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Making Your Own Organic Garden Fertilizer

www.mypicshares.com

Gardening is one of my favorite labor-of-loves. When you produce your own food, you have control over the types of food you grow and knowing exactly how it has been produced.

And being outside on your own property, planting and nurturing growing things provides a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction too.

This year, I have not been able to plant as I had wanted because we are going to be moving soon, so my poor little garden box has gone fallow. We thought we’d have moved a month ago or, but we are still waiting for the bank to give us a long-awaited answer about approval on our short-sale.

Because I’m not gardening this year, I’m continuing to support local farmers, which I always do. And, I’m ever-so-grateful to have an informative guest post about making your own organic fertilizer for your garden from Marina Chernyak.  I’ve never made my own fertilizer, so this is something I definitely want to try next year. I hope you can use this easy, step-by-step guide to make the most out of what you’ve planted this season and next.

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If you’re one of the lucky ones with a garden of your own, you’ll want to derive as much produce as possible from every square foot of it. If you follow organic, sustainable gardening practices, not only can you feed your family entirely out of your garden, you can actually optimize you’re the nutritional quality of your produce. We’ve detailed methods using which you can create a properly balanced organic fertilizing mix that is quite potent and effective. This fertilizer works out far less expensive than its commercial alternatives, not to mention that it allows your soil to breathe. Use this fertilizer along with regular compost additions to experience incredible results.

Components of organic fertilizer

Five elements come together to form organic fertilizer, all of which play important roles when it comes to providing soil nutrition. In order to make your fertilizer, you need to add all the required components into a compost bin. This is where all the chemical and physical reactions will occur and form the organic fertilizer.

The five key elements are:

  1. The green layer that produces nitrogen
  2. The brown layer that produces carbon
  3. Good quality air
  4. Water free of chemicals
  5. Garden soil

Step 1: Get your compost bin ready

You need to invest in a good sized compost bin in which you can make enough fertilizer to suffice your entire garden. You can either buy a large enough plastic bin, or dig a pit that’s one cubic meter by one cubic yard and layer it with plastic. You can also consider constructing a cement tank for this purpose and cover it with a lid that has a few holes for air. Whatever you do, ensure that the compost bin is sturdy enough to contain the chemical reactions that will take place within it.

Step 2: Put together the green layer

You need to gather organic and biodegradable materials such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps, plant and grass cuttings and tea leaves. This collection forms the green layer that will produce the nitrogen your fertilizer needs. The green layer works to trap heat. Heat is the catalyst in the fertilizer: it is the trigger factor that gets soil nutrients to develop.

Step 2: Put together the brown layer

You can add dead plants, weeds, sawdust, wilted flowers, bits of cardboard, straw, hay and other items to comprise the brown layer. This forms your fertilizer’s fiber source. They react when the green layer produces heat.

Step 3: Assemble the compost

Once you’ve collected substantial quantities of both layer elements, add one part of the green layer to every three parts of the brown layer to your compost bin. Ensure that you distribute both components properly. For each set

of green and brown layers, splash some water into the bin and then soil. Repeat the process: 3 parts brown, 1 part green, some water, and then soil, till the bin is full. Give the compost a stir every day and continue to add water. It takes a month or two for the compost to biodegrade. You’ll know this process has occurred when you get a strong odor.

Step 4: Apply the organic fertilizer to your garden

Spread a layer of your organic fertilizer to your garden evenly. The fertilizer interacts with the soil, passing on its nutrients to it. Your plants will grow strong and tall. Retain the remaining fertilizer in the compost bin and mix it with water and new compost materials to extend the fertilizer’s life.

Alternative organic homemade organic fertilizer components

The best organic fertilizers are made out of seed meals and different kinds of lime. You’ll need these two to grow a great garden. You can also add other phosphorous-based components to your fertilizer, as explained below:
1. Seed meals A vegetable oil byproduct, seed meals are made from flaxseed, soybeans, sunflowers, canola, cotton seeds and similar oil seeds. Depending on the part of the country you’re from, you might get a different kind of seed meal. You can store seed meals for a long time, as long as you store them in a dry, airtight metal container, away from pests.  As discussed on the Mother Earth News, to avoid issues from genetic modification in seed meals, choose certified organic meals.
2. Lime Lime is a kind of rock that contains a great deal of calcium. You’ll find three kinds of lime:

  • Agricultural lime, comprised purely out of calcium carbonate
  • Gypsum, which is another form of calcium sulfate (sulfur is a vital plant nutrient).
  • Dolomite, also called dolomitic lime which is composed of equal amounts of magnesium carbonates and calcium.

You can use a mixture of all three types of lime in your fertilizer, or choose just dolomite. Make sure you use natural lime, and not burnt lime, quicklime, hydrated lime or similar chemically-treated, active “hot” limes.

3. Phosphorous-rich components Give your fertilizer a phosphorus boost by adding phosphate rock, guano (bird or bat manure), and bone meal and so on. Guano and phosphate contain a rich trove of trace elements, which is extremely beneficial to your soil. Another component to consider is kelp meal, which is dried seaweed. However, this component is a bit costly, but if you can get hold of it, your garden will thank you for it. Kelp weed contains a composite range of trace minerals, apart from natural hormones whose action is similar to that of plant vitamins and growth regulators that resist stress.

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Marina is a SAHM, enjoys doing organic gardening at home and co-owner of cocktail table store  1001cocktailtables.com

 

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14 Ways To Eliminate Sugar Cravings

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Do you ever stop and think about how much sugar you consume each day? It may be more than you think.  Sugar cravings are usually a sign of poor eating habits. The more sugar and refined carbohydrates you consume, the more you’ll crave.

One of the reasons we have so much trouble with sugar is because it is a substance which is very pervasive in our modern food supply – especially if you consume the Standard American Diet. Sugar is responsible for causing obesity and Diabetes, and contributing to heart disease and cancer. Even if you don’t have a weight problem, you could be consuming more sugar than you should be.

Here are just some of the side-effects a high-sugar diet can cause:

  • a weakened immune system
  • increased levels of fasting glucose (during times when you are not eating)
  • causes an acidic digestive tract, which reduces the amount of friendly bacteria in the gut
  • induces a rapid rise of adrenaline – especially in children
  • causes deficiencies in various nutrients such as copper, chromium, and other important trace minerals
  • interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium
  • causes premature aging
  • increases the risk of Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, and other digestive disorders
  • can weaken eyesight
  • causes irritability, hyperactivity, crankiness, and difficulty in focusing – especially in children
  • contributes to asthma, arthritis, heart disease, appendicitis, multiple sclerosis, and gallstones
  • contribute to or cause food allergies
  • cause a rise in cholesterol and blood pressure
  • can contribute to toxemia in pregnancy

For a complete list, see 146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health by Nancy Appleton, PhD.

As we draw nearer to the holiday season, you may find yourself tempted and unable to say no to all the seasonal treats and snacks hanging around in places you frequent – your office, your child’s school, holiday events and gatherings, friend’s houses, and even your own home.

If you find yourself constantly having sugar cravings and are unable to stay away from processed foods and refined carbohydrates, here are some suggestions:

  1. Resolve to make a food journal and keep track of what you are eating for one week. Make as many changes as you feel comfortable with at a time, but know that completely going off sugar for one week will bring about positive changes you might never have realized possible. Review your journal daily. You will be surprised at what you have kept track of and change will become easier each day. Continue your journal beyond a week and see how many other changes occur as time goes on.
  2. Start replacing snacks like chips, crackers, processed breads, cereals, pretzels, rice cakes, “food bars” and others with choices like sprouted nuts, raw cheeses, whole fruits and vegetables. When you find yourself going for the unhealthy variety, eat the healthy alternatives instead. When your body tells you it wants sugar, it usually means it needs the nutrients in foods with healthy fats.
  3. For a few weeks to a few months, until you can get your sugar cravings under control, avoid high starch and carb content in meals such as potatoes (white and sweet), white rice, and pasta.  Occasional brown rice or brown rice pasta is acceptable.
  4. Eliminate refined and processed carbohydrates.
  5. Eat fruit between meals. Eating fruit with large meals can cause bloating and fermentation in the stomach, and can also lead to digestive difficulty for your digestive tract. Fruit between meals helps keep your blood sugar level and is a great snack choice that delivers nutrients and fiber.
  6. Eat natural grass-fed meats, pasture-raised poultry, and eggs from hens on pasture. Obese meats such as those raised on feedlots and fed corn, grain, and soy add to your overall carbohydrate and glycemic load because those meats contain less protein but more fat and calories due to the feed they are given – grains, soy, corn, and other unnatural, inflammatory substances.  Feedlot meats are also full of antibiotics which eliminate healthy gut flora or bacteria and can contribute to sugar cravings. Healthy meats contain the correct amount of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, high protein, healthy fat and calories because they come from animals on pasture and grazing as nature intends. Also include in your diet home-made broths from bones of the meat you consume. Broths are highly nutritious, healing, and supportive of health.
  7. If you haven’t already, begin a regimen of moderate exercise that you enjoy and can engage in for 20 to 30 minutes three to four times a week. Make certain to start slow and go easy. Although exercise lowers insulin levels, helps keep your blood sugar even, and can aid in reducing sugar cravings, it can also be damaging to your adrenal glands which may already be exhausted from poor dietary and lifestyle habits. You don’t have to be a marathon athlete or competitive sports participant to gain benefit from regular, moderate activity. Walking is a great exercise to begin with for beginning a regular routine.
  8. Make sure you are taking a good whole-foods, organically-produced vitamin supplement. Consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who understands nutrition for recommendations.
  9. Make sure you are eating foods containing natural probiotics such as raw dairy – milk, cheese, butter, home-made yogurt, buttermilk, or other fermented foods such as home-made sauerkraut. You can also take a good quality, therapeutic-grade probiotic such as BioKult, Biotics Research brand, Prescript-Asisst, or Advanced Naturals, are reputable brands that provide good bacteria count.
  10. Include plenty of natural fiber from cooked and lacto-fermented vegetables in your diet.  Be sure to eat healthy fats with your vegetables – home-made salad dressing with salads and butter, coconut, or olive oil with cooked.  Throw out all bottled and packaged dips, toppings, and salad dressing as they are full of sugar and many contain MSG, other excitotoxins, and other dangerous chemicals.
  11. Make sure you have a good source of essential fatty acid supplementation – fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture Products is, in my opinion, the only cod liver oil supplement worth using. Organic, cold-pressed flax seed oil is healthy as well, but should not be considered a substitute for a good cod liver oil.
  12. Consider performing a candida cleanse. People who eat refined foods on a regular basis almost always have a yeast overgrowth problem. This leads to sugar cravings, fatigue, immune system deficiency, weight gain, and long-term degenerative disease. Consult with a knowledgeable complimentary health care practitioner about how to go about this important step in managing health issues, and learn about the proper diet for this type of cleanse as well as professional grade supplements that are necessary to help remove candida overgrowth from your body.
  13. Obtain adequate rest and stress relief daily. Go to bed before 10:30 p.m. nightly and make sure to take time out for yourself during your busy day.
  14. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that using artificial sweeteners will be an acceptable replacement for your sugar cravings. All of these substances including Splenda, Aspartame, Saccharine, High-Fructose Corn Syrup and any type of corn syrup is highly-refined, will continue to cause sugar cravings, and leads to long-term health issues in the same way sugar can.

For more information on the impact alcoholic beverages have on a sugar addiction, read Alcohol and the Sugar Connection

Want some ideas for foods that will help reduce sugar cravings and boost your immune system and health?

Healthy and Nutrient-Dense Foods At-A-Glance

Wondering about exercise and weight?

Do Eating Habits or Exercise Dictate Weight?

Wondering what foods are healthy to eat?

How Well Do You Know Your Food? Find Out!

Weight issues?

Want to Lose Weight? DETOX!

Ideas for keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy foods that give energy and wellness?

My Kitchen Staples – How I Keep My Family Healthy

This post is part of Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival.