Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

What does Organic Gardening and Farming Mean? provided this definition :

Organic Agriculture  

Organic agriculture originated as a response to a growing awareness that the  health of the land is linked to the health and future of the people. It is a  holistic and philosophical approach to agriculture, which has as its goals the  protection and conservation of the land for future generations, the production  of high-quality food, the return to many traditional agricultural methods, and  the harmonious balance with a complex series of ecosystems. Land, water, plants,  animals, and people are all seen as interlinked and interdependent.

So How does that affect you and your lifestyle and your health?  Have you ever heard the Saying:  “You Are What You Eat”?

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Posted by & filed under Permaculture.


Change a Bill into an Income

Lots of Farms and Ranches have quite a bit of  “Material”   that they need to get rid of as waste.  Can I change a bill into extra income?  The answer of course is: YES!

However, especially if you are building your Farm or Ranch into an Organic business, you can actually turn the waste into profit!

Horse owners are always cleaning out stalls and then, depending where you are located, need to get rid of  the “Muck”.

You can use the shavings or straw “Waste” as compost, but you will have to wait for it to decompose.  Straw does not compost as fast as shavings, but not everyone wants the shavings in their garden area.

Peat Moss is a quick composting material to place in your stalls and it also provides for easier clean up and odor neutralizer.  The Urine will clump up and absorb the smell, as well as decrease your time in “Picking the stalls”

This is  a method I used on a Thoroughbred farm, and it worked very well for time and energy costs, as well as the Garden.

If you speak with your local nursery, and get certified as Organic Compost, you will also increase the value of the compost and sell it for extra income.  There are specific ways in which you can ensure that the compost that you provide will not have germinating seeds.  There are many articles and magazines that provide information on How to set up a compost bin”.  I will be writing on this aspect along with taking pictures as we grow three gardens using the Eocological Gardening protocol as taught in Food4Wealth.

Place your name and email address in the “Sign Up” box to the right, and we will keep you informed on our successes and failures to help you create a profitable Farm and Ranch. That extra income will increase your profit potential by using what use to cost you money into another profit center!  Also we share what worked for us to not only increase the enjoyment, but what did not work for us in different growing zones.

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Chris Downs



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Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

I have heard this question a few times now, “Is Nature Real To You?”   as well as:  ” How Is Your Food Delivered To You?”.



This can be a difficult question to even acknowledge, especially since we as human beings, are part of Nature.  Through out History, Some Men have used the term:  “Conquering Nature” as   a description of the Life that they wanted to live.  “Be a Winner”, Make all of Earth submit to your will!  They have quoted books and philosphers as well as others that tell them what they want to hear, but let me ask this question to you again.


Is Nature Real to You?  Do you see the wonders and miracles that are around you every day?  What is your view of the Stars everynight when you go to bed?  How about the plants that are all around you and the building that you live in?   Over time,  which is stronger, the buildings or the Plants and animals that have been here since creation?  If we would work with Nature, and use the assests that are all around us, we can make a huge impact on our world.

We have seen some Massive Natural Disasters happen at an ever increasing frequency.  Many homes that were built in Danger zones for Flooding/Fire/Hurricane and Tornado’s have been destroyed and lost.

Droughts, Floods and Hurricanes as well as Tornado’s have hit all over the world.  Volcanos, Tsunami’s , etc.  These Natural events have been happening for many centuries.

Are we to fear nature?  No, but together we can understand it, and live in a manner that protects the life of the Earth and all that lives upon it. So the my answer to that question is Nature Real to Me?  Yes, it is very real and alive with many wonders and miracles and experiences to enjoy and share with one another.

This brings us to the second question,  Where does our food come from?

Where does your food come from?  It can come from many sources, however, which source provides the best nutrition criteria for you?

Organic gardens, Ecological gardens as well as Permaculture all are the best that man has been able to provide.  Then there are grocery stores, canned food, frozen food as well as de-hydrated foods, grown either locally or from a large conglomerate farm using “Modern Technology” to increase the output of the land.

Synthetic Oil for your motorized equipment (Car, Truck, Tractor, etc…) seems to be an improvement for lubricating the internal parts of the equipment.  However, I am just not convinced that Synthetically grown food has the same quality of fuel for our bodies. When I go to the local grocery store, the fruit and vegetables do not look nor taste like I remember as a young man.  Our Fruit came off the trees around us, the vegetables came from the garden or the local Truck farm and the milk came from a local dairy and delivered in recyclable glass containers.

Let me know what your experience is with your food source.  After all, You are what you Eat!



Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

Ecological Gardening Question answers! How big of a container do I need to start my Organic Garden? Click on this link and see the video of one of our starter containers!

Starting seeds inside at 7000 feet

Rutledge747 sent the following comment: Is newspaper is an effective as well as safe and cost effective for your garden?  I took my tomato plants outside for some sun, and after 15 minutes, they started drooping. If you are concerned about the ink in the newspaper, you may use unprinted newspaper or plain paper bags from the grocery store.  Also, the plants roots will most likely not get to the ink before the ink is washed out by the watering.

Depending upon the size of your  Organic Garden.  In the Food4Wealth program you will learn to size your garden to cut down on weeding time and improve your harvest when you plant your crops in a specific grouping.
   Answer #2,  Since you live in PA,  when did you take them outside, and was it real cold?  To harden them up, 15 minutes is more than enough the first time you take them outside.  They probably drooped due to either the cold or if up against a building or reflective device, they got too hot. You want to transplant your tomatoes after the last frost in your  area, unless after hardening them off you can use (Wall of WaterTM) to keep them from freezing.
There are many things that can affect your Organic Garden, especially when you are first starting out.  One of the things that I pay close attention to, is what materials are on the land that are available and easy to use to protect the garden area from contaminants that may accidentaly get washed in to the area.  If your house is close to the garden, you can use that water runoff as long as it does not pick up any chemicals from your roof.   Some Cedar shingle roofs will be treated with preservative chemicals that you do not want on your Organic Fruit and Vegetables.
If you are in a rural area, you may also check to see if the county sprays weeds along your road that may end up in your garden.  If you place a sign at the beginning of your property, with the words “NO SPRAY”, and place another sign at the end of your property most if not all of the county road crews will not spray as long as you keep the weeds down along the fence and control them on your propert.
Part of being an Organic Gardener is being a good neighbor.  Your neighbors just may become your clients and customers if you are looking to gain income for your work through out the year.
We will be talking about Hydroponic Gardening as well as Aquaponic Gardening in a way that will restore the land and increase not only your enjoyment of your home but also turn your expenses into income streams.
We are looking forward to your comments and questions!
Chris and Heather Downs

Posted by & filed under Composting.

Composting – The Nutrients of the Future?

For many people, composting is just an alternative way of dealing with rubbish.  It prevents the garbage bin from getting full and smelly.  It’s also a way of disposing of grass clippings and leaves, which saves many trips to the garbage depot.  Whilst these things are valid, they are not giving compost the full credibility it deserves.  Compost can be very valuable when used in the right way.

I have a completely different way of looking at compost.  To me, composting is a way of building valuable nutrients that will, one day, feed me and my family.  I only use compost on my vegetable gardens.  The way I manage my vegetable gardens means that composting is an integral part of the whole food production system.  I create compost as a way of collecting nutrients in one form (waste), and turning them into another form (food).

The average person buys food from a shop, consumes it and then sends the waste away.  This is simply buying nutrients, taking what you need for that precise moment, and disregarding the remainder.  It’s a nutrient flow that only flows in one direction, like a fancy car roaring down the road.  You admire the car for a moment, but after a second or two, it’s gone.

My goal is to slow down the car and then get it to do a U-turn.  I want to keep the nutrients within my property where I can capitalize on them.  By doing this, I am able to use the nutrients again, so I don’t have to buy them for a second time.  Surely, that’s going to save me money.  It may seem strange to think of nutrients in this way when we can’t even physically see them.  However, all organic materials contain nutrients.  My goal is to get those nutrients out of the form they are in and into a form that is useful to me and my family.

To put it in a different way; composting is a vehicle in which we are able to create a nutrient cycle within our property.  We are part of that cycle because we consume the nutrients when they are, for a brief time, in a useful form.  Then they return to the compost and slowly make their way into another useful form where we consume them again.  This cycle can go on and on indefinitely.  Of course, there will be many lost nutrients that you will never see again, but with a little diligence, you will be surprised at how much compost you can create, and hence, how many valuable nutrients you can recycle.

My composting system is large because I have a few large vegetable gardens.  I believe that the size of your vegetable garden should be determined by how much compost you can create, and not merely by the amount of space you have in your backyard.  To run a rich, high yielding vegetable garden you need to have some sort of soil conditioning plan, and the best thing for your soil is a generous layer of good compost on the surface a few times per year.

If you can create your own compost from the organic waste that you generate in your everyday life, then you can have a vegetable garden that is self-sustainable.  Once it is set up, it will never need nutrients in the form of store-bought fertilizers.  You will have established a flow of nutrients, and your nutrient-store will grow bigger and bigger, year after year.

Applying compost to your garden will have a very positive effect on your soil structure and fertility.  With good soil structure and plenty of organic material, you will be able to release nutrients that have been locked up and unavailable to your plants.  You will be speeding up the flow of nutrients, thus increasing your yield significantly.

Your soil will become alive and healthy with micro-organisms and soil bacteria that are beneficial to creating the conditions for proper plant growth.  Your vegetables will contain all the essential nutrients in the correct proportions, giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best.

Composting is very easy once you make it part of your everyday life.  A small container on your kitchen bench to collect scraps and a daily trip to the compost bin is all it takes.  It’s a small effort for huge rewards.
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The golden rule in making compost is never to have large clumps of a single type of material.
Thin layers of hot and cold materials work best.  Cold materials include leaves, shredded newspaper and dried grass clippings.  Hot materials include fresh grass clippings, manures, weeds, discarded soft plants and kitchen scraps.

If you make composting part of you daily routine, along with an effective method of growing food, you can literally save thousands of dollars per year.  This is possible simply because you won’t have to keep buying nutrients over and over.  You will buy them once, hold onto them and then convert them into useful forms again and again.  It’s that simple!
Also I would like to give you a free gift our four ways to increase your profit of Your organic farm. Sign up for our newsletter and information now right below and get your free download.

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Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams
Chris Downs — The Caretaker


Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

Basic life-supporting systems; water, air and soil How can I balance it all?

I want to share one of the Articles from Jonathan White that has helped me to choose an easier way to grow food economically as well as healthy!

We All need Water, Air and soil to live a full and healthy life!  The Basic life-supporting systems.

How to restore our basiclife-supporting systems; water, air and soil

By Jonathan White, environmental scientist.

How to restore our basic life-supporting systems; water, air and soil

The breakdown of our food growing systems poses one of the biggest threats to our survival.  Our existence depends upon our agricultural systems, but what do our agricultural systems depend on?  The answer: water, air and soil.  These basic elements support all life-forms and without them, life as we know it cannot be sustained.

In nature, food grows as part of an ecosystem.  An ecosystem is an ecological system that is made up of many biological parts, or components, that all interact with one another.  These components are mostly made up of organisms such as plants and animals.  They feed on each other and depend on each others’ presence to survive.

Just as plant and animal components are dependent on each other, basic life-supporting systems – water, air and soil – are also dependent on each another.  For example, the flow of air affects rainfall and rainfall affects the flow of air.  In addition, life-supporting systems are dependent on the components and vice versa.  For example, soil is created by plants and plants are created by soil.  In summary, components are dependent on life-supporting systems and the life-supporting systems are dependent on components.  However, it gets even more complicated than that.

Within the basic life-supporting systems – water, air and soil – there are sub-systems.  If we take a look at water, it can be broken up into many sub-systems, including: rainfall, surface water, ground water, humidity and transpiration.  It is not necessary (or even possible) to understand everything that’s going on within an ecosystem, however it is very important to understand this:

Each and every component, system and sub-system is important in running the overall ecosystem.  When you disturb one, the others start to fall apart.

Humans once lived as part of ecosystems.  We were just one of many ecological components within an ecosystem.  We were also part of the food chain; sometimes preyed upon, but mostly a predator.  When we discovered cultivation we discovered many advantages, such as being able to grow staple crops in relative density.  By clearing an area of its natural components we have been able to increase the quantity of a single, useful component such as a commercial crop.

A typical farming operation strives to eliminate as many ecological components as possible so that a predetermined yield of a specific crop can be obtained.  For example, a farmer sows 10 acres of wheat and expects to achieve a yield within a certain range.  If it’s a good year he will achieve the upper end of the range and if it’s a bad year he will achieve the lower end of the range.  This offers him a relatively secure livelihood and he can live his life in accordance to the money he makes from his predetermined yield.  It makes perfect sense from an economic point of view.

However, this only works when the basic life-supporting systems are working, hence, adequate water, air and soil.  The problem is that these basic systems are part of an ancient ecosystem that is long gone.  The soils that we now grow crops in were part of a natural ecosystem and the millions of components that once existed were a critical part of keeping the basic life-supporting systems healthy and functioning.

By stripping the land of natural components we start to see the degradation of the basic life-supporting systems – water, soil and air.  When a large number of living components are removed, these natural systems break down because the components and the systems are interrelated.  As a diversity of plants and animals are replaced with a single species of crop, we start to see effects on the way the basic water, air and soil systems operate.  Water moves faster and is not filtered by a variety of plants.  This usually lowers the ground water and leaves the surface hotter and drier.  The hotter surface moves the air in different ways causing rain clouds to travel away from the area causing localized drought conditions.  Overall fertility is lost from soils as water moves out of the system at a greater rate.  The temperatures are hotter in summer and colder in winter as there are fewer plants to thermoregulate the area.  Rainfall becomes more unpredictable as the air current is affected by hotter ground temperatures.  It eventually gets difficult to grow the commercial crop.

Modern-day human intervention can offer short-term solutions, but cannot fix the cause of the problem.  Irrigation from bores cannot provide a sustainable solution to the breakdown of the water system.  Irrigation only lowers the ground water further making the problem even bigger than it was.  The use of groundwater is not a bad practice in all cases, but it doesn’t fix the root problem.  Likewise, inorganic fertilizers will not repair the soil systems.  If a soil is being leached of nutrients due to water passing through it too quickly and hungry hybrid crops feeding on it, it will not be repaired by adding more minerals.  The same forces that are depleting the soils are still happening, so the soils will continue to become depleted.  Inorganic fertilizers cannot restore soil structure and cannot build new soil, like a natural ecosystem can.

Commonsense will tell you that if there are no natural soil-building systems in place and soils are being lost and degraded, then fertilizer dependence must increase.  Year after year more fertilizer will be needed to obtain the same yield.  Remember, the farmer depends on a predetermined yield to fulfill his lifestyle, but now there is a greater cost to maintain that yield, in the form of store-bought fertilizers.  As costs increase, net profits decrease and eventually the whole operation becomes economically nonviable.  When you add market instability and retail competitiveness to the equation, you can see how difficult it would be to survive as a farmer.  The solution, so far, has been to cut the amount of human labor on farms because they are the most expensive part of the operation.  This is done by increasing the size of the operation and the equipment.  Large conglomerate companies can grow crops over thousands of acres, tended by very few humans.  In ecological terms, this means less diversity over a larger area, which means less natural components and less natural systems in operation.  Of course, the result is that the basic life-supporting systems; water, air and soil, will be ruined at a quicker rate.  Surely that means that even these massive operations will eventually become too costly to run.

The only way to keep an ecosystem alive and healthy is to make sure the basic life-supporting systems – water, air and soil – are intact.  This applies to any patch of land, whether it’s a native forest, a farm or an urban garden.  Every ecosystem is just a smaller part of a larger ecosystem.  In fact, the whole planet could be referred to as a single ecosystem.  What we do on a local level may only cause a tiny effect, but if a significant number of local people start doing the same thing, then it will cause an effect on a slightly larger scale.  If this is replicated on a big enough scale, then eventually, our actions can affect an entire planet.

There is no buffer that can protect you from the global breakdown of the basic life-supporting systems – water, air and soil.  However, you can cause an effect on your immediate surroundings.  To restore our basic life-supporting systems – water, air and soil – we need to increase the number and diversity of biological components.  Diversity is the answer.  Remember, an ecosystem has millions of components, systems and sub-systems operating in a given area.  These systems need each other for their survival.  We can add diversity to our backyards and farms in the form of plants and animals.  Once we start to add biological components, they will start to support more biological components.  The addition of biological components, in the form of plants and animals, will start to build soil.  This in turn will slow down the flow of water and keep it in our property.  Trees and other plants will reduce and capture water lost from ground evaporation, mulch soils and create niche spaces for more life-forms.  Your property will be better regulated in terms of temperature and humidity.  It will be cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  This, in turn, helps the plants to yield more, creating more biomass and better soil.  There will be more opportunities for life forms and the basic life-supporting systems; water, air and soil will be more supportive and better able to meet your needs.  As these basic systems become healthier, more sub-systems will appear.  Systems within systems will start to rev up and biological components (plants and animals) will increase in number, diversity and health.

To give you an idea of how this may look in real terms, imagine this; a backyard that had a massive number of edible and non-edible plants of differing size, shape, habit, colour and form.  Also, imagine a diversity of domestic and wild animals, native and introduced, edible and non-edible.  Now, try to imagine a system where these plants and animals coexist in a way that they fed each other and, at the same time, create surplus food for humans.

Using a mixture of edible and non-edible plants is important.  Not everything within the system should be directly consumed by humans.  Non-edible plants create the structure that supports the edible species.  They should be planted in sensitive areas such as hilltops and drainage lines and in strips along contours on slopes.  They act as water filters, native habitats, climate controllers and soil builders.  Edible plants fill in the spaces only after the basic supporting structure is in place.

Ecosystems are in a constant state of change and so are sustainable food growing systems.  This makes it very difficult to predetermine the yield from year to year.  The system needs the freedom to change as the components and systems evolve.  This is the most difficult part for humans to understand.  In our current way of farming we strive to make each year the same so that the yield can be predetermined, even when the conditions are changing.  Sustainable agriculture calls for a massive faith in natural laws and absolute respect for the basic life-supporting systems.

I have seen many agricultural systems, but very few sustainable ones.  I have even seen several organically-certified farms that are practicing agriculture in a way that is depleting the basic life-supporting systems; soil, air and water.  Rather than buying inorganic fertilizers, they simply purchase organic fertilizers.  These organic farmers have little understanding of natural systems and just operate in a similar way to traditional farmers, only their job is more difficult without the use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides.  The food they produce may be free of chemicals, but they are slowly killing the basic life-supporting systems; water, air and soil.

To make the world a healthier place is not difficult.  Even if you don’t get the design as perfect as you possibly could, just the addition of a diversity of plants will create a positive effect on the basic life-supporting systems.  However, if you can get the components arranged in a way that they feed off one another to create a cyclic flow of energy, then you are starting to mimic a natural ecosystem.  As the site matures, the basic life-supporting systems – water, air and soil – will start to be restored.  That is when the system becomes self-sufficient and will provide excess food for humans, with minimal effort.  In fact, at that point, we will have returned to the past and, once again, be just another ecological component within an ecosystem.


How to you want to spend your time?  Weeding and struggling or enjoying the fruits of your labor and being efficient?  Ecological is a great site to not only get ideas for your garden and lifestyle, but they can also help you with design and implementation of your Garden.

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