Raising and Growing Our Organic and Not- So-Organic Foods



Oct 18, 2016
Massachusetts, USA
One thread encompassing the breadth of producing food for our table ..... and our poultry.

More and more evidence is supporting organic. Food without pesticides, herbicides, and general-cides. Many are endocrine disruptors, primarily affecting estrogen.

When I look around the market place to purchase food both vegie and meats, the prices drop me to my knees. Yes, there are a few affordable vegies, but not enough varitey to suit my family.

I blame chickens for this push for organic. When I acquired my first rescue hen, little did I know she would start the chicken math, and while learning how to feed these egg-producers, I was learning a better way to health--their health. Later it dawned on me the chickens ate better than my family. So began the quest for a better diet for my family..... and how I arrived at organic.

But orgainic is a process. I woud love to have others chime in and join this journey to better eating. It is not an overnight change over. But one step at a time. Learning together and sharing knowledge, sharing sucesses and sharing failures. Moving toward more and more organic foods on our plate.

The topics would include gardening, growing fruit trees, growing for chickens, grazing ducks, etc. Endless subjects that improve our health. Especially the foods we eat and the feeds we feed our poultry and livestock.

Please chime in and share.
Last edited:

An article on how to increase DHA in our layer feed. Excerpts.

You can increase the level of omega-3 fatty acids in the eggs that your hens lay by including flaxseed in their feed. The flaxseed contains a type of omega-3 fatty acid called a -linolenic acid and the hen will deposit a significant amount of this dietary fatty acid into the egg yolk. The hen will also convert some of the a -linolenic acid into smaller amounts of other forms of omega-3 fatty acids and deposit them into the egg yolk.

A suggested laying hen ration that will increase the omega-3 fatty acids in the eggs from your hens:

Wheat 40 kg
Oats 15 kg
Layer Supplement 25 kg
Flaxseed 10 kg
Limestone 8 kg
Canola oil 2 kg
Total 100 kg
Consult your feed supplier for the exact proportion of grain, supplement and limestone (or oyster shell). You must feed this diet for three weeks before omega-3 fatty acids will increase substantially in the eggs.

The grain portion of the hen ration can be made up of wheat, barley or oats. At least half of the grain should be wheat to help counteract some of the sticky compounds in the other grains and flaxseed. Some oats is suggested because it contains more linoleic acid than the other grains. Feeding a quarter of the grain as whole kernels will help the hen to develop a strong, muscular gizzard that can grind the flaxseed for improved release of the oil.

Overfeeding flaxseed can cause problems for your hens because flaxseed contains sticky compounds that stop the hen from digesting some of the nutrients in her diet. Flaxseed also contains a compound called linoline that may increase the birds' vitamin requirements. Feeding too much flaxseed can cause production drops, small egg size, reduced body weight gain and thin egg shells. Including 10% flaxseed will increase the omega-3 fatty acids in your eggs and not cause problems for your birds.

Feeding an excess of flaxseed may produce an undesirable egg for you and your family. Too much flaxseed can darken the yolks and leave a fishy taste in the yolk. An excess of flaxseed may increase the omega-3 fatty acids in the egg yolk at the expense of omega-6 fatty acids which are also beneficial in your diet.

It is recommended that you feed the flaxseed to your hens as whole seeds instead of grinding it up. The fat in flaxseed tends to become rancid quickly once the seed has been ground. Rancid fat can give off flavours in the egg, increase the hens' need for vitamins such as Vitamin E, cause egg production to fall, and most importantly will not increase the omega-3 fatty acid levels in the eggs. Grinding the seed will also produce an oily ration, which tends to stick to your feeders.

Use a commercially prepared supplement, in the correct proportions, to supply the vitamins needed by your hens. Feeding fresh "greens" is not an adequate replacement for a layer supplement.

And why.

Understanding the Role that Each Omega-3 Plays
Today, more and more food products claim to be a good source of omega-3s, but not all omega-3s are created equal. There are three major omega-3 fatty acids each with distinct health benefits:

  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
    DHA, a long chain omega-3 fatty acid, is the most abundant omega-3 in the brain and eye. It is also an important structural component of heart tissue and is naturally found in breastmilk.

  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
    EPA, a long chain omega-3 fatty acid, is important for human health. While EPA is not stored in significant levels in the brain and eye, it plays a very important role in the body, especially for heart health.

  • Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)
    ALA, an essential fatty acid (EFA), is a shorter-chain omega-3 fatty acid that serves as a source of energy for the body. It can also convert to EPA and DHA, but in very limited amounts. ALA has been found to be beneficial for heart health.
DHA omega-3 foods and sources inlude
The Importance of DHA in the Diet
Americans Do Not Consume Enough DHA
On average, the typical American diet contains less than 100mg of DHA per day, well below the amount recommended by several expert organizations around the world. Fortunately, as research continues to demonstrate the importance of DHA, foods fortified with DHA are becoming increasingly available making it easier to include in your daily diet.

How much DHA do you consume? How much DHA should you consume?

Several expert bodies around the world have made recommendations for DHA intake among various populations.

Pregnant and Nursing Women
  • 200mg/day of DHA for pregnant and lactating women was the recommendation by a workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (NIH/ISSFAL).
  • LEARN MORE About DHA for Pregnant and Nursing Women
  • A workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (NIH/ISSFAL), a joint Expert Committee of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO) and the Child Health Foundation have all recommended the inclusion of DHA and ARA in infant formula.
  • LEARN MORE About DHA for Infants
Children and Adults
Dietary Sources of DHA
Dietary sources of DHA include:
  • Algae - Certain algae are natural sources of DHA and EPA. While most people believe that fish produce their own DHA and EPA, in fact, it’s the algae in their food chain that makes them a rich source of these omega-3s.
    • life'sDHA, produced from algae, is a natural vegetarian source of DHA. life'sDHA is available in dietary supplements, foods and beverages, and is added to the vast majority of infant formula sold in the US.
    • life’s™OMEGA, produced from algae, is a vegetarian source of DHA and EPA. life’sOMEGA is available in dietary supplements, foods and beverages.
  • Fatty fish including anchovies, salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna and halibut.
  • Eggs naturally contain small amounts of DHA, but new DHA enriched eggs can contain up to 57mg of DHA per egg.
  • DHA fortified foods, beverages and supplements.
Does flaxseed oil contain DHA?
Flaxseed oil is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, a precursor of DHA. ALA is an important source of energy, however there are no known specific benefits of ALA on brain or eye development and function. While the human body can convert ALA to DHA and EPA, it occurs at a rate of less than 1%, so it is best to consume preformed DHA directly for the health benefits.
Tray of marigolds planted today. 4 x 9 hole tray. 4 seeds in each. Plan to thing by repotting.

Burpee Best Mix 65-70 d 12in, plant 9-12in apart ; emerge 7-14 days

marigolds are great for attracting bees and interplanting as pest control, from what I read. I hate the smell, YUK, so maybe other pest bugs hate these too. Maybe the bees hate these too. IDK. But once in the garden perhaps they will stop by the vegetable flowers.

Have two packets of sunflowers also! Teddy Bear is a fuzzy yellow 24 inches and Solar Eclipse is soft yellow with maroon face, 4-5 feet. Perhaps a TALL one would make good stakes the following year. Do polee beans like these???
Planning a small orchard is more work than I though. Years ago we planted a number of apple trees but they all failed. What a different experience than the ignored apple trees I knew growing up.

Trying to learn more this time around.

Reading a bit has helped me realize that even resistant varieties need care. That spraying and careful thought ful management will help a tree last longer.

Here is a primer on understanding the hows and whys of the most common diseases. Grandpa helped me realize I will have a better outcome and healthier trees if I give more than a little consideration to likely diseases.


Finally, here is a myth that many believe: Organic produce never gets sprayed with pesticides or fungicides. This is just not true, there are numerous, legally labelled “organic” sprays out there today. Some of them may be more toxic to humans (and other life forms) than many of the synthetic chemicals. They can be used in an organic systems most often because they occur naturally in nature, rather than synthetically and chemically processed.

In fact, there is very little produce out there that doesn’t get some kind of protective spray, mostly because even the organic producer needs to be able to provide pest-free produce to his customers.

I think I will try to understand the diseases and the prevention to make a more informed decision on the best varieties for my area.

This led me to a funky black knobby growth on my long deceased plum trees.
Here is a bit to start learning. Helps to know the correct name to look for info.

Clearly BLACK KNOT is here. BROWN ROT now demolished the peaches..... had some 10 years without it, the early years of the orchard. FIREBLIGHT rolls thru the area, and has caused the Davenport ORchard to no longer provide apple scions. THis one worries me.

THe pears are on a sdwarfing stock and I wonder if the nursery Miller use the OH x F stock, which is fireblight resistant. Well, the '87 and '97 are, the 7 is not. When looking up apple varieties, I discovered the Old Homestead is fireblight resistant. So was that used to make pear rootstock??

Never thought of scab as a bacteria. Would like to know m ore as the apples I knew growing up received NO spraying. SOmetimes they looked misshapen, and other years not so bad.

So much to learn.
I looked thru the remarkable list of apple trees at the Cummins website. The hidden gem is that hundreds of varieties are found via the search feature. Some have just a name listed to hold its place, others are full descriptions with a photo including uses, disease, growth habits and fruit flavors.

Yes I looked at every one.... toook hours!!! It helped me understand diseases are part of the package when raising fruit trees.
In a quest to pick the right variety (s), I am searching out storage methods and the varieties that work within that option.


"Newton Pippen lasted some 14 months, single layer wrapped in newspaper in 55 degree cellar basement. We’ve successfully stored Ashmeads Kernel, Honeycrisp and Northern Spy for 8 months each, and they may have in fact lasted longer but we simply had eaten them all at that point.Stocking Up also suggests storing Stayman-Winesap, York Imperial, Arkansas Black Twig, Baldwin, Ben Davis and Rome Beauty and that each of those varieties will keep for at least 6 months."

Stocking Up is a book available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Stocking-Up-...0e-20&linkId=5d0478717a1a70e5461fed115663a81c

Abook she mentions is the Root cellering book. It is very old. I have 2 copies. New at the time 1991, but concerned that new varieites have come along in the interveneing years that might be useful. For sure, the comprehensive listing within will work well, and IMO a great starting place.

Another opinion to store apples. More details that make all the difference, according to the author.

"You can, however, increase the amount of time you have by selecting apples that store longer. Choose varieties that have a thicker skin and a more tart flavor, rather than thin-skinned sweet apples. Apples that that will store for up to 5 months include:

  • Golden Delicious
  • Jonathan
  • Red Delicious
  • Chieftain
  • Melrose
  • Fuji
  • Northern Spy
  • Mutsu
  • Stayman
  • Turley
  • Winesap
  • Rome
  • Granny Smith
While you’re wrapping apples, scan them for bruises or other defects. Bruised apples should be used up quickly and not put into storage. Store only your most perfect apples.

Storing Your Apples

Storing your apples is quite simple, but there are still a few things that you should know:

  1. Store only fresh, ripe apples. The fresher your apples are when you put them in storage, the longer they are likely to last. Also, remember that ripe apples store the best. If they have become overripe, or are still a bit unripe, they will not last as long.
  2. Separate apple varieties. Different types of apples have different shelf lives, so if you’ve got more than one variety that you will be storing this winter, keep different varieties in separate boxes or baskets.
  3. Separate apples by size. You may not think it makes a difference, but apple size actually does matter! Larger apples simply don’t last as long as smaller ones – so divide your fruit into small, medium and large, and organize them so that the large fruit get eaten first.
  4. Don’t store apples and potatoes/onions next to each other. Potatoes and onions release a gas that causes apples to rot more quickly. If you are storing apples and potatoes/ onions, they shouldn’t be stored right next to each other (in the same root cellar is fine, though). Apples also have a tendency to absorb the flavor of other foods.
  5. Store in a cool dark place. You should never allow your apples to freeze, but they will do great if they are kept around 32-34 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also want to keep them in a dark place. Areas that work well for storing apples include refrigerators and root cellars, or you also may do well keeping them in boxes in a basement, pantry or enclosed porch.
  6. High humidity. The place you choose to store your apples should also have a decent amount of humidity (about 90 percent is ideal). But don’t allow apples to get wet or they will end up rotting.
  7. Check your apples on a regular basis. Look for any signs of spoilage, and be sure to remove any fruit that is starting to rot.
Stored properly, your apples should last well into late winter or even early spring. If you have too many to eat fresh, then consider making cider, pies, applesauce or a dish that can be frozen.

Apples kept in storage will become sweeter over time, so enjoy tasting your harvest at different intervals throughout the winter "
An article that has some info confirming the above and a few extras.
Note this person prefers the WINTER BANANA, specifically the spurred type, infering a nonspurred exists.

Here are some simple
tips on how to store apples
for a long, long time

By Don Fallick

Issue #41 •September/October, 1996

Almost any kind of apple will keep for three or four months, or even longer, if stored properly. It’s cheap and easy to do. All you need is newspaper, a box or basket, and apples. A root cellar is optional, but not necessary.

The main causes of apple spoilage are time, bruises, and contact with a rotten spot on another apple.

Time can be stretched by selecting long-keeping varieties of apples for storage. Tart and thick-skinned apples like Jonathans generally keep longer than sweet or thin-skinned ones like Delicious. Good keepers also have very firm flesh. The best keepers I have found are Spur Winter Bananas—from C&O Nursery, P.O. Box 116, Wenatchee, WA 98807.

They are yellow and tart at harvest, but get redder and sweeter, and actually taste better after a couple of months in storage.

Prevent contact between apples stored for the winter by wrapping them individually in sheets of newspaper. The easiest way to do this is to unfold a section of newspaper all the way and tear it into quarters. Then stack the quarters. Avoid sections printed with colored ink, which contains poisonous heavy metals.

Place an apple on top of the stack and fold the top sheet of paper up around the apple, wrapping it in paper. Give the corners a slight twist—just enough to make them stay wrapped. If you twist them too hard, the paper will tear. It’s not necessary to exclude air. Just twist hard enough so the paper doesn’t come unwrapped before the apples are boxed. The paper prevents contact between apples, so just one rotten apple won’t spoil the whole bunch. With practice, you’ll be able to wrap and store apples as fast as you can scan them for bruises and sort them.

Always handle apples carefully, to avoid bruising them. Apples with even small bruises must never be stored with “keepers.” Only perfect apples should be used for long-term storage. Even minor imperfections speed spoilage. While you’re wrapping, check each apple for cut skin, soft spots, or bruises. Even bruised apples taste fine when they’re fresh, so sort the best culls into a box to be eaten right away. If there are too many, make apple pie filling out of the excess. Use culls with extensive blemishes for cider. Or cut out any really gross parts and make applesauce.

My family owns two Victorio strainers. We blanch the apples to soften them, cut them in half, throw them in the hopper, and turn the crank. The Victorio separates the pulp from the skins, seeds, and stems, and produces fresh applesauce, ready for canning. With both strainers going, we can put up more than two bushels of apples an hour.

Canned pie filling, applesauce, and cider will keep for a year or more. Fresh cider that has started to turn sour can be made into hard cider, vinegar, or applejack (see Issue #35, Sept/Oct 1995). All three will keep indefinitely.

Boxed apples need to be kept in a cool, dark spot where they won’t freeze. Freezing ruptures all of an apple’s cells, turning it into one large bruise overnight. The usual solution is to store apples in a root cellar. But root cellars often have potatoes in them, and experts say that apples and potatoes should never be stored in the same room. This may seem incongruous, but there is a reason. As they age, potatoes release an otherwise harmless gas that makes apples spoil faster. If you can keep the gas away from your apples, they will keep just fine. Just don’t store them right next to potatoes.

I keep wrapped apples in a cardboard box. It need not be airtight, just tight enough to impede air circulation. I’ve kept apples in an unheated basement, a pantry, an enclosed porch, an unheated attic, even in a root cellar, potatoes and all. Using these simple methods, I have kept ordinary apples until late February, and Winter Banana apples into March.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom