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Ever since humans first began tilling soil, they have looked for ways to produce bigger, better food plants that will feed ever-growing families and communities. Recent agricultural developments have produced huge industrial gardens dedicated to one type of plant, resulting in land that has lost its natural diversity and been stripped of the nutrients necessary for plant growth. Without natural predators to live on the land, plant pests multiply at astonishing rates and set to work destroying these mammoth growing plots. Farmers attempt to compensate for nutrient and pest problems by adding chemical fertilizers and pesticides that keep plants growing even in less than ideal conditions so that fruits and vegetables can continue to populate supermarket shelves – but at what cost?

Chemically enhanced food plants produce huge, colorful fruits and vegetables that appeal to the eye, but deeper analysis reveals dangerous levels of residual toxic chemicals that find their way onto dining room tables across the country. Such plants sacrifice both taste and nutrition for the sake of super-production, contributing to the health problems that plague the nation. Urban organic farming is seeking to change all of that.

How Organic Gardening is Changing the World

Organic gardeners dedicate themselves to methods of food production that defer to nature by eliminating chemical gardening methods and respecting the needs of the soil. Organic urban farmers seek to bring organic gardening to backyards and patios by growing as much of their own fruits and vegetables as they can. In this way, they avoid supporting the huge food conglomerates that have monopolized the growing industry and also promote the health of both their families and the land around them.

Getting Started in Organic Urban Farming

If you’re new to organic gardening, it’s important to start small and master the technique before filling your yard with wide varieties of plants that may fail to thrive without knowledgeable care. Remember that every time you eat food from your own garden, even if it’s just one vegetable every day, you show your respect for the earth and contribute to the promotion of health and well-being for yourself and those around you. One of the best plants to start with is the humble tomato plant.

Growing Tomatoes in Your Organic Urban Garden

Tomato plants demand little in the way of specialized care and carefully chosen varieties will provide you with delicious fruit all summer long. Once you’ve tasted an organically grown tomato from your garden, you’ll never go back to the store-bought variety.

1. Prepare the Soil

Whether you plan to till your backyard or grow your tomatoes in a container, soil preparation provides the key to successful urban farming. Choose compost-based soils that include high organic content. Don’t try to skimp by using the soil already in your backyard, since many key nutrients have already been used by other plants.

2. Prepare the Growing Space

Your tomatoes will require continually moist soil, but won’t survive soggy compost that doesn’t drain. Choose a space that doesn’t retain water in order to keep your tomatoes from drowning. If you plan to grow your tomatoes in a container, choose one with adequate drainage holes in the bottom. You can prevent soil loss through the drainage holes by covering them with a coffee filter before adding soil.

Your tomatoes will also need plenty of sunshine in order to thrive. Young plants will need protection during the hottest part of the day, however, so consider providing some shelter to keep them from scorching.

3. Choose Your Plants

If you’re growing in containers, choose a variety that tends to bush as opposed to vining in order to keep the plants manageable. In addition, you’ll want to look for indeterminate varieties, meaning that they’ll produce fruit all season long rather than just once. Organic urban farmers should also consider growing heirloom tomato varieties, since they have been bred through many generations to resist disease and bloom prolifically.

4. Feed and Water Your Plants

Keep soil consistently moist but not soggy in order to grow happy tomatoes. Check your containers for moisture by feeling the soil. If the top two inches are dry, it’s time to water. Since you won’t be using chemical fertilizers on your tomato plants, you’ll need to add some organic compost and manure throughout the growing season to make sure your plants don’t strip the soil of nutrients.

5. Manage Your Plants

Even if you choose bushy varieties, tomatoes have a tendency to sprawl. Allow for this by giving each plant adequate space and by providing support in the form of a tomato cage or stake. Alternatively, you can use string to tie the plant up if it’s growing next to a fence or balcony railing.

Organic tomatoes will change the way you think about urban farming. Once you’ve mastered tomato growing in an urban setting, you can move on to other plants, rotating growing positions in order to promote disease resistance and soil nutrient retention.

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Amazing Jojoba Oil For Skin And Hair

Modern medical science can work wonders for health and beauty, but oftentimes the old ways still have plenty to offer. As more and more people become suspicious about the chemical nasties poured into beauty products, they’re turning to treatments with deep roots in the past.

Jojoba oil is one of these natural remedies. It comes from a plant that grows natively in the lands where California, Arizona, and Mexico meet, and has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to improve skin and hair health. What could this all-natural oil do for you?

Makeup Remover

Makeup may make you feel more attractive and confident, but it’s punishing on your skin. This is especially true if you use harsh chemical makeup removers every day. Using jojoba oil avoids that. It’s a natural cleanser and clears all traces of cosmetics without any irritation or damage.

Simply add a few drops of oil onto a cotton ball and gently rub off your makeup with small circular motions. When you’re done, the jojoba oil traces can be wiped off with a fresh cotton ball dampened with warm water.

Hair Color Protection

If you use coloring on your hair, massage in a little jojoba oil after your shower. This will help to preserve its tint, reducing the fading effects of strong sunlight or swimming pools treated with chlorine.

Dandruff Protection

Massaging jojoba into your scalp will help keep it supple and elastic, reducing the dryness and flakiness that leads to dandruff. What’s more, the gentle cleansing and antiseptic actions will help keep your hair follicles strong for full, shiny, healthy hair.

Reduces Wrinkles

Jojoba oil is packed with two vitamins, E and B complex, both of which act as powerful antioxidants. This means they work to repair the skin cell damage caused by sunlight, pollution, and the passing years.

When you apply jojoba oil to your skin, the vitamins help strengthen the epidermis, speed up cell regeneration, and improve elasticity. All of this helps to ward off wrinkles and maintain a smoother, more youthful-looking skin.

Softens Chapped Skin

If you have a problem area of chapped skin on your hands, neck, or feet, jojoba oil will soften and strengthen the skin quickly and effectively. Simply massage it in generously, and leave for an hour before rinsing with warm water. Repeat every second day until you see the desired results.

Fights Fungal Infections

The oil also boasts antifungal and anti-inflammatory agents. These can reduce acne breakouts, minimize warts, treat athlete’s foot, and also help heal fungal nail infections.

Full-Body Hydration

Massaging jojoba oil into your skin before or after bathing will help it retain moisture far better than any expensive skin cream. What’s more, its non-greasy texture and appealing smell will leave you feeling totally clean and fresh.

If the beauty shelves of your local health store are filled with chemical-based products, you may wonder about the long-term effects of using them too often. If you’d like to take a more traditional approach, jojoba oil makes an ideal choice. It’s totally natural, easily available, free from side effects, and can provide remarkably good benefits for your skin and hair.

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