October 22, 2010
Many people have asked us how they can help with the trip to Africa.
You can be a big part of this mission, to help us Go and Grow. We can build a Giving Garden with a diversity of beneficial plants, as well as all the needed tools and supplies for about $500.00 per garden. You can help us with this relevant mission and empower positive transformation in the Congo by keeping us and the Congolese people in your thoughts and prayers and through monetary donations. We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve others, and welcome you to participate however you feel led to. For more information, contact Wes Duren or mail your support to Marvin’s Organic Gardens at 2055 U.S Rt. 42, Lebanon, OH. 45036. We will update you while in country, on our FaceBook page, for those interested in this outward focused mission.
October 7, 2010
Hello Friends, Family and Neighbors,
We are excited to announce our upcoming operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in central Africa. We will be leaving November 7th and returning November 27th. My son, Wes, and I will be going to the Congo with a devoted group of men and women who are focused on helping to establish sustainable and permanent agriculture in the country, as well as providing medical supplies at local hospitals and teaching supplies at schools. We will be working on building Giving Gardens at schools and other public sites in both the capital city of Kinshasa, as well as the remote villages in the Bandundu province of Kikwit and Gungu. Our goal is to empower the people of these areas by working with them to plant both annual and permanent crops such as trees, that will help to provide: food, medicine, fuel for cooking, fiber for clothing, building supplies, fodder for animals, erosion control for agricultural areas, shelter and shade from the extreme climate, and wildlife habitat restoration. While at schools, we will help to teach the children about the importance of nutrition through a balanced diet, and encourage them to build Giving Gardens that they can eat from, and learn to rebuild throughout their region. While we will be working with all ages, our focus is to work with children, because they are the future of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Due to an average annual rain fall of over 110 inches, the Congolese are blessed with plenty of water. However, the heavy rains promote soil erosion that severely limit the longevity and production of agricultural fields because the soil that supports their crops is literally washed away. A significant element of our mission is to promote a land stewardship program called the “Compost Caravan”. This program will help to teach children and adults about the value of collecting biodegradable organic waste throughout their villages, for the sake of converting the trash into treasure. Our goal is to teach the Congolese how to collect the organic debris, make the compost and ultimately, utilize it. The resulting compost will be used to prevent soil erosion, improve nutrition of crops, lessen disease and insect problems in agricultural areas and clean up their villages of recyclable waste. This program will be as much about beautification of the villages as it is about improving soil, crop and human health.
Our purpose is to plant peace with Giving Gardens, and to use techniques that the foremothers and forefathers of the Congolese used for sustainable agriculture. We want to support the efforts of this mission by providing each Giving Garden group with tools made by local tool smiths such as shovels, hoes, machetes and wheelbarrows, and also provide them with the vegetable seeds and edible trees needed to establish and care for the gardens long term. You can be a big part of this mission, to help us Go and Grow. We can build a Giving Garden with a diversity of beneficial plants, as well as all the needed tools and supplies for about $500.00 per garden. You can help us with this relevant mission and empower positive transformation in the Congo by helping us to practice random acts of gardening. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve others, and welcome you to participate with prayers and other support. For more information, contact Wes Duren or mail your support to Marvin’s Organic Gardens at 2055 U.S Rt. 42, Lebanon, OH. 45036. We will update you while in country, on our FaceBook page, for those interested in this outward focused mission.
Give a man food and he eats for a day, but teach him how to grow it, and he eats for a lifetime.
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.
May 21, 2010
It’s a horrifiying statistic that 58 billion paper coffee cups are thrown in the trash each year. Styrofoam cups are made from fossil fuels and are not recycleable or biodegradable. The 3 billion cups provided at Starbucks every year are not eco-friendly either (due to the thin waxy coating). And anytime you drink from a single-use water bottle, you are contributing to a serious waste problem of 2.5 million thrown in landfills every hour!
Recently we posted an article on our Facebook page about The Great Coffee Cup Challenge. We at Marvin’s Organic Gardens were thrilled when we recently found out that one of our Facebook Fans, Micah Dennison of The Party Source read this post and sparked advocacy.
“After reading the ‘coffee cup challenge’ you guys posted a few months back I managed to get The Party Source to switch the coffee cups we use to recyleable paper cups, plus get a bunch of people (myself included) to start using their own. Thanks for the heads up!”
It’s incredible what social media can do to engage those in our community and motivate them to take action. We’re so glad we could influence the sustainable choices being made at The Party Source in Northern Kentucky. By using BPA-free reusable coffee cups or aluminum water bottles, we can help diminish the waste sent to landfills as well as wasted water and trees in production- and still enjoy our daily brew!
November 25, 2008
By Larry West, About.com
Top 10 Tips for an Eco-friendly Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is an American holiday that is loaded with tradition, so why not start a new tradition in your family by making Thanksgiving an eco-friendly celebration from start to finish?
Here are 10 tips to help you capture the spirit of the original Thanksgiving by making your holiday celebration eco-friendly. An eco-friendly Thanksgiving will enrich your family’s holiday experience, because you will know that you have reduced your impact on the environment. And that’s something for which everyone can be thankful.
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
To make your Thanksgiving celebration as eco-friendly as possible, start with the three Rs of conservation: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying only as much as you need and choosing products that come in packaging that can be recycled.
Carry reusable bags when you do your shopping, and use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again.
Recyle paper, and all plastic, glass and aluminum containers. If you don’t already have a compost bin, use your Thanksgiving fruit and vegetable trimmings to start one. The compost will enrich the soil in your garden next spring.
2. Buy and Eat Locally Grown Food
Buying only locally grown food is one good way to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. Locally grown food is good for your table, your health and the environment. Locally grown food tastes better than food that has to be grown and packaged for maximum shelf life, and it requires less fuel to reach store shelves. Locally grown food also contributes more to your local economy, supporting local farmers as well as local merchants.
3. Make Your meal Organic
Using only organic food for your feast is another good eco-friendly Thanksgiving strategy.
4. Celebrate at Home
This year, why not reduce global warming and improve air quality by lowering your auto emissions at the same time that you lower your family’s stress level?
5. Travel Smart
If you must go over the river and through the woods, there are still ways to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. If you drive, use less fuel and lower your emissions by making sure your car is in good working order and your tires are properly inflated. If possible, carpool to reduce the number of cars on the road and lower the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to air pollution and global warming.
6. Invite the Neighbors
7. Plant a Tree
8. Make your Own Eco-friendly Decorations
9. Make it a Spiritual Day
10. Say Thank You
October 7, 2008
This article is from Earth 911.
Recycling is the third R of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product.
Create a Workplace Recycling Program So, how do you start recycling at work? That’s what we’re here for—to walk you through the process. If you already recycle at home, you’ll find many similarities to office recycling. Start with just a couple of products. Once your program is up and running, add others. Eventually, you will have a flawless program in place. Hey . . . you’ll be offering us tips in no time. Let’s get started on creating your office recycling program; First, choose a recycling coordinator, pick materials to recycle, decide your collection method, determine how it will be hauled away, set up recycling bins and guideline, monitor the program, and promote your program through education!
Curbside Recycling – Curbside recycling now serves half of the U.S. population, providing the most convenient means for households to recycle a variety of materials. While all curbside programs differ, the most commonly included materials are The Big Five: aluminum cans, glass bottles, paper, plastic and steel/tin cans.
Electronics – Technology has revolutionized our lifestyle through telephones, radios, TVs, computers and cell phones. However, the brisk pace of technology means these devices become obsolete quickly. A more recent issue is how our old electronics should be disposed of, because they often contain dangerous elements such as lead and mercury that can contaminate our soil and water supply.
Composting - Managing organic material at your home can not only decrease the amount of material you send to the landfill; it can also help turn your organic waste into a landscape asset. Composting will reduce the amount of food waste in your garbage can, while creating nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.
Garage Garbage – Did you know that used motor oil can be recycled? How about paint and batteries? It turns out many of the items in your garage are recyclable. Claim your garage back, learn what to do with the mess and help the planet while you’re at it.
August 27, 2008
Article from The Daily Green. By Brian Clark Howard
Homeowners and businesses can stem the tide of polluted runoff threatening our waterways by setting up a simple “rain garden,” which is beautiful as well as beneficial.
The concept of a rain garden, which mimics natural systems, was crystallized in Maryland in the 1990s. The idea is to create a depression filled with plants that collects the rainwater that runs off a building and its landscape. The plants — such as sedges, rushes, ferns, wildflowers, shrubs, trees and so on — absorb the water and release it slowly. This reduces the surge of water running off the landscape, which picks up fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil and other contaminants and carries them into waterways.
Rain gardens reduce the risk of flash floods, and they help stabilize the flow that enters waterways, both in terms of volume and temperature. That leads to healthier streams and rivers. Plus, the plants naturally filter the water, neutralizing some of the toxins that are present. They also provide valuable wildlife habitat.
No two rain gardens are exactly the same. They can be large and interconnected, with different levels and features, or very small and simple. Normally, they are placed in natural low spots, near where gutters drain. Ideally, they are populated with plants that are native to the local area. Sometimes they have swales to maximize their ability to hold water.
Call Marvin’s Organic Gardens and ask to speak with Wes about adding a rain garden to your backyard.
August 19, 2008
(Saw this in a guide from Whole Foods Market and wanted to share it).
THE BEST REASONS TO CHOOSE ORGANIC PRODUCTS
1. Organic farming meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
2. Growing organically supports a biologically diverse, healthy environment.
3. Organic farming practices help protect our water resources.
4. Organic agriculture increases the land’s productivity.
5. Organic production limits toxic & long-lasting chemicals in our environment.
6. Buying organic supports, small independent family farms.
7. Organic farmers are less reliant on non-renewable fossil fuels.
8. Organic products meet stringent USDA standards.
9. Buying organic is a direct investment in the long-term future of our planet.
10. Organic farmers preserve diversity of plant species.
11. Organic food tastes great.
July 8, 2008
For those of you that don’t know – Marvin’s is more than a nursery. We have a huge garden center, spacious greenhouses, and even on-site compost and mulch bins. This year we have added on a new department to our business. Marvin’s is now offering Cincinnati residents the option to start building green.
So what does it mean to build green? Basically, we are using environmentally safe materials and utilizing better building practices. By building green you are adding quality to your home and/or garden.
Brandon Berning is the Construction Manager for us here at Marvin’s. He comes to us with years of experience under is belt. To set up a FREE consultation with Brandon, just give us a call at 513-932-3319.
June 12, 2008
Here are the top 5 reasons that we have found to Go Organic!
1. FOR HUMAN HEALTH (and pets too!)- Countless studies have linked conventional chemical gardening pesticides and fertilizers to cancer, reproductive and neurological damage. Organic fertilizers and pest control products are safe for both pets and humans, most of which are derived from plant remains, animal waste and naturally derived minerals from both soil and water.
2. FOR SOIL HEALTH-One application of a chemical fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide, fungicide (and so on) can kill soil organisms. Soil is alive and teeming with microorganisms that help to convert inactive minerals and water into the building blocks of life, reduce soil erosion and compaction, reduce soil borne disease, break down soil pollution and much more. Studies
even show that soil, with its many life forms, can reduce global warming by holding carbon in the soil rather than releasing it into the air. Soil is the base for all life, and one can improve the quality of their soil by simply adding compost. Compost helps to regenerate soil life, and corrects many soil imbalances, eliminating the need for harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
3. FOR WILDLIFE HEALTH-Many recent studies have correlated the use of garden chemicals to a decline in the health of birds, aquatic life and land animals. Many of these garden chemicals are not only proven to have an immediate adverse impact on wildlife, but additionally, these chemicals are gradually magnified as they move up the food chain. For example, minute water life feed on pesticide tainted algae, a small fish then consumes many of these small water animals, which are then consumed by a larger fish. The larger the animal, the more food it must consume, which means it is taking in more and more of these harmful pesticides. Scientific studies have shown that organic farms and gardens support a greater number and diversity of wild creatures than most conventionally managed farmland and residence. By planting more Ohio native shrubs, trees and perennials, one can help to attract more wildlife to ones gardens.
4. FOR INSECT HEALTH-An estimated 80% to 90% of all insects have a beneficial impact on plants. One application of a chemical pesticide can eliminate many of these helpful critters. Beneficial insect help by pollinating plants and reducing pest insect numbers in our gardens. Pest insects are proven to recover more quickly after a pesticide application than beneficial insect populations, which could compound an infestation of pest insects in the long run. The insect world is a system of checks and balances, which if unaltered by chemical inputs, can work to minimize insect damage on our garden plants. With organic control methods, the goal is not to eliminate pest insects, but to reduce their populations enough to prevent serious injury to plants. By mixing flowering plants with vegetables and fruits, one can increase the diversity of beneficial predator insects in ones gardens.
5. FOR THE FUTURES HEALTH-The idea that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors but borrow it from our children is a compelling one. The conventional gardening world is wrought with “quick fix” products with many long-term repercussions. For every pest, disease or weed problem one might have, there is always a safe and natural approach to correct that problem. Organic gardening creates a healthy environment for you and your family, and causes little to no soil and water pollution. The hidden cost of chemical agriculture and gardening is tremendous. The cost of cleaning up our drinking water to reduce pesticide content is now well over $200 million a year in the U.S. alone. Organic gardening helps to create more sustainable agriculture and home gardens, and encourages a healthier environment for future generations.