Gardening Basics

Gardening Basics

To succeed at gardening, you must understand your natural surroundings. Learn the usual dates of the first hard frost and the springtime thaw in your area. What you can plant and harvest depends on when your specific planting and growing season begins and ends and how long it lasts. Also, you must know where the sun rises and sets in relation to your planting beds. For example, you need to know how many hours of direct sunlight your plants can receive and where the shadows, if any, fall in the afternoon.

Next, you must attune yourself to the annual and seasonal weather patterns in your area. Gardeners love a comprehensive weather report (rain, wind, high and low pressure and temperature extremes) because it helps them plan their activities. Note when seeds germinate and when insects (and which ones) begin to appear. Invest in good quality soil and air thermometers to give yourself an edge in living with the elements.

Gardening Basics is a nine part series outlining how you can get a healthy and beautiful garden the organic and natural way

100 plants you can grow and eat

100 Plants you can Grow and Eat

All Life begins in the Soil

All Life begins in the Soil


“He who owns land possesses the greatest potential to live the longest life, for he has the ability to grow his own food and determine the ultimate control of his health, thus, his destiny.”

By: Milo Shammas, Founder & Formulator
I remind myself every day that we are all going to die at some point, which is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking I have something to lose. I came into this world naked and I am leaving naked. There is no reason not to follow my heart and do what’s right because it’s the ultimate truth and my purpose in life.

What is vital for life? Your health. The future of your health is imminent. To live a long life full of joy and vitality, your lifestyle choices today determine the state of your health tomorrow. This is true, whether we think about those choices or let ignorance and apathy make them for us.

The great news is you control your own destiny, because you control every decision in your life. Healthy eating and living are personal life choices. In your own backyard you can find the potential to create a future of good health for yourself, your family and the entire planet. This is the start of your journey to a better life.

To create an environment that nurtures you and provides you with enjoyment and health, you need a detailed plan similar to a road map. My mission is to help you plan and take this wondrous journey.

Being healthy is simple if you understand how to garden in your own backyard. Growing your own healthy food right outside your door will make you look at your home in a new, wonderful way. With so much excitement running through your veins, your enthusiasm may push you to act too soon. Before you grab a piece of paper, scribble many ideas, run down to your local plant nursery, and buy as many seeds, plants, soils and fertilizers as you can load up, let me guide you from my 20 years of experience and leadership in gardening. I want to teach you what I know that is true and effective.

Let’s Get Dirty First!
Some people think of soil as nothing more than an anchor that holds plants in the ground, a dark, dusty place that critters crawl in that makes our hands dirty. Soil is not just “dirt” but the basis of all life. Healthy soil is alive with billions of microbes that feed all living things on our planet. Your body needs it to be healthy. It provides you with the sustenance you need to generate the energy for everything you do. Everyone who is alive today and everyone who ever lived, needed the benefits of soil to survive and prosper.

Soil health is the fundamental basis for the health of all plants, animals and people. This book shows you the link between soil and human health. The connection is simple: Healthy soil creates a healthy garden, which produces healthy plants to provide nutrients for us, for the animals we love and care for as pets, as well as the plants we consume as food.

Why should you grow a vegetable garden? Food is so cheap and easily accessible if you live in a modernized country. Much of what we can buy is more convenient to prepare than cooking garden produce from scratch. I can run down to a fast food drive-through and grab a value meal (for about $5) that is 2,500 calories of deep fried, grease-laden, processed food. You can get your fill of genetically modified, processed meat and potatoes for far less than one-tenth of a penny per calorie.

Maybe you do not care if that hamburger came from a cow fed with genetically modified grains and was shipped 2,500 miles to get to you. Maybe you believe it makes no difference if your fries are processed and grown with genetically modified potatoes. Your 32-ounce soda was full of simple sugars that went down smoothly with those salty fries.

Is a bargain meal a bargain if you pay for it with your health?

Why you should garden: It’s good for your health. Besides giving you the best nutrients you can get, gardening is healthy work. You have to cultivate the soil, amend it, plant seeds or cuttings, fertilize, water, weed and mulch. Finally, you must harvest and preserve your crop for future use. Is eating healthy from your own garden worth all that effort? Yes!

If you read this book with an open mind and the attitude of caring about your health, the health of others and the well-being of our only home—the good earth itself—it will open your eyes to the importance of creating your healthy backyard garden. You will learn why eating food you nurture and harvest yourself is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

This book is also unique in taking the approach of starting from the ground up, explaining how human health begins in the soil, then providing clear examples of what to grow, how to grow it, and the nutritional benefits to you and your family, your friends and your community.

I know thousands of gardeners and have interviewed hundreds of them over the past 25 years. I have also met with many medical doctors, soil scientists, plant biologists, nutritionists and master gardeners. All this involvement and research has more than convinced me that a healthy garden will give you joy and bounty.

I live the organic lifestyle, and it all starts in my backyard. Even the smallest thing you do will make a huge difference toward living a long and healthy life and raising a healthy family. A garden can help you to achieve these goals.

Americans are on a new journey, seeking natural and organic solutions to their health problems. People from all backgrounds are on a personal quest to be healthy while making the right environmental decisions in the process.

I hope Dr. Earth will inspire you and benefit you in the same way. – Milo

– Milo

The Organic Revolution

The Organic Revolution

There are proven methods that farmers can use worldwide to sustain profits, address hunger and malnutrition, and renew ecological health.

To feed the world in the most effective manner, a vast movement of scientists, development experts, farming associations and environmentalists is calling for a new emphasis on sustainable agriculture. This is an extreme opposite from current practices.

”The Green Movement”
New research shows that the latest ecological approaches to organic agriculture offer affordable, readily usable ways to increase yields and access to nutritional foods in Third World countries. The organic method, applied to agriculture, can feed the world and may be the only way we can solve the growing problem of hunger in these places.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) states that its extensive research ”challenges the popular myth that organic agriculture cannot increase agricultural productivity.” In an analysis of 114 farming projects in 24 African countries, the UNEP reported that organic, or near-organic, practices resulted in a yield increase of more than 100 percent.

Just imagine what we can do as gardeners in our own backyards, to offset the increases in food prices. Those of us lucky enough to own some land can also feed our livestock with more nutritional food, which in return will provide more nutrition for us. Also, nothing is wasted, as the manure is returned to the soil in the form of compost, and the bones can be buried to breakdown slowly over time. This is truly thinking green. We at Dr. Earth® use only components that would otherwise be wasted, such as fish, kelp, cotton, alfalfa, chicken feathers and comparable ingredients. And with our infusion of Pro-Biotic® (For-Life), we truly bring life to the soil.

Rejuvenate and protect soil and environmental health
The organic revolution, using integrated farming practices such as nitrogen rich cover crops, organic fertilizer, and the practice of returning everything back to the land, not only improves yields but also keeps the soil alive and improves environmental health. Yield data alone makes the best argument to go organic on a large scale farm, in Third World countries and in our backyards. Organic practices are building the soil with life, reducing CO2, keeping our waterways clean, and returning greater profits to the farmer. Since these practices build soil structure, they also increase drought and flood resistance as well as making plants more adaptable to climate changes.

Every time we buy and grow organic foods we are helping farmers become more profitable, thus bringing down the prices of all organic foods, such as produce, meats, juices and all associated products. This is a collective effort that we as consumers, farmers, and gardeners should adopt to make a real impact on the environment and our health.

Millions of people undernourished
Numerous independent studies claim the commodity-oriented organic revolution has not fed, and cannot feed, the world sustainably. Nine hundred twenty-three million people are seriously undernourished, and 25,000 people die every day from starvation. The Rodale Institute cites a major 2008 study which assessed results from 286 farms in 57 countries, finding that small farmers increased their crop yields by an average of 79 percent by using environmentally sustainable techniques, including organic farming and crop rotation. Organic soils have better physical structure, which helps prevent erosion. They are also more permeable, which increases healthier microorganism growth, increasing the availability of nutrients necessary for crop productivity.

Global warming
Organic soils sequester carbon in soil from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, making organic farming the most available strategy to fight global warming. The research and data prove that organic farming practices should be established. They are commercially successful and applicable to any scale operation, from our own backyards and small family market farms to large scale farms consisting of thousands of acres. Organic methods can be adapted to virtually any location, make best use of local inputs, and creatively transform carbon waste streams into valuable products.

We are all in this changing climate together. If all of us make changes, we can drastically slow global warming and leave our Earth clean and well diversified for future generations.