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.
In our office, we have been discussing natural alternatives to common, everyday products. These are ways of handing things like pest control, weeds, household cleaning, body products, and more, without the harmful chemicals. With all the natural alternatives that we have been discovering, we are excited to share these with you!
So without further adieu, I present “This, not that, Thursday.”
When looking for a natural alternative to herbicides, a cocktail of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap has all of the ingredients needed to quickly kill weeds. Acetic acid in the vinegar and the salt are both very good at drawing moisture from weeds. Dish soap acts as a surfactant, which is an agent that will reduce the surface tension that can cause the weed-killing concoction to bead on the leaves instead of being absorbed by the plant. On a warm, sunny day, the results of this homemade spray will be obvious in a matter of hours as weeds turn brown and wither.
Unlike some chemical solutions, this formula is not built to work its way into the root system, meaning multiple treatments will probably be necessary to keep weeds at bay. Additionally, when looking for a quick fix, sunshine makes a big difference. And remember to look for vinegar that has at least 5% acetic acid.
Natural Weed Killer
• 1-gallon white vinegar
• 1-cup salt
• 1-tablespoon liquid dish soap
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and treat weeds at the sunniest time of day for best results.☀️
Vitamin D has long been associated with bone health in women.
A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that higher circulating Vitamin D levels appear to be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Here are some of the findings in that study:
-25(OH) D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the measurement that is made to establish circulating Vitamin D levels
-the level of 25(OH) D that is sufficient for bone health is considered to be around 55 nmol/L
-Vitamin D levels less than 30 nmol/L appear to be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer
-Vitamin D levels of 75-87.5 nmol/L seems to be associated with a 19% reduced risk of colorectal cancer
-Vitamin D levels of 87.5-100 nmol/L seems to be associated with a 27% reduced risk
-Vitamin D levels above 100 did not seem to reduce the risk even more.
Of course, more studies are needed to arrive at the proper Vitamin D guidelines but you should discuss these new findings with your health care providers.
…..It seems that every day there is a study revealing the importance of having a normal level of vitamin D. A new report even points to an association between fibroids and vitamin D. Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterine smooth muscle, and this affects approximately 30 to 40% of all women. It is one of the leading causes for a hysterectomy in the United States. In the laboratory it has been shown that an active metabolite of vitamin D can inhibit the growth of fibroid tissue.
…..Approximately 1000 women ages 35 to 49 years old were enrolled in a study where the vitamin D level was obtained, and the fibroid status was determined by ultrasound screenings of these premenopausal women. The group with normal vitamin D levels had a 30% lower risk of fibroids as compared to those with vitamin D insufficiency.
…..More research needs to be done to confirm these findings but it seems that sufficient vitamin D may be associated with a reduced risk of uterine fibroids. As always, speak to your health care provider before beginning any new vitamin supplement program.
…..The new year comes with all the resolutions we promise to keep. Weight loss is
always the one we want to accomplish. I wish to remind you again to continue your vitamin D supplements if you were found to be needing them. Every day I read about the importance of this vitamin and appreciate its newer roles we have discovered. Remember that it has an important place with our immune system, cancers, diabetes, and heart health; so speak to your family doctor or me at your next visit.
…..I hope everyone has survived the earthquake and Irene; my home lost power for five days, and it was not easy without the lights. Today we will finish up our discussion of vitamin D.
…..Vitamin D2 and D3 are changed in the liver to 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. That is the last time you will see that tough word since I will refer to it as 25(OH)D. This is what is measured in the blood, and it determines if we need to have extra vitamin supplementation. Vitamin D insufficiency is usually defined as a serum 25(OH)D level of 30 to 32 ng/ml.
…..In regard to calcium absorption, most studies suggest that with a 25(OH)D level of at least 20 ng/ml, there will be maximum absorption.
…..The daily recommendation for vitamin D is 600 IU for healthy non-pregnant women under 70 years of age and 800 IU for women older than 70 years.
…..Extra vitamin D should be added if the level is below 30 ng/ml. As a general rule of thumb, an extra 1000 IU per day of vitamin D3 will increase the 25(OH)D levels by 6-10 ng/ml. The levels should be checked after a three month trial.
…..Lastly, some studies point to problems if the 25(OH)D levels are greater than 50 ng/ml, so always check levels after adding extra vitamin D.
…..I cannot believe how fast the summer always seems to go. As August slips away, enjoy as much time as you can surrounded by family and friends. Now let’s go over who is at an increased risk for vitamin D deficiency.
…..People at an increased risk are those who have:
- Dark skin pigmentation
- Decreased sun exposure
- Low intake of vitamin D
- Poor absorption of ingested vitamin D
- Been using antituberculosis and anticonvulsant medications, which increases breakdown in the liver of the vitamin
- Kidney and renal disease
- Osteoporosis and osteopenia
…..This past year has seen the discovery of vitamin D deficiency in a large portion of our population. In my office, we never measured the value before but now I speak about low vitamin D many times a day. Today you will be given some basic points, and over the next few blogs you will have a good understanding of the situation.
- Vitamin D is important to maintain bone health.
- Some studies have reported that being low on vitamin D can be related to heart problems, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disease. However, few true clinical trials have been taken.
- Too much vitamin D should be avoided because of possible harm and lack of beneficial evidence.
- The best measurement for the deficiency is the value of 25(OH)D in the blood. The supplementation of the vitamin should be given to reach a target 25(OH)D value.
…..This is a start of your vitamin D education!