by Susan
on 19 May 2017
with

When it comes to the organic world, things aren’t as cut and dry as some might believe. In fact, it brings up the very question of what actually is organic? “Organic” means related to or derived from living matter and produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents. Seems pretty straight forward, but it’s a bit more complicated than you may think! That’s why we believe part of our job is to help inform the public about the organic movement. 

 

What Is Pro-Cert Certified Organic?

If you purchase organic products on a regular basis, you’ve probably seen Pro-Cert logos on products you’ve bought. Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd, also known simply as Pro-Cert, is one of the leading certifiers of organic products on North America. Their main clientele base is compromised of producers, processors, and traders of organic products from across the United States and Canada. 

The Pro-Cert certification program is recognized globally for providing international access to their certified organic brands. In fact, Pro-Cert is one of the most reliable ways that Canadians depend on to recognize authentic organic products due to their extensive certification program. The program is proudly accredited by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), the CFIA’s Canada Organic Regime (COR), Quebec’s Committee on Accreditation for Evaluation of Quality (CAEQ) and more. They are also ISO 17065 compliant and accredited by globally recognized accreditor, IOAS (previously known as the International Organic Accreditation Service). This means if Pro-Cert says it’s organic, it is truly organic!

 

What is The Importance of Certifications, Such As Pro-Cert?

A majority of the public doesn’t realize how precise and planned organic agriculture is. In fact, in order to sell a certified organic apple at a store the seeds must be organic, the soil it is grown in must be organic, all processes (including the use of insecticides) must meet organic standards and the farmer has to be able to prove it. A little complicated, right? Well, that’s just an apple, it gets a lot more complicated when you start dealing with processed products, such as organic soil. Why? Because the more ingredients your product has, the more areas you have to monitor to maintain the organic status of your product. 

This is one of the reasons that Pro-Cert is such an important part of the organic movement! They are part of the regulation required to maintain a consistent certified organic standard from one market to another. The truth is unless the produce or product you are purchasing is “certified organic,” it may not be as organic as you think! According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, a product’s content only has to be at 95% organic to be labeled “organic” or bear the organic logo. This also includes claims of “organically grown”, “organically raised”, “organically produced,” or other similar renderings. If a product does not meet these standards, they may only declare that their product “contains x% organic ingredients” (with “x” corresponding to the exact percentage of organic content). So if it’s not certified organic, is it really organic? 

 

At Pefferlaw Peat, we believe in the importance of educating the public about organic products and why the label requirements are vital. This not only helps customers find the right products, it also holds the entire food industry to higher regulation standards. Pro-Cert plays a huge role in the organic industry by ensuring that their certified products meet the high levels of required standards. We encourage all Canadians to do a little of their own research into the manufacturing and labeling of products both in the organic and non-organic industries. For more information about Pefferlaw Peat and Delicious Dirt’s Pro-Cert certified organic products or where to purchase them, please feel free to contact us today!

by Susan
on 12 May 2017
with

For most new gardeners, they want to start small. Usually with a herb garden or a few indoor plants. Indoor plants are a great way to start working on your green thumb! In fact, they are what we recommend as a first step into gardening. It will help you gauge the responsibility of owning a plant, such as watering it and adding nutrients to the soil as needed. Of course, some plants require more vigilant care than others. This is why it is important to learn a little bit about the plants you are interested in before you purchase them. That way there are never any surprises! There are the (easy to care for) indoor plants that we recommend to first-time gardeners.

 

Jade Plant

The Jade plant (crassula ovata) is a common houseplant all over the world. It is a favorite among new and seasoned gardeners, as it is an incredibly easy plant to care for and maintain. It is native to South Africa and survives in almost all indoor conditions. In fact, it also needs very minimal watering. Jades are actually considered succulents and can be propagated quite easily. They are also a very common starting point for gardeners learning bonsai since they are durable and easy to work with. 

 

Spider Plant

The spider plant (chlorophytum comosum) goes by a couple names, including St. Bernard’s lily and ribbon plant. This plant is native to tropical and southern Africa but is a pretty popular houseplant globally.They have even gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Gold. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 2 degrees Celsius but thrive best between 18 and 32 degrees Celsius. One of the reasons we love this plant is because of its ability to reduce indoor air pollution in your home. Of course, also how easy it is to care for!

 

Common Ivy

Common Ivy (hedera helix) is only of the most well known of all the house plants! Ivy is native to most of Europe and western Asia. Ivy is incredibly easy to care for all it needs is access to sunlight and a little water. Ivy is one of our favorites because of the vast variety that they are available in! Most stores that carry ivy have several variations from you to choose from. All of which have similar maintenance needs! Typically, most ivy plants are not greatly affected by hot or cold temperature, however, temperature fluctuation can have negative effects on the plant’s condition. 

 

When it comes to gardening, it is important to start! Doesn’t matter where you start, you’re still going to have to start somewhere. The easiest (and most recommended) way to get your green thumb into action is with easy-to-grow plants that don’t take too much maintenance. That way you can get a little experience before you start a full-sized garden at home (if that is your goal). Of course, it is the time of year to start an outdoor garden too! We challenge you to plant one plant this year, indoor or outdoor and just give gardening a try. You’d be surprised by all the benefits it offers! For more information about easy-to-grow plants or to learn where you can purchase Delicious Dirt and Pefferlaw Peat products, please feel free to contact us today. 

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.

 

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