Natural Cures Not Medicine: 10/31/13

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Did you know you can rent out a fruit tree from an organic farmer?

Natural Cures Not Medicine

A new trend beginning surface in the organic eating world is fruit tree rental programs being offered by local organic orchards. This is a great way to get organic fruit when you don't have to time or space to grow tress at your home, or if you're renting and can't plant your own. It's also a great way to save money on some fresh organic fruit!  According to
"Renting one apple tree costs $55, and depending on the harvest, we could walk away with anywhere from 80 to 120 pounds of apples.  That works out to 68 cents to 45 cents per pound for organic apples!"
Here's an excerpt from Earth First Farms' Rent-A-Tree FAQ page:
-Yield varies based on the tree, the year, and the weather, among other factors. We usually expect to harvest 2 or 3 bushels of apples from each tree in an average year. At about 40 pounds per bushel, that means 80 to 120 pounds of apples. In a bumper year, you may harvest up to five bushels from a single tree. 
-Expect about 60% of your tree’s apples to be ready for fresh eating, and about 40% that you will want to juice, sauce, or make into pie filling. 
-For more information about individual varieties, read our varietal descriptions. 
-There are no guarantees as to picking dates, though we can give you estimates based on previous years. We test your apples as they begin to ripen, and when the sugar content shows that they are ready to pick, we let you know immediately.  We try to give you a week’s notice to plan a trip. 
-All the apples from your tree can be picked in one trip to the farm.
The cost to rent a tree for the year is $55. 
Renting a tree takes many of the limitations to living in the city out of the picture. Most of the work and maintenance will be done by the farmers who own the trees, while you get to reap the rewards of the harvest!

This new trend is still fairly unknown, however word travels quickly once people start to discover this great idea. One Cherry orchard in England has already rented out all of their trees through 2015 after a news story was done about their farm.
"Dallaway launched Rentacherrytree in 2008, and found renters for 300 trees almost immediately. By the following year he had let 500 trees, and this year his whole orchard is taken (bar the 500 trees he keeps aside to supply local markets and farm shops). Those who rent a cherry tree can come and see it in full bloom each spring, picnic in a field among the blossom, and then return in the summer to pick the fruit. They also receive a bi-monthly newsletter and are invited to a hog roast during the picking, and each September they can renew their option for the following year. (Roughly 500 trees become available again each September, so now is the time to join the waiting list for 2014.)"
Most orchards will keep you up to date via email about the progress of the tree you rented. Depending on the type of agreement you choose, you may be able to go and pick the fruit from your tree when it is ready for harvest or choose to have the fruit picked and shipped to you.

Find out if any farmers near you have and tree rentals or leasing programs. If they don't, then talk to them about it! It's a win for the farmer who is able to basically pre-sell his produce, and the consumer which will get awesome organic fruit at below wholesale prices.

How to grow the best organic apples with no pesticides

Apples may seem like the last bastion of pesticide-dependent gardening. In many commercial orchards, apples are sprayed 10 to 20 times per year. It’s not hard to find organic home gardeners who still believe it’s nearly impossible to grow good fruit without pesticides. Furthermore, most people probably expect organic fruit to come with a few spots or chew marks. I used to rely on insect traps and biological sprays, and I would still have fruit that was covered with disease and infested with worms. Then I found a way to grow pristine apples without using any kind of spray.

Successful organic fruit-growing starts with selecting varieties that are inherently disease resistant. This important first step eliminates half the problem.

The major apple diseases are apple scab, powdery mildew, and fire blight. Of these, only apple scab really affects the fruit. More than 50 years ago, Purdue University, Rutgers University, and the University of Illinois established a cooperative breeding program. Since then, at least 53 scab-resistant apples have been released.

Selecting apple varieties

Of course, just being disease resistant is not enough. An apple must also taste good. As far as I am concerned, many of the recent introductions lack flavor. Two new varieties I like are ‘Liberty’ and ‘Enterprise’. Luckily, you’re not limited to recent introductions. Nature has produced plenty of heirloom apples that have excellent flavor, as well as good pie, sauce, and drying qualities. Among them are literally hundreds of disease-resistant apples to choose from.

How rootstock selection affects tree size, years to fruiting, and sturdiness

Just as important as selecting disease-resistant varieties is rootstock selection. I recommend a tree no taller than you can reach. But don’t expect anything labeled “dwarf” to be small enough. To the fruit tree industry, that term means anything from 4 to 16 feet. You will know how big you can expect your tree to get only if you know the name of the rootstock.

The most dwarfing rootstocks are M27 and P16, yielding trees of 4 to 7 feet. Next are P22, Bud 146, and Bud 491, which produce trees 5 to 10 feet tall. Bud 9 and M9 create trees 6 to 12 feet tall. The largest I recommend are 8- to 16-foot trees, which you’ll get with P2, O3, and the virus-resistant M9 EMLA. In addition to the rootstock, the vigor of the apple variety and soil fertility also affect the size of the tree.

Generally the more dwarfing the rootstock, the sooner the tree will fruit (often two to three years from planting) and the larger the fruit will be. Rootstocks also help adapt an apple tree to climate and soil conditions.

The root systems of dwarfing rootstocks are relatively small or they are brittle. Either way, they cannot adequately anchor the tree, nor do they have access to moisture deep in the ground. Therefore, all dwarf trees must be staked and regularly irrigated.

Thinning increases the size of the remaining fruit

Thin apples within 35 to 40 days of fruit set. The sooner you do it, the better the results. All things being equal, fruit size should increase, along with next year’s bloom potential.

Why so early? Once the apple blossom has been pollinated, the fruit begins to form the seed. The endosperm in the developing seed starts producing the plant hormone gibberellic acid, which promotes enlargement of the fruit. But gibberellic acid also inhibits the development of next year’s flower buds, so the more seeds produced, the more gibberellic acid and the fewer flowers and fruit next year. Many apples tend to bear heavily every other year, with little to no fruiting in between. Thinning shortly after blossoms fall helps reduce this tendency and results in more even harvests every year.

I thin to the biggest fruit, leaving one about every 6 inches. In every cluster of apple blossoms, there’s one in the center that’s slightly bigger and slightly earlier than the others. Orchardists call this flower the king blossom. Because it opens a day or two before the others, the king blossom usually gets pollinated first and therefore produces the largest fruit. However, if the largest fruit is blemished, remove it and choose another. If there’s no appreciable difference in size among the fruits, select the one with the thickest stem.

Bagging the fruit eliminates the need for sprayed pesticides

Even though there are biological pesticides considered safe for spraying on fruit trees, getting the task done at the right moment can be difficult. Timing is critical. The temperature must be within the correct range, the air must be calm, and you must catch the target insects at the right stage. The window of opportunity is usually narrow and often occurs at inconvenient times — like when you’re at work.

My solution is to enclose the fruit in brown paper bags to keep insect pests from getting at them. Not only is this technique more environmentally friendly than spraying (even with an organic pesticide), but it also gives surer results. Bagging results in fruit that is 100 percent pest free. And if you get the bags on before diseases show up, you can exclude those problems, too.

I like to bag the fruit when it’s 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, usually 35 to 40 days after the blossoms drop. This is a convenient time because I’m already working my trees then, thinning the clusters to a single fruit (see Thinning apples). To be effective, bagging must be accomplished before the pests arrive to infest your fruit. You can use traps to let you know when the pests begin showing up, then hustle. There are pheromone traps for most of the universal apple pests — codling moth, apple maggot, and leaf rollers.

The materials needed are plain old #4 brown paper lunch bags, a stapler, and a good supply of staples (I use four or five per bag). To prepare the bags, I staple the top together in four places — just to either side of the little thumb cutout in the middle and also at either corner. If your apples are on the large size, it may help to cut a slit down the middle of each side, about 1 inch down from the top. Outdoors, slip a bag over the little apple and stem, slide the bag so the stem is snug up against one of the central staples, and put in a final staple close to the center so the bag won’t fall off. Be careful not to damage the apple or the stem.

Once you get the hang of it, you can bag three or four apples a minute. About a hundred fruits is a reasonable number to let develop on a mature dwarf tree. Remove all unbagged apples to prevent pest populations from increasing. That’s all you need to do. Your fruit is now fully protected from both diseases and insects.

As harvest time approaches, I begin checking on the apples. If the variety is one that reddens even slightly when ripe, the bags do interfere with the fruit achieving its full color, so I remove them about two weeks before harvest. If the fruit is one that is fully green when ripe, I leave the bags on until harvest.

Occasionally bags fall off due to rain and wind. When that happens, I simply go out and put on another bag. If any bagged fruit falls, I pick it up right away and compost it, bag and all, so it doesn’t become a magnet for diseases and insects.

The only potential insect problem on bagged apples is earwigs. Earwigs are omnivores; they feed on aphids and other small insects, plus plant materials. If earwigs take up residence in the apple bags, they may eat a bit of the apple. The way to counter that is to give them a better place to live. The easy solution is to stuff a clay flowerpot with straw and hang it in the tree. The nocturnal earwigs will go into the flowerpot to hide during the day. Gently pull the straw to see if you have any captive earwigs and move them to a location where you need aphid control.

Tips for keeping your apple trees healthy and productive

Just as a healthy human baby usually grows into a healthy adult, so it is for plants. I maintain good soil fertility and adequate soil moisture levels by keeping the trees permanently mulched. All plant health starts with the soil. Since apples, like most fruit trees, require mycorrhizal fungi in, on, or around their roots, I aim for a soil that has a lot more fungi than bacteria in it. You can enhance fungus dominance by adding brown organic matter, such as leaf mold, sawdust, and woody materials, to the soil.

The spores of apple scab live on fallen leaves and reproduce during the winter. To minimize the opportunities for scab, I rake up and remove leaves as soon as they’ve all fallen.

I also try to increase insect predators on my trees by planting a ground cover specially designed to attract beneficial insects. You can achieve a similar effect by scattering plants within your garden or orchard. Select plants for a succession of blooms from spring through fall and include ones of different heights. Low-growing plants offer ground beetles a place to hide and lacewings a place to lay eggs. Taller plants provide nectar and pollen for hover flies and predatory wasps.

Before I started bagging, I relied on biological sprays and insect traps, but I still had fruit covered with disease and infested with worms. Now I harvest gorgeous fruit that is safe to eat and is produced in an environmentally sound manner. In other words, fruit I simply cannot buy.

Source: via Prevent Disease

Obama Promised To Label GMO Food in 2007

Obama promised to label GMOs in 2007 so that you would elect him. 6 almost 7 years later all corporations and government support NOT LABELING and keeping you in the dark. He also promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay but we won't mention that now.

How to harvest drinking water from fog without using electricity

Natural Cures Not Medicine

Coming up with ways to find water when the grid is down has become one of the hottest topics in the off thecondensing air into water have proved promising, but have drawbacks such as using a large amount of electricity. They are also too expensive to purchase or build for anyone who isn't rich. I was researching these types of water collection systems when I ran into some information on turning fog into drinking water.
grid community. Many techniques such as

I've compiled as much information about how one would go about building a DIY fog into water collector here in this article. Technical data and know how on this subject is fairly scarce so if you plan on building one at home, some improvisation and experimentation will be needed. We have compiled all the basic steps you will need to take to build one of these water harvesting 'fog traps' for less than a few hundred dollars. An efficient fog collector could produce more than 3 liters of water per square yard of surface area per day in an area with a lot of fog and decent wind!

You will need some screen: usually fine-mesh nylon or polypropylene netting shade cloth. According to research the best cloth to use would be nylon shade cloth or polypropylene netting that provides 30-40% coverage similar to this commonly available greenhouse shade cloth, double layered.

"After testing the efficiency of various mesh densities, the fog collectors used at El Tofo were equipped with netting providing 35% coverage, mounted in double layers. This proportion of polypropylene-surface-to-opening extracts about 30% of the water from the fog passing through the nets."
Next you will have to build posts or a tent like structure to suspend the screen over. Remember that you want the screen to be fairly taut for highest efficiency.  You can use a simple technique that would be similar to making a fence post, then suspend the screen between the posts. You can also make a hoop style structure out of piping or plastic PVC, similar to what you see in the picture posted here:

"Full-scale fog collectors are simple, flat, rectangular nets of nylon supported by a post at either end and arranged perpendicular to the direction of the prevailing wind." 
Finally, you will have to build some kind of trough or gutter at the bottom of the netting to collect the water that has been captured from the fog and then drains into a storage container. The trough will have to be shaped as too take advantage of gravity to collect the water into the storage tank.


Here is an example of a trough or gutter design that can be used 
"As water collects on the net, the droplets join to form larger drops that fall under the influence of gravity into a trough or gutter at the bottom of the panel, from which it is conveyed to a storage tank or cistern. The collector itself is completely passive, and the water is conveyed to the storage system by gravity. If site topography permits, the stored water can also be conveyed by gravity to the point of use. The storage and distribution system usually consists of a plastic channel or PVC pipe approximately 110 mm in diameter which can be connected to a 20 nun to 25 nun diameter water hose for conveyance to the storage site/point of use."

Make sure to secure your fog collector down if needed. If you used the fence post style structure further support may not be needed, but with the PVC style you will need to.

Here is a time-lapse video showing the fog condensing and turning into water:

Example of a simple water storage setup
Once you have to water collected it is ready to use. If you plan on drinking the water you should check the quality of it to make sure it's potable. You can treat or filter the water if needed before you drink it, or perhaps you can use this DIY water distiller that we wrote about that requires no electricity.

This 'fog trapping' is being implemented in many third world countries where water is scarce, but could be used by anyone seeking to have a backup water supply in case of emergencies or to get off the water grid.

The Hubble Telescope Produced One Of The Most Profound And Humbling Images In All Of Human History

Astronomers In 1996, took a huge risk when they pointed the Hubble telescope to an inky field that they believed to be void of stars, planets, and galaxies. As images from Hubble are in constant high demand, the worry was that devoting so much time to a black space would prove futile. Once the photons that have been traveling for 13 billion years finally registered, though, that leap of faith proved fruitful: light from over three thousand galaxies illuminated the image.

Every single spot, smear, and dot on the image was an entire galaxy, and each one containing hundreds of billions of stars. A few years and missions later, Hubble’s glimpse into what is known as the ultra deep field has revealed that we are just one tiny part of a vast system comprising 100 billion galaxies.


15 Foods That Can Be Regrown From Scraps

Regrowing your food from scraps can give you multiple benefits. You can start growing your own food that
you find that you like from the store, all the while avoiding the 'factory farming' problems that we get from the grocery store. No pesticides, no long trips on the truck from the farming areas, many times from other countries, for your food. This is cool way to find food that you like and start regrowing it at home while eating healthier and saving money. You can also use this technique to replant from your garden to save time and clone the most favorable plants.

We found this great list below of 15 foods can can be regrown from scraps on

Let’s count them out – from 1 to 15…

1, 2, 3, & 4.  Spring Onions, Leeks, Scallions, & Fennel

These are the ones I regrow the very most, I always have a mason jar of green onions regrowing above my kitchen sink. The technique is quite simple.  Once you are done with them (any of the above four), simply place the root end in a jar of water & it will begin to regrow within just a few days.  Just make sure to replace the water with fresh as need be.
15 Foods That Can Be Regrown from Scraps

5. Lemongrass

You can regrow lemongrass the same way you regrow the green onions.  Simply place the root ends in a glass of water, refreshing the water as needed. You will want to wait to harvest your lemongrass until it is about 12 inches tall.

6.  Ginger

Plant a small chunk off of your piece of ginger in potting soil with the newest buds facing up. Ginger enjoys non-direct sunlight in a warm moist environment. Before long, it will begin to regrow shoots and roots. Once the plant is established and you’re ready to harvest, pull up the whole plant, including the roots. Remove a piece of the ginger, and re-plant it to repeat the growing process.

Here is a good video on replanting ginger:

7. Potatoes 

Pick a potato that has a lot of good formed eyes, and cut it into 2-3 inch pieces, taking care to be sure that each piece has at least 1-2 eyes on it. Leave the cut pieces to sit at room temperature for a day or two, which allows the cut areas to dry. Potato plants thrive on a high-nutrient environment, so it is best to flip compost into your soil before you plant. Plant your potato pieces about 8 inches deep with the eye facing up. Cover it with 4 inches of soil, leaving the other 4 inches empty. As your plant begins to grow and more roots appear, add more soil.

8. Sweet Potatoes

You will need sweet potatoes with good formed eyes, just as you would want with a regular potato. You can bury the entire potato or use pieces under a thin layer of topsoil in a moist place with plenty of sun. When the shoots begin to reach a height of four inches you will need to replant the sweet potatoes, allowing them about 12 inches between each another. It takes about 4-6 months to grow sweet potatoes this way.

9, 10, 11, & 12.  Romaine Lettuce, Celery, Bok Choy, & Cabbage

These all are regrown by placing the roots in a dish of water. Cut the leaves or stalks off to about an inch above the roots.  Place the root end in a dish of water.  Make sure that the roots are inside of the water, but do not submerge the rest of the plant.  Place in a sunny window & spray with water 1-2 times a week to keep the top of the plant moist.

13.  Onions

Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to regrow from scraps. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a 1’2  inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny location in your garden and cover the top with soil. Make sure to keep the soil moist by watering when needed. As you use your home-grown regenerated onions, keep replanting the root ends you cut off, and you’ll never have to purchase onions at the store again.

14.  Garlic

You can re-grow a plant from a single clove.  Simply plant it with the root-end down. Sit the plant in a sunny window.  Once established, cut back the shoots and the plant will put all it’s forces into producing a nice garlic bulb – full of flavor & capable of repelling sparkly vampires.  You can repeat this process with a clove from the new bulb you have just grown.

15. Pineapple

To re-grow pineapples, you will need to remove the green leafy part at the top and take care that no fruit remains attached. Either hold the crown firmly by the leaves and twist the stalk out, or you can cut the top off the pineapple and remove the remaining fruit flesh with a knife. If you do not remove all the fruit parts, it will rot after planting and will likely kill your plant. Carefully slice small, horizontal sections from the bottom of the crown until you see root buds (the small circles on the flat base of the stalk). Remove the bottom few layers of leaves leaving about an inch worth of them at the bottom of the stalk.  Plant your pineapple crown in a warm and well drained environment. Water your plant regularly at first. Once the plant is established, you can cut down to about once a week. You will see growth in the first few months but it will take about 2-3 years before you are able to harvest.



Before trying anything you find on the internet you should fully investigate your options and get further advice from professionals.

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