Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"All Natural" does NOT mean Organic

If you check the labels on grocery store items, chances are you'll see the "All Natural" label everywhere.  Here's something you may not know:  All Natural does not mean Organic nor does it mean healthy.

Raw sugar is "all natural" but not necessarily good for you.  Arsenic is all natural and definitely NOT good for you.

Recently, there has been a HUGE push for more accurate labeling.  I'm being nice here.  More to the point, consumers want big corporations to stop lying to us.

In the news,

Lawsuit forces Naked Juice to Remove "All Natural" Labels
In case you didn't already know,  Naked Juice is owned my Pepsi.  They have spent MILLIONS of dollars to defeat GMO-labeling campaigns in over 4+ states.

General Mills using GMO Ingredients forced to drop 100% Natural Label
GM is another huge corporation spending millions to kill GMO-labeling campaigns across the country.

Heinz hit with False Advertising Lawsuit over "All Natural" claims and GMOs
This lawsuit brings to light that Heinz Vinegar cannot be "all natural" and is potentially harmful to consumers because it is derived from GMO corn.

Have you learned something new yet or is this all old news?  I ask because from day 1, this blog has been about sharing information that I have learned.  It was 7+ years ago that I learned about GMOs and I am STILL learning every day.  I am STILL trying to soak up this knowledge and share here in a way that is not "in your face" and gives you something to think about.  Have I achieved this goal so far?

The term "all-natural" and Organic are also used in gardening.  The same issue applies here.  There are many companies that offer "all natural" plant food but that does NOT mean organic ingredients.

What's the difference?  Per OMRI,
"The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is an international nonprofit organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing. OMRI Listed® products are allowed for use in certified organic operations under the USDA National Organic Program"

Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use.
Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a defined set of standards to produce organic food and fiber. Congress described general organic principles in the Organic Foods Production Act, and the USDA defines specific organic standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.
Organic farms and processors:
  • Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
  • Support animal health and welfare
  • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
  • Only use approved materials
  • Do not use genetically modified ingredients
  • Receive annual onsite inspections
  • Separate organic food from non-organic food

When I research and purchase plant food to offer at Mary's Heirloom Seeds, I always look for OMRI and a state certification program.  Also very important is knowing that the ingredients are Non-GMO.

This week I have the opportunity to order Organic, Non-GMO Alfalfa Meal.  It will not be available for almost a month but I'm would give YOU a chance to pre-order.  I offered this same opportunity with Organic Garlic back in July and it was a HUGE success.  There were a few customers who thought they could wait until the last minute and unfortunately, we had already sold out.

This is a rare opportunity to add Organic, Non-GMO Alfalfa Meal supplement to your garden.

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web...Stay tuned for more organic gardening and health related topics.  If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to ask.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Organic, Non-GMO Alfalfa Meal

I'm almost finished with I just finished an article about the difference between "All Natural" and Organic.

When it comes to "high risk" crops like Alfalfa, NO WAY would I use anything but Organic and Non-GMO!

We already offer Organic, Non-GMO Alfalfa Sprouting seeds at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.
Organic Alfalfa Sprouts
"From seed to sprout, Alfalfa sprouts are ready in 5-6 days and have a shelf life of 2-6 weeks.  Alfalfa is very easy to sprout and has a mild, pleasant taste.

The approximate yield for alfalfa is 7:1
Detailed sprout instructions included."

Today we have a NEW Organic and VEGAN plant food option to share with you. 

What is it?

Derived from leguminous perennial alfalfa plant used for pasture and cover crop. Primary benefit of this pleasant smelling meal is increasing organic matter, although it is also a valuable plant-derived fertilizer.

  • NPK analysis is 2.8-0.29-2.4
  • Contains trace minerals and triaconatol
  • Excellent addition to the compost pile for nitrogen content and absorbency
  • Roses respond especially well to alfalfa meal
  • WSDA Certified Organic Alfalfa Meal

Alfalfa provides many nutritional benefits not only for plant use, but for soil organisms as well. One very important ingredient is tricontanol, a powerful plant growth regulator. 

Alfalfa Meal is EXCELLENT to use with Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash and Roses.

I've shared about NPK ratings before. Read Plant Nutrients - Getting Started
NPK stands for Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium (potash).  What does each nutrient do? In addition to other properties, Nitrogen helps plant foliage to grow strong. Phosphorous helps roots and flowers grow and develop. Potassium (Potash) is important for overall plant health.

Organic, Non-GMO Alfalfa Meal is now available at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  This plant food variety is also VEGAN.  We are accepting Pre-Orders NOW.  Organic Alfalfa Meal ships after January 1, 2015

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web...Stay tuned for more organic gardening and health related topics.  If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to ask.

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Tuesdays with a Twist #89 is LIVE!!!

Good Morning and welcome to another No Rules Party! 

I have been sharing LOTS of ideas and healthy info hear.  This weekend I shared All About KALE and All About SWISS CHARD.  Both are very easy to grow greens and very nutritious.

Have you seen our DIY Tincture Starter Kits?  We're almost sold out! 

Are you ready for the party?   We're your hosts 

Back to the Basics

And now for our FEATURES...

Homemade Cappucino Mix from Little House Living

DIY Bleached Pine Cones from Ms Moozy's Open House

Gifts from On The Home Front

10 Reasons to Grow Your Own & Preserve Your Own Food
from Let It Shine

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 
Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seeds of the Month Club WINNER!

Good morning!  
I have just notified the winner of our Seeds of the Month Club GIVEAWAY via email so check your inbox and maybe your spam folder.

In case you didn't win, you can still get your very own Seeds of the Month Club membership from Mary's Heirloom Seeds.

One of the great things about purchasing from Mary's Heirloom Seeds is that we PERSONALIZE each order.  If you want to purchase as a gift we've got you covered!  You can even purchase NOW as a gift (or for yourself) and have the membership start in January or February!  All you have to do is ask!

How does Mary's Seeds of the Month Club Work?

There are 4 options to join the Seeds of the Month Club:

     -The 12 Month SUPER Membership includes 8 seeds packs the first month and 4 seed packs each month for a total of 12 months.
        -The 12 Month Membership includes 4 seeds packs the first month and 2 seed packs each month for a total of 12 months.
        -The 6 Month SUPER Membership includes 8 seed packs the first month and 2 seed packs each month for a total of 6 months.
    -The 6 Month Membership includes 4 seed packs the first month and 2 seed packs each month for a total of 6 months.

All of our seed varieties are open-pollinated, Non-GMO Heirloom Seeds.  The "SUPER" membership options also includes 4 extra packets of Organic Wildflower seeds with your first month.

Your first 8 or 4 packs of seeds are mailed right away (if your order is place Monday-Thursday).
We ship via the United States Postal Service. The length of delivery time will be based on your location. You can expect your first shipment to arrive within 7 to 10 days.
Then each month you will receive 2 or 4 packs of seeds (depending on membership option)by the last week of the month for your upcoming month.

When checking out: Please let us know the address to send these to, if they are a gift or for yourself, what month you would like your subscription to start. We would be happy to include a note in the first shipment and we always include a card introducing the subscription. 

Seeds of the Month Club membership does not ship internationally.

It's important to mention that although we call this a "membership,"  it does not automatically renew.  There is no need to cancel or worry about being charged for another 6-12 months.  If you WANT to purchase a second time please do so and we will take into account the seeds we have already sent do that you don't get the same seeds.  Like I said....we PERSONALIZE!

Are you ready to get growing?
Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web...Stay tuned for more organic gardening and health related topics.  If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to ask.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014


How did you like All About KALE?  Many of you gardeners have your gardens already put to bed.  Some of you may already be thinking about and planning your 2015 crops. 

I love growing SWISS CHARD in my garden.  Chard is one of the easiest and fastest growing greens in my garden and even grows well in containers!

From WHF, "Chard is a tall leafy green vegetable commonly referred to as Swiss chard and scientifically known as Beta vulgaris. Chard belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile with a flavor that is bitter, pungent, and slightly salty. Swiss chard is truly one of the vegetable valedictorians with its exceptionally impressive list of health-promoting nutrients. Although Swiss chard is available throughout the year, its peak season runs from June through August when it is at its best and in the greatest abundance at your local supermarket" 

Also from WHF,
"As a rule, the phytonutrient antioxidants in chard also act as anti-inflammatory agents. Sometimes they lower risk of chronic, unwanted inflammation by altering the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes"

"With its very good supply of calcium and its excellent supply of magnesium and vitamin K, chard provides standout bone support."

"Multiple studies on animals have shown that chard has unique benefits for blood sugar regulation. In addition, chard may provide special benefits in the diets of individuals diagnosed with diabetes"

"Also unique among the health benefits from this chenopod vegetable has been its ability to help pancreatic cells regenerate."

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds we offer 3 unique varieties of Swiss Chard.

 50-60 days. (Beta vulgaris) This chard originated in Australia. A beautiful chard; its colors are brilliant 
(pink, yellow, orange, red and white).  Very mild ornamental. Pretty enough to plant in the flower garden;  so delicious!

60 days. Succulent celery-like stalks support large, dark green, very savoyed, fleshy leaves.
Trim outer leaves or cut the entire head.  Great for salads, casseroles or sauteed.

60 days.  Very attractive and uniform red chard. A wonderful, prolific and hardy variety, this chard has great flavor and is perfect for marketing.  Trim outer leaves or cut the entire head.  Great for salads, casseroles or sauteed.

For growing information, read my article Growing Salad Greens from Seed

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web...Stay tuned for more organic gardening and health related topics.  If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to ask.

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All About KALE

I'm growing more KALE in the garden this year.  At the moment, they are tiny seedlings but they are growing! KALE is a Rockstar!

KALE is considered a Superfood.   From WHF,
"Kale's risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.

Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body's detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale's glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.

Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale's flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress."

Why is KALE a Rockstar?
"Kale's cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale. Researchers have actually followed the passage of these two carotenoids in kale from the human digestive tract up into the blood stream, and they have demonstrated the ability of kale to raise blood levels of these carotenoid nutrients. That finding is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in the protection of our body from oxidative stress and health problems related to oxidative stress. Increased risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are three such problems. Also among these chronic health problems is cancer since our overall risk of cells becoming cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress."

We have 3 varieties of Organic Kale seeds at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.

55-60 days. Compact plants yield tender, blue-green, crinkled leaves that are quite delicious, very cold hardy, and rich in vitamin A

Called a cabbage, this loose-leaf green is more like KALE. 
60 days. This loose-leafed cabbage dates back to the early 1800’s at least. It has beautiful, deep black-green leaves that can be 24” long.
They are heavily savoyed. This Italian heirloom is popular in Tuscany and central Italy for making fabulous soups and stews.

55-60 days. A tender and mild, a pre-1885 heirloom variety. Oak type leaves have a red tinge, and stems are a purplish-red.  Great flavor.   A hardy plant that fares well in cold weather, often thriving through the winter.
For growing information, read my article Growing Salad Greens from Seed

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web...Stay tuned for more organic gardening and health related topics.  If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to ask.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

I have posted a bunch of gift ideas and DIY info here lately.  I even posted about Seed Starting for the garden because here in South Florida we're growing!
My mom and I used several kitchen gadgets to make her famous Karat Cake!

So far I've shared

Today I'm sharing a few of my favorite Kitchen Gadgets and a few that might be on my wishlist for 2015. 
The info below contains affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase using my links I might make a small commission.  Every little bit helps!

My absolute favorite item in my kitchen is the BREAD MAKER!
This one makes 1, 1 1/2 and 2 pounds loaves AND comes with recipes & measuring cups!

Cuisinart BMKR-200PC Fully Automatic Compact Bread Maker, 2-Pound

  • Removable bread pan and kneading paddle  
  • 12 pre-programmed menu options; 3 crust colors; 3 loaf sizes - 1, 1-1/2, and 2 pounds 
  • 13-hour delay start timer; 15-minute pause; bake-only option  
  • LCD display; removable lid with viewing window
  • Includes measuring cup, measuring spoon and instruction/recipe book

At the top of my wishlist is a Food Processor!

Hamilton Beach 10 Cup Food Processor with Compact Storage

  • Chop onions, mix sauces, grate cheese, shred cabbage, prepare pesto or slice salad ingredients in seconds
  • Powerful 500-Watts
  • Large feed tube fits a whole block of cheese
  • Reversible slice and shred discs and chopping blade are included
  • Lid flips over for compact storage to save cabinet space

Another favorite kitchen appliance is my Blender!  I use it almost daily!

Oster 6878-042 Core 16-Speed Blender with Glass Jar, Black

  • Oster brushed chrome blender
  • Powerful motor
  • 16 different speeds
  • Food processor attachment
  • Counter-worthy design

Another gadget on my "wishlist" is a new Convection Oven!  
Mine died a while ago and since it's so warm here in Florida, I try to avoid using the oven during the summer if possible.

Black & Decker CTO6335S Stainless Steel Countertop Convection Oven

  • Extra-large digital display
  • Preset one-touch functions
  • Fits a 12-inch pizza or large casserole
  • 120-Minute Timer
  • Removable crumb tray

My "go-to" gadget is an Immersion Blender! I love it!  Using an Immersion Blender saves me the trouble of using the blender for making small batch stuff and I can place the blender end in the freezer when I make whipped cream.

Cuisinart CSB-79 Smart Stick 2-Speed 200-watt Immersion Hand Blender with Attachments

  • Brushed stainless steel housing with embossed Cuisinart logo
  • Includes blending, whisk, and chopper/grinder attachment
  • Also includes 16-ounce mixing/measuring beaker
  • Powerful 200-watt motor
  • Push-button control for continuous or pulse action; comfort grip handle

I've been dreaming about Dehydrators!  At the moment I don't have the space or the harvest for one.  However, in the near future we will be expanding our garden and this will definitely be a hot item in my kitchen!

There are small and large dehydrators available.  I'll share a few!

Nesco FD-80A Square-Shaped Dehydrator Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging

  • Easy-to-use dehydrator for drying fruit, vegetables, herbs, and jerky
  • Air-circulation system ensures fast, even drying; no need to rotate trays
  • Adjustable thermostat; printed guidelines on motor housing
  • Bale handle; dishwasher-safe parts; instruction manual
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Bale handle dishwasher safe parts instruction manual

Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator

  • 5 stackable, interlocking trays
  • Fruit roll-up sheet included
  • Adjustable temperature: off, fan only, lo, medium, and hi
  • Great for beef jerky, dried fruits and herbs
  • New fan system promoting better air flow

Excalibur 2400 4-Tray Economy Dehydrator, Black

  • 4-tray dehydrator, 4 square feet of drying space
  • Economy model performs like larger models, but has no frills
  • Starter - great way to try dehydrating
  • Includes adjustable thermostat
  • Easy to clean polyscreen tray inserts

Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator, Black

  • 9-Tray dehydrator, 15 square feet of drying space
  • Built in on/off switch, 110 Volts
  • Great for large families and gardens
  • Includes adjustable thermostat
  • Easy to clean Polyscreen tray inserts

I find that having the right tools in the kitchen makes cooking from scratch much easier.  Most of these appliances cut down on prep time or hands-on time in the kitchen.  Did you find anything you like?