We think these vintage-inspired seed bomb satchels are too cool! Made by Visual Lingual in Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, we now carry them at Marvin’s Organic Gardens! This can be a fun project to do with children – just throw them out in the lawn & see what sprouts! The 5 “bombs” in the bag are bee, butterfly & bird friendly.
July 30, 2010
July 29, 2010
Looking for a fun eco-friendly project for the weekend? Try 1 or all of these 6 suggestions for reusing plastic bottles!
Read the article on Earth911.com here.
Be sure to post photos of your finished projects on our Facebook wall!
Trendy lamp made from plastic bottles, believe it or not!
July 27, 2010
Is Marvin’s Organic Gardens one of your favorite hometown businesses?
If so, nominate us for the Rewind 94.4 Hometown Business of the Week!
The more people who share our story, the more we can do to help Cincinnati go green & lead organic, eco-friendly sustainable lifestyles.
Just follow click HERE & fill out the form with the following information:
Marvin’s Organic Gardens
2055 U.S. Route 42 South
Lebanon, OH 45036
Owner’s name: Marvin Duren & Wes Duren
Let them know why you love us!
Thanks for your support.
July 21, 2010
Check out this fantastic article from NPR on honey & the beekeeping craze. Read here.
Did you know we sell our own local honey at Marvin’s Organic Gardens made from hives on our property? Stop in and pick up some Green Truck Honey while supplies last!
July 19, 2010
It’s a super hot summer and there are few things more refreshing after a long afternoon of gardening in the sweltering sun than a cold cup of ice cream! We at Marvin’s Organic Gardens would love to share this recipe with you for Five-Herb Ice Milk to help you cool off and utilize the delicious herbs you’ve worked so hard to grow this season!
Five-Herb Ice Milk
For ice milk
• 4 2/3 cups whole milk
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh lemon balm sprigs
• 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh basil sprigs
• 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh tarragon sprigs
• 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh mint sprigs
• 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh lavender sprigs
• 4 large egg yolks
• Special equipment: a candy or instant-read thermometer; an ice cream maker
Whisk together milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan. Add herb sprigs and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Gently boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute.
Lightly beat yolks in a large bowl. Pour hot milk mixture through a sieve into a large glass measure, pressing gently on sprigs before discarding, then gradually add to yolks, whisking until combined.
Cook mixture in saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, 3 to 5 minutes (do not let boil).
Pour custard through cleaned sieve into a clean bowl and cool completely, its surface covered with wax paper. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours. Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice milk to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Cooks’ note: Ice milk keeps 3 days.
Read more here from Epicurious
July 16, 2010
August: Coconut-seared tofu with bok choy and shiitakes
Tofu and Marinade
14-16 ounces extra-firm (not silken) tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1½ tablespoons low-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1 head bok choy (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
¾ ounce organic mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1. For tofu: Combine tofu and next six ingredients (tamari though garlic) in medium nonreactive bowl or container. Toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Toss occasionally to coat tofu with marinade. When ready to prepare, drain and discard liquid.
2. For stir-fry: In a small bowl, mix together 1½ tablespoons tamari, 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons mirin, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and arrowroot until powder is dissolved and mixture is free of large lumps. Separate leaves from stems of bok choy. Cut stems into ¼-inch slices, leaves into ½-inch ribbons. Set aside.
3. Place a heavy large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and heat 30 seconds. Add tofu and sauté until lightly golden, turning cubes in pan to brown evenly, about 5 minutes. Transfer tofu to bowl and set aside. Add remaining 2 teaspoons coconut oil to pan. Add ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper to pan and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly to avoid burning garlic. Add shiitakes and stir-fry 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and stir-fry 1 minute. Add bok choy leaves and stir-fry until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Return tofu to pan. Give tamari mixture a stir and pour over tofu and vegetables; stir-fry until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
What could possibly sound more attractive during these hot, humid summer days than sound of a cascading waterfall tumbling into a rolling stream and meandering its way into a natural pool of cool, clear water with beautiful aquatic plants and colorful Koi swimming peacefully about? It would be perfect it was your own private waterfall in your own backyard!
This nirvana can be achieved possibly more simply than you may have imagined.
Backyard water gardeners usually fall into two categories: The enthusiast who visits the water garden at every opportunity to feed the fish (which he may have named and are like family pets), tend the plants and just soak up the atmosphere. And there’s the individual who desires the aesthetics of a water feature without the interaction and the maintenance.
The very first question to ask your self when considering the addition of a water garden is which category do I realistically fall in? If you feel as if you would become involved and really enjoy having a pond with fish, frogs, turtles and plants, then a living eco-system pond with a waterfall is definitely for you. The pond can be made big enough with a stone bottom that you can wade into and be amongst the wildlife. If there are children in the household this is especially enjoyable and educational.
However, if you know that your lifestyle does not allow for the care and maintenance of a pond but you really appreciate the aesthetic value of running water, then your best option would be a “pondless” waterfall that requires very little maintenance.
Here are some truths about water gardening that we have discovered over the years:
-A properly designed and installed water feature often becomes the focal point of outdoor recreational activity.
-Humans (and most other animals) are naturally drawn to the sound of a waterfall.
-A waterfall can effectively mask unwelcome sounds such as traffic noise. It does not have to over-power the volume. The ear just seems to focus in on the water sound instead.
-The most common regret of homeowners who have installed water features is “I wish that we had made it bigger.”
-Just like almost every other aspect of landscape installation, the first and most important step is site selection.
-Water garden systems and technology have greatly improved over the last decade; so even if you had a bad experience years ago, do not be afraid to re-investigate the
If you have ever entertained the idea of adding a water feature, please give us the opportunity to come to your home and discuss the potential with you. Ask about the environmentally friendly option of a “rain exchange” water garden that collects rainwater to be re-used in irrigation systems or other outdoor uses. Let’s get wet!
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!
EASY-TO-GROW DELICIOUS MUSHROOMS FOR YOUR HOME
We now carry indoor edible mushroom growing kits. Both children and adults will have fun with these easy-to-grow mushroom kits. You can grow Oyster Mushrooms in your kitchen, which are both nutritious and tasty! This grow system is easy. Simply lay your mushroom bag length wise on a table with morning sun, afternoon shade exposure. Make one 1″ slit on one end of the bag and then cover mushroom bag with a larger clear freezer zip-loc bag, which will stand in an upright position like a dome to help hold humidity in and around your mushrooms. The freezer bag need not be zipped shut, but rather left open on bottom facing side. Every day, once or twice per day, mist the inside of the freezer zip-loc dome and mushroom bag with spring or distilled water to promote higher humidity. You will notice primordia (small mushroom pin heads) forming on the inside of your bag near the sight of your incision, which will grow rapidly once exposed to oxygen. Within 1 week, your oyster mushrooms will be bursting out of your bag, eventually reaching the size of a human fist, possibly larger. You will notice when it is time to harvest because your mushroom will slow growth considerably, and turn from pure white to crème colored. If you can harvest the mushroom cluster just before it turns crème colored, that would be best. Simply take a knife and cut the oyster mushroom stem as close to the base of the bag, near to the incision you made in the bag, in order to harvest the mushroom cluster, without injuring the rest of the culture. Then seal the incision on the bag with a piece of tape to prevent bacteria from entering into the bag. Then, flip the bag upside down, still lengthwise, and make another 1″ incision on the other end of the bag and repeat the same method as used for the first harvest. Once you get your 2nd harvest, flip the bag upside down again (this would be the same side of the bag that the original incision was made), and make another 1″ incision on opposite end of the bag from your original mushroom harvest. Cover with zip-loc dome for the 3rd time and repeat method as described for the first harvest. Ultimately, you can get four harvests per bag if you keep the bag well humidified, which is the biggest secret to success.
Once you have harvested at least 3-4 times on the oyster mushroom bag, there is yet another way you can expand the culture. Its called the straw box culture, which is even easier than bagged mushroom culture. Simply select a used cardboard box, approximately 2′x2′. Then purchase a bale of straw, which is the same straw you would buy if you were seeding and strawing your lawn. Soak the bale in water for 24 hours minimum, by immersing in a big rubber-made container or other water holding vessel. Once thoroughly soaked, grab a single section (flake) of straw, typically a 4″ thick section and pull it apart and pack the loose wet straw about 4″ thick in the bottom of your cardboard box, making sure it is welled packed against sides and bottom. Then, take your used bag of mushroom spawn and open the bag and thoroughly break up the grain spawn block with clean hands. Once mushroom spawn is broken up into grain-like consistency, sprinkle 1/3 of the spawn content a top newly packed wet straw in box. Then, firmly apply a 3″ layer of wet straw on top of the newly sprinkled mushroom spawn layer, followed by another 1/3 contents of mushroom spawn on top of the 2nd packed straw layers, followed by another 3″ layer of packed straw followed by the final spawn layer, and then pack once last 4″ layer of wet straw on the top of the final spawn layer. Close the box lid and cover the box with a trash bag, open end facing towards ground, to create a humidity tent over top of your mushroom grow box, similar to how you used the freezer bag to create a humidity tent a top your mushroom grow bag. Water your mushroom grow box with rain, spring or distilled water once to twice per week to keep the straw moist. The mushroom grow box should be located in an area where you can leave it in one place on the ground or on a table that is okay to get wet during watering. A garage, back porch, balcony, patio or deck works great for growing mushrooms in a cardboard box. Check for mushrooms to start growing through the bottom of the box, after about 6 weeks to 2 months. You will harvest when the mushrooms achieve maturity, similar to the size and color you harvested during bag culture. You will be able to harvest mushrooms in your box for about 2 full months. This straw, once permeated with mushroom mycellium, will turn web-like and white, similar to the way it looked inside your mushroom grow bag. After your grow box slows down, you can used that inonculated oyster mushroom straw spawn to again expand your grow box culture. Or, if you are finished growing mushrooms, just put this high quality mushroom straw spawn in your compost pile and cover with organic matter like partially decomposed leaves or wood chips. If the compost stays moist, you will usually get one more good harvest right out of your compost pile. Just add water to your compost pile 1-2 times per week until mushrooms emerge.
Bon appetite and happy mushrooming!
July 12, 2010
Congratulations to our friends at Five Rivers MetroParks. After seven years of restoration, the ancient wetland that dates to the last Ice Age 13,000 years ago is now officially open to the public.
Read more by clicking here.