In this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we bring you some Natural Gardening tips. Gardening is tough enough, but to do it without chemicals is well worth the effort for you & the family.
Although you can use ready-made organic fertilizers, it is best to learn how to create your own organic fertilizers. Not only will it be better for the soil and the environment in the long-term, but it also helps you gain valuable insight into the world of gardening.
Adding compost to your garden is an excellent way to improve the quality of your soil with natural fertilization. However, not everyone has the space or time for composting.
We’ve got you covered! There are some other easy ways to fertilize your garden naturally. For one thing, instead of a huge compost pile, you can simply save some of the stuff from your kitchen you’d normally throw away.
Three things that can benefit your garden:
Coffee Grounds – adds nitrogen to the soil and is ideal for acid-loving plants like tomatoes
Banana Peels – decompose quickly, replenishing potassium and other minerals to the soil
Egg Shells – can add calcium carbonate and help avoid blossom rot in peppers and tomatoes
Another common kitchen ingredient to help fertilize your garden is molasses. Just mix a few tablespoons of molasses with a gallon of water and then water your plants with it. The molasses acts sort of like a probiotic. It helps increase beneficial microbes.
Garden Pest Control
Every vegetable gardener faces pest issues from time to time, and learning how to manage the little leaf-munching menaces without using synthetic chemical pesticides is an essential step in growing a healthy, productive garden. To help you with this task, we’ve put together tips for keeping those pesky critters out of your garden.
Orange peels can be placed around plants or attached directly to the stem to ward off and eliminate some pests. That’s because orange peels contain a natural chemical known as d-Limonene, which can kill off ants and aphids. The chemical destroys the waxy substance around the bugs, causing them to suffocate.
Even the scent of orange peels, as well as other citrus peels, can keep those plant-destroying aphids and ants away.
Plant Marigolds Around the Perimeter of the Garden
Many gardeners put marigolds in their vegetable gardens. It’s believed the pungent smell potentially repels pests while attracting beneficial insects. Some say that the aroma of marigolds might even help keep rabbits and other rodents away from your vegetables too.
However, not everyone is a believer in the marigold theory. In fact, there are some gardeners who say marigolds may actually attract harmful spider mites. Regardless of whether it works or not – marigolds will at least add a splash of color to your vegetable garden.
Sprinkling cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, and/or garlic pepper on and around your plants when they are ready to bloom is an excellent deterrent. Squirrels won’t eat anything with cayenne—which you can often buy in bulk.
It is already mid-August and many families with a college student are about to start on a new adventure. Whether the young adult is going to a commuter school and living at home or attending an away college and living in a dorm, there are many changes about to hit family dynamics and the college students lives. Long discussions should now begin about forming healthy habits that will be important for now, and more importantly, for the future. I always advise living the way your grandmother taught you. Here are some of Grandma MaryAnn’s suggestions.
Grandma MaryAnn says you must:
- Get your sleep – It is important to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. During sleep your body may be resting, but your brain is busy processing all the information it was exposed to during the day. Sleep helps your immune system to stay strong and prevent colds and other infections you are constantly exposed to. If possible, shut off all your electronic devices 30 to 40 minutes before going to sleep; the light from the screens can affect chemicals in your brain that enhance getting to sleep.
- Eat well – Food is your body’s fuel. In order to work hard and think clearly, you need to eat the fruits, nuts and vegetables that we all know are the right stuff. Starting with a healthy breakfast will get the brain ready for the day. Healthy snacks are a must. The crash after the candy bar will be tough to handle.
- Exercise – Exercise needs to be a part of your regular schedule because it decreases stress, keeps your mind sharp, and is fun. You should think of it as an investment in yourself.
I wish all the students a great year, and remember to call your Mom and Grandma as often as you can because with loving words from your biggest supporters, there is nothing you can’t handle.
Obesity is a known risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. A recent study out of Israel found that obese or overweight 17- and 18-year-olds can have an increased risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, and the risk may be increased as high as 50%! We now have another reason to encourage good eating and exercise habits for our children. The earlier these healthy life style habits begin, the better.
Vegan Watermelon Fruit Pizza
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut-milk yogurt alternative
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large round slices watermelon 1 inch thick, cut from the center of the melon
- ⅔ cup sliced strawberries
- ½ cup halved blueberries
- 1/2 cup halved blackberries
- 2 tablespoons toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
- Combine yogurt alternative, maple syrup and vanilla in a small bowl.
- Spread ¼ cup of the yogurt mixture over each watermelon round. Cut each round into 8 wedges. Top with strawberries and blueberries and blackberries. Sprinkle with coconut. Enjoy!
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (33% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1
Exchanges: 1 fruit
Grandma Antoinette’s Pepper steak
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 large bell peppers sliced into thin strips
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 pounds flank steak cut into thin strips
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, bell peppers, and garlic in oil until tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour soy sauce, honey, and red wine vinegar in pan, then add beef. Cook beef, stirring frequently, until done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cooked vegetables, and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.
As you know, Pokémon Go is a hot new game being played by countless people. There have been mixed reviews on this augmented reality game from concerns about safety to praises about increasing physical activity. I posted this video to give you a very detailed description about what your children are involved in, and I believe it is important to have a discussion with them about the possible dangers to look out for while playing a game like this.
For even more information about this game, the article connected to the video explains why the game is appealing, how it works, some history of the game, and how it relates to the original Pokémon craze: vox.com/2016/7/11/12129162/pokemon-go-android-ios-game
If you are on a regular walking program as part of your exercise plan, the recent snowstorms may hold you back for a while. It may be time to revisit your stairs at home or at work to continue staying in shape.
Try to vary your ascent by speed and the number of steps taken. Before you begin each climb at home, you may want to add stretching and doing a plank or push-ups. Before your descent, consider 10 jumping jacks. Also, always remember to speak to your health care provider before beginning any exercise program!
I have always advised my patients that walking is a great exercise. A pair of sneakers and comfortable clothes is all you need to get started. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator has been another of my common suggestions, and as the colder weather quickly approaches, maybe we should consider starting a stair climbing program.
Most of us have access to stairs, either at home, work, or the mall. A great way to begin is climbing the stairs one at a time at your own pace, either holding on to the rail or keeping your hands free. You are using more muscles and burning more calories than walking. It is a vertical exercise, so it is good for muscle strengthening, cardiovascular work, and weight loss. Once you are up the stairs, you must come back down since the descent also has great benefits.
As always, do not start an exercise program unless you have discussed it with your health care provider. Stair climbing can be an easy addition to your exercise program and who knows where it will take you!
The fall season is full of pumpkins, mums, scary costumes, and beautiful crisp clean air! It is a perfect time to get started on an outdoor walking program. Join a friend or relative and begin your walking exploration of your neighborhood and make this fall the getting in shape season for you.
Everyone is always telling us to exercise, and we all know that the simplest program of all is walking. There are many studies that confirm the substantial benefits of walking, and these include heart health, weight loss, stronger bones, and just feeling happier. I have often advised my patients to try to walk about a half hour per day and explained that the distance at first is not important.
As your conditioning improves, the distance over that time will increase and you will be surprised at how much better you feel. Some helpful tips:
- Start with a warm-up for the first few minutes to get the muscles going.
- Like our mothers always told us, try to stand up straight and gently move those arms.
- The proper shoes and socks are important. I have always asked for the advice of the professionals at our local runner’s store.
- Take those long steady steps so that the senior shuffle stays away from our door.
As always, if there are any questions about your health, speak to your health professional before beginning a program. I am looking forward to saying hi as we pass on the streets of our neighborhood!
…..Obstetrical health professionals have always told their patients that regular, moderate exercise during pregnancy is beneficial and safe for both the mother and fetus. It is generally agreed that exercise can reduce the common discomforts of pregnancy. Exercise may even help decrease the risks of gestational diabetes and even preeclampsia.
…..The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic exercise per week. I have always suggested walking a 1/2 hour daily while trying not to get overheated or out of breath. If you are able to carry on a regular conversation during your walk, then you are probably not overdoing it. The problem is not knowing how much is overdoing it, and the guidelines are vague.
…..Should elite athletes continue vigorous programs during their pregnancy? Should overweight or inactive women begin some exercise regime during their pregnancy? Once again, relating to these questions, the problem is that detailed studies with direct answers are scarce.
…..However, new studies are now being undertaken at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center that may give some direct answers. Recently, two articles were published from their program which showed that even inactive healthy women can exercise moderately during their pregnancy without problems. They also showed that athletes may continue vigorous exercise safely. Their very scientific research continues, and finally, we may have the answers for our patients.
…..Lastly, common sense should always be used: pregnancy is not the time to begin activities that may increase your risk of injury. That means no kickboxing!
I recently came upon an article which touched upon a walking program that could decrease the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies have suggested that by walking about a mile each day, you can dramatically decrease your risk.
It seems that this decreases the mental losses by improving the blood flow to the brain and therefore keeping the brain cells healthier. So one of the easiest exercises available to all, again shows great benefit.
Let us then begin a review of this exercise!
- There are very few medical conditions that prevent us from walking. Of course, always check with your medical professional before starting a new program. Beginning at a slow pace in a safe area is a perfect way to start.
- Good walking footwear is important, and replacement every 6 months or when the cushion of the heal wears is a must.
- You should start with a few minutes of a mild warm-up with mild stretching.