Made in USA Composter

A relative recently picked up a ComposTumbler from an estate sale for only $35 and then sold it to us for the same price! What a deal! I think our new ComposTumbler will be a great compliment to our other compost piles and our newly built in-ground vermicomposter.

I’m excited to see if the ComposTumbler can really produce usable compost in as little as 4 to 6 weeks, and what’s even better, it’s Made in the USA!

What kind of composting do you do? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Apples, Apples, And More Apples!

A heaping stack of freshly picked Granny Smith green apples awaits processing
Granny Smith Apples

We have some relatives that have a Granny Smith apple tree that does nothing but produce fruit by the bushel. Recently, while shooting some family portraits, my relatives were kind enough to send me home with some so I ended up bringing home a bushel if not two!

Can you ever have too many apples?

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Photos From The Urban Farm

Gallery

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Some may call it urban farming, while others may simply dismiss it as gardening. It’s true, but in my case, I call it urban farming because approximately 30% of my little one-third acre of residential property is dedicated to growing … Continue reading

How Green Is Your Chainsaw?

An eco-friendly chainsaw that runs vegetable oil for bar lubricant. Photograph by Todd Bryan PhotographyIf you haven’t done so already, start now and convert your chainsaw into a lean, mean, green, machine. Not only will your garden thank you, but so will the environment.

For anyone that has ever used a chainsaw, you know that they require more then just fuel or electricity. Chainsaws require bar and chain lubricant in order to keep the bar and chain oiled. Since chainsaws rotate the chain at very high RPM’s, the bar and chain oil ends up being sprayed into the environment. Now just think about when you use your chainsaw in the garden, not only does petroleum get slung all over your fruits and vegetables, but much of the oil becomes atomized into the air that you are breathing. Well that’s a problem since it’s a well known fact that petroleum based oil is a carcinogen. If you can smell it, you can be sure that you are polluting your lungs.

So how can I make my chainsaw more environmentally friendly and safer to use in my garden?

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Wait, What’s Wrong With My Seeds?

My Trip to Comstock, Ferre & Co. + Free Seeds
Image by Chiot’s Run via Flickr

For those of you gardeners out there that prefer to grow your own fruits and vegetables, have you researched your seeds and do you know what you’re actually planting? Unfortunately not all seeds are the same and some seeds may be hybrid or genetically modified. If you care what you are eating then you have to be very careful about what you are planting.

What exactly are seed developers doing to seeds and why?

Large seed developers like Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer, and Monsanto, are genetically modifying and patenting their seed technologies with claims of increased food production for farmers. Monsanto specifically, is engineering a line of genetically modified seeds with Roundup Ready Technology that produces plants that inoculate against the popular herbicide Roundup, which also happens to be a product of Monsanto. Monsanto isn’t just limiting seed modification to it’s herbicide resistant Roundup Ready Technology, but they are also using a process called “trait stacking” which allows them to produce seeds that are not only resistant to Roundup, but also contain insect control for pests above the ground as well as below the ground. It’s these “advantages” that Monsanto claims will help farmers produce higher yielding crops.

What kind of health risk do genetically modified seeds pose?

In the United States, the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition only reviews summaries of food safety data provided by the developers of the engineered foods. The FDA does not require any specific tests in order to determine that genetically modified food is safe. After review of the food safety data, the FDA does not approve the safety of the genetically modified food but rather, acknowledges that the developer of the food has determined it is safe. Published reports state that no adverse health effects attributed to genetically modified food have been documented in the human population, but without epidemiological studies, it is highly unlikely that any harm that might occur will be detected and attributed to genetically modified food.

Traditionally, farmers saved thier seeds year after year, using them to replant thier crops. Now that seeds are genetically modified, seed developers have protected the seeds under patents. GMO seeds are now subject to licensing by their developers in written contracts that prevent farmers from practicing the tradition of saving seeds for replanting purposes.  Now, because farmers cannot save and replant seeds, they are forced to purchase new seeds for each crop and with seed prices rising at extortionate rates, farmers are beginning to find that the “benefits” are just not worth the extra cost.

Which seeds should I buy and how can I tell if they’ve been genetically modified?

Because the FDA does not require special labeling of genetically modified food unless there is a “material difference” in the final product, responsible product suppliers often identify themselves by adding their own “Non-GMO” label. When buying seeds, look for the “Non-GMO” label or purchase Heirloom seeds sometimes known as “heritage” seeds. Also, be sure to stay away from hybrid seeds, and if you don’t see a “Non-GMO” label, then make sure that they are labeled as certified organic or 100% organic.

What kind of seeds do you use in your garden?