May 27th, 2010 - Scott Shaffer
Having trouble on that crossword? Don’t turn to Google for an answer—spend some time in the garden, instead. BusinessWeek reports that Sage Colleges researchers found that mice who were fed a bacteria naturally occurring in soil made it through a maze twice as fast as the squeaky-clean mice. The cognitive benefits of the bacteria lasted for about three weeks after it was consumed. Researcher Dorothy Matthews said that the bacteria in soil “may play a role in anxiety and learning in mammals.”
Chalk this up as another reminder that we need to rethink our germaphobic concepts of “clean” and “dirty.” I had a geology teacher in high school who wouldn’t let us say the word “dirt” in class—he thought the word had negative connotations that didn’t do justice to the life-giving power of soil. It pains me to say it now, but Mr. Lundgren: you were right. Soil isn’t dirty, it’s good for you.
Think about it for a second. Animals have been eating around dirt for millions of years, but we’ve only been using pesticides for a couple of generations. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a chemical-filled, dirt-free diet is going to have some negative, unintended consequences for us—like causing learning disabilities in children. And that’s not even beginning to mention the effects on the rest of the planet.
Looking for ideas of how to get some of that smart, dirty bacteria into your system? Start an organic garden. Here are 5 tips to get you started. And here are 2 easy compost recipes.
Image Credit: Steven DePolo
Read More:Dirty Food Might Help You Learn Faster
May 3rd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
If your mom loves to garden—or if you’d like to help her get started—pick up a container or two of Ecosource’s Organic Grow Your Own Seedling Starter Kits for Mother’s Day.
Nine USDA-certified organic varieties are available for last-minute shoppers (ground, 2-day or overnight shipping):
- Bell Pepper
- Heirloom Tomato
A Strawberry Kit is also available, but the seedlings are not organic.
Each kit ($15.99) contains instructions, an eco-friendly tray, high-quality soil, a reusable “greenhouse bag” and biodegradable seedling starter shells, all housed in a decorative container.
Users can start up to 10 seedlings and then transplant them into their gardens.
Ecosource founders Chad Callihan and Chuck Rose quit the corporate world and started the Decatur, GA-based company in 2006 to develop stylish, affordable and eco-friendly products.
“We’re not trying to be perfect, but we’re learning every day about how to make better choices for ourselves and the future of our children’s planet,” they state. “We hope that by sharing our experience, you’ll want to do the same.”
Read More:Mother’s Day Gift Idea: Start an Organic Garden
March 15th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
In addition to tomatoes, peas and peppers, we’d like to highlight four vegetables that are easy to grow in an organic garden.
The base for most salads, myriad lettuce varieties (right) make versatile sandwich toppings and wrap fillings.
Seeds should be planted between 8 and 16 inches apart. Water in the morning to prevent disease from developing.
Delicious in: Grilled Sweet Gem with Gorgonzola
This green or yellow Italian squash is rich in potassium, folate and manganese, making it a healthful addition to any meal.
Zucchini take about a month to mature. They grow on vines and produce large flowers before bearing fruit.
Delicious in: Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Salad
A beet’s bright purple color tells you it’s chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals.
Freshly roasted beets are a wonderfully rustic side dish or salad ingredient.
Delicious in: Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Beets and Goat Cheese
A subterranean-growing veggie, carrots require moist soil as they germinate.
As plants mature, they require less water.
Delicious in: Turkish Leeks and Carrots
Read More:4 Easy-to-Grow Spring Veggies
January 8th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
AOL recently teamed with Woman’s Day magazine to learn more about Americans’ eating habits. Survey participants were asked, “Which vegetable do you eat most often?”
The results follow:
Broccoli’s score is impressive. As for French fries? Well, at least they scored only 2% of the vote.
From Our Organic Blog
- Sesame-Ginger Frittata with Broccoli and Shrimp
- Spicy Nutmeg Carrots
- Spinach and Baby Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Plum Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese
- Creamy Curried Soup with Wilted Spinach
- Corn, Tomato and Vidalia Onion Salad
Read More:Broccoli More Popular than Carrots, 2 to 1