10 steps to getting started if you have no gardening experience. The key elements you must have are some sun, soil and water. Minimum tools needed – gloves and a shovel.
1. Stop applying all pesticides and weed killers to the soil in and around your entire garden. No exceptions.
2. Start small – 50 square feet, for example. Ideally, find the spot in your yard that ideally has sun all year round. If the area is shaded part of the year, that’s OK too. Avoid the areas next to buildings or fences because of possible contamination of the soil by paint, heavy metals or chemicals.
3. Remove whatever debris is covering the dirt, including rocks larger than a fingernail. If plants already grow there dig them out with the shovel and save them off to the side.
4. Cover your gardening area with organic material such as leaves, dried grass and fine plant material from your own or other’s non-pesticide sprayed gardens.
5. Get a bucketful of good compost from someone else’s garden or crumbly black sweet-smelling soil from under forest trees. Spread this thinly all over your garden. You will be inoculating your soil with all manner of soil organisms, little bugs, worms and other beneficial life forms that are going to do most of the work for you if you give them the chance.
6. Use the a pick or shovel to mix the top 3 inches of soil and organic material. Burying the organic material any deeper just kills the critters and wastes your energy.
7. Keep the soil damp like a wrung out sponge, not soggy.
8. Never walk on your soil. Make a kneeling board to avoid compacting it and use an old cushion to save your knees.
9. Obtain vegetables in 4″ pots. Dig a hole slightly larger than the 4″ pot, squeeze the sides to unstick the plant, fluff it’s roots sideways and plant it. Mulch around it with organic material to keep the soil moist underneath it.
10. Start your own compost heap in a corner of the garden. Just heap up all the clean organic material that you can get and mix it up occasionally. Apply the compost periodically to the soil around your plants or use it to start your own seeds.
DIY ORGANIC GARDEN SPRAY/PESTICIDE
This mixture is spicy and will help repel many of the insects that bother you and your garden.
- Kitchen gloves
- Spray bottle
- 1/2 cup of water
- 3-4 hot chili peppers
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of dishsoap
- Water to fill remainder of spray bottle
- Fine mesh strainer
Add water to blender. Add hot peppers and garlic. Blend until smooth. Strain and put in empty spray bottle. Add dish soap and fill sprayer with water to the top. When ready spray herbs out of direct sunlight.
DIY YOUR OWN TOOTHPASTE
- 2 tablespoons of glycerin
- 4 tablespoons of baking soda
- 5 drops of peppermint essence or more for taste
Mix thoroughly and store in a jar or squeeze bottle. The consistency is much thinner than regular toothpaste. Find a small glass jar or bottle to store in (not plastic!). It does taste salty but you’ll get used to it and your teeth and body will love you.
CUBAN BLACK BEAN BURGERS
Place half the beans in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat a little olive oil in a saut’e pan over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Combine with the bean puree. Then add the remaining beans, spices, herbs, and breadcrumbs to the bowl. Stir to combine – season with salt and pepper. Form mixture into 6-8 patties of equal size (about 1/2″ thick). Layer between sheets of wax paper and stack in a air-tight freezer safe container until you want to eat some.
To cook set a non-stick saut’e pan over medium high heat, add a little olive oil, and pan fry the burgers for about 3-4 minutes each side. Delicious!
MANGO CHUTNEY, ERICA KAB
- 3 ripe ( but not too soft) mangos
- 1 cup diced yellow sweet onion
- 1 cup diced red pepper
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro
- 1 lime
- A few dashes of Braggs cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- ** for a little bit of spice you can add finely chopped jalapenos or crushed red pepper
First wash, peel and cube the mangos. Then wash and dice the red pepper, onion and cilantro ( and jalapeno or crushed red pepper if you want it to be spicier).Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, then add the few dashes of cider vinegar or Baslamic vinegar and squeezed lime juice of entire lime. Give it a little toss and you can serve immediately or put in the fridge to chill.
I like to serve this with faux chicken tacos or just simply eat with tortilla chips.
HOLY GUACAMOLE, JASON MRAZ
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can no longer indulge your sweet tooth! Jason Mraz’s gives us his home Recipe for Raw Chocolate Mousse aka Holy Guacamole! straight from his Avocado Farm in San Diego, California.
What you’ll be needin’:
- 4 ripe avocados
- 2 cups of yummy dates, finely chopped or pureed …or, 8-10 dates per avocado
- 1 cup raw cacao (raw chocolate powder)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Dark Agave nectar (sweeten to your liking)
- (To make the dish taste darker- try a heaping spoonful of raw carob powder as well)
What to do:
- Mash, blend, or whip the avocados into your preferred pudding like texture. Eliminate any lumps or chunks!
- Slowly add dates while mashing.
- Dump in the remaining ingredients (chocolate powder, vanilla, and Agave nectar) Mix well so that the ‘avocado green’ color is hidden in rich chocolaty awesomeness!
- Don’t waste the avocado skins! Use them as little serving cups.
- The flavor and texture will sit better if refrigerated overnight.
- Garnish with a strawberry or something sweet!
VEGAN BANANA BREAD, JEN SMITH
I came up with this vegan zucchini bread recipe by combining two recipes I found online. It’s so good you would never even think it was as healthy as it is. You can add nuts, raisins, seeds, and dried fruit or replace the chocolate chips with carob to keep it truly vegan. The recipe makes two loafs.
- 2 CUPS grated zucchini, packed
- 3 TBS ground flax seeds whisked into 1/4-cup warm water
- 1/2 CUP vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1/4-CUP applesauce
- 1/2 TSP vanilla
- 1 TSP fresh grated ginger (I love ginger so sometimes I put in 2 tsp)
- 1/2-CUP maple syrup
- 1/4-CUP plain soymilk
- 2 CUPS all purpose flour
- 1-CUP whole-wheat flour
- 1-CUP brown sugar
- 1 TBSP cinnamon
- 1 TSP nutmeg
- 1/2 TSP cloves
- 1 TBSP baking soda
- 1 TSP baking powder
- 1 CUP chocolate chips
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
- Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl. I use a whisker to mix the dry ingredients and it works fine.
- Whisk flax seeds and warm water and set aside.
- Mix wet ingredients then add flax mixture.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ones and stir until smooth.
- Add chocolate chips, or whatever you choose.
- Pour the mixture into two lightly greases loaf pans and bake for 45-50 minutes.
HEALTHY BAKED POTATO, SHANEY JO DARDEN
Lara Koljonen, a Licensed Acupuncturist and the founder of Essentially Pink and Herbin Acupuncture is one of our Keep A Breast grantees. She sent us over this awesome recipe for Build-your-own Breast Health Baked Potato.
- 1 organic russet potato
- (Use the following according to taste, depending on what you would like to use as toppings for your potato)
- organic green onion (chives)
- organic broccoli (finely chopped)
- organic cheese (optional)
- Dressing (see below)
Thoroughly wash potato, do not scrape or peel. Bake in oven 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees.
- 1_2 cup organic flax seed oil
- 1_4 white onion, minced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp organic dry dill
Place ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. Once steam from potato has cooled, (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT), spoon onto your baked potato.
KITCHARI, ALYSSE FISHER
Our friend Alysse Fisher from Cafe Gratitude provided us with this amazing recipe for Kitchari (or Kitchadi). Kitchari is made with an ayurvedic approach. There are no onions or garlic used because they are considered to be *rajasic and this is a **sattvic food.
- Organic white basmati rice (you can use brown rice or quinoa)
- Split mung/moong dahl (you can use yellow or red lentils)
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Bragg (liquid aminos. you can use tamari or soy sauce)
- Veggie (Yams are my favorite for this! Also, I sometimes use yellow summer squash, cut big. Beets are good too! Whatever’s in season is best!)
- ghee/rice: 2T/1c
- ghee/dahl: 2T/1c
- rice/dahl: 1/1
- rice/H20: 1/2
- dal/H20: 1/4
- spices/rice: 1t/1c
- spices/dahl: 1t/1c
- bragg (liquid aminos- yum! great in salad dressing too!): to taste
In a rice cooker: add all ingredients and press the button!
Stove top: heat ghee. add spices. (careful! watch it!!! ghee and spices burnt = no good!!). add rice, lentils, water, bragg. bring to boil. Stir Frequently. Add veggies towards the end and simmer until grain is tender and flavors have come together! Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and lemon wedges! add a drop of ghee to the top of the bowl and let it melt for a completely divine experience…
Take a moment to breath in the delicious aroma of the food before you dive in! Give gratitude for the sunshine that grew the grain and the all the farmers who tended to the crop! Imagine only love going into the creation of this food and open yourself to receive it manifested love as medicine! Ommmmmmm
*Tamas, rajas and sattva (collectively known as the guna), are used to describe the quality of mind. Tamas describe the state of heaviness and slowness in feeling. Rajasic is an active quality of mind; one that can cause you to want to do things when it is time to sleep. In a sattvic mind, there is neither heaviness and lethargy nor raciness and restlessness, but only clarity (The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar)
**Sattva is clarity.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, CASEY COCHRAN
This is a super easy recipe that is not only delicious but packs a punch against cancer! I can normally have this dish done in 30 minutes including prep. Here’s what you’ll need for roughly ten servings:
- 6 lb organic cauliflower
- 1/2 cup organic olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon organic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Here’s how to prepare the cauliflower for cooking:
First, preheat the oven to 400°F. Break off, or cut the cauliflower into its natural stalks – roughly 1-2″ each.
Toss the cauliflower around in a large bowl with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread the stalks evenly on one very large, or two shallow baking pans. Place the pans in the oven and stir the stalks around occasionally to prevent burning until they are golden brown – this will take about 20 to 25 minutes.Remove the dish(es) from the oven, let cool slightly, eat and enjoy their tasty awesomeness!
Quick fact: Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable which helps cleanse the body of damaging free radicals, encourages the body to ramp up its production of tumor and cancer fighting enzymes. Studies have shown that eating just three servings of cruciferous vegetables a week can significantly lower the risk of several types of cancer.