The many benefits of the art of gardening

I was recently interviewed about my edible garden. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a short story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101. Last week I shared about the importance of location and position. You can read about that here. Today I talk about the many benefits gardening has on the mind, body and soul.

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Q:What are the key benefits of an edible garden?

 

Other than the obvious,  being fresh food at your fingertips at low cost, I really believe a garden can be healing on a mind, body and soul level.

It brings such rest in your life because you connect to creation.

We live in a fast paced world where most of us experience a fair amount of stress. This is quite damaging for your body and your mind, when the stress is long term.

For me, my garden gave me quietness in my mind and rest from my busy schedule. I was able to relax and observe patterns in nature. Everything in life and nature consists out of patterns that one cannot always control, they simply happen. My garden invited me to become one with those patterns, work with them and let them do what they were supposed to do.

Seasons

You have the seasons, which taught me that tomatoes don’t grow all year round. That is because we are not supposed to eat tomatoes all year round in our climate. Our bodies are designed to eat for the seasons.

Moon cycle

Then there is the cycle of the moon. Just as the moon influences the rise and fall of the tides, so it is that plants with a high water content are also influenced by the moon phases. Some plants grow stronger roots when planted in a particular phase of the moon.

Plant cycle

Then there is the plant cycle itself. It all starts with a seed that sprouts at the right time, it grows into a stem, then leaves, flowers, fruit and back to the beginning of the seed again.

A garden cannot be rushed, which is what makes it such a beautiful experience. You are never really in control even though you think you might be.

A garden also builds community. I know my neighbours. In fact, I almost know my entire street. My garden is a talking point. And as I am often out the front picking herbs and fruit I get to greet everyone that walks by. My neighbours are very lucky, because any surplus is always shared.

Earth care, people care and fair share are the ethics of permaculture (the art of organic gardening), I try to live by as it spreads some love into this sometimes cold and wretched world.

Let go of the dead-weight

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I lugged around inside me a dead weight of not-good-enoughness – Lewis Smedes-

Is being healthy really so difficult and confusing? It sure seems to be so when you look at the book shelves in the shops these days. There are rows of books that will tell you how to achieve optimum health and wellness, but the sad thing is that it may not be the formula for you. You have tried all the diets known to man and you failed, or did the diet fail you?

What is that standard of optimal health and wellness you want to achieve? What does healthy mean to you? See, this is where it becomes a personal journey. Looking at society and the standard they put out in the media changes all the time. It is trend, fashion, season and it is all so superficial, never dealing with the thought, feelings and emotions that are on the inside of you. Your personal standard of what health means to you should not change like the wind. It is a personal journey where you learn precious lessons along the way, that you can choose to apply as needed. It’s not a journey where you change from diet to diet every 6 months, hoping this might be the cure for your unhappiness.

For me personal health and wellness is not just about what I put in my mouth. Yes, it is important to be aware and to know about how certain foods affect you, but really the most important part of living life well is whether you have complete balance, contentment, peace and joy in your day to day life. If you have that balance,  you will value yourself enough to make sure you are filling your body, mind and spirit with goodness only. Because you know you only deserve the very  best. Let me ask you this:

  • Are you happy with your job?
  • Are you contend with what you have?
  • Are you stressed all the time because your life is out of control?
  • Do you have healthy relationships?
  • Do you value who you are?
  • Are you thinking good thoughts about yourself or are you lugging around inside you a dead weight of not-good-enoughness.
  • POISON ALERT: Are you drinking the poison of unforgiveness? Forgiveness is something you do for YOURSELF, not the other person. Forgiveness allows you to move on and get well.
“Forgiveness is a gift from God to us in a world that is not fair”- Sheila Walsh

And trust me, I know how hard forgiving is, I have had to do a lot of it too. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I realised my anger and depression was caused by unforgiveness and resentment. It was so deeply rooted that it started to cause physiological symptoms. What physiological symptoms do you have that might be related to negative emotion?Hmmmmm……I am glad I got skilled in the forgiveness department and have been practising ever since.

If you are able to live a life that has a healthy balance you are more likely to value yourself and make all round healthy choices that will serve you well long term. Isn’t life all about choices?  Choose well, choose life!

 

 

So, you want an edible garden? Let’s find out how to get started.

I was recently interviewed about my edible garden. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a quick story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101. Last week I shared about the trend of “The Organic Home Garden” You read about that here.

Q:What do you need to consider when building your edible garden?

A: Simply put, position and location are key. Let’s break that down into 4 important areas:

 

  • In permaculture we work in zones, with zone 1 being closest to the kitchen. We often refer to that as the kitchen garden. It is the area you most frequently visit. You use your herbs and veggies daily, so I advise to keep them close to the kitchen.
  • Of course a sunny location is important for your plants to grow and thrive. Especially fruiting plants need at least 4-6 hours of sun to give you a decent harvest. When your plant requires full sun as per the instruction on the ticket, be aware that this is referring to the European sun. In Australia our sun is fierce and 4-6 hours is sufficient. If your garden does get full sun daily in summer, it might be a good idea to provide your patch with some shade. The rate of photosynthesis levels off at around 36 degrees celcius.
  • A wind protected area is equally important for the protection of your plants. I have seen plants ripped out of my garden during a common summer storm. It is devastating after all the work you have put in to see your silverbeet scattered across your yard.
  • Is there a water source nearby? Don’t forget to make sure you are able to bring the water to your patch. Best way is to make use of drip irrigation with a timer. You can go away for a holiday knowing your plants are taken care of.

Now go out and get your hands dirty and enjoy the fruit of your labour!

 

6 tips to accelerate your health.

 

So many people struggle to find ultimate health, simply because of the confusion of the clever food marketing gurus and advertising campaigns they are bombarded with on a daily basis.

I say “Turn off your TV” and turn on your brain. A healthy lifestyle is not rocket science.

Let me give you some simple tips to get you going in the right direction.

  • Food is more than calories. Food is information, it talks to your genes, in fact it becomes you, your organs, your thoughts, your feelings and emotions. What you put into your body ultimately impacts you either positively or negatively. Choose well.
  • What you put on the end of your fork impacts your health. It is that simple. Only eat real food. You know, the stuff you can still recognise. Anything that is highly processed will ultimately wreak havoc on your body, sooner or later.
  • Eat real food. Artificial sweeteners have shown to trigger changes in your brain and your hormones, driving you to eat more and slowing down your metabolism. This makes you gain more weight and put fat on your body. The first 2 tips should be enough to stop you from grabbing the diet drinks or even the low fat (artificially sweetened) food products. But it case it didn’t, I hope this tip will.
  • Have protein every morning. It will increase your metabolic burn rate by 7 calories a day. Over a year that amount equates to 11 pounds! Yay, for eggs in the morning!
  • Add a good quality supplement and omega 3 capsule to your health regimen. It will help with the metabolism of your macro nutrients and reduce inflammation in your body. Overweight people have high levels of inflammation in their bodies. Adding a good quality Omega 3 supplement to their diet will make losing fat a bit easier. Of course adding anti inflammatory foods into your lifestyle should also be a priority.
  • Last but not least; keep it simple. It is crazy out there, in the world. If we believed it all, everything you’d touch or eat will kill you! Maybe we should join the Breatharian movement? Nah, just kidding. Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables. Add a small portion of protein and add some healthy fats. That does not include Margarine, by the way. That’s not food…….Bon appetit.

If you want more information or a push in the right direction, an answer to a question you are welcome to contact me at annemarie@honestpantry.com.au

Let’s keep in touch on Instagram and Facebook.

 

The trend of the “Organic Home Garden”.

There is a rise in the trend of “The Organic Home Garden” and what a wonderful trend this is! Why is this becoming so popular, though? This is one of the questions I was asked recently for a popular home blog. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a quick story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101.

Q: Why is edible gardening becoming so popular?

A: There is a movement on the rise of a generation of people who believe in organic living and health & wellness. With the internet and social media it is so easy to share information with each other and help each other getting well.

We haven’t done the planet a favour over the decades and we know it. We are all getting sicker and this generation is the first where parents might outlive their children! I am sure you have heard that said before.

We need a more sustainable way of living, as we are realising that our health is our responsibility and not that of the government, food manufacturers or food marketers
We all know that the way of modern agriculture has brought us, together with some solutions, also many problems.

CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), GMO corn, soy, cotton, imported contaminated fruits from countries using pesticides banned in Australia or worse still using human poop as a fertiliser, nutritionally depleted fruits and vegetables due to mineral depleted soils, caused by synthetically manufactured chemicals, cancerous pesticides and fertilisers just to name a few. It is not sustainable to continue to live like this and expect us to thrive. It is important to work with nature rather than trying to artificially control it. I think there needs to be more balance. This is why we start to see a shift as people are starting to realise that organic farming is a better way of farming for our health and the health of this planet.

If all of us had a small edible garden it would really help to take some pressure of this agricultural monster.
Growing your own food brings such an awareness of life and creation as it really connects you to nature, yourself and each other. You can change the world one garden at the time.






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Produce No Waste

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By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

I love the principle of “produce no waste” simply because it sets a challenge, but also because in a permaculture setting it is a classic example of closing a loop. Instead of stealing resources from another ecosystem and depleting that system you use everything you have on site to its fullest capacity.

From food crop, to kitchen scraps, into the compost bin, then back out into the garden as compost to feed your crops.

Another way of reusing kitchen scraps is feeding it to the chickens, who produce poop, which can be made into a compost tea to go onto the garden beds.

Do you compost or have a worm farm? In what ways can you be more mindful of your waste?

Quick Oatmeal Cookie

I made cookies with my youngest son this week, but lets be honest………..

Most kids love baking, but most mums don’t love baking with kids!

However mr. Nelson and I had a fabulous time baking some yummy oatmeal cookies today. They were gone before I knew it! Let me share the recipe with you:

  • 3 cups of oats
  • 1/4 cup of butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or essence
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (opt.)
  • 1/4 sultanas or other dried fruit of your choice

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

In my Thermomix I blended the oats with the baking soda until ground. I then added the butter and honey, cinnamon and vanilla and mixed until blended. Lastly I added the sultanas and stirred.

I greased a baking tray and put small tablespoons of cookie batter on there. Pop it in the oven for 6-9 minutes.

 

 

#Thermomix #bringingrealfoodbackintothekitchen #glutenfree #dairyfree#healthy #qualitytime #masterchef #sugarfree

Only cold-pressed will do!

Who doesn’t juice these days!? I am sure we can find people who don’t, however juice, juicing, juice fast, detox all seems to be the topic of the day everywhere you look. It seems to be the “new” thing to do to fit in with the trend of 2014

juicer

That filthy-looking juicer, pictured above has been part of our family for almost a decade and we are still in love. Yep, it looks used and abused because it is. It has a permanent spot on my kitchen bench because I use it like most people would use their coffee machine.

But you must know that there is no point in juicing unless you use a cold press juicer. It’s the only way to keep those all important enzymes intact and prevent your fruit and veggies from oxidising and losing its nutrients. This is important to know, because you will waste your time, health and money on anything else. And really, if you want to be part of the trend, you should only buy the best 😉

Happy juicing everyone! #bringingrealfoodbackintothekitchen #letyourgardenbeyourdoctor