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Diabetics need to produce their own food as they need lots more fresh vegetables than most people do, and often a wide variety of fresh organic veggies is financially beyond most people’s ability to pay. So, diabetics need to grow more of their own organic, alkaline food in order to be healthier and to make sure that they have the money to follow through on other needed aspects of their care.
As I have gotten further into researching this subject, I see that this system of gardening is really easy, for beginners and even children, but that there is a lot of mixed-message information out there on the Internet, at present.
That’s another reason for the late posting here. I really want to be true to my own roots that insist on the most organic, least invasive, most ecologically sound and economically sound way to help people get started.
I’ve been interested in these gardening practices all my adult life, and had a planned solar greenhouse on the passive solar home we built. But, now we don’t live there, and I have had to put on my thinking cap to adapt to where we live now.
I have a wide, sunny veranda on the south-east to south to south-west, but some shade from a large apple tree as the sun heads west. The original garden area is west of the apple tree but surrounded by other ornamentals which block sun. As I am renting now, I have no choice about moving the garden or chopping the trees back or down.
I would like to have a combination of raised beds (for easy access at a height I can use comfortably) and hydroponic, self-watering containers (SWCs) or also called SIPs (sub-irrigated planters ).
I know the garden soil here has been treated organically, and that was key, but even so, most people need to get their soil tested if they are going to use garden soil (whether their own yard or a public allotment plot). You can get soil samples tested at the University of Massachusetts (see the link below).
But, gardening hydroponically will give you more options, especially if you find your soil is not suitable.
Gardening hydroponically will also allow people in urban circumstances to garden better on their balconies, in windows, under grow-lights inside their home or apartment and on apartment building rooftops (with permission).
Many cities have groups who are encouraging and teaching about Urban Farming as it is imperative that more people have food security, whether they are diabetic or not.
Agribusiness is not doing a good job of providing a safe food supply for Americans. All they are good at is lobbying Congress for less oversight, and for less testing of the environment they are destroying. We are walking around with their chemical trash inside us, unless you have been able to buy organic food.
I will mention a few sources where you can begin to mull over what to buy in the way of seeds, plants and tubers for the next season’s planting (Fall here and Spring in the Southern hemisphere).
If you jump right to it, using already started plants (preferably organically grown), you may still get a Summer garden in.
I lean toward sharing highly nutritious food plants, ones that are really good for diabetes and ones which are heritage foods whose biodiversity we can insure as individual gardeners (because agribusiness doesn’t plant heritage varieties at all). They plant monocultured hybrids which put our food at great risk for blights which destroy the crop.
See links to the first places to learn about worthy plants, below.
During the early part of the 20th century, 40% of Americans’ foods were still grown at home. Same was true for the UK and Canada. Now we are at the mercy of agribusiness, and we have to become self-sufficient and independent once again, for lots of important reasons, not the least of which is getting healthier food for very little money!
One box, (2 1/2 feet long, 15 inches wide, and a foot tall) of the general hydroponic type which I will describe to you over the next few postings was able to deliver 137 pounds of tomatoes in one season!
A pound of squash will cost you $2.00 to $3.00 in a store, but one surviving-and-thriving squash seed will usually produce several pounds of squash! Tomatoes run $1.00 to $2.00 per pound. One surviving-to-plant seed will possibly produce around 40 pounds of tomatoes.
At the original DIY (do it yourself) site for hydroponic self-watering grow boxes, Josh Mandel has done his plastics research (as have I) and now urges gardeners NOT to use ANY PVC!
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is mentioned to use in these hydroponic systems in lots of instructions all over the Web, but you must NOT use it!. (It may already have been allowed in your home’s plumbing system … get a plumber to check. It’s OK for waste water, if you are not using grey-water for anything else, but it is NOT OK for potable water! And, it should never be used for a hot water line.).
So, this serious plastics issue is why I have decided to educate you about plastics for the rest of this post … as most of these systems rely on plastics. That’s a fact I am not comfortable with, but hydroponics is too valuable a way to farm, so we must find the safest plastics to use.
Here’s information about the best and the worst plastics. Make the changes in your life, as you need to, and learn to read the bottom imprints or call manufacturers!
___ Often times it is the “releasing” agent used to get the plastic from the mold which is as dangerous as the plastic resin recipe, itself. So you need to learn about release agents, too.
___ The safest plastics are specifically numbered types which also say they are “pharmaceutical grade” or say they are “food grade”.
I would only get new food grade, when possible, and if recycling food-grade, then just get ones from organic foods wherever possible. Some delis, bakeries and restaurants may be willing to give them to you, but you must be sure they didn’t use them in any other non-food way, too. You must also fastidiously clean them before use.
Here’s the plastics info:
The kinds of plastics we generally regard as safe are those with the numbers 1, 2, 4, or 5 (these numbers are usually found inside the recycling symbol).
The ones we seek to avoid are 3 (Polyvinyl Chloride/Vinyl), 6 (Polysterene/Styrofoam), and 7 (Polycarbonate and others).
;From the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Center for Environmental Oncology
1. PETE or PET (polyethylene terephthalate): used for most clear beverage bottles.
2. HDPE (high density polyethylene): used for “cloudy” milk and water jugs, opaque food bottles.
4. LDPE (low density polyethylene): used in food storage bags and some “soft” bottles.
5. PP (polypropylene): used in rigid containers, including some baby bottles, and some cups and bowls.
3. PVC or V (polyvinyl chloride): used in some cling wraps (especially commercial brands), some “soft” bottles.
6. PS (polystyrene): used in foam “clam-shell”-type containers, meat and bakery trays, and in its rigid form, clear take-out containers, some plastic cutlery and cups. I think styrofoam is part of this group.
7. Other (usually polycarbonate): used in 5-gallon water bottles, some baby bottles, some metal can linings.
#3 – PVC is hazardous in all of its phases: manufacturing, the products themselves in the home, and in the disposal of it. To soften PVC into these flexible forms, various toxic chemicals are added as “plasticizers.” Traces of these chemicals, known as adipates and phthalates (like Bishenol-A), can leak out of PVC into your food.
#6 – A recent study in Environmental Health Perspectives concluded that some styrene compounds leaching from food containers are estrogenic (meaning they can disrupt normal hormonal functioning in males, especially, but also in females). Styrene is also considered a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization.
#7 – a grab-bag of different plastic types. One, polycarbonate, may be able to release its primary building block, bisphenol A , another suspected hormone disruptor, into liquids and foods. Although several governments in Europe and North America currently hold polycarbonate tableware and food storage containers to be safe, this is a highly active area of research.
More about plastics and hydroponic system designs to consider, later this week. Meanwhile watch the following 90 minute movie, in pieces, so you understand WHY you cannot do nothing!
The Future of Food movie.
REFERENCES AND LINKS:
Learn about Sweet Potatoes. They are one of Nature’s healthiest foods and are very easy to grow, even inside. Their leaves are edible to (different plants vary in flavor). They are fast growing vines and when you find one that has leaves you like, you can treasure it!
If you need free seeds: DinnerGarden.org which has provided seeds to over 48,000 American families and over 120 community gardens since 2009.
Ark of Taste – Heritage Foods to preserve biodiversity.
OmniSeedSEarch Engine:170 online seed catalogues
Josh Mandel: One Hydroponic Starter Garden
(c)2010 Em at https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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