Holistic, Organic and Natural Lawn Care

Most people out there are now aware of the meaning of holistic lawn care and holistic weed control, nonetheless, for the few ones who may still find it a bit difficult to understand, holistic weed control is the control of weed organically, naturally or without the use of any harmful chemicals. Organic weed control comes with a number of benefits which include the safety of the household and the environment as a whole.

Holistic lawn care is quickly growing into a trend for big companies and home owners who are beginning to understand the repercussions of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Tests have continued to show that chemicals have dire consequences. These chemicals are harmful to our children, our pets and the environment as a whole especially when used for long periods of time. Continue reading Holistic, Organic and Natural Lawn Care

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Common Gardening Problems and How to Cure Them

shutterstock_80524903Seedlings do not emerge after planting:
It’s possible that not enough time has passed. Make sure your soil is not too dry and that the temperature is correct for starting whatever seeds you’re trying to grow. Wondering what plants grow best during specific times of the year? Read Gardening Through the Different Seasons.

Plants grow slowly with light green leaves:
It sounds like your plant isn’t getting enough light. Make sure the temperatures are warm enough for the variety of plant you’re growing and check how much you’re watering your plant.  Do not overwater, and try to improve your drainage. Check your pH levels and try adding some amendments to your soil if you feel it might be a nutrient deficiency. Read more about Soil Amendments.

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Seedlings wilt and fall over/young plants die:
It’s possible your seedlings are suffering from “damping off”, which is a fungal disease. You might also have root maggots, cutworms, rotting roots, dry soil or could be over-fertilizing. Avoid overwatering and check for grubs at the base of your plants. Keep your garden free of rotting plant matter and weeds. Try treating the soil with a fungicide and avoid over-watering.  Suspecting pests? Read Dealing With Pests & Insects.

Plants wilt:
It’s likely your plants are suffering from too much or too little water. Roots may be rotting or you may have root-knot nematodes. Try watering deeply, and more consistently. If the soil is soggy, stop watering all together for a while and let the soil dry up a bit. Practice good crop rotation, and plant disease-resistant varieties. Do you think you’re overwatering? Read more on Watering.

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Leaves have tiny white spots:
White spots usually mean you have spider mites. Spray affected areas with an organic insecticidal spray.

Leaves look scorched, then fall off:
“Burnt” looking leaves can be the effect of salt damage, low temperatures, dry soil or over fertilizing.  To protect from cold temperatures, use a floating row cover in the garden. If you’ve salted your walk-ways or driveways, make sure the water running off isn’t going into your garden, this would be the cause of your “burnt” looking plants. Water deeply and regularly, and don’t over fertilize.

Mildew-back

A powdery white coating on tops of leaves:
Sounds like powdery mildew. This usually occurs when your plants are dry but the area around them is humid and moist. Try planting in full sun, and provide adequate spacing between your plants to promote good air circulation.

Brown spots on leaves:
This usually occurs from chemical burns or over fertilizing.  It also could be the result of too cold of temperatures or a potassium deficiency.  If your soil seems dry, try watering more frequently. If you’ve over-fertilized, remove fertilizers from the soil by overwatering for a day or two. If you’re lacking potassium in your soil, try adding some wood ash, aged compost or aged manure. Using, Buying and Applying Organic Fertilizers.

Blossom end rot

Blossom end of tomatoes are rotten:
“Blossom-end rot” on tomato plants is the result of either a calcium deficiency, soil that is too compact, root injury, and/or inconsistent watering.  Mulch around plants that are affected to promote even soil moisture. You can also incorporate lime into your soil to help with the calcium deficiency.  Don’t forget to add some aged compost and organic matter into your soil.  Read our Intro to Mulch.

Leaves are curled or scrunched together:
When the leaves curl, this could mean several things. It could be from a disease, moisture imbalance, aphids or from too much herbicide. Treat aphids by spraying leaves with water and using an organic insecticidal spray. Remove your affected plants if you suspect disease. Keep the soil evenly moist and try adding mulch around your plants suffering from curled leaves.

Cucurbita flower squash bee - Nancy Adamson-the Xerces Society

No fruit:
When you have beautiful plants that don’t produce fruit, there can be several reasons to blame. The first is, to much nitrogen. There’s also the possibility of no pollination so you might want to try some hand pollination techniques.  If your plants are mature enough to start setting fruit and the temperatures are right then try adding some nitrogen-rich fertilizers and pollinate the blossoms with a small brush or gently shake the plant.

Plants are “spindly” & weak:
Your plant may not have enough light. It also may have been watered too much. Are your plants crowded or planted too close together? Your plant could be getting too much nitrogen as well.  Ensure your plants get 6-8 hours of sunlight every day, improve drainage, and thin your plants further apart. Avoid excess fertilizing.  Wondering Where You Should Plant a Garden?

Tomato late blight fruit cluster (5816739612)

Fruit and stems turn brown:
Sounds like blight. It usually occurs later in the season and can affect all areas of the plant. Apply a copper spray to keep it from spreading and killing the entire plant.

Leaves are yellow but do not wilt:
Test your soil for deficiencies and ensure that your plant is getting enough sunlight. Thin plants if necessary and move to a sunnier location if they are getting too shaded in the garden.  Learn more with our Intro to Soil.

Zucchini yellow mosaic virus leaf

Mosaic-like spots on fruit, leaves, stems etc.:
This disease causes green, and yellow spots on plants and foliage. Leaves can crinkle on plant, turn yellow, and growth will be stunted. There are no cures for this disease but you can help prevent it by controlling aphids and leafhoppers. Remove and destroy ALL plants affected by the Mosaic Virus.

Growth is stunted, yellowing of the leaves:
Your plant probably is suffering from insufficient nutrients. Use a complete fertilizer, and try incorporating aged manure into your soil. Insects, disease, poor drainage, and acidic soil are likely culprits as well. Test your pH and remove affected plants from the garden if you suspect disease.

The Organisms in Your Compost

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“While browns and greens are essential to composting, they only provide the venue and the buffet. A vast web of critters, creatures, and itty-bitty beings do all of the work of transforming browns and greens into black gold. Composters fondly refer to them as the F.B.I.: fungi, bacteria, and invertebrates. Check out their dossiers.

1. Fungi

Why did the mushroom get invited to the compost dance party? Because he’s a fungi (geddit, fun-guy?) . . . and he can sure break it down!

Fungi are microorganisms that include molds, mushrooms, and yeasts. Common in cooler temperatures, they do a great job of decompos­ing cellulose and lignin, the woodier components of plant matter that can be too dry, acidic, or low in nitrogen for bacteria to work on. Fungi perform this vital task by squirting enzymes into their food and noshing on the nutrients released in this process. This occurs predominantly in meso­philic temperatures, which range from 40 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Fungi are most commonly found in compost made from leafy, woody ma­terials. If you’d like your compost to be more fungally dominated, make sure to work lots of landscaping waste into your pile.

2. Bacteria

Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that exist virtually everywhere. In fact, they are inside your body right now, about a hundred trillion of them, or ten times the number of cells you have. (Are you freaking out? Don’t.)

In a compost pile, bacteria do most of the decomposition work. Me­sophilic bacteria chow down on sugars and starches and are most produc­tive in a temperature range of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Most backyard compost piles are mesophilic, taking their temperature cues from the ambient air. As mesophilic bacteria eat, they produce heat, and the tem­perature of the compost system begins to rise. If they achieve temps of about 104 degrees, it gets a little too warm for them and their population dies off.”

READ THE FULL LIST AT:MotherEarthNews.com

The Rise in Urban Chicken Farming


DENVER — Gone are the days of moving to rural communities to become farmers. Instead, more and more people living in metro areas are becoming, ‘Urban Farmers’; especially when it comes to raising chickens.

“I joined a lot of chicken groups on the internet I never thought I’d join,” a slightly embarrassed Aaron Serna admitted.

At first, Serna didn’t know a thing about chickens. But the more he researched them, the more he found himself intrigued. Same goes for Ryan Zeman.

“Chicken facts 101,” Zeman joked.

Both men started raising chickens as a way to appreciate their food more and because of the health benefits associated with it.

“We just kind of wanted to experience and be more connected to our food,” Serna said. “I think it’s something people don’t really understand the amount of energy and work that goes into making food. So it was a way for us to understand that and be more appreciative”.

Read the FULL STORY at: “KDVR.com

How Urine Can Replace Synthetic Fertilizer

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“The nitrogen used in commercial fertilizers is synthesized in a process fueled by natural gas, a fossil fuel, which now is increasingly derived using the controversial practice of fracking.

The phosphorus comes from the mined rock phosphate, a non-renewable resource. High-quality reserves are gradually and steadily being depleted. Rich Earth says along with “peak oil,” we’re now entering a period of “peak phosphorus.”

The potash that’s being mined for potassium is also a non-renewable, depleting resource.

So why not do what humans and other animals have done for millions of years — recycle the nutrients from our waste back into the soil? Not only does the practice replenish the soil, it keeps the nutrients out of waterways, where they don’t belong.

Urine typically passes through wastewater treatment plants into rivers, lakes, and bays. In the aquatic environment, excess nutrients (particularly nitrogen and phosphorus) can cause destructive algae blooms that eliminate oxygen from the water.”

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Read the FULL STORY at: “ReturnToNow.net

Spiral Shaped Beehives Mystify Scientists [Video]

“Scientists baffled by the mysterious spiral-shaped fortresses of curious species of “stingless” bees in Australia.”
“The spiral hives have only one entrance protected by a mix of beeswax and propolis to kill any outside germs and guardian bees to kill any intruders. Any invaders that do make it through are “mummified” in mud and soil, Heard tells National Geographic.”

Not only do Australia’ Sugar Bag Bees, not sting, they are brilliant architects, building amazing spiral-shaped hives.

Original story ReturnToNow.net: “ReturnToNow.net”

10 Cauliflower Smoothies You Won’t Regret Trying!

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We’ve gone crazy over these super healthy shakes/smoothies that all have
1 SECRET INGREDIENT in common, Cauliflower!

Here’s a collection of our favorite Cauliflower Smoothie Recipes that we know you won’t regret trying.

 

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1. Malted Chocolate Cauliflower Smoothie via Eating Bird Food

“A chocolate cauliflower smoothie made malty with maca powder! The frozen cauliflower makes the smoothie thick and creamy without any added sugar or fruit.” [Get this recipe]

 

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2. Creamy Cauliflower Coconut Smoothie via The Glowing Fridge

“This Creamy Cauliflower Coconut Smoothie is the creamiest blend of whole food goodness… you’d have no idea it was veggie based!” [Get this recipe]

 

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3. Skinny Fruitless Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie via Paleo Gluten-Free Eats

“…this smoothie is a good one and I have been known to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (all in the same day). So, if the same happens to you- don’t say I didn’t want you. I’m dead serious when I say this is my go-to, make every day, never gets old, love of my life, smoothie. I don’t even know what to say, it’s just my absolute FAVE. I hope ya love it too!” [Get this recipe]

 

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4. Classic Cauliflower Blueberry Smoothie via Lee From America

“This classic, lightly sweetened mostly-cauliflower smoothie is a great introductory smoothie for those wishing to try a vegetable-based smoothie. It’s smooth, thick, and creamy. Trust me, you won’t even miss the banana! This is one of my all-time favorite smoothies and a regular occurrence in my breakfast rotation.” [Get this recipe]

 

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5. Salted Tahini Maca Smoothie w/Dates & Cauliflower via Running on Real Food

This Salted Tahini Maca Smoothie is a little different but it’s really, really yummy and very filling and satisfying. Tahini is one of my favorite ingredients both for its flavor and nutritional benefits and maca is a wonderful adaptogenic superfood that pairs well with the other flavors in this healthy, nourishing smoothie.” [Get this recipe]

 

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6. Vegan Strawberry-Cauliflower Smoothie via Katalyst Heath

Sneak in an extra serving of vegetables with this Strawberry Cauliflower Smoothie! Both vegan and paleo, this smoothie is thick, creamy and bursting with berry flavor! You won’t even know the cauliflower is there – I promise!” [Get this recipe]

 

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7. Blueberry Coconut Smoothie with Cauliflower via Running on Real Food

If you’re not adding vegetables to your smoothies, you’re missing out! We’re talking ingredients beyond spinach and kale, too. Think zucchini, sweet potato, cauliflower, and beets. Adding vegetables to smoothies is a great way to sneak more veggies into your diet and take full advantage of the wide range of health benefits they offer. This healthy, low-sugar blueberry coconut smoothie bowl tastes like blueberry ice cream but won’t spike your blood sugar and will help keep you full and energize you for hours.” [Get this recipe]

 

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8. PB & J (&B) Shakes / Banana-Free via Flora and Vino

“These PB & J (&B) Shakes require only 5 minutes and 6 ingredients to start your day with a healthy dose of PB&J, protein, and veg.” [Get the recipe]

 

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9. Chocolate Gingerbread Protein Smoothie via Hummusapien

This Chocolate Gingerbread Protein Smoothie is creamy, decadent, and packed with plant-powered protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and a secret ingredient…cauliflower! Enjoy this delicious shake for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.” [Get this recipe]

 

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10. Turmeric & Chai Spiced Cauliflower Smoothie via Feast of Green

In this smoothie, chai spices and a bit of banana are the primary flavors, but there is definitely a hint of bitterness from the cauliflower. I was very skeptical while testing the recipe, but I found myself returning for sips with growing enthusiasm. I would definitely make it again and will be experimenting with more cauliflower smoothies in the future…”[Get this Recipe]

 

Check out more delicious Cauliflower Smoothie Recipes on this Pinterest Board!


 

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Guns to shovels: Oakland activists melt deadly weapons into garden tools

Bronte Velez, co-founder of Lead to Life, is photographed with guns obtained in a buyback program at her home in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Velez and Kyle Lemie will be in Atlanta on April 6-8, the weekend of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, to to meet with King's daughter Bernice King and hold an "alchemy ceremony," where they will finish turning 50 weapons into 50 shovels. They will then use the shovels to plant trees. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Bronte Velez, co-founder of Lead to Life, is photographed with guns obtained in a buyback program at her home in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Velez and Kyle Lemie will be in Atlanta on April 6-8, the weekend of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, to to meet with King’s daughter Bernice King and hold an “alchemy ceremony,” where they will finish turning 50 weapons into 50 shovels. They will then use the shovels to plant trees. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

“OAKLAND — A small arsenal of deadly Bay Area weapons is on its way to Atlanta, soon to be transformed from tools of violence to tools of peace, healing and hope.

The “Lead To Life” project — 50 guns melted and cast into 50 shovels, to plant 50 trees — will commemorate the 50 years since a bullet struck down civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as he stood on the balcony of Room 306 at Lorraine Motel in Memphis, changing America forever.

Organized by two young Oakland activists and hosted by The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the April 6 ceremony will not just mourn the loss of King but also other lives claimed by mass shootings, suicides, gang warfare and domestic violence.”

Read the FULL STORY at: “MercuryNews.com

Detroit “Agrihood” Sparks Discussion On Urban Farming

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An urban farming “agrihood” in Detroit’s North End has received a deluge of attention – both positive and negative.

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, or MUFI, is a nonprofit that proposed what they called “America’s first sustainable urban agrihood” around their two-acre farm in the North End neighborhood of Detroit.

An agrihood is a neighborhood that grows around a farm, often created in a rural area – but MUFI’s proposal is for an agriculture-centered community in the middle of an urban neighborhood.

“It’s no secret that the north end is facing a lot of development pressure right now, and how we choose to implement that is going to have a profound impact on the people here and the people that are moving here,” said MUFI’s co-founder and president, Tyson Gersh. “We truly think that the way we are approaching this is going to be inclusive. Everybody is going to be able to win together.”

Read the FULL STORY at: OneGreenPlanet.org

 

17 Common Diseases of Leafy Vegetables: Photos, Prevention, and Treatment

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“Diseases of leafy vegetables can cause devastating effects to your crop. They can completely kill your crop or significantly reduce its quality, which means that you can incur great losses if one of the diseases strikes your garden.

Just in case you didn’t know, leafy vegetables refer to crops such as: collard green, kale, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, rape, cauliflower, lettuce, celery and turnip, among others. They belong to the family- Cruciferae.

There are several diseases that attack leafy vegetables, and they are majorly caused by fungi, bacteria or viruses. If you grow greens or planning to grow them, here are the common diseases of leaf vegetables, their causes, prevention, control and treatment. See clear vegetable disease photos in order to exactly diagnose the problem with your crop!”

See all 17 Diseases at: DenGarden.com