Rain, rain…please come again TODAY!

I’m sure it is no surprise to read this post if you live in the AL or surrounding areas that we are desperate for rain!  My garden looks sad, except for my tomatoes surprisingly.  They have continued to grow and produce, especially my tomatillo plant.  It must really like dry weather!   I am now watering my plants once a week with tap water in buckets just so they won’t die.  And, a little tip I gathered from a much more experienced organic gardener…fill your buckets with tap water and leave them sitting out in the sun for 2-3 days.  Fill several buckets so you’ll have plenty to use later on.  The heat from the sun will help kill anything in the water you might not want added to your plants.  By the way, this whole idea has really gotten me thinking about what IS in our water if this person would find this necessary.  I drink tap water all the time and don’t usually give it a second thought, but this has gotten me thinking if I need to start buying distilled or filtered water, or filtering my own water.  Will probably do some more research on this thought.

Since my last post, I picked three more Cherokee Purple tomatoes and four Sungold tomatoes.  The Sungold’s turned out to be very small!  I was not expecting that, so if this is not normal, please someone let me know.  I ate the Sungold’s tonight and they were not anything super impressive.  I am growing a lot of different varieties of tomatoes this year to experiment with what I like and what I don’t, so I don’t know if this will be one that I’ll try again next year.  The Cherokee Purple on the other hand have been delicious!  So  juicy and sweet!  They do, however, have a very thin skin and I have had trouble with the skin splitting during growth, thus ruining the tomato at harvesting time.  Out of the last three that I picked, two of them had split open.  As I picked them, I had to squeeze them a bit to get them off of the vine, and as I did, juice came out of the cracks and ants came out with it!  Not pretty.  Apparently raccoons and ants thoroughly enjoy my tomatoes!  Any tips?

I also discovered a few days ago that my once healthy zucchini, squash and cucumber plants have been infested with stink bugs, squash bugs and aphids.  They had laid eggs all over the leaves too.  I thought about trying some more companion planting ideas, but I knew that wasn’t going to fix what damage had already been done, so I needed to act quickly before these bugs totally destroyed my plants.  I felt like somewhere around here would sell organic insecticide, so I first checked Home Depot and found two things.  One didn’t appeal to me at all and really didn’t even look like it was natural.  I settled on, I believe the brand was, EcoSolutions Insecticide.  It consists of herbal oils and white mineral oil to kill the insects.  It has to be sprayed early morning or late evening to work, so I left it with my mom-in-law to do for me.  She sprayed it the next morning and said the bugs were already scattering.  Now, time will tell if this works or not, but I’ll let you know if it does.  I thought I would give it a few days to see.

On a separate note, I was watching “Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution” tonight on ABC and thought it was worth mentioning here.  He was kicked out of a school district for questioning the food they were serving in their cafeterias.  The superintendent was basically, in my opinion, too lazy to consider that there could even be healthier options for the students at an affordable price.  Yes, probably a little more expensive than what they currently serve, but my theory is “pay now, or pay later”.  What got me started on this whole organic kick, and now, learning about all things natural, was my child and her health.  I am responsible for what goes into her body at this stage in her life.  I am creating habits for her life now and what kinds of foods she will choose for herself later in life.  (I am proud to say that when we go out to restaurants, my daughter almost always chooses broccoli or pineapple or applesauce over the greasy, fried options.)  As she grows and will go to public school, I worry about what choices will be offered to her because before I stayed home with her, I was a public school teacher.  I know the school systems think they are offering “healthier choices”, but where did that healthier choice come from?  The milk has most likely been treated with hormones, the veggies were probably treated with chemicals as they were being grown and the meat is most likely grown with the use of growth hormones, processed and filled with all kinds of additives and preservatives.  She’ll probably be one of those kids who nearly every day comes to school with a lunch box, and I’m ok with that.  Hopefully she will be too.  It made me sad to see tonight on this show that someone who is actively trying to make a difference one school at a time is being shut down.  I’ve seen enough of this show to know that what he is doing is only for the good of the health of young people.  He not only pushes healthier eating, but teaches students about the dangers of what can happen to you long-term from eating bad-for-you foods.  It is an education program.  Again, I say, the powers-that-be and the financial ties to companies who provide items for us that are BAD control our country and decisions that are made for ALL OF US.  If I can encourage anything at all through this blog, it would be to KNOW where your food comes from and what is in it and THINK before you buy, read labels and pay the little bit extra for what’s better for you…when you’re 60, you’ll be glad you did!  Small changes can make big impacts on our world and our personal health.

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