Ahh, spring is in the air. You know what that means? Volleyball season is just around the corner! I’m not here to talk about volleyball though. It’s time to get those gardens planted! I just got my seeds in the ground last week and am already starting to see little green sprouts. The promise of life is something any home gardener can’t help but be optimistic about.

I can post some pictures on Instagram to update the progress of my garden throughout the season. (

Growing your own food can be a spiritual experience, and in fact should be in my opinion. There is no greater connection to the earth and to our health than growing your own food. When you grow your own food, you literally take your health into your hands. Now, I realize that living in California and having space to garden is a blessing. I am fortunate enough to have access to my grandma’s backyard where I have set up a system of raised beds and an automatic drip system on a timer.

Even if you live somewhere with very little space, if you have sunlight, you can have a garden. Here is an excellent video with this natural gardener who shows you how to plant 50+ plants in 4 square feet.

I’ve read dozens of books on organic gardening, read 5 times that many articles and watched countless videos about growing my own food. I’m not simply all in on supplements. I AM “all in” on eating quality organic food. One of the best ways you can do that is grow your own.

My philosophy is to keep as many foreign and synthetic substances out of my body as I can first and foremost. Filter your air, filter your water and eat as clean as you can. If you eat meat, your best choice is to go with organic, free-range eggs and meats. That helps you avoid hormones, antibiotics and various chemicals found in meat and dairy foods. For produce, I pretty much feel that organic produce is a must. There are just so many chemicals being used in modern factory farm agriculture now. Even “organic” produce has a list of approved chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

That’s why home gardening is so important to me. It allows me to supplement the organic food I buy at the store with (truly) organic, pesticide-free fruits, veggies and legumes. There are some tricks to the trade to be sure, but some of the methods I have found to be quite effective are starting with good, organic compost. Google search organic compost in your area and go get a few loads with a pick-up truck. Much cheaper than buying a bunch of bags at your local Home Depot or Lowes. I just got some good compost a few weeks ago for $55 per truck load.

I LOVE rock dust. You may be wondering, what is rock dust? Rock dust might be ancient volcanic ash deposits, or could be deposits of crushed rock from glaciers moving over it in the last ice age. Whatever the source, rock dust is one of the best natural fertilizers that you can use. I’ve been adding it to the soil in my garden for years and the flavor on my produce is amazing. Even more amazing is that I have found it to control and/or eliminate most of my pest problems.

Plants are much like human beings in that given the proper nutrition, will naturally be healthier, stronger and able to fight off disease. Rock dust contains many of the trace minerals that are lacking in conventional farming soils. Think of some of the most vibrant horticulture areas on the planet. Hawaii and the Mediterranean are tops on my list. What do these two areas on opposite sides of the planet have in common? Volcanoes.

Worm castings are great too, but I make sure #1 on my budget list every year is rock dust. In the heat of the summer last year, my mom in San Diego was growing the exact same lettuce that I was, and hers got burned and died during an extended heat wave. My rock-dust-fertilized lettuce survived the heat wave just fine! You can read more about soil health at As a beach volleyballer, actually the ocean can be a big part of fertilizing your garden. Check out the book, Sea Energy Agriculture. Interesting read.

So what have I planted so far? I like to plant things that I eat all the time and make up a significant portion of my (regular) food. So far in the ground I have 5 different kinds of lettuce, beets, strawberries, snow peas, 3 different kind of beans, 6 different varieties of cherry, plum and salad tomatoes, 2 varieties of cucumber, okra, corn, oregano and bell peppers.

I hope the few information resources will provide you some inspiration and direction to start growing your own food, or take it to another level. After all, 2015 is the year of taking it to “the next level.”


Russ Marchewka’s commitment to better nutrition has earned him the nickname “Mr. Healthy” on the tour. He has spent the last eight years studying how nutrition affects his volleyball game. For more, visit his website, or connect with him on Facebook,

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