We hope you all enjoy today’s guest post from Certified Organic Gardener Phil Nauta of SmilingGardener.com. Be sure and leave a comment for him below if you have questions or would like more info…
I’m so glad that Christy and Chad talk about gardening once in awhile here, because to me, it’s one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting adequate nutrition.
That’s because most everything in your soil goes into the food you grow and then into you, and whatever’s lacking in the nutrient profile of your soil won’t make it into that food.
Eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides is a good start, but it’s only a start. That’s what not to feed our plants and soil, but what do we feed them instead?
Just like us, plants (and other beneficial soil organisms) need well-balanced sources of over 80 trace minerals, as well as the basics like plenty of air and water.
So feeding them just nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium isn’t going to result in plants that have the right levels of zinc, selenium, magnesium, and boron, let alone enzymes, vitamins, phytohormones or antioxidants needed for their health or for ours.
There are a few simple things we can do to ensure that our soil, our plants, and we ourselves are getting fully balanced nutrition from our gardens.
This is what I’ve done to dramatically increase the nutrition in my food, and I’ve helped many others do it, too:
First, we can make a great start by feeding our soil lots of organic matter on a regular basis.
The simplest way to do this is by mulching – covering the soil surface with a layer of organic matter so it’s never bare.
Besides the water- and temperature-moderating effects of mulching, it’s also the easiest, most natural way to add nutrition to the soil, without the extra work and destructive effects of repeated tilling.
This will be most effective if we use nutritious materials for mulch. Leaves are a great, nutritionally balanced mulch source that’s widely available for free.
Any deciduous tree leaves will do, but it’s usually best to avoid conifer needles since they contain compounds that inhibit the growth of other organisms.
If you live near the coast, seaweed is an amazing source of perfectly balanced nutrients and natural plant growth hormones. Collect it from the beach after a storm and put it in your compost or spread it right on top of your soil as a mulch. If that’s not easy to access, liquid kelp fertilizer is now widely available at garden stores.
In fact, the sea itself is an amazing source of perfectly balanced nutrients for soil and plants. You can apply seawater directly to the soil at as much as 1 cup per square foot, or buy very concentrated sea mineral products.
In case you’re concerned about the salt, it isn’t a problem at normal application rates, when balanced with all of the other minerals in seawater, unless you happen to have too much sodium already.
Glacial rock dust is another excellent, balanced source of mineral nutrients that will benefit your soil and plants, no matter what conditions you start with. You can find this at some garden supply stores.
Finally, compost is not only an important source of nutrients if made well, but a great way to breed the beneficial microbes we want in our gardens.
By making sure that we consciously feed our compost balanced nutrients, rather than just treating it as a scrap heap for organic waste, it can hugely add to our garden’s fertility.
These are just a few simple suggestions to get you started. The main thing is to get started!
I was amazed and relieved to discover, after years of thinking and reading about the problems with the industrial food system and how important it is to try alternatives, that I really enjoy getting my hands in contact with the earth. Feeding my soil turns out to feed my soul as well as my body.
Feel free to ask me any questions below about how to grow more nutritious food.
Do you already use some of the methods I mentioned? Or do you have any tips of your own? Let me know below.
Phil Nauta is a SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional. He teaches practical organic gardening tips to home gardeners at SmilingGardener.com.
Today we are pleased to share with you the guest post below written by one of our clients, Shan Swain. We hope that you find her return-to-health story to be an inspiration. Please share with anyone whom this may help! We are so incredibly happy for Shan that she is feeling so much better these days! Food is an amazing thing!
“It has been 9 months since I have started my new food journey. I must give you a little health history prior to this. About 15 years ago, I was beginning to have joint pain – it wasn’t bad at first but as time went on it increased. Between the cold weather and other health issues, exercise started to become more and more painful. I went from walking to not walking because of the pain. I would have to organize my schedule according to my pain level. In a matter of 5 years I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The only thing they could do for me was physical therapy or medicate for the pain. So I begin to seek my own relief, like going for a massage (which I intently did for 3 to 4 years). Also, heat seemed to provide some relief and acupuncture helped for a short time. But even with trying all of this, my pain was still there and worse as the years went by.
In January of 2012 my daughter Courtney told me about an article she had read about someone who had lived for years with Fibromyalgia but was currently pain free. She told me that the gal’s name was Christy Pooschke and that she had a website full of information at http://www.CompletelyNourished.com. So I read Christy’s whole return-to-health story on her website, and in her story I found the light! I could relate to everything she was saying about her health issues, it was my story! The light was that Christy had discovered a solution to the PROBLEM – not a fixer upper or a band-aid, but a true, real solution!
I was a skeptic at first. It was hard for me to put my mind around all that I needed to change with my diet. I called her with no hesitation, and we scheduled a time to meet. In the mean time, we chatted on the phone about some of my history and food journaling. As the time was approaching for us to meet, I was beginning to have some doubt that this could possibly take my pain away. It seemed to me that I would be in this pain forever. But I started to go through my cabinets and switch out some of my foods that I have always eaten. I had no idea that these things could’ve possibly been causing my health issues all these years!
When the time came for Christy, my daughter and I to meet for our consultation…I still thought it wouldn’t work. But Christy put us at ease and said “these changes take a little time, so don’t overwhelm yourself.” She went through some of my foods and explained that it’s the ingredient information that matters because so many of the additives in our foods can make us sick. As we continued, she challenged me to start switching out my food for more additive-free foods and to cook my own food at home. Christy’s “Eating Additive-Free” Cookbook & Shopping Guide was a huge help in that regard because it is filled with recipes for the “typical American” types of foods my family already enjoys!
When we finished our consultation, I began to go full speed ahead and switched out everything in my cabinets for real food and clean food. This took time and required my attention as to what I really was eating. It was shocking to find out that something as simple as canned tuna fish often contains hidden MSG! One of MSG’s most commonly known side effects is headaches but also for me the effects of MSG were bloating, aches and joint pain, and chest pain that felt like a heart attack. A few times I thought I was having a heart attack, which led me to get an EKG…but my heart always tested out just fine.
I started to go out to eat less often and began cooking more at home. This gave me satisfaction to continue this new journey. Within 2 months, I started to feel a difference! The days and weeks went by, and I had less and less pain. I am not even aware of the joint pain anymore…unless I go out to eat. Then, soon after I eat I can either get a headache or joint pain which I know is from an additive in the food. It’s amazing how I can tell a difference immediately! I have been so careful (with help) when I grocery shop for clean foods. I make sure that I purchase real food ingredients. For example, now I make sure to select peanut butter that contains just peanuts and salt. Nothing more!
As for my activities I am trying to work in some simple exercises and walking. This has been amazing because the walking has been easier and fun! I’ve also been able to thoroughly enjoy several vacations with my family since recovering from my Fibromyalgia pain – and that has been an absolute blessing! I also love outdoor activities, and maybe I will try to bike again. In the mean time I am totally enjoying the flavor of my new foods, my new menu ideas and how much better I am feeling. This is now 9 months into my new food requirement. And I don’t say that lightly, it is a requirement for me to avoid food additives if I want to feel good. I have also lost 30lbs., not that it was anything I was working towards, it just happened as a “side effect” of avoiding the additives.
My final thoughts…if food additives are causing folks like me to be so sick, what other problems are people having that might be a result of their diets?! Let’s be sure to inform those who are in need.”