I thought perhaps we could answer some of the gardening questions in my weekly Health Tip from time to time:
QUESTION: Your video on planting seedlings was so timely because I planned to purchase some today. You make everything look so easy. My question is this – it is hard to find organic seedlings locally and I don’t want to purchase them by mail. I noticed that you get some from Lowe’s and I assume they are not organic. Do you end up with organic produce even though the seedling was not organic if you grow them organically?
ANSWER: While organic seeds and organically grown seedlings are the ideal, I am not nearly as concerned about the seed or starter plant being organic as I am as to what the soil composition consists of and how they are grown after planting.
Even though the seed or starter plant was not organic to start with, I still feel that the seed or plant after being grown organically still qualifies the produce as being ‘organic.’
QUESTION: Thank you so much for your Gardening Guide videos. They are soooooo helpful. I can’t wait to see the next video in the series. I was wondering if I can substitute something else for the vermiculite you use to cover your seeds at time of planting? Also, where do you get Vermiculite and is it non-toxic and non-chemical?
ANSWER: Vermiculite is a natural mineral that expands with the application of heat. Vermiculite clay is weathered micas in which potassium ions between the molecular sheets are replaced by magnesium and iron ions.
Vermiculite can be found in most garden centers and is absolutely not chemical nor toxic.
As far as what can be used as a substitute for vermiculite when covering seeds, if your soil is not hard clay, you can just pull some of the surrounding soil over the seedling, tamp it down, and water well.
QUESTION: Rev. Malkmus, I watched the video of the guys filling your raised beds but wasn’t clear exactly what was used and how much. I would like to know exactly what mixture was used to fill your raised beds. Your beds are beautiful and look so easy to use! Thanks for all the great information and great products Hallelujah Acres provides.
ANSWER: The primary material used in the filling of my garden beds was ‘Pro-Mix’, a bagged sterile product that is quite expensive to use in large application areas. The Pro-Mix was placed over about 6” of crushed stone. The crushed stone was covered with a permeable membrane which was a fine enough weave to allow water to drain through but keep the soil in place.
For a much more affordable fill, go to a garden center and ask if they sell top soil in bulk. Try to find a soil that is very high in decomposed organic matter. For a fee, they will usually deliver it to your garden site.
Gardening Guide Fan Mail
Dear Rev. Malkmus, Thank you so much for all you do! I am enjoying your organic gardening videos so much! I am a student at OSU/PKC studying Sustainable Crop Production.
I feel that your videos will inspire so many people to grow their own food who might otherwise feel too intimidated to try.
I have been intrigued by you and Hallelujah Acres ever since l learned about you in 2009. Hopefully my budget and schedule will allow me to attend the Woman’s Retreat in October. If not, I know that someday I’ll get to North Carolina to visit.
Hilda C., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
George, I want to tell you that so far your Hallelujah Gardening Guide video series are excellent. I live in Brisbane, Australia and have followed your organization ever since you lectured in Brisbane 11 years ago. May God bless you real well now and in the future!
John B., Brisbane, Queensland, Australia