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.
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.
Q: Why did the chickens cross the road?
A: To get to Marvin’s Organic Gardens where they have access to fresh, organic produce, grains, and all the bugs they can eat!
We are happy to announce that we now have 8 resident chickens living on our farm, and they would love to meet you. They are all hens, which are female chickens, that lay delicious and nutritious eggs for us every day! We have so much fun with our chickens, and have an enjoyable time feeding them bugs, bread and grain right out of our hands. We also get pleasure from watching our chickens take dust baths, where they will play in the dirt for hours to clean themselves. Dust bathing is an important way chickens rid themselves of mites and lice. Can you imagine rolling around in the dirt to clean yourself? Our chickens spend all day strutting around our farm in search of grubs, beetles, caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers and more. They particularly love Japanese Beetles, but will also eat tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, cracked corn, worms, spiders and bread.
We would like to introduce our chickens to you:
Chocolate is a beautiful Rhode Island Red hen who is chocolate brown, and weighs in at a whopping 8 pounds! She is very gentle, and loves eating food right out of our hands. Chocolate is the leader of the group, and definitely rules the roost.
Fiesta is a Golden Comet who weighs 5 pounds, and is a little mischievous, often getting into areas of the farm where the others are afraid to go.
Mr. Meerkat, despite the name, is also a Golden Comet hen, weighing in at only 3 1/2 pounds. She eats almost anything, including maggots! She is also the most talkative, and has different noises she makes when she is hungry, happy, upset, nervous and anxious.
Sam is a 4 1/2 pound Golden Comet who recently won Reserve Champion Egg Production at the Warren County Fair. She doesn’t mind being picked up, and will eat just about anything except stink bugs.
Chessie is another Golden Comet who won Reserve Champion Egg Production at the Warren County Fair, weighs in at 5 pounds, and loves dust bathing and hanging out in the shade of our gardens.
Sparky is our fifth Golden Comet, weighing in at just under 5 pounds. She is always the first to the grain bucket, and runs to us at top speeds when we call her at dinner time.
Ella is our only Salmon Favorelle, who looks very different from all of the other hens. She is tiny in comparison, weighing only 2 3/4 pounds and is the most playful of the group, often flapping her wings and jumping around for no apparent reason. She is also the only chicken that has plumes of leg feathers give her the appearance of wearing bell bottom pants!
Moondust is a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte that weighs about 4 pounds, and has the most attractive feather pattern, giving her a unique two-toned moon glow appearance. She is a little shy, but warms up to you fast if you feed her bread or berries. Moondust and Ella are best friends.
Please come out to our farm to visit our chickens. They would become an instant friend of yours if you bring them bread, granola or unsalted sunflower seeds, which you can feed them right out of your hand. Feel free to check out their chicken mobile where they sleep and lay eggs. We move the chicken mobile around the farms on its back wheels every week so that we keep their home fresh and clean. We have the happiest and healthiest chickens around, and they do not need hormones or other chemical medicine because they live off the food on our farm and always have access to clean drinking water and lots of love!
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup medium grain yellow cornmeal
- 1 T baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 Organic Valley large eggs
- 2 T sunflower seed or vegetable oil
- 2 cups Organic Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- Maple syrup
1. Measure flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl; whisk in oil and pourable vanilla yogurt until smooth. Gently stir yogurt mixture and sunflower seeds into flour mixture, just until dry ingredients are moistened (a few lumps may remain). Let stand 15 minutes.
2. Heat a cast-iron griddle or large skillet over a medium flame for several minutes. When the pan is hot, add just enough oil to film the bottom. Swirl the oil so that it spreads across the cooking surface.
3. To cook the pancakes: Ladle the batter onto the cooking surface, about 1/4 cup and several inches apart for each one. Cook the first side for several minutes, until bubbles have formed across the top surface. Flip and cook the other side until pancakes are cooked through, another 2-3 minutes. Serve pancakes immediately or keep them warm in a 200-degree oven while you cook the subsequent batches. Serve with maple syrup.