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Please help me welcome the newest worker in our little greenhouse!  I have been watching with eager anticipation for the day I would see this little fellow.  He is a baby Praying Mantis and he will become one of my best gardening friends. Why, you ask, well let me share.  Praying Mantis’ are the enemy of almost all the little pests that eat your plants.  He will be on patrol to make sure the aphids, white flies, potato beetles and other such insects get settled in his stomach instead of my plants!

By helping nature balance itself, we have no need for chemical insecticides, fertilizers, etc. nor will we ever use them. This little guy is a huge step in the right direction.  Another little friend who showed up this week but was too shy to let me get a portrait of, was a little toad, and I am hoping he has a big family.  He also will be munching away at all the bad guys and I don’t have to do a thing except make sure they are comfy in their new home!

In years  past, we have had an awesome balance within the garden but I wasn’t sure we would have it back with the building construction, soil compaction, etc.  I am over delighted to see the worms in abundance, which is a great help with soil health.  Lady bugs are also a very welcome site to see within your gardens , as are lace wings and many other little insects.

All these little guys make my job easier and our food more healthy.  With true, traditional organic gardening practices, this is the desired population you want to see. It pays to do a little research to help you identify the good guys from the bad ones and then take the actions to encourage them settling into your little paradise.

I titled this little post “Traditional Organic Gardening” for good reason.  So much of our food production in this country has been totally taken  over by corporate agriculture.  Even behind the ‘organic’ labeling of products that show up on the shelves and produce bins of our stores is a pitiful effort to try to make wholesome food.  Garden centers and nurseries are no better.  If you are purchasing your plants for your garden from these venues, you are receiving compromised plants, without a doubt. Big money is behind big business and our food is BIG business. In recent years the big guys on the block have realized the demand for organically produced food and have jumped on the bandwagon and are driving it fast and hard! The results make me very sad.

The solution is easy and hard all at the same time!  Easy in that we just need to shift our thinking and actions to produce our own food and what we are unable to grow for ourselves, purchase from our friends and neighbors who have the same vision and goals but different products.  It’s the ‘traditional’ way of living and it has served mankind for thousands of years! Getting the vision, education, desire are the easy part.  The harder half of this is doing it!  Many of us did not grow up this way, don’t have the space or time for gardening/farming/ranching and yet when we dedicate ourselves to this awesome work, miracles do happen!  It is hard to get a garden site ready, hard to put up fences to keep animals safe and a million other actions that need to take place.  Some are one time efforts, others are on-going but let me just encourage you that all of it is so very worth it!

If you are only in a place to add a few potted herbs to your porch, let me be the one to cheer you on!  If you are a full time rancher, let me sing you praises.  If you are somewhere in the middle, keep on keeping on. It is very hard work to grow food, yet the satisfaction is worth every effort. Preparing and eating these good foods will become your delight as you educate and perfect the art of eating seasonally and learn to appreciate the value of eating locally or regionally.

I hope your gardens are bursting this year. I hope you have many little friends in your gardens to help you in your work.  I hope you have some awesome pantries and tables filled with the work of your hands.  I hope you have a table full of friends and family to share your work with.  Most of all I hope the Creator of all the goodness will bless you and keep you in good health as a result of your efforts!

I do not claim to be an expert by any means but if you have questions or need help, let me know.  I am ready and willing to help others get healthy from their food and herbs.  If you are in need of some healthy, traditionally grown, organic  plants – stop out to our greenhouse, we can get you going!