Monday, June 23, 2014

Pass the Worm Juice!

We’ve now been making “worm juice” for about 5 months and are having good results.  We’re nearly r
Our garden is doing well using the worm juice our worms have
produced.  We use no other fertilizers.  And as for
weed control, we use cardboard, paper,
hay and mulch.
eady to share it with others who are interested in organic fertilizer for their house plants or gardens.

We’re glad you asked!  It’s a by-product of nature in a liquid form.  Worm Juice is rich in good nitrogen fixing bacteria, and the key is that the bacteria are ready-available minerals and trace elements so it can be immediately used by your plants.
We have several worm farms in our barn right now, eating our kitchen vegetable scraps along with the soil we give them.  As worms break­down the food source they pro­duce a liq­uid that will fall to the low­est part of the container and drip into a bucket we keep under it. This juice is liq­uid gold as it works as an amaz­ing fer­til­izer. The great thing is you don’t need that much either. The ratio can be as much as 9:1 water: worm juice. How­ever the ratio will dif­fer depend­ing on how much we water our worms.  Sounds odd perhaps, but the lit­tle crit­ters don’t like it to be dry in there so we try to keep the envi­ron­ment as moist as pos­si­ble.

The best worm juice should look like a light brown, something like a weak cup of tea.

The worms produce a lot more of this juice in the warmer months and less in the cooler months.  But an overabundance of it in the summer can be saved until it is needed later!

Most of the “ingredients” that we put in our worm farms are organic table scraps from vegetables and fruits along with other compost.  The worms make wonderful compost and also leave behind the liquid which we drain from the bottom of the containers and put into gallon jugs.  This liquid can be mixed with water and then given directly to your house plants or garden plants for a boost in nutrition.

We are still learning proper use and have not had our “juice” tested yet.  In the past, we have seen the following results from others who have had theirs tested:

·         pH – 8.5: That’s a high pH for soil, but for a fertilizer added every week or two it’s fine.

·         Nitrogen – 1120 ppm: That’s high for a fertilizer.  About twice the concentration I’d use if I were applying a liquid fertilizer to my plants at home. The nitrogen is present mostly as nitrate, which is a good thing.  If the nitrogen were present primarily as ammonium, that might cause problems.

·         Phosphorus – 22 ppm: That’s a good/appropriate concentration of phosphorus for most plants. It’s much less than we apply when we use a typical garden fertilizer. Potassium – 5034 ppm: This is an order of magnitude higher than we’d apply for most plants using a liquid fertilizer.

·         Calcium – 279 ppm: This is a reasonable amount of calcium.

·         Magnesium – 211 ppm: This is reasonable amount of magnesium.

·         Sodium – 634 ppm

·         Other elements present included Iron, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, Molybdenum, and Boron, all at levels less than 1 ppm.

Our conclusion so far is that this makes an excellent liquid fertilizer if it is used properly.  Diluting it is important and applying it only once each week or two seems appropriate.  We are also sure not to get it on the leaves of the plants, only on the soil below.
This is a great way to avoid those chemical plant fertilizers by using own design in nature, and it’s affordable too.

You can start your own worm farm too - a great homeschool project for any family.

Here's just a little to get you started:

Don't want to deal with worms?  We'll be selling our worm juice to all who are interested very soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why We Avoid GMO's

Just a few years ago I had never heard of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).  After learning about my daughter's rare epilepsy and after doing tons of research, my eyes were opened.
This, along with the blessing from the Lord to run across other moms who had the similar or same issues with their children, helped me begin a process of being more involved with the food we ate. 

During this time I witnessed two moms  heal their children from autism and severe epilepsy, respectively.  I saw grand mal seizures every month go to zero seizures almost immediately after switching eating habits.  While we are still working on being disciplined in this area, I am constantly trying to do what I can to improve our food sources.

The more I learn the more I want to share with others who may not want to spend much of their lives researching food!   I suspect that many food companies count on people not willing to do the research or make changes in their eating habits.  They count on it so that they can continue to do what is most profitable.  This is likely the reason there is such a fuss right now with companies fighting to avoid labeling their foods when they contain GMOs.  An uninformed public is better for them.

Let me be sure to say that while I do believe that ultimately the Lord is in control, I also know that He says "money is the root of all evil" and this is a perfect example.  GMO foods make some companies a lot of money... at the expense of our health.  It is important for us all to be alert and understand what we are eating and feeding our children.

Perhaps you don't see any health issues in your family.  I can say this, once finding a health issue in our family, suddenly making these changes became of upmost importance. 
And just because you don't see it right now, doesn't mean nothing is happening underneath.

Can folks continue to eat GMOs without ill effect?  I believe 100% NO.  We simply can't eat pesticides and herbicides and experience no ill effect.  Yes, perhaps some will not see the effects for many years and maybe some will live without ever seeing any.  I can say I have heard of a few people who have smoked their entire lives and never had lung cancer... but that doesn't mean it's healthy.

So with that intro, here is some information for you to break it down into simple terms.

GMO's — or genetically modified organisms — are plants or animals created through gene splicing techniques. They are foods created by merging DNA from different species.

The first GMO crop (the Flavr Savr tomato) was approved by the FDA in 1994. Since then, GMO (or GE) varieties of corn, soya, sugar beets and canola have become common local crops in Canada and the U.S.  In a mere 20 years, GMO ingredients have made their way into most of the processed foods available on grocery shelves.
Amazingly, many countries have outlawed them and will not purchase our American GMO corn.  America is not exporting much, instead we are eating it ourselves and feeding it to the animals we eat.  So we are getting large quantities of this in our diets.

GMO crops, when first introduced, were touted as the answer to world hunger. The argument was that by developing pesticide and herbicide resistant crops, farmer's would be able to increase their yields and decrease their costs. This has not proven to be the case. Instead, bugs and weeds have become increasingly resistant to the widespread applications of these chemicals, leading to increased use of both. More spraying means more costs for the farmers, more damage to the environment and more health concerns.
However, this means more product purchased from the seed producer.  The companies that develop and patent GMO seeds are the same companies that develop and patent the pesticides and herbicides to which the unique seeds are resistant.  Monsanto (and now Dow) is the largest seed company in the world and owns about 86% of GMO seeds globally.  It is also the parent of Roundup.  (I'll post about Roundup another time).
By eating GMOs we are eating large quantities of pesticides and herbicides.  No doubt about it.  No one can convince me this is a healthy thing to do.  The safety which these companies tout is unproven and more and more research is showing that these foods are not only effecting our healthy but also doing environmental damage.  Most nations have policies requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods at the very least, and many have banned them completely.  But not here in the USA.
Many people are unaware that the foods they choose contain GMO ingredients.  They are in nearly everything.  If you purchase processed foods with anything made from corn, you can be certain you're eating GMO corn.  If you purchase beef at the local grocery, that cow was eating GMO grains.  We aren't eating small quantities of it, we're eating TONS of it.
We are currently struggling to find non-GMO corn for our chickens and have learned that there is NO organic, non-GMO corn produced anywhere in Missouri.  Except one small farm that has just finished a 5-year process to become organic, USDA approved.  They are an Amish family.  The cost of their highly nutritious chicken feed is 4x the cost of the GMO feed.  The government requirements are so costly that they have no choice but to raise these prices.  Personally, if I had to pay $5.00 for a dozen eggs, I would do it in order to get REAL eggs.  Many people spend more than that each day at Starbucks.  It's all about choices.
While we're thankful to have at least one farm growing grains the right way - we still have the possibility of cross-contamination of Monsanto's seeds.  (And as a side note, did you know that if any of Monsanto's seeds were to blow onto our property and contaminate our field, that they could sue us for "stealing" their patented seeds?  Craziness!)
So what can you do?  Here are some ideas:
  • Read labels and avoid anything with soy, corn or canola oil.
  • Purchase as much organic as possible.  Google the "top ten pesticide filled vegis" to get an idea of where to start.  For example, apples and strawberries are typically sprayed the most so start with those if you can't afford to buy all your vegis organic.
  • Shop at local farmer's markets where you can get to know your farmer and their practices.  You're taste buds will also thank you!
  • Grow a garden in your backyard.  Even a small one is a great start.
  • If you have the space, get a few chickens.  They provide natural pest control, keep the grass cut for you, fertilize your yard naturally, and provide eggs as a by-product.  :-)  A back-yard flock is the best thing going.
  • Stop using Roundup and other weed killers around your home.  White vinegar, salt water - work great for weed killing.  Or just pull them, or learn to live with them!
  • Avoid milk products unless you can get them from organic, raw milk.  There are many here in Missouri who are raising healthy dairy cows and would love to sell you some raw milk.  Again, your taste buds will also thank you.  Our family avoids all pasteurized foods now and have reaped many health benefits from it.  You can find cheddar cheese made from raw milk at Trader Joes for a reasonable price too!
  • Stay informed.  Take a few minutes to find information.  The internet makes it easy to find what you need, and isn't your health worth it?  If you learned you had cancer tomorrow - wouldn't you be learning all you could about it?  Don't wait for health to fail you - research now and make changes a little at a time.  You'll be glad you did!
The only remedy for staying away from GMO-filled foods is a change in eating.  This change is pretty simple but just a little pricey.  Still, much cheaper than all of the medicines we would be paying for otherwise.
The U.S. National Organic Program forbids the use of GMO practices, so eating as organic as possible is the only way to stay away from GMOs.  Look for the GMO-free label on products you by.  And most importantly, stay away from highly-processed foods.
To see the top 10 GMO foods, you can check out this informative video:
God gave us all we need to be healthy.  While we may still suffer from sickness (as we are a fallen people), we can do many things to improve our health.  Satan doesn't just work hard on our spirit, he also attacks our health so that we will not be well enough to serve others!  We must always be alert.... but we can enjoy eating more naturally and reap the rewards from it as well!