Since our last newsletter, we were notified that we will receive the 2007 Washington Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices in an award ceremony to be held at the Capitol on October 9th. The title of the award speaks for itself on what the award entails – it recognizes companies or organizations that adopt practices of hazardous waste and toxic reduction as well as sustainable methods. Eleven companies or organizations won the award this year. The award has been an annual event since 1992, and you can read more about it an past winners here. You can also read a Nisqually Valley News article about the award here.
We also were Certified Salmon Safe . Salmon Safe works to keep urban agricultural watersheds clean enough for native salmon to spawn and thrive. Visit www.salmonsafe.org for more information.
We still have plenty of certified organic U-pick fall produce including three type of kale, two types of chard, carrots, acorn and spaghetti squash, tomatoes (slicers, pear, and heirloom), lettuce, and 6 varieties of potatoes.
Please see last year’s newsletter if you need to refresh your memory on what to do now here. Please add to the list of soil testing services:
Organic Soil Testing
Also, to increase storage life of the following fruits and vegetables, Nadja recommends:
- Apples, Pears
- Pumpkins, Tomatoes
- Summer and Winter Squash
- Peppers, Fall Broccoli
- Leeks, Onions, Cabbage
- Beets, Carrots
Here are two formulas:
To increase storage life:
1 gallon water + ½ cup Hi-Crop 3-2-2 fish solution
Spray up to day of harvest (preferably 2 weeks to 2 days before harvest)
To increase storage life and freeze resistance:
1 gallon water
¼ cup Hi-Crop 3-2-2 fish solution
2 Tbs seaweed (powder or liquid)
1 Tbs blackstrap molasses (unsulfured)
1 tsp vitamin C powder
Spray 2 weeks to 2 days before harvest
We have Hi-Crop and seaweed powder in stock. Please be sure to thoroughly shake Hi-Crop before use.
(Note: August 2007 testing of Hi-Crop of the 9 priority pollutant metals – heavy metals – showed 7 of the 9 non-detectable, and the other two were well below WA State limits which makes this the cleanest fish amendment we know of.)
When researching worms, you will eventually read of this and probably shrug it off as something weird and maybe concocted, but there was a recorded case where this happened. Why? With a little bit of contemplation, one can deduce that this could have happened because worms were highly valuable in their society and actually enabled their societies to exist.
I am not an avid historian, but I do not recall any mention of Egypt having septic or sewer systems, nor did they run sewers down the middle of the street as did mid-evil Europe or even some cities today. Noting that 1) all cities depend upon successful agriculture surrounding them to survive, and 2) Egypt did not have the petrochemical based fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc. that we have today, how did Cairo survive?
Not only is it possible, but probable that they harnessed the earthworm to recycle all organic waste (human, animal, food) into immensely valuable earthworm castings that were then used back into their fields for very successful and abundant crops.
Still think this far fetched?
Case study: Cuba in the early 1990’s.
In the early 1990's, Cuba went through a crisis because of the breakup of the Soviet Union. Almost overnight, they lost 80% of their imports and exports. At that time, they were heavily invested in conventional agriculture, and they lost their source of cheap fertilizers, oil, herbicides, pesticides, etc. Additional sanctions by the US made obtaining other sources of spare parts to keep their machinery running or other fertilizers, oil, etc. impossible (i.e. one sanction mandated that any ship that ported into Cuba could not port to the US for 6 months).
In a documentary created by www.communitysolution.org , called “Project Community: How Cuba survived Peak Oil”, [Peak Oil means the world is past the peak of oil discovery – we now use 5 times more oil per period than we discover] director Megan Quinn documents how during the crisis:
Did they survive and HOW? Yes they did, and regarding agriculture,
· Immediate return to organic agriculture was implemented. Elder Cubans helped educate how to use horse and oxen to plow soil and how to husband the animals,
· All available land for tilling within cities was put to use in community gardens,
· Land was given to those whom would cultivate it, land was taken from those whom did not cultivate,
· Organic herbicides and pesticides were developed and are now marketed throughout Latin America,
· Vermiculture was resurrected and implemented in a HUGE way (in the video, castings are referred to as “worm humus” and are noted as the superior fertilizer)
Now, according to Megan Quinn, Cuba is now 85% organic.
From an article dated June, 2001 on www.foodfirst.org : “Though Cuba is organic by default because it has no means of acquiring pesticides and herbicides, the quality and quantity of crop yields have increased. This increase is occurring at a lower cost and with fewer health and environmental side effects than ever.” Moreover, “There are 173 established ‘vermicompost’ centers across Cuba, which produce 93,000 tons of natural compost a year. The agricultural abundance that Cuba is beginning to experience is disproving the myth that organic farming on a grand scale is inefficient or impractical.” Full article
(Note, if we calculate back from 93,000 tons of worm castings mentioned above, that’s about 230,000 cubic yards or about 230 times what this farm produces at our quality.)
What are some characteristics of Cuban agriculture today?
· Farmers are now amoung the highest paid surpassing engineers and doctors,
· In Havana as of 2001, there were 8,000 officially recognized gardens cultivated by 30,000 people on 30% of the available land.
And what about the future?
According to Fidel Castro, no Latin American country can afford $100/barrel oil. Oil is now closing at over $80/barrel so the rest of Latin America may have to follow suit soon.
Summary: It is entirely probable that successful civilizations in the past harnessed the earthworm to enable their success. Cuba’s experience of oil depravation in modern day society with high population densities shows that vermiculture is a necessary and vital aspect of sustainable agriculture.
Here is a link to the video. It was on YouTube up until about a month ago, but now is available only for purchase. http://www.communitysolution.org/bookstore.html
You can watch a YouTube interview with the director here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=f7i6roVB5MI
One final note: there is one city in the US, Granville, PA that is using worms to process their biosolids. You can read more about their process here.
(Reprinted with permission from Kellie Petersen, Gordon’s Garden Center)
I like to remind gardeners that the secret to garden success is in the soil. When we feed our plants we are actually feeding the microorganisms in the soil, or the soil ‘food web’. But there are times when acute nutrient deficiencies or other stress factors call for a nutrient application directly onto the foliage – that’s called ‘foliar feeding’.
The leaves of plants have thousands of tiny pores called stomata, primarily on the bottom surface, through which they absorb the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that are used to manufacture sugars. The process allows plants to absorb dissolved nutrients and minerals and spread them throughout the plant’s system.
Tests confirm that foliar feeding results in immediate absorption and efficient use of nutrients. The nutrients spread at the rate of one foot per hour throughout the plant; other studies report that 90 per cent of foliar fed nutrients appear in the smallest roots just an hour after spraying.
Liquid, organic fertilizers may be sprayed directly onto the foliage to supplement nutrient deficiencies, which is sometimes indicated by discoloration or mottling on leaves. Seaweed extract, which is bountiful in trace minerals and growth hormones, can be particularly helpful for revitalizing plants.
Apply foliar feed in the early morning, when the stomata are open wide, or in the cool of the evening – never in the afternoon. Use a sprayer reserved for fertilizers only, with the nozzle set to the finest possible mist. Spray the entire surface of the leaf, especially the undersides.
Foliar feeding is not a substitute for feeding the soil, but it’s a great supplement, and a remedy for plant stress.
(From Bio-Organics, Inc. newsletter)
A customer recently called to ask if his side-dressings of 10-10-10 on vegetable plants was OK. Guess it's time to revisit the subject of fertilizer compatibility with soil organisms.
First, our basic recommendation is to avoid synthetic fertilizers when using biological growing methods, especially immediate-acting liquids. At best, the non-organic "plant food" disrupts the normal biological activity that provides nourishment and protection to plant roots. At worst, repeated applications kill off the valuable organisms in the soil, leaving plants entirely dependent on human inputs.
Also, 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 neither "balanced" nor "complete" - regardless of what the chemical industry says about such fertilizers. For full health, plants require more than a dozen additional minor and trace elements beyond NPK. This is not just theory or speculation. The word "essential" has a definite meaning for these added nutrients.
I was told by a mycology scientist at the USDA's Horticultural Research Laboratory that he had experimented with an 18-6-12 slowest-release form of Osmocote-type fertilizer that did not seem to damage mycorrhizal fungi, but applied it at only half the recommended dosage. He said that stronger dosages were harmful. And of course, many of the elements essential to full plant nutrition are not included.
It must be recognized that big corporate farm operations would have substantial problems adapting to biological methods after relying on chemical fertilizers for decades. It would take considerable time and expense to rebuild populations of beneficial microorganisms in the thousands of acres that have been made basically lifeless. Realistically, as long as such soils can continue to produce yields by using convenient NPK synthetics, there will be little motivation to change methods. Whether such practices are sustainable for much longer is the issue for debate.
But there is really no reason for home gardeners, landscapers, or small market growers to use big-farm methods. We have found that plants grow wonderfully well when given very small amounts of dry organic fertilizer, broad-spectrum volcanic minerals, and the introduction of specific mycorrhizal fungi to their root systems.
A typical organic fertilizer might have analysis numbers like 5-1-3 or 9-3-5.
Just keep those analysis numbers low and the release slow. You'll see some very happy plants if their companion soil organisms are happy.
We're coming to the time of year when crops are being harvested and new cover crops are being seeded. For both commercial growers and home gardeners, it is the time to make soil investments that will pay off next spring. Adding volcanic trace minerals and organic matter to the soil is best done in the fall, and seeding a fast-growing cover crop is much better than leaving the soil bare. Besides giving your valuable soil organisms fodder, the roots of the cover crop will decompose and add more soil-loosening benefits. (But be sure to choose a cover crop that won't turn into a weed problem - some wildflower mixes, for example, will contain undesirable grasses and aggressive perennials.)
Yes, there is such a thing. The WSDA has stepped up its inspection of farmers markets to ensure the integrity of “organic” labeling and claims. “Protecting the organic label and enforcing organic standards is extremely important in order to ensure consumer confidence in organic products and to create a level playing field for certified organic farms”, states Miles McEnvoy, Organic Program Manager. Enforcement includes:
· Inspection of the majority of farmers markets in the state with specific emphasis on the Puget Sound region,
· Ensuring the certified organic produce sold is the same as listed on the certified organic certificate,
· Ensuring spit operations make sure only organic products are being labeled as organic,
· Clarifying organic certification requirements to stands making organic claims while not being certified, unless exempt, and notifying them that they can not label or represent products as organic unless certification is obtained.
Rainier Food Bank is a community service created by volunteer’s time and donors monetary/food support. The doors opened on June 1, 2005 and served 16 families and now June 2007 we served 237 families.
We offer food and clothing assistance to local residence in need. Our thrift store helps keep the lights on and the doors open. We have many volunteers donating their time by;
We always welcome new help, even if you only have an hour or a few cans to give.
The Food Bank is located in the Old Rainier Grade School at 207 Centre St S; we are open on Wednesday and Saturday from 9am-11am. For more information please stop by or call 446-1040.
The Thrift Store in open Wednesday thru Saturday from 10am-4pm.
Something new this year is a Community Garden. A wonderful lady, Jan Cyr at Four Winds Farm, donated her beautiful garden in hopes to inspire people to grow their own vegetables and berries. Some food bank volunteers have taken on this mission and have enjoyed some wonderful produce and shared much with the food bank. When we started we were blessed with lots of help from Windermere and their friends, the Mayor of Rainier Nancy Decker, and continuous help from the Gleaners Coalition.
The community garden is located at 18115 138th Ave SE in Yelm. We work at the garden every Tuesday from 9am-3pm and Saturday from 1pm-3pm. If you love to garden and want to help with any part of gardening or have food to donate from your own garden please call Margareta 446-1898 or Jennifer 239-1043.
Given all of the information in the previous newsletters on toxins in our environment and bodies and their devastating effects on human health, we continue to stock Waiora’s Natural Cellular Defence Liquid Zeolite and Karen Yule’s products to rid yourself of them.
Waiora’s Natural Cellular Defence Liquid Zeolite 15ml bottle can be purchased online here or here for $49.95 plus shipping, handling and tax, or we are carrying it at the farm for $45.- One bottle lasts one month at a 3 drop 3 times a day maintenance level. At the recommended 10 drop 3 times a day detox level, it lasts about 1/3 of a month.
The most complete website about Natural Cellular Defense (Liquid Zeolite) is:
Other websites with great info:
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
The Shift Movie: “A massive worldwide phenomenon is in progress, offering seeds of great hope for the future. Millions of individuals, organizations and corporations around the world are waking up and embracing a new outlook with an emphasis on their responsibility to contribute positively to our collective future.” View video clip
14741 Lawrence Lake Rd SE
Yelm, WA 98597