Monday, August 27, 2018

Five Tips to Keep Indoor Plants Happy

Have you ever struggled with keeping an indoor plant happy? Some gardeners find this task to be difficult while others have no problem. Indoor plants are ideal for keeping your house looking and feeling fresh. If kept right, some plants can help your air quality indoors. Let’s learn how you can literally turn your house into a breath of fresh air all of the time.

Know Your Indoor Plant

Not all plants are the same and the key to keeping them happy is to know them inside and out. Before buying or planting anything, you’ll need to do your research on which plants are best and worst for indoor conditions. Here are some of the best plants for indoors:
  • Aloe Vera
  • Areca Palm
  • Azalea
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Boston Fern
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Dracaena
  • English Ivy
  • Ficus Alii
  • Gerber Daisy
  • Jade Plant
  • Peace Lily
  • Pothos
  • Red-edged Dracaena
  • Rhapis Palm
  • Rubber Tree
  • Spider Plant
  • Weeping Fig

What’s the right temperature?

House plants grow best between 70 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the day time and 60 to 68 degrees in the evening. Excessive fluctuation of low to high temperatures can cause plants to stop growing and hinder their appearance. You must keep in mind that one room in your house can have a significantly different temperature than another. Use a max/min thermometer to gage the temperature changes for different rooms.

Get the Lighting Just Right

Plants obviously need light to live, but how much? For most plants to survive, they’ll need about as much natural window light as you would need to read a book without your room lights on. While this is the ideal situation, depending on your home layout, you may not always have window space or a spot for plants to get natural light. The good news is that some plants survive okay under other lighting conditions. For example, incandescent lighting works well for ferns, vines or dracaenas, while fluorescent lights are good for plants with low light requirements and even for starting vegetables indoors. Make sure to research the plant type’s best lighting conditions and your situation before investing in growing or buying.

Pot and Water Properly

Plants need for water changes at different times of the year and growth stages. You’ll need to water plants based on their schedule and not yours. All indoor plants are different so knowing their requirements is a must. When you water the plant, water until it drains out of bottom. If the pot is completely full of the plants roots and they do not take up enough water you may have to re-pot into something bigger. Having the right pot size is very important for watering.

Protect from Invaders

Plants that are subjected to stress make them susceptible to infestation, so again, it’s important that you invest in plants that can survive in doors and are well suited for the amount of indoor light you have to offer. Dust that builds up on plants contain compounds that insects are attracted to. Make sure to wipe down your plants with a slightly moist rag regularly. When you do this, inspect them for any damage such as discoloring or speckling to hint whether there has been insects around.

If you are looking to add extra life protection for your indoor plants, we carry household solutions that will help.

Intestinal Benefits of Organic Probiotic Supplements

The human intestinal tract is an extremely intricate internal environment. There are 400 to 500 species of bacteria living in your gut or gastrointestinal (GI) tract alone. Numerous species of bacteria and yeast reside there. They assist with digestion, kill harmful or pathogenic infections, and boost the production of some vitamins and chemical substances required for good health and long life.

Intestinal Flora And Organic Probiotics Keep You Healthy

The organisms that live in our intestines are referred to as intestinal flora. For ideal functioning of the intestinal tract, it must contain only the beneficial species of bacteria and fungal organisms or flora. Intestinal flora, however, are sensitive to sudden changes in environment. In certain conditions, millions of flora will die off. Illness, stress, and antibiotic use can damage this delicate balance of microorganisms.

Since flora find their food by breaking down what we eat, diet is a key factor. Unfortunately, few people eat the proper diet to cater to this need. This means that many people do not have the balance of ideal intestinal flora. The wrong species of bacteria and yeasts in the intestines is called intestinal dysbiosis. A low concentration, or missing flora, allows this other bacteria to multiply in the intestine, hindering the digestion of food. The "bad" flora also produces toxins that are absorbed into the body. Vitamin deficiencies can develop, even if you're eating all the right foods.

Organic Probiotics Fight Bad Bacteria

Probiotics contain the "friendly" organisms and help to restore the beneficial flora that aids in the absorption of food, supports the immune system and contributes to the production of vitamins. Insufficient or imbalanced intestinal flora has been linked to heart disease, allergies and asthma, skin disorders, obesity, IBS, digestive problems, and possible Alzheimer's. Daily probiotic use goes a long way in the fight for good health. It acts as an effective preventative and therapeutic means of the maintaining the proper balance of intestinal flora.
Proper diet, beneficial health habits, and supplementing with probiotics is your best defense. Processed foods and low fiber diets are an invitation to pathogenic bacteria, and allow it to overwhelm the good bacteria. GMOs are found in many processed foods. GMO, or genetically modified foods, are foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes made to their DNA through the means of genetic engineering. Non-organic meat and dairy products often contain antibiotics. GMOs and antibiotics kill off probiotic bacteria, making the addition of probiotic material critical if you eat these types of foods. Diets rich in probiotics have been shown to reverse ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other inflammations. Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity symptoms can also be minimized through the use of probiotics. A healthy balance of intestinal flora has been shown to help in providing nourishing enzymes that diminish tumor production throughout the body.

Take a preventative and proactive stance against illness and start supplementing your probiotics today!

Improve Air Quality in Your Home the Natural Way

The air quality in your home affects your whole body, from your respiratory system to your skin. If you are not breathing in clean air, then you can become unwell. Improving air quality naturally wills not just improve the smell of your home, but also help with your general wellbeing. Just as a fish cannot thrive in dirty water, we cannot flourish in air that isn’t good to breathe.

How does air quality affect our health?

If there are contaminants in the air, such as cigarette smoke, strong paints, furnace smoke or household cleaning products, within a minute of breathing them in, our bodies can feel the difference. Air quality affects your health, and can be particularly harmful to people with asthma. You can develop headaches, and feel extremely tired, as your body struggles to pump blood around the body whilst filtering out the polluted air. You may also notice problems with your skin, such as dry patches and eczema. Long term exposure to bad air quality can lead to more serious issues, such as respiratory disease. These are just some of the reasons why ensuring good indoor air quality matters.

What can I do about air quality in my home?

Effective Microorganisms, EM•1® can be used to help control bad odors in your home. This can be things such as chemicals, foods, garbage, fish and smoke. You can also use plenty of green house plants to help filter Carbon Dioxide in your home and enrich the oxygen. Try and keep the levels of humidity low in your home and this will improve air quality, and prevent strong odors from lingering. You should aim to have a humidity level of less than 50%. If it is any higher than this, then bacteria will flourish, causing illness.

Investigating more serious causes

Make sure that you have a Carbon Monoxide alarm fitted in your home, especially if you are using a furnace or gas to heat your house. It is an air pollutant that can cause some very serious health problems. Look out for mold in your home too, as that can really affect the quality of the air. If you do find any mold, make sure you use a professional to remove it, as certain types of mold can be toxic.

Improving the air quality in your home can improve your health and prevent any problems with allergies or breathing. You can do this, without the need for harsh chemicals, giving you naturally clean air.

Article contributed by Cass Wiley

Monday, July 30, 2018

How to Care For Your Septic Tank

Organic Septic Tank Treatments

If you happen to live in a rural area, then you probably use a septic tank system. A septic system is basically your home’s own sewage treatment system. One is used when access to a municipal sewer system is just not available. These systems remain out of sight and can be completely odorless when cared for properly. You can keep your septic system clean and odorless by following a few simple rules.

Some of these rules include, being mindful of what your family puts in your septic system. These tanks can be sensitive so it may not take much to upset the balance within it. Watching what is put in it can extend the life of your septic tank. To make your septic system trouble free for many years, take a look at some useful rules to follow.

Tips & Organic Septic Tank Treatments

Keep in mind the following recommendations:

Mindful Water Level

Careful not to put too much water in the septic tank. This can upset the balance within the tank and hinder the ability to work properly. Having too much water can also cause it to back up, which can cause an undesirable experience in your home.

Use Organic Septic Treatment

Another rule to follow is not to use harsh household chemicals. Many of these products contain fillers and not a lot of active ingredients. However, organic septic tank treatments, such as EM 1, can improve the balance in a tank caused by the overuse of harsh cleaners, soaps and detergents. Many of these products can make its way into a septic tank even if not directly put in there. EM 1 can be used on septic systems, boats, buses and portable toilets. The organic septic tank treatment can also help eliminate odors, improve drainage, prevent groundwater pollution and control odors from sewers.

Watch What You Put In The Drain

Household waste like coffee grounds, cooking fats, heavy duty paper towels, disposable diapers, facial tissues and cigarette butts will not decompose within the tank. Putting these things down the drain will only fill the tank and plug up the system. These materials won’t decompose, will fill the septic tank and will plug the system. A high quality toilet paper is a necessity when using a septic system. The toilet paper should be able to break up easily when wet. Otherwise, it will just clog the system.

Absolutely NO Grease

A big no-no when having a septic system is dumping grease down the drain. The grease may plug the sewer pipes and build up in the septic tank. An alternative to throwing it down the drain can be keeping a separate container for the waste grease and throw it out in the regular garbage.

How Often You Should Clean Your Septic Tank

How often one should clean out their septic tank relies on a number of things. The size of the tank, the amount of water that is waste and how many solids are in it all play a part in necessary cleaning. Some other signs that your tank might need a cleaning is if there are any foul smells coming from it, if there are any slow drains or drains that are completely plugged. Call a septic system professional whenever your system show any signs of distress.

Fermented Foods: How They Can Benefit Your Health

What are Fermented Foods?

Fermented foods might be something that sound a lot more unappealing than they actually are. Fermented foods are any edibles or beverages that have undergone the fermentation process. Many foods are fermented with sugars, yeast or bacteria cultures. When you think of fermented foods, what are the first things that you think of? Yogurt or sour cream? Many people first turn to what they are familiar with when it comes to fermented foods. However, there are so many different types of fermented foods out there that you may have not even thought about before. Fermented foods can include items such as: kombucha, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, miso and so many more. Do a lot of these names of foods start to ring a bell to you? Fermented foods aren't always as exotic as they sound, and are often found in a lot of the foods that we eat everyday. Fermented foods are a lot more than just something to eat, they do a lot to improve digestion, the immune system, and harbor a number of other health benefits.

How They Help Digestion

Fermented foods serve many more purposes than just being food that we like to eat. Fermented foods have been proven to help improve digestion, balance the gut and immune system, and offer a number of other health benefits to those who eat fermented foods. Fermented foods are so beneficial because they often contain a variety of helpful bacterias that help fight off a lot of the bad bacteria in our guts or in our body. Did you know that the majority of your immune system lives in the gut? Yep, that's right! So, if you're not taking care of your gut the right way, other parts of your health could be suffering as a result. By eating fermented foods, it helps balance the bacteria in your gut to improve digestion and function. With improved digestion and function, you might notice that you start to feel better in a lot of different ways. Simply adding fermented foods more regularly in your diet can help improve your health. By taking it a step further and adding a probiotic into your diet, you're on your way to a clean gut and feeling better.

Fermented Foods at Home

Fermented foods can easily be found in a number of different grocery stores, but did you know that you can also ferment your own food at home? Fermented foods can be easy to make as long as you have all of the right ingredients and a little bit of patience! Fermented foods take a while to actually ferment, so you want to be sure you're not in a rush. To find out recipes and how to make your own fermented food at home, head over to our recipes page of our website for ideas! You can even incorporate our PRO EM 1 probiotic into a variety of fermented food recipes for an even easier approach. Think about giving fermented foods a try!

Why Soil Conditioning Is Important For Healthy Gardening

A soil conditioner can be useful for improving soil structure and drainage. It can eliminate unpleasant smells in the home, improve water quality in aquariums and ponds, and accelerate composting. Organic soil inoculants are a type of bacteria that can be added to the soil. A healthy ecosystem will include hundreds of millions of beneficial microorganisms in each teaspoon of soil. Soil that has been depleted through the use of chemicals, human alteration or pollution may lack these useful microbes. This soil fails to offer plants the nutrients they need to grow and flourish.

Thankfully, there are methods of introducing these critical microbes back into the soil in a natural way. Composting is extremely helpful, providing a significant number of these necessary microorganisms. Unfortunately, there is never enough compost available to satisfy the needs of our gardens. That's when we turn to economical and effective inoculants to improve the quality of the soil, control plant predators, bring water to plant roots, and convert nitrogen from the air and minerals from the soil into forms plants can use.

Microbial Inoculants: A Natural Conditioner

Garden soil is complex, and the biology of it goes hand in hand with keeping agricultural systems healthy and productive. A sort of society of bacteria, fungi, and nematodes work together and influence the chemical and physical properties of the soil. When these bacteria are depleted, plants suffer. Microbial inoculants are a naturally-fermented, live microbial products that can condition the soil to provide a helpful growing environment. This product is a green alternative to synthetic chemicals, and is completely non-toxic and safe for all plants, soils, animals and humans.

Gardens Rely On Microbes

Soil inoculants rely on beneficial microbes to boost plant health. They promote plant growth by stimulating hormone production and improving nutrition. Studies have shown that inoculants can generate Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) to common crop pathogens such as powdery mildew, take-all, leaf spot, and root rot. SAR sounds complicated. What it means is that the entire plant will benefit from a greater defense against a wide range of harmful pathogens. Powdery mildew is well-known to most gardeners, and is one of the most widespread plant diseases. It looks like a powdery growth and attacks a broad variety of vegetable plants. Root rot attacks mainly ornamental trees and shrubs. The tree may survive a few years before the disease eventually kills the whole plant. This fungi can spread through contaminated soil, garden equipment, splashing rain, irrigations water and runoff water. Leaf spots are round blemishes that may result in complete defoliation of a plant. Take-all root rot is a soil-borne fungus that results in brown dead areas in turfgrass.

As a gardener, anything you can do to safeguard against disease and promote plant health is worthwhile. The introduction of microbial inoculant is a simple means of guaranteeing richer soil for faster growing, greener and more rewarding results from your garden.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How to use the Bokashi Recycling System

What have you heard about composting? For some, the idea of composting can be a bit intimidating and even unpleasant. You may have seen the waste recycling units, and come to the conclusion that they’re cumbersome, require constant upkeep, and cause bad smells or swarms of insects in your home or garden. Contrary to these beliefs, composting is a relatively simple process and requires little maintenance after setup. Plus, everything you compost is one less thing in the landfills, so it’s great for the environment!

The Bokashi Recycling System

Composting is an effective method of reusing organic waste from your kitchen. In only two weeks, you'll have valuable organic matter for your garden. Starting your own food waste recycling system is easy and affordable. You can either make your own compost kit with Bokashi bran or purchase a unit from a specialty retailer like TeraGanix.

A store-bought Bokashi food waste fermenter kit includes a sturdy plastic bucket and lid. Each recycling bucket has a spigot on the front, and inside, a durable strainer to separate solids from liquid. Each kit also comes with a bag of Bokashi bran mix.

How to setup a Bokashi Food Waste Fermenter

If you recently purchased - or are planning to purchase - a Bokashi recycling kit, use these tips to setup your unit and start composting:
  1. Place the strainer at the bottom of the bucket.
  2. Sprinkle a handful of the Bokashi mix inside, taking care not to clog the holes in the strainer.
  3. Add kitchen scraps to the bucket. Break down larger food scraps into smaller pieces, and pierce the skin of grapes, tomatoes and similar foods.
  4. Fill the bucket approximately two inches with food scraps, then sprinkle another handful of Bokashi mix over the top. Place a heavy plate on top to compact each layer and release air.
  5. Continue to alternate layers of organic material and Bokashi bran until the bucket is full or you run out of scraps.
  6. Completely seal the lid when finished and leave for at least two weeks
The sealed bucket can be kept in a convenient place with easy access, such as the cabinet under the sink or even in a closet. You can add all types of food scraps to your Bokashi recycling kit, including meat and dairy. Do not add inorganic materials like foils or plastics. If you start to notice an unpleasant smell, add more bran mix to the bucket. There should be a slight brine smell, like pickles, but no bad odors.

Every few days, use the spigot to drain off the liquid at the bottom of the recycling bucket. This liquid is known as Bokashi tea and can be used around the house or garden. You can pour the liquid down sink and tub drains in your bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. The Bokashi tea helps to unclog drains, keep pipe interiors smooth, and eliminate unpleasant odors. You can also use the liquid as a very powerful fertilizer for your plants. Just add one cup of Bokashi tea to four gallons of water and spray over plants!

Once the composting process is complete, bury the contents in your garden. Composting is a great way to reintroduce healthy microorganisms back into your garden and repair damaged soil. Learn more at last week’s blog post: Natural Remedies to Repair Damaged Soil.