Mar 17, 2012

DarlingtonFarm's Harbor Freight Green House Construction - YouTube

Multimedia - Blogs - Buckminster Fuller and the Snake Farm in rural Sapulpa | Tulsa World

Buckminster Fuller and the Snake Farm in rural Sapulpa
3/11/2012 5:00:00 AM

South of Sapulpa, there's a distinct landmark, a white geodesic dome, with a sign on the gate that reads "Snake Farm." Locals use the Snake Farm on the corner of west 151st St. south and south 97th west Ave. to describe where they live. My family used to live a mile south of the Snake Farm.

Owner Mike Keeling lives there with his wife Lawanda. He's heard that pilots use his house as a reference point from the sky; it's been mentioned on the police scanner and by delivery drivers in Tulsa.

Mike and Lawanda moved from Tulsa to Sapulpa in 1970, and they built the 41 foot diameter dome a few years later. At that time, Keeling housed a menagerie of animals, such as snakes, alligators, skunks, badgers and porcupines. People would bring their kids out to the "Zoo" south of Sapulpa. After awhile, Mike says, "I got tired of burying old friends," and the animals gave way to a new passion. In 1985, Keeling started growing cactuses. A year later, it was an obsession. Now, he is awake by 4 a.m. and out in his greenhouse watering, collecting seeds, and keeping the plants warm in incubators. He spends at least 8 hours a day locked inside the peaceful greenhouse. He grafts plants on top of each other to create new, colorful ones, and he specializes in hard-to-find plants.

We walk through an expanse of cactuses, from seeds that have just sprouted to plants that are over one hundred years old, then we turn a corner, and down a few steps to another, connected greenhouse, full of even more. Keeling stops to touch the plants and talk about the stories behind them or comment on how unique they are. "It's no fun to raise stuff that everybody has."

TEDxOjai - Peter Joseph - The Big Question - YouTube

Uploaded by TZMOfficialChannel on Mar 16, 2012
Peter Presents "The Big Question: Environmental Misalignment and The Value War" TEDx, Feb 29th 2012

Mar 16, 2012

Rocket Stove Mass Heater For Greenhouse - YouTube

Uploaded by WillWelker on Mar 15, 2012

This is a forced air rocket mass heater for a greenhouse. This project uses the rocket stove concept with forced air due to my small diameter heat exchanger exhaust pipe. The exhaust temperature drops so much due to giving up its heat to the water that a normal plastic vacuum hose is used on the cool end to suck the exhaust through.

One pound of water gives out one BTU when it drops by one degree Fahrenheit. This tank can hold around 1300 gallons, times 8.33 pounds per gallon is 10,829 pounds. So if it is heated to 150 degrees and drops by 50 degrees over night (10,829 X 50) it will put out 541,450 BTUs. Over a 10 hour period that would be around 54,000 BTU per hour (most BTU values on heaters are BTUs per hour).
The point of a rocket mass heater is to burn hot, fast and efficient then let the mass keep things warm over time.

If you build a tank like this, you should know that water presser increases at roughly one half a PSI per foot of depth. That is 1.5 PSI at three feet, times 144 Sq Inches in a Sq foot that is 216 pounds. Times eight feet (the length of one of my plywood sections) is roughly 1700 pounds of outward pressure just on the bottom foot of each section of this tank.

This tank was designed to have a plant starting table on top. Also the top of the water will be covered with plastic to prevent evaporation. This summer I plan to add a solar heating option to heat it during the day. I will probably use a few hundred feet of half inch black polyethylene pipe (commonly used in garden and yard irrigation) on panels covered with one layer of clear plastic.

Thanks to all you back yard inventors out there who have inspired me with the shaky cellphone videos of your crazy inventions

Build a Wood-Burning Rocket Stove Made Entirely From Wood : TreeHugger

Sami Grover
Technology / Clean Technology
March 16, 2012

mashdown3/Video screen capture
We've posted plenty of videos on how to build a rocket stove and how to build a rocket mass heater. But I was a little surprised when Paul Wheaton posted a video on making a wood-burning rocket mass heater that was actually made out of wood.

mashdown3/Video screen capture
It turns out he's not the only one who make wood stoves out of the very material they burn. YouTube user mashdown3 shows us how he made his wood-based rocket mass stove below. It's pretty much as simple as just drilling two holes that line up, cleaning out the saw dust, and then starting a fire with a few twigs. Once the fire gets going, of course, there is no need to add extra wood as the stove itself becomes the fuel for the fire.

He also shows us some neat rocket stoves and gasifiers he's been tinkering with too.

BREAKING NEWS: Danica Patrick To Run The Prelude To The Dream - OneDirt

So much press has been made about Danica Patrick’s journey from Indycars to the NASCAR scene, and even though it’s outside of our realm, we would be lying if we said we hadn’t been keeping an eye on how things have been going for her.

When the deal was struck between Tony Stewart Racing and Danica, we wondered if we would get the chance to see Danica in a dirt Late Model at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway.

It turns out we will be getting that opportunity at the 2012 Feed The Children Prelude to the Dream on Wednesday June 6th. But it turns out this won’t be Danica’s first time on dirt, “I raced on dirt once before in a go-kart when I was young, but that’s about it. It’s going to be a challenge for sure, but I know Tony has offered to help in any way possible. I’m excited about it, but I’m also nervous,” stated Patrick. “It’s a totally different style of racing, so I’m not sure what to expect. But, it’s for a great cause with Feed The Children benefiting from the money raised this year, so I’m ready to give it a shot.”

Danica and five other drivers were announced which brings the current total of drivers for the annual event to 18.

Current registered drivers:
Ryan Newman
Danica Patrick
Bobby Labonte
Kenny Wallace
Ty Dillon
Aric Almirola
Clint Bowyer
Kasey Kahne
Kurt Busch
Dave Blaney
Tony Kanaan
Ron Capps
Jimmie Johnson
Just Allgaier
Bill Elliott
Ray Evernham
David Gilliland
Cruz Pedregon

So now the question comes to you, how will Danica do in her first late model event on the historic Eldora Speedway?

Full Article:

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Mar 15, 2012

Shop-Built Mallet | Woodsmith Tips

Start With a Plumbing Fitting

While browsing the plumbing aisle of the hardware store, it occurred to me that a brass pipe tee fitting would make a great mallet for the shop. I found two types, as you can see — a round cast fitting and a square machined fitting.

Make Threads in Wood

The trick is to figure out a way to fasten the heads and handle to the fitting. I wanted to be able to replace them when necessary, so gluing them in with epoxy was out of the question. Instead, I used the fitting to cut threads on the wood parts for a solid connection. To do this, I filed notches in the threads with a three square file. This forms cutting edges to slice through the wood fibers and create threads.

Add Heads & Handle

Next, I formed a square tenon on an extra-long blank for the heads and handle. The tenon is slightly undersized and the corners are trimmed with a chisel, as shown in the drawing at right. This provides enough “meat” to engage the threads of the fitting. After installing the blanks into the fitting, you can cut them to length and shape them to suit your tastes and comfort.

Seafoam Motor Treatment and Introducing NEW Seafoam Spray - YouTube

Sea Foam is the best kept secret around. If you use it in your car or truck engine or even use the spray on your trimmer's 2 or 4 cycle engine at the beginning of the season you will be shocked at the improvement.

Below are the top 10 reasons you should give it a try if you haven't already.

1. Sea Foam is a 100% pure petroleum product for use in all gas and diesel engines, both 2-cycle and 4-cycle.
2. Cleans dirty engine parts internally by removing harmful gums, varnish and carbon.
3. Removes moisture from oil crankcases and fuel tanks
4. Stabilizes and conditions fuels
5. Can be used for engine storage
6. Cures hesitations, stalls, pings and rough idle due to carbon buildup
7. Helps pass emissions tests and is EPA registered
8. De-ices and removes moisture when added to gas or diesel tanks
9. Can be used with all motor oils including synthetic
10. Tested to 60 degrees below zero

Appears to be good stuff.  Rated highly by users... Monte

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How to Grow Ramps (Wild Leek - Allium tricoccum): Organic Gardening

A quick guide to growing ramps

Ramps, a.k.a. wild leek or Allium tricoccum, are a delicious spring food native to rich, moist, deciduous forests in the upper Midwest, Mid‑Atlantic, and northeastern United States. The stems and broad leaves have a mild garlic‑onion flavor and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or pickled. They appear for a short period in the early spring and may even make it to your local supermarket. Should you have access to a wild patch, use a soil knife to harvest no more than 15 percent of the plants in any given year. If you have a suitable bit of woodland but no ramps, you can buy seed or bulbs and start a patch. A thick mulch of decomposing hardwood leaves will give the best results.

For detailed growing instructions, read Cultivation of Ramps, from NC State University's Department of Horticultural Science.

To buy ramp seeds, check out Ramp Farm Specialties.

For further informatipon on the growing and sowing of ramps, visit's Ramp Page.

Try our recipe for Ramp Pesto.

Allium tricoccum – known as the ramp,[1] spring onion, ramson, wild leek,[1] wood leek,[1] and wild garlic – is an early springvegetable, a perennial wild onion with a strong garlic-like odor and a pronounced onion flavor.[2] Ramps are found across North America, from the U.S. state of South Carolina to Canada. They are popular in the cuisines of the rural upland South and in the Canadian province of Quebec. Ramps also have a growing popularity in upscale restaurants throughout North America.

Related Links:
Cultivating Ramps: Wild Leeks of Appalachia
Cultivation of Ramps 

How To Video: Homemade Chicken Fingers With Top Chef's Fabio Viviani | Family Kitchen


It’s probably safe to say that most kids love chicken fingers. I know mine do. Homemade versions of the beloved chicken finger can be absolutely delicious, and a great dinner option for the whole family – grown ups included. And with all the questionable ingredients that can be found in the pre-made frozen variety, homemade is definitely a better option health-wise.

If you are not familiar with Top Chef’s all star Fabio Viviani then you are in for a treat. He recently started a cooking video series, Chow Ciao! with Fabio Viviani, on Yahoo Screen where he shares straight forward recipes and techniques each week, all while engaging you with that fun and vibrant personality that viewers have grown to love.

Watch Fabio and learn how to make your own slam dunk chicken fingers at home with your kids after the jump.

Mar 14, 2012

Growing Peas

Created 2011-01-13
Pisum sativum Fabaceae

The crisp texture and sweet taste of fresh peas embodies spring. Ancient peoples foraged for peas in the wild long before they were domesticated. Romans, however, believed fresh green peas were poisonous and had to be dried before they could be eaten. It wasn't until the time of King Louis XIV of France that a French gardener developed a green-pea hybrid known as petits pois. Fresh peas soon became the rage at the king's court and thereby quickly gained widespread popularity.

Types: Still a garden favorite, peas are one of the first vegetables that you'll plant and harvest in spring. There are extra-early, early, mid-season, and late types, taking 7 to 10 weeks to mature. Vining peas need trellises to grow on, while dwarf types need little or no support. Vining peas usually produce a heavier crop than do dwarfs.

Among green—or English—peas, there are wrinkled-seeded types and smooth-seeded types, both of which must be shelled. While wrinkled green peas are sweeter, smooth ones are hardier and better for super-early spring planting and for autumn and winter crops. If you've had problems with pea diseases, look for disease-resistant varieties such as 'Maestro'. If you want to can or freeze peas, choose a variety such as 'Dakota' that has a heavy and concentrated pod-setting period.

Snow peas and snap peas have edible pods. Snow peas produce flat pods that you can eat either raw or cooked. Snap peas are eaten either as young flat pods or after the peas have grown and are fat and juicy in the pods. Snow and snap peas are available in both vining and dwarf versions. New varieties of dwarf snow peas such as 'Snow Sweet' have pods that stay tender longer than traditional snow peas.

Some edible-podded cultivars have strings running down each pod that you must remove before eating; fortunately, "stringless" cultivars such as 'Sugar Spring' have been developed that eliminate this task. Edible-podded peas are perfect for stir-fries and other Asian dishes.

Field peas or cowpeas—which include black-eyed peas, crowder peas, and cream peas—are, botanically, beans. These plants thrive in areas with long, hot summers. See Beansfor information on cultivating these crops.
Go Green Using Tips From America's Top Organic Experts! Learn more.

Planting: Give early peas a sunny spot protected from high winds. Later crops may appreciate partial shade. You can also plant peas in mid to late summer for a fall crop. If possible, sow your fall crop in a spot where tall crops such as corn or pole beans will shade the young plants until the weather cools.

Early peas in particular like raised beds or a sandy loam soil that warms up quickly. Heavier soils, on the other hand, can provide cooler conditions for a late pea crop, but you'll need to loosen the ground before planting by working in some organic matter. Being legumes, peas supply their own nitrogen, so go easy on fertilizer. Too much nitrogen produces lush foliage but few peas.

Peas don't transplant well and are very hardy, so there's no reason to start them indoors. Pea plants can survive frosts but won't tolerate temperatures over 75°F. In fact, production slows down drastically at 70°F.

Southern gardeners often sow peas in mid to late fall so the seeds will lie dormant through winter and sprout as early as possible for spring harvest. On the West Coast and in Gulf states, you can grow peas as a winter crop. Elsewhere, if the spring growing season is relatively long and cool, plant your peas 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost, when the soil is at least 40°F. For a long harvest season, sow early, mid-season, and late cultivars at the same time, or make successive sowings of one kind at 10-day to 2-week intervals until the middle of May.

When planting peas in an area where legumes haven't grown before, it may help to treat seeds with an inoculant powder of bacteria, called Rhizobia. This treatment promotes the formation of root nodules, which contain beneficial bacteria that convert the nitrogen in the air into a form usable by plants. To use an inoculant, roll wet seeds in the powder immediately before planting.

Space seeds of bush, or dwarf, peas 1 inch apart in rows 2 feet apart. Bush peas are also good for growing in beds. Sow the seeds of early crops 2 inches deep in light soil or 1 inch deep in heavy soil; make later plantings an inch or two deeper. Thin to 2 to 3 inches apart. This close spacing will allow bush peas to entwine and prop each other up.

Plant vining types in double rows 6 to 8 inches apart on either side of 5- to 6-feet-tall supports made of wire or string, with 3 feet between each double row. The more simple the support, the easier it is to remove the vines at the end of the pea season and reuse it.

Generally speaking, 1 pound of seeds will plant a 100-foot row and should produce around 1 bushel of green peas or 2 bushels of edible pods. Another rough guideline is to raise 40 plants per person. Unused seed is good for 3 years.

To make good use of garden space, interplant peas with radishes, spinach, lettuce, or other early greens. Cucumbers and potatoes are good companion plants, but peas don't do well when planted near garlic or onions.

Growing guidelines: Providing peas with just the right amount of water is a little tricky. They should never be so waterlogged that the seeds and plants rot, and too much water before the plants flower will reduce yields. On the other hand, don't let the soil dry out when peas are germinating or blooming or when the pods are swelling. Once the plants are up, they only need about ½ inch of water every week until they start to bloom; at that time, increase their water supply to 1 inch a week until the pods fill out.

Peas growing in good soil need no additional fertilizer. If your soil is not very fertile, you may want to side-dress with compost when the seedlings are about 6 inches tall.

The vines are delicate, so handle them as little as possible. Gently hand pull any weeds near the plants to keep from damaging the pea roots. To reduce weeds and conserve moisture, lay 2 inches of organic mulch once the weather and soil warms. This also helps to keep the roots cool. Soil that becomes too warm can result in peas not setting fruit or can prevent already-formed pods from filling out. Mulch fall crops as soon as they are planted, and add another layer of mulch when the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall.

Once a vine quits producing, cut it off at ground level, leaving the nitrogen-rich root nodules in the ground to aid the growth of a following crop, such as brassicas, carrots, beets, or beans. Add the vines to your compost pile, unless they show obvious signs of disease or pest problems.

Go Green Using Tips From America's Top Organic Experts! Learn more.

Problems: Aphids often attack developing vines.

Pea weevils can chew on foliage, especially along the edges of young leaves. They are serious only when they attack young seedlings. Apply Beauveria bassiana as soon as damage is spotted to head off problems.

Thrips—very tiny black or dark brown insects—often hide on the undersides of leaves in dry weather. They cause distorted leaves that eventually die; thrips also spread disease. Control them with an insecticidal soap spray.

Crop rotation is one of the best ways to prevent diseases. To avoid persistent problems, don't grow peas in the same spot more than once every 5 years.

Plant resistant cultivars to avoid Fusarium wilt, which turns plants yellow, then brown, and causes them to shrivel and die.

Root-rot fungi cause water-soaked areas or brown lesions to appear on lower stems and roots of pea plants. Cool, wet, poorly drained soil favors development of rots. To avoid root rot, start seeds indoors in peat pots and wait until the soil is frostless before setting out the plants. Provide good fertility and drainage for strong, rapid growth.

Warm weather brings on powdery mildew, which covers a plant with a downy, white fungal coating that sucks nutrients out of the leaves. Bicarbonate sprays can help to prevent mildew. Destroy seriously affected vines, or place them in sealed containers for disposal with household trash. Avoid powdery mildew by planting resistant cultivars.

Control mosaic virus, which yellows and stunts plants, by getting rid of the aphids that spread it.

Harvesting: Pods are ready to pick about 3 weeks after a plant blossoms, but check frequently to avoid harvesting too late. You should harvest the peas daily to catch them at their prime and to encourage vines to keep producing. If allowed to become ripe and hard, peas lose much of their flavor. Also, their taste and texture are much better if you prepare and eat them immediately after harvesting; the sugar in peas turns to starch within a few hours after picking.

Pick shell and snap peas when they are plump and bright green. Snow-pea pods should be almost flat and barely showing their developing seeds. Cut the pods from the vines with scissors; pulling them off can uproot the vine or shock it into nonproduction.

Preserve any surplus as soon as possible by canning or, preferably, by freezing, which retains that fresh-from-the-garden flavor. To freeze peas, just shell and blanch for 1½ minutes, then cool, drain, pack, and freeze. Snow peas, which are frozen whole, are treated the same way, but don't forget to string them first if necessary. Peas have a freezer life of about 1 year.

If peas become overripe, shell them and spread them on a flat surface for 3 weeks or until completely dry. Store in airtight containers and use as you would any dried bean.

Go Green Using Tips From America's Top Organic Experts! Learn more.
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James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change - YouTube

Uploaded by TEDtalksDirector on Mar 7, 2012 Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.

Related Links:

Hines Farm Blog: Grow More Food & Fight Climate Change: Black...
Mar 10, 2012
Bill McKibben "Biochar, produced in pyrolysis of residues from crops, forestry, and animal wastes, can be used to restore soil fertility while storing carbon for centuries to millennia."-- Dr. James Hansen (NASA climate scientist).

Hines Farm Blog: Top climate scientists warn Congress over ...
Feb 13, 2012
James Hansen, Research Scientist, The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The Earth Institute, Columbia University John Abraham, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas ...

Hines Farm Blog: Nine of the top ten warmest years in the modern...
Jan 24, 2012
“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS director James Hansen. “So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La NiƱa influence ...

How to Solve the Climate Problem - by JAMES HANSEN
Feb 15, 2010
How to Solve the Climate Problem - by JAMES HANSEN ... In summary, the backbone of a solution to the climate problem is a flat carbon emissions price applied across all fossil fuels at the source. This carbon price (fee, tax) ...

The Sophie Prize 2010 Goes to Dr. James E. Hansen
Apr 07, 2010
Dr. James E. Hansen (born 1941) has played a key role in the development of our understanding of human impact on the climate for more than 30 years. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an adjunct ...

Hines Farm Blog: Towards a Sustainable Economy - a knol by Sam ...
Aug 22, 2011
Dr. James Hansen once calculated that reforestation of degraded land and improved agricultural practices that retain soil carbon together could draw down atmospheric carbon dixode by as much as 50 ppm, adding that this ...

Hines Farm Blog: Disarming the Biochar Wars | re:char
Feb 17, 2010
We urge our readers to link to this article, as anti-biochar crusaders have resorted to unacceptable tactics such as spamming notable scientists like Dr. James Hansen and Prof. Johannes Lehmann. Read Whole Post ... Posted ...

Hines Farm Blog: Jason Aramburu on the Promise of Biochar ...
Feb 17, 2010
Dr. James Hansen on Biochar and Storage of Carbon in Soil .....How to Solve the Climate Problem - by JAMES HANSEN... Sun or Moon Rise/Set Table for One Year · Whizbang Row Cover Hoop System · Biochar Overview ...
Hines Farm Blog: Climate Change Contrarian Nonsense
Apr 15, 2010
Several books that cut through the confusion are Storms of My Grandchildren by James Hansen, The Long Thaw, by David Archer, and The Rising Sea, by Orrin Pilkey and Rob Young. Posted by Monte at Thursday, April 15, ...

Hines Farm Blog: Brave Thinkers - Magazine - Atlantic Monthly
Mar 11, 2010
The NASA climate expert James Hansen says that the carbon could be stored for “centuries to millennia.” Eprida hopes to use the biochar to soak up carbon dioxide at polluting factories and then bury it in areas with poor soil ...

Hines Farm Blog: BioChar Engineering :: Home
Feb 17, 2010
According to NASA climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, biochar is one of the key ways to remove net carbon from the atmosphere. Biochar increases soil fertility and decreases net carbon in the atmosphere. The company is ...

Hines Farm Blog: Arrested at the White House: Acting as a Living...
Aug 25, 2011
Now the question is: Will we do the same to the boreal forests of Canada. As NASA climatologist James Hansen has made all too clear, if we do so it's “essentially game over for the climate.” That message is getting through.

Hines Farm Blog: The lost civilization: Finding a reality-based frame ...
Jun 27, 2010
And don't discount the informed, scientific warnings of James Hansen and others that we may be in the process of climatically snuffing out the entire circus, clowns and all. (Not that even this warning-of-all-warnings would ...

Peru Bans GMOs Permaculture Research Institute

Back in 2009, Wikileaks released some diplomatic cables from the U.S. which revealeda list of priority countries for ‘GMO outreach’. Peru was amongst those on the hit list.

Well, now it seems Peru has opted out….

After public outcry when the nation’s former President — pro-GMO Alan Garcia — opened the door to GMOs and failed to action requests from the public to ban them, the new President, Ollanta Humala, has signed a GMO ban into law.

Peru’s Congress approves 10-year GMO ban

LIMA – Peru’s Congress announced Friday it overwhelmingly approved a 10-year moratorium on imports of genetically modified organisms in order to safeguard the country’s biodiversity.

The measure bars GMOs – including seeds, livestock, and fish – from being imported for cultivation or to be raised locally.

Exceptions include the use of GMO products for research purposes in a closed environment, but those will be closely monitored, the legislature’s official news service said.

The bill, approved late Thursday, now goes to President Ollanta Humala to be signed into law. Humala, who has been in power since late July, has repeatedly said he opposes GM programs.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, Peru is one of the world’s leading exporters of organic food, including coffee and cocoa, with $3 billion a year in revenues and 40,000 certified producers.
Congress approved a similar 10-year moratorium in June, but outgoing president Alan Garcia, who was seen as being favorable to GM, did not ratify the ban.

There was friction over GM in the previous government’s ministries of agriculture and environment.

The head of Peru’s Consumer Agency, Jaime Delgado, said the moratorium is long enough to learn from scientific studies that will emerge on the effects of GMO products.

The country’s leading group representing farmers and ranchers, the National Agrarian Convention, said that by this measure Peru “defends its biodiversity, its agriculture, its gastronomy and its health.” —

I’d like to remind readers of a simple fact — that we don’t need GMOs! It’s well recognised that natural plant breeding techniques (which have been utilised by growers for millennia) produce improved, climate-specific varieties of plants much faster, and at almost no expense. This is in stark contrast to GMO laboratory work, which takes millions of dollars of research and many years of development — only to create a single strain, which is then expected to perform equally well (but they don’t) regardless of locale and regional conditions (so long as you use their recommended, costly chemicals, that is). GMOs are purely a ’solution’ looking for a problem — and all for the pure financial self-interest of bio-copyright claimants (nature privatisers), who are taking the aggregated work of farmers over the course of agricultural history, and making it their own.

Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.


The Nebraska study suggested that two factors are at work. First, it takes time to modify a plant and, while this is being done, better conventional ones are being developed. This is acknowledged even by the fervently pro-GM US Department of Agriculture, which has admitted that the time lag could lead to a "decrease" in yields.

But the fact that GM crops did worse than their near-identical non-GM counterparts suggest that a second factor is also at work, and that the very process of modification depresses productivity. The new Kansas study both confirms this and suggests how it is happening. — The Independent(emphasis added)

More and more countries are looking to protect their natural biodiversity and increase their economic resilience by avoiding GMO crops. I look forward to the day when Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta and the like, all close up shop….

Mar 13, 2012

Wade Davis - Tar Sands, Pipelines & Tankers - YouTube

Uploaded by redriverpete on Feb 19, 2012

Dr. Wade Davis is Explorer in Residence for the National Geographic Society, Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Winnipeg and author of The Sacred Headwaters: the fight to save the Stikine, Skeena and Nass.

He spoke at a public forum in Winnipeg Feb. 16, 2012 entitled TAR SANDS, PIPELINES, & TANKERS - a Public Forum on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal.

This event was organized by the Manitoba Eco-Network, Green Action Centre, Climate Change Connection, the Council of Canadians, and the Green Action Committee of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church, with the support of the University of Manitoba's Global Political Economy Program and the University of Winnipeg.

More Information:
Manitoba Eco-Network -

Video Production:
Paul S. Graham -

Iowa Learning Farms’ March Webinar Focuses on Biochar « Environmental News Bits

Biochar as a soil amendment will be featured during the Iowa Learning Farms’ (ILF) webinar, Wednesday, March 21, at 11:30 a.m. The webinar is part of the ILF-hosted series held on the third Wednesday of each month through Adobe Connect. All that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access.

David Laird, an agronomy professor at Iowa State University, will discuss his research on use of biochar as a soil amendment. Biochar is a charcoal-like material that is produced as a co-product (along with bio-oil) when biomass is pyrolyzed. Laird particularly wants to know if soil-applying biochar to crop fields harvested for biomass improves long-term sustainability of bioenergy production.

As soil amendments, chars have been shown to increase soil fertility by improving nutrient and water retention, lowering soil acidity and density, and increasing microbial activity. In addition, energy production from biomass that stores carbon as biochar can be considered carbon negative.

To connect to the webinars, go to: Laird will be able to answer questions from webinar “attendees” via the Adobe Connect chat box. The ILF website homepage contains links for archived webinars from previous months:

Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the US EPA (section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Spraying Pesticides On Or Near Water Now Requires Permit - Farm Progress

To date, no one has defined how close is too close with the new regulation, which extends the scope of the Clean Water Act.
Compiled by staff
Published: Mar 13, 2012

On Oct. 31, 2011, a new federal regulation requiring a permit for certain pesticide applications went into effect. Why should you care?

Because it applies to anyone who might spray chemicals, according to Extension educators David Robson and Michelle Wiesbrook of University of Illinois Extension's Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP).

According to Robson, in October 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that pesticides are regulated under the Clean Water Act as well as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). In practical terms, this means that anyone applying pesticides in or in the vicinity of flowing water could need to get a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to do so. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is the lead agency on the NPDES permit process.

Spraying Pesticides On Or Near Water Now Requires Permit"I guess I should emphasize 'could' because unfortunately, it is not always clear-cut," says Robson.

The requirement does not apply only to farmers. People with water on their property — streams, ponds, or lakes — that connects with the waters of the United States (that is, the waters of Illinois) are also bound by this requirement. They need a permit if they intend to apply pesticide to that water or to the edge of that water.

How far back does "the edge" go?

"The Illinois EPA advises you to use your best professional judgment." says Robson, but doing so is easier said than done. Much depends on the slope of the land and the weather. A permit probably is not needed if the pesticide is applied to a dry ditch or waterway, and no rain, which could wash the application into the waters of the United States, is forecasted.

"If you are using your best professional judgment," says Wiesbrook, "you are not going to make that application anyway."

To cut through the legal jargon, Robson and Wiesbrook have written what they call a "common sense interpretation" of the NPDES permit requirements. They have also compiled some FAQs related to the requirement. Both documents are available on the PSEP website at

Clearly, a person may not know in advance that a permit will be needed. For example, algae could start to grow where it has never grown before. "The permit takes at least 14 and as much as 30 days to get," Wiesbrook explains. The alternative to waiting is to hire a company that has already obtained a permit for the area.

Robson says that if you think you might need to apply a pesticide to or near water, it is a good idea to get a permit. The three-page Notice of Intent (NOI) form is available on the IEPA site at

Permits are free, although they have to be renewed every year, and they are good for five years.

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Healthy Recipe: Corned Beef and Cabbage: Organic Gardening

A corned beef and cabbage recipe with a dark beer twist.
Photography by John Kernick
Dark beer is the twist in this old favorite. Serve with grainy mustard or horseradish and rye bread.

Serves: 8
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 8 hr 0 min
Total: 8 hr 25 min

1 1/4 lb sm red-skinned potatoes, halved
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf
3 lb corned beef brisket
3 cups water
1 bottle (12 oz) dark beer
1 small green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges

1. Combine potatoes, carrots, garlic, sugar, and bay leaf in large slow cooker. Put brisket on top of vegetables and add water and beer. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Add cabbage for last 1 1/2 hours.
2. Remove beef fro slow cooker. Let rest, loosely covered, 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon and serve with corned beef.

Nutritional facts per serving
Calories 443.8 cal
Fat 25.6 g
Saturated fat 8.1 g
Cholesterol 91.9 mg
Sodium 2110.8 mg
Carbohydrates 22.4 g
Total sugars 6.3 g
Dietary fiber 4.1 g
Protein 27.9 g

For more great recipes, check out the Rodale Healthy Recipe Finder.

Home Remedies for the Garden - Powdery Mildew - Deer - Moles

Whatever you’re paying for high-priced garden solutions, it is far too much! Many concoctions can be made with ingredients you have in your pantry. Here are a few recipes I’ve found to be effective and can be made at home by any frugal gardener.

ROSE SPRAY-helps prevent diseases such as rust, blackspot, and powdery mildew.

Mix together:
1-tablespoon baking soda
1-teaspoon mild dishwashing detergent
1-tablespoon vegetable oil
1 dissolved aspirin

1-gallon water

Mix together and pour into a spray bottles. Spray roses every 1-2 weeks.

DEER REPELLENT-will keep deer from nibbling plants for up to two weeks.

Blend and put through cheesecloth to remove lumps:
1 raw egg

Add and mix:
1-tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1-tablespoon fish emulsion

Some have said to put this in the sun for a few days but I’ve found it to be stinky and very effective straight from the kitchen.

MOLE REPELLENT-will send moles to another garden.

Blend together:
1-tablespoon castor oil
1-tablespoon dishwashing soap
1-tablespoon water

Mix with 2 gallons water and spray the ground where moles are uprooting your seedlings. Water in.

These homemade concoctions should be safe for the environment if used sparingly.

Mar 12, 2012

A Permaculture Farm in Wales - Zoning 101 (Videos) Permaculture Research Institute

Video Playlist:

Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees — by Sunny Soleil March 12, 2012

If you are new to permaculture, these three videos provide a delightful living introduction to the topic. As Angie takes you through the different zones on her farm in Wales, UK, you can try to spot how many concepts are integrated into her enthusiastic, holistic descriptions of how permaculture works.

Permaculture is not Organic Farming

In this first video we meet Angie and her family and visit some areas of her farm as we hear explanations of the difference between permaculture and organic farming and why permaculture is important.

Home Zone

This video invites us to visit Angie’s Zone 1 as she shows us the greenhouse, the polytunnel, the gorgeously abundant kitchen garden and the chickens — explaining why all these things need to be close to home and the beneficial results of taking into account the natural behavior of animals in the system as well as why we need to place specific things next to each other.

More than Apples

This third video takes us on a tour of Angie’s orchard as she talks us through why the orchard is further away from the house and introduces us to the concept of a forest garden and how it works in comparison to a commercial monocrop orchard. Going beyond the orchard, we enter Angie’s wildlife zone (Zone 5) consisting of a hay meadow and recently planted native trees for future wood harvesting. As Angie describes this part of her farm you will notice how it is impossible for her not to include a number of different permaculture concepts. Watch out for her description of the living fence!

March Madness and the 'Civil Rights Movement for Our Times' | The Nation

by Dave Zirin on March 12, 2012

In 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists at the Olympic games, taking a stand against the injustices they saw in their corner in the SportsWorld. The year 2012 is crying out for similar displays of athletic militancy but we shouldn’t have to wait for this summer’s Olympics. The time for action is right now during the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament. We need young people of uncommon courage stepping forward into what sports sociologist Dr. Harry Edwards calls “The Civil Rights Movement for our times," the inequity and exploitation engineered by the NCAA.

In our perennial rite of spring, we are being bombarded with bracketology, Final Four predictions and the general hoops hysteria otherwise known as "March Madness." There are invariably articles on the business page about the billions of dollars at play from television contracts to online betting to lost productivity as workers spend hours obsessing over their brackets. Yet there is precious little discussion about the teenagers, branded with corporate logos, generating this tidal wave of revenue. This is why Dr. Edwards believes the set-up is in desperate need of a shake-up. In a recent lecture at Cal-Berkeley, he directly tied the relationship between the NCAA and its "student athletes" to the injustices that spurred the Occupy Wall Street movement.

It’s not just a comparison, it’s a connection... The college athletes are clearly the ninety-nine percent who create the wealth in college sports. The question is, where is the individual from the ranks who is going to frame and focus and project that political reality? Who is going to provide the spark that mobilizes the athletes? A lot depends on the extent to which the 99-Percenter movement now confronting Wall Street can encompass the movement on campus around tuition increases and these outrageous compensation packages for administrators. Someone is going to have to focus and frame that.

That "someone" may have been the great chronicler of the Civil Rights Movement, Pulitzer Prize winner, Taylor Branch. Branch, writing for The Atlantic Monthly last October, turned his eyes toward the NCAA. The genius of his subsequent piece, The Shame of College Sports, was that he was a fresh set of eyes, pointing out what many of us see every day but have become too calloused, too jaded or too bought-off to notice.

While college presidents cry about athletic department deficits, Branch pointed out that in 2010, the Southeastern Conference (SEC), "became the first to crack the billion-dollar barrier in athletic receipts. The Big Ten pursued closely at $905 million. That money comes from a combination of ticket sales, concession sales, merchandise, licensing fees, and other sources—but the great bulk of it comes from television contracts."

Branch, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s biographer, looked at the state of affairs and could come to only one conclusion:  For all the outrage, the real scandal is not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited, it’s that two of the noble principles on which the NCAA justifies its existence—‘amateurism’ and the ‘student-athlete’—are cynical hoaxes, legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes. The tragedy at the heart of college sports is not that some college athletes are getting paid, but that more of them are not...

The NCAA tells us change is coming, yet the past year shows that no matter how many scandals erupt, we won’t see true reform and true justice without a movement built by the "student-athletes" themselves. This is not wishful thinking. Writing for Salon, Josh Eidelson, a former labor organizer, sheds light on a new organization, the National College Players Association (NCPA).

As Eidelson reports, "This past fall, hundreds of Division I college athletes at five schools – including every member of UCLA’s basketball team and most of its football team – signed an NCPA petition to the NCAA calling for a set of reforms: using new TV revenues to improve compensation and create an 'educational lockbox' that would reward players who graduate; allowing multi-year scholarships; and establishing that athletic injuries should not end athletes’ scholarships or leave them paying for their own medical treatment."

The presence of the NCPA is critical because it brings instant credibility to the discussion and prevents the NCAA and their minions from writing off people like Branch as cranks and “outside agitators."

But the efforts of the NCPA and the struggle for basic fairness for college athletes would be raised dramatically by seeing just a couple of players, under March’s blazing spotlight, willing to risk the wrath of those in thrall to the "Madness." The next Smith/Carlos moment is there for any "jock for justice" willing to grasp it. This would require them walking to mid-court before the Final Four, ripping off the assorted brands and logos attached to their bodies, and stating in no uncertain terms that unless they get a piece of the pie, they are walking off the court. The fans would rage. The announcers would sneer. The coaches would fume. But history would be kind and nothing else, as I can see, would finally put a stake in the heart of sham-amateurism once and for all. It's a risk worth taking, but don't take my word for it. As John Carlos said to me, "I have no regrets about what I did in 1968. The people with regrets are the ones who were there with us, and did nothing."

Great article Dave... March Madness - great entertainment, but who are the big money winners. Interesting story that is unfolding...  Monte

Full Article:

Related Links:
Memphis vacates 38 wins from Final Four year ...
John Calipari's emotional goodbye - YouTube

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Artificial vein valve could replace drugs for treating common circulatory problem

By Ben Coxworth
March 9, 2012

One of Fraunhofer's artificial venous valves

Chronic venous insufficiency - or CVI - is a very common medical condition in which veins in the legs cannot pump enough oxygen-poor blood back to the heart. It is caused by faulty valves within the leg veins, and causes blood to pool in the legs, which can lead to edemas and even open ulcers. Typically, treatment consists of anti-inflammatory drugs and diuretics, along with the use of items such as compression stockings. Now scientists have developed a method of mass-producing artificial venous valves, that could replace the malfunctioning natural ones.

The artificial valves are being developed by scientists at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation. They are made from polycarbonate-urethane (PCU), a plastic that is strong yet flexible, can be formed into very thin layers, and is easy to sew into body tissue.

In the production process, a solvent containing dissolved PCU is deposited by a dispensing tool, one droplet at a time, onto a three-dimensional venous valve prosthetic mold. The system is able to deliver up to 100 droplets per second (each one with a volume of 2 to 60 nanoliters), and is accurate to within 25 micrometers. To ensure an even covering, the droplet feeding mechanism is mounted on a six-axis positioning system, above the mold.

Once the mold is completely covered, it is subjected to a warm stream of nitrogen. This causes the solvent to evaporate, leaving nothing but the PCU behind. The process is repeated a number of times, building up multiple layers of plastic on the mold. Once the desired thickness has been reached, the finished prosthesis is simply peeled off. By varying the amount of droplets deposited in different areas of the mold, each valve ends up with six distinct grades of elasticity and hardness - this will allow it to stand up to the stresses it will encounter within the body.

According to the researchers, the artificial valves could be implanted in the leg veins via a catheter inserted through the patient's skin. There is no word at this point on clinical trials or availability.

Source: Fraunhofer

J Henry Fair "Schwarze Energie: Changing The Momentum - TED - 11/21/11

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on Mar 12, 2012
His pictures went around the world: J Henry Fair is a photgrapher, ecological activist and he is best known for his Industrial Scars series, in which he researches the worlds most awful environmental disasters.
  • Just like the reality of war is not shown, the reality of the raping of the environment is not shown. 
  • J Henry Fair shows the "blood of the earth" ==> Remarkable Photos!
  • USA, Mississippi River, Gulf, Canada, Germany, etc. ... 
  • Why do we treat Nature as our bitch??? 
  • Everyone needs to do what they can to change this...!!!
  • Ted Video worth watching... 

Blood Meal - Nitrogen Fertilizer

Blood Meal / Dried Blood
for more rapid nitrogen release

blood meal is sometimes not recommended for organic gardening because it can damage young tender plants in warm moist conditions see below.

Analysis - nitrogen 13.25, phosphorus 1.00, potassium 0.60.

Source - slaughterhouses make dried blood as a by-product of animal processing. A wide selection of blood fertilizer products is now available.

Release Rate - rapid lasts up to 4 months. Suited to fast growing seasonal green vegatables.

Application - no more than 4oz per square yard during growth. Apply during the growing season.

Soil Reaction - acidic.

Sprinkle over compost heap if high carbon content brown matter e.g. paper, chipped twigs, straw... etc, is in excess of nitrogenous green leafy matter.
Can be incorporated to balance the carbon content when digging in a high carbon brown mulch - othewise nitrogen is robbed from the soil.
Use on nitrogen hungry greens:- courgette, marrow, lettuce, - perhaps corn cob initially, and greens such as kale, brussel sprounts and cabbage... However the acidic soil reaction makes it somewhat less than ideal for the cabbage family.
Apply during the growing season.
Also used to repel animals like deer and rabbits, but only effective if it remains dry. I suggest placing it in containers.

American Gardeners can get Blood Meal here or for availability elsewhere try my gardening catalogue page.

Action On Plants - the analysis shows that nitrogen is the major constituent due to the protein content.

These blood proteins are rapidly broken down by soil bacteria to ammonia. In warm moist conditions that favour bacterial growth, decomposition of this organic fertilizer can be too rapid. Ammonia may be released in large enough quantity to damage delicate roots.

Plant roots absorb ammonia to take up nitrogen for building plant protein. Therefore blood meal is useful for plants that add lots of green leafy growth.

As it is a fast acting organic feed, care should be taken not to apply too much, especially in warm moist conditions. Blood Meal can also be used to effectively balance carbons in the compost heap or when digging fresh organic matter into the ground.

Don't apply to seedlings.
A fast acting organic feed and care should be taken not to apply too much. Rapid decomposition when conditions are warm and moist could be damaging.
Don't apply to peas and beans and other legumes. They have root nodules with bacteria that fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Bone Meal Organic Fertilizer

* For pre-seeding and turfing new lawns
* Rose and shrub fertilizer...
* To establish new plants after division or planting,
* Long lasting P and calcium keeps soil sweetTraditional Bone Meal is a valuable shrub fertilizer used in plant establishment - forroses, bulbs, pre-seeding new lawns, and annual renewal of herbaceous plants. Bone meal is a long lasting 'organic fertilizer' too.

You'll notice from the N:P:K analysis below that traditional bone meal isn't a complete fertilizer. Therefore some branded Bone Meal products are supplemented or semi-organic fertilizers - more below.

You'll find details here of where to obtain bone meal and where, when, and how to make use of it in your garden, and what to avoid - also what makes bone meal a good organic new lawn and shrub fertilizer? Is it a myth? Do you want to know more?

More than a shrub fertilizer - bone meal is also:
Kind to emerging seedlings,
An amendment for acid soils,
Benefits bulbs and root crops,
Sterilized and widely used by gardeners, Bone meal supplies for gardeners are here.
What's In Bone Meal?Traditional sterilized bone meal varies typically around - Nitrogen 4; Phosphorus 15; Potassium 0.
More on the plant nutrients...
Bone meal is frequently used to add the major plant nutrient phosphorus to well-known organic fertilizer blends. And it contains calcium in plenty to support plant renewal every new season.
Supplemented Semi-Organic Bone MealTraditional bone meal contains N:P:K of around 4:15:0. But the analysis on some U.K. packs has been 7:7:7 which means an amendment, possibly potassium chloride, has been added. This travesty is to make up for slow release of nutrients and to satisfy expectations of gardeners who are looking for an all-purpose fertilizer - you can check how to use the traditional stuff below. Regulators appear to have been persuaded that a minimum K amendment is acceptable. In the U.K. you may find same brand different pack sizes vary in this way. Check out the products.
Where to use Bone Meal in your garden:
When planting shrubs and trees - ensures strong root growth so your plants are well-established. See quantities below for bone meal mixed into the back fill and sprinkled around the planting hole. It is often recommended for use with roses.
Rake in before seeding/planting/turfing new lawns. Supports strong root growth for healthy drought resistant lawns. Best applied well before the growing season and before grass cutting.
My choice of fertilizer when planting new perennials or after dividing them. Mixed into soil and watered in with new plants in late summer it helps them make strong roots then leaves come spring. A nitrogen fertilizer in The Fall would be no good.
Proprietary composts used for seed sowing often seem low in nutrients. Try mixing bone meal into homemade or bought in seed composts a few weeks before sowing seed. It's kind on new seedling roots.
When it comes to planting out greens and flowers fish, blood and bone is probably better.
Find more ways to use bone meal below...

Organic pre-seed, lawn & shrub fertilizers
Bone Meal... Organic N:P:K 3.5 : 17 : 0

Organic pre-seed, lawn & shrub fertilizers
Find Organic Traditions Bone Meal here in 4.5 or 24 lb Bags
Organic N:P:K 4 : 12 : 0 or

Dr. Earth Bone Meal
N:P:K 3 : 15 : 0
More than a shrub fertilizer -
Here's 3 more ways to use your bone meal for organic gardening.
Before sowing Runner Beans, French Beans, Peas, Broad Beans and Sweet Peas I work in a small amount of bone meal. This helps the soil bacteria Rhyzobium to form root nodules, which in turn feed nitrogen. Phosphorus is good for seed producers too. My plants get a strong and healthy start when I do this.
When planting bulbs, large corms, and root tubers - Dahlias, Gladiola, Peony - Onions, Carrots - I mix a sprinkling of bone Meal into the bottom of the planting holes.
Use bone meal with lime loving flowers Clematis, Hydrangea... and especially lime loving plants grown in containers.

Use These Quantities
Work in 140 grams (~3 handfuls) per square metre (4oz/SqYd) before sowing seed - esp. lawns* - apply at least 2 weeks before,
Add 45 grams (~1 handful or 1½oz) per 1 square foot planting hole or
450grams (~ 10 handfuls or 16oz) per square yard planting hole
into back fill and around root zone for shrubs and trees,
As a top dressing work in 140 grams (~3 handfuls) per square metre (4oz/SqYd) for fruit in autumn to be ready for spring.Find Bone Meal here.
How to use Bone Meal in your garden:It's one of those organic wonders that challenged chemists, yet your plants reallycan extract insoluble P out of soil - see plant nutrients.

But you need to remember that bone meal is most effective when well-mixed with the garden soil so it's close to plant roots.

Because bone meal is slow acting it should be applied and watered in a few weeks before your plants will need it.
Where I don't use Bone Meal in the garden:
Not on acid loving plants like Rhododendrons, Azalea, Camellia, Heathers, Cranberry, and potatoes. The calcium in bone meal may increase soil ph.
Take care if using bone meal where soil ph is already high.
Care needed in gardens with pet dogs. Your pet may lick and scratch where it has been used as a top dressing. Timing the application, watering in, raking over, fencing off the area, are among possible solutions.

One gardener posted a complaint about Miracle Grow causing this behaviour. This was probably due to bone meal included in an organic blend - but I don't suppose it's especially harmful. Do keep the container sealed and out of reach.

Where does bone meal come from?It is made from the sterilized bones of animals that went to slaughterhouses - an age-old example of waste minimization and recycling. Sterilized bone meal is a traditional lawn and shrub fertilizer.
How does bone meal really workBone meal is very long lasting and slow acting. It can last for a year perhaps longer. Course grade bone meal should be slower and last longest.

But use of Bone meals as a shrub fertilizer has been questioned by findings that it reduces the formation of micorrhyzal friendly fungi. However, some soils and shrubs are not amenable to this anyway, especially following modern soil cultivation.

With small shrubs a sufficient supply of garden compost may be available but larger trees will benefit from bone meal supplement - and I know this works.

Fine grade bone meal can be mixed into compost.

Organic pre-seed, lawn & shrub fertilizers
Find Organic Traditions Bone Meal here in 4.5 or 24 lb Bags
Organic N:P:K 4 : 12 : 0 or

Dr. Earth Bone Meal
N:P:K 3 : 15 : 0
Organic pre-seed, lawn & shrub fertilizers
Bone Meal... Organic N:P:K 3.5 : 17 : 0

The Many Uses Of Epsom Salts

By: Dee Braun

I remember as a kid when my Great Aunt Grace would put some Epsom Salts in a dish pan, add really warm water and soak her feet because they hurt.

So, to me, that's what Epsom Salts was all about - a remedy for painful joints in old folks. Little did I know!

Times have changed - or have they?

All the talk about 'Natural Remedies' and 'getting back to basics' always floors me because my great aunt and my grandmothers were all doing this stuff when I was a little girl. So did my mom...and so have I. So, for me, there's been no 'getting back to' anything.

However, I'm not too old to learn and since learning is one thing I LOVE to do, I decided to learn more about Epsom Salts after reading a snippet on detoxification. Here's what I've found.

Studies show these benefits from the major components of Epsom Salt may:


* Ease stress and improves sleep and Concentration

* Help muscles and nerves function properly

* Regulate activity of 325%2B enzymes

* Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots

* Make Insulin more effective

* Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps

* Improve oxygen use


* Flush Toxins

* Improve absorption of nutrients

* Help form joint Proteins, brain tissue and mucin Proteins

* Help prevent or ease Migraine Headaches

The Many Uses of Epsom Salts...

1) Wash your face before going to bed

According to recent studies in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, deposits of nicotine and carbon monoxide (from secondhand smoke and pollution) can wreck havoc on the skin..

To cleanse your face - Mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt with your regular cleansing cream. Just massage into skin and rinse with cold water.

2) Troubleshoot with the right homemade mask

Apply this mask in the shower, to your damp face, to lock in the moisture. For normal to oily skin, mix 1 tablespoon of cognac, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk, the juice of 1 Lemon, and a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt. For normal to dry skin mix 1/4 cup of grated Carrot, 1 1/2 teaspoons of mayonnaise and a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt.

3) Smoother Softer Skin

Pour two cups into a bath of warm water. Lean back and relax. As you soak, the natural action of Epsom Salt helps soften the rough, dry patches of your skin. You can also rub Epsom salts all over the body, while wet, then rinse and towel off. Rubbing Epsom salts directly on the body exfoliates skin and leaves it smooth and silky. They make a great gift to give someone when you put them in a nice glass jar with lid and tie on a pretty ribbon. You can add scent to them by sprinkling them with essential oil. Or mix Epsom salts with baby oil and keep by the sink if you wash your hands a lot.

4) Add Body to Your Hair

Combine 3 tablespoons of deep conditioner with 3 tablespoons of Epsom Salt. Microwave the mixture for 20 seconds. Work the warm mixture through your hair from scalp to ends and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Promotes body and life in your hair and restores curl to permed hair.

5) Remove Hairspray and Gel Buildup

Combine a gallon of distilled water, a cup of Lemon juice (fresh or bottled), and 1 cup of Epsom Salt. Cap the mixture and let it sit for 24 hours. The next day, pour the mixture into your dry hair and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then shampoo as normal.

5) Soak tired, aching feet (this one sounds familiar!)

Soak aching, tired feet in a pan of water with half a cup of Epsom salts and not only will your feet feel better, but they'll smell better too. Epsom salts work to neutralize odor and soften skin. Soak feet until they feel better then rinse and dry well. A full bath should contain 2 cups of Epsom salts for relief of tired feet, back muscles, legs or just as a way to have softer skin.

6) Combat oily hair

The salts do wonders for the hair, absorbing oil from problem hair by adding 8 tablespoons of Epsom salts to a half a cup of shampoo that's formulated for oily hair. Put a tablespoon of the shampoo mixture on dry hair and work it in and around the scalp area, rinsing it out with cold water. To rinse it well, and further treat oily hair, pour a cup of apple cider vinegar over the hair, leave on for 5 minutes, and then rinse with cool water.

7) Soak out splinters

Did you know, for instance, that soaking a splinter in Epsom salts can release the splinter and help the area to heal?

8) Make a poultice pack for strains or sprains

If you have any strained muscles or sprains, you can take 1/2 to 1 cup of Epsom salts and make a "pack" with it to place on the affected area, wrap with hot towel and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. TIP: This can be a lot less messy and more relaxing if done in the bath.

9) Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots

Epsom Salt is also believed to help prevent Heart Disease and strokes by lowering blood pressure, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden Heart Attack deaths.

10) Makes Insulin more effective

This salt also increases the effectiveness of Insulin, helping to lower the risk or severity of Diabetes.

11) Essential to plant health

Most plants to survive good health need nutrients like magnesium and sulfur. Magnesium Sulfate Crystals when added to the soil, provides vital nutrients to help prevent loss of green color (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule), yellowing leaves. Epsom Salt makes the primary nutrients in most plant foods (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) more effective.

12) Get rid of raccoons

Are the masked night marauders poking around your trash can, creating a mess and raising a din? A few tablespoons of Epsom salt spread around your garbage cans will deter the raccoons, who don't like the taste of the stuff. Don't forget to reapply after it rains.

13) Deter slugs

Are you tired of visiting your yard at night only to find the place crawling with slimy slugs? Sprinkle Epsom salt where they glide and say good-bye to the slugs.

14) Fertilize tomatoes and other plants

Want those Big Boys to be big? Add Epsom salt as a foolproof fertilizer. Every week, for every foot of height of your tomato plant, add one tablespoon. Your tomatoes will be the envy of the neighbor-hood. Epsom salt is also a good fertilizer for houseplants, roses and other flowers, and trees.

15) Make your grass greener

How green is your valley? Not green enough, you say? Epsom salt, which adds needed magnesium and iron to your soil, may be the answer. Add 2 tablespoons to 1 gallon (3.7 liters) of water. Spread on your lawn and then water it with plain water to make sure it soaks into the grass.

16) Clean bathroom tiles

Is the tile in your bathroom getting that grungy look? Time to bring in the Epsom salt. Mix it in equal parts with liquid dish detergent, then dab it onto the offending area and start scrubbing. The Epsom salt works with the detergent to scrub and dissolve the grime.

17) Regenerate a car battery

Is your car battery starting to sound as if it won't turn over? Worried that you'll be stuck the next time you try to start your car? Give your battery a little more life with this potion. Dissolve about an ounce of Epsom salt in warm water and add it to each battery cell.

18) Get rid of blackheads

Here's a surefire way to dislodge blackheads: Mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt and 3 drops iodine in 1/2 cup boiling water. When the mixture cools enough to stick your finger in it, apply it to the blackhead with a cotton ball. Repeat this three or four times, reheating the solution if necessary. Gently remove the blackhead and then dab the area with an alcohol-based astringent.

19) Frost your windows for Christmas

If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, but the weather won't cooperate, at least you can make your windows look frosty. Mix Epsom salt with stale beer until the salt stops dissolving. Apply the mixture to your windows with a sponge -- for a realistic look, sweep the sponge in an arc at the bottom corners. When the mixture dries, the windows will look frosted.

20) Relieves Constipation

Numerous studies have revealed that Epsom Salt can also be used to treat Constipation. The salt acts like a Laxative. It increases the water in the intestines and can bring about temporary relief from Constipation. However, it is strictly warned that Epsom Salts should not be used to relieve Constipation without the consultation of a physician as it may prove to be harmful in some cases. For occasional Constipation or irregularity, adults can mix 2 to 4 teaspoons into water until dissolved and drink. Kids 6 to 12 take half of that. This can be used twice a day by taking the first treatment, waiting 4 hours and taking the second dosage if necessary.


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