Are you Listening to your Skin?

skin doctor

The skin is your body’s largest organ and it plays so many roles when it comes to function and health. Obviously the skin’s primary job is to cover the body and contain the organs, bones and muscles of the body.

It also acts as a protective layer from ultraviolet radiation from the sun, prevents dehydration, and aids in temperature regulation of the body.

The skin also plays an important role in detoxification and excretion of wastes created by the body or toxins that have been ingested.

Taking a good look at the health of your skin can provide insight as to how your body is functioning on the inside.

dark under eye circles

Dark Under Eye Circles

Do you have dark lines under your eyes that make you look like you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in months?

As we age, our skin naturally becomes slightly thinner and more fragile, allowing for the dark circles to appear more predominantly.

But if you are a young, “healthy” woman, chances are those dark circles are trying to tell you something.

Dark circles could be caused by lack of hydration (it’s not just about how much water you are drinking. Remember that caffeine and alcohol work to reverse the benefits of drinking water. For every coffee or alcoholic beverage, you need to increase your water intake by at least 8 ounces).

Dark under eye circles could also be indicating that your diet is in need of some help. Focus on eating a diet that is high in nutrient dense fruits and vegetables and work on eliminating processed foods.

Finally, those dark circles could just be telling you to get to bed early and get a good night’s rest. Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to give the body a chance to rest and rejuvenate.

Click here to read, Ten Tricks To Get The Best Sleep EVER !

dry, cracked lips

Dry, Cracked Lips

During the winter months, most commonly, dry lips are caused by harsh weather conditions. However, if you find that your lips are dry year round it could be caused by a reaction to the lipgloss, lipstick or toothpaste you are using.

Conventional products contain harsh chemicals and toxins that can wreak havoc on your delicate lips. Instead, only purchase products from your local health food store that are free of chemicals and that are not drying to the lips.

Click here to read, Natural DIY Self Care Product Recipes .

skin irritation

Skin Irritation

The skin is also a very good indicator of food intolerances.

Skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, rashes, acne, and chronically itchy skin may all be indicators that your body is not tolerating something in your diet.

With the increase in food additives, pesticide use, genetically modified organisms, and processing, food is not what it used to be.

The most common foods that are linked to skin irritation and intolerance are;

  • Dairy
  • Gluten-containing foods
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate

The best way to identify if one of these foods is the culprit of your skin irritation is to remove the items that you believe to be an issue from your diet for a period of three weeks. Then re-introduce the foods one at a time and watch for reactions. If a reaction occurs, eliminate that food from your diet permanently.

Click here to read, Do I Always Have to Buy Organic ?  Here’s What You NEED to Know !

Finally Quit Your Sugar Addiction With These Top Tips

Finally Quit Your Sugar Addiction With These Top Tips

Do you feel like sugar rules your life? Is it all you can think about? Do you just get finished eating one meal and you can’t stop craving something sweet to finish off the meal?  Some call it a sweet tooth, others call it a sugar addiction. 

Luckily, there are ways to eliminate sugar from your diet and get the addiction under control before it wreaks havoc on your health and weight.

So why do sugar cravings tend to kick in just after a meal? The balance of sugar and fat in the body intricately impacts your cravings. Think back to the last heavy meal that you ate. Maybe it was a greasy burger or a steak and potatoes, or a high-fat, creamy pasta dish. Almost immediately upon finishing the meal, did the sugar cravings kick into high gear? But why is that? Well, consuming meals that are high in fat tend to create an immediate craving for sugar. In comparison, a healthy salad, or lower fat content meal usually doesn’t create the same wicked sugar cravings.

Eating frequent high sugar meals or snacks can also create a cycle of sugar cravings that recur throughout the day. For instance, you eat a sugary cereal for breakfast, and then mid morning, your energy crashes and you are craving something sweet, so you eat a granola bar or donut, or drink a high-sugar beverage. Then, again mid-afternoon, your energy crashes, so you reach for a chocolate bar. Breaking this cycle is key to getting a sugar addiction under control.

Break the Sugar Addiction

The best way to get your cravings under control is to break up with sugar. Easier said than done, I know. But with these tips, you’ll be on your way to getting a handle on the sugar addiction.

  1. Identify what food sources your sugar consumption comes from. Beverages can be one of the worst culprits of sugar.  Focus on drinking lots of water and eliminating (or at least limiting) the consumption of coffee, specialty coffee drinks, tea, pop, juice, alcohol, milk and energy drinks.
  2. Stop buying sugar laden foods. Things like cereal, granola bars, yogurt, processed foods, and baked goods are all extremely high in added sugar. Although many of these foods are touted as healthy options, the added sugar content dictates otherwise.
  3. Substitute with fruits and vegetables. Although fruits and vegetables naturally contain sugar, they are much more easily assimilated by the body and utilized for energy.
  4. Change your routine. If you tend to move right from dinner to dessert without a breather in between, it may be time to change up your routine. Take a walk, do the dishes, prepare your lunch for the following day, meditate, or sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. Give yourself a minimum of thirty minutes between dinner and dessert. Usually during that time, the sugar cravings will have subsided.
  5. Identify why you gravitate towards sugar. Is it a coping method that you use to combat stressful situations? Do you use it as a reward after a long hard day at the office? Changing your relationship with food will allow you to mentally distance yourself from it.

How Do You Know If Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Foods and What to Start With

How Do You Know If Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Foods and What to Start With

Introducing solid foods to your growing baby’s diet is a huge milestone for both you as a parent, and your child. Up until now, meal preparation and consideration has been fairly straightforward. The options were limited to breastmilk or formula. 

Now, the idea of introducing solid foods to your baby’s diet can be a daunting task because of conflicting information and the fear of developing severe food reactions or allergies. 

Being armed with solid information on how to best introduce solids to your baby’s diet will alleviate some of the worry and concern and will hopefully allow the transition to be smooth and rewarding.

How Do You Know If Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Foods?

There are several milestone markers that you will start to notice that indicate that your baby is ready to start introducing solid foods in their diet.

Most often these milestones begin to present themselves when the child is around six months of age, however every child will be slightly different.

It is crucially important that your baby can hold his/her own head up and can sit upright in a highchair before ever considering the option of solid foods. 

They will also need to have developed the ability to move their tongue in a way that would allow them to move the food to the back of their mouth and swallow. 

Finally, you may have noticed that your baby takes interest in what you are eating and reaches out to touch or smell your food.

Once you feel that your baby has reached all of these milestones, it is time to think about what solid food to feed your child first.

My Doctor Is Recommending That I Start My Baby Off With Rice Cereal (Pablum). Is That Really The Best Option?

Let’s think for a moment about the most vitamin and nutrient dense food groups.

Do processed grains come to mind? No, of course they don’t.
So then what food group should we be looking to? Fruits and vegetables, of course!

One of the simplest and most nutrient dense options to introduce as a first food is avocado. It requires no preparation whatsoever. Just cut it open, remove the pit, mash up the flesh (much like you would mash a banana) and serve. It can also be easily mixed with a bit of breast milk or formula to change the consistency and make it easier for your baby to consume.

Solid Food Quick Tips

  • Introduce one food at a time with a couple of days in between foods to watch for potential food reactions and to allow your baby’s palette to develop.
  • Hold off on introducing sweet fruits and vegetables until your baby has developed a palette for the more bland fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep a food diary for the first month to record likes, dislikes, reactions, etc so you have a record to look back on.
  • Be patient. This is a learning curve for both you and your baby. If your baby loses interest don’t force the issue. Maintain your regular breastfeeding/formula schedule and slowly introduce solid foods as a supplement to their diet.
  • Take the stress out of meal times. The attitude you have during feeding times will stick with your baby for life, so maintain a positive approach and don’t get frustrated.

Healthy Summer Recipes

Healthy Summer Recipes

Summer is on its way – can you feel it? I certainly can. That warm breeze pouring in my windows has me on the edge of my seat for summer salsas, delicious salads and refreshing mocktails.

These are my favourite recipes right now!! I’ve personally created them and tested them with many family members, and they’re all a huge hit!

Here is your It’s-Almost-Summer-Let’s-Celebrate Recipe Compilation…

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I Feel Like I’m at the Beach Tropical Mocktail

To your high speed blender, add…

3 peeled oranges (leave them whole)
2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
5 large frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana
1.5 cups water
6 ice cubes

Blend and serve!! Enjoy this kick of immune boosting vitamin C, fat busting bromelain and packed in nutrients from these superfoods!

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Sweet and Spicy Summer Salsa

To a medium sized bowl, add…

1 chopped mango
2 chopped roma tomatoes
1/2 red onion chopped tiny
1 chopped avocado
1/2 chopped jalapeño pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt sprinkled over it
Then add juice of 1 lime (which will disperse the salt throughout)

Stir well and enjoy as a side to barbecued chicken, with as-healthy-as-you-can-find-or-make nacho chips or as a dip for vegetables.

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Summer Spinach Raw Vegan Caesar Salad

To a large bowl, add…

1 bunch shredded organic baby spinach
1/2 head of red leaf lettuce (or romaine – choose your favourite! This adds texture and different green nutrients)
1 sweet pepper – choose your colour and chop
1 roma tomato – chopped
1/2 cucumber – chopped
1 bunch of grapes – sliced in half

Raw Vegan Caesar Dressing

(Ditch the store bough chemicalized, food-like dressing and make your own!! This literally tastes IDENTICAL to Caesar dressing, it’s SO delicious!)

To a high speed blender, add…

1/3 cup raw cashews
2/3 cup water
2.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
10 shakes sea salt
6 shakes pepper

Let this soak for 15 minutes before blending to allow cashews to soften and make the recipe creamy. Pour over your salad bowl, mix and enjoy!

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How To Read Labels Like a Pro and Cut Grocery Shopping Time In Half

How To Read Labels Like a Pro and Cut Grocery Shopping Time In Half

Are you confident in your ability to read food labels?

Maybe you haven’t really taken the time to ever read a label properly before, or you are so overwhelmed by the information presented on the label that you just don’t bother.

It is time to get on the label reading train so you can be properly educated on what you are feeding your family and you can get in and out of the grocery store in half the time. No more staring at a label for 5 minutes trying to decipher if you should put it in your cart or not.

First off, it is critical to note that you won’t find a label on anything in the produce section of the grocery store – and this is where the majority of your food should be found!

The reason for that is that those foods haven’t been processed. The focus of your grocery shopping trip should be concentrated to the produce department, filling your cart full of wonderfully nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. It is important to be mindful on what produce should be purchased organically if funds and availability allow for it.

Leafy greens, strawberries, grapes, celery, and apples are some of the most highly sprayed crops and therefore should be purchased organically if possible.

As you move into the packaged food section of the grocery store, you will want to focus on the following tips to ensure you are reading labels properly.

1. Check the serving size first, and consider what a realistic serving size is for your family. In the case of most packaged products, the serving size is an unrealistic estimate of what a typical person would eat and therefore causes the caloric values, fat and sugar content to appear more acceptable.

2. Most people only focus on the top half of the label where you will find the caloric content and nutritional breakdown. While this information is important to know, the list of ingredients will be more helpful in determining just what additives might be present. Remember that the ingredients are listed in descending order based on their volume, so if a harmful item is listed as one of the first five ingredients then you may want to reconsider what you are buying.

3. Choose products with the fewest number of ingredients. But, also make sure that you know and feel comfortable eating what all the ingredients are.

4. Purchase frozen vegetables and fruit instead of canned to eliminate exposure to preservatives that are used in the canning process.

5. Beware of endorsements on products and clever marketing campaigns that make any special product claims. Just because a label claims it is sugar-free, diet, all natural or trans fat free doesn’t mean that it is healthy. 

6. Finally, avoid ingredients like monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners (Splenda or aspartame), sodium nitrate, food dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, refined grains, and any other items on the label that are almost impossible to pronounce.

By following these tips, a trip to the grocery store should be a lot less confusing and time consuming. Remember that life isn’t perfect, and neither will your grocery shopping experience be. 

Select products that are as close to natural as you can and always keep your eyes open for higher quality alternatives.

Save the Bees! Without Them, Humanity Can’t Survive

bees and dandelions

Stop. And. Listen. Do you hear bees buzzing in your yard, hard at work? If we aren’t careful, that could soon be a sound of the past.

Whatever you do this spring, don’t pull out the dandelions that pop up in your yard or garden. Yes, I know that we have all been convinced by yard maintenance companies and marketing that dandelions are not aesthetically pleasing and therefore they should be sprayed or pulled out. But, dandelions are the first source of food in the spring to feed our precious, hard-working bees (and other insects).

Bees are responsible for the pollination of approximately 35% of our food supply and it is our job to protect them.

With the widespread use of pesticides and chemicals on crops we are killing off the bee population at an alarming rate.

While the world stopped to listen to the story of Kim Kardashian’s Paris robbery last year, we missed noting that bees have been put on the endangered list.

Without bees, we can expect to see a significant impact on the agricultural industry.  Although bees are not necessary for the pollination of all crops, they do play an integral role in the pollination of melons, squash, nuts such as cashews, brazil nuts and almonds, apples, berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries), and stone fruits.

As the bee population continues to be affected, the concern is that these fruits and vegetables will be available in lower yields, which would drive the cost of these up as availability is reduced. Understanding that these are the staple foods of a whole food diet, it is concerning that a diet consisting of whole foods is likely to become less accessible and therefore could have a negative impact on the health of our communities moving forward. 

Spread the word about the bee population. Talk to your neighbours, friends, family and whoever else you come into contact with. Start a conversation in your community about what can be done to reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides. Starting a community gardening program is an excellent way to educate the community on the importance of the bee population while growing organic produce. If that isn’t an option in your community, starting a small backyard garden is easy and extremely rewarding. Bees love flowers, fruits and vegetables, so pick your favourites and start growing!

Finally, by purchasing local, raw honey you are supporting a local farmer who is working hard to maintain the bee population. The nutritional benefits of eating raw, locally sourced honey include providing anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. Raw honey is also rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Most honey that we buy in the grocery store has been processed at high temperatures and has additives, which radically reduces the effectiveness of the honey in your diet.

We encourage you to do whatever you can to help save the bee population. It could be as simple as planting a patch of wild flowers, eliminating the use of chemicals on your lawn or letting your dandelions thrive this spring!

I Just Spent $150 on Groceries and Then Ordered Take Out

$150 groceries

“I just bought $150 worth of groceries and then ordered takeout because I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of deciding what to cook.”

Having just heard this from a dear friend, I am wondering, has this ever happened to you?

Don’t fall victim to ordering high calorie takeout while you have a fridge full of perfectly good food!

Planning is the key to staying on track with your chosen lifestyle of eating a diet rich in whole foods. In a world full of fast food options and busy schedules, it is easy to get distracted from eating well. I have outlined some tips and tricks to stick to help us all stick to a healthy diet.

Half the battle of making nutritious meals is having all of the ingredients stocked in your pantry or refrigerator. Before you do your weekly grocery shop, sit down and make a meal plan for the week. At the same time, create your shopping list to reflect the ingredients that you will need for your week’s meals.

Remember that flyers are your friend. Not only are flyers meant to point out the weekly sales, but they can also act as an inspiration for your meal planning. Flyers generally feature fruits and vegetables that are in season or are at least readily available and cost effective. Use the flyers to choose a star ingredient for each meal and then develop your meal plan around those star ingredients.

Leftovers are a time saver. Batch cooking is an easy way to ensure that you have leftovers on hand, so that on nights that time doesn’t allow you to be in the kitchen to prepare a meal from scratch, you have something to easily heat up and have on the table in minutes. Try making a large pot of soup, stew or chilli to have in the fridge or freezer for quick, easy meals.

Try adding the following recipe to your meal plan next week.

loaded sweet potatoes

Loaded sweet potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 jalapeño pepper (remove seeds for less spice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
sea salt

Guacamole Topping

1 avocado
1 roma tomato
1/4 sweet onion, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (optional)
sea salt
juice of one lime

Preheat oven to 375ªF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut sweet potatoes lengthwise and then thinly slice. Dice onion and jalapeño pepper. Add sweet potatoes, onion and jalapeño pepper to a bowl. Toss with olive oil, garlic powder and sea salt to taste. Bake sweet potatoes until tender.

While sweet potatoes are baking, prepare guacamole topping. Cut avocado in half and remove the large seed. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the avocado into a bowl and chop into small pieces. Dice tomato, onion and jalapeño and add to the bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt to the avocado mixture and add the juice of one lime.  Mix well.

Serve the sweet potatoes and top with guacamole.

Serve the loaded sweet potatoes with a garden salad, and a protein of your choice (free-range chicken, wild-caught cold water fish, grass fed beef). Enjoy!

Stop Throwing Away Juice Pulp! Do This Instead

Stop Throwing Away Juice Pulp! Do This Instead

If you are anything like me when it comes to making homemade juices, it absolutely kills me to fill up my green bin and throw away the pulp leftover from juicing. It feels like I’m throwing away vegetables or fruit that still have nutritional potential, not to mention hard earned money.

The reason we want to take the pulp out of the vegetables when we are juicing is to give the digestive system a break from having to do any work, while the nutrients in the juice are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and go to work feeding our cells.

But the pulp is by no means devoid of nutritional value simply by removing the liquid from it. It has a ton of fibre and other nutrients that are not extracted during the juicing process. Use the following ideas in your own kitchen to get the full benefit of your fruits and vegetables.

Top 7 Ways to Use Juice Pulp and the Best Fruits/Vegetables to Use for Each

  1. Freeze It – Pulp can be stored in freezer bags or glass containers in the fridge or freezer for use later in any of the below ideas. If you don’t have plans of using the pulp within 48 hours then it is best to freeze it immediately.
  2. Crackers – The best pulps to use for crackers are the naturally drier pulps like celery, zucchini, carrot, and sweet potato. Crackers can be made in a dehydrator or in a low temperature oven.  Simply mix the pulp with ground flax seeds and spices and dehydrate until crackers are crunchy and dry.
  3. Soups/Stews – Pulp is great to add to soups and stews as a thickening agent and to give your meal extra fibre. The best options are carrots, celery, parsley, kale or spinach, zucchini, and sweet potatoes.
  4. Homemade burgers/veggie burgers/falafels – This might be my favourite option, because the pulp can be so easily hidden in these patties. It also adds a binding factor to keep the burgers intact as they are cooked. Try using carrot, zucchini, and celery pulp.
  5. Add to muffins – Zucchini or carrot pulp can easily be added to traditional zucchini muffins or carrot cake recipes. For healthier baking look for recipes that are lower in refined sugar, flour and lower in saturated fats.
  6. Smoothies for extra fibre – Fruit or vegetable pulp can easily be hidden in your favourite smoothie recipe. My favourites are zucchini, pineapple, apple and cucumber pulp due to their mild flavours and textures.
  7. Homemade vegetable broth – Just like you would use leftover carrots or celery and onion to make a homemade vegetable broth, do the same with leftover juice pulp. Add a variety of herbs and spices to add an extra kick of flavour to your broth and simmer on low heat. Once cool, strain broth for use. Extra broth can be frozen for use later.

So, before you throw your next batch of juice pulp in the green bin or compost pile, consider the above options to get the full benefit of your produce. 

Are Toxins Making You Fat?

Are Toxins Making You Fat?

Every day we are bombarded by thousands of chemicals in our environments and lifestyles that have the potential to accumulate in our bodies.

From the cosmetics that are loaded with chemicals that you use on a daily basis, to the pesticides on our produce, various preservatives and lab created additives in any processed food you consume, toxins you are exposed to at work, environmental smog and car fumes on your way to work, cleaning chemicals used at your office or you choose to use at home, the laundry detergent residue touching you all day, and finally the smelly candle you light in the evening to relax after a hectic toxin-filled day can all contribute to weight gain.

How on earth can toxins affect your weight?

Our bodies are brilliant. Every single thing about them is designed to survive. No matter what we put in or on our bodies, the stress we put them under and the activities we motor through in a day, our bodies are continually evolving and adapting to keep us alive.

When toxins find their way into our bodies, we deal with them very systematically. We process them through our liver, kidneys and intestines and move them out! But those that can not be moved out so easily, or if there is a back up in our detox systems, these toxins can be swiftly moved to the outer regions of our body, simply to protect our organs. And these toxins are stored in fat cells.

So, in a way, we can thank our bodies for moving these potentially life-threatening toxins to our hips instead of letting them build up in our hearts. However, those toxins shouldn’t be allowed to stay there forever, so we have to safely move them out, without detoxifying and recycling the toxins through our bodies.

How do we safely detoxify?

1. The first thing to start to detoxify is to stop toxifying yourself in the first place!
• buy organic produce
• swap your cosmetics for natural options from health food store
use vinegar and baking soda to clean (no more harsh chemicals! Really, how dirty can we be?)
• avoid processed foods
• stop using products with lots of fragrance

2. Drink warm water with lemon every morning when you wake up.
This helps to gently stimulate your detox organs and start the detox process of the toxins that built up overnight.

3. Drink more water throughout the day. This loosens up the cells and moves digestion through – a major detox system.

4. Exercise daily! Movement helps everything move. Especially your lymph system which can not move by itself. It needs gravity and our movement to help things run.

5. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables – as organically as possible
These foods contain immense quantities of antioxidants to help fight against free radicals and other toxins that build up.

6. Talk to your natural health practitioner about herbs, tinctures and essential oils that would be helpful for your personal situation. There are wonderful, natural options to help to gently support your detoxification protocols without releasing all of the toxins at once and causing a RE-toxification situation.

How to Grow a Simple Organic Garden

How to Grow a Simple Organic Garden

Can you imagine heading into your backyard and picking a ripe, juicy strawberry?

What about digging in the dirt and pulling up and enjoying the sweet, explosive flavour of of a freshly dug carrot?

What if you could go into your garden and pick romaine lettuce leaves or spinach leaves and make a fresh salad?

How would this transform you life?! It sure has transformed mine. I can’t tell you the joy I have been able to experience while growing up on a large commercial produce farm. We grew strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, carrots, lettuce, beets, spinach, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, kale, Bok Choy, cucumbers, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, squash, pumpkins and so many more.

Now, I have a much smaller garden than when we were helping to feed our community, but my joy is still the same. My favourite thing is to go out into the garden and enjoy a freshly picked treat from my own backyard and share the bounty with friends and family.

The best part is that starting a small organic garden is SO easy! You can definitely plan to have a garden this summer and enjoy fresh produce from your very own backyard!!

Step 1:

Choose a sunny place to locate your garden. The more sun, the better! Dig off the top layer of sod and remove it or reuse it in a location that needs fresh grass. Use as much or as little space as you’d like – try to keep things rectangular or square so your planting lines will be straight. Dig the dirt up and loosen it as much as possible with your garden tools.

Step 2:

Hit your local greenhouse or garden supply store and score some compost or decomposed manure. This will add lots of nutrients to the soil so that your veggies can grow efficiently.

Step 3:

Decide which fruits and vegetables you’d like to grow. For your first season, the easiest choices to grow are:
• carrots
• lettuce
• spinach
• kale
• tomatoes (buy the plants that are already developed)
• cucumbers
• basil, dill, cilantro, etc

Step 4:

Check the seed packages for timing to plant, but it’s important to wait until you are basically clear of the risk of frost, which can damage or kill small plants that are just starting.

Follow the directions on the seed packages for depth, but dig a small (usually approximately 1”) trench to drop the seeds into and cover them up with a bit of dirt and pack it lightly. Water each row you plant and sit tight!!

Water your garden regularly and be sure to pull out any weeds. Weeds interfere with the plants’ ability to pull water from the soil, absorption or nutrients and take up room that they need to spread their roots.

But be sure that you are actually pulling out the weeds, not your plants that are too small to identify yet!

Master Tips:

• Make sure you leave enough space both between each seed for the item to grow, as well as enough room between the rows that your produce isn’t choking each other out

• Imagine how large a head of romaine lettuce gets – so leave a few inches between the seeds if you want the lettuce to have room to form full heads. Otherwise you will just have a lot of leaves growing every which-way because they don’t have enough space. (either way, it’s still delicious! And if one of the seeds doesn’t come up, you haven’t wasted a lot of space in the row)

• Cucumber plants spread for several feet, so plant them toward the edges of your garden and train their plants to spread out onto the grass. Just move them before the lawn mower drives by!

• Imagine the size of carrots and leave an inch of room in between seeds to they have room to grow and develop. Same for beets, radishes, onions, etc.

• Tomato plants can grow quite large and also need some sort of support system to stake them up so they don’t fall over. Even an old broom handle can be driven into the dirt and you can tie up the plants with old panty hose – it’s soft and won’t damage the tomato branches

I hope your garden brings you as much joy as it does for me! It’s also a great way for children to learn where their food comes from, how it grows and how to take care of it. It is such a great survival tool that they can use for their entire lives.