Gardening Tips

Can You Be Sure Organic Products Are Really Organic?

organic vegetables

There is a reason organic products have become so popular. With all the stories of toxins and other contaminants in our food supply, it makes sense that people want to know that their food is clean. Growing your own is really the only surefire way to ensure this, but for most of us that is not really possible, so we rely on organic products. This is what we call the organic products lifestyle.

All that said, growing your own food isn’t really all that difficult. You just need to get some indoor grow lights and you can start your own vegetable garden in your basement. And it’s not just veggies. You can grow just about anything. We’ve had articles on this site about growing tea on your own indoors or growing other fruits and vegetables. You can grow them inside grow tents or you can just have a basement room.

Naturally, you can also grow outdoors, but that limits what you can grow and when you can grow it. For that reason we generally recommend growing indoors using LED grow lights or something similar. It just works a lot better.

organic vegetables

If you can’t, though, then you have to rely on organic products. You have to rely on other people growing those organic products and then labeling them correctly. That is a problem.

There been so many stories of incorrectly labeled products, especially ones coming from countries like China and India. The sad truth is, you can’t trust anything that is labeled as organic if it comes from one of those countries. Growers there have no scruples about labeling something as an organic product when it isn’t one it all.

But how about in the West? If you’re living in Europe or the United States or Canada or any other country in the West, can you trust these labels? I would say not really. In Europe perhaps you can trust it, but in the United States I definitely would not. The people in charge of the food supply in the US are incredibly corrupt. The government is controlled by money and the companies that benefit from putting toxins in our food supply have tons of money and control the government. For that reason I don’t think you can trust anything labeled as organic in the United States.

If you want to take part in the organic products lifestyle, your best bet is to grow your own food. That takes time and costs a bit of money, but it is not impossible. It is totally worth doing, in my opinion. But, I know most people can’t do it. I myself don’t really have enough time to grow all of my food organically. In fact, making sure everything you consume is organic is virtually impossible.

But you can grow far more than you think yourself. I started growing my own tea. Then, when I got an expensive coffee machine, I also started growing my own coffee indoors under grow lights.

For that reason you do have to trust other people at some point. You can buy locally, but how can you be sure you can trust that? The truth is you can’t. But you have to. For me, I know that I’m consuming some things that aren’t that great for me and that’s just the way it is. There’s nothing I can do about it.

Organic Tea Gardening Right In Your Own Home

organic loose leaf green tea

What you drink is a major component of most modern diets. Almost all diets can agree that sodas are no good and most say the same about alcohol. Some to tell you that alcohol is fine in moderation, and even beneficial, but they all tell you not to drink too much. The same goes for coffee. Most diets say coffee is okay, as long as you don’t overdo it. But the one drink no one ever says not to overdo is tea.

With our focus on an organic lifestyle, it should be obvious that we recommend organic tea above all else. The difference is basically the same as for other plants. Organic tea growers do not use pesticides or other chemicals to grow their tea. They grow using ancient methods so that the leaves you get are pure and free of any harmful substances.

Is Organic Tea Actually Organic

The problem is that, apart from Japan, most teas that we consume come from either China, India or Kenya. All three of those countries have a long tradition of lying about something like the organic nature of their products. They might have organic stamps, but you certainly cannot trust them. Even though the government in some of these countries, especially China, claims they’re doing their best to regulate the organic industry and ensure that anything labeled as organic actually is organic, there’s just so much corruption within the government organizations in all three of these countries, that you can’t be sure you’re actually getting organic tea.

So what can you do?

organic loose leaf green tea

As with so many other foods, the best solution is to grow your own. Yes, it is very possible to grow your own tea. Tea likes to have a relatively warm climate, but it likes the high altitude where it is a bit cooler. So basically, a subtropical high-altitude climate. Tea plants also need a lot of water. All the tea growing regions in the world are very humid and they get a lot of rain. If you live in an area where you do not have this type of climate, you might be thinking “too bad.” “I guess I can’t grow tea.” That is not true.

Grow Your Own Tea

You can actually grow tea indoors. Just like marijuana or any organic flowers or vegetables or herbs or fruits, you can also grow tea inside. Obviously, you need to provide the water and the light in these cases. You’ll need to provide a lot of water and you want to keep the grow area quite humid. For this reason it is a good idea to have an enclosed grow space, like maybe a greenhouse or just a simple grow tent.

Good Grow Lights For Tea

For light, tea actually uses less light than many plants. It doesn’t flower, so you really just need good vegging lights. LED grow lights are good for this or florescent lights or you could use metal halide lights, although I would only recommend that for a larger garden. Personally, I would get one good LED fixture that has a lot of blue spectrum light, since you don’t need as much red spectrum light for plants that don’t flower. Apart from that I might get a fluorescent fixture or an LED fixture like the NextLight Veg 8, which basically mimics a fluorescent fixture but is better in every way.

Processing And Oxidizing The Tea

Tea is not all that hard to grow. The hardest thing will be harvesting at the right time and then processing the freshly picked leaves the correct way. As soon as you pick the leaves, they start to oxidize. If you want white tea you don’t let them oxidize very long at all and you generally use very young shoots. This means you would harvest very early.

For green tea you let them oxidize a bit but only it a little bit. Then you need to stop the oxidation process by using heat. You either roast the tea, as is common in China, or you steam the tea, as is more common in Japan. Either way you heat it to stop the oxidation process. If you let it oxidize completely, you get black tea.

For oolong tea you would stop somewhere in between green tea and black tea. There is actually a large variety of oolong teas. Some are just slightly oxidized and are almost green teas and others are much more oxidized. Darjeeling tea is a good example of the latter. Most people consider it a black tea, but it is actually an oolong tea.

Finally, there are also yellow tea and pu-erh tea, but I wouldn’t worry about those two. They are much more rare and much more complicated and if you are a first-time grower, you’re probably just going to make green tea or black tea or maybe oolong tea. In fact you will probably end up with oolong tea by accident.

Either way, your new organic tea will taste great and you’ll hopefully have studied up on the best way to brew and drink your variety. A safe bet for almost all types of tea is a nice see-through teapot with a strainer so you can watch the tea leaves unfurl. The infuser is not necessary, but it makes it much simpler to keep the tea leaves out of your cup. Many places in China just brew tea in a glass, so it is certainly possible to make good tea without an infuser. However you choose to drink it, I hope you enjoy your first batch and I know that your second will be much better than the first and your third better than that. Happy growing!

Simple Indoor Gardening Tips For Enjoying Your Fresh Fruits And Vegetables

With the incredible growth and popularity of “going organic” when it comes to the food we eat, there has also been a renewed growth in gardening, so we know exactly what we are getting when it comes to our fruits and vegetables.

While there’s an added time factor, we are also saving money, too.

But not everyone has the available space outdoors to have their full garden with the fruits and vegetables they want to grow.

And that’s where indoor gardening and indoor gardening tips come into play. If you don’t have a yard that’s big enough, or don’t have a yard at all, that’s okay. You can still have a garden.

Here are some simple indoor gardening tips about the most important pieces of any successful indoor garden and that’s your containers, lighting, space and water.

One thing you are going to need is a potting mix. Do not take outdoor soil for your indoor garden.

There are two very important ingredients potted soil must have, and those are perlite and organic matter like peat moss. Check the bag and make sure these ingredients are listed.

According to Mary McLellan, the state master garden coordinator at Michigan State University, anything you can grow outdoors in your garden, you can grow indoors as well.

So if you’re living in an apartment or condo, you can still grow your carrots, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, organic tea and more. You can even grow coffee, which is great if you also have a high quality espresso machine of your own.

You’ll need to prepare and understand in advance the challenges you’re going to face, as well as things like container size and preparation, the lighting situation and, of course, the watering.

A very important thing to understand with indoor gardening has proper drainage. Without proper drainage, your garden isn’t going to make it.

There are a few ways you can handle this. You can plant directly in a container that has drainage holes, or you can plant into one pot and place that pot into a tray or other container.

Another tip you may want to consider is to use a layer of marbles or pebbles on the bottom of the initial pot.

Why? McLellan states that this allows the water to drain without the plant sitting in water.

All you need for your containers is to make sure there is enough room for the plants to grow and that you have adequate drainage.

You can even use hanging baskets if that gives you more room or options for your indoor garden. A metal bucket, barrel or the standard pot all work fine.

Think about things like milk and bleach jugs (with the tops cut off), window boxes, even clothes baskets that you can line with plastic (don’t forget to punch your drainage holes)).

Now let’s talk about another crucial aspect that will help your indoor garden to thrive and that is lighting.

You clearly have two options here, a well-lit window or artificial lighting. Even a well-lit room may not be enough depending on where you live.

For example, if you are in the northeastern United States, you might have to supplement your well-lit room with artificial lighting.

This will also be dependent on what you are growing in your garden. Fruiting plants, like tomatoes, need lots of exposure to light, so even with a well-lit window, your tomatoes might do better with supplemental lighting.

If the seedlings of your plants are tall and spindly, chances are they aren’t getting enough light.

While leaf crops and root crops can handle some shade, most fruits and vegetables need at least five hours of direct sunlight and do better with almost double that amount.

Keep your lighting situation in mind when deciding what you want in your garden. You may very well need to buy lights.

While many people forget to water on a regular basis, it’s over-watering that is a big problem with an indoor garden. The plants in an indoor garden do not dry out as fast as they would if they were outdoors.

Always be sure to check each plant before watering again. By placing each type of plant in its container, you can better target its watering requirements as each plant is different in this regard. More explained here!

Finally, you need to worry about space requirements. This goes right back to the beginning of this article about planning. An indoor garden takes up a lot of space.

Be sure you understand the space you’ll need before you go and buy seeds and containers, etc.

Plan out your garden. Know what you are going to grow and understand the lighting, space and watering requirements of those particular plants.

If this is your first attempt at an indoor garden, start small with only a few plants.

Space restrictions and poor lighting have killed many an indoor garden. Make it easier on yourself with a small indoor garden to start.

To still get a lot out of your indoor garden while starting small, you might want to consider certain vegetables that don’t need as much space.

This includes such vegetables as carrots, radishes, and lettuce. You can also go with those that produce over time. This means tomatoes and peppers.

This will allow you to make the best use of space and containers.

Indoor Gardening is a fantastic way for people without a yard or the room outdoors, but still enjoy gardening and the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables.

I hope these indoor gardening tips help put you on track for your successful indoor garden.

Find out more tips in our featured post here:

The 7 Most Important Indoor Gardening Tips

Why do people do indoor gardening? This type of gardening is very important and it is mainly done in those places where the climate cannot allow you to grow crops outdoors especially during the winter months or periods. Gardening is usually done all year round as it enables farmers to get food or earn a living. Indoor gardening is a bit stressful because as you will be required to take extra care on your crops as compared to outdoor gardening where crops grow on their own and with little care.

Of course a big advantage of indoor gardening is that you can do it year round, allowing you to have a continuous supply of organic products that you know for sure are actually organic. Some of the most commonly grown crops in gardens are  herbs, fruits, vegetables and many more but all these requires you to have basic tips so that you can be able to grow them well and effectively. The top seven indoor gardening tips are:

Proper lighting is necessary

Indoor gardening requires proper lighting so that the plants grown in the gardens can grow faster. When the plants are not exposed to light they become frail and weak and therefore there should be enough light intensity.  Grow lights for indoor plants are very essential and this is something that you are required to take into consideration always as you plan your indoor gardening.

Soil matters

You need to be wise when choosing soil or ask for assistance from experts so that it can be easy for you to get the recommended soil or soil that can supports the growth of plants. In most cases outdoor soil contains weeds and even pesticides and these are harmful to plants. It is good if you use a pro-mix or ensure you have soil that is specifically made for the purpose of indoor growing. Producing healthiest plants is very important as this makes consumption or selling easy.

The drainage

Drainage plays a key role when it comes to growth of plants. Ensure that the container that you are using for indoor growth has enough holes at the bottom so that drainage can be enhanced.

Proper watering

Do you know that water is life? Without water plants cannot be able to grow because water must be present for plants to survive. There are plants that are watered regularly than others but this depends on the type of plant grown in that indoor environment.

Fertilizers must be present

Fertilizers are very important to plants because they make plants to grown faster and healthy. For you to have a healthy garden you must have soils that are rich in nutrients. Nutrients should be added periodically to plants because water flushes out nutrients.

Shower your plants

You should not shower your plants everyday as this will affect the nutrients carried by the soil. The water to be used in showering should be fresh water. This showering assists in removing dust and other contaminants that are on the leaves.

Capture it

It is important to take several pictures of your indoor gardening because this will enable you improve your business or start another business. A picture helps one to see a problem and also to solve it and also assists one to post in forums.

Find out more tips here: 

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