The Organic Method

 

There is nothing mysterious or magical about organic gardening. It is simply a way of working with nature rather than against it. The objective is to recycle organic matter back into the soil, to maintain soil structure and fertility, and to encourage natural methods of pest and disease control, rather than relying on chemicals. It is, in fact, a lot less mysterious than the methods employed by the chemical grower.

Organic gardening is much more than just growing plants without chemical fertilizers and artificial sprays. It is a lifestyle. It recognizes that that the complex workings of nature have been successful at maintaining life for hundreds of millions of years, so the sound organic cultivating principals closely follow those found in the natural world. Do not be fooled into thinking that these principals will have a detrimental effect on yield and quality. In fact, you are likely to increase both, and in doing so, you will be providing an alternative habitat for wildlife, while being certain that the fruits and vegetables you have produced in your garden are safe, nutritious, and chemical free. You will also be reducing the possibility of the harmful side effects from pesticides that are on the increase in infants and developing young adults.

Of the approximately 50,000 home pesticide poisonings each year, 17,000 are among children under the age of 4. Pesticides can remain active for years. They are poisonous and designed to kill.

The organic gardener uses a more constructive approach based on the awareness that there is a balance in the natural world which allows all species to co-exist without any one species gaining dominance. By growing a wide diversity of plants, the organic gardener will attract and build a miniature eco-system of pests and predators so that, provided the balance isn’t upset by killing them with chemicals, no species will be allowed to build up to an unacceptable level.

The soil is teaming with millions of microorganisms which, in the course of their lives, will release those nutrients required for healthy plant growth from organic matter. So, rather than feeding plants, the organic method is to feed the soil with natural materials and allow the plants to draw on that reservoir of nutrients as they need them. Plants grown this way will be stronger and more able to resist attacks by pests and diseases. Dr. Earth® Pro-Biotic™ is built on this sound principle. It works and lasts for years, as it becomes a part of the living soil.

The Chemical Method
The purely chemical gardener uses soil simply as a means of anchoring plant roots and of holding artificial fertilizers to provide plant nutrients. This approach seems to have good results, but only in the short term.

In the long term, it has disastrous consequences. Because organic matter is not replaced, the soil organisms die out. Without them, the soil structure breaks down and the soil becomes hard, airless and unproductive. Attempts at “force-feeding” plants result in soft, sappy growth, which is prone to attack by a host of pests and diseases.

When a plant is forced to grow with a high NPK chemical fertilizer, it becomes weak. As plant cell walls are developing, they do not have enough time to produce two important compounds, cellulose and lignins. These substances give the cell wall its structural integrity. As cells are forced to duplicate and grow quickly, the amount of cellulose and lignins is decreased, making the plant tissues much softer and more appealing for pests to attack. Think of it this way; it is the difference between a human chewing on a piece of butter lettuce and chewing on a piece of wood. The same is true for insects. They prefer that tender soft growth.

In order to control insects, chemical pesticides are used, often with short term success. But, in killing the pests, pesticides also kill their natural predators. Eventually, the problem gets worse. Stronger and more poisonous pesticides have to be resorted to, and so it goes on. It is a vicious cycle that, once started, is difficult to break.

We at Dr. Earth® will help you to grow all plants and control insects naturally, without the harmful side effects of chemical products. This is our lifestyle and contribution to all gardeners and our environment.

The Living Soil

 

Some 450 million years ago, plants first spread out over the land. As slow colonization progressed, an interaction began between the underlying rock and the remains of plants. Soil, in all its various forms, was gradually being produced and eventually became the land form upon which all life on Earth ultimately depends.
The ability of animals to move allows them freedom to choose favorable habitats, even under changing conditions. A plant, on the other hand, is usually in one place for life, its root system hidden, and its destiny dependent on the soil for anchorage, nutrients and moisture.

Plants are highly resilient and can survive in very marginal conditions, actually growing out of rock and even brickwork, and they are certainly capable of living in very poor soil. Many plants grow on other plants. These are known as epiphytes and are usually found high up in trees in tropical rain forests.

The important thing to remember about your own garden is that you are pretty much stuck with whatever you have in the way of garden soil. You cannot completely dig it out and replace it, so you must get to know it, if you are to cultivate it successfully. You need to understand its texture and whether it consists of heavy clay or light, sandy soil. You need to find out its pH in order to ascertain how acidic or how alkaline it is. Then you are in a position to choose the plant material that is most suited to that environment.

Different kinds of soil are found in different regions of the world. The ground-down particles of rock form the underlying basis of the soil—sand, silt, clay or loam, the most ideal—to which organic elements are added from the decomposed remains of plants and animals.

In a country like the United States, which has been cultivated for hundreds of years, the soil is made up of not only the underlying geological strata, but also of the products of years of farming. As a result, the soils are many and varied. Clays, sands, and loams all give color and texture to the patchwork of fields once typical of the countryside.

Deep, dark, rich soils are particularly good at supporting crops such as vegetables and grasses. The dead organic remains from previous crops retain moisture, feed biological life and ensure good soil structure. Other edible crops prefer lighter, more free-draining soils with rather higher levels of mineral nutrients. The good news is that you can always improve the structure of your soil by amending it with the appropriate materials to achieve the desired structure for the plants you are growing.

In our gardens, soils are even more varied than those under the plow. Most of them are able to support a colorful range of handsome plants. Even those from the most remote or exotic parts of the world seem to find an agreeable climate somewhere in our gardens. However, in order to grow a wide range of healthy plants, you need to know what your soil is composed of, and if necessary, how to improve it.

Homegrown Medicine

By Milo Lou Shammas, Founder and Formulator

The healing power of herbs
Mankind’s history of using herbal medicines far predates modern medical doctors. For thousands of years, the use of herbs for healing was common practice. Asians were the best documenters of herbal medicine. Throughout history, populations from the Near East (Lebanese and Phoenicians) to the Far East (Chinese) have used herbs for healing and health maintenance.

The experiences of billions of people across the Earth, over centuries, provide better proof of the efficacy of herbs than clinical studies involving a few thousands ever could. Even today, herbal healing is the primary medicine for up to 80 percent of the world population. Amazingly, cultures existing at different times in history, and in different geographical locations, have prescribed some of the same herbal cures for the same ailments.
Together with nutrient rich organic foods and supplements, herbs can help keep us healthy in our busy 21st century lives. Modern medicine has provided some advantages over ancient herbal medicine, yet all a person needs to do is to read the fine print and the contraindication sheet that comes with every prescription drug. Remember this: pharmaceutical drugs have only been around for about a hundred years. Know that the body does not have drug deficiencies, yet it does develop many nutritional ones.

Herbs are all about helping to balance the body, building defenses and adapting to stress. We crave the exotic and unusual while we frequently overlook valuable healing remedies that are right in our own backyards.

Ordinary home grown cures
You can grow your herbs and healing plants in a pot on the patio, in a raised bed, or anywhere in the in the garden. Herbs have few insect pests so it’s easy to grow them without chemical sprays. If ”you are what you eat,” you definitely want to eat healthy herbs grown in rich soil fed with micronutrient rich Dr. Earth® fertilizer.

Look at this way:
1. Feed the soil the vitamins
2. The plants absorb the nutrients
3. You consume the healthy plants

It’s that simple!
Aloe Vera I consider this plant the fountain of youth. Ancients revered it as the plant of immortality. I drink its juice every morning. I use it on my face and neck after I shave. Aloe improves digestion, immunity, supports insulin sensitivity, and helps the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Fillet the center pulp and eat it pure.

Basil is a large family of plants. It’s soothing to the stomach, mildly sedative, aromatic, soothing, functions as an expectorant, helps nausea and motion sickness, and relieves nervousness.

Burdock has a long and storied history as a blood cleanser, can boost immune function, stimulates digestion and the liver, and can work wonders for virtually all skin conditions.

Catnip aids indigestion, restlessness, and sleeplessness, is mildly calming, and reduces fever.
Cayenne is warming to the heart, aids blood circulation, the nervous system and mucous membranes, and quickens the pulse and metabolism. Topically, it helps relieve joint pain.

Cilantro helps to eliminate the buildup of the heavy metals mercury and lead in the bones and body tissues.

Dandelion has a long history of use as a medicine and nutritious food. I drink about six fluid ounces every morning with my green juice. It stimulates digestion and the liver, supports the kidneys, and is a mild diuretic. Do not use a weed killer on your lawn. Instead, pick those dandelions and eat them!

Fennel is a liver and bile stimulant and enhances production of breast milk. Use it to prevent indigestion, flatulence, and fullness after meals. It relives coughs and colds and offers gallbladder and digestive support.

Garlic I can knock-down a cold within 24 hours after I make my famous garlic and onion soup with fresh-squeezed lemon and a dash of cayenne. It stimulates the metabolism, has antiseptic qualities, reduces cholesterol, inhibits platelet aggregation (”thins the blood”), prevents heart disease and reduces high blood pressure.

Lavender is a pleasant, aromatic, mild sedative, nerve tonic, and anti-depressant. It is an aid against anxiety, worry, depression, sleeplessness, nervous stomach, nausea, and motion sickness. Make sure it receives full sun all day.

Mint will thrive in shady or sunny areas. I love it in my juice. I drink about an ounce daily and I chop some to sprinkle on my tabouleh salad. My grandfather Nicholas Shammas used to swear that it could cure a hangover, along with a shot of ouzo: a Greek Orthodox remedy! I like it in my tea when I have an upset stomach. It really works. My mom, Jeannette, gave it to the entire family when we got sick.

Mustard Greens increase blood circulation in the areas where a body dressing is applied. Increased blood flow to inflamed areas will quicken the natural healing process. Mustard greens are also used for pneumonia, bronchitis, and excessive buildup of phlegm due to colds or flu.

Oregano stimulates sluggish circulation and helps to treat cold and flu symptoms. Topically, it aids achy joints and muscles.

Parsley has many nutritional benefits. I drink a couple of ounces in my green juice every morning. It is a very healthy source of chlorophyll, B vitamins and potassium, with broad healing activity. It is also a strengthening diuretic and specific for liver, kidney and bladder problems as well as an effective gallstone dissolving agent, digestive aid, blood tonic, immune enhancer, and supports the nervous system.

Sorrel has high levels of vitamins A and C. It also has moderate levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Learn to love it in small doses in the beginning. It has natural laxative properties that make consuming too much sorrel a trial for the tummy.

Stevia has many health benefits. It provides a natural, good-tasting sweetener for people who are diabetic and for people who want to lose or control their weight. Also, some studies have shown that it contains substances that inhibit tooth decay and plaque formation. It increases mental alertness, decreases fatigue, improves digestion, regulates blood pressure, and eases hypoglycemia.

Tarragon is considered a friend to the head, heart and liver. Russian Tarragon is eaten in Persia to induce appetite. The root of tarragon was formerly used to cure toothaches.

Thyme is commonly used as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic, and carminative (helps with gas). Employed with success as a safe cure for whooping cough, as well as in cases of catarrh (thick mucus) and sore throat, thyme tea will also arrest gastric fermentation. It is useful in cases of wind spasms and colic, and will assist in promoting perspiration at the commencement of a cold or in fever.

All of these plants are easy to grow as long as you give them the basics of sun and healthy garden soil. Don’t look at your herbs as only being decorative; use them often and don’t be timid. You can’t really make a mistake in cooking with herbs. Combine them in your foods to replace salt.

Use Dr. Earth® organic fertilizer to feed the soil with plenty of micronutrients that will feed your herbs, which will ultimately help to nourish and cleanse your body. Nutrients are needed for the human body to stay alive. Take action to feel better and set yourself on the path to wellness. Health is a lifestyle. Strive to be your best!

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe any cures for medical conditions.

Farm to Fork

 

”The nutrition that your fruits and vegetables provide you is only as good as the nutrition you provide your soil.” I said this publically on July 17, 1992, at a community garden in Los Angeles. This statement is more important today than it was then, and it will be even more important in another 20 years.

You are what you eat
Our politicians and leaders of the agribusiness and food industries assure us that the American food supply is the highest quality and the most nutritious in the world, that we Americans enjoy the greatest food choices, and that our food is also the cheapest and most convenient. Let’s analyze this.

Our fruits and vegetables are bred not for flavor, but to fit the requirements of a uniform maturity date and adaption to mechanical harvest. They are harvested well before peak ripeness to better withstand transport, an average of 1500 miles to the consumer. Petro-chemicals, Insecticides, and fungicides trick our senses and mask the basic insipidity of mediocre ingredients. The stark contrast between the supermarket tomato and the home garden tomato is proverbial. But have you tried a supermarket egg side by side with a free-range egg? Have you eaten naturally soured cream from a farm cow, so thick you have to spoon it? Have you found anything that comes close among the pseudo-foods on display in the refrigerated supermarket case? If we think our food supply is top culinary quality, it is either because we have not been exposed to real, traditional foods, or because we are simply not paying attention.

Home Grown Nutrition
The national diet has actually been declining in nutrition for decades. It is produced in soils of dwindling fertility, and processed to the last degree, laced with food additives and a residue of crop pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics. If ”we are what we eat,” our soaring incidence of degenerative disease should come as no surprise. What we should find particularly disturbing is the growing incidence among children of allergies, attention deficit and behavior disorders, obesity, and most shockingly, degenerative conditions that we once thought of as illnesses of age, such as heart disease, cancer and adult-onset diabetes.

It is true that we enjoy enormous food choices, but those ”choices” are largely an illusion. How many people do you know would choose to eat chicken that had soaked in feces? Yet that is chicken from high-speed processing plants utilizing robotic kill lines, i.e., most chicken being offered at the supermarket, fast-food restaurants, and in frozen TV dinners. Would you prefer not to consume powdered milk, based on your reading about its dangers? Its addition to skim and nonfat milk is industry standard, meaning everybody does it, but FDA regulations do not require inclusion of ”powdered milk” on the label because, it is industry standard, that is, everybody does it!

More and more processed foods on offer in the supermarket are not foods in the traditional sense at all, but imitations whipped up from an extremely narrow ingredients base, many of which have never before been eaten in the evolution of our species. Truly, we have devised a massive laboratory experiment, and we are the guinea pigs. Consider, for example, a package label which tells us the enclosed ”food”’ is 98 percent ”water, corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and high fructose corn syrup.” (The remaining 2 percent of ingredients is the usual incomprehensible list of additives.) What is the food that is being labeled here? It’s impossible to say, isn’t it? None of us has ever sat at a meal and asked, ”Would you pass the hydrogenated vegetable oil and high fructose corn syrup, please” and indeed, we would not recognize either ingredient if passed. Reading the label, none of us has a clue what this ”food” would look like or how we might use it in a meal. Furthermore, however limited our knowledge of biochemistry, isn’t it clear there is absolutely no nutritional value in the contents of that container, other than sheer raw calories (fats and sugars) to burn in the body’s cells, or convert to fat?

Study and Read the Label
Become a student of supermarket labels. You will find plenty of other foods with the same, or close to the same, base of highly processed ingredients. “Well, at least our food is cheap,” we might observe. It is true that Americans spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than almost any other national population. However, ”cheap” turns out to be an illusion as well, when we consider that food is cheap because the true costs of production are ”externalized” in terms of environmental pollution, subsidizing of long-distance transport of food, and severe economic exploitation of farmers and agricultural workers. And our ”cheap food” turns out to be expensive indeed if, as seems likely, it is implicated in the growing incidence of diet-related illnesses.

So in the end, it seems that truly the only positive thing our food supply has to offer is convenience. That is, the industry offers us not deeply satisfying, nutritious, and wholesome food, but relief from the ”drudgery” of food preparation, the opportunity to ”fuel the machine” with the lowest expenditure of time in our busy, high-speed, mobile lives.

The Alternatives
If we cannot hope to buy better food in the supermarket, what alternatives are open to us? There are two. For many of us, the opportunity exists to produce at least some of our food in our own back yards, probably more than we might at first think possible. And we should buy food grown by local farmers on small organic farms, that is, directly from the producer who is personally known to us.

Now, in those terms, taking together foods which you raise in your own backyard and those you buy from a known producer, you have at least made a start on a healthy lifestyle. If all the food on your table is from the industrial food system, please begin thinking of ways you might introduce some food production into your backyard (or even back deck), or where you might find local sources for wholesome foods. If you’ve already made a start, what is the percentage of your food that comes from one of these sources? Twenty-five percent? Fifty percent?

Every year, you should increase the amount of food on your table which you raise yourself or purchased from local growers. Despite a heavy work schedule and a long commute, it is worth the effort. Fresh organic foods are the cornerstone for living a healthy life. If you like meat, buy it from a sustainable organic source. Grass fed beef is absolutely wonderful. Free-range chicken simply is much better for you.

Remember the relationship between the health of your garden soil and the health of your family. That is, if the soil is nutritious, so will be the crop that is grown in it. Dr. Earth® organic fertilizer feeds the soil that feeds your family.

Botany 101

 

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of introducing countless numbers of people to plant science. My desire to relate the wonders of plant biology, and its relationship to our daily lives, inspired me to write this article.

The science of botany is divided into various disciplines, each having its specialties. Among them, cytology (Greek: kytos, meaning “container”) is the detailed study of cells. Study of the form and structure of plants is the work of morphologists (Greek: morphe, meaning “form”). Most gardeners are more familiar with morphology than with cytology. Basic understanding of how plants function makes gardening more enjoyable. It also makes us better gardeners.

Let’s examine the fascinating world of plant biology: plant cell formation, plant form and structure, and how plants function.

Plant benefits to humans and other life
Earth is covered with a green blanket of vegetation, and because of the diversity of Earth’s plants, other forms of life are sustainable. From the very beginning, plants evolved first among our planet’s living things. Plants, in one form or another, can exist without animals, but animals cannot exist without plants.

Since the birth of cells, millions of years ago, plants have been inextricably linked in an unbroken chain of life. Plants created the biosphere, the part of earth where both plants and animals exist. Humans and animals have depended on plants for survival from the very beginning of their existence. We have evolved from primitive beings to a modern, sophisticated civilization, through knowledge from one generation to another. Plants even made it possible for mankind to express, preserve, and pass along ideas, music, mathematical equations, and scientific findings, and more, because they could be written down on paper, which is made from plant material. Plants provide material for clothing, homes, furniture, and more, and medicines come from plants. In these ways and more, plants have improved mankind’s quality of life and longevity.

Plants clean the air; they exchange the oxygen that we inhale with the carbon dioxide we exhale. They photosynthesize energy into foods that sustain all animals, and from the soil, draw micronutrients, minerals, nitrogen, phosphors, potassium, calcium, and iron that are crucial for our existence and health.

Form and Structure
There are approximately 400,000 different kinds of plants called species, present in diverse forms. One-third of all plants do not have roots, stems, or leaves as we know them. About 150,000 plant species never produce flowers, and almost an equal number do not grow from seeds, but rather from dust-like particles called spores. Although the vast majority of plants manufacture their own foods by a process called photosynthesis, mushrooms, molds and other fungi—which some biologists include in the plant kingdom—rely on foods created by green plants, for their sustenance, as do animals. Most plants spend a lifetime anchored in one place; yet simple single-celled organisms called plankton are capable of swimming to different locations in the waters they inhabit.

Angiosperms and Gymnosperms
As we further discuss the science of botany, let’s focus on the two groups of plants that we as gardeners are most familiar with. First, the flowering plants, or angiosperms, is the largest group in the plant kingdom and consists of about 250,000 species. The name ”angiosperm” (Greek: angeion, meaning “vessel” and sperma, meaning “seed”) comes from the fact that seeds from these plants are formed inside containers (or vessels) that we know as “fruits.” These flowering plants are the ones that most often decorate our homes and landscapes, supply almost all of the vegetable matter in our diet, and are the source of the world’s hardwoods. They are the most sophisticated of plant forms and are best adapted to survive in a wide range of climates and places.

Second are gymnosperms, plants that produce seeds in the open spaces of cones. (For example: between the flap-like parts that make up a pine cone.) The Greek words gymnos, ”naked” and sperma, meaning ”seed” describe this form of development. Now you know where the term ”gymnasium” comes from. The ancient Greek gods used to develop their Adonis-like bodies in the nude, hence the prefix ”gym.” Gymnosperms include all the conifers, like cedar, redwood, juniper, cypress, fir and pine, and the largest living things on earth: the giant sequoias. Many ornamental shrubs—such as varieties of Chamaecyparis (False Cypress) and Thuja occidentalis (American Arborvitae)—are members of this group. So are less typical examples of gymnosperms, the Cycads, the beautiful maidenhair tree, and Ginkgo biloba, a broadleaved species.

Living Cells
How can we be so sure that the potted rose bush is living, but a petal of the same rose from the same plant, that was pressed and dried last year, is unquestionably dead? From all appearances, a seed also seems dead.
But when the pedal was a part of a living plant, its cells were actively engaged in a complicated chain of chemical reactions, grouped together under the term ”metabolism.” We can be quite sure that, as long as a cell or a whole creature is alive, it is going to display some sort of metabolic activity. When their chemistry irreversibly stops, cells die.

How plants function
Limits of plant growth are proportional to the availability of light, water, minerals, and oxygen. Lifespan is genetically determined, generally one year for annuals, two for biennials, and an indefinite period for perennials. You will also notice the term ”indeterminate” used on tomato plants. This refers to their growths habits. They will continue to grow until environmental conditions, such as cold weather, become a limiting factor.
With plenty of Dr. Earth® fertilizer, careful watering schedules, optimum sun energy, and proper thinning (the removal of plants that may compete for available nutrients and light) a plant can be pushed to the limits of leaf and flower production.

A plant is anchored in one place throughout its life. Half of its body—its root system—is buried in the dark, damp, and somewhat stuffy recesses of the soil. This is where half of the magic happens.

In contrast, shoot systems, consisting of stems and leaves, occupy a sunlit and airy world; this is where the other half of the growth magic occurs. Roots and shoots are frequently thought of as different entities, growing in opposite directions. To a plant, they are parts of the whole body that must be as well coordinated as are torso and legs during the course of human growth and the varied activities humans undertake. Root growth and shoot growth are harmonized events, one complementing the other, with energy reserves and raw materials shared equally by to the two halves. And when daily or seasonal environmental changes affect one part, the other must respond in sympathy. Fulfillment of the fundamental qualities of living things, such as reproduction, cellular metabolism, and growth, can only be achieved by such precisely controlled interactions between roots, stems, leaves and flowers.

The Organic Lifestyle

 

We are what we eat
There is a huge and growing interest in eating more of the foods that nourish and protect the mind, body, and soul. However, while many of us want to eat healthy, we don’t always know the best way to go about it. We may buy low-sugar foods with high salt content or low-fat foods that are high in sugar, in the mistaken belief that we are making healthy choices.

One of the first steps on the path to your own good health, and a healthy world, is choosing organic food. It is the cornerstone of organic living. Organic food is better for the planet, better for the farmer and his livestock, and almost certainly better for you, too. The basis of good nutrition is eating a varied and balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. But by choosing organic foods, you get the extra benefit of avoiding the added colorings, flavorings, preservatives, antioxidants, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and artificial sweeteners that are found in processed foods, as well as the residues of agricultural pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. As an added bonus, you may even be consuming higher levels of nutrients.

It is a matter of common sense that food grown in rich, naturally fertilized soil will offer the optimum levels of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and the beneficial phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that help to protect us against heart disease and cancer. Whether or not organic produce contains more nutrients, the benefits of not ingesting unwanted chemicals are clear.

It has never been easier to buy organic produce and meats. Many supermarkets stock them. There is a Whole Foods market in just about every major city across the country, along with other stores dedicated to selling organic foods. Personally, I find that organic fruits and vegetables simply taste better. I grow as much as I possibly can. Once you have tried them, there will be no going back.

Why eating organic helps
Even if you are making a real effort to stick to a balanced, healthy diet, the nutrient content of many non-organic foods is known to be less in practice than it is in theory. Produce that has been grown in poor soil, picked before it is ripe, and then kept in cold storage for long periods loses much of its nutritional value, as do highly processed, pre-packaged convenience foods.

It is my belief that you will increase your nutrient intake by switching to organic produce whenever possible. Fresh organic produce grown in good organic soil is likely to have higher vitamin and mineral content than its nonorganic counterpart, and so it will help build healthier bodies and stronger immune systems. By the same reasoning, there is every probability that eggs, dairy products, meat and poultry from animals reared on organic feed or pasture will be nutritionally richer.

These products are also known to be free of residues from antibiotics that conventional farmers routinely feed to animals, to promote growth. There is considerable concern that our consumption of animal antibiotics may lead to resistant strains of bacteria in people and consequently reduce the effectiveness of our bodies’ own defense mechanisms.

Grow as many organic fruits and vegetables as you possibly can. If you are limited on space, grow in containers. If you are lucky enough to own land, grow everything you consume, even raising your own meat if you are able. What you can’t grow, you can buy from a good organic market such as Whole Foods. Take care of your family and yourself. To live a long healthy life free of ailments, eat as much organic food as possible. We at Dr. Earth® will help you grow everything you desire while keeping your family and home free of harmful fertilizers and pesticides.

Live well, and remember that healthy soil produces healthy food for a healthy you!
Happy and healthy gardening,

Probiotic™: Connecting the soil to your life

 

Imagine a baby being born late in the night. The first screams of life fill the hallways of a cold and sterile hospital. The walls are painted white and stainless steel and plastics fill the room. The smell of disinfectants saturates the air, that unmistakable scent of a hospital. The medical team wears plastic gloves and face guards; everything must be of an antibiotic nature, sterile, to prevent any contamination to the child.

The doctor looks at the young mother and says, “It’s a healthy boy. What are you going to name him?”
“Joseph,” she says.

The doctor replies, “What a beautiful name,” and hands her Joseph for the very first time. The doctor says he is in great health. Then he adds, “Let’s start his life out right. Please breast feed Joseph.”

The mother instinctively knows what to do; no lesson is needed. She knows what her baby needs and she provides that “first sip of life” for her precious child. In this cold and sterile environment, full of antibiotics, full of sterilizers, the doctor knows that the child will need to be inoculated by his mother.

You see, mother’s milk is more than just milk that contains protein or calcium; it is loaded with lactobacillus acidophilus. This is our first inoculant. We are administered probiotics upon entry into this world. A coincidence? Is it simply a part of our evolutionary success or God’s plan? It does not matter what you believe. This I do know: it is needed to sustain health from the very start of our life.

Now Joseph is eight months old. He is an explorer by nature. He crawls from the kitchen to the living room several times a day. His older siblings play outside, and they come in and out of the house 20 times a day. The floor is full of soil and other organic debris they bring in on their shoes. Joseph wants to explore and keeps crawling, and he also loves to put his hands in his mouth as most babies do. All of us tend to put our hands and many foreign objects in our mouths.

Why is this? Is it an accident? Or is it by greater design, because it is needed to sustain our life? You see, every time Joseph puts his hands in his mouth after crawling, he ingests a wide variety of microbes that are ubiquitous in garden soils and around our homes. Joseph, not knowing what he is doing, is simply inoculating his stomach with probiotics which are needed to protect him as he develops into a mature, healthy adult. As Joseph grows, he will be able—with the help of probiotics— to fight off disease, because a variety of beneficial microorganisms exist in his mouth and digestive system. A sterile environment is the farthest thing from what we humans need to sustain life on this wonderfully bio-diverse planet.

Joseph is now 14 years old. He has been given the job of weeding the garden in preparation for the family’s vegetable patch. It is early spring. The soil is warm and so is the weather. Around lunch time, his mother brings him a sandwich along with a bag of potato chips and a juice. Like most teenagers, Joseph does not wash his hands and eats his sandwich quickly with soil under his fingernails and all over his hands. He freely eats the chips out of the bag, licking his fingers to taste every bit of salt that he might have missed. Unknowingly, he has further inoculated his body, once again, with more probiotics. This is the most natural thing. All kids do it, and need it, to build a bio-diverse set of micro flora in their intestines.

Soil, plants, animals, and our living bodies all come into contact with thousands, even millions, of microbes daily. Just as Joseph needs microbes to keep him healthy, so does the living soil. Probiotic microbes in the soil keep it healthy and alive. Probiotics break down the organic material that we add to the soil in the form of organic amendments, or fertilizers, just as they also break down a fallen tree branch or earthworms that have died and begun to decompose. The microbes are doing their job, breaking down organic materials so all life on our planet can benefit from their hard work. Energy is harnessed by and from microbes to further perpetuate life.

All living things, from plants to mammals, need microbes for basic survival and energy. Without the digestive enzymes that microbes produce, much of the needed nutrients that we consume would never be assimilated by our bodies and would simply pass through our gut without any benefit, without their energy being absorbed for growth and health. Similarly, the microbes prepare bio-available nutrients in the soil for absorption by plants. If nutrients are in an unavailable form, locked up by Mother Nature, then our plants would not grow either.

Life is about energy exchange, and probiotics facilitate that exchange. They share their energy with all life that is higher on the food chain. In order for us to live a full life, abundant with energy, we need to create an environment that is healthy and full of bio-diversity. I ingest a probiotic blend of microbes every day with my green juice, and I know it keeps me healthy and provides me the ability to fight off diseases and absorb the nutrients from the food I consume daily.

I also know for sure that my backyard needs probiotics as much as I do, to keep it healthy and alive. I do not use “sterile” chemical fertilizers, insecticides, or herbicides that are designed to kill all life. I take a proactive method in my garden, like the one Joseph took throughout his life, like the one we have all taken throughout our lives.

I have great faith in 2011 as being the year of “life,” a year of probiotics, and I hope that we consumers are shying away from chemicals in our diets, homes, and gardens. All of these chemical potions that we are exposed to are “anti” life, but they are sold to us with misleading pictures that suggest they are “pro” life, images of beautiful green gardens that seem safe for us to grow in and play.

The freedom to play in a natural garden, without fear of chemical contamination, should be everyone’s right. Now, opportunities to fill your life with clean and healthy choices are here. I have based my entire company on products formulated with life as the base of my beliefs. I invented Pro-Biotic™ organic lawn and garden products in 1992, way before many people had even used the word. Please join me in creating a healthy life in your garden, where all kids, pets and adults can feel great playing. Our gardens nurture us. Remember: Pro-Biotic® literally means for-life!