November 30, 2011
Many of you who attended our Homegrown Medicine lecture series have requested the recipes that were served that day! All of the ingredients are 100% organic so for your best success, we recommend using all organic items. Thank you so much to everyone who attended this year, we think this lecture had a huge success and are looking forward to future lectures!
In a Crock Pot on High, add 2 cups each of Olive, Avocado, Almond
Then add fresh or dried Lavender leaves and flowers, Sage leaves, Comfrey
leaves and Rosemary leaves and let simmer fully covered with oil for 4
hours, then strain and seperate oil from herbs, then add 3/4 cup of Bees Wax
for every 6 cups of oil and allow to melt in warmed oil in crock pot and
stir to blend. Then Allow mixture to cool…and you have Salve!
Cough Syrup and Flu Cure
Collect 1 lb. fresh or dried Elderberries, and place in large pot on stove,
dice one cup of ginger, add 1/2 cup Fennel seeds with 9 cups of water and
then boil mixture for 35 minutes, make into a strong tea. Then add 1/2 cup
of honey for every cup of tea, turn stove to low heat and stir until honey
is well blended with mixture. Once syrup has cooled, add 4 tablespoons of
Brandy per cup of syrup.
-Ginger and Lemon Grass- Cut up lemon grass and ginger to taste, and boil for
30 minutes. You may want to add more or less ginger for your flavor needs.
-Dandelion and Rose Hips and Raspberry Leaves- Boil dandelion first for 20
minutes, then add Rose Hips to brew to taste for additional 5 minutes, then
turn off stove and add rasberry leaves and let steep for 5 minutes.
-Nettle and Chamomile- Add equal parts herbs, boil and serve. Fro every cup
add tablespoon of each herb.
10 bulbs of garlic, 1/2 cup parsley, 1/4 cup onion scapes
and cook on medium heat with olive oil until mixture sticks together well
enough to spread on crackers or bread.
Boil for sticks of butter with 1 cup of dried rosemary or
lavender (or other herb) and simmer in 1 gallon of water for 1-2 hours.
Then strain herbs from butter/water mixture and place pot with strain butter
in fridge overnight. Next day, all butter will be congealed on surface, so
cut a small hole in butter and drain water off and then store butter in
August 30, 2011
With the green movement in high gear, there has been much debate as to what words like ‘natural’, ‘environmentally friendly’, and ‘eco-friendly’ truly mean. Although there is still no single definition, this chart attempts to break down what it is to be eco-friendly and how it can be used in the advertising world. With almost every company scrambling to advertise their ‘green’ ways, this chart does a great job at breaking down the verbage and what it means to be green!
July 26, 2011
Marcellus shale drillers, in Pennsylvania, are shipping more fracking waste to the Buckeye State, on pace for Ohio to bank nearly $1 million in fees this year from out-of-state drillers pumping hazardous fluids deep under Ohio. We find this fact extremely disturbing! Says Wes Duren, “A million dollars in revenue from fraking waste water doesn’t seem like that much money to warrant dumping millions of gallons of contaminated water in our Ohio soils. Eventually, that water will make its way to ground water and it will contribute to water contamination, which may cost our state far more in the long run to treat. This seems like a serious lack of foresight to me. Distilling that water and purifyng it may be a better option.”
To free gas from the Marcellus shale more than a mile underground, drillers use more than 4 million gallons of water per well. Laced with chemicals and shot at high pressure, the fluid breaks through the earth, but more than a fifth of it returns to the surface with more chemicals, solids and metals freed from underground, and that water must be treated either for reuse or disposal. Marcellus drillers in Pennsylvania generated more than 6 million barrels of liquid waste from July 2009 through June 2010, according to state records. Depending on whether disposal reporting was done correctly, as little as 0.5 percent or as much as 4.7 percent of that may have gone to injection disposal wells. In the second half of last year, drillers produced almost as much liquid waste — 5.3 million barrels — and started sending more than 6.6 percent of their waste to injection disposal wells, all in Ohio. Of the 2.4 million barrels of fracking water injected into Ohio disposal wells last fall, 39 percent came from other states! During the first three months of this year, 49 percent came from out of state, said Tom Tomastik of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
To read more of this article and the potential environmental problem that could be on the horizon for Ohio, please view the original article: Pennsylvania fracking water being disposed in Ohio – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_745228.html#ixzz1TDxZi0xe
July 20, 2011
March 4, 2011
The Eastern Redbud is an Ohio native, and old time favorite of gardeners everywhere. When the Redbud are in full bloom, with their incredibly vuluptuous dark pink blossoms, there is no tree that can rival their striking beauty. Looking similar to a cherry tree in full flower, the bloom are edible, and make an excellent garnishing for salads and other seasonal dishes, imparting a pea-like taste. Eventually, the bright pink blossoms give way to fantastic heart-shaped leaves, that are very insect and disease resistant, and emerge in subtle shades of purple, then dark green by late spring. These small to medium sized trees, never grow much taller than 15′-20′, and are perfect for even the most compact yard, lending themselves well to both full shade or full sun. Redbud can also tolerate even the poorest soil conditions, but really flourish when amended with our homemade compost and beneficial mycorrhizal fungi product, better known as CPR. We have both pink and white blooming redbud varieties, all approximately 5′-6′ tall in easy-to-transplant containers. SALE $64.95 ($10 savings!)
If you are looking for ways to increase your garden production while reducing your fertilizer and irrigation needs, you may be interested in the ancient practice of making BioChar and applying this process to your garden. This 2500 year old technology adapted from the ancient farmers of the Amazon Rain Forest can be replicated in your backyard with a few basic tools. You need to use about 10 pounds of BioChar per 1000 surface feet of bed area to make a lasting positive impact.
Benefits of using BioChar:
1. We can make it ourselves with a few basic materials: wood, steel container and fire!
2. Replicates the ancient Amazonian practice of sustainable agriculture. Another affective ancient technology!
3. Excellent for carbon sequestering, and other gases that promote global warming (or global cooling depending on who you ask) 6 pounds of Biochar hold 3 pounds of carbon in the soil permanently!
4. Great way to hold nutrients in soil, reducing the need for fertilizer of any kind, and reducing water pollution from leaching
5. Eliminates the need for slash and burn agriculture, because farm fields can be farmed for centuries without wearing out the soil
6. Holds water and releases as the plant roots require. So porous that 1 lb of Biochar has as much surface area as 7 football fields
7. Boosts soil biology because it holds carbon so affectively, ultimately promoting healthier, more sustainable crops of all sorts
8. Attracts and holds many toxic pollutants and can be safely added to aquaculture ponds in ‘tea bags’ to absorb toxins and nutrients. 1 lb. required for 1000 gallons of water
9. Lessens soil erosion by helping to bind to soil particles with its electrical charge.
10. If produced correctly, emits less the 5% carbon into atmosphere. The byproduct of the process is an oil used for biofuel.
11. Waste wood, agricultural debris and trash can be used to make it. This could be a great way to rid our forests of honeysuckle!
12. Completely non toxic, so won’t hurt if it is swallowed by pet or child.
13. Can increase crop yields, according to Australian scientists, by as much as 880% when added to soil with compost.
14. Easy to apply, as little as 5% needed in upper 20 centimeters of soil to promote long term positive results
15. Will remain in soil for thousands of years with no known repercussions. Still finding traces of it in the Amazon rain forest 2500 years later, where they are now selling the activated ancient soil as a local ‘compost’
January 26, 2011
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “ Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders”. We all sow seeds of one kind or another, and some of those seeds grow to fruition, providing opportunities that blossom beyond our wildest imagination. Recently, a small group from Marvin’s Organic Gardens, along with friends Jonas Muyima and Jean Nightingale, had an extraordinary opportunity to sow seeds in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in central Africa. Our mission was seemingly straightforward: To share our love by building organic edible gardens with those in need. Having never visited this part of the world, we had no idea what to expect. We experienced immeasurable natural beauty, ancient cultures and destitute communities with unbridled joy for life. The rawness of the people and the wildness of the cities and native landscapes opened our eyes and touched our lives in profound ways, leaving us with a yearning to sow more seeds, both near and far.
Upon arriving in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we were left breathless and overwhelmed by the sheer population density, lack of infrastructure and trash that literally paved the roads and filled the gutters. The absence of trash service and sanitary sewer was shockingly ubiquitous, and the torrential precipitation during the nine months of rainy season offers the only relief to flush this festering waste from ditches and roads into the nearby Congo River. The city is more like an over-sized ramshackle village, which extends for miles in all directions, bustling with the disarray of desperate street vendors from young children to elderly, selling everything imaginable just to feed themselves and their families. The population of Kinshasa is around 10,076,099 while the city of Cincinnati metropolitan area houses a population of around 2,155,137, according to a recent Census Bureau estimate. It is difficult to comprehend this kind of population density and poverty, because we are inundated with organized neighborhoods, box stores, restaurants, movie theaters, car dealerships, outlet malls, amusement parks, democracy, law and order and a plethora of every plausible convenience around almost every corner. While the per capita income of Ohio is around $35,000.00, the per capita income of DRC is about $173.00 U.S. dollars, which equates to a daily salary of less than fifty cents. Because there is insufficient manufacturing in the country, most food and material needs are shipped from afar, inflating the price tag to more than double what we pay for the same products. Many of the citizens of Kinshasa come to the city with the hope of an easier way of life in contrast to rural living, but jobs are scarce, and housing is expensive. There is an estimated 20,000 street children living and sleeping in the dirty streets of the capital city, with no one to look after them, and no government programs to support those in need. Much of the military and police are underpaid, and more often than not, require bribes for travelers to pass from one area to another. While the picture being painted may seem bleak, there is an air of hope, of joy, of purpose and laughter that abounds, even in the midst of desperate poverty. We arrived in Kinshasa with a clear objective, and we refused to be discouraged, because we knew that even the smallest mango seed eventually grows into a towering tree that can feed scores of Congolese for generations. Our mission had begun, and we had our work cut out for us.
Our time in the capital city was productive, and we used every possible minute to discover resources such as: vegetable seeds, garden tools, containerized edible trees and willing volunteers that could help us to locate and install potential garden sites where we could begin the arduous process of bed building, compost pile making, seed sowing and more. With the generous support of our friends in Cincinnati, we were able to hire and feed sixteen local Congolese, both young and old, to help us break ground. The soil in the DRC consists of sand mixed with small quantities of organic matter. Before we knew it, our teamwork had culminated with ten raised vegetable beds ready to be planted. Our hard working friends were grateful for the chance to be a part of this fruitful endeavor, and worked tirelessly, in the searing hot equatorial sun, to breathe life into a vacant city lot, reminiscent of war torn ruins of crumbling walls and decaying remains of housing. We planted okra, squash, pumpkin, corn, peppers, beans, eggplant and cassava, which is the staple crop of the Congo, eaten at every meal in some form or another. With the help of our eager garden comrades, we collected compost materials from nearby, such as leaf litter, chicken manure and all manner of herbaceous debris uprooted from the bed building process. This compost is an essential element to sustain production of Congolese gardens because it improves moisture retention and adds nutrients and minerals to otherwise deprived sandy soil. The collaborative construction of edible gardens and compost piles, tree plantings and trash pick up in the city, all provided opportunities to empower the Congolese with a sense of purpose, ownership, self sufficiency and satisfaction in their workmanship. In the scope of progress, we made but a small impact, but persistence always pays. As American author and historian Edward Everett Hale once wrote, “ I am one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
From Kinshasa, we ventured into the heart of the Congo, southeast en route towards the rural village of Gungu. As we proceeded from city to countryside, the surrounding landscape transformed from concrete jungle to lush tropical jungle, and then to higher elevations consisting of primarily savanna grasslands speckled with contorted Mobu trees and rolling waves of sand dunes. This vast sea of green flora is perpetually animated by the light breeze that sweeps across the plains. Once inhabited by roaming elephants, zebra, gazelle, giraffe, lions and flocks of birds, all wildlife disappeared decades ago under the pressure of hungry villagers whose struggle for survival pushed the wild fauna to near extinction in most of the Congo. While absent of wildlife, the Democratic Republic of Congo is blessed with rivers and creeks that act as veins, pumping life blood into surrounding villages that trace these tributaries throughout much of the country. Upon entering Gungu, we were welcomed by friendly villagers, myriad palm trees and coarse sandy streets lined with mud walled dirt floor huts that peppered the landscape of this rustic community. It was as though we had been transported to an ancient civilization that existed long ago, with a simple way life long forgotten by developed countries. In addition to the lack of sanitary sewer and trash service seen in the city, this primitive village of Gungu has no electricity, running water, internet or phone service and no paved roads or other modern conveniences that we take for granted. Nonetheless, these native people are eager to learn and serve, and happily gathered together to help us build local compost piles at strategic locations around the village. Otherwise, organic waste and trash are buried, or worse, burned, which can cause serious health repercussions for those breathing the volatile fumes. A frenzy of excitement ensued wherever we gathered to collectively build the community compost heaps, and young children as well as adults and elderly helped gather brush, manure and other biodegradable waste from surrounding areas to add to their community compost piles. The goal was to layer the materials; fresh green vegetation on top of dried limbs and brush, followed by a layer of sandy soil; and then repeated until we had accumulated large heaps ready to age naturally under the hot African sun and seasonal rains. As in Kinshasa, the goal is to utilize the finished compost to periodically amend vegetable and fruit gardens, edible trees as well as medicinal plants, all which greatly benefit from the nutrient rich compost. The sandy soil erodes rapidly under normal rainfall and leaches nutrients so readily that there is a constant need for additional organic matter. Granular fertilizers are too expensive and inaccessible for remote villages like Gungu, and the synthetic fertilizers could contaminate their natural water supply. Everyone we met was receptive to the need for compost, and these community compost piles will be supplemented throughout the year to recycle their organic waste, and ultimately, improve the health of their soil and increase crop yields, naturally.
Everywhere we traveled, we were met with incredible needs for the most basic necessities. The hospitals are using equipment dating back to the early 1940’s when the Belgians had control of the country. Most of the medical equipment belonged in museums, not hospitals. The equipment used to extract blood consists of two jars screwed to the floor with a rusty foot pedal to pump blood manually for transfusions. The beds at the hospital have no mattress pads, only sharp metal box springs woven with sticks. The ambulance that once carried patients to the hospital has been out-of-service for over thirty years, and now sits in the foregrounds, on blocks, covered with green moss and rust, like a statue from ancient times. The schools, from elementary to university, had dirt floors, and an utter lack of even the simplest supplies such as chalk, pencils, paper and books. A student can attend school for as little as $20.00 per year, but this money is difficult for most families to come by. Local families are in need of sandals, eye glasses, sunglasses, clothing and other household essentials that we have in surplus. The government body in Gungu has only one early 1960’s typewriter, which they rent from a local citizen, for all record keeping. Local farmers have no way to transport produce to market without as much as a bicycle. The farmers are also deficient of simple tools needed for crop cultivation, and witness many preventable illnesses with their livestock due to inbreeding, and are in need of genetic diversity of both crops and livestock. Unsustainable agricultural practices such as planting crop rows vertical on hillsides have expedited soil erosion, accelerating desertification of farm soils. Such soil loss causes farmers, whom are mainly women, to walk up to ten miles from home to farm field and back, balancing heavy basket loads on their heads, in search of soils adequate to support their crops. This rapid loss of soil due to erosion, also forces farmers to slash and burn their last remaining forests in order to farm the virgin soils for a short time, before they must delve deeper into the forest in search of new soil to support their crops. These diminishing forests could provide Congolese with a sustainable supply of food, medicine, cosmetics and wildlife habitat to support their families and build local economy. To date, there are no preserved or protected forest areas in the entire country, and this valuable natural resource is silently disappearing, with no government support to conserve or restore the natural woodlands. Considered one of the most mineral rich countries in the world, the Democratic Republic of Congo is brimming with minerals that could be used to draw the country out of poverty. Progressive countries have honed in on this wealth of mineral resources, and greedily displaced native people off their rightful land, degrading the natural environment and leaving the country with little to show for their depletion of natural assets. Coltan, a necessary mineral found in every cell phone, computer, DVD player and video game system in the world, comes primarily from the DRC, which receives surprisingly little benefit from the mineral exploitation. In fact, over 6.9 million Congolese have died since 1998 over wars funded with Coltan profits. In the face of such poverty, one would assume that all is lost, but hope lives in the hearts of the Congolese. Dale Carnegie once said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept trying when there seemed to be no hope at all”.
Our mission, including those who supported our efforts to serve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, enabled us to seek out the needs of the people, and comfort the afflicted. We are planning a second mission January 2012; to take back support, both financial and material, in order to fulfill as many of the above-mentioned needs as possible. Hope is the pillar that holds up the world, and anyone that feels called to, can help to empower the people of the DRC with their love and support by contributing to this mission of servitude. Peace can be found through harmonious relationships, and we wish to bridge the gap between Congolese culture and ours, by creating lasting friendships through provisions and kinship that can create lasting, positive change. Much can be learned from the community focused way of life we witnessed in the Congo, and this exchange of culture and ideals can not only help to empower the impoverished Congolese, but also, enrich our lives in as many ways as we can enrich theirs.
October 7, 2010
As the summer wanes and early fall approaches we must give some consideration to the lawn. The ideal time to sow turfgrass seed in Ohio is as early as August 15 up to as late as October 15. This does not mean that it can not be successfully done during other seasons, but this is when all of the conditions are right.
With that in mind, now is the time to evaluate your lawn areas to determine if new seeding is necessary. With the drought conditions of late, we recommend that you check your grass plants for viability. If the crown of the plant‚ right next to the soil surface‚ is white and moist with new growth emerging, it has simply gone dormant to protect itself and will come back nicely when the proper amount of water is received. If you have a nice, full lawn that has gone dormant, it is not really necessary to do anything at this time. An early fall fertilization with Marvin’s Organic 8-3-3 followed by a later (November) application of Marvin’s Organic 3-3-3 would definitely be beneficial, if not critical, but not until the lawn has been irrigated or has received significant rainfall.
However, if the crowns are dry and brown to the base, your plants have most likely died and won’t be coming back. 5-7 weeks without significant rainfall is sufficient to permanently kill many turf species and many local gardeners have experienced just that. Replacement must be considered.
If your lawn has never been very full or you have many weed issues, now is the time to get a fresh start. In most cases, we recommend our simple lawn renovation program. We have had much success with the process that I will describe, but all steps should be included for maximum success. Each piece of the process is important, but none so much as the compost.
• First mow the grass at a very low height setting.
• Next, apply an average of approximately ½”-1” of Marvin’s Organic Compost over the entire lawn and hand-rake to a smooth finish grade.
• Apply Marvin’s Turf-Type Tall Fescue blend at a rate of about 7 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
• Lightly mulch with clean Wheat straw. Shake the straw so that you have a nice, loose coverage with as few clumps as possible. It usually takes about 1-1 ½ standard bales per 1,000 square feet.
• The seed will lay dormant until it imbibes water, but then it should be moistened lightly – do not over water – at least once and preferably twice daily until you see germination. This can vary from 7 days to 21 days.
• As the grass plants mature and thicken begin backing off the watering to every other day, and then twice a week.
• When the grass blades become tall and wide at the base, and the shade of green begins to darken, they can be mowed with sharp mulching blades at the highest setting available. This also helps to expedite the decomposition of the straw.
• Be sure to water one final time just before a freeze is predicted. A root system that freezes wet is better protected from winter damage than a root system that freezes dry.
Now the lawn is put to bed for the winter. In a future newsletter we will discuss the importance of the application of organic corn gluten in the early spring.
Please contact the landscape department at Marvin’s Organic Gardens for an estimate on lawn renovation or to order the delivery of compost for the do-it-yourself project.
August 4, 2010
Marvin’s Organic Gardens will be hosting a lecture series in August & September to invite local experts in various industries to speak about green initiatives, gardening and other relevant, interesting topics. We encourage you to join us for as many sessions as possible! These events will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 19
6:00-7:00 p.m. Presentation by Carl Adams of Sunrock Solar
7:00-8:00 p.m. Presentation by Marsha Rolph of Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District
Thursday, August 26
6:00-8:00 p.m. Premiere of the Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary, “Flow.” The film investigates what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century – The World Water Crisis. More information on “Flow” here.
Thursday, September 2
6:00-7:00 p.m. Presentation by Braden Trauth of OM Valley: Permaculture 101: Designing a truly green yard & home
7:00-8:00 p.m. Presentation by Ron Powell of the Ohio Paw Paw Growers Association: 10 things everyone should know about Paw Paws
Thursday, September 9
6:00-7:00 p.m. Presentation by Brian Jorg, Head Horticulturist at the Cincinnati Zoo
7:00-8:00 p.m. Presentation by Billy Webb of Sheltowee Farm Mushrooms, who grows and supplies gourmet mushrooms to numerous fine local independent restaurants, farmers markets and more.