Monday, February 10, 2014

What does the word "Natural" mean on your food label?

Apparently not much:

If you can't afford organic, GROW YOUR OWN FOOD.

Do it. I will help you. Just do it.

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At February 10, 2014 at 11:59 AM , Blogger Arisia said...

I keep going around in circles trying to figure a way to grow anything and still try to sell my house. It just won't work in this neighborhood. But, I'm doing the next best thing: I talked myself into a part time job at a nearby organic farm, freshpasturefarms [dot] com. My pay will be learning how they do it and getting experience so I can help my daughter later.

Meanwhile, I have decided I can grow some things at my other house, because it's in a less snooty neighborhood. What you can help me with the most at this point is info on mixing soil for pots or very small raised beds. And beginning composting. I've read your stuff on more advanced composting, but I feel like I've bypassed composting 101. I need the fast stuff, because in a couple months, I expect to start trying to sell that house, and it should sell much easier.

Maybe you can point me to articles you've already written on how to start composting and growing on a small scale. Thanks.

At February 10, 2014 at 5:31 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Good for you for volunteering... that's one of the very best ways to pick up knowledge. You're going to be amazing.

Getting out of a snooty neighborhood is a big plus. Life is too short to live with control freaks.

For pots, you want a loose, larger-grained soil mix. They have organic potting soil, or if that isn't up your alley, you can mix little chunks of bark with perlite, compost and some local dirt, provided it's not dense clay. Buying a bit is probably the easiest route. I stretch my potting soil by stuffing the bottom of my pots with broken sticks, chunks of wood, and mulch and leaves. I think the extra water they hold, plus the fungi that will colonize them, is good.

As for composting, the "ideal," easy composting method is to make a big pile alternating green and brown material. So... green stuff would be fresh grass clippings, manure, kitchen scraps and other stuff that gets sloppy. Brown stuff would be everything from shredded paper to leaves, dried cornstalks, straw, etc. Stack them in a heap together and alternate green/brown layers while watering profusely. The mess will get hot within a couple of days, provided the pile is at least a cubic yard in size. Put a tarp over it, turn it over every couple of weeks, then voila... compost will happen.

Even easier, just pick a spot and pile up everything that rots and make sure it gets good and wet now and again. Turn it when you like. Eventually, you'll have compost.

Compost 101 is basically this: Everything organic rots. Stack a mix of stuff together and you'll get compost eventually.

At February 10, 2014 at 7:57 PM , Blogger Elizabeth said...

Isn't that video hilarious??!!! I was laughing so hard. It is amazing how many ignorant Americans we have!!!!!!!!!
Peace & Raw Health,

At February 10, 2014 at 8:21 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Yes! The actor NAILED it.

At February 10, 2014 at 8:28 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

One other thing... I think plenty of folks are ignorant, sure... but many others are simply trusting. They wouldn't generally lie or distort the truth, so they find it difficult to believe that others would and do. They think the media, governments, corporations and others are generally good folks with good intentions.

At February 11, 2014 at 9:26 AM , Blogger Leon said...

At February 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM , Anonymous rycamor said...

Funny sketch, although I'm not even sure I trust the world "organic" on packages anymore. That's controlled by the Federal government, am I right? Where is their vested interest? I'm starting to think that unless you actually know your local farmer or whatever source for the food you're eating... unless you can actually see the place your food comes from, you don't know anything.

At February 12, 2014 at 9:17 AM , Anonymous SomeGardenGuy said...

Two points.

Though growing food at home is admirable, it may pay to understand that what you grow may be worse off than "organic" at the store. How so? My understanding is that in Florida, sites of old orange groves may be heavily contaminated with the remnants of lead and arsenic-based pesticides (there are other sources of contamination as well). A property owner may be completely unaware of this issue. While different plants uptake these in different levels, chicken eggs can also be contaminated (google can point you to some research). Now, I understand that someday something is going to kill all of us, and it is by no means my intention to rain on the parade or dissuade anyone from backyard gardening. However, know your property and get a heavy metal soil test if you suspect something. If there's an issue, there's options to deal with it.

Second, currently I have a modest garden that provides us with some food. We often also additionally drive to the you-pick-em farms in our area (if it hasn't been highlighted here yet: is great; we have many farms in our area). This allows us not only to see how our food is being grown, but to directly get to know the family growing it. I've learned anything from a few growing tricks to what sort of values some of these great people have. Plus it's great for kids.

Dave, pardon my lengthy comment; couldn't help myself.

At February 12, 2014 at 9:26 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

Heh. No problem at all. You're darned right.

People don't often realize that compost and organic gardening can't "fix" everything that's potentially wrong with the soil they're on. Lead, cadmium, arsenic, etc. in the soil can be perpetually recycled in a system unless removed.

The chances of being on a poisoned site are real and tests aren't at all a bad idea - I appreciate you bringing up that point.

We also take advantage of the local farms... the smaller guys, in my experience, are often very conscious of what toxins they use. Even if they don't jump through the many hoops to get a full "organic" label, they're doing a lot better than might be expected.


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