Garlic is my favorite plant to grow because it is so easy and so good for you! We eat a bulb a day of garlic and I like to know where my food is coming from; don't you? So why not grow this medicinal root at home. The majority of garlic being sold in the US is grown in China. Although it is categorized as Organic once it is tested upon arrival in the US, it is still grown in a non-conscious manner. The pollution is so awful in China that they are finding it seeping into the food supply and there have been high levels of Heavy Metals detected in most foods grown in China. Plant your garlic in the fall. The bigger the garlic cloves you plant the bigger the garlic bulbs produced.
Garlic is Great For:
How to Grow Garlic:
To grow Garlic, you plant the cloves of each bulb. Each clove makes an entire new bulb. The largest cloves usually make the largest garlic bulbs. Place the cloves in a hole in the dirt with root end down and cover with soil. Make sure area gets sun. A shoot will sprout and usually 5 leaves will grow. Watering an inch or so a week. When half of the leaves turn yellow it is time to harvest the garlic. Carefully dig up each bulb, do not pull as it might break from the stalk.
Garlic can be planted throughout the garden as it helps deter unwanted garden pests, such as aphids. Garlic accumulates sulfur, a naturally occurring fungicide that helps protects plants from diseases. Garlic can be planted with all fruit trees, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, kale, broccoli and cauliflower.
Every time we eat a bulb of garlic I put a few of the cloves in our garden. This picture on the left is of my garlic box. I have planted approximately 5 bulbs in this box and I will probably get to harvest 60 + bulbs. I have garlic planted in all the different boxes in our garden to keep pests away too.
Growing garlic makes me so happy. I am growing medicine for my family from the Earth! You should try too. As you can tell you need hardly any space to grow garlic, you can even plant a clove in a pot. Get planting and growing your own food!
XOXO Earthie Mama
A combination between Hydroponics (growing plants with water and no soil) and Aquaculture (raising marine life n captivity)
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO ON AQUAPONICS
(Made by my husband, Bryan)
California is facing one of its worst droughts in recorded history. Farmers all over California, of both meat and plants, are seeing crop failures in epic numbers. What if there was a method, a closed-water-cycle system that could change all of that?
There is... and its called aquaponics.
In its most basic essence, aquaponics is using live fish (waste) to grow plants and vegetables in a recyclable water system. Aquaponics is a symbiotic combination of hydroponics (growing plants without soil) and aquaculture (raising marine life in captivity).
While the science of aquaponics may seem to be relatively new, it is in fact an ancient and almost forgotten practice. The ancient Aztecs were the first culture we know of to practice aquaponics, and evidence exists that the practice has been used in the rice paddies of China for thousands of years.
Aquaponics is a relatively simple system to understand; however, it can get very complicated when the chemistry of the system is taken into consideration. An aquarium (varying in size from your home tank to large industrial warehouses) holds fish that are fed an organic, protein-rich diet which then in passing creates waste in the water. This waste is primarily composed of nitrogen and ammonia, but the bad news is that these compounds, if left unfiltered, will build to toxic levels and kill the fish and whatever else is in the tank. The good news is that these compounds are exactly what most vegetative plants need to grow and flourish.
Once the fish have been in the water for a little while and dirtied it up, the water is pumped up and out of the fish tank and into the hydroponic growing medium that is holding the plants, where it flows and filters through the roots of the plants. With the help of billions of bacteria in the growing medium, nitrogen is broken down into nitrites and nitrates which the plants then absorb.
The longer the water flows through the roots of the plants, the more the bacteria breaks down the nitrogen, thus the cleaner the water gets. Once the water has reached the end of the growing system, either through the use of gravity or various pumps, it then flows back into the fish tank as virtually clean filtered water.
Without the need for adding large amounts of expensive artificial nutrients for the plants or changing/dumping dirty water, aquaponics is a perfect closed circular system which, by all definitions, is completely organic. It is the best growing system for replicating what nature does on its own. Additionally, because we are adding less and less components to the system over time, and the fish end up reproducing by themselves eventually, the chances of introduced diseases becomes less and less.
The most popular fish used in freshwater aquaponics are talapia because of how quickly they grow and their general aesthetics. They can be harvested in as little as eight to nine months and can reach 1.5 pounds. They are incredibly hardy and can withstand pretty high levels of nitrogen and fluctuating pH levels. However, most fish that grow in the wild can be grown in an aquaponic system, including trout, catfish, prawns, crayfish, carp, koi and various snails. Additionally, most plants can thrive in the system too, provided that they get the necessary (sun) light to photosynthesize and are appropriately pollinated. Saltwater aquaponics, while still in our infancy of understanding, is a viable option to grow rare seaweeds and various sea grasses while growing shrimp, lobster, bass, cod etc.
Because of the way the system constantly runs, with nutrient-rich water being pumped into the grow beds 24 hours a day, the plants grow and vegetate extremely quickly. With the right kind of manipulated light, we can create an artificial ecosystem that runs nearly as perfect as nature intended, with each component in the system helping the next one out.
An aquaponic system is much like a great bottle of wine; the older it gets, the better it gets. Vegetable yields increase dramatically the older the system gets, because the fish get bigger and create more waste, and the build-up of beneficial bacteria increases, which helps break down the waste even quicker. Growers have seen their yields increase by up to 30-40% in the second year of the system running. With the added component of solar power, a completely off-grid system can be created.
1 - Because fish are being used to create all the nutrients the plants need, the $$ savings can be huge, depending on how big the system is.
2 - Because the water is constantly being cleaned and filtered by the plants, there is no need to dump it, which not only saves $$ but also saves the planet!
3 - An added revenue stream is created by way of the fish that are being grown, which can be applied to offset the cost of initial setup.
4 - The longer the system runs, the better it will get at maintaining itself, thus maintenance costs are reduced the longer the system runs.
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Growing and Harvesting Calendula
Calendula is a gift in the garden. Not only does it add a cheerful beauty, but it also has many benefits. Calendula is one of the best companion plants in the garden. This means that they help other plants thrive. The smell of Calendula deters cabbage maggots, Mexican bean beetles, aphids, tomato hornworms and the asparagus beetle. Plant it everywhere! Calendula loves the sun but can do well in partial shade too and likes a moderate amount of water. Plant seeds in the ground early spring and you might get them to grow to 2 feet tall! Keep on picking the calendula as it flowers because then it will keep growing more. Collect the flowers on a hot summer day as that is when the resin content is the highest. Dry the calendula right after harvest and make sure that the flowers are dried all the way through before storage to prevent molding. Once you have dried Calendula flowers and leaves you can make all sorts of earth medicine!
Calendula as Medicine
How to Use Calendula
HOW TO MAKE
This can be applied to skin, hair or scalp and added to recipes for creams, salves and lip balm
CALENDULA CREAM RECIPE (A First Aid Cream)
This is a good cream for wounds, scraps, skin irritations, bites, stings, sunburn, scars, acne and wrinkles.
This is good for stomach issues, immune booster, sore throats, mouth sores and for lowering a fever
It is Spring now, the perfect time to plant those crops so you can eat homegrown organic fruits and veggies. I am a huge proponent of home gardening. You really can garden anywhere even if you have grow sprouts on your kitchen counter
(CLICK HERE to read more on Sprouting). With the state of the food industry, it is more important than ever to grow as much food as you can. When you grow your own food not only is your energy connected with the plants but you also know what is in the soil and that no pesticides were sprayed on the food your eating. You are growing organic, non-GMO fruits and veggies. To grow your own food does not have to mean you are spending money on seeds or starters. In fact, you can re-grow plants from fruits and veggies in your kitchen.
I don't know about you but I always have a few potatoes in my basket that are beginning to grow little sprouts or eyes. Rather than tossing them, you can plant them right in the dirt. CLICK HERE to read more about growing potatoes and see how we are growing our old potatoes.
Everyone has garlic in their kitchen, and if you don't you really might want to stock up on this medicinal root. Garlic is a natural anti-biotic. One of many benefits that garlic has. Take the garlic bulb apart into cloves. Plant each clove in the ground and water. Its that easy. One garlic bulb can make 10 or more new garlic bulbs.
CLICK HERE to read more about growing Garlic and the benefits.
Ginger can be grown in the ground or in pots with healthy nutrient rich soil. All you have to do is take a piece of ginger root and plant it straight in the ground. Watered regularly the ginger will be ready to harvest in about 6 months. Ginger is so good for you especially when you have a queezy tummy.
Pineapple is one of the most unique fruit usually grown in tropical environments. However it is possible to grow pineapples in more temperate environments too. Firstly, obtain a pineapple. Many pineapples are stripped of their inner core, the part that allows them to re-grow so make sure the pineapple you choose has a inside crown. Pull the entire top off of the pineapple and put in a cup of water. Once roots appear, plant the top in dirt. It 2 months you should see the plant established. The original top will slowly brown and fall. Continue letting the pineapple grow making sure it is not subject to cold temperatures as watered weekly.
Dry Beans and Legumes
Dry Beans and legumes such as garbanzo, lentils, bush beans, etc. are so easy to grow at home. They are an excellent source of major nutrients including protein and fiber. You really can just plant the seeds in dirt and water them regularly and they will grow. I give my beans and legumes a head start and I sprout them in a jar of water for a few days until I see a sprout and then I plant them in the ground.
We always have raw sunflower seeds in our kitchen. There are so many things you can make with them. Before I use them, I always sprout them first in a glass jar. As soon as I see the little sprout at the end I eat them, cook them or make them into a pate. I save a few seeds and throw them in my garden. They will turn into gorgeous sunflowers!
Onions can be planted whole or part of the onion that has the root mass on the bottom. Once planted in the dirt and watered regularly, the roots at the bottom of the onion will begin to grow. Green onions will form at the top. Onions can also be re-grown in water with roots submerged in water, top stick out and placed in front of a window. You can also grow green onions in a cup of water and cut off the tops as you need them. They will continue to grow.
Growing Basil couldn't be easier. Take a stalk of Basil and simply put it in a jar of water. Roots will begin to grow out the bottom in about a week. Transplant into the soil. You will never have to buy Basil again! You can also do this with other herbs such as mint, rosemary, lemon balm, etc.
Every time you buy a celery stalk replant the bottom and you will grow an entire new celery. You can plant the celery base straight in the soil or you can begin the re growth process in a bowl of water, changing the water daily and planting once the celery begins growing which happens in about a week. The same can be down with Romaine lettuce. Just cut off the base and plant again!
Avocado trees can be grown from the pit of the avocado. The pit will re grow if you put it in the soil and water regularly. However, many prefer to start the avocado sprouting indoors. To do this you place toothpicks (4) in the sides of the avocado pointy side up and rest in a glass of water keeping the bottom half below the tooth picks wet. Put by a window. In about 3 weeks the pit will split upon and the another couple of weeks later the stem should sprout and then leaves from there. This takes about 3 months. When the tree is about 8 inches pinch the top leaves off and plant in the soil.
Many people get stuck on the idea that gardening is expensive or too much work. It does not have to be. Not only are there many ways to re grow your food you can also save the seeds from your produce and plant them in soil. If you have questions or comments please let me know! I love hearing from you! Have you tried re growing your food scraps?
Health Benefits of Potatoes
Potatoes can be grown in many different ways. They can be planted in the dirt in hilled rows, in straw mulch, in a garbage bag, in a wire cylinder, a wood box, a plant container, a raised bed, an old tire and any other way your imagination will take you.You don't need seeds, just take the potatoes that you have had too long and put them in the dirt, but be sure to use only organic potatoes otherwise they won't sprout as non-organic potatoes have been sprayed with chemicals that inhibit sprouting. I use potatoes that have already begun growing eyes or small sprouts. As the potato grows beneath the soil by rooting itself, green vines will make their way to the surface of the soil. Once you see the green leaves you cover with soil and continue until you have run out of space. When the last leaves/vines begin to wilt, then start to carefully dig under the dirt to find your potatoes. You will be excited and surprised by what you find :) Store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place. Never wash them until you are ready to use them, as washing them will help them rot faster and don't let them sit with apples, they will cause the potatoes to spoil.
I love growing my own potatoes!
At Harmony Homestead we are growing our potatoes in an old pallet. So far it is working great!
Once the first layer of potatoes sprouts and starts to be very bushy, build another wooden 'level' on top of the first layer and fill it with dirt, burying all the leaves and sprouts from the first level. Eventually, the branches from the first level of potato sprouts will begin to root under the soil you've just added, and pretty soon, you'll have a whole new level of potatoes. Continue this process again and again as many times as you want to for a bigger crop yield :)
Happy Gardening! Let's all commit to growing more food. You don't need space just a small place inside or outside to grow potatoes.
If you have questions or comments I would love to hear from you in the comment space below!
~ Alex ,Earthie Mama
Getting off the grid is a phrase that is being thrown around quite a bit these days. There is so much survival talk and preparation being done by many. The end result is 'getting off the grid.' Let us remind ourselves that there are different ways of getting off of the grid. There is the water grid, food grid, electricity grid, tax grid, etc. It takes a bit of time to get completely off of the grid and un-plug but it can be done by all with no limitations. Ultimately, Living Off Of the Grid means a shift in consciousness and awareness to living in harmony with the Earth. This self-sustainability is in perfect alignment with the Mother Earth and as a result many rewards come.
Our goal at Harmony Homestead is to work towards Getting Off Of The Grid completely. We have spent our life together traveling and learning different ways to be able to sustain ourselves without reliance on anything. Now we are putting it all into full on practice! This blog is dedicated to our journey from reusing, recycling, repurposing, to raising livestock, to growing food, preserving food and making medicine from the Earth. One step at a time to a simple, minimal life of living back in accordance with nature's agreements and replacing the plugs with a desire to learn more about ourselves through our relationship with Mama Earth.
I could never do this without my husband who builds most of the designs that I come up with. He can seriously build anything and you will see that from this blog. We are excited to share this journey with you!