Womens Health: Understanding Our Cycles

Welcome to my first post in a series about Women's Health!

There's a silent epidemic happening to women everywhere: hormonal balance is being destroyed. Over twenty million of us suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, endometriosis, painful/difficult/heavy periods, and thyroid and adrenal issues. For the first time since their creation...


4 Phases of Your Cycle, Explained

This is a follow-up to my previous article Womens Health: Understanding Our Cycles


PHASE 1: Follicular Phase

Duration: 7-10 Days
 Hormone focus...

The Bike

Memories!  Aren't they just awesome!!  This morning I'm thinking about my favorite Christmas present of all time...actually it's the only one I remember from my childhood years!  Ah!  My beautiful red bike...I snuck out to the living room during the night, and there is was, sitting there by the tree... the moonlight making it sparkle in the otherwise dark room... man o man it was a long time until morning!!!  I remember it like it was yesterday
Do you have a favorite memory?  Share it with us!! 

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Year Round Gardening in Containers

Year Round Gardening in Containers

It's almost the End of October, and I hope all of you planted Spring and Fall Gardens this year.  Some gardeners like to start their vegetables in containers, and then they have a good jump on the growing season when Spring rolls around, or they start them in containers in the heat of Summer, and then put them out there for their Fall Gardens. You can also grow vegetables and herbs in containers indoors during the Winter, and have those fresh salads you always crave.

If you don't have a big yard, or any yard at all, you can still plant in containers.  I feel now more than ever that we will need to grow Home Gardens, and be able to help Feed our Families. We are heading into a very uncertain time in our Countries history, and we need to be prepared.

There are several types of containers that can be used for growing vegetables including polyethylene plastic bags, clay pots, plastic pots, metallic pots, milk jugs, ice cream containers, bushel baskets, barrels, and planter boxes. It is important to use containers that can accommodate roots of the vegetables you want to grow as the vegetables vary in sizes and rooting depths.

The container needs to have good drainage, and should not contain chemicals that are toxic to plants and human beings. Most vegetables grown in backyard gardens can be grown in containers, although a container's diameter and depth needs to be considered when selecting what vegetables to grow. The plant density (number of vegetable plants per container) depends on individual plant space requirements, and rooting depth.

It's best to use one of the potting mixes in vegetable container gardening as they are light, disease-free, weed seed-free, and have good drainage. Some potting mixes have pre-mixed plant nutrients, so read the information on the label about how long the pre-mix will feed your plants before you start applying fertilizers. (My personal favorite pre-mixed brand is Happy Frog) You can also make your own two bushels of potting mix using the following recipe: Shredded sphagnum peat moss (1 bushel), Vermiculite (1 bushel), Ground limestone (1¼ cups), Phosphate fertilizer either 0-20-0 (½ cup) or 0-45-0 (¼ cup), Slow release granular fertilizer such as 5-10-5 (1 cup).

Container-grown plants require more frequent fertilization than field-grown plants because of the limited space within the container for drawing nutrients. Fertilizers can be mixed with the soil mix before filling the container and can also be applied as a nutrient solution. Nutrient solutions can be made by dissolving soluble fertilizer such as 10-20-10, 12-24-12 or 8-16-8 in water following label directions. The nutrient solution is applied once a day when the plants are watered. How often you water may vary with vegetables, but once a day is adequate.

Leach the unused fertilizer nutrients from the potting mix once a week by applying tap water only. It is also very important to water occasionally with a nutrient solution containing micro nutrients such as copper, zinc, boron, manganese, and iron and follow label directions in order to give plants the right amounts.

Plants grown in containers need frequent watering as the containers dry fast. Watering on a daily basis is necessary to provide adequate moisture for plant growth. Apply enough water to reach the bottom of the container. Allow the excess to drain out through drainage holes. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering as this will encourage development of foliar disease. Try not to allow the containers to dry out completely between watering as this will lead to flower and fruit drop. Do not over water the plants as the container will be waterlogged and the roots will lack oxygen leading to poor growth and eventually, perhaps, the plant's death.

The size of the containers needed will depend a lot on the vegetable or herbs you are planting. Most Herbs can be planted in 1/2 - 1 gallon containers. Cabbages, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Leaf Lettuce, Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Cherry Tomatoes can be planted in 1 gallon containers. Beets, Carrots, Eggplants, Peppers and Radishes need 2 gallon containers. Your regular tomatoes will need 3 gallon containers. (great info from the University of Illinois Extension)

Happy Gardening!!!

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You can grow Lavender indoors from Seeds now, and then move to pots outdoors in the Spring.  A pot that can accommodate the root ball with a couple of inches to spare would be a good choice. Too large a pot will only encourage excessive dampness. Insure that the container has plenty of drainage. I  use small rocks at bottom of pot. Root rot is one of the few problems experienced by lavender plants. Use a loose, soil less mix for planting and remember that container grown lavender will require more water than garden grown plants. Water when the soil, not the plant, appears dry and water at the base of the plant to limit dampness on the foliage.

In the garden, lavender makes an excellent Companion plant for almost anything from roses to cabbage. It is one of those aromatic Herbs that Deer and Rabbits avoid, making it a great choice as a decoy in your Hosta or daylily beds.

A major reason lavender is so prized is that the flowers keep their fragrance when dried. For best drying results, harvest the flowers as the buds first begin to open. Hang in small bunches upside down in a warm spot with good air circulation.

Lavender flowers are also edible, and can be used raw in salads, added to soups and stews, used as a seasoning, baked into cookies and brewed into tea.

Your Seeds Need To Be Cold Stratified To Start With. Seeds should be placed in a sealable plastic bag filled with moist soil. Use a commercial soil specially formulated for starting seeds. Place the plastic bag with the soil and seeds inside the refrigerator and allow it to sit for three weeks. Fill A Container With Seed Starting Mix. The seed starting mix should be a light potting mix that drains well. A plastic Seedling tray would be best to use.
Sprinkle Seeds On Top The Soil. If in plastic seeding tray, plant one seed per slot. Cover the Seeds With 1/8 inch (1/3 cm) Potting Mix. A light coating of potting mix protects the seeds, but will let the Seeds have access to sunlight in order to germinate.

Keep the seeds in a warm spot. A heat tray often works best, but another work location may also work as long as the temperature remains around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Lightly water the seeds. Keep the growing medium moist, but not damp, and water the seeds in the morning so that the soil can dry some before evening hits. Soil that is too damp and cool will invite fungus to grow, and fungus will destroy your seeds.
Lavender Seeds Can Take 2 - 4 Weeks To Sprout. After the seeds sprout, you should move the container to a location that receives plenty of direct sunlight. If no such location is available, place a fluorescent grow light about the sprouts and allow them to sit in the artificial light for eight hours a day.

Can Move To Small Pots After Lavender Gets Several Sets Of Leaves.
Wait until the leaves are "true leaves," or fully matured. At that point, the root system will have grown too large to continue sitting in the shallow trays.

Putting In Pots.
The first transplant should be in pots at least 2 inches in diameter. You can use a potting mix. After plants are 3 inches or taller, you can move to larger pots, or can move out to the Garden if it is Springtime.
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