I love reading about people in their community growing food and building relationships thru their food gardens. This particular story touched my heart so I'm sharing with you too
11 Year Old Boy Creates Community Garden so No One Goes Hungry Hurt told 24-Hour News 8 he started gardening when he was 7 years old and planted beans. His mom said the beans provided extra food for the family. Hurt is now expanding his garden to help others. The community garden opened earlier in May. “I got rows of tomatoes, one, two,” Hurt described. “This one’s got two tomatoes.”
But this land is more than just a garden of fruits and vegetables. “I got it from across the school because the lady over there donated it to me so that’s when I got it and also I wanted to do that to feed the community,” Hurt added. He said the garden is open to everyone and people can stop by whenever to pick fresh fruits and vegetables. “Because it’s the right thing to help feed the community, and it feeds people so nobody goes hungry,” Hurt said.
Helping people grow the healthiest gardens possible is our passion. This is one of many reasons we started Mary's Heirloom Seeds. Every day we are working to create additional planting tutorials and videos. Our Gardens Fundraiser at Mary's Heirloom Seeds helps fund additional seed donations to school gardens, community and non-profit gardens and church gardens across the country. Every Year our donation program GROWS!
Gardening can reduce stress & anxiety, it can bring people together and it's a great education tool. Food gardens offer all of those benefits and more!
You may already know from numerous articles I've shared that I'm a huge advocate of Growing Food no matter what! If you're curious, read
Food Gardens can feed people!!! I know that's an obvious statement but with so many hungry people in the world and right here in our own community, it needs to be said. We can make a difference one food garden at a time. Food Gardens can solve the issue of food deserts. "Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers." source Food Gardens can help save the Pollinators! 2018 is the Year of the pollinators! If you grow organic and WITH nature, there is always a place for beneficial insects. We use Companion Planting as our first line of defense against pests. A healthy, well fed soil system can produce healthy plant which do not require expensive sprays and treatments.
The agri-chem companies want you to believe that GMOs are meant to "feed the world" but that is a myth. Read GMO Crops Do Not Cure Hunger. The answer to feeding more people is for the community to get involved with their food production. The amount of cancer causing pesticides and herbicides used every year is in the billions of pounds. If we all took responsibility for our food and grow beyond organic standards, we could make a GLOBAL change for the benefit of everyone.
From PPS, "Safety and crime reduction - There is evidence linking community gardens to improved safety in neighborhoods – showing that crime decreases in neighborhoods as the amount of green space increases. Two reports in the Journal of Environment and Behavior studied (1) the impact nature has on mental fatigue (often a precursor of aggression and violence), and (2) the relationship between green space and inner city crime rates. The research determined that aggression and violence was “significantly lower among those people who lived near some green space than those who lived in more barren conditions.”"
Kids love to grow food! Food Gardens are a great educational tool. As part of our seed donation program at Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we work with several homeschool groups and co-ops across the country and in our own community. My sister and her kids grow all sorts of deliciousness in the garden.
Why Heirloom Seeds? From Seed Saving Part 1, "Saving Seeds from your garden bounty is like putting money away for a rainy day. Best of all, saving your own seeds is one of many ways to regain control of your family's source of food" Open-pollinated, heirloom seeds will grow seeds that can be saved and re-planted year after year. Hybrid seeds can be sterile and may not produce true offspring from saved seeds.
I hope you have enjoyed another educational article. If you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to email@example.com
We've had several requests lately so today we're offering NEW articles with info to help you better Plan and Plant.
As a grower/farmer/homesteader, we understand that sometimes your "wishlist" might be larger than your budget or your garden space. With over 500 heirloom seed varieties available at Mary's Heirloom Seeds, it's not always easy to decide which varieties to purchase and plant. Recently someone on our facebook page asked about creating a wishlist option on our site.
Here's what we came up with...
Create an account at Mary's Heirloom Seeds. You'll see the option on the top right corner of the page if your on a desktop (pictured). If you're on a mobile device, it's under "Menu" and at the bottom of the drop-down list.
From there, enter your info in the boxes provided
You will receive an email confirmation as soon as you're signed up. From there, you can add any items you would like to your cart as a wishlist. If you do not receive this email, your info might not have been saved or you might have a filter on your email
We do not "dump" carts so you can continue to add or take away from your cart at any time. If for some reason you cannot access your cart, you can always send us an email. We have the option to send out an email with a link to recover your account.
As always, if you have additional questions or concerns we are happy to help.
Saving seeds from your garden bounty is like putting money away for a rainy day. Best of all, saving your own seeds is one of many ways to regain control of your family’s source of food.
FIRST and most important: Seed Saving from your own harvest is preferred. Store bought produce can be GMO or even hybrid. Even organic store bought can be hybrid. Hybrid seeds can be sterile and will not produce true offspring from saved seeds. Open-pollinated, heirloom seeds will grow seeds that can be saved and re-planted year after year.
SECOND: Cross pollination is always a possibility if you grow multiple varieties of the same crop. Tomatoes for example. You can avoid cross-pollination by creating barriers of plants and distance or planting only 1 variety to save seeds from each season.
Regardless of plant type, one rule is universal: The seed must ripen on the plant in order to ensure best rate of germination. This means your peppers must turn red, orange or yellow (whichever color when fully ripe), your eggplants and cucumbers need to turn yellow, your beans and peas must be “rattle dry” in their pods, and your corn must be left on the stalks until the husks turn paper-brown. Pumpkins, watermelons and melons must be vine-ripe; keep them a few weeks longer in a dry place until they are almost rotten.
PICTURED is a very over-ripe Cocozelle Zucchini. You'll see that the skin started to yellow (and harden). Once you have saved seed, clean it and allow it to dry thoroughly. Seed that is not absolutely dry when stored will develop mold, which will kill it.
Dry seed should be put away in airtight containers in a dark, cool place until needed—always date the container. Some seeds will keep for many years Below is our VIDEO about pollination and cross-pollination
This article is in response to a recent article I shared about Crops rotting in the field because farmers lacked the labor force to complete their harvest.There are many reasons for the lack of labor force but we'll stick to the FOOD issues for now.
What would happen if there were no more fancy colored lettuce in plastic bags and boxes on store shelves?What would you do if they were there but you could no longer afford them?
According to the USDA, food insecurity decline in 2015 by 1.3% from 2014.That sounds great but when you look at the staggering about of people around you that struggle every day to feed themselves and their family it isn't very comforting.
Reasons for Food Insecurities include
Rising food costs
Crop failure due to Weather or Water Shortage
Farm labor shortage
Interruptions in transportation of food
To keep it simple, this article refers to 2 types of food security.The first is the supply chain of food and the second is consumer access based on affordability.
As a homesteader, we grow quite a bit of our own food but we understand that not everyone shares our passion for self-sufficiency.Even though we grow, there are still plenty of food items that are sourced locally or thru grocery stores.Those items don't just magically appear in the store.Someone has to grow them, care for them, harvest them and then transport.One "blip" in the supply chain can be devastating.
We've seen the evidence of food shortages in recent years.Venezuela is an example.Some argue the food is there but the government has control.Some argue that the food is there but it's too expensive and others that there is a true food shortage.Whichever theory you choose to follow, the fact is that the people of Venezuela are in trouble.
In some instances, it's not the lack of food that can be the issue but rather wasting food.Every day perfectly good produces is thrown out because it isn't "pretty" enough to sell.
In 2006, USDA introduced new language to describe ranges of severity of food insecurity.Let's start with the clear definitions from the USDA
High food security (old label=Food security): no reported indications of food-access problems or limitations.
Marginal food security (old label=Food security): one or two reported indications—typically of anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food in the house. Little or no indication of changes in diets or food intake.
Low food security (old label=Food insecurity without hunger): reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.
Very low food security (old label=Food insecurity with hunger): Reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.
Why do we need these definitions?Well, to better understand their statistics!
Food secure—These households had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
87.3 percent (109.3 million) of U.S. households were food secure throughout 2015.
An increase from 86.0 percent in 2014.
Food insecure—At times during the year, these households were uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food. Food-insecure households include those with low food security and very low food security.
12.7 percent (15.8 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2015.
Down from 14.0 percent in 2014.
Very low food security—In these food-insecure households, normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.
5.0 percent (6.3 million) of U.S. households had very low food security at some time during 2015.
Over the past two decades, food prices have risen 2.6 percent a year on average. But recent factors have slowed food price inflation. The change is only temporary, though. Once those downward pressures abate, food prices will resume their normal upward trend. Let's do the math. In the last 20 years, food prices have increased by 52%
Food Shortages from the Farm
"UK summer fruit and salad growers are having difficulty recruiting pickers, with more than half saying they don't know if they will have enough migrant workers to harvest their crops." source
"Volatile prices can be blamed on a dismal California harvest, which started in February."
"She said trees were stressed after five years of drought. Extreme heat in July 2016 also hurt this year’s crop. Global supplies also are down." source April 2017 "Lettuce Shortage sends prices soaring" source April 2011 "Eggplant shortage disrupts supplies to local eateries, groceries" source MOST of your store-bought food is Imported! "It is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate." source "Today, the typical American prepared meal contains, on average, ingredients from at least five countries outside the United States." source We are fortunate in the US to have access to grocery stores and sophisticated transportation methods. I've given you a good idea with the sources above of the different forms of food insecurities we face. I've also shown that even with our current technology and infrastructure, food insecurities do exist. What can we do? As a homesteader, I can tell you what we are doing. Plant a garden and GROW. Every season we expand our gardens to be able to produce more fruits, veggies and herbs. What we do not eat, we preserve for future use or share our abundance.
Garden goodies I dropped off for my Mom
We barter fresh produce with one neighbor in exchange for her horse poop. We use the aged horse poop in the garden to produce healthy, abundant crops. Backyard chickens are a newer adventure for us and so far we're thrilled. It took 5 months growing these tiny chicks into hens but they are now rewarding us with eggs every day.
Organic eggs from our Hens
Stock your pantry. For items that you are unable to grow, but in bulk and store for later. We do this as well and it has saved quite a bit of money in the process. Just be sure to rotate your "back-ups."
I hope you have enjoyed another educational article. if you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
JOIN US in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge! Have you heard of the challenge?
Mary's Heirloom Seeds is joining National Pollinator Garden Network CHALLENGE. NPGN collectively represents approximately 800,000 gardeners, 10,000 schoolyard gardens and bring a baseline of a 250,000 registered pollinator gardens nationwide from across its five main founding organizations.
The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America. We will move millions of individuals, kids and families outdoors and make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food people eat.
The focus of the NPGN is: to inspire individuals and community groups, institutions and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices, habitat conservation and provide these groups the tools to be successful.
So how are we getting involved? We already offer a SUPER unique election of Wildflower Seeds and Herb Seeds that are bee-friendly. We grow organic and plant for the bees in our own gardens.
FIRST, we are adding more Bee-Friendly SEEDS at Mary's Heirloom Seeds! **Listed below**
Next, we are offering 50% OFF every single variety listed under FLOWERS. Yes, you read that right.
50% off Flower Seeds now thru February 10th when you use code BEES50 at checkout in the appropriate box.
How does it work?
CLICK HERE for our huge selection of flower seeds. At checkout, find the box marked "discount"
Type in BEES50
in the box and click "apply" to automatically calculate your saving. If you have trouble using our discount code, please send an email to email@example.com and we can help you locate the appropriate box.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species - the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental U.S.
The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.
"Today's Endangered Species listing is the best-and probably last-hope for the recovery of the rusty patched bumble bee," NRDC Senior Attorney Rebecca Riley said in a statement from the Xerces Society, which advocates for invertebrates. "Bumble bees are dying off, vanishing from our farms, gardens, and parks, where they were once found in great numbers."
Large parts of the Eastern and Midwestern United States were once crawling with these bees, Bombus affinis, but the bees have suffered a dramatic decline in the last two decades due to habitat loss and degradation, along with pathogens and pesticides.
Indeed, the bee was found in 31 states and Canadian provinces before the mid- to late-1990s, according to the final rule published in the Federal Register. But since 2000, it has been reported in only 13 states and Ontario, Canada. It has seen an 88 percent decline in the number of populations and an 87 percent loss in the amount of territory it inhabits.
This means the species is vulnerable to extinction, the rule says, even without further habitat loss or insecticide exposure. Canada designated the species as endangered in 2012.
The bees live in large colonies that can be made up of 1,000 individual workers. All types of the species have black heads, the rule states, "but only workers and males have a rusty reddish patch centrally located on the abdomen."
Habitat degradation may be particularly harmful to these bees because of their feeding habits, as described in the rule:
"The rusty patched bumble bee is one of the first bumble bees to emerge early in the spring and the last to go into hibernation, so to meet its nutritional needs, the species requires a constant and diverse supply of blooming flowers."
Last October, the Fish and Wildlife Service gave endangered status to seven species of yellow-faced bees native to Hawaii, the first time any U.S. bees received this kind of protection.
Pollinator decline is a global trend. A recent major global assessment sponsored by the U.N. suggested that about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species are facing extinction. Since some 75 percent of food crops rely at least partially on pollinators, that raises serious concerns about the future of the global food supply.
We can ALL try to do our part!
How can we help? 1. STOP spraying synthetic pesticides and even organic bee-killing pesticides around your yard and help your neighbors do the same
2. Plant more flowers for hungry pollinators. ****Please be aware that most of the "big box" nurseries sell chemically treated plants that will kill bees and other pollinators
3. Leave the weeds! Dandelions are beneficial flowers for bees and other pollinators
4. Look for local honey! Yum! This supports beekeeping in your area.
5. Bees get thirsty so we leave out a small dish in our beds for them to drink
Going organic is great but growing your own organic is even better! In our own gardens, we take extra measures to ensure a thriving bee population. Without bees, our gardens are pathetic!
To help YOU grow a healthy garden and help the bees, we've added 2 NEW varieties to our SEED SALE!
FOOD. Without food, we would not survive. Whether you are aware or not, our food choices make an impact every single day.
"Simply put, food is at the juncture of some of the most important issues facing our society (and world!): conservation, climate change, animal welfare, corporate control and consolidation, public health, fair labor and immigration, to name a few."
Now more than ever, the food choices we make are critical to our body and the planet. It seems that every month, there is a new herbicide or pesticide approved for use on food. More genetically modified or engineered "phood" are being approved and planted. Commercial farming and factory farming are heavy pollution producers.
-It has been estimated that produce travels an average distance of 1500 miles before it is consumed
-Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United State (US) each year and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide source
"The World Health Organization estimates that there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,000 deaths, primarily in developing countries. The application of pesticides is often not very precise, and unintended exposures occur to other organisms in the general area where pesticides are applied."
The stats above don't even take into account the cancer rates associated to pesticide use and consumption.
"Using the metaphor of a tree, it charts the loss of U.S. seed variety from 1903 to 1983. And what you see is that we’ve lost about 93% of our unique seed strands behind some of the most popular produce"
"Garlic can be whitened by using chlorine or with a mixture of sulphur and wood ash. Whitening garlic helps to make it look healthier and more attractive to consumers. In fact this obsession with white foods has lead to the bleaching of many food products (flour, salt, sugar) using chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide."
"Nearly 200 million farmers in China, India, Vietnam, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America harvest grains and vegetables from fields that use untreated human waste."
Your choices make a huge impact on food and you are not alone. There is a growing movement in this country to make better, healthier food choices. More people are choosing to grow their own food and not just veggies and herbs. Humanely raising meat is one of many ways to make a positive change. Some call it homesteading and for some it's just a way of life.
What steps can we make to create a positive change?
-Grow your own food and grow it without synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
-Plant for the BEES to ensure continued success in the garden
-Eat less meat and "better meat" (humanely raised and locally raised)
-Support companies making a positive change
-Boycott companies who support biotech seeds and polluters
Since food is daily decision, each day brings a new opportunity to create a positive impact. We're all in this together. 2017 will be our largest garden ever and a chance to continue making great things happen. Mary's Heirloom Seeds will continue our efforts to protect seed diversity. We will continue to volunteer at schools and other organizations.
Will you join us?
I hope you have enjoyed another educational article from Mary's Heirloom Seeds!
Another one of my favorite heirloom varieties is the Thai Roselle, also called Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry or Red Thai Hibiscus. This is another unique variety that would make a great addition to your garden! From Mary's Heirloom Seeds, "A valuable plant for making cranberry-flavored bright red beverages, jelly, pie and tea. Much grown in Asia and the mid-east as the flavor is wonderful. A tasty sauce can be made by boiling and sweetening the fleshy calyxes; the leaves are also used to make a drink. The entire plant of this Hibiscus is red and very beautiful. Start early, unless you live in the far-south. Citrus-flavored flowers are delicious on frozen deserts. Also called Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry and Hibiscus"
Roselle was called “Florida cranberry” in the 1890s. The flowers and young leaves are edible and have a citrus tang.
Hibiscus, of which Roselle is a variety of, is a tropical plant, but if started indoors it can be grown successfully in more northern climates. You want to start your Thai Red Roselle around the same time you would plants like peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. Since this is a heat-loving plant, you want to give it as much of a head start as you can.
Thai Red Roselle is susceptible to aphids, so either use an organic spray or companion plant to control insects. Roselle branches should be pruned when they are 12-18 inches tall to help control height. These plants can reach up so 6 feet in height.
From esgreen, "Botanically speaking, it's Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (family Malvaceae) and it’s the bushy H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa that produces the edible products.The edible parts used to make “juice” or tea (actually, an infusion) look like reddish dried-up buds. In fact, they’re not flowers but calyces. It’s the calyx, the red, fleshy covering enclosing the flower’s seed pod, which is used for flavoring, cooking and food coloring. The flower of this variety of sabdariffa is yellow, white or light pink.
Roselle(Hibiscus) has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic and mild laxative, as well as in treating cancer and cardiac and nerve diseases. Although information is limited, the potential for hibiscus use in treating hypertension and cancer, as well as for its lipid-lowering and renal effects, are being investigated.
Although roselle is being studied, it hasn’t yet been proven to have the healing powers of bael fruit. It is high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin C and iron, as seen on this Purdue University page. And the beverages have no caffeine. In East Africa, "Sudan tea" is consumed as medicine to cure coughs. In Guatamala, roselle is believed to cure hangovers. In Senegal, a roselle extract is said to lower blood pressure. In India, Africa and Central America, infusions made from roselle calyces or seeds are prescribed as a diuretic, to stimulate bile production and to treat fever."