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Gardening by the Moon

Plants and other forms of nature all get energy from the sun everyday, so you might be surprised when you learn that the Moon is very beneficial also. Moon Gardening has become increasingly popular but the method isn’t anything new. The Moon Phases are quite common for some gardeners and farmers and the technique has been around for many moons.

So how does the moon affect gardening? The basic idea is that the cycles of the Moon affect plant growth. Because the Moon is closer to the Earth, it’s strength is greater than the Sun’s. We all know that ocean tides are affected by the gravitational pull from the Moon, it also affects moisture in the soil. The thought is that because the Moon is closer to the Earth the water is drawn to the surface. Different amounts of moonlight influence the growth of plants. As the moonlight increases (new moon and second quarter), leaf growth is stimulated. After the full moon the moonlight decreases, giving energy to the plant roots. The Leaf growth slows down above ground at this point. This is a wonderful time to plant your bulbs and root crops because the roots will actively grow. 

Planting by the Moon has been done for centuries and people will continue to do this because it produces outstanding results. 


Written by Aemon Ratliffe

Moon Gardening Calendar

This calendar, developed by Ray and Jean Scott in Australia, works on the gravitational pull of the Moon. To order your own moon calendar gardening guide, please visit their website here.

No Till, Deep Mulch Gardening

How can you have fresh and delicious produce by putting forth minimal effort? Is it possible to grow your own food without back breaking labor and sweating in the hot sun? Not only is it possible but there are more and more people who are moving towards disturbing the earth less and 

using a more natural and time saving approach.

“And now let's get down to business. The labor-saving heart of my system is that I never plow, spade, sow a cover crop, harrow, hoe, 

cultivate, weed, water or irrigate, or spray.” 

(Gardening Without Work by Ruth Stout, Page 6)

You can use mulch to limit the amount of work required in gardening. By using enough hay, or whatever vegetable material of choice, 

you can have a garden that is weed free and nutrient rich.

 Digging disrupts natural processes in the ground. 

Soil pests and predators have a relationship that is best left undisturbed and can potentially have great benefits for your garden.

Starting a no till garden is a fairly straightforward process. 

Clear the area of anything like rocks and debris, this will help create 

a flat surface. Some gardeners lay down a thick layer of mulch, 

others start with a cardboard base. Both ways suppress the growth of weeds. Planting involves moving the mulch and placing the seeds in. 

After creating a base layer, add hay and other materials on top of it. 

This will eventually decompose, when it does, place more hay on top. Repeat this process, and you will have an established 

no till, deep mulch garden. 

No till, deep mulch gardening has several perks. 

The layers of mulch retain moisture reducing the need for watering. 

Less physical labor is involved, there is less need for weeding, 

and plants can be left to die resulting in natural fertilizer.

 Because the ground is disturbed less creatures that are beneficial to growing are allowed to stay in their natural state. No till, deep mulch gardening is great for the aging population, people who don’t have 

much time to garden, people who don’t have the money for 

equipment, and people who just want something easier. 


Written by Aubrey Ratliffe


But it's not green!

Benefits and Uses of Baking Soda

Baking soda has many uses beyond cookies and other baked goods. Baking

soda, or sodium bicarbonate, becomes activated when mixed with an acidic ingredient

and a liquid. Upon activation, carbon dioxide is made, allowing muffins or cakes to rise

and become fluffy. Baking soda is alkaline, or basic, unlike baking powder, which can

activate on its own -- but the two are very different! 

One of the most famous uses of baking soda is to extinguish fires. Baking soda

can put out electrical and grease fires, where using water typically makes the situation

worse. Usually it takes a whole regular-sized box of baking soda to smother a small fire

in a pan or pot, but large fires require jumbo-sized boxes found in the laundry aisle of

grocery stores. Since a fire needs oxygen to keep burning, baking soda is the best

extinguisher (except for a real fire extinguisher) because it releases carbon dioxide.

Baking soda can also be used to reduce swelling and pain of bee and wasp

stings! Mix about a 1⁄4 of a cup of baking soda with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to make

a thick paste and apply to the sting site. It’s thought that baking soda can actually lower

the acidity of the sting.

Baking soda may help treat acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid enters

the esophagus. Experiencing acid reflux from time to time is perfectly normal, but it can

be unpleasant. Baking soda helps treat acid reflux by lessening stomach acidity.

However, baking soda is high in sodium, 629 mg per 1⁄2 teaspoon, and repeated use of

baking soda has been shown to cause health problems. Baking soda can be used as a replacement for mouth wash. Some studies have shown that it can freshen breath and provide antibacterial properties! One study did show that baking soda didn’t significantly lower bacterial levels, but did increase salivary pH, which inhibits bacterial growth. To use baking soda as mouthwash, add 1⁄2 a teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of water and swish it in your mouth like normal.

Baking soda is slightly abrasive, which allows it to break molecule bonds that

stain the teeth. Toothpaste containing baking soda has been shown to be better at

whitening teeth and removing plaque. Since baking soda is alkaline, it helps reduce the

acidic smell of broken-down sweat, making it a good deodorant. During exercise, the muscle cells produce lactic acid, which causes the burning sensation that accompanies physical exertion. Lactic acid then lowers the pH inside the cells, resulting in muscle tiredness. Baking soda has a high pH and may delay muscle fatigue. Studies recommend taking 300mg of baking soda with one liter of water one to three hours before exercising.

A study including 134 adults with chronic kidney disease found that those who

took baking soda supplements were 36% less likely to experience rapid disease

progression, but always talk to your doctor before taking these supplements. Baking

soda has also been shown to help treat some cancers, but more human-based research

is needed for this study.

Baking soda can also be used to neutralize fridge and garbage odors. Baking

soda eliminates odor particles, rather than masking over them. Stick a cup full of baking

soda in the back of the fridge or spread it in the bottom of a waste bin to kill odors.

Because of baking soda’s ability to neutralize smells, you can also make baking soda

air-fresheners with a jar, 1⁄3 cup baking soda, 10 to 15 drops of essential oils, a piece of

cloth, and a string!

It may also help to whiten laundry, remove carpet stains, clean the kitchen and

bathroom, clean vegetables, and polish a burnt pot or pan! Baking soda is versatile and

fun to use! There are many alternatives to commercial products, but make sure you

follow a reliable source!


Written by Melody Howard

Green Smoothie

Here’s a great morning pick-me-up!  Green smoothies are a great part of breakfast that will kick start your morning.

For ONE serving:


  • 1/2  cup frozen strawberries

  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches

  • 1 scoop greens powder (like this)* OR 1-2 cups fresh spinach or kale

  • 5 drops stevia OR honey to taste

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water


Blend all ingredients in a blender or bullet until smooth.  These end up being more pink/peach colored than green, but the good stuff is in there!

Other awesome things you can add in are:  Natural Calm* (for magnesium), yogurt, or any other liquid or oil supplement you regularly take.

I have been doing this smoothie a few times a week instead of our regular breakfast and it’s been great.  This, along with a bulletproof coffee (I am not a butter-in-coffee person – I use Brain Octane Oil from Whole Foods), carries me into the afternoon with no low blood sugar or crashes.

I also make this smoothie for my kids and hide some of their supplements in it that way (including the greens, of course) and even my pickiest eater approves!




Shannon Feol

Shannon is a Culinary Nutrition Expert and Certified Instructor. She writes about the connection between food and health, shares recipes, reviews books, and is a distributor for Young Living Essential Oils. She lives in Olive Branch with her husband and 3 children.