I am always looking for creative ways to water my garden with out wasting valuable drinking water, this article has some great tips!
fireballsedai/Flickr Creative Commons
Conserving water is an important aspect of growing a "green" garden. The fewer resources we have to use, the better. And since water is an important part of most gardens (and also the most egregiously wasted — it drives me crazy to watch people put their sprinklers on and let the water all run down their driveway!) it’s a good idea to try to find alternative ways of watering than solely depending on tap water. Here are five that I’ve used for my own garden.
1. Rain Barrel
This is kind of a no-brainer, but I know that many people don’t have them because ready-made rain barrels can be pretty pricey. Luckily, there are very good instructions online for making your own, inexpensively:
- MAKE: Magazine has instructions for not only making a single barrel, but also for linking two or more together.
- Instructables shows how to make your own rain barrel with standard hardware store parts.
- Here are instructions from the city of Raleigh, NC for how to make a rain barrel from a plastic trash can.
2. Buckets Under Downspouts and Eaves
This is a good option for those who don’t want to go all out with a rain barrel, or who, for one reason or another, can’t have one where they live. If you’re an apartment dweller with a balcony or patio — you can use this tip, too. Simply set five gallon buckets or whichever watering cans you have under your downspouts, at the edges of roof eaves or overhangs, or just out in the open to collect the rain water. You won’t get as much as you would with a rain barrel, but some is better than none, right?
3. Kid-Size Swimming Pool
If you have kids and find yourself filling up a little pool for them to splash around in during hot weather, don’t just let that water flow out onto the lawn when you empty the pool! Use buckets or watering cans to get the water out, and use the water for your garden instead. Even if you don’t have kids, a small kid’s pool is another excellent way to capture rainwater as described in #2, above.
4. Buckets in the Shower
One of the easiest ways to capture water that would otherwise be wasted is to take a shower with a bucket or two. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the buckets fill (even if you do take short showers) and you can use the water for your houseplants or garden.
5. Cooking Water
If you’ve boiled a bunch of vegetables or pasta, don’t just pour that water down the drain when you’re done with it! Let it cool completely, then use it to water plants in your garden. It’s perfectly safe for them, and actually contains a bit of nutrition for your plants, especially if you’ve boiled vegetables.
These are just a few ways to gather otherwise "wasted" water and put it to use in your garden instead.
I found this online and I want one!! I know you will too!
Behold the mowercycle! Is this an awesome DIY design or what? This ingenious bicycle-lawnmower fashioned by an unknown suburban lawn owner out of an old bicycle and a broken lawnmower, is a testament to the creativity of the human spirit. Spotted in dot dream’s flickr stream, we have no idea who the original photographer was, nor do we know anything about the owner/designer of the MOWERCYCLE. All we know is that it is awesome and should be an inspiration to sustainable design fans and DIY tinkerers everywhere.
If any of you readers have any knowledge about this fabulous DIY design – please get in touch and let us know!
I thought this was an adorable idea, but until the the lump stops pulling anything and everything off the shelves not such a great idea for our household! Guess I will just stick with my giant Bucket o’ Yarn for the time being.
photos taken from http://www.prudentbaby.com
Article by Debra Frick @ http://www.thriftyfun.com
I am going to start with some easy fertilizers that you might not have thought of.
Put into an old plastic bottle what is left of your morning coffee. Add to 2 gallons of water and spray it in your garden once a week.Your plants will get magnesium, potassium and nitrogen from the coffee waste. Rose Food can be made from coffee grounds also, you will need to dry the coffee grounds on a cookie sheet on paper towelling or newspaper. Sprinkle the grounds around the base of your acid-loving plants. Azaleas, roses, rhododendrons and blueberries are just some of the plants that will benefit from this treatment. Be careful not to overdo it with the grounds. Even acid-loving plants can get too much acid.
Fish Tank Water
When doing a tank cleaning, save all the water to go into your garden. Used fish tank water is full of nitrogen and other nutrients that plants need to thrive.
Manure Tea or Top Dressing
Do your kids have a bunny or guinea pig? Have them clean the cage into a big bucket and add water. Use this to spray directly on your garden or use with your houseplants. Yes, it is going to stink but as the bedding breaks down, it will become rich with nitrogen and other needed elements for your plants. Rabbit manure is considered a cold manure so it can also be use directly on your garden. The old soiled bedding will act as a mulch. Your plants will benefit from the extra water retention and all the nitrogen in the manure.
Eggshell Top dressing
Save all those egg shells from your big Sunday breakfasts. Wash thoroughly and let dry for a day or two. Grind in your food processor or in your blender to a fine powder. Apply to your plants. Eggs shells are made up almost entirely of calcium carbonate, the main ingredient in agricultural lime.
Fireplace ashes can be used to replace garden fertilizer and lime. They are also high in potassium. Sprinkle your fireplace ash over your garden beds, and work into the soil.
Note: Fireplace ash should not be used if your soil is alkaline, or be used around acid-loving plants.
Do not throw away your banana peels. Use these peels for your rose plants and see them flourish. These are also full of potassium and help roses to grow.
Tea waste is especially useful for orchids. You can use your tea bags and tea waste, in summer and spring, to nourish all the plants in your garden.
Milk, mixed with water in the ratio 1 to 4, will give your plants nitrogen building protein. You can feed your plants with milk once every week. Great way to use that old milk that is starting to spoil.
Epsom salts contains sulphate and magnesium, which are good for plants like potatoes, tomatoes, roses, etc. One tablespoon of Epsom salt should be mixed with a gallon of water. Use Epsom salt once a month for your plants.
Garden Pest Sprays
These are recipes for getting rid of the pests in your garden:
They can be killed safely by pouring boiling hot water down into the nest in the ground. Fire Ants can be nasty and a real hazard to small children and pets. The only way to get rid of an infestation is to kill the queen. Wait until right before the next rainstorm. Sprinkle instant grits on the fire ant hill. The workers will carry the grits to the queen for her to eat. She’ll eat the grits and when it rains, she’ll drink. The grits will expand in her stomach and she’ll "bloat" to death. Once she’s out of the way, the leaderless ants will die off.
Diatomaceous earth kills earwigs, ants and box elder bugs. It can kill beneficial bugs too so be sure to only apply it just to the ground surface where you think insects at their worst.
Fruit flies can be killed with cheap wine left out in a small container.
Easy Insect Spray
Combine 1 Tbsp. of dishwashing detergent and 1 cup cooking oil into a gallon jug or plastic bottle. This is your master mix as this will make more than one batch of insect killer. Add 5 Tbsp. of the detergent and oil mixture into a gallon jug of warm water. Shake the jug to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a garden sprayer and apply to your plants.
Mix 3 Tbsp. of natural apple cider vinegar in one gallon of water. Spray during the cool part of the day for black spot on roses and other fungal diseases. Adding molasses at 1 Tbsp. per gallon will again help.
Bugs Off All Purpose Spray
Take 1 garlic bulb and 1 small onion and chop in a blender. Add one 1 tsp. of powdered cayenne pepper and 1 quart water. Let steep for one hour. Strain through some cheesecloth. Add 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap to help your mixture to stick to the leaves of your plants. Store in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Always be careful when using on plants this mixture can cause leaf burn. Do a check beforehand.
Back off Jack Insect Spray
Puree 1/2 cup of hot peppers (the hotter the better) with 2 cups of water. Strain the liquid through some cheese cloth. Apply for 5 to 7 days or until the pests are gone.
Article that I found interesting
Last week residents of Concord, Massachusetts voted to ban the sale of all bottled water by next January, making it the first U.S. town to take such action.
The effort was lead by Jean Hill, an 82-year old activist, who lobbied neighbours and officials alike on the consequences of plastic bottles filling landfills and polluting local waters. "All these discarded bottles are damaging our planet, causing clumps of garbage in the oceans that hurt fish, and are creating more pollution on our streets,” says Hil. "This is a great achievement to be the first in the country to do this. This is about addressing an injustice.”
Of course, the $10 billion industry is less than thrilled with the news and has even threatened a legal challenge. They argue that singling out bottled water is unfair when "thousands of food, medicinal, beauty and cleaning products packaged in plastic." But this isn’t the first time bottled water has been targeted.
More than 100 towns across the United States already prohibit spending city dollars on the product.
Click to here to see the full info graphic.
"We obviously don’t think highly of the vote in Concord,” said Joe Doss, president of the International Bottled Water Association, a trade association that represents bottlers, suppliers, and distributors. "Any efforts to discourage consumers from drinking water, whether tap water or bottled water, is not in the best interests of consumers. Bottled water is a very healthy, safe, convenient product that consumers use to stay hydrated.”
But bottled water is hardly safe. As the NRDC reports, water stored in plastic bottles for 10 weeks showed signs of phthalate-leaching. Phthalates block testosterone and other hormones! And keep in mind, while phthalates in tap water are regulated, no such regulations exist at all for bottled water. And as the info graphic above points out, bottled water costs 10,000 times more than tap water and 40-percent of it comes straight from the tap.
The Concord ordinance is part of a state-wide effort for a new bottle law. The state’s 29-year-old law only allows consumers to redeem bottles and cans from soda and beer. Bottles from non-carbonated water, iced tea, juices or energy drinks–which account for one-third of all beverages sold in Massachusetts–are not redeemable. The new law would raise the redemption fee to 10 cents and cover a larger variety of beverage bottles.
I love this idea!
Cavendish Farms, a Canadian potato product producer has finished construction of its anaerobic digestion facility in Prince Edward Island that will generate biogas from potato waste. The ‘potato-gas’ project is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
Cavendish has used anaerobic sludge from the treatment of its wastewater as a soil conditioner for more than ten years, but in 2004 began evaluating the possibility of using converted biogas from the anaerobic digester to power the boilers for two on-site processing plants. Two years later, construction began on the addition.
The company expects the biogas generated from 360 tons of feedstock per day from potato plant residues, starch, frying oil and aerobic sludge from the wastewater treatment process to reduce its fossil fuel needs by 2.6 million gallons per year and eliminate the need for trucking the potato waste from the processing plant, cutting the need for 900 miles of trucking per day.
Source: Biomass Magazine
This is an article I found at http://greenopolis.com; makes me sad that even with so much knowledge about recycling, preventable things like this keep on happening.
Increased recycling efforts are needed to help curb ocean garbage.
A newly discovered ocean gyre exists in the Atlantic, according to a National Geographic report.
The Atlantic Garbage Patch sits several hundred miles off North America and covers a patch roughly equivalent to the distance between Cuba and Virginia. That’s more than 1000 miles.
Much of the debris floating within the garbage patch consists of tiny bits of post-consumer plastic and trash, most of it weighting less than a paper clip. Much of this waste could have been recycled instead of ending up in the ocean.
Just as with the Pacific gyre, a Texas-sized floating garbage patch, plastic has circulated in the Atlantic Ocean for decades. The floating garbage pile poses serious health risks to fish, seabirds, and marine mammals that accidentally stray into the bog.
"Many people have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," said Kara Lavender Law, an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association (SEA) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. " But this issue has essentially been ignored in the Atlantic."
Research conducted using floating satellite tags, called drifters, help track currents that carry the trash to the Atlantic and Pacific garbage patches. Important information considering that deep waves often carry the battered plastic as far as 65 feet below the surface – and out as far as the Hawaiian Islands – before eventually returning to the gyre.
The Atlantic gyre is currently made up of about 500,000 plastic and trash bits per square mile, but is expected to continue growing. A disturbing fact, considering the 1.9 million bits per square mile contained within the Pacific gyre.
The best way to help prevent these gyres from growing is to faithfully recycle plastics. But first our attitude toward plastic must change. If we understand that plastic is a reusable resource, rather than garbage, we can begin to lessen our impact on the oceans and the planet as a whole.