organic irrigation systems

A Close-Up Look At Irrigation Systems Used In Organic Farming

We brought in a guest writer this week for the article on organic irrigation. The writer’s name is Matt Highsmith and he has a lot of experience in installing and repairing irrigation systems in the farms of Oxnard, CA. He’s owner and operator of Highsmith & Daughters Plumbing Inc. located in Simi Valley, CA. Thanks Matt for taking some time to explain organic irrigation to our readers…

Setting up an irrigation system is one of the biggest challenges organic farmers face. One has to think through the irrigation design system to use, how to install it and most importantly, how much it will cost. Having the right knowledge about irrigation systems is the first step to ensuring your organic farming project turns out to be a success.

So, here are things you need to know about irrigation systems employed in organic farming:

What Is The Essence Of Having An Irrigation System In An Organic Farm?

Irrigation is basically meant to supply water to crops in a farmland so as to aid crop growth. Sometimes plant nutrients may also be applied via irrigation. In organic farming, irrigation systems are mainly used for purposes of conservation and crop sustainability, especially during the dry season(s). Irrigation generally ensures high-quality crop yields and smooth transition into another planting season.

What Options Are Available For Organic Irrigation?

There are several irrigation methods that farmers can use in any type of farming but there are those that are specially designed for organic farming. However, the methods differ largely depending on the climate and the type of crops being grown.

Here are the main irrigation design systems you can choose from, as an organic farmer:

– Drip Irrigation:
This form of irrigation conveys water to crop roots via low-pressure pumps, installed either at the ground level or underground. Drip irrigation has the potential to save water, especially in the dry season, since it allows water to drip slowly to the plant roots.

-Surface irrigation: This method does not require the use of pumps. It actually uses gravity to move water across the land that’s on a downhill. The fact that this form of irrigation uses less energy to deliver water makes it one of the best options for organic farming.

-Center-Pivot Irrigation: With this type of irrigation design system, water flows from a series of sprinklers set up on wheeled towers. Center-pivot irrigation uses pumps to operate. The method is mostly used on flat, large-scale farms and is capable if irrigating up to a 130-acre farm area.

-Manual Irrigation: This method of irrigation, which is only practical in small-scale farms, involves someone physically watering each plant in the farm or greenhouse by hand. With manual irrigation, a farmer may use a bucket or watering can to water the plants. The method is commonly used in backyard farms.

So, Which Is The Best Irrigation Method For Organic Farming?

Well, each of the methods discussed above has its own merits and demerits. It all comes down to your organic farm size and needs as well as your irrigation budget. Otherwise, all the methods can work as effectively as they should on your farm. If you are planning to farm during the rainy season, then there’s no need to set up an irrigation system. You can simply let the rain take care of all your irrigation needs.

Why the Water Source Matters In Organic Farming Irrigation

As an organic farmer seeking to water plants, especially during the dry season, it would be important to consider where you are going to draw water from. You can use water from an onsite-well, rainwater collection or from the local municipal water source. The source of the water, regardless of the one you prefer, should always remain pure and unpolluted. The use of polluted water-even for a short period of time might end up contaminating the crops, something that’s purely against your organic farming goals.




Organic Foods: Benefits

Today, people are now interested in becoming healthy, this is because conventional foods are not healthy! To become healthy, eating organic foods is a major proponent.

What are organic foods? Organic foods are the ones that were grown without the use of pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, sewage sludge-based fertilizers, and bioengineered genes. You may have asked whether organic foods only talks about plant-based foods, but no, livestock is included. However, they should also be grown organically, they must have an access to the outdoors and should be fed with organic feeds.

By the method of how the food is cultivated, it will have a major impact on your health. Conventionally-grown foods contain chemicals, fertilizers,  and preservatives, while organic foods contain nutrients that are beneficial to our body. Below are the specific benefits of organic foods:

ORGANIC FOODS ARE RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS

This is because organic foods were not introduced to fertilizers and other chemicals, it does not contain any toxic chemicals. Fruits and vegetables prevent the development of cancer, vision problems, premature aging, cognitive malfunction, and cancer.

ORGANIC FOODS IMPROVES CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

Conjugated linoleic acid is found in livestock that was not conventionally raised. Conjugated linoleic acid is a fatty acid that is good for the heart and for boosting the cardiovascular strength.

ORGANIC FOODS CAN BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

With the organic foods, the strength of the immune system has significantly increased. It contains high vitamins and mineral content that can strengthen the immune system.

Sadly, conventionally modified or grown foods can result in health conditions.

ORGANIC FOODS ARE MORE DELICIOUS

Some might not agree on this, but most people strongly believe that organic food tastes better because of the sugar and mineral structures in organic foods.

ORGANIC FOODS ARE HIGHLY NUTRITIOUS

Any organic products have high nutritional content, they were fully grown and were provided the best natural environment as it grows.

ORGANIC FOODS PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY

With organic foods, harmful chemicals are out of the picture. Thus, there are no soil, water, and air pollution.

ORGANIC FOODS REDUCES PESTICIDE

Pesticides were used to repel bugs and pesticides on the plants or crops. The consumption of chemical pesticide is associated with cancers, weakened immune system, digestive dysfunctions, headaches, birth defects, and ADHD.

ORGANIC FOODS CAN REDUCE THE RISK OF FOOD-BORNE ILLNESSES

When you choose organic food, it does not undergo the process of concentrated animal feeding operations, where deadly drug-resistant infections were acquired by the animals. Thus, to prevent illnesses, have an organic food.

Many people today have changed to go organic, to ensure that their children and family grow up healthily. Organic foods do not contain strong chemicals,

Finally, I hope you have come to realize that organic food promotes a better overall health, as these are not processed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Let us get healthy, an organic lifestyle leads to a better life.

Organic Foods: Disadvantages? Are There?

Given all the said advantages and benefits of an organic lifestyle, surely, it can make you healthy. But, are there really disadvantages of organic foods? Here are a few notable ones.

EXPENSIVE. ORGANIC FOODS ARE EXPENSIVE.

Why are organic foods expensive? Farmers do not use artificial methods to cultivate their crops and livestock, they need an extra manual labor which causes their costs to increase. Thus, the only way to have a profit is to sell their organic products at a higher price.

People who want to change their diet to complete organic foods should prepare their budget. If it is possible, then change your conventional foods to the organic ones. However, those who are interested in living an organic life that does not have enough budget opt to stay the conventional way.

ORGANIC FOODS ARE HARD TO FIND.

As you go through the food store, you cannot find a lot of organic foods. You have to go to the farmer’s market.

ORGANIC FOODS DO NOT LAST LONG.

Organic foods spoil easily because it does not have preservatives, thus more foods are wasted if not consumed and more frequent buying. You have to buy more than once in a week, thus your grocery budget doubles up.

ORGANIC FOODS NEEDS A LOT OF EFFORT.

Organic foods may have a lot of benefits because of the way they are cultivated. However, it has to go through a lot of effort. Farmers use manure fertilization, the mineral content of this kind of fertilizer is difficult to apply and maintain. Farmers do not use herbicides and pesticides or any chemicals, thus they need an extra labor manual to weed the crops. Farmers use crop rotation to prevent acquiring plant disease and to minimize the damage to the soil composition. More so, the area to cultivate the crops are reduced because of the nitrogen-fixing plants.

Yes, it requires a lot of hard work, and no matter the hard work, it still results in a lower production. It is also an inefficient method for some crops.

ORGANIC FOODS DOES NOT HAVE A STRONG PROMOTION.

Well, yes, organic foods contain more nutrients than the conventional one. But wait, statistics have shown that there is only a few difference between certain nutrients in the conventional foods. But we can let that slide since organic foods really have a strong concentration of nutrients for promotion.

Not to discourage you, but there is no significant difference with the bacterial contamination in organic foods and conventional foods. Did you know that E coli is prevalent in organic crops? There is 7% in organic crops and 6% in the conventional crops, this has to do with the fertilizer.

Just like any other things, organic foods are not perfect at all. But it can be perfect for you! These disadvantages can be easily surpassed, organic foods have numerous advantages. You just have to get a heads up and discipline yourself with the organic lifestyle. Be healthy! Be organic.

Organic Grocery: Tips

We have been talking a lot about the benefits of organic grocery, and yes, organic food is indeed a great choice for our environment and health. Now, we might have noticed that organic foods are expensive, thus, here are some tips on how to maximize your budget in living an organic life.

FIND A TRUSTED FARMER OR MARKET.

It is idealistic to buy both organic and local foods. Look for a trusted farmer or market, if you still have not found any, ask for some referrals from your co-workers, friends, and family. There might be a market or farmer right around your neighborhood.

DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK SOME QUESTIONS.

Most of us are hesitant to ask some questions, but don’t! When you buy directly from a farmer or market, do not be afraid if their products are organic, and ask them what methods they have used. Local farmers and store managers will understand that these issues are important to you.

CHECK AND READ THE LABEL.

When you are in the supermarket looking for some organic foods, check and read its label. Packaged organic foods are sealed and have a mark of a certified organic seal. Stickers are put on vegetables and fruits, this has a Product Look-Up code that identifies how the food was produced. Foods that are produced organically has 5 digits and starts with 9, while conventionally produced foods have 4 digits and start with 3 or 4, and those foods that are genetically modified has 5 digits and starts with 8.

 

BUY ORGANIC FOODS THAT ARE WITHIN YOUR BUDGET.

You may be one of the individuals who limit their foods with their budgeting. For you to be able to purchase quality organic foods, buy them during the season, or in bulk.

YOU HAVE TO BALANCE.

It is not realistic for each person who is under an organic lifestyle to be able to purchase organic foods. Some does not have access to farmers or supermarkets that offer organic products. Do not be stressed out, it is fine to consume plant-based foods for awhile, it can still be beneficial for your health. Just do the best that you can to look and buy the freshest and best quality fruits and vegetables that is within your budget.

JOIN A COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE.

This is an organization that allows people to have an access to a high quality and fresh organic foods that are grown locally by farmers. When you are a member of a community supported agriculture (CSA), you will receive a box of fresh, all organic foods for a fraction that you have paid at the store.

We know that organic food has increased in demand, and you may have wondered if it truly has a beneficial impact on our environment, economy, and health. It is up to you to decide whether you stick with the conventional foods. Discern more, if you cannot purchase everything that is on your list, choose wisely.

Herbs: Health Benefits

Since then spices and herbs have a major contribution to the overall health of our body. It helps in faster wound healing and can be used as a natural supplement, it can strengthen the immune system, and prevent the development of cancer and illnesses.

In the field of culinary, herbs are used to add flavor to the dishes. Now, they are being consumed for its health benefits.

Herbs are plants that have a sweet aroma, flavor and health benefits. There are two categories of herbs, the Chinese herbs, and Medicinal Herbs.

Chinese herbs are those considered to be the most powerful method for treating various illnesses. It is categorized with its taste, spicy herbs are for colds and respiratory problems; sweet herbs are for the spleen, pain, and immunity; bitter herbs are for cardiovascular problems, constipation, and asthma; sour herbs are for the digestive process, and salty herbs are for the kidneys.

Medicinal herbs treat health problems when medicines are not available. When you use them, you have to do an extensive research on what they are for.

Below are the general health benefits:

BOOSTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Nutrient substances like vitamins, phytosterols, antioxidants are abundant in herbs. When used, it will strengthen the immune system to fight against toxins and germs.

An example of the herbs that can boost the immune system is garlic, onion, ginger, cinnamon, goldenseal, hibiscus, and elderberry.

IT HAS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY COMPONENTS

The reason why herbs are perfect for inflammatory problems because the essential oils in the herbs inhibit the enzyme cyclooxygenase.

IT CAN DECREASE THE LEVEL OF CHOLESTEROL AND BLOOD SUGAR

Herbs can work on the functions of the pancreas and can neutralize the sugar level in the blood.

An example of herbs that can stabilize your sugar levels is bilberry, cayenne pepper, and fenugreek.

An example of herbs that can reduce the levels of blood pressure and cholesterol are licorice, psyllium, and fenugreek.

IT CAN PREVENT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

With the health benefits of herbs such as anti-myeloid, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties can prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Gingko herbs are identified to treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

IT CAN PREVENT CANCER

There are herbs that can effectively kill cancer cells, these are phragmites, Scutellaria, oldenlandia, and Taraxacum. It targets the cancer cells found in the breast, liver, gastro, and colon.

As herbs can prevent the development of cancer, it can soothe the side effects and aftermath of chemotherapy.

However, a medical practitioner should be consulted first before selecting a herb as a cure for cancer.

IT CAN MAKE YOUR SKIN BEAUTIFUL

Herbs can assure a radiant and healthy skin with their natural effects. They are used for facial wash and to repair damaged skin.

Herbs can have a lot of health benefits, however, herbal combinations should not be self-medicated. There are countless of herbs around the world, and almost all of the herbs have health benefits, and some combine them. Herbal combinations should consider the aspects and phases of the client.

Best Books for Organic Foods

The list of books being mentioned below is written by some of the most influential authors, through the books they have given us extensive inspiration and knowledge on how to be healthy. I’m in the process of getting my first book published and my first print will be a short run limited edition. I’ll publish a post when it is ready for sale and if you are interested in getting a copy please sign up for our newsletter. It’s been a lot of work, but we are working with a great publisher and book printer called Easy Street Print in NYC. If you are an aspiring author and thinking about getting a book published, check out this printer/publisher we work with. Highly recommended.

 

The Big Book of Organic Baby Food: Baby Purées, Finger Foods, and Toddler Meals for Every Stage

By Stephanie Middleberg MS, RD, CDN

It is difficult to serve a tasty yet nutritious meal, but you do not have to worry about this book, you can make a delicious yet healthy meal! The title may seem to depict a cookbook for babies, but no, it also offers:

  • Chapter divisions by age with recipes, developmental information, and Frequently Asked Questions to keep up with your children.
  • There are more than 100 recipes that introduce new flavors and textures.
  • Recipes that can be shared by the whole family are available too!

 

Paleo for Beginners: Essentials to Get Started

By John Chatham

If you are not familiar with the word ‘paleo’, well it pertains to the diet eaten by early humans, which only consists of fish, fruit, meat, and vegetables. This dietary plan focuses on diets low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and increased energy level. The risk of common health problems is decreased.

The cookbook provides:

  • For beginners, a 7-day step-by-step plan and a Paleo shopping guide are given.
  • An extensive list of foods to avoid and 145 Paleo-friendly foods
  • An easy, mouthwatering recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks!

 

Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourishes the Body

By Kathryne Taylor

The author gives us a guide on how to have a healthy body through real food. The book is designed for everyone! However, it promotes a vegan diet. It offers delicious meatless recipes, the meals are gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free.

 

The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet

By Alona Pulde MD, Matthew Lederman MD, Marah Stets, Brian Wendel, and Darshana Thacker

This is a New York Times bestselling diet book! Well, from the book preview, this is the best. It is backed up by scientific research. The Forks Over Knives can really persuade you to quit eating highly refined foods, meat, and dairy to prevent health conditions. This book contains tasty recipes, 28-day eating guide, and advice.

 

The Vitamix Cookbook: 250 Delicious Whole Food Recipes to Make in Your Blender

By Jodi Berg

This cookbook provides you an idea to include whole foods in your daily diet with the use of a blender and is highly recommended by Terrace Organics. There are 200 easy to prepare recipes that use a blender. The book provides recipes for:

  • Breakfast and brunch
  • Soups and Sides
  • Entrees
  • Sauces and dressings
  • Drinks
  • Desserts

I do hope you get the time to purchase these books and run through them to have an idea of what to prepare for the day! Incorporate these recipes into your diet. Let us live an organic life, eat healthily!

Organic Detox: Tea and Benefits

Along with organic diet and lifestyle, people have been resorting to detox diets. Detox diets can reduce or prevent toxins in the body. Side effects from excessive intake of sugar, alcohol, junk food, and cigarette smoking are prevented by detox.

It depends on you on what detox diet you want, but in general, all detox plan starts with a fasting phase and it will be strictly followed by a diet of fruits, vegetables, and water.

This question might be common, ‘what foods should be consumed when you are on a detox diet?’, well, one should consume:

  • Organic foods or unprocessed foods
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • 2 Liters of water

When you decide to go on a full detox diet, one should avoid

  • Alcohol, cigarette, and caffeine
  • Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Processed or refined foods

Now, let us focus more on herbal detox tea. Most people who find organic detox successful combine their detox tea in their detox diet to make it become more effective.

Detox tea comes with the name ‘skinny tea’, ‘weight loss tea’, and ‘cleansing tea’. These tea are made from steeped roots and herbs immersed in warm water, which can help the kidneys remove toxins and the liver to improve its function.

An example of a natural detox tea and its health benefits are the following:

GREEN TEA

Green tea is the most efficient detox tea—its antioxidant levels are higher than any variant of detox tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that can kill cancer cells. No matter what form the green tea is consumed, it is healthy, thus, when looking for green tea in the supermarket or farm make sure it is organically produced.

Green tea extracts can be boring, add a little flavor by mixing it with a fruit juice or making a smoothie with the green tea.

DANDELION TEA

This tea comes from the leaves and roots of a dandelion plant. Dandelion tea contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D with a minimum amount of potassium, magnesium, and zinc. The antioxidant anti-inflammatory properties of this tea aids to be a detoxifying agent for the liver that can improve the flow of bile. Weight loss is promoted by this tea as it has a laxative effect, and it can replenish the loss of electrolytes because it contains a high potassium level.

MILK THISTLE TEA

Sylmarin is a combination of three flavonoids, it compromises 80 percent of the content of this tea. It aids in the repair and protection of the liver cells and reduces liver inflammation. Thus, if you want a detox tea that can aid the function of your liver, consume milk thistle tea on a daily basis. Other than its benefits for the liver, it can treat disorders of the gallbladder. It can maintain the cholesterol and diabetes level of a patient.

This detox plan can be tough because you have to cut off some certain foods and drinks in your diet, but have a more healthy outlook on life.

ORGANIC LIFESTYLE: Introduction

You may be wondering on how to live life in an organic and natural way, you might have been convinced by someone that having an organic lifestyle does not only improve your health but the overall quality of your life.

To live with an organic lifestyle, one does not only choose to eat organic foods, wear clothes that come from organic materials, and use organic facial and body supplies. These methods can remove the waste and toxins in your body, but there is more than just using organic products.

What gives people the motivation to change their lifestyle is their concern for the environment, pollution, the unnatural food sources, and health problems. Living an organic lifestyle basically includes conserving energy, cutting off waste to protect the environment. It is a lifestyle that regards choices that can benefit your health and the community.

Switching to an organic lifestyle is not an overnight change, this can take a while. But do not worry! It is fine to take one step at a time.

Start an organic lifestyle now, follow our blog for more relevant information.

Difficult to Serve a Tasty Yet Nutritious Meal

Difficult to Serve a Tasty Yet Nutritious Meal