Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

Add to My MSN


Savory in foreground, thyme on left, edible day lilies in background

You can make your own teas from common herbs growing in your garden or to spice up store bought teas. A few common herbs you may have growing in your garden for your own home grown tea-bergamot, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, sage, stevia for sweetening, thyme. (Left image: Savory in foreground, thyme on left, edible day lilies in background.)

Bergamot, or bee balm, has a scent reminiscent of Italian bergamot orange. You can dry or use fresh, steeped for 10 minutes by itself or add to store bought black tea to give it the same type of flavor as Earl Gray tea. Bergamot was used as a tea substitute in the colonies after the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Its flowers are also a great bee attractor and come in white or numerous shades of red and purple. Native Americans used it as spice for fowl and medicinally for its antiseptic properties, headaches, fever, and upset tummies. Bergamot is of the mint family so can be aggressive in the garden. M. didyma contains the highest concentration of oil.

Chamomile is used in potpourri for its scent, in supplements, tonics and teas for its calming properties, in facial steams/hand soaks to soften and whiten skin. Use the flowers fresh or dried for tea.

Lavender leaves or flowers can lend a floral note to teas. Lavender tea is used to sooth nerves, headaches, and dizziness. Its use as a potpourri is legendary. It is also great to put in closets to not only provide great scent, but also protect clothes from moths. It is also used as an antiseptic tonic for acne or to speed facial cell renewal. Lavender is also a typical ingredient in Herbes de Provence.Lavender plant

You can also make a syrup from lavender to add to desserts, adult beverages, homemade sodas, and teas. Boil 6 stalks of lavender in 2 cups of water and 1-1/2 cup of sugar at a simmer for 15 minutes. Let sit in refrigerator overnight, strain into bottle and keep refrigerated.

Mint comes in many flavors-grapefruit, pear, pineapple, lemon, lime, and orange. There is even a chocolate mint! Mint will take over a garden if left to its own devices. Either put a ring around it at least 3 inches deep to keep it from spreading underground, cull runners frequently or put in a pot. Mint loses much of its flavor when dried so fresh is your best bet. Bees love mint flowers!

Other herbs that impart a citrus note are pineapple sage, lemon balm, lemon verbena, and lemon grass. Pineapple sage is used for depression and anxiety, to aid digestion, and is antiseptic and anti-fungal. Lemon balm tea is commonly used for cold relief and to relieve tension and depression. Fresh leaves have the best flavor. Lemon verbena is also used for cold relief, upset stomach, and is mildly sedative. It is a wonderful addition to potpourri and is grown as an annual. Lemon grass is a tropical plant which any part of the stem can be used as a tea. It is considered revitalizing and antiseptic.

I have not found a rosemary that survives the winter here in our Zone 6, but I keep trying. ARP and Barbeque are two types that are rated down to Zone 5 that I am growing this year. I am going to add some extra straw cover in early winter to give them more protection. I just love the scent of this herb and as an addition for cooking. Rosemary is thought to aid in digestion and joint pain. Use fresh or dried.

Thyme is thought to be beneficial for hangovers, digestion, coughs and colds, along with being one of the staple culinary herbs. Teas can be made with fresh or dried leaves. English wild thyme is the strongest for medicinal qualities, but any can be used. Thyme also comes in lemon, lime, and orange as well.

Multicolor sage plant

You can also add a fruit to your tea for a new twist. A neighbor recently shared that she had some blackberry sage tea that was heavenly. You can easily make this yourself! Use dried sage (left image) and either fresh or thawed frozen berries. Simply crush the berries for a teaspoon of juice and add to your steeping sage tea. Yum!

The only limits to homemade tea from homegrown ingredients is your imagination! Herbs have so many healthful properties. It just makes great sense to take advantage of their benefits and taste in warming teas. A beautiful finishing touch would be to add edible flowers or a sprig of the herb as a garnish.

Stevia is a recent arrival to the US herb scene, but has come on strong in popularity. It is a super sweet, super antioxidant, with zero carbs, and zero calories. Stevia is native to tropical regions; it is well suited to container growing. The trick with stevia is a little goes a long way. Add too much and it goes from sweet tasting to bitter.

If you want real tea, you can grow tea plants in pots. They are easy to grow. Otherwise, there are great herbal options!

For more tips on organic small space and container gardening, see Melodie's blog at

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



The ripening time of a particular fruit varies from one location to another and from year to year, though the order in which varieties ripen stays roughly the same.

In this first part of our three-part series on fruit processing, we’ll focus on figs, sea berries, shipova and cornus mas. Part two will talk about aronia, grapes, kiwi, nuts and paw paw. Part three will be about apples and pears.


Figs Aren’t Just for Cookies

Figs are ready when the fruit fully droops from its own weight and is soft. The breba crop (over-wintering crop) typically ripens in August. In September the alpha (spring initiating) crop starts expanding and ripens in areas with hot summers, in October or November.

In the Pacific Northwest, our cool fall temperatures prevent the fruit from maturing. If this is your experience, you may be able to hasten the ripening in the fall, and pick that second crop, by applying a bloom fertilizer when the fruits are about nickel size late August or early September.

Bloom fertilizers are high in phosphorous, which supports growth of the reproductive parts of the plant. A fig fruit is an ovary, and the bloom fertilizer encourages it to start and keep expanding. Use a water soluble fertilizer, so the phosphorous is immediately available. Desert King is particularly rich tasting if you wait until the skin takes on a brown gnarly look.

Sea Berries Make Great Jelly and Syrup

sea berries

Sea Berries are ready to harvest when the fruit starts to soften and you no longer taste the astringency. The ripe fruit will have a combination of sweetness and acidity.

The fruit can be harvested by cutting whole branches and then working the fruit off the branches into a bowl. Or pick the fruits from the plant if your bush is young.

Use the juice to make jellies, syrups, or to mix with other juices. The raw fruit and juice are not recommended for fresh consumption in large quantity, as the high vitamin C content can cause nausea.

Dry or Can Shipova for Best Results

Shipova, a natural cross between European pear and mountain ash, benefit from being harvested before they are fully ripe, similar to the pear. Look for color change in the portion of the fruit facing away from the sun, from green to yellow. Cut a few fruit open, and check to see that the seeds are mature, deep brown or black. Shipova have a pear flavor when fully ripe, high sugar content, and firm flesh. They dry very well, and can also be canned.


Cornus Mas: Sweet Berries Are Best for Cooking

Cornus mas are ripe when the fruits readily drop from the tree or are soft and no longer astringent. Yellow fruited cornus mas will be translucent and incredibly sweet when ready to eat.

The fruit tends to ripen unevenly, so check your bush regularly to harvest them fully ripe. Laying a ground cloth down and shaking the bush to loosen the ready fruit can work. Or harvest the berries at the firm ripe stage when they have turned from orange to red (or from white to yellow in the case of the yellow fruited), but are still firm; they will finish ripening off the bush at room temperature.

Process berries that are soft when harvested right away—they don’t store well. The red varieties vary in flavor, and are usually preferred for cooking, rather than fresh eating.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



tomatoesApples, tomatoes and potatoes, Oh My!  How is it October?  Where did summer go? I honestly felt very busy and productive during the season of making hay while the sun shines. Yet here we are, beautiful comforting slowing Fall. In our area of North Central Idaho the leaves are turning, the days golden, and the nights comfortably star filled.

After our late September county fair, I annually feel we are on the work of living downhill slide. Peaches line the pantry shelves and my blackberry abused fingers begin to heal. Applesauce simmers scenting the weekends with cinnamon. This is our first full calendar year on our homestead, and I am realizing that October is not for rest.

Our six discovered homestead apple trees are bursting with yellow and fluorescent red globes of free sustenance. The wild turkeys meander daily across the yard. A third of the potatoes are stored in a garbage can between layers of newspaper, the remaining rows still upright and green with life. I have spinach sprouting in my birthday gift cold frame (rough cut timber and a re-purposed double pane sliding glass door.) The tomatoes are ripening for dear life in face of the cold nights, 15 pounds last weekend alone. 12 gallons of wild blackberries stacked like antioxidant bricks in the deep freeze.apples

My weekly list includes apple and pear picking forays to now wild trees around the county, my apple hoard now 6 large boxes. I have wanted a cider press for years, searching classifieds and yard sales alike. Thanks to social media and good fortune, friends from Peck, Idaho offered their turn of the century model free for the taking. The Elsbury family was kind enough to let us drag the behemoth out of their hayloft where the press and cast iron grinder was placed by tractor five years ago. They felt the press was akin to a quilt, meant to be used.

So the apple picking race is on, there isn't a tree within 30 miles safe from my cider desires. Armed with Jenna Woginrich's hard cider recipe and bees still churning out honey, Apple Jack is imminent. I can't say I don't have moments where the list seems too long and it's contents too perishable to be possible. But ten feet up in an apple tree with audible wing strokes as a hawk flies above on a fine October Sunday soothes my urgency, and reminds me that the gift of this life, of this sustenance making journey, is as sweet as Fall cider.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


Egyptian walking onion in a pot

In America, there are wild Alliums known as wild garlic or ramps. The onions we cultivate in our gardens today likely originated from a wild Asian onion, but has been grown so long, the road back to the original is lost. Two thousand years ago, there were many varieties that we would recognize today. There were round onions, white onions, red onions, flat onions, long onions, keeper onions, sweet onions, spicy onions. Onions have been important for their perceived health benefits in times gone past and proven health benefits today as well as the fabulous taste they add to an array of dishes.

Onions are easy to grow, have little to no pest problems and are a perennial to boot! Onions have shallow roots, like to be moist, but can’t stand being waterlogged. You should enrich the soil with plenty of organic matter before planting. As common sense would tell us, they also like loose soil. Organic matter helps this along. Onions can be grown in the ground or in pots. My perennial Egyptian walking onion has been growing in its pot for 8 years.

In the Midwest, seeds can be started indoors in early February and transplanted outdoors in March. Transplanting should be done 4-6 weeks before the last spring freeze for spring planting. Since onions are perennials you can also plant in the fall, October for our Zone 6/7 garden. For multiplier type onions or Egyptian walking onions, fall planting will provide a bigger harvest next spring and summer.

The more popular method of starting onions is planting “sets.”  Young onions that are put out in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked, just as the daffodils begin to fade. Bulbing onion in flower

You can place them close together and pull for scallions until the bulbing onions are 5-6 inches apart. As the bulb reaches full size, you can pull the soil away from the top of the onion to help the bulb and neck cure for harvest.

You can also plant the bottoms of store bought onions. If you get enough of the bottom, the onion will take root and give you an onion next season.

Onions tell you when they are ready to harvest, when half of their tops fall over. What can be easier than that? Like garlic, they should be lifted rather than pulled from the ground and leave them in shade for about a week to harden. I use a trowel to dig under the bulb and pop them out. You don’t want to nick them or they will not store well. If you do, keep them in the fridge and use them first.

So, how do you choose which onions to plant? The best bet is to talk to your local nursery to see which grow the best in your area for the ones that thrive in your climate.

Bulbing Onions

There are 3 types of bulbing onions: short day, intermediate day, and long day onions. Intermediate and long day varieties have been around for a long time. Short day onions are relatively newcomers. Onions are sensitive to daylight hours. They start forming bulbs when daylight hours hit a minimum. For long day onions, it is 15 hours. For intermediate, it is 12-13 hours. Short day onions are 9 to 10 hours.

I would have thought long day onions would be for further south, but this is wrong. The north gets the really long summer days (think of Alaska in June with no darkness). Long day onions should be planted in states north of the Oklahoma/Kansas border (approximately 36 degrees latitude). Long day onions are planted in states in the northern part of the US. Intermediate in the middle and short in the South. Short day onions are planted in the fall and form bulbs in the spring. Intermediate and long day onions are typically planted in the spring as sets, not seeds. Seeds require sprouting indoors and transplanting. So, if you want a sweet onion and live in the Midwest, Vidalias are not the best bet since it is a short day type. A better choice is a Walla Walla or a Sweet Spanish.

The other thing to keep in mind is that, like wine, onions pick up the terroir they are grown in. You can grow the exact same onion as you buy in the store or at a farmers market but have a different taste because of the differences in your soil.

There are many fun onions to grow besides the round ones. There are the flat disk like Borrettana Cipollini or the Red Baron onion that is a red scallion type onion. Of course, there is the onion made famous in French cooking, the shallot-French, Gray or Sante are well known varieties. Then, there are onions for keeping over the winter like Rossa Di Milano, Early Yellow Globe, Sweet Sandwich, and Granex Yellow.

Onions will also keep over another year. When onions I planted last spring did not get to decent size, I left them over the winter. They gave nice bulbs in the summer.

Another type of onion is the Egyptian walking onion. It is a perennial that you can pull year round. They do not form bulbs. They are about the size of a large scallion or leek, getting an inch or two wide and 3” long bulb. They also grow great in a pot. When they get their bulblets, they remind me of Medusa. Really cool.  You just snap off the bulblets and plant them for more onions next year.  They also multiply underground year after year. They are one of my must haves in the garden since they can be harvested year round. Their bulb is great as a cooking onion and their greens as a chive.

Onions are a great addition to the garden. They are perennials, easy to grow and have little to no pest problems. I really like the perennial type onions, the Egyptian walking onions and multiplier onions like potato onions. The Egyptian you can just leave in place and harvest from year round. The multiplier potato onion has a very long shelf life indoors for a storage onion. When you harvest it, just leave behind the smaller onions and they will multiply again for next year’s harvest.

For more tips on organic gardening in small spaces and containers, see Melodie's blog.

Photos: top, Egyptian walking onion; middle, bulbing onion.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


I wrote “In praise of West Indian Gherkins” on my blog on September 23, 2014.

After a few years of growing many varieties of pickling cucumbers and getting too many pests and diseases, we went outside the box in 2013 and tried some West Indian Gherkin seed from Monticello, where they used to be grown by Thomas Jefferson (and some of the enslaved people, no doubt). These are not closely related to actual cucumbers, but are used similarly. (They are not the same as Mexican Sour Gherkins, either.) I saw them growing in the Monticello garden when I was there for the Heritage Harvest Festival in September 2012, and they are certainly robust and productive in hot humid weather. This seems like a great crop for disease-prone gardens – no trouble with cucumber leaves turning yellow!

West Indian Gherkins  are prolific and drought-tolerant, and show no sign of any of the many cucumber plant diseases or pests. Because the healthy vines cover the ground, there is no room for weeds, making it an easy crop to grow. Our pickles turned out well and are becoming quite popular! We grew even more this year. Next year, I want this to be the only pickling cucumber we grow! It is a rambler (long vines) so maybe a trellis would be wise if space is tight.

Because West Indian Gherkins are open-pollinated and don’t cross with actual cucumbers (or watermelons, despite the look of the leaves), we save our own gherkin seeds, and a little money in the process. In late September this year, I harvested four 5-gallon buckets of gherkins (one for seed, 3 for pickling) from a 50-foot row we abandoned over five weeks previously. These plants survived that period just on rainfall, as we pulled out the drip tape back when we thought we were done. And there was only about 3-inches of rain, almost all of it in one week, with nothing in the other four weeks.

Before I saw these gherkins growing at Monticello, I had no idea of their existence. Now I’m starting to hear about them in more places.

William Woys Weaver, author of Heirloom Vegetable Gardening wrote about them for MOTHER EARTH NEWS in 2008. He discovered that they originated in West Africa, rather than West Indies, and that they can be pickled, eaten raw or cooked like zucchini. Read more

Seed is available from Monticello, Seed Savers Exchange, Trade Winds Fruit and Reimer Seeds. These round cucumbers with soft spines are an unusual and attractive crop. When first forming, they look like miniature watermelons, and might lead to that old question “Is a cucumber a fruit or a vegetable?” Botanically a fruit, in the kitchen, a vegetable.

I’ve learned that West Indian Gherkin is resistant to some species of Root Knot Nematodes, so we plan to grow it in our hoophouse as part of our rotation of nematode-resistant crops for a bed there which produced some gnarly-rooted tomatoes this year. We’ll get soooo many pickles! It’s a very productive crop for us. I wrote about our struggle with RKN in the November/December 2014 issue of Growing for Market magazine. We have been growing a series of nematode-resistant cover crops in the winter and spring, and solarizing the bed in the summer. Now we’re ready to grow some of the more resistant food crops and seed crops. After that, some resistant varieties of susceptible crops.

See my blog to read more about our nematodes.

Here is our first (baggy) attempt at solarization in the hoophouse.

Early this September the pickleworm arrived in our part of Virginia. This tropical insect, Diaphania nitidalis overwinters in south Florida (and maybe south Texas) and spreads up the east coast each year. It regularly reaches South and North Carolina in August or September. This is the first time I've seen this pest on our farm. I've read that it can reach as far north as Michigan and Connecticut some years. We're reassured that it can't overwinter here, and that we could get at most 3 generations. Sort of reassured.

The adult is a night-flying moth, which lays tiny eggs on buds and flowers. Despite the name, this pest likes yellow squash more than pickling cucumbers. (And winter squash, gherkin and cantaloupe can be colonized if necessary, as poor third choice crops.) We first found ours on Zephyr yellow squash and initially the neighboring Noche zucchini was untouched. But yesterday some of the zucchini also had holes.

Read more about the pickleworm on my blog. It looks like growing gherkins rather than pickling cucumbers will help us avoid damage from that pest, too.

The extension website publication Biology and Management of

Pickleworm and Melonworm in Organic Curcurbit Production Systems by Geoff Zehnder of Clemson U provides useful information.

For pictures of pickleworm damage, see Sunninglow Farms blog. They are in Florida and posted in April. I shouldn't complain too loudly. It was September here before we saw them.

Photo Credits: Large pickleworm larva, Photo University of Florida; Hoophouse, Credit Kathryn Simmons; Root Knot Nemode, University of Alabama; West Indian Gherkins, Suzie’s Farm

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


Summer gives way to Fall as the night air cools and the breeze comes out of the north. The summer garden's bounty is safely stored on shelves and in cellars. Time marches on. But wait! Could there be more to come from flowering plants on these crisp mornings? Yes! There will be another harvest and who doesn't love a good comeback? Especially when it's all said and done you're left with fresh, organic vegetables for dinner. Winner, Winner.

Plant and Grow Heirloom VegetablesOrange Peppers

First came the grasshoppers, then the squash bugs and blister bugs, and as expected, blazing 100 degree heat and more severe drought; an all out attack on my garden. It was enough to make Mr. Green Jeans pack it in.

For the past month I battled the insects and the elements on a daily basis, finally getting some cooler nights and now, much to a grasshopper's chagrin, my garden is making a serious comeback. Take that you pesticide immune, genetically modified Frankenbugs.

Tomatoes, beans, peppers and okra are back in production after a month of stress and dormancy. The all-heirloom variety vegetables from Baker Creek Seeds, and my own seed stock saved over the past several years, have battled the elements and won. I'll take an assist by constantly watering the garden thru a drip and soaker hose system, and for liberal applications of garlic-pepper spray, Neem, BT, orange oil, Garrett Juice, and much hand picking and chicken scratching. Once I had picked everything this summer that was ripe, I turned the hens and a young rooster into the garden for a couple of weeks. The chickens rounded up the rest of the bugs and tilled up a few areas where I had harvested potatoes, onions, beans, carrots, chard and corn, plus added a touch of fertilizer. Now that's what I call round-up ready.

Green Tomatoes On The Vine

The Queen

If there's one thing you'll always find growing in my garden, it's tomatoes. The old song is right; "there's just two things that money can't buy and that's true love and homegrown tomatoes." I love them all. Chocolate Pear (small pear-shaped fruit with a dark chocolate color and rich semi-sweet taste), Cherokee Purple (prolific bearer with large deep red and purple colors which have that homegrown tomato flavor, times two), Amazon Chocolate and Atkinson and I could go on forever. These heirloom varieties grow well in the hot and dry climate here in north Texas, and they'll produce fruit thru the end of the year if you protect them from the elements, water them and feed them. A few years ago we had fresh Cherokee Purple tomato slices with New Year's Dinner and I'm hoping for more of the same this year. I've already canned more than 50 pints of tomatoes, some with peppers and onions, so I'm hoping for another 50 jars by Christmas. Are you on my list?

Planting Fall Garden VegetablesRooster In The Field

I'm fixin' to plant lettuce, spinach, cabbage, chard and other cool season vegetables in the newly cleared areas. I've already added organic compost, corn gluten, molasses and blood and bone meal to the soil which I'm turning with a broad fork and keeping moist. I plant a few seeds of each veggie, then plant another round every week for 3-4 weeks. Hopefully it stretches out the "fresh from the garden" meals for a month or two.

Do your thing, Mother Nature. Let me know where I can help. Cold weather is coming so it may require covering everything in the garden with large sheets of plastic once December rolls around to get to one more harvest. I use four big pieces of plastic and bricks to cover four sections of my garden. Cover it at night, uncover it in the morning. Repeat. A second harvest of tomatoes, lettuce and beans on the way with some mild peppers on the bush. Will someone please pass the oil and vinegar?

Nothing is better than the nutrition-packed goodness of homegrown, non-GMO, organic vegetables. Fresh off the vine is best but don't kid yourself, an all heirloom vegetable pasta sauce with venison and wild pork meatballs would be worth the trouble as well.

Happy Meals, y'all. Happy Meals.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


food challengeThere is a challenge going on in October that you should know about. It is the 10-Day Local Food Challenge that is being kicked off by Vicki Robin, author of Blessing the Hands That Feed Us. The challenge is to choose a block of 10 days in October 2014 and commit to only eating food grown within a 100 mile radius of your home. To sweeten the deal, you are allowed 10 exotics, which are foods you want but can’t find locally. The exotics might include baking ingredients or the coffee you can’t seem to live without.

In her book Robin relates her experiences eating only food grown within a 10-mile radius of her home for 30 days. She allowed herself 4 exotics: olive oil, lemons and limes, salt plus a few Indian spices, and caffeine. If you are serious about local food, and even if you are just curious about how someone could do that, you will enjoy her book. My book, Grow a Sustainable Diet, gets into planning to grow a substantial part of your diet, including the cover crops to feed back the soil. It also stresses the need to build community systems. What you don’t grow yourself you should buy from local growers who have good soil building practices.

More than anything this challenge is an experiment in mindfulness. It gets you thinking about all aspects of what you eat. We are all responsible for how the earth is used to produce the food we consume. If you want the earth to be used in good ways, choose to eat food produced that way. For me, this seems like a fun, easy project, but that’s because I have experienced Homegrown Fridays when I consume only what I’ve grown during the Fridays in Lent. I have already thought through what is important to me and what I can live without. I also grow staple crops and have written an article for Mother Earth News about that. My homegrown cornmeal cooked into a hot cereal topped with honey will be breakfast each day of my challenge. Learn more about me accepting the 10-Day Challenge at Homeplace Earth.

If you already have a garden, this is a good exercise to see how much it contributes to your overall diet. I know that by October the season is over for many gardens, but it doesn’t have to be. Next year you could plan to have more to eat through the winter by harvesting from low tunnels or cold frames. You could also preserve more for eating all year or grow crops that can be stored without much fuss, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, onions, garlic, peanuts, and grains. Many farmers markets now extend through the winter and some of the farmers have on-farm stores. If you have a CSA membership, taking the challenge will highlight what more is needed to complete your diet. If you enjoy the convenience of the grocery store, inquire about having your neighborhood grocery carry food produced in the neighborhood or at least within 100 miles or so.

While you are considering the origins of your food, besides the earth it is grown in, consider the workers who plant, tend, and harvest the food you eat. Are their working conditions acceptable to you? Besides being responsible for how the earth is used, we are responsible for the health and welfare of the workers who produce the food we choose to eat. If you haven’t thought about these issues before, your 10-Day Challenge might be to become aware of the origins of your food and begin to align your choices with the conditions for the earth and for the workers that you deem acceptable. For those ready to jump into the 10-Day Local Food Challenge, visit the website to sign in and complete the survey. Choose your 10 days and your 10 exotics and begin the adventure! Tell them Cindy sent you.

Learn more about Cindy Conner and what she’s up to at

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.