New Year’s Eve will not be the same this year and nor should it be, as we see different parts of the country are still dealing with the ongoing pandemic. Simply put, this year has been a teaching point at every turn and New Year’s will be no different. We will come up with New Year’s Resolutions that we won’t follow, claim that this year will be different, and still try to make up for those experiences lost in the new calendar year. . Even though most of us really are done with 2020, it is important to remember that 2021 will only be better if we behave differently, aspire for more and honestly treat our bodies better.
That being said, celebration and bringing in the new year on a positive note is essential. Celebration affirms the positive things that you have done by making you feel good, instead of focusing on what we don’t have or what we want in the future. This is something that we all forget from time to time. Think about it. When was the last time you only talked about all the positives that happened in your day without mentioning ANY of the negatives?
New Year’s Eve should be viewed, this year especially, as a celebration of a year completed and of the year to come. Celebrate the fact we made it through a year with obstacles that no one could have imagined, and we are stronger because of it. This year should primarily be celebrated for the amount of things we achieved through a difficult season of life. Celebrations can also let us reflect on the right path moving forward, and to build confidence for the future by acknowledging what we’ve been able to achieve in the past. Even if everything wasn’t a win, we are here today and there are things that have happened in our year to celebrate.
Now as a part of our celebration, even though in some places the bars won’t be open, many might still be drinking as it goes with the occasional celebration. We encourage everyone to practice safety and to drink responsibly. As a company who is highly invested in your well being, we want to highlight a few herbs that might help everyone celebrate the new year with some solid herbal support. The following herbs we have listed below are ones that may aid with the after effects of a hangover, and just might help everyone find the new beginning that is so sought after in 2021.
Our bodies are rather amazing and complex vehicles which carry us through life. Like all vehicles, the body requires maintenance to perform at its best. If the body is a vehicle, then our muscles are most certainly the engines which keep us moving. Let’s take a moment to talk about how we fuel those engines.
While our engines may run on food and water, they also depend on vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in order to truly thrive. It can be easy to forget that our engines can become tired and sluggish when not properly cared for. Mother nature has given us some rather incredible healing herbs which can assist us as we care for our muscles.
The Relationship Between Healing Herbs and Muscles
Many herbs in nature have medicinal properties which we can use to enrich our lives. The herbs we will learn about today were chosen for their ability to assist our bodies with muscle healing and physical recovery. Each one of these herbs is native to the Southern Oregon area, and represents a small portion of over 40 medicinal herbs that are native to our bioregion.
Our muscles require rest and healing after physical activity and there are some ways you can assist them simply by adding herbs to your daily routine. Some medicinal plants that promote relaxation can help us calm the body and allow muscles to loosen up as we rest, while others with anti-inflammatory properties may help assist our body’s natural recovery process. There are even herbs that may assist our bodies in lubricating joints and tendons.
Essentially, we should think of herbs as additives to our fuel which help keep our engines on the road, and may even help them to perform at their peak. As any mechanic will tell you, preventative maintenance is the key to a long lasting and happy engine. OK enough car metaphors, here are some examples of how herbs may assist your muscles.
Adding Medicinal Herbs To Your Daily Routine
Many of these herbs can be enjoyed in a soothing and relaxing tea; or added to water, coffee and juices using an herbal tincture. Each of these medicinal herbs are available as convenient tinctures through our Ra Herbals line.
If you wish for something more hands on you might consider Hemp Topicals and Cannabis Topicals as a way of externally applying these herbs.
At Sun God Medicinals we have crafted many products to help get herbs into your daily regimen. We highly recommend our tinctures for convenience and portability, but nothing beats a good soothing salve or lotion when it comes to physical muscle massage.
With this in mind, we invite you to experience our Hercules product line, designed specifically for those looking to support their muscles in healing or to assist in general muscle relaxation.
Click here to learn more about Hercules products.
With the season changing and our minds on the future, it is a great time to think about a seasonal detox. The change from season to season provides us a good reason to start thinking about boosting our immune before cold and flu season is upon us. Assisting your natural immune defense is an investment in your wellness and it begins with removing excess toxins from the body.
Your body has a sophisticated way of eliminating toxins that involves the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs. While this system is remarkably efficient, there are things you can do to assist your body and help it perform at its peak.
Nature has given us some powerful herbal allies to help
Many herbs have the ability to fortify our bodies and help them keep up with daily life. Certain herbs however, may help your detox plan as they specifically offer support to our natural immune system. Sun God Medicinals uses many of these herbs in their Panacea product line, which is tailored to those looking for detoxification or immune support. Each of the following herbs grows naturally here in Oregon and can be sustainably harvested.
In the Panacea Detox Tincture they use:
DANDELION ROOT (Taraxacum officinale) - A tonic that may support the digestive and urinary systems. May also support the organs that help rid the body of toxins.*
BURDOCK ROOT (Arctium lappa) - Potentially ignites the body’s natural detoxification processes and assists in eliminating harmful toxins from the body.*
NETTLE LEAF (Urtica dioica) - Traditionally used by herbalists as a kidney tonic and to help to flush out waste through the urinary tract.*
RED CLOVER (Trifolium pratense) -May support the body in detoxification through the cardiovascular and lymphatic system, as well as the liver.*
In the Panacea Immune Defense Tincture they use:
LEMON BALM (Melissa officinalis) - May provide balance and support to the immune system, as well as the nervous system.*
HYSSOP (Hyssopus officinalis) - May help the body fight off infectious bacteria and viruses, as well as support the respiratory system.*
ECHINACEA HERB (Echinacea purpurea) - May provide support to the body’s immune system and may also support the body’s respiratory system.*
CALENDULA (Calendula officinalis) - May be supportive in clearing out the lymph nodes. It may be useful when an individual feels worse in damp, heavy, cloudy weather.*
Herbs offer us such a wealth of amazing properties and provide us with a solid foundation on which we can build a proper detox plan. We encourage you to try these herbs and see if they work well for your body.
Your diet matters more than you think
While herbs may be the foundation of your plan, you also must consider nutrition. Most detox regimens will require some dietary changes. The food we eat has a major role in how well all of our body’s systems perform. Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients all come into play as the body eliminates wastes and uses its various systems to keep us well. Giving your body the right fuel allows it to work efficiently. The following foods provide a natural path toward detoxification.
Full of the vitamin C, this antioxidant is great for fighting free-radicals which can have a negative impact on the body. Additionally, lemons have an alkaline effect, helping restore the body's pH balance. A slice of lemon in hot water is a simple way to start your detox.
Aside from settling your stomach, ginger can aid digestion, and may even reduce bloating and gas. It also contains a large number of antioxidants and provides a good boost to immunity.
Garlic, despite its strong sometimes off-putting odour, is great for a detox. Garlic contains allicin which aids in white blood cell production and can help protect the body against infections. For maximum benefit, garlic is best consumed raw, so try adding crushed garlic to a dressing for a salad.
Beetroot supports liver detoxification, making it a great detox food. It also provides a great shot of nutrients in one hit as it is full of magnesium, iron, and vitamin C. To enjoy the benefits of beetroot add some to a salad or drink some beetroot juice.
While not strictly a food, green tea contains active ingredients which help support detox and provide additional health benefits. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and can help rid the body of toxins. It has been found to boost the performance of the liver and can protect the liver from diseases. To get the max from green tea drinking, brew it from loose leaves, as this will allow more antioxidants to be released.
Like many cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, kale, cabbage contains sulforaphane, a chemical which aids the body in the fight against toxins. Cabbage also contains glutathione; an antioxidant that helps promote the live function.
Fresh fruits are fibre rich and can play a key role in a detox diet. Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants they can help improve digestion as well as your appearance (including skin and hair). Include in your diet a wide variety of fruit, but especially some of the acid fruits such as grapefruit, pineapples, oranges, and even tomatoes as these are all especially detoxifying. It is easy to include fruit in your diet; you could start your day with fruit smoothie and then snack on fruit when hunger strikes throughout your day.
Watercress, perhaps surprisingly, is considered to be one of the healthiest food around and a great detox food. Containing antioxidants and several detoxifying nutrients, including B vitamins, zinc, and potassium.
Include the foods above in your detox plan and set your body up for success.
There are also six lifestyle choices which can hinder our body’s ability to cleanse itself
If you are serious about taking care of your immune and digestive systems, you may want to avoid these common things that prevent your body from performing as well. Falling prey to these common behaviors may hinder your detox efforts. Be aware of how these choices affect your body.
Combining herbs, being mindful of your diet, and avoiding lifestyle decisions like the above will ensure your body has everything it needs to prepare for the seasonal change.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
With cold and flu season here and COVID case numbers on the rise yet again, it is important we gear up and protect our bodies as best we can. Last week we talked about Herbs for Fall from an immune boosting point of view. Now this week let’s have a conversation about some herbs that might be useful if you start to feel a little under the weather.
As we mentioned last week. Panacea was a goddess of healing by way of curative medicine in Greek mythology. Our Panacea line of teas and tinctures includes not only the Immune Defense products featured in last week's blog but also a Cold and Flu line. These teas and tinctures feature herbs like mullein, echinacea, elderflower, and yarrow.
Panacea Cold and Flu Tea a gentle blend is that is a perfect companion for a sick day, as it may help ease the aches and discomfort associated with seasonal illnesses. Herbs like elderflower and mullein have been traditionally used by herbalists to support mucous membranes, while assisting the immune system. This formula may also help to soothe coughs and assist the body’s natural ability to expel phlegm.*
Like the tea the Panacea Cold and Flu tincture is formulated with ingredients used by traditional herbalists to help fight the common cold, viruses, and allergies.* We think the tincture gives a little bit more instant relief because you may take it orally without waiting to boil any water and steep the tea. These are also great on the go, and this is why many choose the tincture during this time of year.
Mullein (click title for more information)
Mullein has been noted as the go to ear and lung remedy, especially when pollen is in abundance during those seasonal shifts. Luckily, this herbal ally has been used since ancient Egyptian times and has remained relevant ever since. Mullein provides a multitude of applicable uses, not limited to just respiratory and immune balance.*
Echinacea (click title for more information)
Echinacea, also referred to as Cornflower, is well known for its immune-boosting abilities; having historical relevance in American folk herbalism dating back centuries. Its reputation as a cold and flu remedy is quite common, and has become one of the most available dietary supplements in health and food stores to date.*
Elderflower (click title for more information)
The Elder tree has been used by herbalists and healers alike since the fifth century A.D, and has a rich folklore beyond its physical uses. The Elder tree is said to be the doorway to the underworld, inhabited by fairies who both heal and harm, and bring about mystical dreams onto all those who sleep under the canopy. The Elderflower is a powerful medicine with many modern day applications.*
Yarrow (click title for more information)
Do not be fooled by the intoxicating scent or delicate flowers of the Yarrow plant- it has been used for centuries in ceremonies promoting both physical and emotional boundaries to those easily influenced, and also for its eclectic first-aid applications among many. Yarrow is intertwined in folklore and across cultures, all highlighting the variety of therapeutic properties found in this healing herb.*
While strengthening the immune system is important, these herbs and products are here to help should you start feeling under the weather.
(*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Caution: Keep out of reach of children. If pregnant, nursing, or on medication, consult with your health care practitioner before use)
Fall is upon us and so is Cold and Flu Season.
Now this time of year doesn't have to be the scary time we all grew up knowing it to be, as we have access to such great information about how to build up our immune systems in addition to all the great things modern medicine is doing to try to prevent disease.
However, this is 2020 and unfortunately most of us are more scared about Cold and Flu Season then we are ready to admit. Never fear Breeze Botanicals is here to tell you all about Herbs For Fall. In this blog we will discuss immune defense and how important it can be to preemptively protect yourself.
We have two products that tend to fly off the shelves this time a year and this year is no different. Panacea Immune Defense Tea and Tincture come together to create a perfect combo of herbal immune support. Panacea was a goddess of healing by way of curative medicine in Greek mythology. Her name gives us the word panacea, which refers to a cure-all for disease. She was said to carry a magic potion, which she used to heal people with any illness at all.
The Immune Defense Tea is great for those blustery fall evenings. Say after you go to the pumpkin patch. The body needs both warming up and immune support. The herbal tea is great for preparing the body’s immune system for outside attacks. Herbs like hyssop and echinacea have been traditionally used by herbalists to help your body fight off bacteria and viruses, while also nourishing your immune system.
Now if you’re a busy human, as we find most people to be during 2020, who may not have all the time in the world to sip a cup of tea but are longing for some herbal support that's ok we have something for you too. Panacea Immune Defense Tincture is great because it too is blended with the same herbs as the tea to aid in preparing the body’s immune system for outside attacks.
Lemon Balm (click title for more information)
Lemon Balm is characterized by its vibrant, fruity aroma and flavor, and her ability to lift our moods with just a sniff. It has traditionally been used by the ancient Romans and Greeks to flavor wines and elixirs that were said to enhance the emotions and mend a broken heart.
Echinacea (click title for more information)
Echinacea, also referred to as Cornflower, is well known for its immune-boosting abilities; having historical relevance in American folk herbalism dating back centuries. Its reputation as a cold and flu remedy is quite common, and has become one of the most available dietary supplements in health and food stores to date.
Calendula (click title for more information)
Calendula, also known as Marigold, is best characterized by its mood enhancing properties, its ability to heal abrasions effectively, and for its vibrant colored petals as dyes and paints. It has been used therapeutically for centuries and has been idolized for more than its wonderful aesthetic appeal.
Hyssop (click title for more information)
Hyssop has been revered as a holy herb since the beginning of religious ceremonies, and has been recorded in the bible many times most notably stating, “Purge me with hyssop, and I will be clean”. The medicinal value of Hyssop reaches far beyond its strong antimicrobial properties, and is said to bestow protection onto those that gather the branches and display them in their home.
This year COVID-19 in the United States makes going back to school different because not only are the kids going, but many parents are too. Even if school is back in session many parents are finding that part of their child's curriculum is at home, on a computer, or with a tutor. Things come into question for the children like: Has my child ever spent extended time on a computer? Does my child have the ability to sit and listen to a video if I am not watching them? And the adults are questioning things like: When was the last time I did math long hand? And can I help my middle schooler with biology homework?
Unfortunately, we can’t help one's ability to regain lost knowledge but we do have a few suggestions for herbs known for improving cognitive function and overall brain function. This is good for both the adults and the children as we wade the waters of 2020.
First, Ginkgo Biloba, being most well known as the oldest, wisest trees in the forest. They have been noted to live up to 1000 years. This ancient herb has a variety of beneficial uses but one of the most valued may be that it has been used to increase mental performance and perceived well-being. There is a lot of research that can be linked to the thought that ginkgo supports improved memory, focus and attention span. In addition ginkgo biloba has been thought to have an effect in other psychological disorders including depression, and anxiety.*
Secondly, Lemon Balm. This herb was used traditionally by the ancient Romans and Greeks to flavor wines and elixirs that were said to enhance the emotions and mend a broken heart. In modern ages this still rings somewhat true but instead we refer to it as being useful for anxiety and depression. This herb has shown to aid with cognitive function as it relates to mental fatigue. In addition to having an effect on the brain this herb has also been shown to help with one’s ability to sleep and digestion.*
Lastly, Ashwagandha. We at Breeze Botanicals truly love this herb for all of the amazing things it can aid with. This adaptogenic herb has been implicated as being helpful for stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha also promotes longevity and a healthy immune system. Most importantly this herb has been shown to have a positive effect on GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) , improving cognitive impairments, and benefiting both our memory and cognition.*
All of these herbs are simply things that we think might make this school a little easier. Not only for parents but also kids having to go to school. 2020 has not been easy but with every obstacle comes a new learning curve and that’s what we must get around. We hope that these herbs do great things for you and your family. Please share your comments and thoughts as you try these herbs throughout this school year.
As residents of the Rogue Valley begin to assess the damage due to our fires, we must also contend with the thick layer of smoke hovering ominously. Times like these are already overwhelming, but the added toxicity of our air makes our lungs feel heavy and overworked. Many are searching for relief while we wait this out until our air begins to clear.
Breeze Botanicals is here to help with some natural ways to relieve this environmental stress on your body. We've gathered a few suggestions below that may help support your respiratory health during this time.
We will begin by introducing medicinal herbs that support the natural functions of our respiratory systems. Each of the following herbs are often used to support the lungs.
Peppermint: Peppermint has an antihistamine effect, coupled with the strong, cooling action of menthol that makes it a useful decongestant. It may help clear congestion from sinuses and lungs and provide cooling relief.*
Mullein: Mullein is an expectorant used in hoarseness, coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma, hay fever and other respiratory conditions. Mullein may help clear congestion, as well. It is well known as an ally to respiratory health.*
Wild Cherry Bark: Wild cherry bark helps support the body's lower respiratory system. Due to its astringent, sedative, antispasmodic, and bronchodilator actions, it may help dry mucus, increase expectoration, ease coughing, and open the airways. Use wild cherry bark in a liquid extract form.*
Hyssop: May help the body fight off infectious bacteria and viruses, as well as support the respiratory system. Hyssop is an expectorant and may also help suppress coughs.*
There are also medicinal herbs to help us detoxify our bodies of the impurities present in dangerous air conditions. The particulate matter present during fire season is particularly of concern. Despite our best efforts with protective masks there are toxic substances in the microscopic range that can make their way into our lungs when the air is full of smoke. This concern is a great reason to consider adding detoxification to the list of things you do to keep your body healthy during fire season.
Dandelion Root: Dandelion may support the digestive and urinary systems, as well as the organs that help rid the body of toxins.*
Burdock Root: Burdock helps the body's natural detoxification processes and assists in eliminating harmful toxins from the body.*
Our vendor Sun God Medicinals produces the convenient Ra Herbals tincture line, which focuses on single herbs, such as those shown above, allowing you to select the specific herbs you need in a convenient liquid form. These herbs can then be taken directly or added to your favorite beverage as an easy option.
Sun God Medicinals also offers compounded herbal products, which combine multiple herbs that work together to assist our body during times like these. We really like the organic ingredients as well.
Sun God Medicinals' Panacea Line is an herbal compound line and a great ally for soothing your lungs during times of poor air quality.
Herbs like peppermint, mullein, and marshmallow in the Panacea Cold & Flu blend support the upper respiratory system and protect mucus.*
Dandelion root, burdock root, and nettle leaf in the Panacea Detox blend are great for helping the body with the detoxification process, balancing the body and helping to support removal of impurities and toxins from the body.*
Lastly, if the air quality and general stress of this time is preventing you from getting much needed rest, we would like to recommend Sun God Medicinals Hypnos Line. This line of specially formulated teas, tinctures, and salves was created with organic supporting herbs to help you get restful sleep. Since sleep is such a vital part of the body’s recovery, consider herbs to help there as well.
All of these products were made right here in Oregon, with organic Oregon grown herbs - for those of you who like to keep your money local.
Stay safe out there, and please let us know if you have any questions about herbs, their effects, uses, and the best ways to add them to your life.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not approved by the FDA to treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Many people assume that this time a year fireworks are simply a fun addition to their celebrations. We tend to hear fireworks during the 4th of July and throughout the summer. Fireworks cause anxiety for many people and sometimes their pets. From their loud sounds to their bright flashes people find themselves not experiencing the joy that many others do.
Firework anxiety is different for everyone but can be described as a negative physical or mental response to fireworks. This can be a panic disorder, unease, and even triggering PTSD. During these times it is beneficial to add extra things into your diet in order to ease the body just in case fireworks are out to play. Herbs are one of the easiest ways to incorporate anxiety relief into your daily diet.
For example, Lavender is a wonderful herb that can easily be added into deserts or infused into drinks for a light summer refreshment. Simply Recipes has an amazing home made lemonade you can try. Click here for the recipe. Lavender is great because it is thought to help calm the body by relaxing the nervous system. Many people even use lavender as a means to gain a better night's sleep.
Another phenomenal herb for firework anxiety is valerian root. Valerian root has been used throughout the years as an aid for loss of sleep. It is thought to work because it produces a calming effect that may even calm you enough to sleep. When used in smaller doses this root can be highly effective for simply calming the body. Great with salads! Check out this recipe here.
Passionflower, is an herb that we love here at Breeze Botanicals. This herb is infused in many of the products we carry and a featured herb in a lot of the Mental Ease lines that we carry from our sister company Sun God Medicinals, like the Heka Happy Tea. The Happy Tea is a mildly uplifting tea that can be consumed throughout the day. Passionflowers are also great when added to salad. To check out the Happy Tea click here.
So this 4th of July take a deep breath, surround yourself with friends and family (at a safe pandemic distance of course), and hopefully with the help of your herbal allies enjoy a wonderful fourth of July.
At Breeze Botanicals, we take great pride in offering a wide array of clean, local cannabis and cannabis-derived products to help our clients feel empowered in their own healing. To purchase requires only a state approved ID, cash, and an openness to experience the many healing, soothing properties of the beautiful plant. It’s beautiful to be able to do this, and we can with great thanks to gay activist Dennis Peron.
“Mr. Peron was a driving force behind a San Francisco ordinance allowing medical marijuana — a move that later aided the 1996 passage of Proposition 215 that legalized medical use in the state.” Because of this precedent, we can buy cannabis in an ever growing number of states in the U.S. And while there remains much to improve upon in the cannabis industry (lack of diversity, the exceptionally stringent tracking, the exorbitant taxes), aren’t we grateful to be here now?
After serving in the military during the Vietnam War, and moved by his experiences there, Dennis Peron returned home determined to make change in the world. Rather than continue adhering to rigid expectations of what it means to be a man in America, Peron became a “dirty hippie”, a qualifier he embraced, and acted with others to make cannabis legal (again). But then, AIDS (Acquired Immune Difficiency Syndrome) began stealing the lives of gay men at alarming numbers. Due to the stigma and legal discrimination visited upon the queer community, not much was done to help those slowly melting away in pain. Peron saw his friends and loved ones dying and knew cannabis could help them manage pain, stimulate appetite, and maybe lift their spirits, to create space for joy or understanding. He fought for them, for his community, for the community at large.
And it was a dangerous fight. "In 1994, Peron co-founded, along with Brownie Mary and several others, San Francisco's Cannabis Buyers Club, the first public medical cannabis dispensary in the U.S." It was not fancy. It didn’t have a menu. And it operated under constant threat. The establishment was raided multiple times and Peron was once shot by police. But he persisted. They all persisted. Many people, when speaking of the relationship between cannabis and the LGBTQI+ communities,
cite the criminalization of each as the commonality. However, the right to decide what we do with our bodies, what we use as medicine, to live our lives freely, is what brings the cannabis and queer communites together. The communities overlap in the most wondrous of ways.
Composting: What is it?
During these worrisome times, gardening is quickly becoming popular for those seeking a safe outdoor activity that is not just physically beneficial, but also mentally and economically beneficial. Our collective food supply is experiencing disruption in distribution and as more folks become aware of how the system of agriculture works, tending one’s own garden is not only deeply satisfying but a great way to ensure the growing process and resulting bounty is clean and reliable.
According to the County of Santa Barbara website lessismore.org, “organic wastes, such as food waste and yard waste, make up 25 to 50% of what people throw away”. Composting can reduce the percentage of organic waste in landfills, where it takes up space and produces dangerous methane gas while decomposing there. When composting at home, we turn the materials allowing oxygen to enter the mix, lessening greenhouse gases.
Composting is nature’s resourceful way to fertilize and repair soils, softening clay-like soil, or helping sandy soils better retain water. It occurs without human assistance in forests and other naturescapes, for example, when fruit, branches, leaves, or dead animals decompose on the forest floor. The soil involved becomes enriched by the breakdown of those organic materials, resulting in beneficial bacteria, microbes, and chemicals. When we compost for our gardens, we are assisting and speeding up the decomposition of organic materials. Compost creates the rich layer of humus plants need to thrive and produce brag-worthy plant life filled with vitamins, color, and heartiness.
Thinking about composting? Here is some information to consider:
You don’t need a lot of space to compost.
There is an idea that one needs lots of space, or plans to grow a lot of produce, to warrant the effort of composting. Actually, it can be done on any scale for which we have the space, energy, and need. We can even compost indoors using modified five gallon buckets, old dresser drawers, or plastic bins. The Spruce has great tips on how to do this ourselves. Also, there are many stylish, inexpensive online options for outdoor and indoor bins, as well as at our local gardening store and several of our favorite retail establishments. There are even kitchen countertop versions available!
Should I compost the traditional way, or vermicompost?
Vermicomposting utilizes worms to better aerate the soil, as well as hasten the decomposition process of our materials. With traditional compost, we need to turn the materials to bring oxygen to the process. With vermicompost, the worms do this with their wriggling movements, reducing the physicality required from us. This is ideal for gardeners who have limited mobility. Also, Vermicompost takes much less time to be ready, while traditional compost can take between six and nine months to be ready for use. Another advantage of vermiculture is worm castings. Castings are the waste eliminated by worms, and are higher in phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen than traditional composting.
Traditional composting also has its advantages. It can be done indoors or outdoors, bins can be as deep or shallow as we desire, and turning the compost can be physically satisfying exercise. And while both methods improve soil quality, plant growth and yield, and when done properly, limit dangerous or destructive pests, traditional composting is less expensive than vermicomposting. Traditional composting also uses heat, while vermiculture necessitates regulated cooler temperatures, more precise ratios of materials, and requires a slightly more complex harvest.
I’ve heard it’s smelly business! And what about pests?
We’ve heard this, too! But the fact of the matter is that done correctly, compost does not offend. Composting is a delicate balance of water, air, and differing organic materials. Given this, there are a few conditions which contribute to a bad smelling compost.
Too much moisture.
If your compost is too wet, the microbes ordinarily responsible for breaking materials down cannot do that work. If the pile is not turned often enough, the other materials not abundant enough, or the pile is located in space that is too cool. An overabundance of moisture brings down oxygen levels, slowing the decomposition process.
The components are not proportionate ..
A compost pile, or vermicompost bin, holds materials. We add what are called “brown” materials, “green” material, and water. Each of these materials does a job important to the nutrient content of the pile. Too much of either green or brown materials inhibits the breakdown of material.
Items like meat and dairy were added.
Meat and dairy can be composted, being super-rich in nutrients, but separately from green waste compost. Meat products, bones, and dairy should be composted on a smaller scale, covered. Composting such material, however, may bring pests to the pile.
What is in compost?
Compost consists of brown and green materials, as well as soil and water. “Brown materials for composting include dry or woody plant material. In most cases, these materials are brown, or naturally turn brown like fall leaves, pine needles, scratch papers, twigs, tree branches and bark”. The green materials are the food waste added, such as banana peels, tea leaves and tea bags, egg shells, rinds and used coffee grounds. Then, water (and worms, if vermicomposting). These proportions matter. If there is too much food waste, or green, the food is simply wet and spoiling. Too much brown can dry out our pile.
These materials are layered in the bin. Begin with a diverse collection of brown materials, then a layer of green waste, and a little water to keep things moist so micro-organisms can do their powerful work. Then add some more paper, leaves, yard trimmings, food scraps, and so on as needed.
How the bin is situated is also important. When doing traditional compost, ideally the bin rests on the ground to catch some of those organisms. The more diverse the organic materials, including bugs and organisms that break down materials, the higher the quality of the resulting humus. Where it is situated matters, too. Heat is integral to the chemical breakdown of the materials. Vermicompost bins need to be kept in a cool space, typically indoors, to keep worms from drying out and dying. The worms do the work of breaking down materials, making the process physical rather than chemical. This means gardeners need to turn their piles more often with the traditional method.
All that is to say . . .
Our sister farm, Sunna Ra Acres, uses compost to feed our gorgeous, fragrant cannabis! If we have the desire, energy, and resources, composting is a beneficial way to nourish our soil, enrich our produce, and participate in our food production, ensuring its cleanliness and nutritional value and beauty. From soil, to seed, to harvest, to consumption, starting with amended soil, along with healing the soil we use, brings huge pride and satisfaction for so many gardeners.
For additional information, check out these sources:
Stop Compost Smell! 5 Reasons Your Compost Stinks
Why Does My Compost Pile Smell Bad?
How to Hot Compost
Which Items are "Greens", and Which are "Browns?"
Vermicomposting 101: What Are the Differences Between Vermicomposting and Composting?
The Herbalist Team at Breeze Botanical's uses our collective educational experiences and on-going thirst for knowledge to normalize the conversation around herbs and to demystify the world of herbal medicine. Join us on this journey and embrace the plants around you.