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Posts from the ‘gardening’ Category

Can gardening save your life?

I know people who have survived thanks to gardening.

So, are you the lucky one with a garden?

That could pretty much be an answer to many of your health problems and even save your life, because doing gardening will make your life so much more enjoyable and even support you financially and save money.

It just said on the news that one-third of the world’s population was obese.

That is the most recent statistics. When we imagine how many places on the Earth cannot provide people who live there with any food or clean water, it becomes very clear that so-called developed countries are the ones mostly suffering from this disaster. It’s no surprise it comes as a combo of all kinds of cancers and dementia, plus diabetes and cardio-vascular fatalities. Diseases are getting younger. We thought stroke was more likely to happen after 40-50, it’s affecting now people 16 years old and even younger.

This happens due to food production which is very distant from the way we were having food even 50-60 years ago. With every year, more newly discovered chemical combinations, supplements, taste enhancers, coloring and thickening agents, preservatives and so on and so forth, have been replacing natural food. Not to mention 90 types of artificial sweeteners which replace sugar.

When we think dairy, do we imagine pure chemicals in the container with a label organic cream? We don’t. Yet, it isn’t even a cream, but some mix of things that make this substance look and to some extent taste like cream. The whipping cream isn’t a cream, and milk that comes from powder or egg mix that doesn’t have real eggs in it: that’s all processed already. Cheese is the most affected because it’s easy to replace real ingredients with chemicals in cheese. Your breakfast flakes: they are already processed, if they were not you’d have raw grains. Natural and good fats such as organic butter have been replaced with chemically created fats for some 80 years. That refers to any margarine, oils of not organic origin and obviously all pastry includes that: bread, bread type of snacks, etc. since it really needs some fat or it goes stale the next day.

So, what difference does the produce you have grown on your own make?

Huge. If you have ever tried freshly picked cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini or peppers from the backyard, you know how much richer the taste is. At some point, it’s impossible to compare garden produce with fruits and vegetables from the grocery store. Greens and herbs such as green onion, dill, parsley, basil, thyme and sage from the grocery store wilt right away and they never feel really fresh because they soak them in water by spraying all the time at the store.

Farmer’s market is a good place, however, sometimes prices are extremely high (at least in Whitby, Ontario) and the produce does not look that great.

By growing our own vegetables and fruits we know what they contain.

I love that I know exactly how my vegetables are grown: what water I use, what soil, etc. Small gardens can be easily weeded manually; there is no need to use chemicals to conquer weeds. It’s also easier to control any pests in case they would appear with simple household supplies.

It makes an incredible difference for me: I just walk outside and choose whatever I feel like having for meal. Being in fresh air and having so much stuff for eyes to enjoy is definitely an added bonus.

Plus, one does not need any gym to stay in a good shape: thankfully garden work involves all kinds of moves, exercises and tasks.

I know that not everybody can live in a house with a decent size backyard. I live here also because we rent this place. Yet, there are millions of people who only have lawns everywhere: in the front and in the back. If we would start with lots of people growing healthy chemical-free vegetables and fruits not only for themselves, but also for a few other people, we might end the cancer, cardio-vascular, diabetes and obesity epidemic. We might just also have better mental abilities because of that; and some garden work is always useful as opposed to scrolling through screens or snoozing in front of TV.

This is how gardening will make you healthy:

You will get lots of exercise without paying fees for gym or designating specific time for it;

You will be rewarded with crops that are clean and contain many times more nutrients;

Naturally occurring minerals, vitamins and other good substances are only found in FRESH garden produce;

You will avoid harsh chemicals by using in your gardening only natural fertilizers and composted plant food;

You will have something to take care of and you’ll never feel lonely;

You will have peace of mind, place to relax and ability to clean the bad energies when being in contact with the soil;

You will save money on organic herbs, fruit and vegetables which we really need, but which are not in a good shape at grocery stores and very expensive;

Kids find gardening attractive because we can monitor the steady development and growing;

Gardening is suitable for any age or condition: we can always find ways to do things easily;

You don’t have to travel far to be surrounded by the nature;

Garden can become the most inspiring thing for writers, artists, designers and other creative folks;

By doing gardening and consuming only fresh and chemical-free produce you will literally help your body and brain fight diseases and manage easier the existing conditions.

So, gardening might save your life, especially if gardening becomes your passion.

Please enjoy the purple blossoming in my garden!

Chives in bloom

Purple iris

Close-up

Lovely faces of pansies

Isn’t it pretty?

The many shades of beauty

Easy to grow, always smiley

 

Why to declutter your life now: the many powers of spring

Do you feel happier also just because it feels like the cold and snow seem to be gone? I do for sure. It is difficult to explain how much the dullness and darkness can affect us. It does this in so many ways: I hear people engaging into comfort foods, some just sleep over or hibernate and some other try to do their best to accomplish something. I belong to these who try to accomplish something, but it is so tough. I have to put pressure on myself all the time during winter months.

Why so many New Year’s resolutions fail? The timing is simply bad because we still have in us the ancient need to save energy for the spring awakening. That is nature; these are genes and our personal clock which dictate that.

Spring arrival is in so many ways better than the New Year: we finally get to do things that were postponed due to the cold and nasty weather outdoors. That includes even such routine chores as throwing out garbage or things we will never need, but are keeping “just in case”. Decluttering only our living and work space is not enough. We definitely have to declutter our mental space and mind also.

That is the energetic power of spring!

Chives: green despite the snow we had just 2 days ago!

We can go ahead with all the health ideas we have, in particular, because we will be able to put on our table the greens and early veggies we have managed to start and accommodate in tiny, small or larger back yards, balconies, front yards and anywhere where we can plant something. It does not have to be big in order to give as a huge spring vitamin boost. NO synthetic supplements can ever replace the nutrition from real sprouts and baby greens.

Therefore, your spring greens will not only make you healthier, but also give plenty of pleasant emotions. While we watch the seed germination and sprouting we become so aware that something tiny can have an insane power. The growing power.

What are the easiest and fastest things to start with? Any herbs, any green onions, chives, radish, lettuce and similar plants. They practically require very little care: we have to only provide them with sunlight and water after planting or seeding.

Strong and bright green nettle leaves; in fact, they can be added to the spring mix

It is a huge relief when the weather forecast puts us in a better mood: birds are singing so gladly and loudly, the sun is painting shadows on tiny grass stems, and there is a promise of warmer days being here soon.

It is also time to reorganize everything from our attitude and blog to contents of our wardrobe and different garbage hiding spaces in our living space. Decluttering is such a big matter because stuff just grows around us and we need to make space for fresh air to get a brain functionality boost also indoors.

You might consider reading the blog posts of your fellow bloggers instead of just clicking on “like” from your READER this spring. That is a wonderful blogging habit, and it not only shows your respect and interest in others, but helps discover different opinions and views on the same subject. You’d be surprised how many more returns via blog traffic and personal friendships one can make just by being an attentive blogger and leaving a comment here and there. I would imagine most bloggers are like me: if you never comment on my blog, I most likely will not engage in the comment section of your blog either. Think about that: blogger community is a place where mutual interaction is appreciated.

This is the best time to start with physical activities also because there will be less side-effects and it will happen seamlessly. It feels very natural to walk more and work outdoors in spring.

This is the best time to engage in new eating habits and to get rid of our bad habits. The seasonal change to a better weather makes any swift changes easier tolerable.

This is the best time to start loving oneself because we can change our outfits, switch to nicer colors and use some lighter make-up.

Tulips are getting ready to go, as well

All inspiration we need is right before our eyes: squirrels and chipmunks running around like crazy, birds singing, plants budding and grasses sprouting. Daffodils, bluebells, crocuses, wild anemones and tulips are up. That is a genuinely new beginning. Do not miss that.

Living green means simplifying and enhancing life

So far, we have been taught that more is always better. We have known for decades that having more than anybody else is the best.

It is fairly obvious, however, that it is better to have a few good things than very many useless ones. We have to educate ourselves every single day, and do that not based on what somebody else believes, but based on facts, our and other peoples’ experience and tested, proven truth. The campaigns which claim to provide us with miracle products are just advertising trick because the real miracle of life is our ability to change the aspects affecting us. We always have a choice, would that be food or place to live.

We love excuses, we can justify any laziness or idleness of mind and body. There are diseases, there are accidents, many of which wouldn’t happen if just paid more attention and implemented some preventive measures. Accidents and diseases are quite often caused by things WHICH WE DID NOT WANT TO DO. Which we felt we were too tired or too exhausted to do.

Prevention is the best protection, both against diseases and accidents. Having everything safely placed at home and in the outdoor space, prevents plenty of childhood accidents. It is not that difficult to never place hot or boiling substance close to the table rim. It is not that difficult to fence in open water on a property. One ambulance worker said: if people didn’t try so hard to show off how brave or strong they are, many accidents wouldn’t happen.

Choosing simple things over expensive equipment and gym isn’t any worse sporting activity. In fact, we are aware now, that MODERATE physical activities are the best. That means people who already have some illness or disorder, have to be careful and choose activities which won’t harm them more.

Everybody who can, should take walks. The added bonus is doing that in tree-rich area, parks, forests, taking a path away from busy traffic routes. When we compare walk in the forest and workout in the gym, it is almost like having decent organic meal and dining at fast food restaurant.

Appearances take huge place in any area of our life. I mean, people do so much stuff not for themselves, but to show off to somebody who is “EVERYBODY”. I have noticed how TV uses “everybody”: everybody eats this and everybody watches that; everybody wears that outfit or color and everybody exercises like that. EVERYBODY is NOBODY.

Thankfully, we are also all different as our DNA proves. There are no 100% identical people on the planet because even twins due to epigenetic factors develop distinctive life styles or get different diseases in their life-time.

Epigenetic factors have strong influence, therefore, we are not only determined by our genetic potential or some genetic disorder.

The best way to keep ourselves healthy is to ALWAYS stay close to nature and natural products and environment.

We can learn a lot from the garden: how to start fresh every year, how to bloom regardless of bad weather and how to get through tough winter peacefully and being ready for new blossoming. Therefore, we can impact our destiny and genetic predisposition by returning to nature: fresh air, unpolluted water, undisturbed sunlight and clean soil will always take care about basic products, greens and herbs on our table. The beauty and tranquility of a garden is the best environment to recharge and reset one’s energy.

It was late fall, and some flowers were still blossoming. Sunflowers are beauties with a strength and surviving power of a warrior. Colors of leaves make us wonder every fall: the nature has so many shades of colors and shapes.

Some backyard ideas and my most favorite herbs: the first post of my new blog

It took me a while:  I was planning to write this life blog for some 2 years, and I finally got written and published the first post of my new blog. I hope you’ll like it!

I was just cropping photos and thinking: it was such a blessing to grow up without any internet and without any mobile devices. I suppose, childhood is the perfect time to learn about our surroundings and nature. That is such a great time to find out what each herb a, grass and flower can do for us, how they can help and what they can cure. I had a grandmother who taught me everything she knew about plants, flowers and herbs when I was about 5-6 years old. We moved to a small town afterwards, we had a garden, just like everybody in Latvia did, but I was not surrounded by meadows and forest plants.

I also remember when I arrived in Canada, I saw lots of lawns, every house had it, and most backyards were lawns, too. That was when I thought: what a waste of land and soil! I think, it’s wrong to kill all dandelions, white and red clover, other small blossoming weeds, even nettles, because bees desperately need them. Well, and instead there is a flawless and boring lawn. If every house had flowers and blossoming weeds, we would not need to worry about losing bees.

It is thankfully summer, and summer means planting, weeding, growing and watering plants. I am very happy to have a huge backyard. I haven‘t turned it entirely in a garden yet, but if we stay here long enough, I probably will.

Here are the main reasons why even very busy people should grow some herbs and some basic vegetables in their backyard. It’s not about money and financial gains because starting up a small garden is not that cheap. It is about the huge health benefits. That also means that kids learn nature directly and take part in growing their own and very personally meals.

We obviously can buy everything at the grocery store and farmers market. The latter is a better choice because of a shorter shelf life. However, the soil has been depleted so terribly during last decades that vegetables and fruits we are consuming at the present moment have only 30% of the mineral, vitamin and nutrition content compared to what they had in 70-s. When we add to this processing time, packaging time, time of transportation and sitting on a shelf, we cannot even dream that this fruit or vegetable somewhat compares with that one which has been picked in the backyard or garden.

Strawberries grow anywhere

There are plants which grow themselves. As soon as we have put them in the ground, they’ll only require some water and a few also minimum amount of a fertilizer.

Easy to grow berries strawberries

I love strawberries because they grow wildly and require attention only two times a year: in the fall when we need to detach the new shoots, and in early spring when we should sort out the entire strawberry field or bed. After that, they just bloom and grow, and all one has to do is pick them when red. Isn’t that fantastic? Secondly, you get twice as much plants in the next year, 4 times more in the third year, and so until your backyard is a strawberry field. Just kidding, but still, it’s an easy plant to grow in milder climate.

backyard decorative parsley

The beautiful parsley

backyard simple parsley

The simple or Italian parsley

backyard the beautiful and healthy lemon balm

Lemon balm: so beautiful, so good for us, especially those who suffer from high blood pressure and anxiety or similar disorders

The other absolutely effortlessly growing things are herbs: basil, dill, parsley, mint, lemon balm and thyme. They have extreme contents of healthy stuff inside, yet don’t require practically any work. Dill can be sown every month as a sub-plant for other taller plants. It is a really friendly neighbour of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, radish and similar. Dill grows very fast, and just 1 teaspoon of chopped dill with any salads, soups or potatoes, etc. provides us with a large dose of live!!! vitamin C. I will review in other posts all possible uses of dill, parsley, lemon balm and other backyard plants.

backyard Dill: huge health benefits

The insanely healthy plant: dill for every condition

There is still time to plant and sow many summer herbs and vegetables. Radish and lettuce are ready in a very short time, so eat and put new seeds in the soil.

backyard crisp red radish

Radish: enormous benefits

backyard crisp radish

Crisp and red: eat right away

The biggest advantage of growing herbs and some vegetables is that we really can be sure how clean they are and what have used when growing them. Only tomatoes and cucumbers will need a bit of fertilizer (2 times a season is enough), everything else grows practically on its own.

backyard flowers

Flowers: endless source of pleasure

backyard more flowers

More flowers

backyard first strawberries

More strawberries, these are the first ones this year

backyard strawberries

I have strawberries in pots and everywhere else, we used them for sketching

Enjoy the pictures from my backyard!

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