillings, missing teeth, cavities, root canal, and dead teeth. The neck guard will protect your thyroid from an overdose of radiation.

Want to know more about toxic dental practices? Click here to read The Hidden Dangers Of Commercial Dentistry.

Do you do microscopic analysis?
The microscopic analysis tells the dentist which types of bacteria are under your gums. It allows him or her to tailor a particular treatment regimen for you.

What training do you have in nutritional support supplements?
A well-trained holistic dentist will have a good foundational knowledge of nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, vitamins, and supplements. Ask about his or her background in these areas.

Does the dentist keep up with advances in technology and the latest studies about toxins in dental procedures and material?
Studies and reports in the toxins related to dentistry come out often. Is your potential dentist up-to-date on the latest studies?

What are the procedures for mercury or amalgam removal and replacement?
If you have fillings to replace, it is imperative that your new holistic dentist knows exactly how to take them out and replace them.

Asking these questions will put your mind at ease and ensure that you are getting the best dental care possible.

Will you be calling some Holistic Dentists in your area? Let us know your results in the comments below.

 

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Planting by the Moon and Stars: Great Idea or Hogwash?

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This method of gardening might be right up your alley, or it might be so far out there that it leaves you scratching your head. Let’s look at “planting by the stars.”

Farmers and Gardener have been planting by the stars and celestial bodies for centuries.

To add another layer to your garden planning: According to legends and stories, each sign has something to offer a gardener and his or her garden. Let’s take a look at some gardening tasks and the best signs to do them.

The moon moves through the various signs of the Zodiac every couple of days. Each of the signs is associated with different elements, which are suitable for different tasks in your garden, like watering, planting, harvesting, fertilizing, and cultivating the soil depending on which sign the moon is in.

The Elements

One premise of gardening by the stars is that the Universe is made up of four elementsEarth, Air, Fire, and Water.

The signs are connected to the elements like this:

Earth – Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn

Air – Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius

Fire – Aries, Libra, and Sagittarius

Water – Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces

The Earth signs are very fertile and good for planting. The root is the part of the plant that is associated with the Earth signs. Earth signs are particularly good for planting root crops or transplanting to encourage root development.

Air signs are primarily dry and barren, Libra is an exception, which is good for flowers and herbs. Melons like to be planted in Gemini and Onions do well if planted in Aquarius. It is a good time to harvest or cultivate the soil during an Air sign.

The water signs, Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio are great for planting above ground crops. These are the best signs to plant in general.

In the fire signs of Aries, Sagittarius, and Leo, harvest, pull weeds, or get rid of pests. Harvesting is a good idea during a fire sign as the crops won’t rot in storage.

Planting by the Signs

Fertilize

It is best to fertilize when the moon is in Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces. These are fruitful signs. Use Taurus or Capricorn if necessary. Apply your fertilizer during the moon’s waning phase, preferably in the third or fourth quarter.

Harvest

Root crops intended for food and fruits should be harvested during the waning moon in the third or fourth quarter in a dry sign of Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Gemini, or Aquarius. Harvest root crops like sweet potatoes at the full moon in one of the dry signs.

Watering

When the moon is in a watery sign, like Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces, it is a perfect time to water your garden. If that’s not possible, watering in Libra is good, too.

Mowing

Mow your lawn or meadows to increase growth during the first or second quarter of the waxing moon, or during the third or fourth quarter of the waning moon to decrease growth.

Pruning

It is best to prune during the third quarter waning moon in Scorpio to reduce branch growth and set better fruit.

Cultivating Soil

During the signs of Aries, Gemini, Virgo, and Sagittarius, cultivate your soil. To cultivate your soil, add organic matter, creating compost, improve soil texture, aerate, and mulch. During the first or second quarter waxing Moon in Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, or Libra, add cover crops to increase nitrogen and decrease erosion.

The Science

Ask a scientist, and they’ll give you a blank stare or laugh hysterically. And rightly so.

The nearest star is more than four light-years away (that’s four years traveling at the speed of light, which would be great if we could do it). The light from the stars would not affect plant life here on Earth.

However, first-rate farmers and gardeners follow the signs, and while they might do just as well if they didn’t garden by the signs, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to say whether it works or not. We only have experiences.

We do know that planting by the stars and moon phases does no harm, so why not try it as an experiment? Plant half your garden by the stars and the other half as you normally would and see for yourself which plot does best.

Be fair and let common sense make up your mind. Keep in mind everything you know about gardening, even the most devout “sign planters” take weather and temperature into account before undertaking a gardening project.

Quite frankly, Moon & Star Gardeners never asked why it works. The farmer who planted his homegrown food by the moon and stars has a bountiful harvest to show for it. Isn’t that really all that matters?

Did you see Part 1 of this series? Click here to read Planting by the Moon and Sun.

 

Do you plant by the moon or the signs? What are your results? We’d love to hear about your experiences below.

 

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Planting by the Moon and Stars: Great Idea or Hogwash?

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We use the forces of nature as an aid in obtaining the highest possible degree of success. These are tools to be used along with other knowledge, advice, and information. Planting by the Moon and Stars has been handed down from generation-to-generation as a tool to grow the best food and medicine.

What facts and science do we have to back-up these claims?

Earliest attempts to prove this was not a myth

Francis Bacon conducted many experiments in which he planted seeds during various phases of the moon’s cycle. He observed that seeds germinated and produced healthier plants if they were sown immediately after the new moon (dark moon). The scientific world didn’t take notice of his discovery.

Moon and Star gardeners aren’t concerned with explaining why the moon and stars affect plants. They are only with stating what they have proven through experience over and over again. The believe that the positions of the planetary bodies, especially the sun and the moon, match the natural cycle of the Universe. Therefore, if we understand these effects and use them to our advantage, we can live in harmony with our world’s natural rhythms.

“… I believe in a dissymmetric cosmic influence which naturally and constantly controls the molecular organization of those principles immediately necessary for life, and that as a consequence, the types of controls of life are, in their structures, forms, and nuclear arrangements, in a relation with the motions of the Universe. ~Louis Pasteur

The Moon

The cycles of the moon have influenced gardeners all over the world for centuries. While science doesn’t fully understand why planting by the moon works, experience suggests that it does.

When you garden by the moon, it is easy to plan your above- and below-ground crops.

How it works

The same gravitational force that creates the tides and brings the sea turtles ashore to lay eggs, also cause crops to grow. When the moon wanes, and its light and gravitational pull decreases, the Earth’s gravity kicks in and root crops bear happily in the ground.

However, don’t plant anything on the dark of the moon (new moon). This is the time when plants should rest. It is a good time to kill weeds, because they will not grow back.

There are a number of things to keep in mind when planting by the moon.

During a waxing moon, the light increases toward a full moon. This is a great time for sowing and transplanting flowering annuals, biennials, grains, and melons. Any short-lived plant that you want to harvest for its leaves, seeds, flowers, or fruits.

It’s also a good time to apply liquid fertilizer, prune, or graft to produce new growth more quickly.

During a waning moon, the light decreases as the moon goes from a full to a new moon. This is the time the energy focuses on the roots, which is a perfect time to plant root crops and perennials.

Apply solid fertilizers and compost at this time. You can also prune dormant plants and harvest. It is less likely that your harvest will rot.

The New moon (from new moon to the first quarter) is best for sowing or transplanting leafy annuals. These are plants where we value or eat the leaves or stem, like lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and celery.

The first quarter phase is most suited to fruiting annuals (not fruit trees) where we value or eat the fruit or seed-bearing part of the plant, like tomatoes, pumpkins, broccoli, and beans.

Full moon (from full moon to the third quarter) is best for sowing or planting root crops, as well as fruiting perennials, like apples, potatoes, asparagus, and rhubarb. You can also take cuttings and divide plants.

In the last quarter phase, avoid planting and focus on improving your soil. Weed, mulch, add compost and manure teas, and create new garden beds. It is also a good time to weed and take care of pests.

Do not sow, plant, or prune 12 hours before or after the transition from one phase to the next.

Once in a blue moon

Do you know what this means?

There is such a thing as a blue moon. As a child, I was always looking for the moon to turn blue, but that’s not quite it. It is simply the occurrence of two full moons in one calendar month.

Plant as you would for any full moon.

The Sun

The Sun is our closest star. It provides light that promotes photosynthesis in our plants.

An Eclipse (Lunar or Solar)

Fear led ancient people to shoot flaming arrows at the sky to rekindle the Sun. Many stories and myths from around the world tried to explain an eclipse, especially a solar eclipse.

The perfect lineup of the Sun and the Moon form a total solar eclipse. A solar eclipse happens about twice a year, but can happen as many as five times in a year, but that’s rare!

Ancient Babylonian tablets show a belief that the land is infertile during the time of an eclipse. This myth has lasted longer than most. The early bio-dynamic sowing calendars also say not to plant during the days leading up to an eclipse, the day of the eclipse, and the days following the eclipse.

Everyone has been so busy looking at the sky, that no evidence exists as to its effects on plants and planting. It is possible that plants will exhibit nighttime postures. Nighttime plants may bloom, and daytime plants may close up. It will be an interesting time to observe and record.

What about Solar Flares?

Solar flares create high energy particles that are dangerous to living organisms. Most of the dangerous particles of a flare are stopped by our atmosphere and rarely reach the Earth. If these particles reached the surface of the Earth, it would not only affect plants, but people, too.

The Science

When I asked a scientist about planting by the moon, I got a blank stare and a few chuckles. And rightly so.

It’s true. There is very little, if any, scientific evidence that planting by the moon has any validity.

Scientists haven’t tried to study this stuff, because it is believed to be a myth.

However, there has to be a physical reason why the moon’s different phases affect soil properties, soil temperature, moisture content, precipitation, which are physical factors that make seeds germinate. And that isn’t documented!

The scientist explained that the tidal forces—the gravitational pull of the moon—would be there, but the amount would be so small that it would not affect a plant’s processes.

The moon is 238,000 miles away from us, which is very close in astronomical measurements. The Sun is 92.96 million miles away from the Earth.

Scientists are logical and literal. We need that logic to understand our world.

So why is it that so many farmers and gardeners plant by the moon? Perhaps it is not for us to ask why or how, but to simply enjoy the abundance of our homegrown food and medicine.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Gardening by the Signs!

Do you garden by the phases of the moon? What are your results? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

 

Resources:

Planting by the Full Moon. The New York Times. May 2, 1991.
Gardening by the Moon. Farmer’s Almanac.
Solar Eclipse Folklore, Myths, and Superstitions. Farmer’s Almanac.
Moon Planting Guide. January 26, 2015.
Lunar Gardening: The Eclipses, The Planetary Aspects.
Astrological Gardening. Louise Riotte. Storey Communications, Inc.

 

 

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Hiring An Affiliate Manager Who Love Gardening, Permaculture, and Homesteading

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Want to Join the Grow Network Team?

We’re hiring an Affiliate Manager!

The Grow Network is the online home of a global network of people who are producing their own food and medicine. The purpose of the organization is to stop the destruction of the Earth, and “Home Grown Food on Every Table” is our catalyzing statement.

We offer inspiration and education via our online blog, video “how-to” tutorial products (physical DVD’s and digital access), and a community membership area, at:  http://TheGrowNetwork.com

Our company culture is that of a team of adventurers and entrepreneurs, out to make a difference in the world.  While our team is spread across the United States (and beyond), we meet regularly via face-to-face Skype conferences and gather 2-3 times each year to meet in person in various interesting locations, including Durango CO.

Are You Good With People and Vegetables?

Are you the kind of person who loves to throw totally awesome parties?  Are you such a natural born networker that you’ve made friends or signed up new clients while waiting in line at the grocery store?  The Grow Network is looking for a dynamic team player to join us as we create the most useful, simple, and fun homesteading resource on the web.

The Grow Network is currently composed of about 120,000 members, and we are scaling up our systems to handle 2 million members.

You are a person who knows you can work anywhere, but chooses to work with us.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience.

Skills and Attributes Needed: (Please don’t apply if you don’t meet these criteria.)

  • You have a passion for homegrown food and natural health – you already have a garden and/or livestock…you are growing some of your own food in some way.
  • You have a minimum 5-years’ experience in internet marketing with a fluent understanding of affiliate marketing. Two-years’ experience directly in the role of Affiliate Manager is a plus.
  • You have a 4-year college degree – bonus points if it is in business or marketing.
  • You have excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills – you love engaging with people.
  • You are persistence with follow-up – a dozen interactions for an outcome doesn’t faze you at all.
  • You are a skillful negotiator, always seeking win-win outcomes in delicate business relationships.
  • You are detail oriented and have an instinct for organizing and categorizing with simple clarity.
  • You are computer and internet savvy – you easily pick up new software.
  • You have excellent time-management skills with the ability to balance multiple projects.
  • You have been or currently are an entrepreneur, owning your own business or freelance gig at some point.
  • You are comfortable working remotely as part of a geographically distributed team, across different time zones.
  • You have a good sense of humor, and are a team player.
  • You have good working knowledge (intermediate skills) with MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook). Big pluses for familiarity with OntraPort, WordPress, Highrise, and Office-365.

The main objective of the Affiliate Manager will be to generate revenue for TGN, by:

  • Creating attractive/compelling affiliate programs, collateral and product marketing launches.
  • Seeking and recruiting new affiliate partners who have sizeable, well-aligned audiences.
  • Managing and motivating our existing pool of affiliates to sell more TGN programs and products.

The Affiliate Manager will:

  • Nurture exceptional partner relationships and provide regular performance reporting to affiliates.
  • Negotiate and manage contracts and commission structures for affiliates.
  • Maintain direct communication and recommend new campaigns for affiliates.
  • Identify and recruit new affiliates through various networking approaches, including travelling approximately 6-8 times per year to Internet Marketing conferences, participating on social media and marketplace sites, etc.
  • Proactively monitor traffic sources to determine which affiliates should be prioritized and focused on.
  • Prepare and present reports for metrics such as # of affiliate partners recruited, conversion rates, etc.
  • Maintain good record keeping of reciprocal click agreements and status with our top affiliates.
  • Travel approximately 6-8 times per year to Internet Marketing Conventions, for networking.

Application Steps

To apply, send an email to “hr(at)thegrownetwork(dot)com”, with the subject line “Affiliate Manager – (your name).” Please attach your resume in word docx format, and a cover letter describing why you want to work for The Grow Network.

Additionally, in your email please include a link to a short “unlisted” YouTube video of yourself answering the brief set of questions below.  Please, don’t worry about editing this video—we promise to not share it with anyone.  Just do a one-shot video (shot with a webcam, cell phone, etc). Please just be yourself and answer the following questions:

  1. What are you looking for in a new company/position?
  2. What is one job perk that would motivate you like nothing else? (keep it reasonable please)
  3. What is a goal or dream that really excites you?
  4. What sets you apart? What will make us want to work with you?

The post Hiring An Affiliate Manager Who Love Gardening, Permaculture, and Homesteading appeared first on The Grow Network.

7 Toxins Lurking In Your Toothpaste

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Over your lifetime, you’ll use about 20 gallons of toothpaste. The chemicals in that toothpaste can get into your bloodstream. Even though you don’t swallow it, your mouth can absorb it. Let’s take a look at what’s in your toxic toothpaste.

Toxins In Your Toothpaste

Look on the back of your toothpaste tube. What ingredients are listed? Can you even pronounce them? My thought: If you can’t or struggle to pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t put it in your body.

There are certain risks with a lot of common toothpaste ingredients, even though they are branded as “natural.” The chemicals in your toothpaste are known to cause mental and physical problems, inflammation, and cancer.

Artificial Colors, Flavors, and Sweeteners

Toothpaste often contains artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners, especially toothpaste branded for children. These are linked to hyperactivity and behavioral problems.

FD&C and D&C dyes are made from petroleum. The term “lake” is a colorant made by combining a pigment with metal salts, usually aluminum, zirconium, titanium, and others.

Aspartame and artificial sweeteners are added to toothpaste to make it taste good. Aspartame in the body breaks down to wood alcohol and formaldehyde. Both of these are stored in your liver or kidneys. They are not eliminated from the body.

Fluoride

I could write an entire article on the dangers of fluoride.

In a 2010 study, researchers found that a beneficial layer of fluorapatite was formed on your teeth from fluoride, but it was only 6 nanometers thick. Let’s put that into perspective—you’d need 10,000 of those layers to be the width of a human hair. The ultra-thin layer disappears as soon as you chew something.

Now consider the toxic nature of fluoride. It is a chemical that accumulates in your tissue over time. It can cause neurological, as well as endocrine system problems.

Triclosan

To fight plaque and gingivitis, Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical is added to toothpaste. However, it has been linked to antibiotic resistance, endocrine disruption, and thyroid dysfunction.

Its chemical makeup is similar to thyroid hormones. Triclosan causes a wide-range of health problems including breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, pre-puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This harmful chemical is responsible for the foaming action of your toothpaste.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate has also been linked to skin irritation and canker sores. It is registered as an insecticide. The manufacturer sought approval to market Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as an organic pesticide. The application was denied because of the potential environmental hazard.

Studies have shown that it may have toxic effects on marine life.

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

Some of the chemicals in toothpaste release formaldehyde—a known carcinogen. These preservatives kill microbes that might grow in the toothpaste.

The preservatives are absorbed into your bloodstream through the lining of your mouth. It can also cause allergic skin reactions.

Here are 10 Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives to watch out for:

  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Polyoxymethylene urea
  • Methenamine
  • Quaternium-15
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Bronopol
  • Bronidox
  • Glyoxal

Parabens

These chemicals are endocrine disruptors that have been linked to cancer and developmental and reproductive issues. They act like the hormone, estrogen.

Keep an eye out for these chemicals in your toothpaste:

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben

Carrageenan

This thickening agent is a suspected carcinogen. According to current research, food-grade carrageenan creates intestinal inflammation that can lead to cancer, even in small doses.

It has been linked to:

  • free radicals
  • inflammation
  • insulin resistance
  • glucose intolerance

Diethanolamine (DEA)

This foaming agent is a known hormone disrupter that reacts with other ingredients. It forms a potential carcinogen called N-nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), which is readily absorbed through the skin. It has been linked to stomach, esophagus, liver, and bladder cancers.

On another note …

Many kinds of toothpaste include ingredients that are genetically modified Organisms (GMOs). The only way to avoid these is to buy products that carry the USDA 100% Organic label.

So how do you brush your teeth with all of these toxins in your toothpaste?

There are several healthy and safer alternative products on the market. Look at your local health food store for some of their recommendations.

OR, with a few ingredients, you can make your own.

Simple and Natural Toothpaste

Brushing twice-a-day, this recipe lasts about a month.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Raw cacao powder (promotes remineralization) Or Calcium Carbonate Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Baking soda (it is alkaline, helps balance pH in the mouth)
  • 2 Tablespoons Xylitol Powder (natural sweetener, reduces cavity-causing bacteria, more is not better with this ingredient. If it is too sweet or if you get sweet cravings, reduce the amount.)
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Coconut oil (naturally prevents candida in the mouth, boosts the microbiome in your gut)
  • 15-20 drops Essential oils for flavor (cinnamon, orange, or peppermint) This is optional, but it does add to the taste. I tend to like the peppermint.

How to make it:

  1. Melt or slightly soften the coconut oil.
  2. Measure the dry ingredients into a glass measuring cup.
  3. Pour the coconut oil into the dry ingredients, and stir. Mix the ingredients really well. It should be the consistency of cookie dough, or if you prefer, cake batter.
  4. Put the mixture in a small glass jar to store.

To use: Dip your toothbrush and scrape a small amount onto the bristles.

Your Diet

Also, remember that your diet is essential as the foundation for healthy teeth and gums. Your oral health depends on:

  • Vitamins C, D, and K2
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium

 

How do you take care of your teeth and gums? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Resources:

Is Your Toothpaste Toxic? Progressive Health.
Is Your Toothpaste Loaded With Toxins? Mercola.
Epoch Times August 26, 2015
Behind the Dazzling Smile: Toxic Ingredients in Your Toothpaste. Cornucopia report.

 

The post 7 Toxins Lurking In Your Toothpaste appeared first on The Grow Network.

Hidden Dangers Of Commercial Dental Care

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I do not like going to the dentist for a wide range of reasons—from bad experiences with hygienists to a slew of dental procedures that have cost tens of thousands of dollars. But there is something else, too. The dental materials and practices are creating toxic dental care.

How many people ENJOY going to the dentist?

Every time I go to the dentist, I’m waiting for the “other shoe to drop.”

Things to keep in mind

  • Dentists and hygienists look for what they are trained, so they see what they want to see.
  • The problems caused by toxic dental material may be masked by the symptoms, which mimic other medical conditions.

5 things you didn’t know about your dentist

  1. More than likely your dentist graduated years ago. Dentistry has changed so much in the last several years. Has your dentist continued his education?
  2. You dentist probably doesn’t have the latest technology. It would cost more than $2000 to update his or her equipment to provide the best possible care.
  3. The American Dental Association and the FDA do not have a problem with mercury fillings. Is your dentist still using these toxic time bombs?
  4. The lab your dentist uses is more important than you are. Make sure your dentist is not using an overseas lab or a cut-rate domestic lab who uses tin, aluminum, or even lead to cut costs.
  5. Dentists can receive a kickback for referring you to a specialist. For instance, you may be told you need a root canal or orthodontics. These specialists give your dentist a referral fee for every patient that gets treatment, even if you don’t need the treatment. Do you need a second opinion?

Remember, you always have the right of refusal or even delay while you get a second opinion.

Toxic Dental Care: What are they putting in your mouth?

X-rays

In 2013, research showed that repeated dental x-rays without a neck shield make you predisposed to thyroid cancer. (1)

Bacteria

In 2016, 30 children in California contracted a bacterial infection from a dentist’s office. The contaminated water could create long-term health problems for these children because the infection can often spread to the gum and jawbone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), outbreaks at dentist’s offices are rare. However, they do admit that even though there are recommended guidelines to prevent bacterial infections, many dentists do not follow these guidelines and procedures. (2)

Sealants

Dental sealants are coatings of thin plastic applied to the teeth to prevent decay. The sealants prevent food particles and bacteria from getting into the grooves of the teeth where it is difficult to brush. Sealants last about five to ten years.

There is some concern that undetected decay can be sealed into teeth, which will continue to decay the tooth silently.

Also, there is the potential BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical used in plastics, which has been associated with health and developmental problems in humans and animals. It has been studied as a potential issue with dental sealants. The American Dental Association research shows that BPA only shows up in sealants as a trace amount. (3)

Fluoride (4)

There are many adverse effects of fluoride ingestion:

Brain.  Scientists have found dementia-like effects, as well as lower I.Q. levels.

Thyroid. Fluoride is an endocrine disrupter, which can lead to problems with judgment and intellect, depression, and weight gain.

Bones. Fracture risks may increase with fluoride ingestion. There is also a recent study by Harvard scientists that found a connection between fluoride and a serious form of bone cancer in males under 20 years of age.

Kidneys. People with kidney disease have a higher risk of fluoride toxicity.

Some things to keep in mind:

Children anti-cavity fluoride treatments were never found safe or effective by the Food and Drug Administration.

In 1951, the American Dental Association said, “there is no proof that commercial preparations … containing fluorides are effective in preventing dental decay.”

The bottom line—fluoride won’t keep your teeth healthy and could pose a serious health risk.

 

toxic-dental-care

Toxic Dental Materials

There are so many dental materials created. It would be impossible for any one person to stay up-to-date with every single material used in dentistry. Here are a few that stand out.

Fillings

Fillings can be made out of plastic, resins, and amalgam (metal).

Amalgam fillings have been scientifically proven to be detrimental to human health since 1927.

For almost 200 years, mercury amalgam has been the most commonly used dental filling material. Amalgam is a mixture of 50 percent mercury and the other 50 percent tin, silver, and copper.

The mercury content in the filling is not stable and leaks 24 hours a day, especially after eating, drinking hot drinks, and brushing your teeth.

Mercury is one of the most toxic metals on the planet and is a known neurotoxin. It damages nerve and brain tissues. Of course, plastics and resins are not much better.

Crowns & Bridges

Crowns and bridges are mostly made out of metal. If you ask your dentist for a porcelain crown, he or she may have a porcelain piece made that’s baked onto the metal. These metals act as a substructure for strength, but they also contain nickel.

Nickel is cancer-causing. It’s a neurological toxin. Crowns and bridges can also contain palladium, cobalt, cadmium, and barium. This dental work can be a big toxic mixture.

Dentures

A lot of dentures are made out of materials that contain cadmium. Cadmium is a neurotoxin. The teeth and wires that they use can have stainless steel or nickel chromium, which are also bad for you.

Polymethyl methacrylate is a material used in bike parts. It is also the pink part of partials and dentures. If your dentist is using that material and you have redness on your gums, you could be allergic to it.

Add to that that dentures are constantly giving off fumes, and you have a recipe for sickness and disease.

Implants

Titanium was used in implants. This metal has been known to cause headaches, migraines, and immunity issues. Today ceramic and zirconium are used in place of titanium.

Toothpastes

Not only is the commercial toothpaste that you use toxic, but the polishers that hygienists use also have fluoride, sugars, and pumice.

Research has shown that polishing can remove tooth enamel. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) said in their paper: (4)

  • Polishing is a cosmetic procedure with little therapeutic value.
  • Thorough brushing and flossing produce the same effect as polishing.
  • Continuous polishing can, over time, cause morphological changes by abrading tooth structure.
  • The outer layers of enamel are removed through polishing.

Their conclusion was that polishing should only be performed as needed and not be considered a routine procedure.

Deep-cleaning or Scaling

If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this deep-cleaning method, it is a high-pressure water pearl salt that is shot between your teeth and gums to remove tartar and plaque.

Experts say it won’t harm your teeth or gums, and helps prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.

However, there are some hazards of which you need to be aware:

  • Improper teeth scaling can loosen teeth. If this happens, there is a chance you could lose several teeth.
  • There are concerns for people who have diabetes or heart conditions.
  • Inappropriate teeth scaling can cause gum or periodontal disease. Bacteria and food debris accumulate in the pockets left by the scaling procedure.
  • If your teeth are already sensitive, teeth scaling can increase your sensitivity to hot or cold food.

While risks might be minimal and the rewards great, it is still best to be informed. You are your own best health advocate, and that goes for your teeth and gums, too!

In the pocket

Dentists are increasingly in the pockets of big corporations, pharmaceutical companies, and specialists. It is to their benefit to sell you … well, just about anything from fluoride to teeth straightening devices.

It is becoming a larger concern that your dental health decisions are at the mercy of dental insurance companies and corporate managers, and not necessarily what is best for you.

Allies of corporate dentistry offer high-dollar contracts that prey on new dentists trying to pay off student loans.

Out of YOUR pocket

The cost of going to the dentist is going up significantly. The average American will spend approximately $9,000+ out-of-pocket on dental procedures in one year.(5)

Dental insurance costs an average of $360 per year, which may only cover a portion of the actual cost of a procedure. If you don’t have dental insurance, a cleaning will cost about $150 each visit. If you have a cavity, you’ll pay between $90 and $250 for EACH filling. The cost of bridges, x-rays, crowns, extractions, etc. goes up from there.

Did you see this article:  How Much Will You Spend At The Dentist?

George Carlin said something similar … Somewhere in the United States is the worst dentist. And what’s terrifying is that someone has an appointment with him or her tomorrow morning.

Hopefully, dentists will begin to stop this downward spiral into toxic dental care. Perhaps as patients begin to see the dangers of this type of dental practice, it will persuade the establishment to take a closer look at their materials and procedures.

Maybe it will be a time when people’s health is put before the ol’ mighty dollar.

What are your thoughts on the dental care system? Tell us your stories in the comments below.

 

Resources:

1 Repeated Dental X-rays Without Neck Shielding Predispose to Thyroid Cancer. American Thyroid Association. [https://www.thyroid.org/professionals/ata-publications/clinical-thyroidology/september-2013-volume-25-issue-9/clin-thyroidol-201325201-202/]

2 Bacteria in dentist’s water send 30 kids to hospital. CNN. [http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/11/health/california-dental-water-bacteria/index.html]

3 Are Dental Sealants Safe? Dr. Weil. [https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/dental-oral-health/are-dental-sealants-safe/]

4 American Dental Hygienists’ Association Position on Polishing Procedures, 2001 [www.adha.org]

5 Dental Facts & Statistics. [https://www.dentalplans.com/press-room/dentalfactsfigures]

 

Discover how to care for your teeth…

  • Dental hygiene without brushes, paste, or floss
  • Healing cavities with herbs
  • Treating abscesses with herbs and poultices
  • Treating cracked and chipped teeth

The post Hidden Dangers Of Commercial Dental Care appeared first on The Grow Network.

Hidden Dangers Of Commercial Dental Care

I do not like going to the dentist for a wide range of reasons—from bad experiences with hygienists to a slew of dental procedures that have cost tens of thousands of dollars. But there is something else, too. The dental materials and practices are creating toxic dental care.

How many people ENJOY going to the dentist?

Every time I go to the dentist, I’m waiting for the “other shoe to drop.”

Things to keep in mind

  • Dentists and hygienists look for what they are trained, so they see what they want to see.
  • The problems caused by toxic dental material may be masked by the symptoms, which mimic other medical conditions.

5 things you didn’t know about your dentist

  1. More than likely your dentist graduated years ago. Dentistry has changed so much in the last several years. Has your dentist continued his education?
  2. You dentist probably doesn’t have the latest technology. It would cost more than $2000 to update his or her equipment to provide the best possible care.
  3. The American Dental Association and the FDA do not have a problem with mercury fillings. Is your dentist still using these toxic time bombs?
  4. The lab your dentist uses is more important than you are. Make sure your dentist is not using an overseas lab or a cut-rate domestic lab who uses tin, aluminum, or even lead to cut costs.
  5. Dentists can receive a kickback for referring you to a specialist. For instance, you may be told you need a root canal or orthodontics. These specialists give your dentist a referral fee for every patient that gets treatment, even if you don’t need the treatment. Do you need a second opinion?

Remember, you always have the right of refusal or even delay while you get a second opinion.

Toxic Dental Care: What are they putting in your mouth?

X-rays

In 2013, research showed that repeated dental x-rays without a neck shield make you predisposed to thyroid cancer. (1)

Bacteria

In 2016, 30 children in California contracted a bacterial infection from a dentist’s office. The contaminated water could create long-term health problems for these children because the infection can often spread to the gum and jawbone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), outbreaks at dentist’s offices are rare. However, they do admit that even though there are recommended guidelines to prevent bacterial infections, many dentists do not follow these guidelines and procedures. (2)

Sealants

Dental sealants are coatings of thin plastic applied to the teeth to prevent decay. The sealants prevent food particles and bacteria from getting into the grooves of the teeth where it is difficult to brush. Sealants last about five to ten years.

There is some concern that undetected decay can be sealed into teeth, which will continue to decay the tooth silently.

Also, there is the potential BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical used in plastics, which has been associated with health and developmental problems in humans and animals. It has been studied as a potential issue with dental sealants. The American Dental Association research shows that BPA only shows up in sealants as a trace amount. (3)

Fluoride (4)

There are many adverse effects of fluoride ingestion:

Brain.  Scientists have found dementia-like effects, as well as lower I.Q. levels.

Thyroid. Fluoride is an endocrine disrupter, which can lead to problems with judgment and intellect, depression, and weight gain.

Bones. Fracture risks may increase with fluoride ingestion. There is also a recent study by Harvard scientists that found a connection between fluoride and a serious form of bone cancer in males under 20 years of age.

Kidneys. People with kidney disease have a higher risk of fluoride toxicity.

Some things to keep in mind:

Children anti-cavity fluoride treatments were never found safe or effective by the Food and Drug Administration.

In 1951, the American Dental Association said, “there is no proof that commercial preparations … containing fluorides are effective in preventing dental decay.”

The bottom line—fluoride won’t keep your teeth healthy and could pose a serious health risk.

 

toxic-dental-care

Toxic Dental Materials

There are so many dental materials created. It would be impossible for any one person to stay up-to-date with every single material used in dentistry. Here are a few that stand out.

Fillings

Fillings can be made out of plastic, resins, and amalgam (metal).

Amalgam fillings have been scientifically proven to be detrimental to human health since 1927.

For almost 200 years, mercury amalgam has been the most commonly used dental filling material. Amalgam is a mixture of 50 percent mercury and the other 50 percent tin, silver, and copper.

The mercury content in the filling is not stable and leaks 24 hours a day, especially after eating, drinking hot drinks, and brushing your teeth.

Mercury is one of the most toxic metals on the planet and is a known neurotoxin. It damages nerve and brain tissues. Of course, plastics and resins are not much better.

Crowns & Bridges

Crowns and bridges are mostly made out of metal. If you ask your dentist for a porcelain crown, he or she may have a porcelain piece made that’s baked onto the metal. These metals act as a substructure for strength, but they also contain nickel.

Nickel is cancer-causing. It’s a neurological toxin. Crowns and bridges can also contain palladium, cobalt, cadmium, and barium. This dental work can be a big toxic mixture.

Dentures

A lot of dentures are made out of materials that contain cadmium. Cadmium is a neurotoxin. The teeth and wires that they use can have stainless steel or nickel chromium, which are also bad for you.

Polymethyl methacrylate is a material used in bike parts. It is also the pink part of partials and dentures. If your dentist is using that material and you have redness on your gums, you could be allergic to it.

Add to that that dentures are constantly giving off fumes, and you have a recipe for sickness and disease.

Implants

Titanium was used in implants. This metal has been known to cause headaches, migraines, and immunity issues. Today ceramic and zirconium are used in place of titanium.

Toothpastes

Not only is the commercial toothpaste that you use toxic, but the polishers that hygienists use also have fluoride, sugars, and pumice.

Research has shown that polishing can remove tooth enamel. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) said in their paper: (4)

  • Polishing is a cosmetic procedure with little therapeutic value.
  • Thorough brushing and flossing produce the same effect as polishing.
  • Continuous polishing can, over time, cause morphological changes by abrading tooth structure.
  • The outer layers of enamel are removed through polishing.

Their conclusion was that polishing should only be performed as needed and not be considered a routine procedure.

Deep-cleaning or Scaling

If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this deep-cleaning method, it is a high-pressure water pearl salt that is shot between your teeth and gums to remove tartar and plaque.

Experts say it won’t harm your teeth or gums, and helps prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.

However, there are some hazards of which you need to be aware:

  • Improper teeth scaling can loosen teeth. If this happens, there is a chance you could lose several teeth.
  • There are concerns for people who have diabetes or heart conditions.
  • Inappropriate teeth scaling can cause gum or periodontal disease. Bacteria and food debris accumulate in the pockets left by the scaling procedure.
  • If your teeth are already sensitive, teeth scaling can increase your sensitivity to hot or cold food.

While risks might be minimal and the rewards great, it is still best to be informed. You are your own best health advocate, and that goes for your teeth and gums, too!

In the pocket

Dentists are increasingly in the pockets of big corporations, pharmaceutical companies, and specialists. It is to their benefit to sell you … well, just about anything from fluoride to teeth straightening devices.

It is becoming a larger concern that your dental health decisions are at the mercy of dental insurance companies and corporate managers, and not necessarily what is best for you.

Allies of corporate dentistry offer high-dollar contracts that prey on new dentists trying to pay off student loans.

Out of YOUR pocket

The cost of going to the dentist is going up significantly. The average American will spend approximately $9,000+ out-of-pocket on dental procedures in one year.(5)

Dental insurance costs an average of $360 per year, which may only cover a portion of the actual cost of a procedure. If you don’t have dental insurance, a cleaning will cost about $150 each visit. If you have a cavity, you’ll pay between $90 and $250 for EACH filling. The cost of bridges, x-rays, crowns, extractions, etc. goes up from there.

Did you see this article:  How Much Will You Spend At The Dentist?

George Carlin said something similar … Somewhere in the United States is the worst dentist. And what’s terrifying is that someone has an appointment with him or her tomorrow morning.

Hopefully, dentists will begin to stop this downward spiral into toxic dental care. Perhaps as patients begin to see the dangers of this type of dental practice, it will persuade the establishment to take a closer look at their materials and procedures.

Maybe it will be a time when people’s health is put before the ol’ mighty dollar.

What are your thoughts on the dental care system? Tell us your stories in the comments below.

 

Resources:

1 Repeated Dental X-rays Without Neck Shielding Predispose to Thyroid Cancer. American Thyroid Association. [https://www.thyroid.org/professionals/ata-publications/clinical-thyroidology/september-2013-volume-25-issue-9/clin-thyroidol-201325201-202/]

2 Bacteria in dentist’s water send 30 kids to hospital. CNN. [http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/11/health/california-dental-water-bacteria/index.html]

3 Are Dental Sealants Safe? Dr. Weil. [https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/dental-oral-health/are-dental-sealants-safe/]

4 American Dental Hygienists’ Association Position on Polishing Procedures, 2001 [www.adha.org]

5 Dental Facts & Statistics. [https://www.dentalplans.com/press-room/dentalfactsfigures]

 

Discover how to care for your teeth…

  • Dental hygiene without brushes, paste, or floss
  • Healing cavities with herbs
  • Treating abscesses with herbs and poultices
  • Treating cracked and chipped teeth

The post Hidden Dangers Of Commercial Dental Care appeared first on The Grow Network.

The PRIMAL Glue That Creates The Family Bonds

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Would you believe I found the glue that creates the family bonds? It’s true!

What’s your favorite memory of your grandparents?

I love to ask baby boomers that question, and here are just a few of the answers they’ve given me:

“Collecting eggs in the henhouse with grandma.”

“Working in the garden with granddad.”

“Gathering apples from Old Aunt Julia’s tree and making applesauce together.”

I started noticing a theme in the answers I was getting—I’m sure you see it, too.

… They’re all about food!

If you’re like me, you can completely relate. Everything of importance in our lives centers around food—from holidays to connection to focused conversation.

In fact, gathering, growing, and preparing food together is a primal glue that has bonded family groups since the first humans walked this earth.

In my next video chapter of Grow: All True Wealth Comes From the Ground, I show you how to tap into the power of this ancient human activity to strengthen your family and vastly improve your true wealth.

(Video Length: 20.21 minutes)

In this video, I discuss:

  • Reluctant Spouse Or Kids? 7 Ways To Entice Them Toward Food Production!
  • The Gardener’s “Gateway Drug” 😉
  • 3 Tips For Bulletproofing Your Family’s First Garden

Then, I’d love to know:

What are your favorite food-related childhood memories?

How do you get your family involved in gardening?

Put your answers in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Did you miss the last chapter of Grow: All True Wealth Comes From the Ground? Click here to watch the last video chapter.

P.S. If you’d like to check out the eBook I mentioned in the video, Simple and Effective Watering Systems for Small Livestock, click here!

 

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… On topics that include growing your own food, herbal medicine, homesteading, raising livestock, and more!

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The post The PRIMAL Glue That Creates The Family Bonds appeared first on The Grow Network.

10 Most Cost-effective Garden Vegetables You Can Grow

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There are a lot of benefits to garden vegetables that you grow yourself, but saving money is not necessarily one of them.

Some vegetables are simply cheaper to buy at the grocery store. I know. I hate saying that, too!

Over the years, saving money is not always the main reason we grow garden vegetables. Am I right?

Sometimes the work needed to keep the soil happy, the beds weed free, with healthy plants discourages us from planting crops that are “dirt cheap” in season at the grocery store.

If you’re growing vegetables to save money, or want to make the most of your garden, here are ten garden vegetables that can put money back in your wallet.

Did you miss this article about the cost of grocery shopping versus home grown food?

The Big 10 Garden Vegetables!

These veggies are easy-to-grow in your vegetable garden big or small. Depending on your growing season, you may even be able to plant two or three times. (See succession planting below)

1. Lettuce

I don’t know about you, but I go through a bunch of lettuce each year. At almost $2 per head, that gets expensive. Here’s the great part: They are pretty easy to grow in any part of your garden. They even do well in flower boxes. A seed packet costs about $2.50 for the heirloom variety (which I highly recommend). If you harvest the outer leaves of the plant, it will easily last for several months. Lettuce is also a great vegetable to succession plant.

2. Bell peppers

Bell peppers are fairly expensive, especially for organic. I’ve seen them as high as $2 each! If you start your little seedlings ($2.50 per packet) in small pots, you’ll be able to transplant them to your garden in a few weeks. Pick the peppers as soon as they get to full size.

3. Garlic

This popular plant has a lot of health benefits. Garlic is used in all kinds of recipes. This is a vegetable that I have on hand at all times. Plant the garlic clove in the soil before winter; six to eight weeks before your first frost date. You’ll have a bumper crop in late spring to early summer.

Find your first, and last frost dates here.

4. Winter Squash … including PUMPKIN!

Winter Squash is getting more and more expensive. Butternut squash (one of my favorites for winter soup!) is $1.69 per pound with the average being at least 2 pounds. Keep in mind that winter squash takes between 75 and 120 days to reach maturity, and sprawl 10 to 20 feet. Think vertically or try the bush or semi-bush cultivars in a small garden. And winter squash will store well in a root cellar.

5. Tomatoes (especially Heirloom)

These babies have multi-colored, scarred skin, and a high price tag. They are about $4.50 per pound or more, depending on where you live. Now, while the price may break the bank, the taste is amazing! Growing heirloom tomatoes can be a bit fussy. I lost all of my seedlings this year, but happily planted a friend’s transplants. One of the biggest problems you’ll face is disease. Now, if you don’t want to face the heirloom issues, try a cherry tomato that grows well in your area. You’ll have a plethora of tomatoes to can or dehydrate.

6. Carrots

While I didn’t have much luck with tomatoes this year, I did have success with carrots! These are a cool-season crop that takes 70 to 80 days to mature. Check your last and first frost dates, plant three weeks before the last expected frost date and two to three months before the first fall frost date. They are a delicious root vegetable that stores well in a root cellar and is usually resistant to diseases and pests. At $2.50 per seed packet, you’ll have more than enough of this vegetable to last you through the winter.

7. Potatoes

Welcome to the most popular vegetable in America! Growing potatoes is fairly easy, and the flavors of a freshly dug potato cannot be rivaled by the $5.00 a bag, grocery-store varieties. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained, loose soil, so the roots and tubers have room to grow. They do need a steady water supply to keep the plants happy. When the tops of the plants die off, the entire crop is ready to harvest. And some potato varieties store well in a root cellar.

8. Sweet potatoes

In my area, organic sweet potatoes run about $4 for a 3-pound bag. It costs about $21 for 1 pack of sweet potato slips (though I have found them cheaper locally, so check your local garden center). Plant them in the spring, and they’ll produce about 3 to 6 sweet potatoes per slip. They prefer a slightly acidic, well-drained, loose soil. If there is a possibility of frost, cover them. Harvest in 100 days. Sweet Potatoes store well in a root cellar.

Did you see David the Good’s article on Growing Sweet Potatoes? Check it out here.

9. Zucchini, and other summer squash

My grandmother would be proud that zucchini made the list. It was one of her favorite veggies to cook. However, she wouldn’t be excited about the $1.90 per pound sticker price. If your garden area is small, go vertical! At $2.25 to $2.50 per packet, the zucchini plant will yield between three and nine pounds of yummy summer delights. Harvest when they are about 4-inches long.

10. Green beans

At the grocery store, organic green beans cost about $2.50 per pound. A packet of seeds costs $2.50 per packet. You’ll get between three to five pounds of beans PER plant. That’s a lot of beans to freeze, can, and boy are they yummy, dehydrated!

BONUS: Herbs … Basil, Rosemary, Parsley, Mint, Lavender

I didn’t want to leave out some herbs. All of these herbs are easy-to-grow. Each of them costs about $2.50 per plastic tub at the grocery store. Parsley is less at $1.00 per bundle. If you are considering your footprint on the Earth, the plastic containers and twist ties need to be taken into consideration. A seed packet of each will cost about $2.50 per packet. It’s well-worth having your own herb garden. I’d even suggest starting your gardening adventures here!

garden-vegetables

How to boost the abundance of your garden vegetables

Here are a few tricks to help you make the most of your vegetable garden, even if it’s small. It will save you money on food all-year-long.

Only Plant What You’ll Eat

This sounds may sound silly, but there is no point in planting green beans if you don’t like green beans. You’ll have pounds of garden vegetables that will just go to waste.

Also, take into consideration who in your family will eat the different veggies. If you’re the only one who will eat squash, don’t plant ten of them.

If you rarely eat something, it’s better to buy from your local farmer’s market.

Still confused? Here’s a downloadable interactive guide to help you decide what to plant. Print it out and keep it in your garden journal.

Succession Planting

Succession planting is after one crop is harvested, another is planted in the same space. The length of your growing season, climate, and crop selection will determine how you will replant your favorite garden vegetables. In warm climates, you’ll be able to do several plantings of favorite garden vegetables, like tomatoes. In cooler climates, you’ll be able to get a second planting of peas.

If you have a small vegetable garden space, extend your harvest by planting different varieties of the same vegetable. You’ll have a crop early in the Spring, mid-summer, and fall. For instance, salad greens do well if you plant seeds each week, rather than all-at-once. This gives you the ability to harvest the outside leaves, while the other plants keep growing. You’ll have a supply of lettuce all season long!

Use the downloadable sheet (above) to determine how much to plant, for one person, for the most commonly grown vegetables. Don’t forget to include your succession plantings.

Coming Soon! Look for more articles on succession planting right here on this blog!

Which is your favorite garden vegetable? Is it cost-effective to grow it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Access our growing selection of Downloadable eBooks…

… On topics that include growing your own food, herbal medicine, homesteading, raising livestock, and more!

The post 10 Most Cost-effective Garden Vegetables You Can Grow appeared first on The Grow Network.

Food War: Grocery Shopping Versus Fresh Food

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Feeding a family isn’t cheap these days, and it only gets more expensive with each additional mouth. I’ve always wondered about the cost between Grocery Shopping and Fresh Food, but never really sat down to crunch the numbers … until now!

Eating healthy is also more expensive than eating processed foods loaded with artificial ingredients and sodium. In fact, following the government’s recommended dietary advice can add 10 percent to your monthly bill. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always more expensive than processed, canned, or frozen foods. If you want to go completely organic, count on spending sometimes double that.

The Criteria for the”Food War:”

We have to compare apples-to-apples and … well you get the idea. So, we’ll look at:

  • Expense
  • Health – Mental and Physical
  • Waste
  • Time

In the expenses, we’ll compare certain food:

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Apples
  • Eggs

We’re also going to use $15 per hour for any labor costs or time spent.

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

And in this corner … Grocery Store!

According to the USDA 2017 Cost of Food Report, the average American spends between $100 to $300 per person per month on groceries. It may be higher or lower based on where you live. (1)

Grocery Store Expense (This is from your average local store, prices may vary in your area)

Lettuce

Organic Price: $1.69/head
Non-organic Price: $0.99/head

Carrots (3 lbs.)

Organic Price: $3.49
Non-organic Price: $2.99

Tomatoes (Heirloom)

Organic Price: No organics available when I went shopping
Non-organic Price: $2.99/lbs.

Basil

Organic Price: $2.99/pkg.
Non-organic Price: $1.99/pkg.

Apples

Organic Price: $1.99/lbs.
Non-organic Price: $0.99/lbs.

Eggs (1 dozen)

Organic Price: $5.69
Non-organic Price: $1.99

Most of the non-organic produce was from Mexico or Peru, and a lot of the organic produce was also.

On average, I spent about $125 per week for my family of three. I bought organic produce, grass-fed, free-range, no hormone meats and eggs (sometimes from the store, but usually from a local farmer).

Health – Mental and Physical

In 2016, the average American spent $10,345 annually on health care (insurance premiums, deductibles, co-payments, prescriptions, and medicines). (2)

According to a The Atlantic 2014 article, healthcare was the number one cause of personal bankruptcy and was responsible for more collections than credit cards. Forty percent of Americans owe money for times they were sick. (3)

More than 71 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and 16 percent of children and adolescents are struggling with obesity (4)

There are four contributing factors: (5)

  1. Processed foods
  2. Portion size
  3. Fast food
  4. Being less active

Let’s not forget to add in the hassle and headache it can take to go to the grocery store. You might not be able to be quantify it, but just bear it in mind.

Can you be healthy eating from the grocery store? Check out this chapter of the Grow Book!

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

Waste

The average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash each day. The annual weight of trash from the entire country equals 254 million tons, that is the same as 1.2 million blue whales, and would reach to the moon and back 25 times, a journey of 11,534,090 miles. (6)

The sad thing is that you probably live closer to one of the 2,000 active landfills than you might think. Some inactive landfills have become public parks. (6)

Landfills also produce millions of cubic feet of methane gas each day. What impact does this have on our health?

Think of the waste from your groceries: food packaging, plastic produce bags, plastic bottles, twist ties, Styrofoam, and grocery bags that come along with buying groceries. This waste has to go somewhere. I kept track for several months of my grocery shopping days. Over half of my grocery list had some sort of packaging, which added up to about 10 lbs. a week.

Some cities are beginning to charge for every bag of garbage your put in the bin. The average cost is $2 per bag.

The good news is that 34.3 percent of garbage is being recycled or composted each year. That prevents 87.2 million tons of material from going into the landfill. (6)

Think about how much food you throw away because it spoiled in the refrigerator. Waste adds up!

Time

It takes me an hour to shop, but I also spend about 30 minutes to 45 minutes preparing to go grocery shopping, making my list, and seeing what needs to be bought. It takes about 15 minutes each way to get to and from the store. The parking lot is always a madhouse. Add the stress of that up in the Health section above.

Pros of going grocery shopping:

  • You can have your favorite food any time.
  • It’s convenient to run to the store if you need something.
  • Loyalty cards/Cash-back programs
  • Prepackaged, quick food

 

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

And in this corner … Fresh Food!

(And the crowd goes wild!)

Even a small garden plot, can yield an estimated 7 lbs. of fresh produce per square foot. (It depends on where you live and what you plant.)

Expense

You will have an initial investment, which includes soil conditioning, garden beds, and seeds or plants. Based on my own start-up costs, I’m saying $250 for the veggies and $300 for the chickens. You can certainly do it cheaper. We’ll have more on that in future posts. I’ll average this out over the year.

Lettuce

Seeds: $2.50/pkt
Watering: 1 hour/every 3 days.
Labor: Minimal. I was surprised how easy this was to grow.
Final Yield: I had continuous salad mix by harvesting the outside leaves every couple of days. Estimated 5 lbs. throughout the season. I had a cup of salad greens every day for four months. I can definitely extend the season and produce more.

Carrots

Heirloom Seeds: $3.00/pkt
Watering on system: 1 hour/every 3 days
Labor: Minimal. Didn’t do much at all. They grew really well without much help.
Final yield: About 6 lbs. Plenty to eat raw and dehydrate, can, and freeze.

Tomatoes

Heirloom Seeds: $2.50 – $3.00/pkt  Heirloom Plants: $6.00 ea.
Watering on system: 1 hour/every 3 days
Labor: Average. About 15 minutes every other day, nipping suckers, watching for signs of disease or pests. My first seedlings didn’t make it, so I replanted heirloom plants.
Final Yield: A little less than 80 lbs. of tomatoes from 4 plants, enough to eat fresh and preserve for later in the year.

Basil (It’s difficult to grow basil from seeds)

1 Plant: $3.00 – $5.95
Watering on system: 1 hour/ every 3 days
Labor: minimal. Harvest leaves every few days. Grew like a weed.
Yield: Off of 2 plants, I got enough for 12 pint jars of pesto and a 16 oz. container of dried.

Apples

Bare tree: $20-$25
Watering: 1 hour/ every 3 days
Fertilizer: $10
Kaolin clay: $12
Labor: Intensive. planting, pruning, training, thinning, treating, picking up fallen fruit. About 20 minutes every other day.

Eggs (only have 6 laying hens and no rooster)

Feed: $100/mo. (This can be reduced with a little planning and a more mature garden.)
Water: 1 gallon per day
Room: about 100 square feet, including the coop and run. They free-range, too!
Labor: I do the deep-litter method, so there isn’t a lot of maintenance. I spend on average 30 minutes every day, checking, gathering eggs, feeding, cleaning the roost, and giving love.
Yield: average 2 dozen eggs/week. We keep one and sell one.

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

Health – Mental and Physical

New studies are showing that the microbes in the soil actually work a lot like Prozac. (7)  They give you good feelings, well-being, and happiness.

The food is healthy, too. You know exactly what was used to grow your groceries.

And let’s not forget the exercise factor. You can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories per hour gardening.

Waste

Growing your own groceries has minimal trash.

My family is still buying some food from the grocery store. Maybe one day, I’ll grow my own quinoa.

Now that I’m conscious of food packaging. I look for packaged food that can be recycled or composted. If not, I try not to buy it. My garbage went from one full bag of garbage every three days to a handful of recyclables, large bucketfuls of compostables, and less than 2 lbs. of actual garbage each month.

I’m still trying to minimize my footprint. The goal is zero-waste, or at least as close to it as possible!

Time

In my small garden (about 100 square feet, if you put it together), I spend an average of 20 hours each month in the garden on various chores during the growing season between February and November. I spend about five or so in the winter months on greens, looking through heirloom seed catalogs, and planning next year’s garden.

All of my beds are on a timed and water-regulated irrigation system. In other words, if it rains, the system doesn’t come on. This saves water and time.

The chickens take an average of 30 minutes-a-day winter and summer. They are quite the characters, so they provide entertainment as well.

I didn’t keep track of my preserving time (canning, drying, and freezing), so an estimate is about 10 to 20 hours total for the entire season.

Of course, I see this as time well spent. Twenty hours in the garden or 30 minutes for the chickens could easily be more, because I love it so much.

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

And the winner is…!

As far as cost goes, fresh food from the garden wins by a slim margin. However, it is difficult to quantify your health and happiness into this equation.

I know for me. I’m happier when I’m gardening. I know I’m healthier because of the exercise and eating good, clean food. The dollar amount is interesting, but almost inconsequential.

 grocery-shopping-fresh-food

Resources:

  1. [https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodPlansCostofFood]
  2. Department of Health and Human Services;[ https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/individual-market-premium-changes-2013-2017]
  3. The Atlantic [https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/10/why-americans-are-drowning-in-medical-debt/381163/]
  4. [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm]
  5. American Cancer Society: [ https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/health-issues.html]
  6. Save on Energy [ https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/health-issues.html ]
  7. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-dossey/is-dirt-the-new-prozac_b_256625.html]

Do you grow your own food and medicine? What savings have you seen? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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The post Food War: Grocery Shopping Versus Fresh Food appeared first on The Grow Network.

Food War: Grocery Shopping Versus Home Grown Food

Click here to view the original post.

Feeding a family isn’t cheap these days, and it only gets more expensive with each additional mouth. I’ve always wondered about the cost between Grocery Shopping and Fresh Food, but never really sat down to crunch the numbers … until now!

Eating healthy is also more expensive than eating processed foods loaded with artificial ingredients and sodium. In fact, following the government’s recommended dietary advice can add 10 percent to your monthly bill. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always more expensive than processed, canned, or frozen foods. If you want to go completely organic, count on spending sometimes double that.

The Criteria for the”Food War:”

We have to compare apples-to-apples and … well you get the idea. So, we’ll look at:

  • Expense
  • Health – Mental and Physical
  • Waste
  • Time

In the expenses, we’ll compare certain food:

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Apples
  • Eggs

We’re also going to use $15 per hour for any labor costs or time spent.

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

And in this corner … Grocery Store!

According to the USDA 2017 Cost of Food Report, the average American spends between $100 to $300 per person per month on groceries. It may be higher or lower based on where you live. (1)

Grocery Store Expense (This is from your average local store, prices may vary in your area)

Lettuce

Organic Price: $1.69/head
Non-organic Price: $0.99/head

Carrots (3 lbs.)

Organic Price: $3.49
Non-organic Price: $2.99

Tomatoes (Heirloom)

Organic Price: No organics available when I went shopping
Non-organic Price: $2.99/lbs.

Basil

Organic Price: $2.99/pkg.
Non-organic Price: $1.99/pkg.

Apples

Organic Price: $1.99/lbs.
Non-organic Price: $0.99/lbs.

Eggs (1 dozen)

Organic Price: $5.69
Non-organic Price: $1.99

Most of the non-organic produce was from Mexico or Peru, and a lot of the organic produce was also.

On average, I spent about $125 per week for my family of three. I bought organic produce, grass-fed, free-range, no hormone meats and eggs (sometimes from the store, but usually from a local farmer).

Health – Mental and Physical

In 2016, the average American spent $10,345 annually on health care (insurance premiums, deductibles, co-payments, prescriptions, and medicines). (2)

According to a The Atlantic 2014 article, healthcare was the number one cause of personal bankruptcy and was responsible for more collections than credit cards. Forty percent of Americans owe money for times they were sick. (3)

More than 71 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and 16 percent of children and adolescents are struggling with obesity (4)

There are four contributing factors: (5)

  1. Processed foods
  2. Portion size
  3. Fast food
  4. Being less active

Let’s not forget to add in the hassle and headache it can take to go to the grocery store. You might not be able to be quantify it, but just bear it in mind.

Can you be healthy eating from the grocery store? Check out this chapter of the Grow Book!

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

Waste

The average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash each day. The annual weight of trash from the entire country equals 254 million tons, that is the same as 1.2 million blue whales, and would reach to the moon and back 25 times, a journey of 11,534,090 miles. (6)

The sad thing is that you probably live closer to one of the 2,000 active landfills than you might think. Some inactive landfills have become public parks. (6)

Landfills also produce millions of cubic feet of methane gas each day. What impact does this have on our health?

Think of the waste from your groceries: food packaging, plastic produce bags, plastic bottles, twist ties, Styrofoam, and grocery bags that come along with buying groceries. This waste has to go somewhere. I kept track for several months of my grocery shopping days. Over half of my grocery list had some sort of packaging, which added up to about 10 lbs. a week.

Some cities are beginning to charge for every bag of garbage your put in the bin. The average cost is $2 per bag.

The good news is that 34.3 percent of garbage is being recycled or composted each year. That prevents 87.2 million tons of material from going into the landfill. (6)

Think about how much food you throw away because it spoiled in the refrigerator. Waste adds up!

Time

It takes me an hour to shop, but I also spend about 30 minutes to 45 minutes preparing to go grocery shopping, making my list, and seeing what needs to be bought. It takes about 15 minutes each way to get to and from the store. The parking lot is always a madhouse. Add the stress of that up in the Health section above.

Pros of going grocery shopping:

  • You can have your favorite food any time.
  • It’s convenient to run to the store if you need something.
  • Loyalty cards/Cash-back programs
  • Prepackaged, quick food

 

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

And in this corner … Home Grown Food!

(And the crowd goes wild!)

Even a small garden plot, can yield an estimated 7 lbs. of fresh produce per square foot. (It depends on where you live and what you plant.)

Expense

You will have an initial investment, which includes soil conditioning, garden beds, and seeds or plants. Based on my own start-up costs, I’m saying $250 for the veggies and $300 for the chickens. You can certainly do it cheaper. We’ll have more on that in future posts. I’ll average this out over the year.

Lettuce

Seeds: $2.50/pkt
Watering: 1 hour/every 3 days.
Labor: Minimal. I was surprised how easy this was to grow.
Final Yield: I had continuous salad mix by harvesting the outside leaves every couple of days. Estimated 5 lbs. throughout the season. I had a cup of salad greens every day for four months. I can definitely extend the season and produce more.

Carrots

Heirloom Seeds: $3.00/pkt
Watering on system: 1 hour/every 3 days
Labor: Minimal. Didn’t do much at all. They grew really well without much help.
Final yield: About 6 lbs. Plenty to eat raw and dehydrate, can, and freeze.

Tomatoes

Heirloom Seeds: $2.50 – $3.00/pkt  Heirloom Plants: $6.00 ea.
Watering on system: 1 hour/every 3 days
Labor: Average. About 15 minutes every other day, nipping suckers, watching for signs of disease or pests. My first seedlings didn’t make it, so I replanted heirloom plants.
Final Yield: A little less than 80 lbs. of tomatoes from 4 plants, enough to eat fresh and preserve for later in the year.

Basil (It’s difficult to grow basil from seeds)

1 Plant: $3.00 – $5.95
Watering on system: 1 hour/ every 3 days
Labor: minimal. Harvest leaves every few days. Grew like a weed.
Yield: Off of 2 plants, I got enough for 12 pint jars of pesto and a 16 oz. container of dried.

Apples

Bare tree: $20-$25
Watering: 1 hour/ every 3 days
Fertilizer: $10
Kaolin clay: $12
Labor: Intensive. planting, pruning, training, thinning, treating, picking up fallen fruit. About 20 minutes every other day.

Eggs (only have 6 laying hens and no rooster)

Feed: $100/mo. (This can be reduced with a little planning and a more mature garden.)
Water: 1 gallon per day
Room: about 100 square feet, including the coop and run. They free-range, too!
Labor: I do the deep-litter method, so there isn’t a lot of maintenance. I spend on average 30 minutes every day, checking, gathering eggs, feeding, cleaning the roost, and giving love.
Yield: average 2 dozen eggs/week. We keep one and sell one.

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

Health – Mental and Physical

New studies are showing that the microbes in the soil actually work a lot like Prozac. (7)  They give you good feelings, well-being, and happiness.

The food is healthy, too. You know exactly what was used to grow your groceries.

And let’s not forget the exercise factor. You can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories per hour gardening.

Waste

Growing your own groceries has minimal trash.

My family is still buying some food from the grocery store. Maybe one day, I’ll grow my own quinoa.

Now that I’m conscious of food packaging. I look for packaged food that can be recycled or composted. If not, I try not to buy it. My garbage went from one full bag of garbage every three days to a handful of recyclables, large bucketfuls of compostables, and less than 2 lbs. of actual garbage each month.

I’m still trying to minimize my footprint. The goal is zero-waste, or at least as close to it as possible!

Time

In my small garden (about 100 square feet, if you put it together), I spend an average of 20 hours each month in the garden on various chores during the growing season between February and November. I spend about five or so in the winter months on greens, looking through heirloom seed catalogs, and planning next year’s garden.

All of my beds are on a timed and water-regulated irrigation system. In other words, if it rains, the system doesn’t come on. This saves water and time.

The chickens take an average of 30 minutes-a-day winter and summer. They are quite the characters, so they provide entertainment as well.

I didn’t keep track of my preserving time (canning, drying, and freezing), so an estimate is about 10 to 20 hours total for the entire season.

Of course, I see this as time well spent. Twenty hours in the garden or 30 minutes for the chickens could easily be more, because I love it so much.

grocery-shopping-fresh-food

And the winner is…!

As far as cost goes, fresh food from the garden wins by a slim margin. However, it is difficult to quantify your health and happiness into this equation.

I know for me. I’m happier when I’m gardening. I know I’m healthier because of the exercise and eating good, clean food. The dollar amount is interesting, but almost inconsequential.

 grocery-shopping-fresh-food

Resources:

  1. [https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodPlansCostofFood]
  2. Department of Health and Human Services;[ https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/individual-market-premium-changes-2013-2017]
  3. The Atlantic [https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/10/why-americans-are-drowning-in-medical-debt/381163/]
  4. [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm]
  5. American Cancer Society: [ https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/health-issues.html]
  6. Save on Energy [ https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/health-issues.html ]
  7. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-dossey/is-dirt-the-new-prozac_b_256625.html]

Do you grow your own food and medicine? What savings have you seen? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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What To Do With A Bee Swarm!

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Have you ever come across a bee swarm? It can be scary, exciting, and overwhelming. What do you do?

All of us at The Grow Network do various kinds of homesteading. Nikki, our Director of Customer Success, is … among other things … a beekeeper. A few weeks ago, she shared with us that the bees from one of her hives had swarmed.

Nikki’s Story

bee-swarm

Those little brown specs are bees flying all over the place.

Nikki said, “We have 2 hives in the yard, and one decided it was going to swarm to the top of our sycamore tree in the backyard today.”

With the height of her tree and the size of the ladder, it was going to be quite an ordeal reaching them.

She decided to sacrifice her 13 year old, and sent him up the tree. She jokingly said, “I am officially okay with being shorter than my kids now!”

Her son had to rig the ladder with a tie down strap in the truck.

He used his body weight to hold the ladder straight. There wasn’t a branch to rest it on. Her other son took the cutters and took down the branches. They worked together on two separate branches.

There were so many bees that their weight broke one branch just before her son had a chance to fully cut through. This sent thousands of bees raining down on top of her.

“This hive has the potential to give us more than 100 pounds of honey this year, so we definitely didn’t want to see the bees relocate. Now, they are safe and sound in a new hive. We are re-queening the other two hives we have, and hoping to have 3 healthy and hard-working hives,” Nikki said.

It sounds like everyone is trying to settle down from the experience.

bee swarm

Nikki said she wishes she had seen Jacqueline Freeman’s presentation at the Home Grown Food Summit before she had a swarm of bees on her hands, but all worked out well.

What? You haven’t seen Jacqueline’s Home Grown Food Summit Presentation, “Gentle Ways to Collect Bee Swarms.”  She is so gentle with these little buzzing sweeties. You can still get in on this goodness, click here.

Why bees swarm

According to Jacqueline, it’s very natural for bees to swarm. Bees swarm because there is no more room for them. Their home is full of honey, pollen, and brood (baby bees).

The good thing is that healthy and successful colonies create more healthy Queens and new colonies, so it’s a good thing for a hive to swarm.

Before they swarm, the Queen is slimmed down. All of the bees have a feast and fill their bellies with honey. Two-thirds of the colony will suddenly fly into the air. One-third stays in the original hive and re-queen. Bees will only leave the hive if there are new queen cells in the hive.

The other reason that bees swarm is so the queen can increase her fertility, and sunlight does that for her.

When do bees swarm

Jacqueline says that a swarm is a big, bunch of chaos that typically takes flight in mid-spring, around mid-day. There needs to be a lot of pollen available. It also needs to be warm and windless. When they first leave the hive, they fly into the sky in a big, buzzing, whirling cloud of bees. Jacqueline’s amazed that they don’t bump into each other. The queen is hidden in the swarm, so she is well-protected.

Eventually, the bees land on some object, a branch, fence post, vine, or anything that looks like a good spot. The Queen directs the bees to gather and form a tight cluster on the object.  Jacqueline says it’s about the size of a football that is clasped to the branch. This is their resting spot for a few hours to a few days. Then, the scout bees roam around trying to find a suitable place to live.

Typically, bees that swarm are very gentle, according to Jacqueline. She said, in the hundreds of bee swarms that she has captured, she’s only been stung four times, and they were all her fault. A bee swarm is not likely to sting you.

How to catch a bee swarm

There is only one way to catch a bee swarm, according to Jacqueline…gently!

Here’s how she does it:

  1. First, take a deep breath and calm yourself. Be respectful. Let the bee swarm know what you are going to do, and how you’ll do it.
  2. Hold a catching box underneath the swarm.
  3. Give the branch a good shake. The swarm will regather in the box. Put the lid on and leave an opening, so bees can get in.
  4. Let the swarm rest for 10 to 30 minutes so as many bees as possible get in the box.

How to transfer a bee swarm to a new home

When you’re ready to transfer the bees, have your hive ready. Remove a couple of the frames to give you room. Hold the box over the new hive. Give the box a good shake so the swarm goes into their new home. Jacqueline shows you exactly how to do it in her video. Get access to it here.

 

More from Jacqueline Freeman:

Bees Need Water, Too!

 

 

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True Wealth In Your Crazy Family Life

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In these next few video chapters of Grow: All True Wealth Comes From the Ground, I talk about family life, its diversity, and reveal why it can be a source of tremendous wealth—and show you the keys to unlocking that wealth.

 

(Length: 14:21 minutes)

My Crazy Family Life

My brother-in-law, Keith, does a mean donkey impersonation. He’s one of the most outgoing, gregarious guys I know.

And he’s completely different from his brother—my husband—Dave.

Dave is the introvert of his family. Quiet. Thoughtful. And definitely no donkey impersonations.

Remind you of any family you know? Where one sibling is the smart one, one is the athletic one, and one is the life of the party?

I’m willing to bet your family life is a lot like ours: a lot of differences … and a little bit nuts. That’s the beauty—and the challenge—of families, whether they’re related by blood, marriage, or choice.

In fact, I believe there’s a divine principle at work that ensures all families are a little crazy.

Definition of Family

There are all kinds of configurations of family. As we’re talking about it in this section, let’s agree that a family is a group of people who are committed to journeying through this life together, whether by blood, marriage, or choice.

The diversity of your family life is a true key to your wealth.

Creating Family By Choice

There are people who are part of your family, but aren’t necessarily related by blood or marriage. These people can also be included in your family.

And if you did choose a family, I hope you chose some crazy characters.

In this video, you’ll also learn:

  • What To Talk About When There’s Tension In The Air
  • The SINGLE Most Important Reason To Embrace Family Diversity
  • What That Recurring Marital Argument Really Means

Did you also see last week’s Grow Book video on Stress Management? Click here to see it now.

Then, will you let me know?

How do you define “family?”

What’s your favorite way to keep your family group strong?

Thanks so much for leaving me a comment below!

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Outdoor Kitchens For Sustainability

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Summer Kitchen Revival

Before the days of electricity in the house or the air conditioner cooling off the living spaces from the heat of summer and cooking, there were outdoor kitchens.

It was an effort to keep the house as cool as possible. They are also known as Summer Kitchens.

The summer kitchen’s purpose was for putting up food for the year, canning, preserving, pickling, and processing. It all took place on a wood-fired stove, which created enough heat to chase everyone out of the house.

Outdoor Kitchens Still in Use Today

When I lived on a small island in the Caribbean, our tiny beach cottage had a kitchen on the porch. Why? So cooking a meal wouldn’t heat up the entire 400 sq. ft. house. Unlike summer kitchens of North America, this little work space was our main kitchen year-round rather than seasonally.

In the past, the food was often prepped in the kitchen, but it wasn’t stored there. Herbs would dry in the attic, flour and vegetables were kept in a cool cellar. You would walk all over the house to gather the ingredients for a meal.

When electricity started making its way into homes, the summer kitchen was abandoned.

However, these outdoor kitchens are starting to make a comeback because people want to get closer to their food supply. There is no better way to get closer to nature and the food we eat than having a summer or outdoor kitchen.

What do you need for an outdoor kitchen?

When planning your outdoor/summer kitchen, think about function, efficiency, and comfort. What do you need and what can come later?

An efficient summer kitchen space could be as simple as you want it to be or as elaborate. Oh and that pizza oven you want, is it necessary or is it a luxury?

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your Summer Kitchen:

  1. Do you want it to be seasonal or permanent?
  2. Does it need to be enclosed, partially enclosed, or open to the elements?
  3. Does it need shade?
  4. Do you need seating? A table?
  5. What will you need to store? Food? Spices? Cutting boards? Silverware? Plates & Bowls? Cookware?
  6. Is there a nearby herb or veggie garden?
  7. Do you need running water?
  8. What about a greywater catchment system?
  9. Is a compost pile nearby?
  10. What will you cook on?
  11. Do you need an oven? A Sun Oven? A dehydrator?
  12. Is the ground level where you want to put the kitchen?
  13. Do you need refrigeration?
  14. What will you do when it rains? When it’s windy? When it’s blistering hot?
  15. Who will be using the kitchen?
  16. Who will be in the kitchen, particularly at the same time?
  17. How do you spend your time in the kitchen? Cooking or baking? Entertaining? Dishes? 

Think triangular work space

The triangle is a great shape when designing an efficient kitchen workflow. No matter the location of the kitchen.

How do you work in the kitchen when you prepare a meal?

You take the food out of the fridge. Then it is taken either to the sink or the stove area, cleanup goes from the stove and prep areas to the sink, and leftovers get put in the fridge.

Have a plan before you create your outdoor kitchen. Take a good look at what will fit in the space that you’ve allowed for your summer kitchen. Two ways into and out of the space will help with flow.

Start with the Sink. That’s where you’re going to spend a lot of your time, cleaning, prepping, and doing dishes. You’ll also want a beautiful view while you’re doing your work, right?

In the Cooking Area, you’ll want to be able to socialize with family and friends.

You’ll probably want between 18 in. to 36 in. for a comfortable prep area. There’s nothing worse than not having enough prep area. Am I right?

Think about walkways and flow into and through your summer kitchen, too.

Set the kitchen up into 5 zones:

  • Food storage (fridge, cabinets, or pantry)
  • Dishes
  • Clean up (sink area)
  • Prep area
  • Cooking

Store items as close to their zone as possible. For example, knives, mixing bowls, cutting boards, and wooden spoons should be in the prep area. Cooking and baking pans should be in the cooking area.

Store your dishes close to the sink. Having a cabinet above the sink where your dishes dry and store all in one place is amazing.

outdoor-kitchen

Food preservation in your summer kitchen

When my grandmother canned her summer vegetables, outdoor kitchens were the norm, not a luxury. She’d set up her outdoor kitchen under a giant poplar with the chickens running all around the yard. If grandma did it, so can you!

Preserving your harvest is wonderful in the cold, winter months. It may take time and effort right now, but it is well worth it.

Life slows down a little bit, so you can enjoy family and friends.

There are three ways of preserving food that can be done in your summer kitchen: storage, canning, and drying.

The important thing is to start where you are. Check out this video for more tip.

Storage

A handful of vegetables can be stored, but only for a limited amount of time. Here is a great article about storing fruits and vegetables from the University of Missouri Extension Office.

You can store:

  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • beets
  • turnips
  • parsnips
  • carrots
  • leeks
  • radishes
  • horseradish
  • rutabagas
  • garlic
  • onions

Make sure veggies are firm. Remove any dirt, but do not wash the veg. Place the veggies in a box or bin. Air should circulate around the veggies. Slatted wooden boxes and wire baskets work great for this.

Canning

If you’re going to be canning, make sure you have all of your supplies handy.

  • Canning jars and lids
  • Water bath canner
  • Pressure canner
  • Funnels
  • Ladles
  • Pectin
  • Spices
  • Salts
  • Jar Lifter

Here’s a recipe for “Canned corn that’s sweet every time.”

Know which fruits and vegetables need to be pressure canned versus water-bath canned. The book, Stocking Up is invaluable for this purpose.

Drying

It’s super-easy to dry fruits and vegetables. You can even do it in a Sun Oven! Dried foods can be stored indefinitely, as long as they are kept dry.

You can dry:

  • root vegetables
  • beans of all kinds
  • cereal and grains
  • celery
  • herbs
  • peas
  • peppers
  • berries
  • fruits with high sugar and low moisture

Here is a great article with dehydrator recipes.

If you’ve ever thought of having a summer or outdoor kitchen, perhaps now is the time. Share your thoughts on how you would set it up. We’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below!

 

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Home Defense – Do You Need a Gun to Garden?

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Guns aren’t useful for digging or anything like that. However, if you are becoming self-reliant, you may want a gun for home defense.

Let me tell you a true story that happened to me and made me decide to go buy several guns. This from a woman who couldn’t even look at the glass case where the guns were kept in the sporting goods area. Avoiding my eyes on the way to the camping section was the norm.

In the early days of The Grow Network, back when we first produced the DVD “Grow Your Own Groceries,” I went to several local stores to see if they would sell it.

Watch the video to hear the rest of my story (Length: 4 min.15 sec)

How scary is the thought of being without a home defense strategy?

Think about what you would be protecting.

  • Your family
  • Your animals
  • A big cache of backup food supplies
  • Your garden and food for the coming year
  • Your property

If you don’t own a gun, are you really prepared for any scenario?

When he looked at me for a long moment, as if I was stupid…

…and pulled out a big, black semi-automatic weapon, at first, I didn’t understand. Then, as he carefully laid it on the counter between us, I was stunned. He wasn’t threatening me. Looking back on it, he was opening my eyes.

His words, “Well, if anything happens—it is like this—with this gun, I can get all the food I need from people like you.”

I was speechless. Note: I didn’t sell any videos either.

Now I live in Texas, which has a proud tradition of gun ownership.

Buying, selling, and swapping guns is easy and legal. In fact, it is a major pastime for many Texans. While that doesn’t mean that everyone in Texas would be part of a marauding band of gun-totin’, food-stealin’ individuals, that mentality exists in some form everywhere. It’s the “haves” versus the “have nots,” and feeling like you’re owed something for which you didn’t put in the blood, sweat, and tears.

In recent history, it is well-documented that crime and violence go up as economic conditions go down. Certainly, there are scenarios where law and order could break down. In that case, having some level of home defense is not only an important skill, but smart!

After the experience with the shop keeper…

…I realized I needed to learn a whole new set of skills that included home defense. Getting over my fears and prejudices about guns and putting emphasis on understanding defense became a priority.

In an upcoming article, I’ll write about what guns I choose to use and why.  I’ll also do a short series on resources that I’ve found particularly useful for understanding principles of home defense.

As shocking as the experience with the shopkeeper was, I see it as a good thing. It opened my eyes to a reality I hadn’t been willing to see.  While this site is mostly dedicated to food and medicine, I will let you know what I’ve been learning about personal and home defense, too.

What a shocker! Huh?

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