Tag Archives: vegan

Mark April 7 on Your Calendar!

SmallRainbowReading

Mark it on your calendar! I’ll be speaking about my new book ‘Conscious Food’ at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Rainbow Natural Foods Co-op, Jackson, MS! It’s free. Food provided by High Noon Cafe. I’m really honored that Rainbow would do this. They volunteered. Out of the blue! What sweet, sweet people!

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Make organic garden an ‘open space, sacred space’

April 6, 2012

Make organic garden an ‘open space, sacred space’

“Every neighborhood needs a Walden Pond in their backyard, a place where people can be in nature and reconnect to themselves, to the land, and to each other.”

So say Tom and Kitty Stoner, founders of the TKF Foundation, and its Open Spaces, Sacred Places program that supports having natural oases in cities, neighborhoods and businesses.
Today, Good Friday, is traditional planting time in central Mississippi. Given the oddly warm and even hot weather, it seems late to plant, but it’s not. The best time is just starting.
Planning your garden is part of the fun, as well. You, too, can make your organic garden a welcoming place for others, or for rejuvenating yourself. That’s what gardens are all about, in my view anyway. They feed the body and the soul.
Over next to our spring/fall garden plot, I have a reclining chair. During warm weather – even winter, if the sun is out – my beautiful wife Annette can frequently find me there, looking out over the rows and spirals of plants in the garden.
In sunny weather, I watch the bees buzz from flower to flower while laden with pollen like they’re wearing waders. I watch the butterflies in their arrays of yellows, oranges and blues, flit here and there. And the birds drop from the sky to alight, eying bugs in the soft soil. We are serenaded by their birdsong.
Sometimes, I take a book to read. Sometimes, I just hold the book in my lap, transfixed by nature’s unfolding tableau.
According to the Stoners’ website, http://www.opensacred.org, an Open Space, Sacred Space has four elements: portal, path, destination and surround. Each is self-explanatory, with the Stoners concluding: “The Sense of Surround ensures that the visitor is safe within the sacred space, until his or her return to everyday life, retracing steps on the path and moving back out through the portal.”
The wonder is that these oases can be built just about anywhere, or everywhere. Perhaps, wherever the heart yearns for peace and a place that helps reveal the joy that resides within.

Reader response: What liquid organic fertilizer do you recommend? How can it be applied?
I don’t recommend any brand, but to get transplants and seeds started we usually mix kelp and fish emulsion or blood meal.
You can take your seedlings and dip them in the mix and plant them, to give them a boost. Or dribble it around the roots for a topical dressing. Later, you can spray the kelp as foliar feeding.
Check local garden stores’ organic sections. If they’re OMRI approved (www.omri. org), they should be fine.
If you are vegan and don’t approve of using animal products, you can use mineral mixes with the same elements. Just read the labels or go online.
Bottles of fertilizer are pricey, but they also go a long way; you don’t have to apply very often.

Reader response: I heard someone say “plants can’t tell the difference between synthetic and organic fertilizer.” Is this true?
Well, if you believe what the chemical companies tell you, that’s true. But if you call yourself an organic grower, no way!
First: Synthetic fertilizers are banned in the National Organic Program. You cannot be certified organic and use them.
Second, using synthetic fertilizers also is an affront to the basic philosophy of organics. Organic growing is from the soil up, not the chemical applicator down.
Ammonia- based synthetic fertilizers kill microorganisms in the soil, kill earthworms that keep it aerated and fertilized by their natural processes,they burn plant roots and destroy humus.
They weaken plants’ resistance to disease; which works out great for chemical manufacturers because they then can also sell chemical insecticides, fungicides and other poisons.
That’s in the microcosm: your own backyard. In the macrocosm, they poison drinking water, kill lakes and cause waterways to choke with weeds; they even are responsible for the giant dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where there is no oxygen.
You can’t throw harsh chemicals on the soil and not expect consequences – in our food, yards or planet.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

Try ‘kitchen’ garden, vegan fertilizer

April 29, 2011

Try organic ‘kitchen garden,’ vegan fertilizer for tasty food

While you are in the planting mood this spring, you might consider some “specialty” gardens such as a kitchen garden.

Annette has planted a wonderful kitchen garden outside our back door where a peach tree stands. For years, the peaches have fallen to the ground and mixed with leaves to form a rich loam.

She turned the ground up and planted a variety of herbs, shallots, onions and a couple of tomato plants.

It’s about the size of a “Jim’s Plot” – 4×8 feet – although kind of winding around in a lima bean shape.

Now, when she’s cooking, she can just reach out the back door and grab what she needs!

Some common herbs that can be grown are oregano, cilantro, stevia (a natural sweetner for those who want to avoid sugar), mint (but watch out, they can propagate!), basil and lemon verbena.

You might also consider a Three Sisters Garden, which is to create mounds of earth and plant a corn stalk in the middle of each one, with squash and beans radiating from the mound. The corn provides a trellis for the beans, while the squash grows outward shading the roots and holding moisture.

Native Americans farmed this way and it’s sustainable, as the beans add nitrogen to the soil for the corn. You may wish to add some fish emulsion, too.

Reader response: Are there any vegan fertilizers? Yes.

Some people reject the idea of using animal parts or residues in their gardens when growing organically.

Commonly, fish emulsion, blood meal and other animal products are sold separately or included in fertilizers.

However, for vegans, Peaceful Valley Garden Supply sells Vegan Mix 3-2-2 fertilizer: $9.99 per 6-lb. box or $29.99 for 25-lb bag. See: http://www.groworganic.com or call 1-888-784-1722. It’s made with no animal products or byproducts, and contains soybean meal, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, rock phosphate, stonemeal and greensand. Of course, you can purchase the ingredients separately and mix it yourself from any available source.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.