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Organic Gardening & Natural Living

Updated on November 18, 2017

Diana's Organic Garden Story

I am an organic gardener and have been for years and love to use my herbs and flowers in recipes; teas and in quite a few home remedies for my own family.

It is also wonderful to be able to use them in my gifts by formulating lightly perfumed soaps & bath salt teas to match and to hand sew eye masks/pillows, neck pillows, and sachets stuffed full with real lavender and/or other herbs and flowers inside.

What Can You Do With One Acre or Less?

Small Yard or Even No Yard, Almost Anyone Can Have an Organic Garden.

I get asked quite often "Isn't is hard to garden organically?" and "Don't the bugs eat all of it?"

It can be harder to be an organic gardener, but the results and knowing that you are not poisoning your family are so worth it.

Once you get your compost going well and you understand about rotating your crops and companion planting... then it isn't as hard as you would think.

There are natural herbal pesticides that you can make to ward off some bugs and rabbits...

Still, there can be a total loss of a crop - so it is best to plant a variety.

This ensures that you will get something for your efforts.

I have only 1 acre, yet I have 3 peach trees, 2 pear trees, 1 wild plum tree, 4 apple trees, 2 cherry trees, 4 hazelnut bushes, almonds trees that are just babies so it will be several years before I get a crop, dozens of raspberry bushes, several blackberry bushes, several herb gardens, several vegetable gardens, several rose bushes and lavender plants, and several flower beds that also have some edible flowers.

I'm sure I forgot a few things, but you get the idea - it does not take a huge piece of land to grow your own food.

I still want to put in more blackberries and get some blueberries.

I had a blueberry bush before, but it did not like where it was planted - even though I amended the soil to be more acidic.

So, I want to try it again, but closer to the old burn barrel where the soil should be more to a blueberry bush's liking.

I have health issues that make gardening more difficult. I have a genetic condition that has killed my brother, several aunts and uncles... and it is trying to cripple me. I do what I can and some days I do too much and pay for it the next few days.

Fighting with the weeds is the biggest problem, but hubby helps out a little bit with that if I ask him a few times.

I am trying to get raised bed gardens so I can sit on the edges and do my planting and weeding a lot easier, but I am waiting to save up some money to have someone help me put them in.

If having a big garden is too hard to do, and you can't get raised beds put in, or you have no yard, put some heavy duty hooks up around your porch or somewhere easy to reach and plant some things in hanging baskets and you can put window/porch boxes on your porch or patio...

I do this too so that I can have some herbs, tomatoes, peppers even cucumbers... near the door to make a quick snack or salad.

It is so satisfying to have something growing right by the door where my kids or I can help ourselves on a whim.

Composting Makes For a Great Organic Garden

Composting Tips

There are other pages there to help with organic gardening and natural living, but this one is all about composting :

http://dianascraft-antiqueshop.mysite.com/compost.html

Natural Relief for Skin Issues

Do you have very dry skin, sensitive skin or other skin problems?

I hope you are not using chemical-laden commercial laundry soaps, perfumes, fabric softeners, soaps... these are veryhard on your skin.

Even the so-called gentle/sensitive-skin ones have what they call "masking scents" in them or other fake ingredients.

If at all possible, switch to all-natural versions of these things.

Make sure to read the labels to see if what they call "natural" is really all natural.

I grate up some of my handmade goat milk soap and dissolve it in hot water until it stays "gloopy" even after sitting all night. If after sitting all night it got too thick, then I add a little more boiling water - stir and check on it again the next day.

I use this for my laundry and shampoo.

It doesn't look pretty, in fact it looks rather disgusting, but it works well and I am not polluting the earth or adding to the landfill mess this way.

I find I don't need to use hair conditioners hardly at all any more as my soaps do not strip my hair, just cleans it.

I use my luxury solid perfumed creams as hair perfume on the very ends where it is dry all of the time and this is enough to smooth it as it softly scents it too.

Use a 1/4 cup of vinegar in your last rinse cycle instead of using store bought fabric softener and do not use those sheets in your dryer.

If you still want to use a little scent in the dryer, put a drop or two of real essential oil on a clean wash cloth and toss it in with your clothes. Or use a dryer bag stuffed full of of lavender... like this. I use lavender in a muslin bag and can get anywhere from 4-9 uses from it before the scent is almost gone.

I also use the natural citrus cleaner that I make. I had my formula published in an magazine and the magazine's online E-Zine as well. It works great and smells good too.

Winter Time Gardening Chores

Winter is a Great Time to Plan your Next Gardening or Landscaping Project

While it is not actual gardening, planning your gardens or on what to change/add is very important and can save you some work in the long run.

What do you want to add, what didn't work so well last year and how will you try to fix the problem, would you like to find other uses for what you already grow?

Take out a notebook or drawing pad and jot down notes about what kinds of things you want to grow and where you might like them to be and how will you use them.

Make sure you check on the proper growing conditions for the plants and for your area.

Do you have enough room for that plant/tree/vine?

Are there more uses than just food for that plant than you thought such as for healing, or to make baskets, or as a companion plant, or a trap plant, or to attract honey bees to pollinate your fruit trees? If so, then you may want to try to fit it in even if it does take up extra room or has special needs, it just might be worth a little extra effort.

It is possible to push the envelope a little with what you can grow if you are careful. Even within your own yard, sometimes you can have micro climates that allow you to grow something that you shouldn't be able to in your area. We can use the shelter of our house/shed/garage/taller plants/trees to give protection to more delicate plants and this might let us grow them even when the zone limit is borderline for us.

I am in zone 5 and I have easily been able to grow many zone 6 crops using mulch/sheltered spots/other plants as protection from wind.

There are many tricks to help us, but learn the proper methods first because even then, success is not assured.

I do not want anyone to try to push the limits right off the bat and then give up thinking that they cannot do well at organic gardening.

After you have figured out the basics, go for it and have fun experimenting!

Early Spring is Lilac Blossom Harvesting Time

That Delicate, Heady Scent is Wonderful

I make a soap with my old purple lilacs and one with my white lilacs too. The scent is almost the same, but loyal customers know which one is their favorite and say they can tell the difference just by the smell, so I keep making both.

The colors of the two are a little different too with the purple lilac soap having a slight tinge of color to it.

It is a lot of work making all natural soaps and other products, so most folks don't bother, but I guess I am too much of a nature lover to compromise my beliefs so I cannot and will not use the fake stuff even though it would be so much easier.

Most folks just use a fake lilac fragrance oil to scent a soap and other products, but I will not. Instead, I make a softly scented lilac soap that is real.

I use the lilac blossoms in soaps and I get a hint of lilac scent in the soap - not very strong, but you can tell it is lilac.

Of course, I have to rebatch the soap with blossom water in it so I don't kill the scent in the saponification process.

If you softly steam a few handfuls of cleaned and de-stemmed blossoms in a little water and then strain - you have nicely scented 1/2 to 3/4 cup of scented floral water to use in your soap via rebatch.

I also grind up some of my lilac blossoms and add them into the soap for a little more scent and for some texture as well.

Rebatching is so much extra work, but it is the only way to get a lilac soap that doesn't use the fake fragrance oils.

I'm the crazy one who spends hours harvesting each kind of blossom (seriously, I spend at least 8-10 hours just on the lilac blossoms for the gathering and de-stemming alone) and I also do the same with herbs, although they do not usually need to be as babied as the lilac and other blossoms need to be.

I use these blossoms as I stated above in a soap rebatch or infuse them into oils and use this scented oil for perfumed creams or balms. If I keep recharging the oil with lilac blossoms, I will eventually get a nicely scented oil to use alone or in a blend.

Reader Feedback - What natural Living - Organic ideas do you know of ?

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    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 3 years ago

      I love gardening and I love the happiness I felt when doing it. Sundae ;-)

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      Very informative! Thank you! I like the way you told us about your personal efforts and issues, and I loved your description of your acre!

    • profile image

      rudhushudu 4 years ago

      I am from India and love greenery I stay In a green city. I am a nature lover myself. i have made few lens on Indian weddings and tried to potrayed the best i can pls visit my lens and comment!

      http://www.squidoo.com/indian-bridal-footwear

      http://www.squidoo.com/bridal-lehenga-collection-i...

    • profile image

      aquagreenpbc 6 years ago

      Love the lens! Thanks for sharing all the great natural living information. I can't wait to try out some of the cleaning recipes! If you get a chance, check out my natural skin care site!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens and great ideas to live by. I am featuring this on Save Planet Earth.

    • SelfAndSource profile image

      SelfAndSource 7 years ago

      You are a beautiful person Diana. Allot of information here to learn. Thank you for your efforts.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 7 years ago

      Gosh, I could spend a couple of days with your lenses. Great how-to and inspiration, thanks.

    • profile image

      loraseverson 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens Diana! Lots of great information here!

    • profile image

      HerbalAli 8 years ago

      Nice stuff...Thanks for coming by herbal community center.

    • profile image

      vinewood 8 years ago

      great lens fav'ed and rated 5 star

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Organic foods are sooo good! Wish I had a garden!

      Susie

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens .....thank you so much for sharing all this with us!

    • profile image

      loraseverson 8 years ago

      Diana,

      Thanks for stopping by my lens. Yes, I do have my camera ready and waiting for spring to arrive! I have lots of ideas for my new wedding collection!

      I am so glad you stopped by because it made me realize how much I need to update that lens!

      Have a great day!

      Lora

    • sunglassenvy lm profile image

      sunglassenvy lm 8 years ago

      Love your lens. Great information.

    • profile image

      ecogreenbags 8 years ago

      Great work on this lens! I don't have a garden currently, but can't wait until I do!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I am defninitely a big fan of growing my own herbs. Here in Michigan I can harvest sage even in the winter time!

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 8 years ago

      Excellent lens on a great topic!

    • GiftsByDiana profile image
      Author

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 8 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      [in reply to crushwb] Cool !

      Thank you for that - I just joined your fanclub !

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi ! saw your link list on FB and have rated five of them !

    • profile image

      Baysbeauty 8 years ago

      Perfect and filled with many great ideas!

    • profile image

      loraseverson 8 years ago

      Great ideas for skin issue relief. I love the idea of a bag full of lavender in the dryer!

    • profile image

      copperpenny22 8 years ago

      What a great lens! I have always been interested in organics. Will bookmark you in my favorites!

    • profile image

      greenorganic 9 years ago

      Great lens. Check out ExquisiteOrganics.com for organic products. Thanks.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 9 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      5* for this beautiful lens.

    • profile image

      cnelson 9 years ago

      Nice lens! It's nice to have all natural products, espically for soaps and shampoo's. I've read a little bit and have used RAW honey on a leg wound before and it def. speeds up the healing process. But, like you said, it must be RAW to receive certain enzymes and nutrients. In Regards to Treating Raw Honey on a Yeast Infection I have not.

      Cnelson

    • profile image

      cnelson 9 years ago

      Nice lens! It's nice to have all natural products, espically for soaps and shampoo's. I've read a little bit and have used RAW honey on a leg wound before and it def. speeds up the healing process. But, like you said, it must be RAW to receive certain enzymes and nutrients. In Regards to Treating Raw Honey on a Yeast Infection I have not.

      Cnelson

    • go206th profile image

      go206th 9 years ago

      Great Lens. People are seemingly becomeing more aware of the harmful effects that chemicals propose to not only our internal body, but externally as well. It is great to see lenses such as yours offering natural alternatives. Great Job. 5*

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 9 years ago

      Fantastic lens! I use to make herbal body care products and loved it. I was wondering if you use any lavender in the products you mentioned in the Herb Garden of Alternative Healing. I use to make skin balm for one of my customers who had a skin disorder and that was one of the ingredients I used. I favorited this lens, 5* it and joined your fanclub. I can not wait to speak to you more. Have a blessed day!

    • blonndie1965 profile image

      blonndie1965 9 years ago

      Fantastic Lens! Excellent job - and great helpful tips! 5 stars from me!

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 9 years ago from Corona, CA

      Nice lens! Good stuff, enjoyed the visit!

      Fight High Gas Prices

      StephenC

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      cool

    • profile image

      Tammyrf 9 years ago

      Hi Diana, I love your lens! Sounds like you take the time to make a quality product. I'm going to go check out your products now. :)

      5*

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 9 years ago from UK

      Lovely lens. Thankyou for sharing. I garden organically and I have sensitive skin so I am careful what I use. Thankyou so much for visiting my back care in the garden lens. I have added yours to my faves and 5 stars!

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 9 years ago

      Organic gardening is big in our family. We have one and buy from others. Nice lensmaster avatar (and lens intro pic), btw. 5* and favorited. :o)

    • SmilinEyesTreas profile image

      SmilinEyesTreas 9 years ago

      Great lens - 5 stars!!! From BISI

    • profile image

      jenifersdesignercloset 9 years ago

      Great lens. Hope you check mine out.

    • SilverLotus1 profile image

      SilverLotus1 9 years ago

      I love this lens! Your Green Guide

    • GiftsByDiana profile image
      Author

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 9 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Thank you Laura !

      I am trying to teach natural living in my little part of the earth.

      Thanks for noticing,

      Diana

    • profile image

      docwoman 9 years ago

      Hi Diana -- I love your natural products and am enjoying your lenses. The above natural recipes are terrific. Thank you for visiting me! :)

      Laura

    • GiftsByDiana profile image
      Author

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 9 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Thank you for stopping by - hope to see you back again soon.

      :)

    • profile image

      TheBohemianHeart 9 years ago

      Very nice lens.

    • WeaselPuppy profile image

      WeaselPuppy 9 years ago

      Love to see some organic/green living lenses out there. My dogs wish they lived on a farm.

    • GiftsByDiana profile image
      Author

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 9 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Thank you both.

      It is wonderful to meet other organic gardeners and "Green" minded folks.

      Diana

      :)

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 9 years ago from USA

      This is a nice place to visit. From one gardener to another, welcome to Squidoo.

    • SilverLotus1 profile image

      SilverLotus1 9 years ago

      Nice lens! Thanks for visiting Your Green Guide. The more of us working to promote "green" living, the better!

    • GiftsByDiana profile image
      Author

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 9 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Thanks everyone for the warm welcome !

      I keep my blog on my main website updated several times a week.

      I will try to keep my lenses updated too.

      .

    • funwithtrains lm profile image

      funwithtrains lm 9 years ago

      Great lens! 5 stars and a favorite from me! Please visit my BlueHost Cheap Web Hosting lens.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      Great Start. Lots of good information.

      5 stars

      Lizzy

    • Beaddoodler profile image

      Jennie Hennesay 9 years ago from Lubbock TX

      Welcome to this marvelous community of Squids! ;)

      I too am looking forward to some pictures of your products. They'd entice people even more to check out your website.

    • profile image

      happy-jack 9 years ago

      When you open your contact button you will

      get far more answers.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Welcome to our great community, Diana. I'm looking forward to your lenses. 5*s

    • profile image

      Oh Petit Bebe 9 years ago

      Looking forward to seeing pictures of your products in here, especially those natural soaps.

      Sara

    • profile image

      bdkz 9 years ago

      Welcome to Squidoo! You've got a great start here. 5 Stars!

    • profile image

      cherisorganics 9 years ago

      Neat site. Gotta get some oils to blend cause I got sunburnt yesterday LOL

    • GiftsByDiana profile image
      Author

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 9 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Margie, Evie, and Patti,

      Thank you all so much for your encouragement !

      Diana

    • profile image

      marasco2001 9 years ago

      Thanks for visiting my lens! You offer a lot of terrific information on your lens and products in your virtual store. Keep it up! A lot of us are looking for alternatives to harmful chemicals. Natural is the way to go!

    • EvieJewelry profile image

      EvieJewelry 9 years ago

      Hi from BISI very nice lens

    • profile image

      pattia3 9 years ago

      Very informative lens. Nice!