Picture
            











Cocoa      Tehobroma cacao         Cacao 
Would you like to have a chocolate tree right in your own back yard?   In Costa Rica it’s easy, particularly if you live in the warmer regions of the country.   Gardeners can enjoy planting cocoa (cacao in Spanish) as a special treat for the family.  Costa Rica is actually the original home of cacao.   Since pre-Columbian days, the indigenous people of Mesoamerica cultivated these magical trees amidst the tropical rainforests.  They esteemed the dried and toasted seeds for making rich sauces that accompanied their meals.  Cacao was so popular amongst the natives that it was used as a form of currency for trading.  Later the Spanish introduced cacao to Europe.  By the mid- 1700s Carolus Linnaeus, who gave us the foundation of scientific plant and animal classification, named the chocolate tree Tehobroma cacao, in his classic text Systema Naturae..  He must have been very impressed with this delicious treat, because the Latin name translates to “Food of the Gods”.  Scientists have given us another reason as to why we love chocolate.  They say it’s because the alkaline crystals called theobromine in cacao act as a mood elevator. 

As the popularity for chocolate grew, so did the cultivation of cacao in many tropical regions of the world. Today, the top ten producing countries are the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, New Guinea, and Malaysia. Interestingly, the Ivory Coast grows more than the next six producers combined.  Costa Rica produces sufficient cacao for local consumption, plus a growing export market, particularly in organic cacao.

To start your own cacao trees, you’ll need to acquire seeds for planting.  Many local markets or ferias offer cacao pods, like those shown in this week’s photo.  Take home some of the best pods you can find.  Now the fun begins.  Each seed is encased in a white fruit pulp that has a delicious flavor somewhat similar to Mamon Chino.   After dinning on the fruit pulp, save the seeds for planting.  Locate some plastic nursery bags or old recycled plastic containers that can be fashioned into pots with holes in the bottom.  Fill them with average soil, preferably mixed with age compost for good fertility.  One seed is planted in each container about 2-3cm deep.  You can keep the containers outside, so the rain will keep them moist for germinating the seeds.  Cacao seeds sprout in about 1 week and begin to form new leaves rapidly.  When your chocolate trees are about 30-40cm tall, transplant them from their containers to permanent sites.  Cacao trees do well in the shade of larger trees, particularly Madero Negro, (Gliricidia sepium), which is also known as Madre de Cacao or Mother of Cacao.  Cacao trees can produce their first harvest in 3 to 5 years depending on soil fertility and care.  Annual applications of organic compost around the base of the tree and periodic foliar spraying with seaweed extract will increase growth and production.  It’s also beneficial to prune the top growth of the tree to create a low growing, compact tree.  Cacao trees suffer from a fungal disease known as Monilla, which attacks the young seeds pods.  This can be controlled by spraying the trees once a month with citrus seed oil extract, known as KILOL, during the flowering and production of the seedpods.  This organic product is available in most agricultural supply stores.  This is a totally harmless fungicide that is also valuable in controlling many garden plant diseases.  Once your harvest begins, you can enjoy toasting your seeds and grinding them to make your favorite chocolate treats.


Picture
SEEDS FROM NEW DAWN   

 Our aim is to promote the use of natural seeds which make up part of the rich bio-diversity of tropical food crops. 

Your seed purchase helps to fund our educational work in sustainable agriculture.

Buckwheat – hardy super food grain-like substitute.

Native Sweet Chile Pepper - hardy bush, needs no spraying

Native Pumpkin Squash - Can be eaten young like zucchini 

Sweet Basil - good flavor for salads and meals.

Dill- the young leaves of dill are delicious in salads.

Sweet Cherry Tomato - The best tomato for the tropics.

Lettuce- hot weather leaf lettuce for tropical climates.

Sesame- grow your own sesame for making tahini.

Jamaican Hibiscus - Beautiful flowers which make a flavorful tea. Edible leaves

Gandul or Pigeon pea- a hard bush with pea-like legumes.

Zinnias - colorful flowers for the garden.

Cosmos - orange variety.

Our seeds are organically grown, non-hybrid varieties that can be grown year after year in your garden from seeds you collect.  Germination guaranteed under normal germinating conditions.   


PRICE- 1200 colones/packet, postage paid

Books, seeds and products are offered only in Costa Rica.

 Call us at 2770-4229

for quick service with electronic banking
for New Dawn books , products and seeds 


Picture
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

 

Pau d'Arco Botanical Formula - An ideal tonic tea for the immune system made from the bark of the famous Pau d'Arco tree, the famous medicine tree of the Incas and Maya. Boosts your natural defenses of the immune system to heal many chronic illnesses, fights infections, eliminates parasites and purifies the blood.

Ground Ginger - Excellent for Chinese cooking and herbal tea. 

Jamaican Curry - A hot and spicy seasoning for many dishes.

1300 colones/30 gm packet, postage paid.

New Dawn Also Offers These Services:

Overnight Accommodations... $10
Healthy Meals from the Garden... $5
Garden Tours... $5/person

Eco-garden Designs for Costa Rican homes and farms... $100
Weekend Workshops (tropical medicinal plants, gardening and permaculture)... $100/person


Picture


 














NEW VOLUNTEER PROGRAM AT NEW DAWN
We are now accepting volunteers to help us open our Costa Rican alternative health care clinic and educational center for local rural families in our region. We have several areas in which volunteers can help to make our alternative health clinic a reality this year.  We plan to expand our production and distribution of medicinal plants, as well as expanding our ecological health gardens.  We need to create educational classes and videos in Spanish on natural health care, and make preparations for the opening our clinic.

If you are looking for a humanitarian project to help people improve their health with natural alternative health care, our project may interest you. 

We are looking for emotionally mature persons over 21 years of age, who are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle,  free from alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Volunteers may participate in this project by the week or month.  We are asking volunteers $100 per week for room and board in our beautiful tropical herb farm.  Each day there will be projects volunteers can help on to bring us closer to our goal of opening our educational program and clinic. 

Other benefits for volunteers include learning about ecological health gardens in the tropics, medicinal plants and natural health care therapies. We also strive to prepare wholesome natural foods much of which comes from our gardens and orchards.  Weekends are also open to volunteers to travel to local beaches and rainforest in the area.

As economic conditions continue to decline in Latin America,  rural families in Costa Rica are hardest hit by the situation.  Often families can not afford the expensive conventional medications or hospitalization.  There is a definite need for preventative health care and natural alternatives.  We hope to fulfill this need by opening our center to rural families, so they may have a better chance to live a healthier and happier life.

For more information contact us at:

thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com


 

 
 
Picture



















BUCKWHEAT    Fagopyrum esculentum  
   
Many years ago we made a surprising discovery while we were testing different crops in our tropical garden.
To our delight we found that buckwheat grew remarkably well as a new food crop for Costa Rica.
Northerners are familiar with buckwheat used for pancakes, multigrain breads or as a cereal known as groats or kasha.  Buckwheat lettuce sprouts are also popular as a salad green, much like alfalfa sprouts.  This versatile food crop is a nutritional super food, which has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn, and is high in the essential amino acids lysine and arginine, in which major cereal crops are deficient. Buckwheat also contains no gluten, and is therefore safe for people with gluten allergy or celiac disease.  Buckwheat is also high in iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, magnesium copper and phosphorus.    It also contains a phytochemical called rutin, which is beneficial for the cardiovascular system and prevents free radical oxidation into potentially harmful cholesterol oxides.
On top of it all, buckwheat is easy to grow and has no serious pest problems.  Despite the name buckwheat, is not related to wheat, but instead to sorrel, and rhubarb.  It’s pyramid shaped seeds are easily sown and harvested in garden beds or fields.  We till the soil to eliminate the weeds, then plant the seeds 2 inches apart and 1 inch deep.  We then mulch the bed with a 2 inch layer of grass clippings to control the weeds.  In 2 months the broadleaf plants will begin to bloom in white flowers and a month later the brown seeds are ready to harvest.  We put the seeds through a corn mill to make flour and then sift out the outer husks.  The flour can be used to make pancakes, bread, cereal or blended drinks mixed with milk and bananas.  
Although growing buckwheat is easy, finding seeds to plant is often difficult.  Fortunately we’ve had a bumper crop of buckwheat seeds and we’ll offer them in our seed section that follows.


Picture
SEEDS FROM NEW DAWN   

Our aim is to promote the use of natural seeds which make up part of the rich bio-diversity of tropical food crops. 



Your seed purchase helps to fund our educational work in sustainable agriculture.

 Buckwheat – hardy super food grain-like substitute.

Native Sweet Chile Pepper - hardy bush, needs no spraying

Native Pumpkin Squash - Can be eaten young like zucchini 

Sweet Basil - good flavor for salads and meals.

Dill- the young leaves of dill are delicious in salads.

Sweet Cherry Tomato - The best tomato for the tropics.

Lettuce- hot weather leaf lettuce for tropical climates.

Sesame- grow your own sesame for making tahini.

Jamaican Hibiscus - Beautiful flowers which make a flavorful tea. Edible leaves

Gandul or Pigeon pea- a hard bush with pea-like legumes.

Zinnias - colorful flowers for the garden.

Cosmos - orange variety.

Our seeds are organically grown, non-hybrid varieties that can be grown year after year in your garden from seeds you collect.  Germination guaranteed under normal germinating conditions.  

PRICE- 1200 colones/packet, postage paid

Books, seeds and products are offered only in Costa Rica.  

Call us at 2770-4229

for quick service with electronic banking
for New Dawn books , products and seeds 


Picture





PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

 Pau d'Arco Botanical Formula - An ideal tonic tea for the immune system made from the bark of the famous Pau d'Arco tree, the famous medicine tree of the Incas and Maya. Boosts your natural defenses of the immune system to heal many chronic illnesses, fights infections, eliminates parasites and purifies the blood.

Ground Ginger - Excellent for Chinese cooking and herbal tea. 

Jamaican Curry - A hot and spicy seasoning for many dishes.

1300 colones/30 gm packet, postage paid.

New Dawn Also Offers These Services:

Overnight Accommodations... $10
Healthy Meals from the Garden... $5
Garden Tours... $5/person

Eco-garden Designs for Costa Rican homes and farms... $100
Weekend Workshops (tropical medicinal plants, gardening and permaculture)... $100/person




Picture



NEW DAWN NEWS




NEW VOLUNTEER PROGRAM AT NEW DAWN


 We are now accepting volunteers to help us open our Costa Rican alternative health care clinic and educational center for local rural families in our region. We have several areas in which volunteers can help to make our alternative health clinic a reality this year.  We plan to expand our production and distribution of medicinal plants, as well as expanding our ecological health gardens.  We need to create educational classes and videos in Spanish on natural health care, and make preparations for the opening our clinic.

If you are looking for a humanitarian project to help people improve their health with natural alternative health care, our project may interest you. 

We are looking for emotionally mature persons over 21 years of age, who are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle,  free from alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Volunteers may participate in this project by the week or month.  We are asking volunteers $100 per week as a co-housing fee in our beautiful tropical herb farm.  Each day there will be projects volunteers can help on to bring us closer to our goal of opening our educational program and clinic. 

Other benefits for volunteers include informally learning about ecological health gardens in the tropics, medicinal plants and natural health care therapies. We also strive to prepare wholesome natural foods much of which comes from our gardens and orchards.  Weekends are also open to volunteers to travel to local beaches and rainforest in the area.

As economic conditions continue to decline in Latin America,  rural families in Costa Rica are hardest hit by the situation.  Often families can not afford the expensive conventional medications or hospitalization.  There is a definite need for preventative health care and natural alternatives.  We hope to fulfill this need by opening our center to rural families, so they may have a better chance to live a healthier and happier life.

For more information contact us at:
thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com


 
 
Picture
PARSLEY     
Petroselium crispum     

As the rains begin to return, it’s a great time to start a garden in Costa Rica.  One of the best garden greens you can include in your garden is parsley, known as Perejil in Spanish.  And even if you  have limited space  for a garden, parsley can be planted in pots around the home along with other greens to create a  potted Mediterranean kitchen garden. This is one of the best ways to include nutritious greens in the family’s diet. Parsley’s high iron content is used for treating anemia and fatigue. It’s also high in vitamin C, which is needed by the body to assist in the absorption of iron. Parsley is also a good source of beta carotene, chlorophyll, essential fatty acids, magnesium, boron, vitamin K, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and sulfur.  It is an excellent  for heart health as it dissolves cholesterol, and rejuvenates the elasticity of the blood vessels. Parsley also helps improve digestion, and can be used a diuretic, which can assist in the treatment of edema. Parsley root can be used for gout, dissolving gallstones and glandular support of the liver, spleen, kidneys and adrenal glands.  Women may also find relief of symptoms with PMS and menopause.  People have also discovered the healing power of parsley juice—a wonderful tonic for the body.
Parsley can be grown from seeds planted in flats and later transplanted to pots or to the garden. It grows well in the highlands, but Italian parsley (see photo) can be grown in the warmer regions..
Use soils enriched with organic compost fertilizer to keep your plants healthy and productive. To extend your harvest pick a few mature leaves from each plant, instead of pulling up a whole plant. Insects can be controlled with a natural bug spray recipe that follows:  Blend 1.5 tsp. of baking soda, 1.5 tsp. of Bioland glycerin soap, 1 tsp. of vegetable oil, and 1 tsp. of vinegar with 5 cups of warm water.  Apply with a hand sprayer on any of your garden plants that have bug problems.


Picture
SEEDS FROM NEW DAWN    

Our aim is to promote the use of natural seeds which make up part of the rich bio-diversity of tropical food crops. 


Your seed purchase helps to fund our educational work in sustainable agriculture.

Native Sweet Chile Pepper - hardy bush, needs no spraying

Native Pumpkin Squash - Can be eaten young like zucchini 

Sweet Basil - good flavor for salads and meals.

Dill- the young leaves of dill are delicious in salads.

Sweet Cherry Tomato - The best tomato for the tropics.

Lettuce- hot weather leaf lettuce for tropical climates.

Sesame- grow your own sesame for making tahini.

Jamaican Hibiscus - Beautiful flowers which make a flavorful tea. Edible leaves

Gandul or Pigeon pea- a hard bush with pea-like legumes.

Zinnias - colorful flowers for the garden.

Cosmos - orange variety.

Our seeds are organically grown, non-hybrid varieties that can be grown year after year in your garden from seeds you collect.  Germination guaranteed under normal germinating conditions.  

PRICE- 1200 colones/packet, postage paid

Books, seeds and products are offered only in Costa Rica.

Call us at 2770-4229 for quick service with electronic banking for New Dawn books , products and seeds

Picture


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES


 

Pau d'Arco Botanical Formula - An ideal tonic tea for the immune system made from the bark of the famous Pau d'Arco tree, the famous medicine tree of the Incas and Maya. Boosts your natural defenses of the immune system to heal many chronic illnesses, fights infections, eliminates parasites and purifies the blood.

Ground Ginger - Excellent for Chinese cooking and herbal tea. 
Jamaican Curry - A hot and spicy seasoning for many dishes.
1300 colones/30 gm packet, postage paid.

New Dawn Also Offers These Services:

Overnight Accommodations... $10
Healthy Meals from the Garden... $5
Garden Tours... $5/person

Eco-garden Designs for Costa Rican homes and farms... $100
Weekend Workshops (tropical medicinal plants, gardening and permaculture)... $100/person

Picture



NEW DAWN NEWS


 

NEW VOLUNTEER PROGRAM AT NEW DAWN

We are now accepting volunteers to help us open our Costa Rican alternative health care clinic and educational center for local rural families in our region. We have several areas in which volunteers can help to make our alternative health clinic a reality this year.  We plan to expand our production and distribution of medicinal plants, as well as expanding our ecological health gardens.  We need to create educational classes and videos in Spanish on natural health care, and make preparations for the opening our clinic.

If you are looking for a humanitarian project to help people improve their health with natural alternative health care, our project may interest you. 

We are looking for emotionally mature persons over 21 years of age, who are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle,  free from alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Volunteers may participate in this project by the week or month.  We are asking volunteers $100 per week for room and board in our beautiful tropical herb farm.  Each day there will be projects volunteers can help on to bring us closer to our goal of opening our educational program and clinic. 

Other benefits for volunteers include learning about ecological health gardens in the tropics, medicinal plants and natural health care therapies. We also strive to prepare wholesome natural foods much of which comes from our gardens and orchards.  Weekends are also open to volunteers to travel to local beaches and rainforest in the area.

As economic conditions continue to decline in Latin America,  rural families in Costa Rica are hardest hit by the situation.  Often families can not afford the expensive conventional medications or hospitalization.  There is a definite need for preventative health care and natural alternatives.  We hope to fulfill this need by opening our center to rural families, so they may have a better chance to live a healthier and happier life.

For more information contact us at:
thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com

 
 
Picture
A TREE FOR ALL    REASONS

  PINK TRUMPET TREE   
Tabebuia rosea
    
Every year during the dry season the wonderful pink trumpet trees bloom across the landscape of Costa Rica.  Known here as roble sabana in Spanish, these world class landscaping species are found around the world from Hawaii to India.  Many of the towns and cities of Costa Rica show off these colorful trees in parks and along avenues.  They also grow naturally in pastures and savannas in the warmer regions of Costa Rica.  The leaves fall in the dry season and bloom with flowers that range from pastel pink to pastel maroon.  The seed capsules are 30cm long. Many people are familiar with these trees, but few know the secrets indigenous people knew about these trees.  The Maya considered these trees sacred and used them as medicine to heal their people.  The inner bark of these trees has been used for centuries in folk remedies in the tropical Americas. This powerful botanical medicine is known for healing a wide range of illnesses because of its ability to restore the immune system.  Traditional use of the inner bark as a tea has been reported to help in the following conditions: anemia, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, boils, cancer, Candida, colitis, colds, constipation, coughs, cystitis, diabetes, diarrhea, emphysema, dysentery, eczema, fevers, flu, gastritis, gall bladder problems, infections, liver problems, lung problems, leukemia, pain relief, parasites, prostate problems, pyorrhea and wounds.  No wonder the native indigenous people considered it a sacred tree!  Seeds from these trees can be collected later from the seed capsules.  Plant the seeds in plastic nursery bags with average soil.  Keep the contains well watered and in the shade until the young seedlings sprout, then slowly move the seedlings into full sun.  Select sites for planting that are sunny and with good soil drainage.  During the first year of growth, keep your new trees weed free and watered once a week during the dry season.  Once these hardy trees are well established, little care is needed.  An annual application of organic fertilizers around the base of the trees will help to keep them growing well.  Pruning the tops of these trees will help to keep them low and compact.  These trimmed branches can then be used for preparing a healthy cup of tea. 

SEEDS FROM NEW DAWN
  Our aim is to promote the use of natural seeds which make up part of the rich bio-diversity of tropical food crops. 

Your seed purchase helps to fund our educational work in sustainable agriculture.

Native Sweet Chile Pepper - hardy bush, needs no spraying

Native Pumpkin Squash - Can be eaten young like zucchini 

Sweet Basil - good flavor for salads and meals.

Dill- the young leaves of dill are delicious in salads.

Sweet Cherry Tomato - The best tomato for the tropics.

Lettuce- hot weather leaf lettuce for tropical climates.

Sesame- grow your own sesame for making tahini.

Jamaican Hibiscus - Beautiful flowers which make a flavorful tea. Edible leaves

Gandul or Pigeon pea- a hard bush with pea-like legumes.

Zinnias - colorful flowers for the garden.

Cosmos - orange variety.

Our seeds are organically grown, non-hybrid varieties that can be grown year after year in your garden from seeds you collect.  Germination guaranteed under normal germinating conditions.  

PRICE- 1200 colones/packet, postage paid

Books, seeds and products are offered only in Costa Rica.

Call us at 2770-4229

for quick service with electronic banking

for New Dawn books , products and seeds

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Pau d'Arco Botanical Formula - An ideal tonic tea for the immune system made from the bark of the famous Pau d'Arco tree, the famous medicine tree of the Incas and Maya. Boosts your natural defenses of the immune system to heal many chronic illnesses, fights infections, eliminates parasites and purifies the blood.

Ground Ginger - Excellent for Chinese cooking and herbal tea. 

Jamaican Curry - A hot and spicy seasoning for many dishes.

1300 colones/30 gm packet, postage paid.

New Dawn Also Offers These Services:

Overnight Accommodations... $10
Healthy Meals from the Garden... $5
Garden Tours... $5/person

Eco-garden Designs for Costa Rican homes and farms... $100
Weekend Workshops (tropical medicinal plants, gardening and permaculture)... $100/person

NEW DAWN NEWS
NEW VOLUNTEER PROGRAM AT NEW DAWN
We are now accepting volunteers to help us open our Costa Rican alternative health care clinic and educational center for local rural families in our region.  As economic conditions continue to decline in Latin America,  rural families in Costa Rica are hardest hit by the situation.  Often families can not afford the expensive conventional medications or hospitalization.  There is a definite need for preventative health care and natural alternatives.  We hope to fulfill this need by opening our center to rural families, so they may have a better chance to live healthier and happier lives. 

We have several areas in which volunteers can help to make our alternative health clinic a reality this year.

We plan to expand our production and distribution of medicinal plants, as well as expanding our ecological health gardens.  We need to create educational classes and videos in Spanish on natural health care, and make preparations for the opening our clinic.

If you are looking for a humanitarian project to help people improve their health with natural alternative health care, you may be interested in our project. 

We are looking for emotionally mature persons over 21 years of age, who are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle,  free from alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Volunteers may participate in this project by the week or month.  We are asking volunteers to contribute $100 per week for co-housing expenses  at our tropical herb farm.  Each day there will be projects volunteers can help on to bring us closer to our goal of opening our educational program and clinic.  While helping out volunteers can pick up lot of useful hands on knowledge about ecological health gardens in the tropics, medicinal plants and natural health care therapies. We also strive to prepare wholesome natural foods much of which come from our gardens and orchards.  Weekends are also open to volunteers to travel to local beaches and rainforest in the area.
For more information contact us at:
thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com


 
 
Picture
THE BIO-SAND WATER FILTER

Here’s a great solution for water purification that’s affordable, easy to do at home and very efficient.  It’s called the bio-sand water filter and it’s been used around the world for rural home water purification.  The design was refined by the Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, and their construction manual can be downloaded at their website: www.cawst.org

The unique feature of this sand filter is the very top surface layer of the filter.  The system maintains about 5-10cm of standing water above the surface of the sand.  This edge between water and sand is where a bio-film is created.  This layer is a microbiological community of decomposers.  As the new incoming water goes into the filter, incoming microbes become trapped in the bio-film and are quickly consumed.  As the water continues to pass through about 1 meter of fine sand any remaining particles, as well as some of the soluble minerals are removed.  

We decided to build a bio-sand filter because we have a 4m deep surface well that provides good water, but might have some unwanted microbes.  In the past I’ve used a commercial filter that worked well, but every a new filter was very expensive.  I spent about half the amount of a new filter on materials for building the bio-sand filter, and it will last for years before changing the sand.  I checked the water’s purity with a lab test and the results show complete absence of coli-form bacteria and certified as drinking water.  In the tropics there’s a higher risk of becoming infected from water and soil born microbes and parasites that can wreck havoc with your health.    Pure water means pura vida.  You’ll find the bio-sand filter a good choice for purifying stream water, rain water and well water.  It’s also a good practice to use care when preparing vegetables at home.  Soaking them for 15 minutes in water with lemon juice ,vinegar, or grape fruit seed extract, then washing in clean water will do a good job of disinfecting your produce.  We even do it with our home grown vegetables.  An ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure when it comes to dealing with parasites.  Eating plenty of onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne and pro-biotics, such as yogurt or fermented vegetables, also help to protect your digestive tract. 

NEW DAWN FARM NEWS


The dry season here on the farm is a time of harvesting the abundance of ginger and turmeric.  Here Elisha Moore-Delate helps dry a batch of turmeric. 
 
 
Picture
TIPS FOR DRY SEASON GARDENING

Every year at the beginning of the dry season, I like to remind our readers of the importance of conserving our water resources.  As Costa Rica grows and develops, water is becoming a primary dwindling resource, therefore, it’s the gardener’s challenge to develop a home irrigation system that reduces, reuses or recycles water.  Here are important tips that can be of help.
Reduce
First, cut your gardening activities back so you don't over stretch yourself - and your water supply. Use a few beds with plenty of diversity. Closer spacing between plants will also shade the soil below to slow evaporation and lower soil temperatures.  Mulching with grass clippings or dried leaves is one of the best water conserving tricks a gardener can use. Each year the Pacific slope and Central Valley of Costa Rica face four months of dry, hot weather, practically without rainfall. A blazing tropical sun can overheat exposed soils, endangering the biotic life in the topsoil. Earthworms, for example, retreat to the depths of the soil and remain there until the rains return. Plants become dehydrated quickly in these dry conditions, and wilt rapidly without constant heavy irrigation. But with mulching, your soil will stay moist and cool, permitting better root growth and greater worm activity in the bioactive zone. Use 15 cm or more of fresh mulch on the beds and walkways. In a short time, this will compact to a 5 to 7 cm protective covering, which gives your garden an attractive carpeted effect. Mulch is also a great cover for dormant planting beds. It keeps the ground moist and weed free, while worms stay busy aerating the soil. As the rains return, this mulch can he incorporated into the soil to increase soil fertility.
Water your garden in the late afternoon or evening. This prevents excessive loss of water due to evaporation by the sun. Watering in the evening helps to condense more dew on the garden during the night. Try to water the soil instead of plant foliage. A greater percent of moisture will then be trapped in the soil under the mulch. Hand watering with a garden hose equipped with a showerhead is the simplest and most efficient method.
Shade Cloth or Saran, as it's known commercially, is another valuable addition to your summer garden. This helps tremendously to keep your garden cooler and lower evaporation rates. A 50% shade mesh is the best for garden vegetables. However, a bamboo frame constructed over the garden and topped with palm fronds can substitute the costlier shade cloth.
Reuse and Recycle
Many homes can be converted so the plumbing from sinks, showers etc. collects grey water.  If you are careful to use biodegradable soaps, this water is ok for watering your plants around the home.  “Rain catchments are another great way to solve dry season watering.  Roof gutters can be connected to a cistern or tanks to collect and store rainwater for dry season gardening.  Just be sure your water catchments tanks are well covered to prevent dengue mosquitoes from breeding around the home.  Container planting around the home and porches is another way to reduce the amount of water you use to produce food.  And of course, there’s hydroponics, a system of growing vegetables in a liquid substrate that is recycled over and over again.  Some of the results that home gardeners have using hydroponics is truly amazing, and is quickly gaining popularity with urban gardeners. 
Redesign You may need to redesign some of your landscaping to help reduce your water consumption.   For example, experts say showy lawns use more water and require more maintenance than any other part of the home landscape.  Try to design your home garden and landscaping with a new approach called Xeriscaping.

The term comes from the Greek word, Xeros, which means dry or landscaping for dry areas. The word was coined in Denver, Colorado’s Water Department during the early 80’s and quickly spread to the southwest States, California and Florida.  A xeriscape design consists of 3 important zones.  The oasis zone is located nearest to the house and should contain showy plants and the vegetable garden, which requires frequent irrigation.  The second zone is called the drought tolerant zone where plants need an occasional watering during dry times.  This area may consist of fruit trees and other ornamental plants that are drought resistant.  Next is the natural zone, which ideally needs no watering during the dry season.  This area is usually away from the home with little traffic and visibility and should consist of totally native plants that weather the dry season without water.  For example, the hardy local grass for the lawn called jenjibrillo may turn brown during the dry season, but never needs watering and greens up as the rains return.  

NEED SEEDS?   
Please check the June 2013 edition of our newsletter for our seed listing.
----------------------------------------------------------------
ALL PURPOSE INSECT SPRAY
• 11/2 Tbs. of baking soda
• 11/2 Tbs. of Bio-land glycerin soap or other natural soap
• 1 Tbs. of vegetable oil
• 1 Tbs. of vinegar
• 1 gal. of warm water
Mix all ingredients together by shaking vigorously, then use a hand-held spray bottle to mist plants until they are  wet.
--------------------------------------------------------------- 

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FROM NEW DAWN
Pau d'Arco Botanical Formula - 
An ideal tonic tea for the immune system made from the bark of the famous Pau d'Arco tree, the famous medicine tree of the Incas and Maya. Boosts your natural defenses of the immune system to heal many chronic illnesses, fights infections, eliminates parasites and purifies the blood. 

Ground Ginger - Excellent for Chinese cooking and herbal tea.  
Jamaican Curry - A hot and spicy seasoning for many dishes.

1300 colones/30 gm packet, postage paid. 

New Dawn Also Offers These Services: 
Overnight Accommodations... $10
Healthy Meals from the Garden... $5
Garden Tours... $5/person
Permaculture Designs for  homes and farms... $100
Weekend Workshops (tropical medicinal plants, gardening and permaculture)... $100/person



 
 
Picture
MIGHTY MUSTARD

When most folks hear the word mustard, chances are they’ll think of yellow mustard that comes in a jar.  Did you know that the yellow color of mustard really comes from turmeric?   The pungent flavor comes from the ground seeds of black mustard (Brassica nigra), a wild variety of mustard, which is grown commercially in North America and Europe just for making mustard for our sandwiches.   But today, I would actually like to talk about mustard greens, or mostaza as it’s known in Spanish, the hardiest of the greens for tropical gardens. 

Mustard greens (Brassica juncea) are fast growing, annual plants that belong to the cabbage family.  It’s not uncommon to harvest mustard greens in less than one month from planting the seeds.  That’s about a third of the time it takes most garden vegetables to mature for picking!  Only radishes (rabinos) match this record, and, by the way, they make a great combo with mustard greens for tropical gardens in the hotter regions of the country. 

Mustard greens are not only winners as fast growing plants.  They are also champions when it comes to nutrition, ranking as one of the richest in vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin A.  One half cup of cooked mustard greens provides 11,000 units of vitamin A, as well as, 125 mg of vitamin C, 291 mg of calcium, 84 mg of phosphorus, and 9 mg of iron. 

The preparation of mustard greens is the secret to enjoying them at meals.   There are several varieties of mustard greens.  Tendergreen and purple mustard are very mild and can be eaten raw in salads, especially when they are chopped finely. 
Curly mustard is really hot, but can be tamed by steaming, or mixing it in omelets or stir fries.

In terms of planting mustard, I like to start the seeds in germination flats filled with prepared potting soil.  When the seedlings reach about 5 cm tall, I transplant them to recycled cups filled with compost.  In a week or so, once the young mustard plants are hardy, they’re transplanted to the garden.   Although mustard does well on average soils, additions of compost fertilizer can boost their growth remarkably.  Mustard plants have few pests or diseases, although an occasional infestation of aphids may occur, but these can be controlled with a spray of soapy water.  Be sure to use a natural soap!

Mustard seeds are available in most agricultural supply stores around the country, and once you get them started in your garden, mustard plants will flower and produce new seeds for your next planting.  NEED SEEDS?   
Please check the June edition of our newsletter for our seed listing.
----------------------------------------------------------------
ALL PURPOSE INSECT SPRAY
• 11/2 Tbs. of baking soda
• 11/2 Tbs. of Bio-land glycerin soap or other natural soap
• 1 Tbs. of vegetable oil
• 1 Tbs. of vinegar
• 1 gal. of warm water
Mix all ingredients together by shaking vigorously, then use a hand-held spray bottle to mist plants until they are  wet.
--------------------------------------------------------------- 
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FROM NEW DAWN
Pau d'Arco Botanical Formula - 
An ideal tonic tea for the immune system made from the bark of the famous Pau d'Arco tree, the famous medicine tree of the Incas and Maya. Boosts your natural defenses of the immune system to heal many chronic illnesses, fights infections, eliminates parasites and purifies the blood. 

Ground Ginger - Excellent for Chinese cooking and herbal tea.  
Jamaican Curry - A hot and spicy seasoning for many dishes.

1300 colones/30 gm packet, postage paid. 

New Dawn Also Offers These Services: 
Overnight Accommodations... $10
Healthy Meals from the Garden... $5
Garden Tours... $5/person
Permaculture Designs for  homes and farms... $100
Weekend Workshops (tropical medicinal plants, gardening and permaculture)... $100/person



Picture
Donna Harlzer, Roelie Elliot, Patsy Melnuk, Myra Nelson
NEW DAWN NEWS

October on our herb farm was a month of fix and repair.  We rejuvenated 2 of our sleeping cabins with new floors made from gravel and sand from our stream…just in time for our students that will be coming in from Global College’s center in Heredia, Costa Rica.  Our weekend workshop on medicinal plants was also a wonderful experience.  Patsy, Myra, Donna and Roelie drove in from Puriscal to participate in our intensive workshop.  They commented on how “stoked” they are to go home and put the knowledge to work.  We’ll be holding our last medicinal plants workshop of the year on Nov.30-Dec.1  2013.  It’s a good chance to become connected with the healing plants of the tropics that can be so beneficial to protecting and restoring your health.  


 
 
Picture
While most northern gardeners are finishing up their gardening year in October, tropical gardeners can plant a second garden before the year ends.  The last quarter of the year in Costa Rica provides an excellent opportunity for planting another corn patch, as well as both green beans and dry beans,  sweet potatoes, peanuts, and squash.  Hardy greens, such as cabbage, collards, mustard, Chinese cabbage, radishes and green bunching onions grow well in this season.  Tomatoes, on the contrary suffer from  the heavy rains and high humidity when planted outside.  You can solve this problem by planting them indoors in 5 gallon pots or old recycled plastic buckets.  Cucumbers, peppers, garlic, lettuce and eggplant also grow much better indoors, but be sure to locate them in a dry and sunny part of  the home.  You can also enrich your potting soil with aged compost and sand for better results. 

Although the harvest of mangos and avocados has finished, other fruits like oranges, carambola, banana, mammon chino, and jocote are in season.  There’s still time to transplant seedling fruit trees and ornamental plants to their permanent sites before the dry season comes. 

Composting is another activity that can continue during the rainy season.  The lush bio-mass from grass clippings, prunings and garden clean-ups can be composted into rich, fertilizer that ready at the end of the year.  Heavy tropical rains, however, can turn compost into a soupy mess, unless you cover your piles with a makeshift roof or plastic cover.  Also keep in mind that heavily moisture-laden soil packs or clumps very easily causing plant roots to grow poorly.  There’s a gardener’s rule of the green thumb that goes like this – If the soil sticks to your hoe or shovel, it’s too wet to work. 

For those gardeners that keep their feet firm on the ground and their heads in the stars, here’s the lunar planting dates for October. 

The 4th (new moon) is a good time for planting, particularly for most of the crops mentioned above.

The 11nd to the 18th (full moon) is a good time to transplant and harvest, as well as planting slow germinating seeds, such as papaya, most fruit tree seeds and herbs. 

With a little effort now in the garden, you’ll be dining on the fruits of your labor in the festive month of December.


 
 
For more details and reservations –
Call us at:  2770-4229  or

email
thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com
website
www.thenewdawncenter.info
directions:
http://thenewdawncenter.info/location.html

Picture
TIPS ON GROWING SCALLIONS AND CHIVES IN THE TROPICS

Growing onions naturally in the tropics can be a real challenge, so here’s some tips we’ve learned on how to grow onions.  Onions originated in the arid near East and were introduced into the neotropics by early settlers from Europe.  Like garlic, the onions are not well adapted to hot, humid conditions, which causes them to rot at the bulb.  We’ve worked around the issue by planting bulbing onions in pots or containers around the home or in greenhouse conditions.  By controlling the watering of the soils, so they dry out before the next watering helps them to thrive.  While trying many varieties of onions, we discovered  green bunching onions or bunching scallions.  This variety was originally from the region of the Nile.  Although it doesn’t form a large bulb, it is adapted well to our hot climate, and like chives they form multiple offshoots which can be replanted.  This is a great advantage since we need less seeds and produce more onions!
It’s just a matter of adjusting to fresh onion leaves for the salad instead of a onion bulb.  The slender bulbs of green bunching onions can also be used for making omelets and other vegetable dishes.
If you don’t have access to green bunching onion seeds, here’s another trick that works great for growing quick onion greens from pots or containers. Since every onion bulb has the potential to grow into a new plant, we can take advantage of this by purchasing the smallest dried onions in the market.  Usually they practically give them away to you.  Take your new treasure home and plant 2-3 of the tiny bulbs with the tips up in 10-12” pots with a fertile compost and soil mix.  In no time at all you’ll be harvesting young scallion leaves for your salad. 

Medicinal Uses:  Scallions and onions, just as garlic have been used for centuries as both food and medicine; eating fresh scallions is a good way to prevent health problems. It has been proven effective in reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol, and is known to be a strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent.  Onion juice has been shown to inhibit numerous harmful microbes and fungi, including Candida albicans.  Traditionally fresh onion juice has been used for treating upper respiratory infections, including pneumonia, coughs, sore throats and bronchitis.  Thrush or yeast infections are also treated with onion juice.  Recent research demonstrates that onion juice is beneficial in aiding asthma, arthritis, cancer, circulatory problems, colds, flu, infections, insomnia, liver disease, sinusitis, ulcers, and yeast infections.
For treating coughs, colds and flu blend or extract the juice of several scallions, strain and mix 15-30ml of honey in a clean glass container.  This is an excellent home remedy for treating children, since the honey hides the pungent taste of the onion juice.  Dosage:  1-6 tablespoons per day.  You will also find that blending scallions and orange juice together provides a helpful health drink. 


Picture
NEW DAWN NEWS

August was a busy month on the farm.  We have been steadily solar drying turmeric, ginger and pau d’arco bark to meet the growing demand for our formula tea.  Flu season is upon us, as well as a peak in dengue cases around the country.  Our formula tea has shown to be a valuable aid in dealing with these viral infections.  It’s safe, has no side effects and works!
We’ll be going over all this and more in our September workshop on medicinal plants of Costa Rica.  
Hope you join us.
Our August workshop went very well with Anthony and Dona Pagano of San Vito, Costa Rica.  They own land there and hope to create their own green pharmacy in their backyard.  Anthony is a professional producer of videos, and we talked about a joint venture on natural living videos…vamos a ver!

NEED SEEDS?   
Please check the June edition of our newsletter for our seed listing.

 
 
Picture
GARLIC    
Allium sativum

Gardeners often ask about how to grow garlic in the tropics, so here’s some tips from what we’ve learned.  Because garlic is an exotic species introduced to the New World tropics in colonial days, it is not well adapted to our hot and humid conditions.  It’s also a biennial plant with a long growth cycle.  Even so, you can work around this by planting your garlic in pots around the home in sunny areas on porches or in greenhouse conditions.  When you can control the amount of water, so the soil can dry out between waterings, garlic will flourish.  Use a 12” pot or recycled container filled with strained organic compost fertilizer.  3-6 cloves of garlic can be planted superficially in a 6” circle with the tips pointing upward.  Try to plant a new container each month, so you’ll have a continuing supply of fresh garlic greens and garlic bulbs. Keep your pots on stands or a table to keep the bugs away. As the garlic grows, select the tender green leaves from some of the garlic plants and leave others to mature into bulbs.  It takes about 6 or more pots to have a steady supply of garlic for the home. The plants can be sprayed with soluble organic fertilizers and compost tea to feed the roots.  Prevent leaf diseases by including citrus seed oil extract or trichoderma inoculants.
The green leaves of garlic are a nutritious addition to salads and dressings.   Garlic has been used for centuries as food and medicine.  Using fresh garlic in your diet is a good preventative health care practice, since garlic is a strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent, which works to prevent unwanted microbes from living in your intestines or cells.  Garlic also helps to prevent worms and other parasites from getting established in your digestive tract.  Recent research has shown garlic to be an effective agent against viral and bacterial infections in the body.  The major ingredient, allyl, acts as a natural antibiotic when used in large doses. Garlic has also proven to be effective in reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol. Use garlic pills for acute or chronic illnesses. Use garlic cloves and greens daily in salads as a preventative measure for protecting your health.
Garlic can be prepared in several ways for healing purposes.  For example, a thin slice of a raw garlic clove can be taped on to warts or boils to treat them.
Apply a fresh piece of garlic in the morning and evening.  The treatment usually takes 3 days to one week for results.  Garlic capsules are also useful in treating infections, circulatory problems and digestive problems, particularly parasites.   Take 2 capsules every 2 hours during the day.


Picture
NEW DAWN NEWS
Kristy, Patricia and Wendy making the connection with a legendary medicinal tree of the tropics.  These angels dropped in for our weekend workshop on tropical medicinal plants.   
Our next workshop is the weekend of Aug. 24-25, 2013
June and July were full of students and a whirl of gardening activities as we redesign some of our garden to improve it’s productivity.  There’s also been lots of new activities in our herbal lab.  Orders have been pouring in for Jess’s curry powder and our tonic tea formula.  New mixes are brewing too! 
NEED SEEDS?  PLEASE CHECK JUNE 2013 POST


 
    Picture
    THE NEW DAWN NEWSLETTER 
                                       ECO-GARDENS FOR A HEALTHY PLANET


    Author

    Ed Bernhardt, N.D. works with tropical medicinal plants & gardens in Costa Rica. He is the author of 
    The Costa Rican Organic Home Gardening Guide, Medicinal Plants of Costa Rica 
    and 
    Natural Health Care Therapies for Tropical Living.

    Archives

    August 2014
    June 2014
    May 2014
    April 2014
    February 2014
    January 2014
    November 2013
    October 2013
    September 2013
    August 2013
    June 2013
    May 2013
    September 2012
    August 2012
    July 2012
    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012
    March 2012

    Categories

    All
    All
    New Dawn Newsletter

    Medicinal Plants of Costa Rica by Ed Bernhardt
    Medicinal Plants of Costa Rica 
    A truly useful guide to tropical medicinal plants. Learn how you can use over 100 tropical plants for your health - naturally. Over 140 pages with color photos. Extraordinary new plant friends await you.  

    $15 (or the equivalent in colones) mailing included 

    Picture
    OUR NEW EDITION   The Costa Rican Organic Home Gardening Guide 
    Includes a bonus reference CD with a color photo album of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs  and an extensive library on organic  home gardening plus the latest  research on ecological small scale food production with details on 150 fruits, vegetables and herbs. 
      Learn how to:
    design a natural tropical home garden
    make  organic fertilizers
    Prepare bio-dynamic garden beds
    Care for plants and trees naturally
    Control insects with natural methods
    Grow medicinal plants for your health
    Save money growing food at home
    Harvest yearly dividends of healthy
    fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs.

    Ecological gardening is one of the most important issues of our century.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Ecological Health Gardens!

    $25 (or the equivalent in colones) mailing included
    Picture
    Natural Health Care Guide for Tropical Living 
    A truly useful guide to holistic natural health care. Learn how to care for your health - naturally - with herbs, diet, massage and hydrotherapy, yoga and mind-spirit work. Over 165 pages with illustrations by the author.

    $25 (or the equivalent in colones) mailing included
    Picture
    Huertas Naturales Para Costa Rica 
    the Spanish translation of The Costa Rican Organic Home Gardening Guide.

    An ideal gift for your Tico friends.

    $20 (or the equivalent in colones) mailing included