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Showing posts from 2010

Niacin + Organics = No Depression?

Niacin from Amazon.com Back in the 1950's three of my mother's younger sisters worked in a psychiatric hospital. The older of the three, my Aunt Pat, was a registered psychiatric nurse (R.P.N)and worked with Dr. Abram Hoffer. At the epoch of mental health "management" with pharmaceutical drugs, this famous (or infamous?)maverick psychiatrist believed, along with others like Dr. Linus Pauling ("the Vitamin C doctor")that mental illness was basically "an inborn error of metabolism." Dr. Hoffer promoted the massive use of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) as relief for some forms of mental illness such as depression. Tryptophan (an amino acid found in dark turkey meat and nuts) was also one of Dr. Hoffer's favourite "medications". Andrew Saul, Ph.D., worked with Dr. Hoffer in his later years (he died in 2009). Go here to listen an interview by Dr. Mercola of Dr. Saul talking about how organic food and vitamins, like Niacin, can be startling

The Next Step with the Wormy Culture: Make the Bed & Spritz

This was probably the easiest part of the task... finding enough newspapers to strip up and put into the bin as 'bedding' for the wee wormies.  I filled the bin to the top and then spritzed with plain water just to slight dampness, just mixing a bit as one would do with a big old salad.  Then I went out into the yard (in the rain, I might add) and dug around in the compost (this time I wore gloves lol) for the cantaloupe that was buried there three days ago, like a cup, to attract the worms.  And there it was, and there they were, I think.... I was nervous about exposing them to light because I hear that they 'paralyze' in light, and so I quickly transferred them in the upended cantaloupe 'cup' to a little icecream pail with a lid and rushed them into the house.  Sort of like the story I heard from a pediatrician I worked with years ago... she had to go along on a plane trip to pick up an donor organ for a child and quickly, ever so quickly, pack it in ice and b

Putting the Bokashi and Worm Compost Equipment Together

--> As I mentioned in my last post, I am putting together composting equipment for this winter -- a set of bokashi pails for the kitchen and a worm composting (aka vermi-culture) bin for the side room off the kitchen. Bokashi involves culturing kitchen scraps with a sort of probiotic that one sprinkles on the waste each time it is put in the pail. It is an anaerobic method of composting (meaning there is no air involved-- more like making traditional sauerkraut) and I intend to take the probiotic scraps and bury them in an 18" deep trench in my backyard and cover the probiotic with soil.  In 2-10 weeks (depending where you live), the bokashi will be unrecognizable as kitchen scraps.  It will even digest meat, bone, and avocado pits.  I have been reassured that there is no nasty odor involved in making bokashi. The kit for making my bokashi includes 3 5-gallon pails and 2 tight fitting lids for the pails.  Today I drilled 3 small holes dead center in the bottom of 2

The Vermiculture Starts in my Compost Bin

So, this is something I learned last week at the Vermi- culture workshop at the Comox Valley Regional Compost Education Centre : If you have a regular composting bin you don't have to buy your red wigglers!  They live in your backyard! Years ago I bought a pound of red wigglers, a squiggling ball of them in an ice cream pail, from the local Oxfam group in Saskatoon, just around the corner from my then-workplace.  I think it cost $5.  The profits went into programming for youth in the community, one program of which was actually learning to operate a worm farm and to do other forms of composting. I thought that the worms I bought were different from the worms in my garden, a more exotic variety perhaps. Turns out they are the same critter.  And if you want to start your worm colony you only need three things: *the worms *the plastic bin with holes drilled in it and a lid on top *a bed of newspaper and food Use newspaper with vegetable ink print and not the chemical ink

Organic Harvest Score Card 2010

Friend Generous Mike's lush organic kale crop This year our older grand- daughter started kinder- garten. After her first day in the system (an hour in a Montes- sori classroom) she announced, "Kinder- garten is fine, Lola. I made lots and lots of friends". And I watch other kids returning to school in their new duds or new post-summer identities, all looking hopeful, with their new backpacks slung over their shoulders. All this hopefulness and optimism for the coming year reminds me of my gardening persona in about May. Any May. I have sprouted new plants, tilled and amended new garden patches, read new advice in books and online. By mid-July (any mid-July) I have pretty much slacked off on the daily 10-minute check for weeds, the necessary watering, the pruning of roses, the pinching off of bolted Cilantro, etc. We travel here and there doing fun summer things. I spend a lot of time on the Internet doing fun writing projects (or just maintaining my su

How To Make Free Fertilizer From Your Weedy Garden

In our area we are not allowed to use chemical herbicides and pesticides in our gardens .  I have noticed that the cloying, toxic odours emanating from the fertilizer aisles in the big stores have diminished somewhat, but surprisingly, they are still selling some stuff. To whom I wonder? People who live further afield, in the more pristine areas of our community perchance? ick. Several years ago our bio-dynamic son introduced me to the idea of making my own fertilizers by soaking the vital rejected plants in my garden, the weeds. Imagine harnessing the power from these pernicious little flora freaks… some of them (like bindweed) are almost impossible to stamp out entirely. What is their secret? It certainly seems that they have a desire to have Plant World Dominance. I have a big pail of weed tea brewing out in my backyard and my husband found some great paint strainer bags so that I will (in a week or so) just strain off the fermenting weedy brew and apply to my various hungry pl

How To Use Up Old Spices

I'm doing some Late Spring Cleaning ... (meaning it's almost summer-- and I felt the need to name this rare and exceptional activity : )  I seem to have accumulated a number of spices that are NOT organic or that have lost their essential zest (i.e., have gone flat).  I thought briefly about bundling them up and offering them on freecycle  but before I did that I googled and here-- gleaned from several sites-- are some excellent ideas for recycling those seemingly useless "expired" spices: simmer on the stove in water with a little vinegar to 'spice' up your kitchen and banish stale cooking odors (or put in a crockpot on low) pour this mix down your drain to freshen it (won't harm septic tanks) pour this mix at your front or back door path-- you  (and visitors) will have a pleasant fragrance whenever coming in or leaving your home decorate and scent your home-- ex., cloves stuck in an orange, cinnamon sticks with ribbons tied around them, etc. sprinkl