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The New Wave of Fishless Fish Is Here

Lead Photo: Edward Addeo (fish); Iakov Kalinin/iStock (ocean)

Source: Outside
Nov 24, 2020

Food scientists and marketers are creating healthy, plant-based, imitation tuna, crab, and shrimp that look and taste like the real thing. Better yet, switching to faux seafood will help curb our reliance on an international fishing industry that has become an environmental and human-rights disaster.

The year 2020 has not been good to many things, but it has been very, very good to the tuna melt. As the world got weird and we sheltered at home, many of us hankered for the familiar, the stable, the uncool. And there was the tuna melt waiting for us, as uncool as ever. 

References to the sandwich spiked on Reddit. New recipes (more or less indistin­guishable from the old recipes) flowed onto the internet. 

I, too, felt the allure. So, during the height of the pandemic, breaking away from the monotony of the keyboard, I made myself a lunch of soaring satisfaction: crispy bread and creamy tuna under a warm security blanket of cheese. What made it especially gratifying, however, was that it was the first tuna melt of my life that involved no fish at all. It was made with a new plant-based faux tuna called Good Catch, and while I can’t exactly say it changed my life, it definitely changed my lunch.

I swore off canned tuna last year, after reading The Outlaw Ocean, Ian Urbina’s wrenching account of human-rights abuses in the global fishing industry. For years, my list of morally acceptable seafoods had been narrowing as I learned about the environmental impacts of industrial fishing. Bluefin tuna, of course, went out the window long ago. Then it was Chilean sea bass, swordfish, and farmed salmon. Cod, gone. Shrimp, toast. But I clung to canned tuna, in part because of the convenience. A highly functional shot of protein, shelf-stable and cheap, it seemed morally defensible as long as it sported the logos certifying that it was dolphin-safe and sustainably fished.

But that changed when I plunged into Urbina’s book, the result of more than three years reporting on high-seas crime across 12,000 nautical miles, all five oceans, and 20 smaller seas. He shipped out on roach-infested, barely seaworthy trawlers, chased pirates and poachers, got caught in border wars, and uncovered a grainy cell-phone video of casual assassinations at sea. After all that, Urbina asked, did we really think “that it is possible to fish sustainably, legally, and using workers with contracts, making a livable wage, and still deliver a five-ounce can of skipjack tuna for $2.50 that ends up on the grocery shelf only days after the fish was pulled from the water thousands of miles away”?

Spoiler alert: it’s not. The average can of tuna drags behind it a tangled net of wrecked ecosystems, definned sharks, debt bondage, child labor, human trafficking, physical abuse, and murder. By the time I finished The Outlaw Ocean, I couldn’t open a can of tuna without imagining a trickle of human blood oozing out. And it’s not just tuna. Swordfish, snapper, mahi mahi, mackerel, sardines, squid, and anchovies are all tainted by slavery. So are farmed salmon, farmed shrimp, and cat food, which relies on meal made out of small fish caught in fisheries rife with human suffering. 

Many fishing boats are crewed by migrants from poor countries who are desperate for work. The boats can spend years at sea, periodically off-loading their catch to refrigerated mother ships and taking on fresh supplies. Oversight is almost nonexistent. Men are forced to work brutal hours in filthy conditions. Beatings are common. So are deaths.

A typical experience is that of Lang Long, a poor Cambodian man Urbina met in Thailand. Long was smuggled to the Thai coast by a trafficker who promised to get him a construction job, but the job never materialized. Instead, Long was sold to a fishing captain for $530, to cover his trafficking debt. Once on the boat, he didn’t see land again for three years.

During that time, Long was beaten regularly, forced to work up to 23 hours a day, and given insufficent food and water. After trying to escape, he was shackled by the neck and chained to the deck whenever his boat approached another ship.

But Long was relatively lucky. He survived, and was returned to land after a Catholic charity paid the boat’s captain $750 for his freedom. Other sea slaves have described sick deckhands being thrown overboard and intransigent ones being locked in the hold, whipped, or beheaded.

All this happens on the untraceable high seas. By the time a tender comes into port, it can carry a vast mix of legally and illegally caught fish. And that’s how a can of tuna gets to your grocery shelf for $2.50.

Rowan Jacobsen is an Outside contributing editor.

Hoagies made with Good Catch imitation tunaHoagies made with Good Catch imitation tuna
(Photo: Courtesy Good Catch Foods)

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

So I kissed tuna goodbye. Lunch became a little more inconvenient, but then Good Catch showed up in the grocery aisle. Instead of a can, the product came in an upmarket pouch featuring a photo of a plate heaped with extremely tuna-like shards. Fish-Free Tuna, the label advertised. Chunk Albacore Texture. The ingredients list revealed that it was made using a blend of six legumes—soybeans, peas, chickpeas, fava beans, lentils, and navy beans—with some algal oil and seaweed powder mixed in for “Real Seafood Taste.” At $5 for a 3.3-ounce portion, it was pricier than canned tuna, but not exactly a budget buster.

I’d written a lot about the battle for burger supremacy among fauxtein peddlers like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, and I knew the pattern those trailblazers had to follow: media campaigns to convince people their fake meats weren’t bizarre, slow rollouts of product in a handful of hipster restaurants, and then years of struggle to develop the production and distribution needed to reach the mainstream. I’d assumed alternative seafood would follow the same tortuous path. Yet here was Good Catch, already stocked by mainstream supermarkets like Whole Foods and Giant. Perhaps the trail had been blazed. And that made me wonder if the world of seafood was about to get pounded by a wave of fishless fish.

Second spoiler alert: it is. Many of the most popular seafoods now suddenly face direct competition from dozens of startups offering animal-free alternatives. The industry is still tiny, but sales of plant-based foods have surged 29 percent in the past two years, compared with just 4 percent overall for U.S. retail foods, and many expect the category to follow the arc of plant-based milks, which now account for 14 percent of all retail milk sales. 

Ibought a pouch of Good Catch and a can of solid white albacore for comparison. At home, I opened the pouch and dumped out a jumble of flaky chunks that had the same pallored look as tuna. The chew was quite firm, which impressed me. Springiness is one of the main attractions of meat, and it’s hard to replicate using plants.

The albacore, stripped of support, was weirder than I remembered. Did you know tuna is canned in vegetable broth to give it flavor? Drained, it has nothing going on until you add mayonnaise, celery, and salt. Why had I been killing some of the sexiest fish in the sea for this loser lunch meat?

I preferred Good Catch in every way. It didn’t taste like much either—think seaweed-scented chicken breast—but the texture was addictive, and I found myself testing the little bouncy fibers between my teeth. I didn’t think of it as tuna so much as chew-na, and I used it liberally, sprinkled over caprese salad for extra tooth, tucked under melted cheese on a piece of toast. It made tasty fish burgers and cakes. It even held up beautifully in a pasta al tonno, simmered in garlicky tomato sauce. In other words, it passed the plug-and-play test. So long, Big Tuna.

When I called Chris Kerr, Good Catch’s cofounder and executive chair, he told me I wasn’t the only one to recently discover his product. COVID-19 had triggered a run on shelf-stable everything, and he was scrambling to keep stores stocked. His new 42,500-square-foot factory in Heath, Ohio, had come online just in time. 

Kerr asked me how his product measured up. I told him it was never going to take over Instagram, but it was good enough. He agreed, and added that this was all it needed to be. “For the love of God,” he said, “it’s just a fucking tuna melt!” 

Kerr, 53, is irreverent and savvy, and he’s got the vision thing. A longtime vegan, he worked at the Humane Society for seven years but eventually found the group’s traditional tactics frustrating. “We weren’t getting very far in terms of moving the needle on animal welfare,” he says. “Vegans are still 0.5 percent of the population.” He left in 2014 and was recruited to launch New Crop Capital, a venture firm that invests in vegan food startups. New Crop was an early backer of Beyond Meat and now has a stake in more than 40 companies.

Kerr was one of the first to see the need for a Beyond Meat of seafood. Like the founders of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, he came to the problem from the perspective of animal welfare. We’re so used to the traditions of fishing that we rarely notice that they involve the mass killing of wild animals, usually in painful ways that would never be acceptable with birds or mammals. (Try hooking a deer in the mouth and dragging it kicking and screaming for miles.)

But until the revelations of human-rights abuses in the fishing industry, the biggest knock against fishing was environmental. According to Daniel Pauly, a prominent British Columbia–based marine scientist, almost no fisheries are truly sustainable. “It’s so bad,” he says. “Sustainable is not a reliable term anymore. So many fisheries have been reduced to a small fraction of what they once were. You can ‘sustainably’ fish them at that diminished level, but they really need to be rebuilt to support the ecosystem.” According to a number of papers published by leading scientists, the agencies that certify fisheries are deeply flawed, and many fish that have the “sustainable” label applied to them are anything but.

Then there’s bycatch—other animals unintentionally caught and killed in nets. About 40 percent of the fishing industry’s combined haul is bycatch, a total of 63 billion pounds per year. That carnage includes an estimated 650,000 marine mammals, a million seabirds, 8.5 million sea turtles, and ten million sharks. In the Indian Ocean, more than 80 percent of the original dolphin population—four million animals—has been killed in tuna nets.

Good Catch, a brand of faux tuna, made tasty fish burgers and cakes. It even held up beautifully in a pasta al tonno, simmered in garlicky tomato sauce. In other words, it passed the plug-and-play test. So long, Big Tuna.

Aquaculture has not been the salvation many had hoped. Farming fish turns out to have the same problems as farming livestock in industrial settings: animal-welfare issues, disease and parasites, antibiotic overuse, and massive pollution.

For all those reasons, Kerr says, he felt a need to help jump-start the plant-based-seafood industry. “But I couldn’t find anything solid to invest in. So I just said, Fuck it, I’ll start my own.” 

Now more mainstream investors—having watched Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods take the world by storm—are scrambling to catch up. In January of this year, General Mills joined a group of companies that invested $32 million in Good Catch. Soon the celebrities rushed in: Lance Bass, Paris Hilton, Woody Harrelson, and Shailene Woodley all invested in the company.

But the biggest development came in March, when Bumble Bee Foods, the international tuna giant, announced a new partnership to distribute Good Catch’s fishless tuna in many places where Bumble Bee sells its own. “They approached us!” Kerr told me. “We were prepared to be attacked by that same company.”

“That shocked the industry,” says Monica Talbert, CEO of Van Cleve Seafood, a Virginia company that has launched a subsidiary, Plant Based Seafood, that sells a line of fish-free products. “The seafood industry sees plant-based as treasonous. They’re trying to squelch it. So for a giant, global company like Bumble Bee to take it on was huge.” Talbert thinks the writing is on the wall. “Consumers are demanding it. It would behoove the industry to jump on board.”

In Bumble Bee’s press release announcing the partnership, CEO Jan Tharp explained the thinking. “It is critically important that, as an industry, we continue to find innovative solutions to decouple growth with ­environmental impact,” she explained. “Providing great-tasting alternative ways for consumers to enjoy ocean-inspired foods is a key pillar of our long-term commitment to ocean health.”

If Good Catch is basically the Beyond Meat of seafood, Van Cleve is something possibly more significant: a traditional business eagerly transforming itself into a meatless powerhouse. “I love plant-based seafood,” ­Talbert says, “because it gives us a platform to shine light on the unsavory things going on in the seafood industry, just like plant-based meat did for the livestock industry.”

Van Cleve Seafood started in 2001 as a Virginia crab shack, launched by Shelly Van Cleve and her teenage daughters, Monica and Monica’s sister Allie. The restaurant and shop soon became a celebrated destination, and they expanded. In 2013, the company began selling its signature products in supermarkets and found that its ­supply needs outstripped local options. When ­Talbert researched international sources, she was horrified. “The lawlessness,” she says. “The mislabeling. The fish illegally soaked in chemicals. The child labor, slavery, and human trafficking. Just horrendous practices. It was so disheartening.”

Talbert had been transitioning to a plant-based diet, so they decided to do the same with the company—starting, naturally, with crab cakes. “We’ve probably made a million crab cakes in the past 20 years,” Talbert says. “There’s a weave to the texture of a crab cake that’s very specific. We went through more than a hundred versions to get it right.” 

If you want to wield your fork for food justice, however, crab is small potatoes. The average American consumes half a pound of it per year, making it only the ninth most popular seafood. The big three are canned tuna (2.1 pounds per person), salmon (2.6 pounds), and the Goliath of seafood, shrimp (4.6 pounds). 

If anything can make tuna fishing look scrupulous, it’s shrimp. Wild shrimp are caught using a massively destructive practice called bottom trawling, which John ­Hocevar, Greenpeace’s longtime oceans campaign director, describes like so: “Bottom trawlers fish with nets that weigh a couple of tons and are big enough to catch two 747s side by side, and they drag those along the bottom of the ocean. It’s insane.” For every haul of shrimp, a large amount of bycatch is brought in and tossed dead over the side.

Most shrimp is farmed, and that’s even worse. For feed, operations depend on small fish caught by boats using forced labor and relentless tools that rake the ocean clean. “Off Thailand,” Hocevar says, “the boats fish the water with very fine-meshed nets designed to strain out every last living thing. It’s endgame stuff.”

Shrimp is farmed along tropical coasts in shallow ponds made by ripping out mangroves, trees that protect shorelines and provide essential habitat for many marine species. The ponds become cesspools. After a few years, the ground is so contaminated that the site must be abandoned for a new one. “You just devastate one coastline after another,” says fisheries scientist Pauly.

Despite this mayhem, shrimp hasn’t suffered from consumer resistance the way other seafoods have. “Most people are somewhat aware that shrimp has big problems and they shouldn’t be eating it,” Hocevar says. “But they love it and there’s no real alternative, so they’re not willing to give it up.” For those reasons, he says, “a plant-based alternative would be amazing.”

Pauly was even more enthusiastic about the proposition. “The faster the better. If you can produce some gunk that can take the place of those disgusting shrimp operations, that would be wonderful.”

Well, I just happen to have some of that gunk right in front of me. It’s called konjac root, and it’s popular in Japanese and Korean cooking. Because it’s rich in soluble fiber, it can be boiled into a firmly textured gel. “It bounces back,” says Monica Talbert.

The product I’m sampling—Mind Blown Plant-Based Crunchy Coconut Shrimp—comes in the form of plump pink crescents with a coconut coating. (Paprika provides the pink.) I fried them in oil until they turned golden and served them with cocktail sauce.

And let’s be honest, any breaded product—shrimp, chicken nuggets, whatever—asks very little of its core protein. All it really needs to do is bounce back, and the plant-based shrimp aced that test. The outside was crispy, coconutty, and slightly sweet. The inside was snowy white. (If you are attached to the black vein that bisects real shrimp, you’re out of luck.) 

Most of the press on animal-free seafood focuses on what’s known as cellular aquaculture—fish in a dish, no head, gut, or tail attached. Rumors of its impending awesomeness have been circulating for a few years, goosed by venture capitalists who’ve sunk tens of millions into the California startups Wild Type (salmon), Finless Foods (bluefin), and BlueNalu (yellowtail and mahi mahi). Before diving into the world of fishless fish, I’d expected these lab-based products to be the standouts. But as is true with lab-grown meat, the hype has gotten well ahead of the science.

The theory seems solid enough. In animals, muscle cells are supplied with a stream of nutrients delivered by the circulatory ­system. But those cells can be grown in a tank if they’re bathed in a broth of the same nutrients, along with hormone-like growth factors that tell them how to develop. This is the idea behind lab-grown meat, and it’s been achieved with various species of fish as well.

You can see the appeal. Cellular seafood doesn’t have parasites. It isn’t contaminated by mercury or microplastics. It isn’t tainted by slavery or ecological damage. And it doesn’t die a horrible death.

But the industry faces multiple challenges that so far lack solutions. To grow living cells in a vat is incredibly costly and energy intensive. (One life-cycle analysis of cultured meat found that it has an even larger environmental footprint than conventional beef.) And no one has mastered culturing meat at scale. In a 20,000-liter commercial tank, cells can be crushed by the weight of water or killed by the force of the paddles that keep everything circulating. The serum that bathes the cells costs hundreds of dollars per liter, and it takes 50 liters to produce one serving of meat. Microbial contamination is a constant threat. Texture and flavor are works in progress. 

Greenpeace’s John Hocevar says most people know shrimp has big problems. “But they love it and there’s no real alternative, so they’re not willing to give it up.” For those reasons, he says, “a plant-based alternative would be amazing.”

But Jennifer Jacquet, a professor of environmental studies at New York University who has studied the fishing industry extensively, thinks progress may come surprisingly fast. “I don’t think you can judge a product’s market price by its prototypes, especially with an industry in its infancy,” she says. “There are many examples, from clocks to computers, that show us how much prices can fall.” Sure, a single serving of cellular fish or meat currently costs hundreds of dollars, but not long ago it cost hundreds of thousands.

Jacquet points out that governments can strongly influence the affordability—and success—of beneficial new technologies. “It’s a little bit like renewable energy,” she says. “Right now, the cellular animal products, including seafood, have to compete on a very uneven footing with meat, dairy, and seafood companies that receive enormous government subsidies, which makes it even more difficult to become price competitive.” Jacquet believes that if the seafood industry stopped receiving these subsidies, cellular-based seafood would quickly succeed.

None of the California startups were about to let me sample their lab creations. BlueNalu anticipates having its mahi available by late 2021 in a few select restaurants in San Diego, but experts estimate that it will be five to ten years before cellular seafood is commercially viable. And by then it may be too late. Plant-based seafood is already here, and given another decade of R&D, it’s going to be very good and very cheap. Sure, there will still be holdouts who want real fish that came from the sea. But who exactly is going to demand fish from a lab?

Not all the plant-based seafoods I tried were as successful as the ones highlighted here. I very much wanted to like Ahimi, an ahi substitute whose production is simplicity itself: a skinned, seeded tomato lightly concentrated in soy sauce, water, sugar, and sesame oil. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much what it tastes like. If you squint hard, it looks a bit like a pink slab of ahi, but there’s no getting around that what you have on your plinth of rice is limp tomato. (Apparently others felt the same; the company ceased operations this summer.)

I also wanted to try Kuleana—a bluefin replacement made from a blend of algae, pea protein, seawater, iron from fermented koji, and beetroot (for color)—but its founder told me it wasn’t ready for sashimi prime time. For now, true sushi analogs are out of reach, and we’ll have to stick to the low-hanging fruits de mer: canned tuna, crab cakes, and breaded shrimp.

But check back in a couple of years and I expect you’ll find the sushi counter transformed as well. By then I should be ready to complete the leap to plant-based. I’ll make exceptions for a couple of seafood standouts—American shellfish and Alaskan salmon, for example, are paragons of sustainability and deliciousness—but I’ll leave the rest to the ocean. Unless, of course, the seafood industry can solve its outlaw problem once and for all.

Rowan Jacobsen’s research into alternative seafood was supported by a grant from the Safina Center.

Eliot Coleman (farmer, grower and educator) would say that true organic food is a function of biology and nature not science. What do you think of plant based, science produce fish or seafood? Most dietitians would tell you a health diet includes wholefoods rather than processed foods. Is science produced food not processed foods? What do you think about the new fishless fish options? Are you veterinarian or vegan?

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!

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Personal Gardens of Norfolk

This personal garden is located in Norfolk not too far from Norfolk State University campus. It is a raised bed garden with a black covering which has many benefits such as intensifying the sun, keeping pest away and increasing moisture retention. Its a wonderful example of a kitchen garden grown right here in the urban environment of Norfolk. It is a garden maintained in the yard next to a home with lettuces and vegetables such as tomatoes.

Do you know some one who has a garden in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia? Do you know of anyone with a garden outside of the area? Where?

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!

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How to start a home garden

Source: CNN

May is not too late to start a garden. Here’s how to begin a vegetable garden for beginners, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a print and online periodical providing planting charts for gardeners, sky schedules, weather forecasts and recipes since 1792. Pick the right spot.Choosing a suitable location is important because it affects the quality of the vegetables, the guide says. Most vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight daily, so pick a sunny location.If you’re not buying soil, you should have the soil in your yard tested for lead. Lead contamination is common in urban areas due to years of industrial development and pollution from man made toxins, according to Garden Collage Magazine. If your vegetables are contaminated from the soil, that could mean lead poisoning for you or any pets roaming around. You can have your soil assessed by sending several samples to a testing site for a low cost. Plant the vegetables in damp, not totally saturated, soil. If you have soil that doesn’t drain well, plant vegetables in a pot that’s raised from the ground. You should also garden in a place where your plants can remain stable — exposure to strong winds, floods or constant foot traffic could damage your plants.

Choose a plot size. Beginners should start small, considering what they can handle and what they’ll actually eat, the guide suggests. The size it recommends is 11 rows wide, each 10 feet long. But this guideline is to feed a family of four through an entire summer, so feel free to downsize if it’s just you. Make sure there’s enough space between each row to be able to easily walk through to weed and harvest your plants. The rows shouldn’t be more than 4 feet wide, as you probably won’t be able to reach over a bigger width to care for the vegetables. Select your vegetables (or any other produce). There are several vegetables that are common and easy to grow: tomatoes, radishes, chard, zucchini squash, peppers, cabbage, lettuce and carrots. Also consider what you like to eat, and again, how much you’re likely to consume. Here’s a guide to figuring out which vegetables grow best in your state. You could buy individual starter plants or opt to start from scratch with seeds. But the seeds should be high quality, the guide says, so your money isn’t wasted if the seeds don’t germinate. The almanac recommends buying seeds from a plant nursery; you can order them online, too. Decide where and when to plant. Planting one or two vegetables doesn’t require much strategic planning. But if you’re growing a whole garden, you’ll have to think about where each vegetable will go and when it needs to be planted.

Some vegetables, such as lettuce and root vegetables, grow in the spring. Others, including tomatoes and peppers, should be planted in the warmer months. Plant taller vegetables on the north side of your garden so they don’t shade shorter plants. Check to see whether the information along with your plant says it needs a permanent bed. Lastly, stagger your plantings. Don’t plant all your seeds at one time, or you’ll have a vegetable bounty that needs to be harvested and consumed in a tight time window. If you stagger your plantings, you’ll have a steady supply of food coming in.

How has this article helped you? How will you apply what you have learned? What will you grow in your garden?

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The Best Indoor Garden Ideas for Bringing the Great Outdoors Inside

Chopped Garden Fresh Parsley

by MELISSA EPIFANO updated JUN 9, 2020
Source: Apartment Therapy

Vegetable gardens, patio planters, and flower beds undoubtedly add appeal to any home and make for some really fun hobbies. But sometimes you just don’t have the space, or you might prefer to spend your time inside where the elements (and bugs!) can’t really get to you. In these instances, you can never go wrong with curating your own indoor garden.

Lucky for you, the options for indoor gardens are never ending. You can cultivate your own indoor lemon tree, start a delicious herb garden, grow a living wall—or, if you’d rather start simple, try nurturing a small collection of succulents. What makes the indoor version of a garden so fun is how easy it is to mix and match the most random and diverse group of plants and the ability for you to keep your garden blooming and sprouting year-round.

To bring some greenery into your home and experience all the benefits different plants and flowers have to offer, see the ideas below to get started on your own indoor garden.

1. Similarly Sized Collection

Use a small cluster of mid-sized plants, like the ones in this Oakland home, to help take up awkward blank space. Their medium size makes a bigger impact than a small succulent display, but these plants aren’t as high maintenance—or difficult to move around—as large indoor trees.

2. Outdoor-Indoor Hybrid Garden

A half-and-half garden helps blend the inside and out, making your home feel even bigger. This colorful home in Mexico is the perfect example of how to make both an indoor and outdoor garden work with your style.

3. Eclectic Indoor Garden

Mixing and matching plants and pots, like the residents of this vintage Australian home did, makes for a visually interesting display for anywhere in your home. Old canisters, handmade pots, and antique finds all work well together.

4. Hanging Herb Garden

Your dinners will seem even tastier with a fresh herb garden at your fingertips. A hanging setup like this means you don’t even have to sacrifice any counter space to grow a small collection of herbs.

5. Indoor Garden Closet

Commandeer a set of shelves or closet for your indoor garden, as seen in this plant-laden Brooklyn apartment. If you already have enough storage space for clothes, what better way to deck out an empty nook than with plants?

6. Small Terrarium Garden

An indoor garden doesn’t need to be over-the-top or take up ample space, as proven by this terrarium in a comfy Austin home. A few glass display cases and a handful of your favorite air plants or succulents is all it takes to form a mini plant world.

7. Colorful Hanging Garden

One bonus to indoor planting? The ease of mounting planters from the ceiling to create a hanging garden. This maximalist Chicago home shows how colorful plant hammocks and a variety of leafy friends can make a fun statement in any room.

8. Mini Succulent Garden

If you have a tiny empty corner, you have room for an indoor garden. The owners of this Scandinavian-inspired Airstream trailer created a mini succulent collection that still adds a boost of greenery but takes up little room in their small home.

9. Floating Shelf Garden

Floating shelves let you display plants from floor to ceiling, as seen in this Brooklyn apartment. You can place plants based on their light preferences, or even rotate them as needed to keep them healthy.

10. Unique Indoor Garden

For a splash of personality and color, arrange your plants around and inside your non-working or faux fireplace like the tenants of this San Francisco apartment did. You can do this with working fireplaces, too, as long as they’re not getting use—so it’s a great display for warm spring and summer months, when the fireplace won’t be lit.

11. Indoor Greenhouse

As seen in this Nashville home, adding a few fronds and leaves to a mudroom or laundry room space instantly gives it greenhouse vibes. The plants help enliven these utilitarian spaces, adding interest to a room that doesn’t always get a lot of love.

12. Kitchen Garden

While herbs are popular for kitchen gardens, they’re by no means the only plants that can thrive in your cook space. The residents from the same San Fransisco home from above also allowed plants to take up room in their kitchen for a lively, fresh display.

13. Bathroom Indoor Garden

Convinced you have, like, zero room for an indoor garden? This Philadelphia row home will make you think twice. Your bathroom can be a glorious location for plants, whether you stack a few on a shelf, hang one from the ceiling, or drape one from the shower head (or all the above).

14. Indoor Cactus Garden

Terracotta pots and cacti are a simple but striking display when wall-mounted in cutout shelves, like in this poppy RV home. You could DIY your own version with wood boards and a jig saw.

15. Wall of Plant Cuttings

If you’re in full plant parent mode and have started to amass cuttings of your favorite plants, take a cue from this Charleston home and hang them in a chic wall display until they’re ready to be repotted.

Re-edited from a post originally published 5.17.16

Which indoor garden style is best for you? Why? Which plants will you be bringing in doors this fall and winter?

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!

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9 Best Vegetables to Grow Indoors

harvested tomatoes shidonna raven garden and cook

Source: All Recipes
Make it easy on yourself by choosing plants that do best indoors. These vegetables have proven successful indoors:

1. Carrots

Carrots require don’t much space around them (or wingspan you could say) but they do tend to require deeper soil than other vegetables. They’re cool-tolerant vegetables that thrive at about 60 degrees F. Make sure they get plenty of light, at least 12 hours a day.

2. Green Onions/Scallions

Green onions do well indoors because they’re easy to care for and don’t require as much sunlight as some other veggies. You can either use seeds or you can simply replant the root end of the green onions after using the top.

Related: How to Store Green Onions to Keep Them Fresh

3. Herbs

Herbs (a subset of vegetables) love the sunshine, so you’re going to have to make sure they get a lot of it: 12-16 hours a day. They tend to do best around 70 degrees F. Some of the best varieties for indoor growing include: chives, parsley, cilantro, oregano, mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

4. Hot Peppers

Pepper plants are tropical perennials, meaning they thrive in warm weather and full sun. But because they’re self-pollinating, they can do quite well indoors. They need high levels of light between 14-20 hours a day, and thrive at about 70 degrees F. Pot them in a container that’s at least eight inches tall, and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

5. Leafy Salad Greens

Maybe the most reliable of the bunch are cool-tolerant leafy salad greens like spinachkale, and arugula. They’ll grow in as quickly as four weeks in compact spaces. They need about 12 hours of sunlight per day, and they do well at around 60 degrees F.

6. Microgreens

Don’t let their size fool you, microgreens are packed with 40 times more vitamins and nutrients than fully grown plants. You’ll grow them the same way you would leafy salad greens, but you’ll harvest them when they’re just about 2-3 weeks old. Try adding them to sandwiches for a nutritious crunch.

7. Potatoes

This one may surprise you, but you can grow potatoes (both sweet and regular) in soil from scraps. Start with a sprouted potato and cut it up into chunks, laying them out sprout-side-up on at least four inches of soil. Top them off with another four inches of soil and in about two months you’ll have potatoes! Make sure you have a large enough pot, because these can get quite large and you may have to continue adding soil as they grow to ensure that the potatoes are always covered with soil.

8. Radishes

Radishes are quick growers, with only 30 to 40 days from germination to harvest. They won’t need as much light as many other veggies, but make sure they’re not too crowded so their bulbs can grow.

9. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a warm-weather loving plant, but that doesn’t mean they’re hopeless indoors. They’ll need a lot of light, about 14 to 20 hours a day. Like peppers, they’re self-pollinating, but you can also shake them to help the pollen fall from flower to flower. Smaller varieties tend to do better in containers, and you’ll find the seeds germinate fairly quickly.

We still have a few plants out doors, but soon the winter weather will be here. Which vegetables will you be growing inside? Why?

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!

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Prince Charles on the Importance of Organic

Raw Video: Prince Charles Talks Organic Farming

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
Prince Charles on the Importance of Organic
Source: Prince Charles
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

What are your thoughts on organic? Do you eat organic? Why? Why not?

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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Making Rose Water

How to Make Rose Water

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
Making Rose Water
Source: Mother Earth Living
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

We are all about food and health around here! Rose Water is used in one of my favorite desserts: Baklava! and many other wonderful foods. What are your favorite desserts? What other ways do you cook with Rose Water? What is your favorite dessert?

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!

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Parsley and Marigold Plants

Parsley and Marigold Plant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

In addition to the garden, we kept a few plants in their pots for transportation to other homes. While we were planning to keep dill around, dill went to another home and we kept the parsley plant. Initially the parsley plant scarcely produced enough leaves for one meal. Since we have been harvesting parsley on a regular basis (about every 3 weeks) she has yielded a large enough harvest that we can clip enough leaves for a full meal and leave about a third of the leaves behind for continued photosynthesis / growth. We have been harvesting and eating from our parsley plant since the summer.

She is a prime example of how one can have a small kitchen garden right from their porch or from inside their home. Many people live in ares where they have a yard or no yard at all and thus are urban gardeners. So, we want you to know that it is possible. Not only is it possible, it is a nice fresh treat produced by your own hands. It is food and you know the source. You know that your foods were grown responsibly. We grew her without pesticides or any other chemicals. Her seeds may not have been organic. Nonetheless, she was grown organically and has continued to grow and thrive.

Speaking of growing organically, marigold is right next to her. She has not yet blossomed. We started the marigold plant late in the season to ward off ants. Marigold is a perfect Organic Remedy for pests such as ants who can carry your plants right off before you get to eat them. We like having marigold around because she discourages ants from coming around the house and around the plants. The pumpkin is a little treat we picked up from the local grocers as a Halloween decoration.

If you have never had a garden before or only had the occasional house plant or two, grow kits are a great way to get your feet wet and to learn the wonderful world of growing something. The good news is that if you have had the occasional house plant, you probably know more than you think you do. Herbs are a great way to get started too. They are easy to grow as small or as big as you want. They often have less resource demands. They typically need less water than say a tomato plant that will need a lot of space and more water.

What type of area do you live in, rural or urban? We have seen people grow pineapples right in their homes. What do you think you can grow in your space? What would you like to grow in your space?

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 Affordability of Organic

Making Organic Food Affordable

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

It has been reported that a single person will spend on average about $30 more a month buying organic. How much could one spend a month on one medication? How much more a month could one spend on one dietary supplement? Not all farmers agree that the USDA standards are strict enough. Some farmers argue that the standards have been eroding to compensate for corporate industrial farmers who want to use the organic label. But, we know, as informed consumers who read Shidonna Raven Garden & Cook regularly, that not all ingredients have to be organic just because the label says organic. Some of the ingredients can be non organic. The next time you go to the grocery store read the label of 3 items you buy carefully. What did you learn about the food you buy? Is the label transparent enough about the production of the food you buy?

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 Tomatoes

We hate to disappoint. But, this will not be a detailed presentation on harvesting tomatoes. Nothing could be simpler than plucking this red globes from the vein, cleansing them and preparing them to eat. Our early girl plant has delivered time and time again. We are often asked: how is the garden. Consequently, we wanted to share some recent harvest that were give to a garden cohort to cook up. Many of you have been growing your own plants in your kitchens as well as yards. Share your updates with the community.

Tomato plants can grow tall. They are definitely doable in an urban garden. Which herbs and vegetables do you eat often? Which ones would you like to start to grow? Where do you get the most light? 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.