by Susan
on 05 May 2017
with

When most people think of gardening, the think of the benefit of either beauty or future bounty. However, we challenge you to take a look at gardening from a different perspective. Gardening has some unique health benefits that it offers its enthusiasts including stress (or anxiety) release, exercise, antidepressant qualities, and even increased vitamin D. All of which have a variety of health benefits on their own. Today we are going to focus on one of those examples in particular… vitamin D. 

 

There Are Several Different Types of Vitamin D!

While vitamin D is found in a variety of sources, the most important come in two forms. The vitamin D that we intake the most is vitamin D2, which is from plants or fortified sources. The other vital form, vitamin D3, is created my our skin when it’s exposed to the sunlight. The main sources of naturally occurring vitamin D2 are fish, eggs, and mushrooms. Due to the limited amount of naturally occurring vitamin D2, it is often added to milk, orange juice, cereals or are taken as supplements. Some research suggests that vitamin D3 is more efficiently absorbed by the body, regardless of whether it was taken orally or sourced through our skin’s natural process. This factor, along with the limited resources for naturally occurring vitamin D2, logically makes vitamin D the “better” choice.

 

Why Vitamin D Is Important

Vitamin D plays a couple roles in the human body. It’s most notorious role is assisting the boy in absorbing calcium, which is why a majority of store-bought milk is fortified with vitamin D. Calcium is also a vital for healthy body functions, as it improves bone health and decreases the risk of fractures. According to a study in the United States National Library of Medicine1, vitamin D may also protect the human body from heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes (type 2), depression, Parkinson’s disease and a variety of cancers. 

In fact, there is even a condition known as vitamin D deficiency. This condition is due to inadequate exposure to vitamin D either consumed or sourced from sunlight. However, for most patients, it’s inadequate exposure to natural sunlight. One of the common consequences of vitamin D deficiency is osteoporosis and muscle weakness. 

 

Where Does Gardening Come Into the Picture?

The typical person doesn’t get the amount to sunshine they should each day, this is why many Canadians take vitamin D supplements or consciously purchase fortified products. However, there’s an easier (and much more efficient) way to get your daily dose of vitamin D (at least during the warmer months)… by spending some time in the sun! What’s an easy way that anyone can do this? Gardening! No to mention that gardening has a variety of other added benefits. For many Canadians, exercise and active sports may not be a  realistic option for getting out in the sun. However, gardening offers these people the opportunity to absorb a little vitamin C while enjoying the great outdoors. 

 

Gardening truly does offer participants so much fruit for their labor, both physically and metaphorically! It gives people the opportunity to not just experience the outdoors, but to be an active part of cultivating the natural beauty around them. If you are interested in learning more about gardening or to discover where you can purchase Pefferlaw Peat and Delicious Dirt’s organic products, please feel free to contact us today.

 

by Susan
on 28 April 2017
with

Even though most scholars claim that “organic agriculture” started in the 1920’s, this isn’t quite accurate. The term “organic” in the way that we use it today in reference to food, soil and agriculture began in the 1920’s. The truth is that the approach to farming that we consider organic goes way farther back in history than the twentieth century. So why does it seem that organic is a “newer” trend? That might just be a marketing trick to keep you purchasing non-organic produce and products. Here is a brief history of the organic movement and why it’s important in today’s society.

 

Our Ancestors Ate Exclusively Organic

No, our ancestors didn’t drive to their local Whole Foods and debate between purchasing organic or non-organic food. In fact, there wasn’t a choice at all. Since the very first humans planted seeds, everything we grew until the 1920’s was organic! We didn’t realize this of course because there wasn’t an alternative. In fact, the only times there may have been incidences of what we would now consider “non-organic” food being produced would have been through accidental contamination. If organic is the natural order of things, how are most current crops considered “non-organic”?

 

The Industrial Revolution Started The Organic Movement

Yes, you read that correctly! By offering an alternative, the agricultural movement during the industrial revolution created the need to differentiate the two. The new agricultural techniques were developed to increase crop yields and reduce production cost. This lead to cheaper produce for consumers and higher profits for producers. The mass production mindset has also lead to increased use of pesticides, genetic modification and other means of increasing crop yields. The rapid growth of this agricultural movement in the early to mid-1900’s quickly overtook the traditional, now known as organic, agricultural market. 

 

Marketing Has Played A Role

While organic produce never fully disappeared, their availability in processed products was scarce. As Canadian society moved more toward processed goods, the organic options continued to be dwarfed by the vast, ever-growing non-organic alternatives. This didn’t just limit the availability of organic options, it also limited their shelf space in stores. We’ve all heard the phrase “out of sight, out of mind.” This concept definitely played a role in why traditional agriculture seemed to disappear and come back as “organic.” By positioning themselves as the biggest player in the game, many of the large corporations who own popular brands have created the illusion that organic is a new movement. In reality, organic agriculture never stopped! There have always been farms both big and small growing organic produce. As the organic movement picks up speed, we are actually seeing more and more farms convert back to the traditional (organic) way of farming!

 

You’re An Important Part of The Organic Movement

Organic agriculture has had a surprising history, which will include countless more decades of growth. In Canada, we value the benefit of education in many aspects of our lives. As a society, we need to begin including food as a part of that! The best thing we can do is educate the people around us through example, documentaries, articles and hands-on experiences. This is why community gardens have been such a monumental part of the organic movement. It is also is our best advice for you to participate in the organic movement at home! Start an organic garden, even if it’s just potted herbs in your kitchen or a small part of your lawn dedicated to botanicals. Use it as a conversation starter with friends and family. Gardening also a great way to teach children hands-on about food and why your family garden is organic! 

 

Organic agriculture may not be something new, but it’s definitely a practice worth keeping around! The best way to support the organic movement is to be willing to talk about it and experiment with an organic gardening at home. We believe in the power of knowledge and the importance of continuing to learn new things each day. If you are interested in learning more about the organic movement or where you can find Pefferlaw Peat and Delicious Dirt products, feel free to contact us today! 

by Susan
on 21 April 2017
with

Anyone who loves to cook or appreciates the taste of foods understands the importance of herbs. It is no doubt that herbs are a staple in every culinary culture around the globe. No matter where you are from or what your diet consists of, herbs are a vital element in creating the taste of each dish. This is one of the reasons we love growing our own organic herbs at home (not to mention saving a little money too)! You’d be surprised how simple and easy each of these commonly used herbs can be grown in your very own home. 

 

Chives

Chives are a very common herb used in Canadian homes! Their versatile flavour is the reason they are used to season food such as fish, potatoes, soups, cheese and many other dishes. Chives are a bulb-forming plant that grows about 12-20 inches tall. Their stems are hollow tubes with a soft texture. The stem, finely chopped, are what is typically used in culinary dishes. Chives also have insect repelling properties that make them a favourite in many outdoor gardens. Although, they are very easy to grow indoors as well. 

 

Basil

Basil is a historically common herb used in many cultures, such as Greece, Italy, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and even Taiwan. One of the most popular dishes you can find basil in is Italian pesto. While basil can be grown outside in parts of Canada during warmer seasons, it can also be grown year round inside. This is what makes fresh basil one of our go-to kitchen spices! You can grow some in your kitchen or any windowsill, so you always have some when the recipe calls!

 

Dill

Another easy to grow herb is dill! In fact, dill is unique in that almost all parts of the plan (excluding the roots) are used in culinary cuisines worldwide. For example, most people in North America use dill leaves to flavor food such as fish, eggs, and soups, while dill flowers are often used in the pickling process. Dill seeds are also utilized in cooking and dill oil is often used in creating soaps. Dill is popular in Europe, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Asia, and North America. It also popular due to a variety of health benefits, including antibacterial properties. 

Thyme

One of the most adaptable herbs in history is thyme. You’d be surprised all of the uses humans have devised for this versatile plant, including ancient Egyptians using it for embalming. Even ancient Romans relied on thyme to cleanse rooms, as well as flavor cheese and liqueurs. In modern times, thyme is most commonly seen as a culinary addition to many foods both in Canada and abroad. Thyme is very also popular in Middle Eastern dishes, most commonly seen in seasonings like za’atar. In Europe and North America, thyme typically seasons casseroles, soups, stews, and sautéed vegetables. However, due to its antibacterial qualities, it is also found in many products we purchase, such as mouthwashes and hand sanitizers. 

 

Growing herbs is a great way to start your gardening adventure or even just to expand your home's organic garden. While some parts of Canada are too cold to grow all of these herbs year-round, they can all be grown inside as well! This is another reason we are so in love with our herb garden at home. We grow ours indoors, right by the kitchen, that way we never miss an opportunity to use our home grown organic herbs. For more tips on growing organic food or to learn where you can purchase Pefferlaw Peat and Delicious Dirt products, please feel free to contact us today!

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