Growing Organically in Phoenix For A Better Mind Body And Soul

There’s nothing as satisfying as immersing your hands into rich soil and growing your own food. With the debate over GMO’s and preservatives in foods, organic farming has become a very viable option for people who are concerned about the food that they eat. For a better mind, body, and soul, more local residents are growing organic vegetables and fruits in their own yards and it’s not just healthier for you, it’s also more gratifying, and the food just…tastes better!

If you live in Phoenix, you know that growing your own food can be a challenge. The dry, desert climate and baking hot summers mean extra care is needed for your crops. Don’t be discouraged if you attempt to grow some fruits and vegetables only to find that your first batch isn’t up to expectation; it may take some time to get your garden just right. It will be worth the hard work in the end.

As with any climate, certain foods and herbs grow better in certain weather and Arizona is no exception. With its ample sunshine, winter and springtime gardening make Arizona an excellent spot for gardening. The summer months, however, are unlikely to sustain a vegetable garden, due to the excessive heat and sunshine. Foods that grow well in Phoenix are broccoli, peppers, and eggplant, to name a few. Herbs like dill, rosemary, and oregano also do well in the Phoenix climate. Strawberries and tomatoes can grow in Arizona, but not without their issues; just when they start to ripen, the summer sun takes its toll on the crop.

Weather

Weather isn’t the only factor in growing your own crops in Phoenix; there are soil contentions and pesky insects standing in the way of you and your very own organic garden. Strawberries, for example, can be grown quite successfully in Arizona, but the alkaline in the soil is not generally conducive to a bumper crop…but concessions can be made with the addition of fertilizers and fish emulsion. The various pests that troll organic gardens are another setback, but one that can be fought and won, if you know your opponent, or you can hire​ the best pest control Phoenix has and ask them to rid your garden of unwanted pests. They are an organic, green pest control company, and that should be a priority when treating areas of the garden where food is being grown.

Aphids

Aphids are tiny sucking insects that can attack most herbs, fruits, and vegetables and can cause substantial damage to a garden if not properly controlled. Pesticides are a solution, but if you are growing your own food organically, you probably want to keep your garden as organic as possible, sans pesticides. First, check the area for aphids before you plant! If you find aphids on surrounding weeds or plants, prune the area thoroughly and then plant. Watch for these creatures in the seedling stage, and use a protective cover on your plants. Aphids love nitrogen fertilizer, so use a slow-release organic fertilizer to avoid nitrogen overload and make sure to daily spray off your plants with a steady stream of water. Organic options like seaweed extract, insecticidal Safer Soap, even homemade garlic sprays can help to keep aphids at bay.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are another pest you’ll find in your organic garden. They like the hot, dry climate of Phoenix and tend to like peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and a variety of other like plants. They lay eggs on the leaves and suck the nutrients right out of the plant. Plants with yellowing, white or tan spots and a cotton webbing on the underside of the plant are hints that you may have spider mites. The best way to combat these little critters it to use insecticidal Safer Soap or Neem oil all over the plants. Safer Soap made up of plant oils and animal fats, permeates a bug’s soft outer shell, causing them to dehydrate within a day. Neem Oil, an extract from the Neem tree, an evergreen tree found in India and South Asia, soaks into the soil, into the plant, and into any intrusive pest, causing them to stop feasting and killing larvae. Another good way of reducing spider mites is by isolating the plants, if possible, and spraying them down repeatedly with water. Introducing a natural spider mite predator can also help. Ladybugs kill spider mites and you can purchase them from a nursery; ask the nursery for more information.

Snails & Slugs

You may have noticed slugs and snails in your garden; they like to eat low-laying leafy plants and ripe fruits. There are several different types of slugs and snails in the desert, but all can be dealt with using the same methods. Copper tape is one effective deterrent to these pests; the pest’s body fluids work with the copper to create an electrical charge. By placing this copper tape around your garden, you have essentially set up a snail electrical fence!

Horn worms

Tomato horn worms thoroughly enjoy tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers—many of the crops grown in organic, Phoenix gardens. They start out as green caterpillars with a distinctive horn on their tail; eventually, they morph into large, gray moths. The caterpillars chew the leaves, stems, and fruit of the plant. The best way to fight these creatures is to hand pick them off of your crops an often tedious and time-consuming process. Btk and spinosad are two organic ways to fight back; Btk, a natural bacterium found in soil, will kill all caterpillars, so it should be applied directly to the underside of leaves and plants where the tomato hornworm will eat it. Spinosad is a relatively new insect killer that is produced by fermentation to control caterpillars and other garden pests. This newer, organic chemistry has proven to be effective and does not harm the environment.

While these are just a few of the bugs and pests you will need to combat in your organic garden, the overall experience of cultivating your own fruits and vegetables make it a worthy fight. Consulting with a local Phoenix nursery before you plant will help you to determine what to plant and how to effectively ward off any unwanted creatures. There are many organic options available to combat these pests, but it is important to investigate them first to ensure you are using the proper guard for your particular plants and the problems they face. Enjoying the literal fruits of your labor will make it all worthwhile!

The post Growing Organically in Phoenix For A Better Mind Body And Soul appeared first on Better Mind, Body, Soul.

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Christmas Recipes for All the Family

It’s that time of year again, December!! Which means two things, Christmas and Family. But that also means that we need a few Christmas recipes to whip out of the bag too. Nothing that comes with too much stress, and will feed a full table. So we thought we would share with you two of our favorite Christmas recipes that suit all the family.

ONE OF OUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS RECIPES OF ALL TIME – BEEF AND DUMPLING STEW

This one is always a winner, not so much for Christmas day but in the run up to Christmas. Party after party after party, it can get quite tricky to think of different dishes. The stew gives the wow factor every time, yet is so simple and effortless. It could technically be used at any time of year, but is nice and warming for the run up to Christmas. It also looks great in individual ramekin dishes so it’s posher for a dinner party. A Christmas dinner party to be specific. Just add some roasty’s, carrots and tender stem broccoli as sides. If you feel like being creative, toss the carrots in orange marmalade and add chopped up crispy bacon to them. Keep the broccoli simple with just a little butter and a scatter a few sliced almonds over them. Easy peasy.

MARCUS WAREING’S MINT BON BONS

I don’t know about you, but I always end up feeling completely stuffed after the main course. So much so that I couldn’t possibly fit in a pudding. These mint bon bon’s by the wonderful chef that is Marcus Wareing are just perfect for cleansing the pallet and settling that sweet tooth. You could make a load more than you need so that you have them for all of your Christmas Dinner parties. Or you could take the left overs as little Christmas gifts when you get invited to someone else’s for dinner.

Author:

Original article was written by author Becca Jordan from Furl.

The post Christmas Recipes for All the Family appeared first on Better Mind, Body, Soul.

The Whys and Hows of Organic Oral Healthcare

The Whys and Hows of Organic Oral Healthcare

There are helpful bacteria that inhabit the mouth, these micro organisms protect the teeth and gums and help with digestion, but there is also harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis and bad breath. What is worse, infection and bacteria in the mouth can also lead to diabetes, pneumonia and cardiovascular disease. Thankfully, there are natural oral health methods you can use along with your high-powered cleaning tools from Pearly Whytes for the perfect oral health:

1. Oil Pulling

olive-oilAccording to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, oil pulling dates back all the way to ancient India. Today, the awareness of its benefits are quickly increasing; natural oil sales have suddenly increased in multitudes. Swishing coconut, sesame or olive oil in the mouth for 10 to 20 minutes pulls toxins from the mouth to prevent oral health issues such as:

  • Tooth decay
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Inflammation
  • Throat dryness
  • Cracked lips
  • Cavities
  • Acne

Oil pulling also whitens the teeth, boosts the immune system and strengthens the jaw and gums. It also eliminates the need to use conventional mouthwashes that contain toxic substances such as alcohol, formaldehyde, saccharin, sodium laurel sulfate and other harsh chemicals that contribute to migraines, cancers of the mouth, respiratory issues and even make animals suffer as it travels through ecosystem.

2. Tea Tree Oil Floss

tea-tree-oil1Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant and fights against fungi, bacteria and viruses that may be resistant to antibiotics. Opting for tea tree oil floss instead of the chemically waxed mint and cinnamon floss helps to reduce the risk of gingivitis, bleeding gums and unhealthy oral bacteria without inviting harsh chemicals to the gumline that often harm more than help. Tea tree has even been found to reduce gum bleeding in individuals with gingivitis.

3. Camu Camu

Camu Camu is a lemon-sized fruit from the rain forests of Brazil and Peru. This superfood can serve a vitamin C boost without using a synthetic vitamin supplement. Vitamin C reduces the risk of periodontitis, bleeding gums and gingivitis, and Camu Camu contains more vitamin C per teaspoon than any other food source. While getting the actual fruit may be a little difficult if you don’t live near the Amazon forest, there are many sources to purchases organic Camu Camu powder.

4. Abstaining From Unhealthy Foods

unhealthy foodsCarbohydrates made from white flour break down into simple sugars once they idle in the mouth; opt for products made of organic, non-GMO whole grains instead. Instead of drinking concentrated fruit juices high in sugar, opt for fresh-pressed organic and premium juices to receive essential nutrients without the tooth decaying effects of a high sugar.

5. Organic Toothpaste

Commercial toothpaste contains toxic ingredients such as sodium fluoride, glycerin, dyes, titanium dioxide and sodium laurel sulfate. Create a toothpaste composed of the antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial coconut oil and baking soda, which restores pH balance and presents a scrubbing texture with these easy steps:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • Peppermint oil (this is optional)

Use equal parts coconut oil and baking soda for the portion size you wish for.

  1. Mix both components into a container until it forms a paste.
  2. Add 10 drops of peppermint oil to mixture for optional taste.
  3. Store covered; refrigerate in warmer climates to maintain paste texture.

6. Incorporate Green Tea

Green tea is a tasty and relaxing drink, but it also holds a wide array of oral health benefits:

  1. Gum Health – The anti-inflammatory properties of green tea fights gum disease
  2. Prevents Cavities – Green tea lowers saliva acidity and controls bacteria to prevent tooth decay
  3. Fresh breath – Green tea eliminates the microbes in the mouth that cause bad smells

The most common way to consume green tea is to drink it in hot or iced form, but it is also available in green tea extract capsule form, in concentrate drops and tablet form.

7. Neem Oil

neem-treeNeem oil is extracted from the neem tree. While this oil has potent antibacterial, anti fugal and antiviral properties, it is not recommended that pregnant women, women who wish to become pregnant, breastfeeding mothers and children should use this product. If you are not in those categories, chewing on neem bark, spreading neem oil on floss or adding neem oil or powder to your toothbrush reduces the risk of gingivitis, canker sores and tooth decay.

As with all situations involving your health, consult with your dentist and primary care doctor for any issues that may arise concerning your oral health if no improvement occurs or the problems worsen. Also, make sure that these remedies do not adversely interfere with current medical conditions and medications. Here’s to good health without the side effects of conventional products!

The Whys and Hows of Organic Oral Healthcare is courtesy of The Better Mind Body Soul website

Mindful Tips

1. Choose a short mindfulness practice you can use every day or several times a day. For instance, notice the sensation of your breath at your nostrils for the length of three in-breaths and three out-breaths. Even in this short space of time, your attention will drift; bring it back to your breath calmly and without self-criticism.

2. Try a little acceptance at the start of the day. Mindfulness has two major aspects: returning your attention from mind-wandering to the present moment; and practising acceptance. Briefly look over what you are going to have to do today and accept it. This could include an annoying task or an unpleasant meeting or any of the other challenges in our day. Just accept it. Try to do this at a set time, for instance before you get out of bed in the morning, having breakfast, waiting for a train or tram and so on.

3. Make a “no problem solving” period part of every day. We have an addiction to mulling over problems and this exiles us from the present moment. Set a short period every day during which you promise not to solve a single problem in your life! During that time you will find it much easier to be present and mindful. Good times for this? During meals, when commuting or tidying for instance.

4. Find your anchor point. The “anchor point” is a practice or sensation that anchors you to mindfulness and helps you come back when you find yourself wandering off in your mind. Examples are: the sensation of your breath against your nostrils; the feeling of your feet against the floor, ground, or against the soles of your shoes; or the use of a silent word such as “returning.”

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