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Beginning the Journey to Healing – 2

cooked vegetables shidonna raven garden and cook

This is the continued article from the previous day about what we hope is the beginning of our journey to healing. When we began this journey we knew that diet would be an important part of the journey. We thank you for taking the Journey with us and hope that it helps to feed and enrich your lives and indeed your overall health. The turning point of our journey began a long time ago and encompasses many people as each individual contributed their own knowledge and wisdom from chefs to dietitians and medical professionals. Western medicine presents many barriers to a true and total healing. Western medicine focuses highly on managing symptoms and the medicines that the pharmaceutical industry profits profoundly from. We do not consider hormones a medicines and thus our journey to healing has begun with zero medicines. Our journey took a significant turn when we walked into a holistic pharmacy (namely, Peoples Pharmacy of Norfolk, VA who are able to help you wherever you are located) or some vitamins. We believe that these holistic doctors were able to put us on the path to health in under a month and to diagnose the issue immediately. Some of us struggled with similar issues for years and others even longer.

All of my symptoms have begun to mitigate after we address what we believe is the root of the problem. It is only about a month in on this leg of our journey but we have already begun to see the difference. In another 2 months we are told the results will be better. Stay tuned and we will keep you updated on our journey. We take vitamins, minerals, spices, foods and oils combined with a strategic diet with foods that have medicinal benefits. We pray that these articles are transformative for you. Thank you for taking this journey with us. How do you wish you could improve your health? How has your health hindered you? How has your health changed your life? How have these articles helped you? How can they help your friends and family? Post your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your family and friends by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Beginning the Journey to Healing

Diet & Health Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Most people will tell you that at the center of good health is diet and exercise. And we would agree. Our journey however has lead us to look at health as the third pillar of over good health. While one may exercise and have an excellent diet, these do have a profound on your over all health. But health in itself can be a little more complicated than just exercise and diet. In fact many people in excellent health have reported contracting COVID 19. While COVID 19 did hit communities with preexisting conditions hardest, this does not mean that people without under lying conditions were not also hit. Indeed they want you to know that COVID 19 has impacted us all: old, young, sick and healthy.

Perhaps this was what was so confusing to us. While we were all in pretty good health, we still struggled with health conditions that impacted our health. Chef Ponder really challenged me not to accept diagnoses. One of the most impressive things about Chef Ponder is that he is not only a great cook but an excellent student of food and human begins. He talked alot about how things in our environment can impact our health. Things like temperature and available foods can impact our health. For instance, if one’s relatives are from a warm climate and they then move to a cold climate, they will eat different foods because they eat what is available. This difference in diet can impact one’s health. While one maybe eating “healthy”, the food may not be proper given the history of your family. In other words it can have an impact on your body and thus health.

Chef Ponder along with many others along this Journey have helped us to begin what we hope is a path to our healing. Read the next article to learn more. What health concerns do you have? Have you found your path to healing? How long did it take you? Who helped you?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Harvesting & Growing Radishes

Korean Radish Flower Shidonna Raven
Harvesting & Growing Radishes
Source: Almanac.com
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Several months ago we took a trip to our local international food market where we sourced a few Korean seeds. Although we had no idea what they were, we grabbed several. Regardless, a staff member at the store was able to give us some basic information regarding the seeds and how to prepare them. Of course we want to eat them! Our Korean Radishes have flowers that are in full boom. We have a few root plants such as carrots. We were wondering how do you know when they are ready if they are underground? God is indeed perfect in all his ways. When the roots are ready the tops will peek above ground. How many varieties do you think there are? Have you ever had radish on your taco? We know a few authentic places. Post us a comment if you are curious. We spent some time in Latin countries and in California so our pallet regarding Hispanic food has been well developed. The things one must suffer through : ) What is your favorite type of Hispanic food?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Corona: The Environment

earth Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

As we wrote to you about rethinking organic, it has come to us to rethink many things about this organic journey and the significance of our health. Environmentalists have a lot to think about as well. As the onset of COVDI 19 has caused many to self quarantine, be quarantined and rethink spacing in many facets, environmentalists have been watching from above. And what they can see is a significant reduction in pollution. Like many who have seen some positive changes in the midst of COVID 19, they want to hold on to the positive changes that have come out of all of this.

Organic growers are much attuned to their environment and the effects it has on what they grow. As we look at what and the ways we consume, essentially our diet, so too our avenues of thought about cause and effect are broadened. We can see how pollution has decreased when we see the need to reclaim space for public health safety has caused bike sales to rise and consequently having a positive effect on the environment by reducing smog. As we struggled with understanding the pests in our own garden and paying homage to our Organic Journey, we were perplexed how a seemingly healthy plant could get into trouble so fast. One day the plant looked lush and green and the next day it was withering and dying.

Most Organic growers will tell you that the signs of pest are the signs of an unhealthy plant and the best way to address pests is to promote plant health. While I think they are right to some degree, I believe there is another component we must flesh out more. What about its environment? If I put a healthy plant in an environment that is unhealthy how long will it stay healthy? Not long. So while our plants were healthy, underneath the ground where we could not see, we currently suspect, was a vole tunneling holes through root systems and munching on our plants from underneath the ground. This put our perfectly healthy plants in serious danger, which we could not see from above ground. The plants would then become unhealthy and susceptible to pests.

This observation gives us pause to think about our health from many directions as we consider the environments of our foods as well as ourselves. How do pests or culprits unknown, unseen and clandestine impact the health of the plants we grow to eat and our environment at large? What are some ways we can identify pests in the environment of our plants as well as the environments we live in? What are 3 things we can do today to start to have a positive impact on the environment around us and the environments in which our foods are grown? Leave your comments and questions so the whole community can benefit. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing! Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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When will Corona End?

In just the last few months the United States was hit hard and fast with a mired of COVID 19 challenges. It seemed to bring the world to a stop. There are still several questions as to how we will emerge from this pandemic. One thing almost everyone can agree on is that business will not be business as usual. We are sure to see several changes come out of this. 

Perhaps the most striking thing I have learned about the corona virus is that it has been around for sometime. We have heard several reports of corona virus cases in the poultry industry and the SBA has refocused some of its support to cover the agricultural industry as a part of the CARES Act. Corona viruses are not new to livestock nor poultry producers either, reports a Texas A&M AgriLife veterinary epidemiologist. Organic or not diseased food is an important and vital concern for the consumer.

In fact the CDC noted that corona viruses common to humans typically cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness similar to the common cold. Most people are likely to have had one or more of these viruses during their life time. What is different about COVID 19 is that it is a new strand or novel corona virus. As we all know this strand of corona virus (COVID 19) was first detected in Wuhan City of Hubei Providence of China.

The interesting fact about China and corona viruses is that wild life have been known to carry strands of the corona virus that can mutate, adapt and spill over into other species like human begins. Bats along with other wild life have been known to carry strands of the corona virus and are sold in live markets in China. While much is still under investigation and to be known about corona viruses, what we currently know is that domestic animals and live stock are not known to carry strands of the corona virus that spill over into human beings. Wild animals, however, do have such strands that can spill over to human beings. In fact wild civets are the sources of the corona virus that causes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Civets are commonly found in southeast Asia. SARS, as you remember, was first reported around 2002 – 2003.

One notable difference in domestic animals is the camel. Domedary camels have been known to pass corona virus (MERS-COV) to humans. However, neither domestic animals nor livestock are known to pass corona viruses to humans. The respiratory and gastrointestinal systems of animals are typically affected by corona viruses as reported by Feedstuffs. So, we have been dealing with corona viruses for a long time. Should you have any questions regarding animals and livestock consult your veterinary. 

Naturally, we are just as concerned as you are regarding Corona. While the medical community may know a lot about corona viruses this virus is a new strand and it took the whole world by storm. We are waiting by cautiously, as are most, for more and up to date information. Our leaders feel confident enough that we have slowed the spread of COVID 19 to begin opening back up. However, this deadly virus is remains in our midst. We encourage you to err on the side of caution and to make informed decisions regarding your food consumption. There is, admittedly, a lot for the medical community to learn about COVID 19 as well as the community at large. What concerns do you have about COVID 19? What information can you share with the community? How has COVID 19 changed things for you? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Flower of Hope

With all that has been going on in the garden with pests, we have felt a little behind schedule with the sowing season. Not to mention, we have been feeling very frustrated. Nonetheless, we have remained calm and we know the best thing overall when growing anything is to work with rather than against nature. Least the very thing you are trying to grow is also adversity effected. This morning we just were not sure what we would find. It seems to be one day after another that a plant is attacked and eaten by either ants, vole or flies. The plants are not even big enough to harvest yet and the flies are snacking away. We got the Mole Max and some other Organic Remedies that we are trying. The Mole Max should have charged one more day. We could not wait for results so we went a day early and it seems to be operating fine.

Although it is still very early, we saw fewer flies today due to the Neem Oil. We also saw fewer attacks on plants. But what we believe is a vole, seems to be attacking less. We can not see it so we have not been able to identify it. We had our eye out for the culprit and then eventually went to our local gardening center for help. We were at our wits end and coming up on the close of the sowing season for our Zone. Like my father stated “its some type of mole or golfer”. He is a hunter and very attuned to animals and their signs. Hunters are great at spooring. A vole is mole or golfer like and remains pretty unseen. So far, things seem to be moving in the right direction. Although the ants are still out in high numbers. We will be persisting with our Organic Remedy Regimen, knowing that pests are pretty persistent. It was good to see that Green Bean thus far has survived and is blossoming rather than seeing another plant fatality after watching it grow for weeks. Once the plants bare their flowers pollination should take place and the fruit of the plant should not be far behind.

Stay tuned for updates on how the other plants are progressing and how things are going with our Organic Remedies to pests. In order for this garden to get off the ground. We must get our pests problem under control soon. The season is going on and it is time for these plantings to grow up into full fledge plants. Which flowers are your favorite flowers? Do they come from a fruit or vegetable plant? What did you learn today? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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The Birds & the Bees

Like the saying goes, “let me tell you about the birds and the bees”. Well, the birds and the bees have a lot to do with plant pollination. There are a few ways plants are pollinated. Let’s look at those ways:

  • Birds
  • Bees
  • Butterflies
  • Wind
  • Perfect Plants (self pollinating plants)
  • Man

If you are saving seeds or you are growing your own plants, it is important to note the different ways that plants pollinate. When you know how plants pollinate you can help to facilitate this natural process. At the very least you do not want to hinder it but rather encourage it. It also helps to know how and where your seeds will come from so you know how to locate and save them. If you decide to pollinate the plants yourself, then you will want to learn more about the reproductive parts of the plants. The stamen is the male part of the plant and the stigma is the female part of the plant. This is where Jim Ulager book came in very handy. I picked up “Beginning seed saving for the home gardener” by Jim Ulager at my local library. It was a topic I was curious about, so I decided to check out the book. The book is highly informative and very well written. Pick up this book for more details about pollination and propagation.

We found this book extremely helpful in identifying which insects and animals are helpful to our garden and which ones are not. We also learned a lot about seed saving in addition to plant pollination and propagation. Propagation requires more man intervention rather than allowing nature to simply take its course. Propagation is often used to reproduce the same plant rather than getting a variety of a plant. Seeds from a Roma Tomato plant will still be Roma but they will be the children of the original Roma plant and thus not the original plant. This can produce a different tasting fruit than the parent. To avoid this and to get the exact same plant, people propagate. What are the forms of propagation? Let’s look at them:

  • layering
    • layering the branch
    • air layering
    • trench layering
    • tip layering
    • mound layering
  • stem or root cuttings
  • soft and hardwood cuttings
  • budding
  • grafting
  • micropropagation (mass-produce or clones)

There is a lot to discuss when talking about pollination and propagation. What questions do you have? Almost everyone knows the story about how insects and birds carry pollen to pollinate plants. What did you learn that you do not already know? What can you share with all of us about what you know about plant pollination? As always you are the best part of what we do. We look forward to hearing more about what you know about the birds and bees and the other topics we discuss. Or suggest your own topic. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Crowded

MiMi’s Flower started it all. MiMi & Mom brought us a Cynoglossum Amabile (Chiense Forget-Me-Not) Flower Growing Kit. We spotted the same brand in the gardening section of our local dollar store. When we saw the Growing Kit we were pretty excited. So we got the Echinacea Purpurea Flower Growing Kit also. Echinacea Purpurea is known for its ability to boost and build up the immune system, which is a perfect way to stay healthy in this Corona climate. You guessed it. It is an edible flower and can also be put on salads. When we bought Echinacea Purpurea home we decided to do an experiment on crowding. Just a note, the Echinacea Purpurea seeds from this Growing Kit are 100% Natural and come from Czech Republic. MiMi’s Flower (Cynoglossum Amabile) is also a 100% Natural Seed coming from the Netherlands.

We sowed all of MiMi’s Flowers in the one pot provided in the Growing Kit. While the Echinacea Purpurea we sowed in 2 pots (because we had already moisten our growing medium and had enough for 2 pots); we also sowed it in a Soil Block and directly in the ground. We sowed 3 – 4 seeds in each location and saved the remaining seeds. As all flowers grow we can observer how these plants handle crowding (since the packet did not provide spacing instructions) and how they react to the different sowing environments (pot, Soil Block and directly into the ground).

You will also find videos in this article showing how the growing medium in the kit absorbs water as well as how the Soil Blocks absorb water from the bottom up going from a dry medium disc into moistened growing medium. What did you learn from the videos? Would you like to see more videos? We have a You Tube channel now. Be sure to check it out and see what is new. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Soil Blocks
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
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Organic Remedies

We have been facing a few pests in our garden some unseen; some low key and some unknown. As we have shared in the past, the Ants have been a persistent pest that we have been dealing with. While we thought they were gone or no longer an issue, we can see that they just became more low key. Here are a few organic remedies we have identified:

Ants

  • Ground Black Pepper and Water solution around the perimeter of the garden. We also poured it between the rows. You can also apply via spray bottle.
  • Cinnamon Oil and Water. We have not yet tried this remedy, but we hear that it works.
  • White Vinegar
  • Boiling Water

We like the Ground Black Pepper and Water Solution better because it should create a border around the garden that the ants do not cross. The Vinegar and Boiling Water had some adverse effects on the plants. Although they recovered, we think the Ground Black Pepper Solution should be a lot less intrusive.

Flies

We saw the flies in the garden but thought they were harmless until one of our friends and contributors came by to check on the garden. He informed us that the flies were eating the plants. That is why we have seen holes in the cabbage and Brussles Sprouts. We had applied white vinegar to the area, which scorched the leaves of the plants when they were younger.  Initially we though the holes were because of this. But he clarified that the flies were eating our delicious plants. Naturally, we plan to do that.

Our friend and contributor informed us that we could get a spray to discourage the flies from eating the plants. We went to our local nursery / store and talked to an associate regarding the problem and he know just what we were talking about. I told him that we are on an organic journey and needed an Organic solution and he immediately pointed out a product with Neem Oil as the active ingredient. Neem Oil is indeed a natural fly repellent that comes from the Neem Tree, which is an evergreen. The product we got / Neem Oil is a Fungicide, Miticide & Insecticide. It thus is a three in one repellent. The product we got has less than 1% of Neem Oil. We have since seen products with more Neem Oil and would probably opt for those next time to give us a bigger bang for our buck. We are guessing that the other inactive ingredient is water.

Mole like

We have also been under the most duress by the disappearing of our transplant leaves. Green Bean, Tomato and Pumpkin all have fallen prey to this pest. We thought it was because of the ants. The ants have indeed gotten more clandestine and are still a pest problem. However, some of the activity seemed too large for ants even if it was an army of ants. So, we talked, again, with the staff at the local nursery / store and conducted some research and discovered that while the issue may not actually be a mole it could be a mole like animal causing the issue. We discovered this after the staff member put in a call to her mother who is somewhat of an expert on these matters. She seems like a lady with several years of observation experience.

After identifying this underground culprit we could not see, the nursery staff member was able to recommend an organic and environmentally friendly product that uses sound as a repellent for these pests. The Mole Max – Mole & Gopher Repeller Sonic Spike. It uses solar power to operate and sound to repel. It covers 7,500 square feet, which should be more than enough for our small garden. We have to let it solar power up for 2 days before anchoring it into the ground and activating it for use.

As the sowing season is closing fast, we hope to get the rest of our transplants out and to alive our plants of any hindrance to growth. Many of these plants are small and vulnerable. They need to develop roots systems in order to get the nutrients they need to survive and to grow. So they do not have a fighting chance because of the types and multitudes of attacks they have been facing. We are hoping to get them off the ground and growing like the other plantlings that were brought here from the nursery / store. Some of the remedies we have identified will take some time to be effective. Some will take up to a few weeks before we begin to see results. We must persist with our Organic remedy regimen knowing that pests can also be persistent.

Stay tuned for updates on how these Organic pest remedies are working and what alterations we make based on the results we get. In our research we discovered many natural remedies for pest that you can get right out of your kitchen. We have also discovered there is a good product selection on the market for the Organic Gardener, which is a huge relief and resource. We are hoping these remedies are effective for us and help our plants get the fighting chance they need to grow into plantlings and full fledge fruit bearing plants. These pest issues have been simmering for too long and we hope today that we are well on our way to nipping them in the bud. We will begin putting our transplants out once we have the Mole Max in place. We are working with a fast ticking clock since the sowing season is quickly wrapping up so we will put them out and monitor the issue closely. We hope for fruitful results.

As always you are the best part of what we do. Some of you are already aware of the pest issues we have been facing. Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. My dad was spot on weeks ago that the pest issue was a mole or a golfer, so the staff member at the nursery / store believes. How do you identify pests in your garden or yard? What are some organic, natural or environmentally friendly remedies that you have identified? How will this help you with your garden? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Korean Connection

Now that we have 3 more rows, we decided to gather a couple more seeds to sow to fill in our garden as we wrap up the planting phase and move into cultivation. We sowed a few directly into the ground and will be transplanting another 10 – 14 plants over the next few weeks. After we get all our transplants out, everything that we will be sowing for the season will be in the garden. We will then focus our efforts outside and tuck our remaining seeds away in a cool dry place until next season. As we were looking for a few more seeds to sow and perhaps a good deal since the sowing season is winding down, we discovered a slim selection and no deals. Nurseries and garden centers have begun to put out plants and flowers. We did however find some okra, which should be an interesting and delicious addition to the garden.

We were so intrigued by the Korean “lettuce” that we decided to get a little more adventurous. The pickings were also slimmer than before. Nonetheless, we picked up a couple more lettuce like seeds as well as some radishes and green onions Korean style. We sowed these seeds directly into the garden. It has been a beautiful day and the garden is always a peaceful as well as fruitful place to be. As much work as there seems to be, there seems also to be an abundance of peace and connection with nature while working in the garden. It never seems nearly as long as it is. The time flies. The bugs and worms are busy beneath the surface doing their work as well. So are the birds, bees and butterflies. We are not so much worried about them as we are about the ants that never seem to go away.

These Korean Seedlings should be interesting to observer as well as eat. We hope you are feeling just as adventurous as us. If so, grocery stores are another common place to source international seeds. So, try your local international food market to locate some international seeds. Every seed we selected we got a little information on since the packet was all in Korean. Even if it was a lose translation. We discovered a few things about our seeds:

  • What is it like? In other words, is it like Spinach. Often we got it is like such and such but, with for instance, a different texture.
  • How do you cook it? Can you eat it raw? Must it be cooked? What are common dishes that it is cooked in. For instance, soup or salad.
  • What is its name? In English or in the foreign name so you can research it. Or ask us.

From what we discovered, we have a few lettuce like, radish and green onion Korean varieties. But they should be nothing like what we have had before. The whole process will be an interesting learning experience and adventure. What are your favorite international foods? Where are your local international food markets? Tell us about any gardening deals you see! Share the wealth of information with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.