Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesdays with a Twist #4 AND a Giveaway

WELCOME to our fourth Tuesdays with a Twist! 

Back to the Basics

We are so excited you decided to join us again! The most clicked post from party #3 is featured today.   
Black Fox Homestead shared Quinoa Chicken Salad

If you have been featured please feel free to grab our new button!
Please stop by It's Your Life and say "Hey" to Joyce!
I've also created special boards for this party on Pintrest.

Back to the Basics

Don't just link and run or you'll miss our Heirloom Seeds giveaway!  Below the party links today you'll have plenty of opportunities to enter! 

The Baker's Dozen Combo Pack from Mary's Heirloom Seeds:
Easy to grow and wonderful to eat.  This pack contains a large variety of seeds  for a very low cost.  
13 seeds from 13 varieties. 
 Includes: Calabrese Broccoli, 5 Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard,  Black Beauty Eggplant,  Waltham Butternut Squash, Crenshaw Melon, Bloomsdale Spinach,  Cal Wonder Bell Pepper, National Pickling  Cucumber, Beefsteak Tomato, Atomic Red Carrots, Self-Blanching Snowball Cauliflower, German Giant Radish,  Detroit Dark Red Beet

Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.  
Ends May 8th at Midnight!

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

Mary's Heirloom Seeds Baker's Dozen Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 29, 2013

Agave Nectar: Healthy Alternative or Poisonous Additive?

Good morning!

About 2 years ago I was convinced that Agave was the IT replacement for sugar and honey.  But after using different "organic" brands of Agave I just wasn't convinced that this ultra-sugary alternative was all that healthy for us.  Off to do my own research!  

After what I found we quit using agave.  Surprisingly enough, I lost 3 pounds in a little over a week and I didn't do anything differently.  Not only that, my joints became less achy (I'm only 30 so I shouldn't have achy joints at all).

I'm here to share a little bit of both sides and let YOU decide!

Here's what I found:
Negatives of Agave:

"Agave syrup (nectar) is basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as a health food" by Dr. Jonny Bowden

“organic and all-natural,” the label does not explain that the syrup has gone through an extensive process of chemical refining which changes the enzymatic structure of the syrup, converting it into a man-made chemical fructose. Global Healing Center 

Positives of Agave: 

"beyond being a natural sweetener -- from weight loss to wound healing." from SheKnows 

"the dietary benefits of using Agave Nectar are related to how injesting it affects one’s blood sugar and insulin levels." SnackleMouth

As always, I suggest you do your own research.  I've gone back to using honey in my coffee and quite a few of my recipes.  When a recipe calls for sugar I use organic and cut down on the amount.  If it's a baking recipe that calls for oil and sugar I replace the oil with unsweetened apple sauce and cut the sugar in half.  These are just some of the "tweaks" I make to regular everyday recipes.  Enjoy!

Stop by tomorrow for another Tuesdays with a Twist AND a Giveaway!

Linking up another healthy post HERE.
You can grab a button and join the "cause" from my Victory Garden page or like GMO Free Worldwide on fb


The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Saturday, April 27, 2013

11 yr old and Our Food System - GMO Free Worldwide

This is AMAZING!!!  I know you have 5 minutes to watch!
If you don't have time now, please like GMO Free Worldwide on fb.  
THIS is one of the many reasons I choose to grow heirloom seeds 
and organic wildflowers in our garden.

Also, I did my own cost comparison on shopping at the Farmer's Market.  Find out how much I SAVED!  If you're just joining the party, you might want to check out Genetic Roulette and I'm a Rebel!

If you would like to start your own GMO Free garden I can help. 
 As an owner and operator of Mary's Heirloom Seeds 
I am always sharing useful information as well as FREE seeds!
It can be as simple as a single plant or as big as you want.  
Every non-gmo plant you grow and consume is a victory!!!

The Food Revolution Summit has BEGUN!!!
Sign up for the FREE webcasts.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm a Rebel! GMO Free Worldwide

This is HUGE!!!  Did you read Genetic Roulette?  Are you Ready?

We have created a NEW facebook page for GMO Free Worldwide!

If you read my last post Genetic Roulette you know that I am obssessed passionate about all things non-gmo.  I feel that it is a VERY important part of our lives since most of us eat every day.  Right?  I feel that it is MY RIGHT to know what is in my food.

So here's the scoop...
If you have a moment, would you please "like" our brand new fb page GMO Free Worldwide and pass it on.  Any extra exposure is greatly appreciated.  We'll also share this info on Mary's fb page!

We have prepared an outline for GMO Free Worldwide and I'd be happy to share it if you send me an email.  If you post about GMO Free Worldwide please send me a link so I can give you a shout out and share on our fb page.

You might also be interested in the Food Revolution Summit 2013 April 27-May 5th. Details at It's Your Life

It doesn't matter if this is the FIRST time you have ever heard of a GMO.  It's okay if you don't know why GMOs are bad for your health and the environment.  There is plenty of information out there.  
We created the fb page to SHARE and network.  

If you have any questions please feel free to ask!  
You can email me at mari_backtonature@yahoo.com 

 Sharing at The HomeAcre Hop and HERE.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Genetic Roulette

If you have been following my blog for a while you should know that I am adamantly against GMOs.  If you're new here I strongly recommend that you read my previous posts on GMOs.

*If you find my button on ANY website of blog that promotes GMOs or the use of pesticides I have NOT endorsed the blog/website*  We own and operate a non-gmo, heirloom seeds company. We are VEHEMENTLY against GMOs and the use of pesticides because of the health risks and long term damage to our earth!
If you have a moment, would you please "like" our brand new fb page GMO Free Worldwide and pass it on.  Any extra exposure is greatly appreciated.

I'll briefly summarized for you here before I share this movie trailer.
A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), according to wikipedia, "is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified or novel genes." 

From the Non-GMO Project,  GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Also from the Non-GMO Project, In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.

This video can be purchased or rented from Genetic Roulette.  
For more information on getting involved and educating yourself go to the Institute for Responsible Technology.  
Also, a HUGE Thank You to Joyce at It's Your Life for sharing this video with me.  After years of research I STILL learn new about new resources every day.

WHY is educating yourself about GMOs so important?  We eat food every day of our lives.  Don't you have the right to know what you are eating and feeding you family?

Helpful Links:

At the moment we are working on something BIG!  We would like YOUR help to spread the word.  If you are willing to share this information on your blog PLEASE let us know.  We'll have "press" info available very shortly.
Please email me at mari_backtonature@yahoo.com

*If you leave a comment and are a no-reply I am unable to respond*  Please send an email  

I had intended to keep this post short and sweet but when I'm on a roll, look out!
Below is a chart with Seed Companies, Pharmaceutical and Chemical companies.  Who is really controlling your food? 
You won't find Mary's Heirloom Seeds on this list! 
Source: Occupy Monsanto
Sharing at Wildcrafting Wednesday , The HomeAcre Hop and HERE.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesdays with a Twist #3 Let's Party!!!

Good morning and Happy Tuesdays!  
We had another fantastic party last week with 53 Entries.  Thank you all for stopping by and sharing all of your wonderful creations, gardening tips and inspirational posts 
Joyce at It's Your Life is Co-Hosting Tuesdays with a Twist so feel free to stop by and follow her as well.
Back to the Basics

Before I get to the featured posts I want to let you know that 
Little House Living is offering an Heirloom Seeds Giveaway from
Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  I love giveaways!

On to the features!  We had a 3-Way tie this time!  They are:

The Burn Cage from Lisa

The rules:  None for now!!!  Please keep it family-friendly and consider following Back to the Basics on Bloglovin and/or GFC.

If you have been featured we have a new button for you!
*Just so there is no confusion, the button below is for Features (above)*
If you have not been featured please use the button at the top of the post.

Back to the Basics

The party starts every Tuesday at 6am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59pm.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.
Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links! 
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give me permission to use these photos 
(with proper link backs) in our features. 
And now for the party!

Growing Swiss Chard from Seed

Swiss Chard (for me) is kind of like Basil.  It's easy to grow and you can trim of few leaves at a time or chop off the entire thing to use at once.  
I prefer to trim off a few leaves.
Follow on Bloglovin

My favorites:

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

and 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.

First, each Swiss Chard seed may actually contain several seeds.  It's difficult to tell until they actually sprout.  Chard can be grown both as an ornamental and a food source.  It grows well in containers as well as in-ground.  

Swiss chard grows best in rich, moist soil with a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Plant in fertile soil because plants should grow fast to produce tender leaves. Work nitrogen-rich amendments such as blood meal, cottonseed meal, or composted manure into the ground before planting.

I don't soak chard seeds for 24 hours (like I do most seeds) but I do soak them for about 15 minutes before I plant them in Peat Pellets.  With my garden at the moment in a bit of transition I find it easier to transplant Swiss Chard seedlings.  If you plan to direct-sow, sow seeds 1/2-inch deep and a few inches apart directly in the garden when the soil is at least 50°F.
Chard in Peat Pellets

If you plan to harvest whole plants, make succession plantings through late summer.  The time from planting to harvest is 55 to 65 days. Start harvesting chard when the outside leaves are three inches long or let them grow to 8-10 inches.

Mulch your plants with compost and/or grass clippings to add nutrients and discourage weeds, and use a natural fertilizer such as kelp or manure tea (a must for container growing). Provide moderate, even watering.  

I have had very little pest problems with Swiss Chard.  Occasionally I get a slug or snail but with Companion planting a bit of kelp meal the grow huge!  Swiss chard is a hardy, leafy green.  
Container with Chard, Beets and Lettuce
 Sharing this gardening tutorial at Tuesdays with a Twist , The HomeAcre Hop and HERE

Monday, April 22, 2013

Seed-Starting with Peat Pellets Video

Every Day I learn something NEW!!!
We recently upgraded Mary's Heirloom Seeds 
so we can now share videos.

Check out our Supplies page for the video!!
Peat Pellets: (R) before, (L) after adding water

Peat Pellets are available in quantities of 25 and 50.  
Through April 25th ALL orders of peat pellets will include a FREE pack of Giants of California Zinnias or your choice of Organic Wildflower seeds.
Giants of California Zinnia
NEW additions to our Supplies page are Women's Gardening Gloves!   
Mother's Day is coming up!

I feel like a superstar today!!!
My post Growing Hot Peppers was featured at Pam's Party!
If you get a chance, stop by and say "Hi" to Pam. 
AND Planting Wildflowers was featured at Feeding Big.
I'm partying over at In and Out of the Kitchen. 
My post Monsanto Corn Causes Tumors - Study was featured at
The Gathering Spot.  Thank you Diane!  We all need to be more aware.

Happy Earth Day!!!  See you tomorrow for Tuesdays with a Twist!

Breaking News on Health and Wellness

People who tackle diet and exercise at the same time do better at making healthy changes.

This news is SHOCKING!!!  (yes, this is sarcastic)

After a year of study, researchers state "It comes down to making them both priorities and thinking about both throughout the day," says lead researcher Abby King, professor at the Stanford (University) Prevention Research Center.
This study was posted in an article at USA Today.

As a wellness-based Chiropractic Clinic we have been staring this groundbreaking information for many years. However, there are many do's and don'ts of both diet and exercise. Where to start might be what's keeping you from your goals.

In our office we offer weight loss and nutritional "health talks."  They include information on healthy eating, nutritional supplementation as well as proper stretching and exercise tips geared toward specific "conditions."

I have 3 tips today to share that should help you boost your results to help you acheive those goals.

1.  Check out the Awesome Abs video.  It's 8 specific ab exercises that can be done all at once or added one at a time gradually.  They are all on 1 short video.

2.  Protein Shake recipesMary's Kitchen contains quite a few healthy recipes to get you started. 
3.  It Works!  Natural products like The Ultimate Body Applicator, Fat-Fighter, Greens and so much more.  If you are looking to tone, tighten and firm up this is a great opportunityIf you are interested weight loss this might be for you!  Check out MY results after just 8 days! 
*After almost 2 months my results are even better!*

If you have questions about any of these just send me an email to mari_backtonature@yahoo.com 
Back to the BasicsI HIGHLY recommend It Works! to help boost your goals.  It helped get me motivated! 

Happy Earth Day!!! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Growing Hot Peppers

There are quite a few "growing from seed" instruction available on their own separate page but today I'm sharing one of my favorites.  This if from the newsletter we sent out yesterday.  
Also check out Earth Day Celebration of Life!

If you would like to receive these newsletters please send me an email to mari_backtonature@yahoo.com with the subject "newsletter"

Mary's Heirloom Seeds Growing Tips
Growing Hot Peppers
When to Plant Peppers

If you live outside of Florida:  Start seeds indoors (with lights if possible) in early spring, eight to 10 weeks before your last spring frost date. If possible, provide bottom heat to keep the plants' containers near 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the seeds stay slightly moist. Seeds should sprout within three weeks. Transfer seedlings to larger containers when they are about six weeks old. Don't set peppers outside until at least two weeks after your average last frost date, during a period of warm weather. Always harden off seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor weather a few hours each day for at least a week before transplanting them outdoors.

I have a screened-in patio and plant seedlings in small containers. I leave them on a shelf on the patio.  It get's plenty hot in Florida so water regularly but DO NOT over-water. 

How to Plant Peppers
All peppers grow best under warm conditions, but gardeners in cool climates can keep peppers happy by using row covers. Choose a sunny site that has fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Loosen the planting bed to 12 inches deep, and thoroughly mix in a 1-inch layer of mature compost. Dig planting holes 12 inches deep and at least 18 inches apart, and enrich each with a spadeful of additional compost. Partially refill the holes, and situate plants so they are planted slightly deeper than they were in their containers. Water well.

Harvesting and Storing Peppers
You can eat peppers when they are mature yet still green (green peppers), although the flavor and the vitamin content of peppers improve as they ripen to red, yellow or orange. Use pruning shears to snip ripe peppers from the plant, leaving a small stub of stem attached. Bumper crops can be briefly steam-blanched or roasted and then frozen, either whole (for stuffing) or chopped. Peppers are also easy to dry. Dried peppers quickly plump if soaked in hot water, or you can grind them into powders for your spice shelf.

Pepper Pest and Disease Prevention Tips
Tobacco etch virus (TEV), cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and potato virus Y (PVY) can infect peppers grown in warm climates. Transmitted by thrips and aphids, these viruses cause leaves to become thick and crinkled or narrow and stringy. The best defense is to grow resistant varieties, such as Tam Jalapeno 
Margined blister beetles may suddenly appear in large numbers in midsummer, especially in warm climates. These large beetles are black with gray stripes, and they devour pepper foliage. Handpick beetles, making sure to wear gloves to prevent skin irritation. Use a spinosad-based insecticide to control severe outbreaks.
Pepper weevils can also be a serious problem in warm climates. Clean up fallen fruit daily to interrupt the life cycle of this pest, and trap adult pepper weevils with sticky traps.

Pepper Growing Tips
Be careful with nitrogen when preparing your planting holes, as overfed peppers produce lush foliage but few fruits. Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer only if you're growing peppers in poor soil.
In cool climates, use black plastic mulch in addition to row covers to create warm conditions for peppers. In warm climates, use shade covers during summer to reduce sunscald damage to ripening peppers.

Provide stakes or other supports to keep plants upright as they become heavy with fruits. Cover surrounding soil with a mulch of clean straw or grass clippings so ripening peppers don't come in contact with soil, which can cause them to rot.
Always wear gloves if handling hot peppers, and avoid touching your eyes or nose. If you do handle hot peppers bare-handed, immediately scrub hands with soap and warm water, rub them vigorously with vegetable oil, then wash them again.

Helpful Links:

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
Like us on Facebook
Arugula, Calabrese Broccoli, Snowball self-Blanching Cauliflower
Danver's Half-Long Carrots, Eggplant - Black Beauty
Little Gem Lettuce, Tom Thumb Lettuce
French Breakfast Radish, 5-Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard
Whiteglobe Purple-Top Turnip

***FREE packet of Wildflowers for all orders $15 or more***
SPROUTS: Purchase 8 ounces or more of Hard Red Wheat

or Mung Beans and we'll include 4 FREE ounces
Offer Expires: April 25th, 2013

Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY EARTH DAY (weekend)!!!

Sharing at The Creative HomeAcre Hop  and  HERE.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Last year was my first time posting about Earth day at Mary's Kitchen.  Check out Part 1 and Part 2 Earth day Harvest recipes.  Not our first celebration, just the first time I shared.

There is still time to link up at Tuesdays with a Twist (no rules!) and if you already linked up, stop by again and VOTE!
Follow me on Bloglovin and don't miss a thing!

From Earth Day Network, activities include:

A. Contests
Contests are exciting ways that you can motivate ways that you can further engage young readers to participate in Reading for the Earth™ . Create your own contests or use one of Earth Day Network’s templates provided for you  below:
B. Events
  • Read an environmentally themed book to younger readers and hold a discussion about the book
  • Show am environmentally themed movie and have a discussion about the movie
  • Start a community garden and motivate kids in your neighborhood to help you maintain it throughout year 
  • Host an “Eco-Fair” and invite local environmental agencies to share information with people in your community
  • Encourage young readers to paint fun, colorful eco-murals and to use non-toxic art supplies
  • Work with your colleagues, young readers, and parents to organize an Earth Day event or competition
  • Pick up trash at around your library  and in the community and dispose of it properly
  • Have a cooking lesson teaching people in your community about solar energy by cooking using just the sun
  • Lead an art project that only uses recycled items
  • Join the “Catalog-Canceling Challenge” which encourages kids to cancel the families unwanted catalogs in order to decrease the use of paper and help save trees
  • Make bird feeders and other wildlife feeders. Than place them around the library
  • Host a book drive where people bring books that they want to donate to the library
Check out Mary's Earth Day Celebration of Life!!!
We have to work Monday so we're celebrating all weekend.  I have seedlings to transplant, compost tea brewing that should be ready and LOTS of wildflowers to transplant.  

The small bed in the front yard has been clear of old bushes to make way for beneficial, bee-friendly plants.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth day?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Safe Seed Pledge

I thought I would share the full text of the Safe Seed Pledge with you.  You may have noticed from previous posts (see gmo, heirloom seeds) that I am very passionate about preserving the integrity of our food source.  
With varieties continuing to dwindle it is our responsibility to be aware and active.  1400+ varieties of heirlooms is terrific but since 1910 we have lost 93% of seed varieties.
  Mary's Heirloom Seeds has signed the Safe Seed Pledge!

The Safe Seeds pledge states "Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities."   http://www.seed-network.org/network/members.php 

It's not just about growing organic food.  It is a pledge to NOT support genetically engineered plants or seeds as well as promoting healthy agricultural practices.
Here's another little tidbit from Mary's Heirloom Seeds:

You may have noticed that the price on food, especially produce has been going up.  The quality,
not to mention the nutritional value, has been suffering for quite a while.

Heirloom seeds or seeds that have been passed down for generations are far hardier and as some studies suggest, have more nutritional value than genetically modified (GMO) seeds.

I don't sell anything that I wouldn't grow in my own garden.  All of the seeds listed are organic, open-pollinated, non-gmo, heirloom seeds.  The picture to the right is one of my own tomatoes. 

Anyway, I have been growing my own vegetables and besides the money they save me the flavor is WAY better than the vegetables available at the supermarket.  It also makes me feel less dependent on the supply and I know what goes on my veggies.

I put together a few packages of seeds that seem to belong together and the individual seeds are available also.  Food prices are not going down and growing your own food, especially heirloom veggies, is a great way to save money and get more nutrition for your dollar.       

Happy planting,

We, Mary's Heirloom Seeds, would like to help! Through April 25th at Midnight ALL heirloom seed orders $15 or more will include a FREE seed pack of YOUR choice! Shipping is FREE!!!!! 

*To choose your seed pack variety:
 -Leave a comment with your order
 Or, leave a comment on our facebook page  
Or, send us an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Sharing this post at The HomeAcre Hop and  HERE.