Category Organic

Epic Tomatoes

Epic Tomatoes
By Craig LeHoullier
Storey Publishing
Retail Price $19.95
Amazon Price: $15.10

Book Description: 

Savor your best tomato harvest ever! Craig LeHoullier, tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, offers everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes — from sowing seeds and planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season. He also offers a comprehensive guide to the various pests and diseases of tomatoes and explains how best to avoid them. No other book offers such a detailed look at the specifics of growing tomatoes, with beautiful photographs and helpful tomato profiles throughout.


While I am not an expert in the garden by any means, I do love my summer planting and was thrilled with this book!  I plant tomatoes every year with varying degrees of success.  And I’m not alone. Tomatoes are America’s favorite fruit, and the one most likely to be in a home garden. However, disease, pests, soil issues, and watering errors often nip our homegrown harvest in the bud. This book details how to pick the right variety, start from seed, plant, stake, cage, deal with pests and disease, practice “basic keeping-alive skills” and harvest the bounty.  It is full of pictures so you can see how the plants are supposed to look and it is written to the novice, so it is easy to understand and follow instructions.  I highly recommend it!

~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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    The Health Benefits Of Eating Raw Food

    What is a raw food diet?

    You have probably heard about the Raw Food Diet. There are a lot of different variations on the Raw Food Diet depending upon the person advocating it.

    The basic and common feature of most raw food diets is that they all advocate eating food in their natural state – that is, uncooked, unprocessed, organic and unexposed to herbicides and pesticides.

    What does a raw food diet include?Rawfoodpyramid

    All raw food diets include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
    Some include unprocessed nuts and uncooked grains.
    Some raw food diets are a variation on veganism which shuns all animal-based food.
    Other raw food diets include eggs, milk, cheese and raw fish (sushi and sashimi).
    Then there is just the simple action of eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables to retain all their nutrients. One example of this is the juicing lifestyle, where fresh homemade juices are made from both vegetables and fruits are the mainstay of one’s daily intake.

    Reasons To Fill Your Diet With Raw Food

    Weight Loss

    The main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is for weight loss.  It is true – eating raw food will facilitate weight loss because eating raw food will mean that you won’t consume as much fat and calories as with a regular diet.

    Disease Prevention

    Another main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is to fight what is referred to as lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases include hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes.  These lifestyle diseases are often caused by eating food that is too high on fat, sugar and cholesterol.

    Chemical Free Eating

    Some who go on a raw food diet do so because they want to avoid the accumulation of harmful chemicals in their bodies from food that is exposed to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.

    Fruits and vegetables grown in commercial farms are usually treated with pesticides and herbicides to keep insects from feasting on the fruits and vegetables.

    Livestock, pork and chicken grown commercially are treated with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and ensure optimal growth. Seedless fruit are sprayed with hormones as well.

    Anti-Aging And Increasing Immunity

    Still some people who opt for a raw food diet emphasize a healthy lifestyle that will keep them looking young.
    They believe that fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains boost the immune system which keeps infectious diseases at bay and it improves the body’s circulation and systemic functioning which gives them clear skin and radiant hair.

    Is It Easy To Maintain A Diet Of Raw Food?

    As with all diets, you must consult your doctor to see if you may shift to a raw food diet. And if you do shift to a raw food diet, perhaps it is best to do it gradually.

    Start with juicing an assortment of fruits and vegetables to replace colas and desserts.  Replace your regular cooked meals gradually with a wide assortment of salads and grains and nuts.

    The most difficult thing about going on a raw food diet is sourcing raw, unprocessed and chemical-free food.
    If you like going out to eat, you will find it difficult to find restaurants that serve only raw food.

    The next difficult thing is in preparing the food—it is time consuming.  It is easy enough to simply peel a banana or eat an apple for a snack but if you have to subsist on fruits and veggies, you will have to carry fresh fruits and vegetables with you throughout the day.

    Another problem most people encounter with the raw food diet is that food grown organically is more expensive.
    Also there is a real danger of malnutrition as there are nutrients and minerals which you cannot get from uncooked fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You will have to take a vitamin or food supplement for this.

    You will have to eat fruits and vegetables that are unfamiliar to you. The texture of uncooked food may be difficult to get used to at first.

    For those who advocate eating raw fish, eggs, milk and milk products, you might need to conquer your gag reflex first. There is also a real danger of food poisoning from food that is unpasteurized such as milk and milk products, so one needs to take care, though these days it is not as problematic since the there are many quality controls in place.

    Final Thoughts

    Shifting to a raw food diet requires a lifestyle change as well as a change in mindset. It will not work for everyone and some people can follow a raw food diet but not strictly. Ask your physician first.

    There are so many benefits to eating raw food and one thing to keep in mind is that it need not be exclusive of other food, you can simply add more fresh, and raw fruits and vegetables to your diet on a daily basis and cut out processed foods. That alone is a huge step to improving your health, preventing disease and curtailing the effects of aging.

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      Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening

      Rodale's Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden

      Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening
      By Deborah L. Martin
      Retail Price $19.99
      Amazon Price: $15.17

      Book Description: 

      When the inspiration hits to start an organic garden, many novices could benefit from a guidebook that speaks directly to their enthusiasm, their goals, and, of course, their need for solid information that speaks a newbie’s language—from the most trusted source for organic gardening methods.In Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening, general garden-building skills (from “Do I need to dig?” to “Where do I dig?”) and specific techniques (from “How do I plant a seed?” to “How much should I water?”) are presented in growing-season order—from garden planning and planting to growing and harvesting. Many other need-to-know topics like soil, compost, seeds, pest control, and weeds are explained in simple language to ensure success, even on a small scale, on the first try. More than 100 common garden terms are defined, and Smart Starts sidebars offer doable projects to build confidence and enthusiasm for expanding a garden when a gardener is ready. A flower, vegetable, and herb finder highlights easycare plants with good track records. Plus, there are no-dig garden methods, simple garden layouts, and tips and hints inspired by the most popular page views on

      With a “no question is unwelcome” approach, a troubleshooting section lessens frustrations and encourages experimentation. Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening is everything a beginning gardener (or one who’s new to gardening organically) needs to get growing and keep a garden going strong all season.


      This is a classic guide to growing flowers, fruit, and vegetables the natural, chemical-free way. Whether you want to grow better-tasting fruit and vegetables untainted by chemicals, find natural methods of pest and weed control, or create a garden that is safer for your children, pets, and wildlife, Organic Gardening is your practical, easy-to-follow guide to gardening with, rather than against, nature. This book reflects eco-friendly thinking and techniques that are easy to implement.

      I garden pretty extensively and try to grow as much of my own food as I can, so I am pretty serious about organic gardening. I wish I had this book years ago when I was just starting out, but it is still very useful to me now. It is the first thing I pick up when I want to consider growing a new type of plant, or wish to double check that my approach is sound.

      This is an all around reference.  It has plenty of tips for saving seed and dealing with pests and disease and is really a fantastic overall reference.  I have yet to see anything better.

      ~Reviewed by Jan B.

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