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Sierra Harvest

Sierra Harvest
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Source: groworganic.com

Would you like Sierra Harvest at your children’s school? How can Sierra Harvest help you? Need help with starting your own garden? How can this change your eating habits? Will you allow yourself to eat and live healthier? 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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Kids & Organic Food

When to buy Organic Food for your Child
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

How important do you think proper nutrition is to the development of children? How susceptible do you think children are to chemicals found on non organic foods? If you do not already eat Organic, how can you make the switch for you and your family? Write down 3 things you can do today to begin making the switch to Organic. Help someone else make the switch by sharing your list (email us) As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy.

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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Soil Run Off

Soil Run Off
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

The body is primarily made up of water. How do you feel about the protection of our water sources? How do you feel about pesticides and other farming by products running off into our water ways? How do you feel about what farmers use in the production of food that run off from soil into our water ways? What did you eat today? How did what you eat support your body as a living organism? Share your comments with the community by positing 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.

Those (farmers) interested in reducing run off on their land should contact their local NRCS (National Resources Conservation Service).

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Pesticides

Understanding Pesticides
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

How do you feel about the use of pesticides in your foods? Would you use pesticides if you grew your own food? What are the effects of pesticides on your health? How much does it cost you in medical bills to consume pesticides? What would you like to tell the FDA about the use of pesticides in food? 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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Zoning

When you purchase a packet of seeds, typically you will see a color coded map with a key to help you identify your growing zone. The USDA divides the United States into 11 separate planting zones. Each growing zone is 10 degrees (fahrenheit) warmer or cooler than the adjacent growing zone during an average winter. Near the color coded map there should also be a key with months in it. These months tell you the months in which it is best to begin planting or sowing seeds based on your growing zone.

While these maps do not tell you what is ideal to grow in your zone, it is important to know which plants will succeed in your growing zone and which will not. Where the map does come in handy is informing you of when to grow a particular plant. Some plants will grow into late fall just fine while other plants will not make it into the late fall months. Some plants can be started in doors before the traditional planting season and some cannot simply because they do not grow in containers well or they do not transplant well. Typically, plants cannot be started until the inside location (greenhouse) you have them in can remain above frost temperatures when temperatures dip.

Be careful to keep an eye out for cool summer nights when the last frost is already thought to have past. April is the big month to start sowing seeds in Norfolk, VA where we are (growing zone). Nonetheless, I have gotten more than my fair share of calls warning me about an ensuing frosty night. If you would like to learn more about protecting plants from frost, read our article “What do bed Sheets have to do with it?” dated May 2, 2020. To learn more about reading seed packets and the valuable information you can find on them read our article “Sow” dated May 12, 2020.

It amazes us how far we have come in such a short time in our journey. We have learned a lot together and in many ways our journey is just beginning. Our pest problems seem to be disappearing and the garden seems to be getting the start it needs. What has been the best part of the journey so far? How has your health changed? They say you need at least 30 days of consistency to see a change. What would you like to see in this journey? We have been getting a lot of comments, questions and positive feedback from everyone. And we would like you all to see what each other is saying, so feel at ease to leave your comments and questions here so the whole community can benefit. 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 growing.

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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Neem Oil

When our Cabbage & Brussel Sprouts leaves were being eaten up, we went in search for an Organic Remedy. Most organic gardeners and farmers will tell you the best remedy is plant health. Those plants that come under attack are typically not in good health. Although the vole might be putting them under stress. We found that the plants coming under attack were perfectly healthy plants but young and tender. Some of them were going through the transplant process and experiencing some stress and shock. All things we think the plants could bounce back from without problem. So, we have decided to give our plantings a little Organic help to promote growth and health while we get our garden off the ground.

Our search produced a recommendation to use Neem Oil. We found a product that left us with a little more questions than answers because it did not fully disclose all of its ingredients. We discovered that Neem Oil is often mixed with dish detergent and water. The emulsifier in the dish detergent helps break down the oil and give it a little structure. Naturally the oil will loosen up if heated but that is not a good application method for your plants. Once the detergent, water and neem oil mixture is made it must be used otherwise it will break down and become unusable. Well we want to know what we are putting on our food so, we found 100% cold pressed neem oil. We will add our own water. If you decided to use detergent, we recommend Castile soap, which is a natural (and can be organic) soap with no chemicals. You can find this soap at your local store or order it online. We found our Neem Oil online for about $5 per 8 ounces plus shipping. We decided to buy in bulk so we got 32 ounces for that price (per 8 ounces).

Although we think it is still to early to tell, the results thus far have been very positive. We have seen a noticeable difference in the amount of flies. They have decreased in number and have become more clandestine. Just because they get clandestine does not mean they are gone. Remember to keep up your Organic Remedy Regimen for at least 2 – 4 weeks. It is recommended to keep treating plants 2 weeks after desired results are achieved. Click here to learn more about Neem Oil from the Smiling Gardener. We did not buy our Neem Oil from this supplier, but found them to have a great deal of knowledge regarding Neem Oil as it relates to gardening and farming.

This Organic Remedy should allow our plants time to get over any shock or stress. We also dug new ground and are always learning what works best. So, there are a lot of factors to consider. We wanted a product whose ingredients we knew. Also, we are always looking for a good deal. We don’t mind mixing up our own Neem Oil solution in order to get these things. We believe you should know what is on and in your food. So, we decided to go with a small business owner supplier who provided unfiltered and cold pressed Neem Oil.

We have high hopes for our garden once these seedlings have an opportunity to flourish. They are on average very healthy and strong. The introduction of Soil Blocks and other methods that discourage disease have significantly improved our sowing success, it is on track to be 100% of seeds sown sprout into healthy plants. The transplanting process has been improved. And we are in the process of helping them catch root quicker. Discouraging voles and other mole like animals should also keep the plants from being uprooted once successfully transplanted. What we believe is a vole could have also been preventing our plantings from developing healthy root systems as well as taking root sooner and completing the transplant process. We will be observing if these pest remedies shorten the transplant process.

We believe the Neem Oil will help keep pests at bay and give these plants a chance to recover from any stress or shock. When reading packages they often make EPA, USDA and other certifications. Do you know what these standards are and are these standards acceptable to you? Do you think manufacturers should release all ingredients despite their desire to protect trade secrets? How can you help influence EPA & USDA standards that are more transparent and acceptable to your own personal standards? 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.