Ten Super-Foods

April 29, 2011

Hello,  again,  Enota friends!~

Today we will talk about ten super foods… Ten foods that can make you feel better,  look healthier,  and have more energy.  We hope you will enjoy and refer to this brief list of  health benefits.


Yogurt contains “good” bacteria;  this can be beneficial to the digestive tract.  Although yogurt comes from milk, those who suffer from lactose intolerance can eat yogurt without the distress normally associated with eating milk products.  Yogurt is high in  protein,  calcium,  vitamins B2 and B12,  potassium,  and magnesium.  It also provides certain amino acids the human body needs for muscle repair.


You always heard that carrots were good for your eyes;   well,  spinach might be even better!   Spinach contains lutein which  prevents cataracts and protects against macular degeneration.   Like carrots,  spinach is high in beta carotene,  and beta carotene promotes good eyesight.

Spinach is also high in Vitamin K,  which is good for your bones because Vitamin K retains calcium in the bones.

Green Tea:

Catechins,   a type of powerful antioxidant,   scavenge for free radicals in the body that contribute to cancer,   blood clots,  and arteriosclerosis.

Additionally,  green tea has been shown to enhance the human metabolism,  helping any weight loss program!


Almonds are high in protein,  Vitamin E  and magnesium.  They make a good snack.

Almonds are heart-healthy in that the are rich in good fat”;   monounsaturated fats are associated with reduced risk of heart disease.

Almonds promote healthy weight loss.


Broccoli is high in Vitamin C,  which can prevent the development of cataracts and ease the symptoms of the common cold.

Broccoli is high in fiber,  which aids in digestion and combats high cholesterol.


Wild salmon – just 4 ounces of it – will provide you with an entire day’s requirement of Vitamin D,  and  half a day’s requirement of B12, niacin, and selenium.

Salmon is very high in protein and “good fat”.   Omega-3 fats have been proven to reduce inflammation,  which is the root of many diseases and health conditions.



The fats in avocado actually maintain good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol!  Additionally, the high fat content of avocados help you feel full faster.  As if that wasn’t enough,  research has revealed that avocados aid in better nutrient absorption.   (Guacamole anyone?)

Whole Grains:

Whole grains are an excellent source of magnesium, iron, B vitamins, and Vitamin E.

People who eat whole grains  (as compared to those who eat white bread)  have a lower risk of obesity and lowers cholesterol levels.


By lowering  triglycerides and total cholesterol in the blood,   garlic improves cardiovascular heath.

In health studies,  garlic has been proven to help fight allergies because of its antiviral properties.

Garlic helps regulate blood sugar levels  in diabetics by increasing the release of insulin.


Cranberries protect against urinary tract infections as well as support the GI tract,  because they are a natural probiotic.

Blueberries protect from oxidation,  reducing the effects of age-related conditions;   they are  “brain food”.

A cup of strawberries provides as much Vitamin C as a cup of orange juice.

So,  there you have – ten superfoods to make you look and feel super-great!  Another way to feel really great is to take a vacation in the mountains of Northeast Georgia.   Book your reservation now for a weekend,   a week,  or more at Enota Mountain Retreat.  We offer many different accommodations – cabins,  RV sites, tent sites,  conference rooms for your business retreat – something for everybody.   We are a health-conscious facility;   some of the food from our organic farm and gardens goes directly to our kitchen… and,  to you,   our guests.   If you haven’t visited Enota before,   you are in for a treat .  If you have visited before,   we know you want to come back!

Enota Mountain Retreat & Campground

1000 Hwy 180,  Hiawassee,  GA.  30546

(706) 896-9966

email: enota@enota.com

official website:  www.enota.com


Hello, friends of Enota!

Education, education, education!   Yesterday we talked about the benefits of juicing,  how to get started juicing,  and what tastes good with what.  Today we will continue on with a few juicing tips and lots of dee-lish,  healthy recipes.  We hope you will learn something and use some of the recipes.

A few Tips :

Drink your vegetable juice right away, or store it very carefully. Juicing is a time-consuming process, so you’ll probably be thinking to yourself, “I wonder if I can juice first thing in the morning, and then drink it later?” This is not a good idea. Vegetable juice is HIGHLY perishable so it’s best to drink all of your juice immediately.

However, if you’re careful, you can store it for up to 24 hours with only moderate nutritional decline. This is really helpful if you are bringing your juice to work with you so you can consume it during the day.  How to store your juice:
Put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. There should be a minimum amount of air in the jar as the oxygen in air  will “oxidize” and damage the juice.
Purchase a food vacuum pump like Food Saver with an Ball jar attachment. You can pour your juice into a pint jar and put the lid on and use the Food Saver to suck out the air in the jar to vacuum pack it. This will remove most of the oxygen that will damage the juice.  Immediately store it in the fridge and consume it when you are ready. It is best to drink it as soon as possible and in any case within 24 hours of juicing.

Vegetable Juice is Not a Complete Meal –  It is important to note that vegetable juice has very little protein and virtually no fat so by itself it is not really a complete food. It really should be used in addition to your regular meals not in place of it.  So,  unless you are undergoing some special fasting or detoxification program,  it is probably unwise to use juicing as a meal replacement.  Ideally it can be consumed with your meal or as a between meal snack.

Juicing breaks cell walls of whole foods including tomatoes and carrots. This way you make it easy for your body to absorb all the wonderful nutrients of the vegetables and fruits.  Juice is absorbed within 20 min.  You don't have to waste energy to digest the foods.  Nothing energizes you quicker than juice.

Juicing only takes a few minutes. There are no pans to scrub.  And juicers are relatively easy to clean.

No pans to scrub. Juicers are relatively quick and easy to clean.

Juicing is easy to learn and you can make and adapt recipes easily!

Some Juicing Recipes:

Lemony Apple
– 2 apples
– 1 lemon
– 1″ slice of ginger

Juicing Tip: Juice the apples with their skins on. The skin of the apple has the highest flavonoid content.  Juicing apples with the skin will produce cloudy but more nutritious apple juicer recipes. This healthy juicer recipe also makes a great remedy for colds.

Alkaline Juice
-1 cup of spinach
– 1/2 cucumber- 2 stalks of celery including leaves
– 3 carrots
– 1/2 apple

Juicing Tip: Juice cucumbers with their skins on.  The dark green skin is a great source of chlorophyll,  a phytochemical that can help build red blood cells.  Cucumbers also contain silica, a mineral that is good for the skin.  Make sure to wash them before juicing.  (But, if the cucumbers are not organic,  peel them – the  peels are high in pesticides if not grown organically.)

 Berry Good Medley
-2 cups of strawberries
– 2 cups of blueberries
– 1 1/2 cups of raspberries

Berries are among the quickest and easiest of fruits to juice.  The only prepping they need is a quick rinse.  Strawberries are a small exception as they will need to be topped before juicing. All berries are a great source of antioxidants associated with anti-cancer and anti-heart disease benefits.

Apple and Cucumber Zipper

-2 1/2 apples
– 1/2 cucumber
– 1″ of ginger

Remove apple stems and juice everything together.

Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help some people reduce arthritis-type joint pain. Evidence points to one of the antioxidants in ginger called gingerol. It helps to combat oxidative damage to joint cells.  Ginger is also soothing to the stomach  and  an energy-booster.

Peppy  Parsley Juice
– 1 cup of parsley
– 1/2 apple
– 2 carrots
– 3 celery stalks

Wash all thoroughly, remove apple stem, top  and peel the carrots, juice and enjoy!

Carrot Juice

1 lbs large carrots (washed and peeled)
1/2 lemon (peeled)
few green leafs such as red lettuce or carrot greens
1 apple


Put all ingredients in your juicer.  Mix. Drink immediately.  If you’re a beginner juicer or have a sweet tooth, add an apple for extra sweetness.

The health benefits of carrot juice? It provides Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Vitamin E and many minerals.  Great for pregnant and nursing mothers, eyesight, bones and teeth, liver and nails, skin and hair as well as helping in breast and skin cancer prevention.

Tomato Juice

Are you looking for the best of all tomato juice recipes?  This  is it!

3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 stalk celery
1 cucumber
3 drops stevia (optional)
1/2 teaspoon himalaya sea salt
cayenne pepper

Juice the tomatoes, celery, cucumber in your juicer. Add  stevia if you like a sweeter taste.  Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.  Also,  if you like,   you can  add a 1/4 onion, fresh oregano and basil an/or red bell pepper

The Skinny Apple – A Recipe to give you fantastic skin!

This apple juice recipe gets its name from the fact that it’s great for your skin. It’s also an instant energy boost, so it’s perfect for when you wake up in the morning.  You’ll find these fruits often around in Spring, so it’s a good juice for then.  If honeydew isn’t available,  use any other ripe melon and you’ll be fine.

1/2 honeydew melon
1 apple
1 lemon
A handful of red grapes

Cut the melon into quarters and remove the seeds with a spoon.  Make sure you slice the skin off as well.  Then juice all the fruit together, and voila, you now have a Skinny Apple!  For something different with this juicing recipe, use a food processor or blender rather than the juicer for a few minutes until it’s smooth.  This will be much thicker than a usual juice because all the pulp is in there as well,  which also makes for a highly nutritious juice.

We hope you have enjoyed this little lesson on the healthy and delicious

habit of juicing.

For a truly healthy experience,  come visit us here at Enota  Mountain Retreat & Campground!   Rent a cabin or a campsite;  there is something for everybody!  Relax,  take hikes,  swim in the swimmin’ hole.  Check out our organic farm and gardens.  Or venture out on day trips  to the many exciting places to visit nearby.

Enota Mountain Retreat and Campground

1000 Hwy 180, Hiawassee GA   30546

(706) 896- 9966

email: enota@enota.com

official Website:  www.enota.com

Greetings, Enota Readers & Friends!

Today we will talk about a very healthy idea – juicing.  Juicing is not

something new;  but, it has gotten new attention recently.   Many

testimonials of health and healing have been attributed to juicing.

Cooking and processing food destroys  micronutrients  found in fruits and vegetables by altering their shape and chemical composition.  By juicing these foods – clean and uncooked – you get the maximum health benefit from them.

Most health authorities recommend that we get 6-8 servings of vegetables and fruits per day;  yet few of us actually get that. Juicing is an easy way to guarantee that you will reach the daily recommendation for vegetables.

Reasons to Juice:

There are three main reasons why  vegetable juicing  guides you on your

pathway to optimal health.

Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.

Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner. Some people may find eating that many vegetables difficult, but it can be easily accomplished with a quick glass of vegetable juice.

You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet.  Many people eat the same vegetable salads every day. This violates the healthy principle of  food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. But with juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.

Personalize Your Juicing!

Start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced.  The juice should taste pleasant -not make you feel nauseous.

It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced  too much of a vegetable that you are sensitive to.

While you can certainly juice fruits, if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol it is best to limit using fruits until you normalize these conditions.

The exception would be lemons and limes which have virtually none of the offending sugar (fructose)  that causes most of the metabolic complications. Additionally,  lemons or limes are amazing at eliminating the bitter taste of the dark deep leafy green vegetables that provide most of the benefits of juicing.

Important Things to Remember about Juicing:

Use pesticide-free veggies. It is wise to choose organic whenever possible.  Some veggies are worse than others.  According to a  study done by the Environment Working Group,  the vegetables listed below are the MOST pesticide-loaded ones. Thus, it would be wise to buy only organic when purchasing these items: Carrots, Celery,  Collard Greens, Cucumber (not as bad if you peel the skin),  Kale,  and Lettuce.

 If you are new to juicing,  start out with these vegetables, as they are the easiest to digest and tolerate:   Celery,  Cucumbers,  and Fennel (anise).   These three aren’t as nutrient dense as the dark green vegetables, but are much more tolerable when you are starting out… Once you get used to the 3 vegetables listed above, you can start adding the more nutritionally valuable, but less palatable, vegetables into your juice.  Also keep in mind that if you use 1/4 to 1/2 lemon or lime to the juicing,  you can tolerate more of the dark leafy veggies in your juice.  Remember it is far BETTER to use lemon or lime than carrots, beets, or apples, which all have much more fructose than lemons or limes.

Once  you've "gotten used to"  juicing,  you can start adding these vegetables:  Endive,  Escarole,  Green Leak Lettuce,  Red leaf lettuce,   Romaine lettuce,  and  Spinach.

Then,  after you’re used to the above vegetables,  start adding these:  Bok Choy,  Cabbage,  and  Chinese Cabbage.   Cabbage juice is one of the most healing nutrients for ulcer repair as it is a huge source of vitamin U.  (Have most of us ever even HEARD of Vitamin U???)

When you’re ready, start adding herbs to your juicing.  Parsley and Cilantro work exceptionally well together.  But, be cautious with cilantro, as many cannot tolerate it well.  If you are new to juicing,  hold off on the cilantro. It is more challenging to consume, but highly beneficial.

The last list of things to add into your juicing recipes:  Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens,Kale and  Mustard Greens.   *** Only use one or two of these leaves, as they are very bitter. ***

How to Make your Juice Taste Great!

If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable,  

especially in the beginning,  you can add these elements:

Lemons and Limes:  Add a quarter to half a lemon a lime, leaving much of the white rind on.

Cranberries: Add a handful  if you enjoy them. Researchers have discovered that

cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. In addition, they are chock-full of phytonutrients, and can help women avoid urinary tract infections. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.

Fresh ginger:  This is an excellent addition if you can tolerate it. It gives your juice a little “oomph”,  so easy does it!  Also,  researchers have found that ginger can have dramatic effects on cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis,  and lowering cholesterol levels.

Other Guidelines for Juicing:

Avoid juicing bananas or avocados as they are often too soft and will clog the juicer.

Green vegetable juice – Limit green juice to 2 oz per glass and fill the rest with other veggies and fruits.

Beet juice – Limit to 4 oz per glass and fill the rest with a milder juice, such as carrot or apple.

Citrus – with grapefruit, tangerines and oranges, remove and discard all of the rind, but keep as much of the white pith as possible since it is chock full of nutrients. You can juice lemons and limes whole with their rinds.

 Melons – Juice with both the peel and interior white rind, as much of the nutritional value of the melon resides in these sections of the fruit.

When you take your first sip of the freshly made juice,  swish it around

your mouth until it feels warm and tastes sweet. This activates the

digestive enzymes that are naturally present in your saliva.

So, there you have it – part one of a very juicy story!  Come back tomorrow for part two,  which will include wonderful recipes that will tantalize your taste buds.

And,  for  lots of info on organic gardening,  come visit us at Enota Mountain Retreat, Campground, Eco-Village.  Book your reservation now for a cabin or campsite.  You don’t want to miss it!

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180,  Hiawassee,  GA  30546

(706) 896-9966

email: enota@enota.com

official web site:  www.enota.com


The Eccentric Garden

April 26, 2011

Greetings,  friends of Enota!

Today we will be talking about container gardening, with an additional focus on unusual containers.  Organic gardening doesn’t necessarily have to be traditional!  So many of you are creative, artistic souls… Why not let some of that creativity show in your organic flower garden and vegetable patch?

Container gardening offers all the perks and challenges of gardening in a bed. There is almost nothing that can’t be grown in a container. Choosing and combining plants to grow in containers is a great way to experiment with garden design. Whether you choose to display a grouping of one plant per pot or create an entire garden in a single container, you can’t fail… because you can always swap plants in and out. You can even have a high yield vegetable, fruit or herb garden container garden.

Unusual containers for your plants can be a lot of fun and add beauty or whimsy to your garden.  If the container is not entirely suitable (an odd shape, or not conducive to providing good drainage),  nest a plastic pot inside it and the plants will hide the plastic pot from view.

The Containers:

Hanging baskets:  Includes plastic, clay, wood and wire baskets.  With a hanging basket, always make sure that you’ve accounted for drainage and that the resulting display is adequately supported by wires, chain, or rope, because a full hanging basket can be quite heavy.  If taking the display down to water it is a hassle, use a watering wand.

Wall containers: A wall garden is a clever and  charming way to display container-grown plants. You fasten them to a fence, courtyard wall, or other vertical surface preferably at eye level so you can readily appreciate them. Many containers intended for this use have one flat side so they can go flush against the wall; though this feature isn’t a requirement, it does look better and allow the plants within to grow upright. Remember – the supporting wire, brackets, or hooks have to be equal to the job, and that means holding the weight of a filled container.

Old shoes and boots, tea kettles, wicker baskets, cookie tins, old tires, wagons and wheelbarrows, and more: You can recycle all sorts of wacky and whimsical objects to hold and display potted plants — just use your imagination! Browse garage sales, thrift shops, junk piles, or even your own garage, basement, or attic. Any vessel of weather-resistant material can be a candidate.

Containers that at one time held toxic chemicals like oil

barrels should be avoided, also those constructed of wood

products that contained harmful preservatives, like creosote.

Oddball choices work best when the plants within don’t overwhelm them or spill over the sides and hide them from view, so choose smaller plants or ones that are slow-growing. Also, refer to the caution about attending to drainage.

Whiskey barrels are pretty standard at garden centers and home supply centers.  Half whiskey barrels are a popular choice for planting many or larger plants, including small trees or even waterlilies and other aquatics.  Line a barrel with plastic or use a plastic insert made for this purpose before planting; you want to prevent the rot and loosening stays and slats over time and also to protect the soil and thus plants from absorbing any leached tar or creosote that may be lingering.  Remember!  One of these barrels filled with anything is mighty heavy, so move it to its intended site before you fill it!

Preparation & Planting

After you choose  your container,  there are a few simple rules to follow before planting. If your container has been previously used for another purpose,  clean it thoroughly. Scrub it with a mixture of bleach and water. Be sure to rinse very thoroughly and let it  dry completely.

The next step is to put drainage holes in your container. If your container is made of material that will not allow drainage holes put a pot with drainage holes inside the chosen container. First, place a layer of rocks or pebbles about 1 inch deep at the bottom of your  container. Then place your pot with drainage holes on top of this and plant your flowers in this pot. Be sure to empty your outside pot of any standing water on a regular basis.

If your unusual containers chosen for your container gardens are metal be aware that they will leave rust and water stains on concrete and wood as the water seeps out the drainage holes. It is best to use trays under these pots to prevent staining.  Or,  move the metal containers to a brick or stone surface that will not stain.

When preparing your container for planting be sure to line the bottom with first some window screen and then a layer of gravel to ensure proper drainage. Fill the container  to about an inch from the rim with some good potting soil. When you start placing plants in your container, begin in the center and work your way to the outside. Taller plants are best for center plantings and short or trailing plants do well on the outside of the container garden pot.

Plant Care Tips

Be sure to water the pots in your container gardens on days there is no natural rain.  Remove old  blooms as soon as they begin to fade to promote increased flower growth.

More container  ideas  include: using an old wooden cask, or a concrete container might do well with cactus, or maybe an old red wagon for a country garden. If you prefer whimsical,  use some old rubber boots.  Some large old shells might be the perfect container for a container garden by the sea.  Farmers supply stores have just the treasures you’re looking for –  galvanized wash tubs, feed tubs, half whiskey barrels, and cream cans,  for example.  Old colanders are easy to find and usually inexpensive;   they also have great, built-in drainage.

More tips:

Place container plantings at various heights to make them even more striking.  Container plants don’t have to be confined to just the porch or patio.  They add texture and visual interest almost anywhere in the landscape.  Glazed pots are ideal for container plantings because they don’t dry out nearly as quickly as unglazed ones;  however,  glazed pots won’t develop the cool and unusual patina that aged terra cotta pots can.

There are a few design principles to consider when planting container

gardens.   They concern dimension,  shape,  and color.

To avoid a flat look, add  a tall plant or a garden ornament for height and a trailing plant to drape down from the container. A grouping of different sized containers will also help achieve this goal. Chose plants that are in scale with the size of your container. As a guideline, plants should be twice as tall as the visible part of the container. If planting one large plant such as an ornamental grass, select a larger container that will fulfill both plant growth and design needs. Large plants can overwhelm small situations and small plants make little impact in large spaces. Also consider whether the container will be viewed from one side or several angles and position plants accordingly.

Although many people have the impression that container gardening is for flowers only,   in recent years gardeners have had great success with fruits,  vegetables,  and herbs in container gardens.  Just follow “normal”  organic gardening principals,  and be prepared to have a wonderful  and eccentric gardening experience!

We hope you have enjoyed reading this post as much as we enjoyed

putting it together!  Remember – the only limit on your gardening

experience is your own imagination.

For a hands-on experience with organic gardening and farming,  come stay with us at Enota’s Eco-Village.  Book your reservation today for a cabin or campsite.  We also can house large groups, so if your employees or club wants to book a retreat,  we’re the place to go.

Enota Mountain Retreat and Campgorund

1000 Hwy 180,  Hiawassee   30546

(706) 896-9966          email: enota@enota.com

official web site:   www.enota.com

Welcome, Enota readers!

Today we’re going to talk about growing grapes.  Grapes grow really well here in the North Georgia Mountains,  as do they in many other parts of the United States  and the world.   There is some variety of grapes that is native to nearly every temperate region of the world,  and to several subtropical areas as well.

A Little Grape History:

Grape vines grow out of the subsoil…  there is a theory that the early Mediterranean civilizations came about because the overcropping of wheat and the grazing of goats caused the soil to waste away in those countries.  The inhabitants were forced to farm the subsoil with grapes and olives, both of which thrive on subsoil.  The people then traded wine and oil for wheat.   This meant that they had to become potters  (so that they could make containers for the wine and oil), shipbuilders,  sailors,  and merchants – so that they could accomplish the necessary trades to keep living in the area.  This, in turn, sped up their industrial and mercantile development.

You may not know this,  but prior to Prohibition  (the banning of all alcoholic beverages in the United States during the 1920’s),  there was a large and thriving grape-growing industry in Georgia.  Planting on the easily found slopes in Northern Georgia insured needed drainage. As with any plant or animal that gets overly cultivated for certain qualities, susceptibility to some diseases  crept in over time.   While you might see wild Muscadine grapes growing up pine and tulip poplar trees in the Georgia Piedmont area,   other varieties would never tolerate such conditions.

Soil and Climate for Grape-growing:

Vines grow well on poor,  dry,  stony soil.  It is fortunate for mankind that the grapevine thrives on soil that is little good for anything else!   Stony soils on slopes make good vineyards.  Many good grapes have been grown on soil made up mostly of decayed fossil seashells.  Rich clay soil is bad for grapes,  causing them to lose their fruit or to ripen too late.   Clear the soil of perennial weeds and dig deeply before planting grape vines.  If the pH is much below 6,  lime the soil to bring it to about 7.  Good drainage is essential.

The climate most suitable for grapes is the Mediterranean climate.  The winter must be cold enough to give them a good dormant period, but not so far below freezing as to harm the dormant vines.  Most varieties cana tolerate temperatrues as low as  -27 F.

More importantly,  the warmth and sunshine that summer provides allows the grape vines to become fertilized and the fruit to ripen.  Late spring frosts are not a problem,  because the vines start growing late enough to miss them.

Grape Propagation

To most gardeners,  grapes are far easier to start by rooting a cutting from a vine than trying to grow from seed.  In order to grow from seed,  you would have to keep the seeds in some slightly moist,  but not wet potting soil,  then keep them in the fridge for about three months. Grape seeds need a period of cold – but not freezing –  in order to germinate. It’s like the opposite problem of trying to germinate peppers…  no matter how green a thumb you have,  if you don’t have a way to keep pepper seeds in potting soil at above 70° F for a couple of weeks,  you are not going to sprout any peppers.

a one-year cane, just planted

If you have existing vines, make cuttings by separating your winter prunings into two bundles;  the ripe, reddish-brown wood and the tender new wood.   Tie the ripe wood in bundles, marking the top end with a tiny scratch;   label the bundles with the variety;   and bury them in moist sand.  (Feed the new wood to goats or rabbits,   or put it in the compost pile.)   Take the bundles out in March and select the pieces that are about as thick as pencils;   make cuttings by chopping them into foot-long lengths,  with a bud near the bottom of each.   The best cuttings are made from canes with 3 or 4 buds per foot.   Make a long deep nick with a spade in the sandiest soil you have and plant the cuttings right end up.  The top bud should be just above soil level.   Step the cuttings in hard.   During the summer,  most of these cuttings will root;  and, by the following spring they will be ready to plant.

tiny grapes on a just-planted new grapevine

Many experts will tell you to dig a wide hole for each cutting and to spread the roots out carefully over a mound of soil.  However, expert farmer,  John Seymour,  offers a much simpler method: Simply snip off all the roots of each new plant to about 2 inches so that it looks like a shaving brush.  Then, make a hole about 6 inches deep with a crowbar;  drop the plant in and stamp the soil down firmly.  You will get excellent results with this method because the new vine is forced to put out lots of new roots.

Pruning Grape Vines

Grapes seem to have been created by God to teach us that desirable fruit requires regular care and attention. Gardens left unattended teach us that what is not cared for quickly go to weeds and thorns.

Probably the hardest thing for novice gardeners is getting used to how much pruning is necessary for good results. Most people look at a 2 or 3 year-old grapevine that hasn’t been pruned yet, and think  that tangled web of vines  means more fruit to come. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Watching a vine dresser prune back a grapevine in early spring would have most people thinking, “Holy cow! He’s practically chopping it all down!”

Pruning is absolutely necessary to get the best production of grapes.


When you leave a vine unpruned, the first year you'll have a massive crop. Novice growers might feel delighted with their success and wonder what all the pruning fuss is about.  There's a flipside to this:    The vine will produce more fruit than it knows what to do with because when you actually prune a vine correctly, you remove as much as 95 to 98% of the previous season's growth.  If you leave all of that growth from the previous year it will have buds on it, which means  you'll have a huge crop the following year. The vine can't produce enough energy to ripen an unregulated crop,  and it'll be poor quality.  The clusters will be straggly,  and you won't have much fruit worth using.   Even if it is able to ripen,  given that it has to force so hard to come through,  the vine will have diverted energy that it might ordinarily use to mature the wood and to help the vine get ready for winter. 

Its vital for you to learn how to prune and know that the pruning is not just a chore. It’s something  that keeps the vine in balance.  It maintains the natural equilibrium.  It keeps the vine in the form you want it in.  It allows you to have a good regular crop of the best quality grapes you can have year after year after year.

 Feeding Grape Vines:

Grape vines are a wonderful addition to any garden, not only providing fresh fruit but also providing shade.  Quick-growing grape vines can cover a trellis or arbor and provide shade during the summer months but allow the sun to shine through during the winter.  While not picky about their feeding,  grape vines do like an occasional boost of some fairly simple nutrients.Compost is the most effective and widely used fertilizer for grape vines.  Well-rotted compost usually contains a good balance of essential nutrients.  Compost should be applied at the rate of 15 to 20 lb. per 100 square feet and is often spread in a single line down the row of planted grape vines.

We hope you have enjoyed this post about growing grapes. For a hands-on organic gardening experience,  visit Enota.  We have organic gardens and animals,   with employees eager to “show you the ropes.”   Book your reservation now for a cabin or campsite.  The North Georgia Mountains await you…

Enota Mountain Retreat and Campground

1000 Hwy 180,  Hiawassee,  GA  30546

(706) 896-9966     email: enota@enota.com

official web site:   www.enota.com

Welcome, Enota Friends!

Once you have tasted the rich flavor of freshly harvested, organic potatoes, you may never buy another grocery store potato again. There is just no comparing the two. Fresh organic potatoes look, taste, and are better for you.

Commercial potatoes are one of the most heavily treated crops when it comes to fungicides, pesticides,  and herbicides.  You can protect your family by providing healthful nutrients and delicious meals by growing your own potatoes,  even if you live in an apartment. Potatoes are surprisingly easy to grow and the flavor is profoundly better than the grocery store potatoes that have probably been sitting in a warehouse for several months before you place them in your shopping cart!

This is a clever gardening tip: grow your potatoes vertically, rather than spread out in rows in your garden.    Today we will talk about several variations on the idea of a  “potato tower”. Whether you have limited gardening space or just want to try something different, this could be a great gardening method.  Easy on the back and knees, too!

Potato Box

The potatoes are planted inside the box. The first row of boards is installed and the dirt or mulch can now be added to cover the seed potatoes.  As the plant grows,  add more boards and dirt.  You plant potatoes in one bottom layer,  boarding up the sides of each layer and adding dirt as you go higher (you wait until the plants have grown a bit before adding a new layer). While new potatoes are growing in the top layers,  remove the boards from the first layer at the bottom to carefully dig out the potatoes that are ready for harvesting.  Fill the dirt back in and board up the box again. You move up the layers and harvest as the potatoes are ready.

You can skip building the box and try growing potatoes in a bin, bag, or

wire cage instead.

*** Many people opt to use old tires as containers, since they offer heat absorbing properties, but one  has to wonder about the chemicals leaching into the soil.  Wooden barrels and ceramic containers, or bags, or chicken wire are easy enough to find and they would ultimately be a better bet for the organic gardener.

Potatoes in a Container:

Take your container, we’ll say an old bin, and punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Put a shallow layer of pebbles in the bottom and cover with about three inches of damp compost. Plant your seed potatoes in the bottom of the barrel.   Cover the seed potatoes with straw. Three plants per bin is about right.

*** It is better to get seed potatoes.   Using supermarket potatoes that

have been sprayed with chemicals would defeat the object of growing

organic food.

When you have good green growth in the bottom of the bin cover all but the top leaves of each plant with a layer of compost, and then straw.  Keep the plants watered.  By the time you reach the top of the bin the whole thing should be more or less filled with potatoes.

You can use practically any container but should protect it from light as light exposure will cause inedible green potatoes. Keep the surface damp.

In cool areas the potatoes can be left in the bins and harvested as needed but in warmer areas it is a good idea to lift them all at once and store them somewhere cool in Hessian or paper sacks.


*** Some gardeners have discovered that

the local cats think the potato bin or

tower makes a fine litter box,  so add a

frame on the top with chicken wire to

keep them out, but allow the sunlight

and water in.

Avoid over-watering your potatoes, as they are susceptible to rot. Potatoes make lovely patio plants and they thrive in full sun.  The leaves,  which are actually a toxic member of the nightshade family will grow quickly,  providing you with a lush,  green,  decorative plant to enjoy while your potatoes are developing underground.

As temperatures fall, the leaves on your potato plant will wilt and turn brown. If you have a yard,  the best way to harvest your potato crop is to turn your potato container over on the lawn and sift through the soil,  hunting for your ‘tater  treasures.

Growing Potatoes in Bags:


Many people have had success growing potatoes in empty compost bags. You turn them inside out so the black is on the outside to soak up the heat of the sun. Be sure to punch some drainage holes in the bag.  Put in a few inches of compost in the bottom,  put your seed potatoes atop the compost,  cover with compost and straw.  Water well and roll the bag down like a sock.  As the potatoes grow you unroll the bag a bit and add more compost a few inches at a time until you reach the top of the bag.  To harvest your spuds reach in and pull a few out at a time or upend the whole thing if you want lots at once.

Potatoes in a Cage:

Create a 3 ft diameter tower using chicken wire. Fill it with layers of earth alternated with straw. At about four points around the circumference,  and at each level,  you stick a seed potato. The end results is that many plants are going at once,  from top to bottom,  through the chicken wire.  Again harvesting is simply a case of knocking it down to collect a bushel of potatoes.

We hope you have enjoyed this post and that you have

learned something new as well.     Try one of

these potato-growing methods…  You’ll be pleased at

the results.

For an enjoyable yet educational organic gardening experience, come visit us at Enota

Mountain Retreat.   We have organic gardens and farm animals,  just waiting for you to have

a hands-on experience.  Book your reservation now for a cabin or camping site.

Enota Mountain Retreat & Campground

1000 Hwy 180, Hiawassee, GA 30546

(706)896-9966 email: enota@enota.com

official web site: www.enota.com

Hello, Enota Friends!

Today,  ever desiring to educate and entertain our readers,  we are going to talk about spring cleaning.  Who decided April was the official spring cleaning month?   How did spring cleaning originate?   What are various people’s opinions of spring cleaning?   And,  what are some good organic cleaning tips for your house this spring

Back in Biblical times,  God told His chosen people to observe the Passover.   One of the commands concerning the Passover observance was to remove all the leaven from one’s house.  (Leaven represents  sin; therefore removing the leaven from one’s home equates with examining oneself and removing sin from one’s life.)  All the leaven is to be removed… not just some of it… not just what is easily spotted in the front of the cupboard…

And so came the custom of taking everything out of the cabinets,  closets,  etc.  so as to be certain that all the leaven was removed.  Naturally, when the woman of the house takes everything out of the cabinets,  she is going to clean each item and neatly rearrange the stuff,  taking a bit of a mental inventory as she goes.  “Hmmm… why do I have 3 containers of pumpkin pie spice, but only part of a bottle of vanilla extract?   Guess I’d better buy more vanilla AND remember all the pumpkin pie spice come fall…”

This author finds it kind of fun doing spring cleaning,  what with

finding treasures long since forgotten or thought to be gone forever,  

like the recipe for  “Sin Pie”,   found in an upper cabinet next to the

brown sugar…  But,  apparently,  a lot of people do not like to clean,   as

noted in several quotes I found when Googling  “cleaning”.

Just for fun,  we will intermingle some of these comments among our

spring cleaning tips.  Enjoy!

Erma Bombeck:

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.

The Rose Bowl is the only bowl I’ve ever seen that I didn’t have to clean.

My theory on housework is,   if the item doesn't multiply,   smell,   catch fire,   or block the refrigerator door,  let it be.  No one else cares.  Why should you?

Basic Organic Cleaning Supplies

Everyone who is trying to get in the habit of switching to organic house cleaning supplies should make sure that they have several staples on hand at all times. They include:

Baking soda
White vinegar
Lemon juice
Washing soda
Rubbing alcohol

If you keep these things on hand, you should have no problem keeping your home clean with organic cleaning supplies. Also the good thing about most of these products is that they are very inexpensive, so organic cleaning supplies prices are usually very low, especially when compared to their more toxic counterparts.

How to Make Your Own Organic Cleaning Supplies

If you want to make your own organic cleaning supplies, there are several simple rules that you should follow.

Baking soda works as a deodorizer.
Lemon juice is a natural degreaser
Vinegar kills bacteria and mold naturally.
Rubbing alcohol serves as a disinfectant.
Following those rules will help you be able to figure out a number of recipes for organic cleaning supplies. Now let’s take a closer look at some specific recipes for organic cleaning supplies.

Recipes for Organic Cleaning Supplies

To make a natural all-purpose spray, fill an empty spray bottle up almost to the top. Add two teaspoons of vinegar and two teaspoons of baking soda. Shake it well so that the baking soda is dissolved and it’s mixed completely.

Drain cleaner can be made by putting a half cup of baking soda and a half cup of white vinegar down the drain.   Just be sure to cover it so that when it starts to foam,  it can work that clog right out.

Ovens are one of the most difficult spots to clean, but you can do it organically by putting water and baking soda on tough areas and then scrubbing them off with steel wool.

Clean the toilet bowl with a quarter cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar. Remember to let the cleaner sit in the toilet for about five or 10 minutes before you scrub. This will help loosen up all of the gunk.

Dishwashing soap can be made with water and several drops of lemon juice.

To clean stainless steel, white vinegar all by itself can work wonders.

For organic carpet cleaning,  sprinkle baking soda on the carpet to deodorize and also clean up spots.

More  Cleaning Humor:

Nature abhors a vacuum.   And so do I. ~Anne Gibbons

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.    ~Phyllis Diller,  Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints, 1966

The obvious and fair solution to the housework problem is to let men do the housework for, say, the next six thousand years, to even things up. The trouble is that men, over the years, have developed an inflated notion of the importance of everything they do, so that before long they would turn housework into just as much of a charade as business is now. They would hire secretaries and buy computers and fly off to housework conferences in Bermuda, but they'd never clean anything.  Dave Barry

More Green Cleaning Tips

Disinfect surfaces by using hydrogen peroxide and then vinegar.  Here is what to do:  Buy two squirt bottles.  Put 3% Hydrogen Peroxide in one bottle and vinegar in the other.  The vinegar can be the ordinary white vinegar or you could use apple cider vinegar. Lightly spray surfaces in your kitchen or bath with one bottle and then the second bottle.  The order of spraying is not significant. This is more effective than most purchased chemical disinfectants.

Using the same two bottles of your peroxide and the vinegar you can spray in turn your fruits

and vegetables.  Then hold under running water to rinse off.  If a little residue remains,  not to

worry,  it won’t harm you.  This action will kill off Salmonella and E. coli that may have gotten

on the produce.

To get grease out of clothes,  run through washer with a can of coke.  The coke will dissolve the grease.  Then wash as usual.  ( Coke isn’t exactly a “green” product,  but, this tip works!)

Anonymous Cleaning Humor:

Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don’t do it. ~Author Unknown

Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy. ~Author Unknown

The trouble with living alone is that it’s always your turn to do the dishes. ~Author Unknown

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance. ~Author Unknown

If the shelves are dusty and the pots don’t shine,  it’s because I have better things to do with my time.   ~Author Unknown

I like hugs and I like kisses,   but what I really love is help with the dishes.   Author unknown.  

 Organic Window-Cleaning Tips:

Use a mixture of vinegar and water to get your windows and glass surfaces gleaming clean.

Clean windows with old newspapers. This works better than paper towels for a streak free shine.

And, one last comment about chores:

Three-fourths of the Earth’s surface is water,  and one-fourth is land.  It is quite clear

that the good  Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of

the lawn. ~Chuck Clark

We hope you have enjoyed this post and learned something as well.

Remember, spring is almost over… and, summer will be here before

you know it! Book your reservation now with Enota Mountain Retreat

& Eco-Village.  There is something here for everybody!  Book  a cabin

or a camping site… you’ll be happy you did!.

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180, Hiawassee,  GA  30546

(706) 896-9966          email: enota @enota.com

official web site:   www.enota.com

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