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Teaching Kids About Microbiology within the Soil and Body is Easy to do with
Effective Microorganisms
®

Microbiology is crucial to life in both our environment and our bodies and there is no reason to wait until high school or college biology class to learn about the important microorganisms essential to life. You can easily get your kids involved with Effective Microorganisms® and teach them the benefits of beneficial microorganisms in the soil and environment and show them how healthy they feel adding probiotics to their diets. 
 

Effective Microorganisms® and Their Importance in the Environment

Fun Projects to get Your Kids Involved with Microorganisms

 

Gardening has long been known to be beneficial for mental and physical health, for kids and adults alike. Besides the healthy benefits of being outdoors and in nature, gardening can help kids learn a variety of topics such as;
(1) Responsibility: seeding, watering, weeding, harvesting
(2) Achievement or Failure: experiencing a successful harvest and healthy plants or seeing how lack of water or weeds can destroy the garden.
(3) Flora and Fauna: learn the biodiversity of the soil and garden. Insects, worms, flowers, and foliage provide great lessons in biology.
(4) Problem Solving: gardens come with lots of problems. Insect issues, nutritional deficiencies, too little or too much water and disease. 
(5) STEM Skills: what better way to learn biology, microbiology, math, and how to research and experiment. Kids that garden show higher achievement in STEM subjects in the class room. 
(6) Physical: gardening can be physically demanding depending on what needs done and teaches the benefits of physical labor. 
(7) Healthy Choices: teaching kids how to grow food can help them become healthier in their eating habits as well since they grew the food themselves.

Getting kids of any age involved in gardening is easy and can take little to no room in your yard. If you don't already have a garden area, prep a large or small area or even a few garden pots.

1.      Make sure the area receives plenty of sun (at least 6 hours a day) and is free from weeds and debris. A high-quality soil is key to a successful garden with high producing plants. A good mix with compost will ensure your soil is full of beneficial microorganisms, has good water retention, and effectively cycles nutrients for plant growth. Compost can easily be made from yard debris such as leaves, grass and clippings or with kitchen food scraps using the EM-1® Bokashi system (click here to learn how to make your own compost).

2.      Once you have a high-quality soil and compost in your garden area or pots, have your kids pick out seeds or seedlings of their favorite veggies or herbs or try something new and unique they may have disliked before growing it themselves. Keep in mind the amount of room each plant requires. Plants such as herbs can be grown tightly together with great success and can also be added between plants for symbiotic relationships (for example, many citrus scented herbs keep pests away from other plants growing nearby). However, plants such as tomatoes, squash, and melons require a lot more space to spread out. To save room, following concepts like the "Three Sisters" can save room and maximize smaller areas. The most common "Three Sisters" concept is corn, squash, and beans. The corn grows tall providing shade and protection from weeds growing while also providing stocks for the beans to grow. Since the corn and beans grow upwards, this leaves the squash to take over the ground.

3.      If planting seeds, treat the seeds with a solution of EM-1® and water according to the chart below before planting. If planting seedlings, dip the roots in the same solution or water immediately after planting at a rate of 1 oz per gallon water.

4.      Continue to apply EM-1® (on leaves and soil) on a weekly basis at a rate of 1 oz per gallon of water. Applying in the early evening or before rain is best to maximize the life of the beneficial microorganisms.

 

SCIENCE PROJECT
Soil Drainage and Water Retention Experiment

A healthy soil is key to insuring proper drainage and water retention. Without proper drainage, soils become too saturated leading to fungal and disease problems as well as little to no aeration for roots or microbial life. Soils with little water retention can become dry and compacted, equally leading to no aeration and ultimately causing poor drainage and standing water. Whether you have soil that is too saturated or too dry and compacted, plants will not grow well and life within the soil cannot thrive. A fun and easy experiment can show how different soils handle water.
 

Supplies Needed:

·        3 to 4+ two-liter soda bottles.

·        3 to 4+ different soils, both from areas with poor soil and areas that seem to have abundant plant growth. Get enough to fill the top part of the soda bottle (1.5 to 2 cups). Here are some ideas on soil to collect;

o   Your own garden soils

o   Soil from a local flourishing agriculture field (with or without crops growing)

o   Soil from a seemingly non-touched area such as in the mountains, forests or in nature

o   Soil from a local park (both high traffic and landscape areas)

o   Sandy soil from a beach

o   Soil from a non-paved parking lot

o   Soil near the side of a sidewalk or high traffic walking area

o   Soil from an area that only seems to grow weeds

 

Instructions:

·        Rinse bottles out and take labels off. Cut the soda bottle and place cut top as shown in the pictures below.

·        Put each soil into the top of the soda bottle, trying your best not to push on or compact the soil too much. You want the soil to be as close to what it naturally was when collected. You can keep the lid on until you’re ready for the experiment to reduce soil lose.

·        Label each bottle with the location the soil was collected from and a short description on the area (i.e. compacted, cotton field, parking lot, forest, etc.)  

·        Take the lid off the bottle if used, and then slowly poor water into each (enough to fill to the rim). It is best to do this one by one as some will quickly drain before you've even finished filling the others.

·        Have your kids take note on how each is draining and decide which soils are healthy and unhealthy.

 

What should you be seeing?

The soils collected will do 1 of 4 things; (1) drain very quickly, barely sitting in the soil. (2) drain moderately, soil becomes fully saturated but water doesn’t puddle on top for long. (3) drain very slowly, water sits on the top for a while and may just barely drip out the bottom. (4) no drainage at all, water puddles on top and doesn’t get through at all.

(1) Very sandy soil has little to no water retention and will quickly drain water within seconds. This doesn't allow the soil to become properly saturated and also leads to nutrients being too quickly leached.

(2) Healthy soils with proper soil structure and aeration will moderately drain. The water has time to fully saturated the soil without leaving standing water on top. Any nutrients applied with the water are properly moved through the soil and given time to cycle through the system before leaching.

(3) High traffic soils can become compacted, leaving no space for water and air. This leads to water sitting on top, attracting pests and disease. Soil is clumpy or hard, and if it has a high clay content can cause large cracks. Water may take hours or days to fully drain.

(4) Also, in high traffic and compacted areas.

Effective Microorganisms® and Their Importance in Our Body

 

Microorganisms make up a large part of the human body. Although some of the microbial life are viruses and fungi, bacterial cells are the largest group with anywhere between 30 and 50 trillion in each individual. With so many bacterial cells in your body, it’s no wonder that our microbial biome plays a huge role in our health. An important group of microbes are found in the cecum, an area in the large intestine, therefore greatly affecting gut health. Having a healthy biome (microbial life) within your body is important for detoxifying the digestive system and helping supply bio-available nutrients to the body while supporting the growth of other beneficial microbes in the digestive system.

To aid in increasing the amount of good bacteria vs bad in our digestive system, many take probiotics. Probiotics are living bacteria that provide health benefits to humans, animals, and other living organisms. They specifically target the intestinal tract and intestinal microbiota. The most common group found in probiotics is Lactobacillus (Lactic Acid Bacteria). Probiotics work by competing with pathogens for receptors on the gastrointestinal (GI) surface. Lactobacillus naturally synthesizes vitamins, enzymes and other antioxidant compounds produced by bacteria already present in the digestive system. Probiotics are equally beneficial for kids and have been shown to decrease gut issues (constipation, bloating, diarrhea, gas), improve dental health and even improve skin health.

Pro EM-1
® is naturally fermented, NON-GMO and made from Dr. Higa's EM Technology formulations, which have been at the forefront of the beneficial bacteria industry since 1982. Pro EM-1® contains the following beneficial microorganisms; Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus fermentus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Saccharomyces cervisiae, and Rhodopseudomonas palustris. 

Probiotic Recipes Kids Will Enjoy
 
Pineapple Ferment: pineapple itself is full of good enzymes and sugar, making it very easy to ferment. 
Ingredients: 
1/2 Cup Pro EM-1®

10 drops Liquid Stevia
1 Cup Pineapple Juice Concentrate
1 Gallon of warm water
Mix all the ingredients together and put in an airlock* container to ferment. A film on the surface of the liquid and/or bubbling is expected. Start enjoying in as little as 3 days. Consume within 10 days.
*Definitely use an airlock for this recipe as pineapple has a high sugar content and lots of enzymes that cause active fermentation. 

Fermented Lemon-Limeaide: refreshing, sugar-free drink with a probiotic benefit.
Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Pro EM-1®
1 tsp Liquid Stevia
1/2 Cup Lemonade or Limeaid Concentrate
1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup

1 Gallon Warm Water
MIx all ingredients and pour into airlock container to ferment. 
A film on the surface of the liquid and/or bubbling is expected. Start enjoying in as little as 3 days. Consume within 10 days.


Fresh French Bread: modified from The Prairie Homestead
website: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/04/easy-homemade-french-bread.html
Ingredient:
1 1/4 Cup warm water (80-90 degrees)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Sea Salt (for extra probiotic boost use EM-X Gold Sea Salt)
3 to 3 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp Pro EM-1®
Place yeast, Pro EM-1® and sugar into a large bowl. Stir in warm water until everything dissolves. Add salt and stir in as much flour as you can to create a soft, pliable dough that isn't too sticky. Knead on a lightly floured surface 6 to 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Return dough to bowl and cover with a towl for 30 minutes, or until double in size. Divide the dough in half. Roll out into a rectangle shape of 10" by 8", Roll up rectangle starting with the long side. Pinch ends to seal and shape into a "log". Place on a greased pizza stone or baking sheet and allow to rise another 30 minutes. Top loaves with egg wash and make 4 diagonal slashes across the top. Cook at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

 
MAY 2019 RETAILER SPOTLIGHT
Visit Our Retailer That Specializes in Organic Farming and Gardening Supplies

Seven Springs Organic Farming and Gardening Supplies serves farmers and gardeners nationwide. The catalog business also has a network of over a dozen dealers in more than 5 states. Floyd County has grown right along with it, sprouting more organic farms, CSA’s, and several organizations dedicated to improving the local food economy, sustainability and quality of life.

Seven Springs Farm OFGS
426 Jerry Lane
Check, VA 24073
540-651-3228 | 800-540-9181
7springs@swva.net
www.7springsfarm.com


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