August 16, 2010
The next time you clean out and de-clutter your home, garage or tool shed, please consider your local school garden programs and community gardens for donation of your old tools and gardening supplies. Granny’s Garden School in Loveland, for instance, works with students at Loveland Elementary to teach them how to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers organically, and how to use them. This community-focused nonprofit organization has been accepting ’gardening junk’ for years and turning it into productive educational (and safety) tools for Granny’s childhood learning gardens. Other programs such as Lincoln Heights and Price Hill Community gardens run on a shoe-string budget and are in need of volunteer help and material donation support. It has been projected that there are about 1 million new edible gardens built in the U.S. this year alone. Many of these gardens (and gardeners) help their local communities by providing nutrient-rich herbs, fruits and vegetables to food pantries that may otherwise have no access to enzyme dense, nourishing produce. Such wholesome foods help to promote healthier, more productive, and yes, safer, communities.
These grass (and vegetable) root gardens are run primarily by passionate volunteers that are sacrificing their time and energy to not only provide good quality food for themselves and their families, but also for those in need. Gardening projects like these help to build a stronger sense of community and bring both old and young together for fellowship, food and fun. We can all help to support the cooperative garden programs in our community by donating any of the old tools that we’ve replaced with newer models or that are just taking up space. This is a tax-deductible offering that will enrich your community and keep the gardens growing! All of these community gardens are looking for items such as, but not limited to:
1. Metal garden trowels, shovels, rakes, hoes & other gardening hand-tools
2. Wagons, wheelbarrows & kitty litter boxes for hauling materials around gardens
3. Terracotta pots, larger ornamental containers, plastic pots & propagation trays for all growing needs
4. Canning jars for soil tests, storing seed & canning produce
5. All sizes of baskets with handles for harvesting produce
6. Plastic Venetian blinds, which are cut into smaller strips and used for plant tags
7. Tomato cages are excellent for tomatoes & other climbing edibles as well
8. Sprinklers of all sorts, both drip hose & solid hose
9. Sturdy scissors and any hand shears which are used for cutting flowers, weeds and to harvest vegetables
10. Knee pads, ear and eye protective gear assures everyone’s gardening experience is as safe as possible
11. Outdoor chairs, benches and tables provides areas for rest and enjoyment within the garden areas
12. Scales weigh produce, seeds & other items and magnifying glasses to study insects and other garden life
13. Plastic and metal trash cans for storing all sorts of gardening supplies
14. Envelopes of all sizes to store seed in
15. All shapes, colors and sizes of vases to fill with flowers and share with those in need
Please feel free to drop donated items by Marvin’s Organic Gardens and we will distribute your items to local garden programs in need. Or, you are welcome to take your supplies directly to the sources in need. Donating your ‘gardening junk’ to local community gardens helps to promote healthier and more self-sufficient communities. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and this effort not only promotes a stronger community, but also recycling, ultimately keeping useful ‘trash’ out of our over-filled landfills.
August 6, 2010
August 6, 2010
Marvin’s Organic Gardens was proud to participate in Cincinnati Maintenance’s Green Tip video of the Month for August. Cincinnati Maintenance provides Cincinnati with the eco-friendly alternatives to traditional cleaning methods. Check out our own Wes Duren as he provides information on organic weed control.
Watch the video here.
July 16, 2010
By Wes Duren
Drift back in time for a moment, and imagine yourself again as a child. Do you remember playing outside, your youthful curiosity urging you to explore the wild world beyond your home? Maybe you can recall memories of a childhood adventure amidst seemingly vast woodlands or a babbling creek that appeared larger than life. Perhaps there was a favorite tree you used to sit beneath or dangle from, or a garden that you helped nurture to maturity. Can you remember digging in the dirt or lifting the edge of a rock to discover the wild creatures that dwelt beneath?
While many of us can recollect warmhearted memories of playing outdoors in our youth, scores of children today have never had the opportunity to embrace nature and benefit from its many healing qualities. In an age where visual and audio technology have become the dominant entertainment and educational tools, gardening is one way to bring peace and the natural rhythm of life to a child. Numerous studies have shown a connection between spending more time in front of the TV and the computer, with the ever-growing obesity challenge among both children and adults. Unlike TV and computers, nature does not steal our time- it amplifies it. According to a study performed at the University of Maryland, from 1997 to 2003, there was a decline of 50 percent in the number of children ages nine to twelve who spent time in outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, fishing and beach play. In the gardens and natural world just outside our homes, neighborhoods and cities, children’s creative imagination is evoked and there they can find freedom, adventure and time for reflection, while exercising full use of the senses.
An easy way to introduce children to nature is through the practice of organic gardening. Such practices include working with nature to promote safer, more sustainably grown and nutrient dense food, while helping to protect our wildlife, soil, water, farmers, and ultimately the health of future generations. Because organic gardening is an action-oriented activity, it helps children to channel their energy in positive and constructive ways. Gardening can be an educational tool for children because it helps them develop cognitive skills such as problem solving, a sense of responsibility and purpose, as well as improved focus and patience. Many aspects of organic gardening can be therapeutic for children by improving self-esteem, confidence and interpersonal relationships. When adults and children garden together, it is well known that children feel more useful, productive and possess a profound sense of belonging. Organic gardening and playing outside teaches children how to nurture and respect all life forms, from the tiniest insect to their gardening helpmates. The mind and spirit of a child is a lot like wet cement. When a child is young, it takes little effort to make an impression that can last a lifetime.
Think about what it means to be a child growing up in today’s media driven society, inundated with technologies that distract them from a close connection with nature and their community. We are spending more time communicating with each other through cell phones and computers, rather than quality face-to-face time with our friends and family. Nature captivated the imagination of older generations, but now many of our youth are lured indoors with a bombardment of media driven messages telling them what to wear and how to live. We’ve become disconnected with our natural areas, whether it is a garden, woodland, field or ponds edge, and many do not even realize what they are missing. One of the greatest benefits of gardening and of unstructured outdoor recreation is that it doesn’t cost anything. Because organic gardening and nature exploration are free, or very inexpensive, there is no major economic interest involved. Rather than allowing media to manipulate and define our youth with profit focused messages of self absorbed materialism, let us help to guide our youth towards the ever enriching outdoors, filled with adventure and age-old positive life lessons.
Organic gardening helps children to develop practical skills that they can use throughout their lives, while reducing their exposure to dangerous and persistent garden chemicals, such as pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. More crucial now than any other time in history, we need to help reduce our children’s risk of exposure to harmful pesticides, which have been directly linked to ADHD and childhood cancer. While gardening organically, children are able to learn about plants, their environment and themselves. It begins now, here, and with you! We can all help to positively impact our youth by trying some of the suggestions below:
1. Build an edible organic garden together. Help to plan, plant, maintain, harvest, prepare and eat the fruits and vegetables that you grow together. Teach the children about the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetable grown organically. Let the children help make decisions regarding what to grow, and guide them to patiently and steadily culture the garden to final harvest. Take time together to savor the sweet, dripping flavor of your own summer plucked watermelon, or of the fresh picked asparagus stalks which can be easily snapped at ground level by hand and eaten raw. There are many edible and equally ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, vegetables and herbs, so it can be very exciting to explore new fruits, nuts, flowers, herbs, veggies and berries that could enhance your child’s gardening and culinary experience. If you do not have land or gardening knowledge, let the children join a farming camp at your local not-for-profit learning farm such as Gorman Farm (http://www.gormanfarm.org/) , Green Acres (http://www.green-acres.org/GAF_sitepages/GAF_MAIN/GAF_MAIN-Home.html) and Turner Farm (http://www.localharvest.org/turner-farm-M343).
2. Construct a compost pile together. Collect kitchen scraps, garden debris, lawn clippings, fallen leaves and animal manure from local livestock farms (if available), and mix all ingredients in a pile, tumbler, bin or other compost containment system. Allow children to see, touch and smell each material before it is incorporated into the compost pile, and then let them help to turn (or tumble) the compost to speed up decomposition. Once the compost is well broken down into a usable garden amendment, show the children how to incorporate compost into the soil around plants, making sure they get to work with their hands as much as possible. Children love learning that soil is alive and that we shouldn’t treat it like dirt.
3. Plant native Ohio flora in your yard and community together to encourage wildlife. From birds, bees, bats, butterflies and other bugs, children can help you integrate plants that predate European settlement in our area, many of which help cater to our abundance of local wildlife. By spending more time outdoors, children will begin to see and enjoy the infinite wonders our wild natural world has to offer. Television, computers and video games will never replace the enchanting chorus of frogs and toads belching in harmony along the rim of a muddy pond, or the song of a myriad of migrating birds as they flutter effortlessly amid the tree canopy of colorful autumn foliage. By learning to enjoy plants and wildlife, children become more competent and confident and are more likely to protect and preserve nature as they get older.
What greater gift can we give our children than the opportunity to care and share and to be a positive force in their community? The oldest children’s garden in the United States was built in 1914 at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and a quote printed from within the garden gates that resonates through the ages proclaims, “He is happiest who gathers power from the wisdom of a flower.” While simple, this passage magnifies the importance of interconnectedness with nature and humans. Together, we can nurture positive childhood development in our community through the support of organic gardening and outdoor activities. Share your love of gardening or nature with a child, and watch them bloom into a beautiful, loving adult. Please contact us at Marvin’s Organic Gardens to discuss ways we can help you and your community develop an organic children’s garden or build educational hiking trails through a local wooded area. Go organic. It’s only natural!
June 24, 2010
“Organic Farm in Lebanon turns Walmart waste into compost” written by Laura Baverman in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Click here to read.
June 21, 2010
Join us this Thursday, June 24 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. and enjoy 65% off ALL veggies, annuals, herbs & hanging baskets!
June 17, 2010
We have the BEST selection of fruit trees in the tristate!
Apple Fuji – Great for eating and baking, keeps well. Pollinator required.
Apple Braeburn – Sweet with a tinge of tartness. Best for eating fresh and winter keeping. Pollinator required.
Apple Gala – Considered one of the best for eating fresh. Pollinator required.
Apple Crispin – Wonderful sweet and spicy flavor. Best for eating and baking. Pollinator required.
Apple Double Red Delicious – Produces heavy crops of extra-fancy type fruit. Best for eating, desserts and salads. Pollinator required.
Cherry Bing SemiDwarf – Large, red-black, delicious cherries. est for fresh eating. Pollinator required.
Cherry Black Gold – Produces heavy crops of heart-shaped fruit with excellent flavor and crack resistant skin. Best for fresh eating. Self-pollinating.
Cherry Napoleon SemiDwarf – A sweet, golden cherry with a fine flavor that’s excellent for cooking and canning. Pollinator required.
Cherry White Gold – Medium/large sized fruits are yellow with red blush. Cold hardy and resists cracking. Self-pollinating.
Plum Damson Dwarf – Small, tart, juicy fruit is considered the best for making preserves. Self-pollinating.
Plum Santa Rosa Dwarf – Large plum with deep red-purple skin and amber flesh. Best for eating, desserts, snacks and canning. Self-pollinating.
Plum Superior Dwarf – Japanese variety fruit is fire red with yellow flesh, ripening the first days of August. Requires another Japanese Plum for pollination.
Plum Stanley Dwarf – Stanley Plum trees are sweet enough to dry without being pitted. Purple-black in color, very sweet and aromatic. Self-pollinating.
Nectarine Sunglo Dwarf - Heavy producer with beautiful color and exceptional flavor. Freestone. Self-pollinating.
Peach Reliance Dwarf – One of the hardiest peaches available. Best for eating, pies, cooking and canning. Freestone. Self-pollinating.
Pear Hosui Asian Dwarf – Globular shape. Higher acid content adds a sprite zip to the mellow flavor. Best for fresh eating. Keep well. Moderately self-fruiting, for maximum harvests pollinate with 20th Century. Will pollinate with other Asian pears.
Pear Moonglow Dwarf – Resistance to fire-blight. Medium pears are sweet and juicy. Best for fresh eating, canning and cooking. Must be pollinated by another European pear.
Pear Red Bartlett Dwarf – Similar to the green Bartlett. Best for fresh eating, cooking, canning, and freezing. Must be pollinated by another European pear, except Seckel.
Pear Seckel Dwarf – Very firm, small, red-green pear prized for it’s high sugar content. Must be pollinated by another European pear, except Bartlett.
Pear Shinseiki Asian Dwarf – Early producers flesh is sweet, crisp and juicy. Must be pollinated by another Asian pear. Leslie’s favorite! A very knowledgeable Asian lady, who has an orchard, advises everyone to eat an Asian pear a day!
Pear 20th Century Asian – Flesh is sweet, slightly tart, firm, and juicy. Very uniform. Must be pollinated by another Asian pear.
Persimmon Meader – Produces delicious, sweet, orange fruit that is astringent until softened off the tree. Self-pollinating.
Persimmon Saijo – Asian persimmon. Consistently produces medium-sized elongated fruit. Allow to soften before eating. Self-pollinating.
Medlar Breda Giant – Bears crops of 1-1/2”-1-3/4” diameter fruit. Sweet and fine textured, the fruit is great for snacks and preserves. Self-pollinating.
Pluot Dapple Dandy Dwarf – Taste test winner. Creamy white and red-fleshed pluot has a wonderful plum-apricot flavor. Can be pollinated by Flavor Supreme Pluot, Santa Rosa or Burgundy Plum.
Guava Pineapple – Fruits range from ¾” to 3-1/2” long. The thick, watery flesh and the translucent central pulp enclosing the seeds are sweet, suggesting a combination of pineapple and guava or pineapple and strawberry. Self-pollinating.
Nut Champion English Walnut – Rich, flavorful nuts in thin, easy-to-crack shells. Require pollination by another black walnut.
This month we have put together a helpful list of ways you can promote safe and sustainable gardening and green living, while saving money and time. We hope you’ll try some of these eco-friendly practices and let us know if you have other green ideas that could save some green.
1. Replace a section of your lawn with native prairie plants or permanent edible plants.
2. Raise your lawn mower blade height to reduce weeds, slow lawn growth and extend the life and gas economy of your mower.
3. Mix a gallon of white vinegar with a tablespoon of eco-friendly liquid detergent to be used as a natural herbicide to kill weeds. Works best on sunny days above 70 degrees F.
4. Plant shade trees around your home to lessen the need for AC.
5. Plant intensely to crowd out weed competition in your beds and to increase your seasonal interest.
6. Start small. Use smaller trees, shrubs and perennials because they establish faster and require less work to plant.
7. You may want to use an old reel mower to reduce fuel consumption. Newer models are easy to use and very affective.
8. When purchasing construction supplies, use recycled or reclaimed materials from not for profit organizations such as Building Value in Cincinnati. www.buildingvalue-cincy.org
9. Take your family on a hike and picnic instead of a movie, amusement park or restaurant.
10. Your purchase is your vote. Shop at your local farmers markets and independently owned businesses for high quality products and to support local business. Learn more about our co-op program here: http://marvinsorganicgardens.com/blog/?p=117
11. Make and use your own compost. You can compost your food and yard waste and turn it into black gold! Your plants will thank you by blooming and fruiting bigger and better than ever.
12. Use recycled cardboard, paper grocery bags and newspaper to reduce weeds and watering needs. Simply apply paper over all of your beds prior to mulching.
13. Extend the usefulness of your mulch by flipping and turning it with a hard rake every 4 months.
14. Use organic fertilizer, which costs less than chemical fertilizers due to reduced fuel consumption in the manufacturing process. Also, organic fertilizer is safer for you, your family, our soil and water.
15. Use sustainable organic pest control products, which tend to protect your plants longer than chemical pesticides and they will reduce your exposure to toxic pesticide carcinogens. Also, organic pest control products tend to target just the pest that needs controlling, while leaving your beneficial insects unharmed and healthy.
16. Fertilize your plants for free! Have your family pee in a designated pot and mix 50% urine with 50% water and then water your plants with this mixture. t works well to green up plants and will help to keep rodents away. If mixed correctly, there will be no unpleasant odor!
17. Select plants that are naturally insect and disease resistant, such as Ohio natives. There are many selections of fruit trees and shrubs that have been hybridized for better pest resistance.
18. Use rain barrels to capture your chlorine- and fluorine-free rainwater. This can be used for water features, lawn and garden irrigation and to clean your car.
19. Use drip hoses rather than traditional sprinklers to lessen water waste.
20. Use free leaf mulch and woodchips from your local municipal yard waste collection site.
21. Grow your own food. You can raise organically grown vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs and permanent edible plants such as trees, shrubs, perennials and vines, all which can add beauty and function to your landscape.
22. Use energy efficient landscape lighting such as LED.
23. Attract more birds, bats, frogs, owls and beneficial insects to your yard. The more beneficial wildlife you attract, the fewer pest insects you’ll have to combat.
24. Raise your own birdseed by planting annual sunflowers. Sunflowers provide beauty in your yard, while providing nectar and pollen for honeybees and butterflies, as well as seed for the birds.
25. Take care of your soil life by eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. our soil is teeming with life, most of which is very beneficial to your lawn and garden plants. By adding compost to your lawn and gardens annually, you will stimulate your soil life and gain maximum benefit from your soil critters.
We look forward to sharing another safe and sustainable summer with you.
March 24, 2010
Check out this great article by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger of NaturalNews.com:
Corporations like Monsanto are playing God with the food supply. Did you ever wonder what happens when all the genetically modified, pesticide-compatible, gene-terminated, laboratory-concocted Frankenfoods end up genetically contaminating the natural crops we depend on for a sustainable food future? In this comic, I explore this important concept by showing the plight of a farmer fretting over an empty bag of seedless watermelon seeds. You may find this surprising to learn, but U.S. corporations have actually designed, patented and aggressively promoted “gene terminator” plant technology that causes second-generation plants to self-destruct. By doing this, the corporation can control intellectual property (seed patents) and demand royalties on seeds from poor farmers in third world countries. It eliminates the whole practice of “saving seeds” and propagating food from one plant generation to the next — a practice that humankind has depended on for survival since the beginning of human history.
In doing so, this gene terminator technology is a crime against both nature and humanity. To deny farmers the ability to propagate seeds from one generation to the next is to enslave humanity in a system of corporate control that violates the laws of nature and God. Care to take a guess which U.S. corporation is engaged in this activity? If you guessed Monsanto, you’re right. Click here to read news about Monsanto’s terminator gene at the Organic Consumers Association.
You can also follow the news on this topic at BanTerminator.org.
If you buy seedless watermelons, or seedless grapes, or GM soy products, you’re already supporting the corporations that are altering the food supply. Seedless grapes are not natural, and they remove the very part of the grape that contains powerful cardiovascular medicine. Have you ever heard of the nutritional supplement called grape seed extract? Guess where it comes from? … Grape seeds, of course. It’s some of the best cardiovascular medicine known to modern science, far more potent than any prescription drug, yet with zero negative side effects. Yet food companies have removed it from the food supply and promoted “seedless grapes” as a benefit to consumers! (Of course, grape skins also contain powerful medicine called resveratrol, but grape seeds contain different medicines called proanthocyanidins and PCOs, which you can read about at the Physician’s Desk Reference).
What’s at risk: the future of human life on planet Earth
In this cartoon, the farmer character is fretting over something the entire human race is going to suddenly realize one day: Playing God with seeds and the food supply for the purpose of extracting maximum corporate profits is to plae the very future of humankind at extreme risk. Suppose the terminator gene crops somehow cross-pollinate staple food crops that now feed the world… what happens then? Imagine all the wheat grown in the United States suddenly self-destructing after a single growing season. Mass starvation would quickly ensue, followed by economic collapse, military action and quite possibly the collapse of the nation itself. And the same is true in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America, too.
This is what’s at stake with terminator gene technology. For the sake of maximizing corporate profits, the Monsanto corporation is willing to place the very future of humankind at risk. But it’s no surprise to learn Monsanto is behind this crime against nature — this is the same corporation that tried to patent the pig, claiming it owned the genetic code of hogs. This is also the same corporation that promoted aspartame to the world by purchasing a company called Searle, whose CEO was a man named Donald Rumsfeld. He strong-armed the FDA to get aspartame approved as “safe,” and we’ve seen alarming increases in brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases ever since.
I believe there is no natural law that evil corporations led by greedy men will not violate in order to increase their own power or profits. Corporations have proven they will poison the environment, kill members of the public, bribe politicians, violate federal law, engage in competitive espionage, threaten critics, bribe the media, endanger lives, wipe out animal species and sacrifice the very future of life on planet Earth in order to squeeze out one more quarter of filthy profits. And they will do it with a straight face, while actually claiming they are “green.”
There will be a day when the people will rise up against the corruption and overreaching power of the corporations. In time, they will reclaim their natural right to seeds, a clean environment, and natural health remedies. Today’s patent laws — which give ownership over virtually all commonsense ideas to corporations — will crumble, and governments that colluded with corporations to strip power, health and dollars from the people will pay the price.
Until that day, of course, it’s business as usual in the free market: Screw the people, violate the planet, desecrate nature and keep that share price propped up as high as possible. That’s business as usual in the United States, a nation that has sold its soul to the highest bidder on eBay and now stands as an alarming historical example of what happens when a free market economic abandons basic ethics and human rights.
Must-see documentary: The Corporation. Watch this if you really want to know the truth about how corporations threaten the very future of humankind.
What can you do about all this? Grow heirloom plants, buy organic, non-GM foods and refuse to do business with corporations that use GM foods.
Inform yourself with these online resources:
Seed Savers Exchange
The International Seed Saving Institute
Save Our Seeds
See the movie The Future of Food or buy the DVD.
Read this great article by Devvy Kidd on the future of food.
Eating organic frozen food? Buy from Amy’s Kitchen, which uses no genetically modified ingredients.
March 1, 2010
At the end of March, we are giving one lucky person an Organic Vegetable Garden Supplies Package from Marvin’s Organic Gardens! Here are the details of what you can win and how:
Tell us what your favorite veggie is and how you like it prepared. You can post this information on our Facebook Fan Page or you can comment directly on this blog entry. Either way, your veggie and preparation will count as one submission. You may enter up to 2 times per person. You must enter by March 31, 2010.
At the end of the month, Marvin, owner of Marvin’s Organic Gardens, will pick his favorite entry. You could post a recipe or a picture of your family eating the veggie. Originality and creativity are highly encouraged!
WHAT YOU WIN:
An Organic Vegetable Garden Supplies Package! You will receive 1.5 yards of Marvin’s Organic Garden’s homemade compost, 1 yard of shredded leaf mulch, 10 organic vegetable plants and 4 packets of organic seeds. We will also include 1 roll of our NEW Control Roll to help control weeds and watering needs. Value of $175.00.
April 2, 2009
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Please tell everyone who wants organic foods…..
CALL THE CAPITOL SWITCH BOARD at 202 – 224 – 3121 and tell them:
“I want HR 875 and S 425 withdrawn from the floors of Congress immediately.”
US House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to vote on bill that will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (bill HR 875). There is an enormous rush to get this into law within the next 2 weeks before people realize what is happening.
Main backer and lobbyist is Monsanto – chemical and genetic engineering giant corporation (and Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related agri-giants). This bill will require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency to “make sure there is no danger to the public food supply”. This will include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.
If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with unexpected diseases in humans.
There is a video on the subject.
And another one:
The name on this outrageous food plan is:
Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (bill HR 875).
THIS IS REAL, FOLKS! PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL CONCERNED ON YOUR MAILING LISTS & CALL YOUR SENATE REPS TODAY!
Get on that phone and burn up the wires. Get anyone else you can to do the same thing. The House and Senate WILL pass this if they are not massively threatened with loss of their position…They only fear your voice and your vote.
The best thing to do is go to www.house.gov/writerep. All you have to do is put in your zip and it will give you your congressperson and how to get in touch with them. When you call their office someone will answer the phone, just tell them (politely) that you are calling to express your views on HR 875. Tell them your views, they’ll take your name and address and pass your comments along to the congressperson.
The following link is a list of the U.S. senators and their contact info: