Keep Calm, Stay Well, And Garden On

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The Pantry on Community TV - Part 2 of 3

Here is the second part of my chat with Jack Etkin of Shaw TV's Citizens' Forum here in Victoria, BC, about the science and practice of organic gardening.

Having explored the connection between nutrition and health in soil and plants, we are now taking the idea one step further by looking at the ecological role of so-called pests and diseases.

When our plants are not doing well, which are the symptoms and what are the underlying causes? I invite the viewer to consider pests and diseases as helpful messengers, rather than pesky problems.

Initially this perspective really challenged what I thought I knew, but after many years of observation, I find it makes so much sense.

What a relief to shift the paradigm from fighting to cooperation!

The Pantry on Community TV - Part 1 of 3

The Pantry is on TV!

In the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to chat with Jack Etkin of Shaw TV's Citizens' Forum here in Victoria, BC, about organic gardening.

We ended up filming three installments, actually, because there was so much to talk about!

Have fun watching the first episode today. We're looking at the way Nature works in plants and soil, and how everybody gets to eat healthy food as a result of cooperative natural systems.

I hope you enjoy the chocolate cheesecake analogy!

Wood Treatment In Your Organic Garden (Raised Bed, Fence, Deck, Etc.)

EMWhether a tree falls in the forest... or your wooden compost bin falls apart: To Nature, it's the same thing.

The body of a tree, cut up or intact, is a valuable source of carbon and other nutrients, and a whole crew of decomposers large and microscopically small are ready to transform this bounty into food and habitat.

Of course, we would rather preserve a precious resource - actually I'm not even sure if it's okay to call forests a "resource". So what wood treatment options does an organic gardener have for protecting wooden structures?

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Effective Microorganism Products - They Have More Uses Than You Know

Americans buy here EM

Effective microorganism (EM) products are liquid probiotics for the garden.

I don't know what it is about them, but they often produce incredible results after using them for just one growing season.

They certainly have for me and for my garden. When I say for me, I mean for me - yes, you can drink certain EM products, too.

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Sea Salt Fertilizer For Broad-Spectrum Nutrition

Americans buy here Sea Salt Fertilizer

Once upon a time, there was a doctor who got curious.

A lot of stories about important organic gardening discoveries actually start out this way, since nutrition deeply affects human health, and our nutrition is strongly influenced by what we feed our plants.

In this case, the doctor was Dr. Maynard Murray – also a biochemist and research scientist – and the setting was Chicago in the 1940s and ‘50s.

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Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria - For Your Peas, Beans And Other Legumes


Most of us have heard the expression, "nature, red in tooth and claw."

When Tennyson wrote this line back in 1850, he was saying that nature is competition, a struggle to eat or be eaten.

But what if nature has a different story to tell?

While it’s true that competition is one of the driving forces of the natural world, it’s equally true that cooperation is the fundamental basis of life on earth. Here’s how:

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Kelp Fertilizer - Want To Improve Plant Health? Check This Out


Here on the blustery west coast of BC, there’s one sure reward for withstanding the windstorms that pound the beaches from fall to spring: kelp.

It washes up in clumps in those coves where the wind and currents carry it, feeding little girls’ imaginations with its long, two-pronged leaf clumps on hollow bulbs, evoking mermaids in pigtails.

Kelp also happens to be about the best food there is for your soil and plants.

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Compost Tea - How To Make It And Use It


We often think of compost as a nutrient source, but one of its most important functions is actually breeding beneficial microbes.

Then we can multiply these microbes even further by brewing up some aerated compost tea.

Properly aerated compost tea is one of the most effective ways to promote health and prevent disease in our gardens, resulting in healthier plants, tastier food, bigger flowers, and heavier yields.

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Fish Fertilizer Provides Quality Nitrogen, Among Other Nutrients

Liquid Fish Fertilizer

Humans have always preferred to live by the sea.

The ocean offers a bounteous harvest of nutrients, for ourselves and for the soil and plants we cultivate.

Like sea minerals and kelp, fish fertilizer is an excellent source of many nutrients.

As natural, available forms of nitrogen and phosphorus in particular, they’re especially valuable when you don’t have enough humus in your soil yet.

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Using Mycorrhizal Fungi To Bring Nutrients To Your Plants


Mycorrhizal fungi are incredible helpers when it comes to soil and plant health.

They provide nutrients and water to plants in exchange for food in return. It really is a partnership.

In fact, they’re among the most important microbes that partner with plants.

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