Posts Tagged ‘molasses’

Hot Tea!

Tea is tasty, nutritious, medicinal and “hot” right now.  So is compost tea for your lawn, trees, gardens and shrubs!

What is compost tea?

Compost tea is a natural organic fertilizer made from compost, or more specifically a water extract of compost that is brewed to give the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes a chance to increase in number and activity using the nutrients present in the water.   It is also a highly effective natural insect and disease inhibitor.  Compost tea is inexpensive and often an easier method of applying compost, especially to your trees and shrubs.

How is compost tea made?

Aerobic water steeps the biology off of the compost through an extraction process. Food-grade molasses, garlic, kelp, and fish emulsion are then added to the mix. The foods activate and cause the biology to multiply, creating a powerful, nutritious food for your plants.

How do you apply compost tea?

Compost tea can either be applied as a foliar spray or as a soil drench. As a foliar spray, nutritious compost tea deposits beneficial organisms to plant surfaces so disease-causing organisms cannot find infection sites or food resources. As a soil drench, compost tea develops a biological barrier around roots to prevent root disease-causing organisms from being able to find the roots. The tea introduces organic matter, which provides nutrients for the roots to improve plant growth and moisture retention.

Where can you get compost tea?

If you are in the Boston area, our tree care company, Boston Tree Preservation, offers compost tea treatments and serves as a tea center where homeowners can purchase the tea to apply themselves.  As the organic movement grows, many tree care and landscape companies understand the value of compost tea and are starting to offer compost tea treatments.  You can also find recipes on-line to make it yourself if you have access to healthy, rich compost.

Click on the video below for a demonstration on how to make compost tea.

Compost tea is vibrant, alive and wakes up your soil!  This spring, give your garden a treat with compost tea.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Information compiled from bostontreepreservation.com.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Okay?

I’m always amazed when friends or family ask for Sweet ‘n Low or Splenda, and they are always amazed when I say I don’t have any!  I’ve never used artificial sweeteners and have always been leery of them.

The American diet is inundated with sugar – in cereals, crackers, cookies and hidden away in other processed foods.  It’s in fruit juices, sodas, flavored water, energy drinks and diet drinks.  It’s an additive for coffee and tea and used in baking and cooking.  Our bodies need sugar as a source of energy, but when natural sugar is refined or overused, it upsets the natural balance and loses its benefits.  Sugar is definitely overused and its overuse results in all sorts of problems, including diabetes, weight gain, a compromised immune system and depression, to name a few. Artificial sugars aren’t sugar, but you still get the sweet flavor without the calories!  Perfect, right?  For those with diabetes, yes, but for the rest of us?  Not really.

SWEETENER QUANTITY CALORIES
Natural
Brown Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Cane Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Honey 1 tsp 20
Molasses 1 tsp 20
White Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Stevia 1 packet  0
Raw Organic Agave 1 Tbs 60
Artificial
Equal 1 packet  5
NutraSweet 1 tsp  2
Splenda 1 tsp  5
Sweet N Low 1 packet  0
Sucanat 1 tsp 16

 

Two main artificial sugars are saccharin (Sweet N’ Low) and aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal and Sugar Twin).   Both are approved by the FDA, but they have no nutritional value and studies show that there are possible cancer links as well as allergic reactions.  Aspartame, which is found in more than 6000 products, is even more controversial than saccharin. It has been associated with headaches, dizziness, change in mood, vomiting or nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, change in vision, diarrhea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss, fatigue and even weight gain.  In addition, there are links to fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, tinnitus, joint pain, anxiety attacks, blurred vision, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, unexplainable depression, slurred speech, and various cancers.  Scary!

English: Great taste without the sugar. The se...

. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saccharin was first produced in 1878 by a chemist working on coal tar derivatives; today it’s manufactured with chlorine and ammonia.   Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by a chemist working for G.D.Searle and Company, and is composed of three main compounds – aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol (wood alcohol), all of which can be dangerous.  As Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules, says, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”    I know that the FDA says they are safe, but I’d rather err on the side of caution and sparingly use natural, unrefined sugars.  That means avoiding products labeled as “low calorie”, “diet”, “sugar free” or “no sugar added” too!  Saving only 10 calories or so just doesn’t seem like a good risk to me.

Information compiled from www.medicinenet.com/; naturalhealthsherpa.com; http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/