What is organic food? With the entire buzz about healthy living and green choices you may be asking yourself this question.
For instance, most beef that is raised for human consumption these days is fed on grain but cattle have digestive tracts designed to eat and digest grass. Grass feed beef cattle have yellow fat and no striations in their muscles. But grain fed beef cattle’s fat is white and the flesh is full of white stripes. Besides for this manifestation, organic beef cattle are healthier and do not need routine antibiotics.Simply put, organic food is grown without any artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides and herbicides. Organic meat is raised without the use of artificial hormones and routine antibiotic treatments and animals being raised for meat are also fed a diet that is natural to their biological design.
A couple of years ago “free range” chickens became the hottest term in the green food movement. Free range brings many images to mind, particularly the one of green rolling hills where all the hens roam for hours outside in the sun shine where they are free to scratch and sand bath the way they did before becoming a desirable addition to the dinner table.
However, the sad truth is that most large free range chicken companies keep their chickens in long sheds with artificial lighting, only out of cages like the battery chickens.
When looking for a true organic chicken you need to check the following things:
- Are the chickens feed an all organic grain diet
- Are the chickens outdoors or in sheds
- Do they have routine antibiotic treatments
- Are they free from growth stimulants?
- Do they live in a stress free environment?
We have a wonderful local supplier of really free range chickens where we live that have met all these criteria, so be sure to check out these points by telephoning your supplier and make sure that “free” is truly free!
Certified organic food has been through a series of stringent tests before it has this accreditation. Some farmers complain that these tests and checks cripple them, but once they have the certification they share a widening market and enjoy seeing the fruit of their labours.
When you consider switching to an organic diet, you also need to consider our reasons for buying it. Many people think that organic food has more nutritional value. According to a study done in 2009 in the UK, it was found that it does not in fact hold more nutritional value than foods grown conventionally.
But, anyone who has ever tasted an organically home-grown tomato can tell that they sure do taste better! Added to this you know that there are no other nasties (like residual pesticides) which can have adverse health effects on your and your family.
Another point to remember is that organic farming is labour intensive, which creates more jobs; it is also kinder on the environment and allows for more energy efficiency as well as water saving techniques.
While this is rather a broad overview of what organic food is, I do hope that it has given you some “food for thought”! You can read further at Advantages of Organic Food
Why not go a step further and slowly start to reduce your reliance on buying organic food from the market?. Why not start your own organic garden?.
Tips And Techniques You Should Learn For Organic Gardening
If you are completely new to the world of organic gardening, then you are probably thinking that some tips on organic gardening will help you immensely so that you can begin growing your own organic plants. Listed below are some tips to get you started with your organic gardening endeavors:
* Keep kitties looking for a bathroom out of your garden with natural deterrents such as black pepper and orange peels. You can also cover the ground around your plants with chicken wire, or purchase a pack of inexpensive wooden chopsticks and poke them in the ground haphazardly. These ideas can protect your vegetables and herbs from being contaminated by toxoplasmosis, a parasite that can be especially harmful to pregnant women.
* A great tip when starting your own organic garden is to sprinkle milled sphagnum moss on your seeds in order to prevent damping-off. Damping-off is a fungal disease that will cause your seeds and seedlings to rot. If your seeds need light, you should sprinkle this moss before dropping your seeds in the moss.
* Mulch should be your best friend when it comes to organic gardening. You need mulch to protect your plants and soil for when there is runoff after a rain storm or after using an irrigation system. The water runs off the land and it will erode and deplete any unprotected soil.
* When you are thinking about starting an organic garden, figure out a plan. Creating a plan for where you want to place each plant will be time saving. If you have a short amount of time that can be spent in your garden, having a plan could help you make the most out of that time.
* You should keep your seeds damp without drowning them in water. Spray water over the soil to keep it moist, and place the pots or trays in which you have your seeds in water so that the soil can absorb the water. Make sure you replace the water in which your pots are standing regularly.
* If your yard’s soil isn’t as healthy as you want, or has been contaminated in some way, you can still grow organic produce using raised beds. You can use wood, brick or stone for the border. Make sure that it is at least 16 inches high so that there is room for the roots. Fill it with organic soil and compost.
* Don’t be afraid to groom your garden. At the end of the season, cut down anything that is dead or dying, and strip browning foliage off plants. If you look carefully, you will see new buds appearing on certain shrubs and trees, heralding the start of the new season. Remove spent annuals. remembering to save the seeds for next year. Do the same with perennials, but replant the seeds as soon as possible. This will give them a jump start on the growing season. Always remember that your garden will be up and running again in a few months.
* If you are on a budget and would like to purchase a soaker hose, but can’t afford the expense of the hose, try this less expensive technique that will get the job done with less money.
Purchase foam pipe insulation, the kind that is sold to keep water pipes from freezing, instead of expensive soaker hoses. It works the same but at half the cost. Plus the foam will eventually degrade into the ground and aerate the soil.
As you can see from the above list of tips, organic gardening can be very useful in getting the best and freshest produce possible from your plants. After following these tips, you will no longer be new to the world of organic gardening, but you will become an organic gardening expert.