local food blog

Posts tagged “green

5 Ways to Collect Water for Your Garden – Planet Green

 

I am always looking for creative ways to water my garden with out wasting valuable drinking water, this article has some great tips!

article from http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/5-ways-to-collect-water-for-your-garden.html

how to conserve water in the garden

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:

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.


Mother Nature’s Best Fertilizers and Bug Repellents

Article by Debra Frick @ http://www.thriftyfun.com 

Natural Fertilizers

I am going to start with some easy fertilizers that you might not have thought of.

Coffee Fertilizer

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

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.

Banana Peels

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

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

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 Salt

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:

Ants

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

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

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.

Vinegar Fungicide

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.

 


15 Homemade Organic Gardening Sprays and Concoctions That Actually Work – Planet Green

My garden is being ravaged by caterpillars, when I am not sure on what to do, where do I turn but Google?! This is a great article I came across, that I thought I would share with you!

garden remedies

article by: Colleen Vanderlinden

Back when I started my first garden, a certain celebrity gardener and his books of gardening concoctions were all the rage. You could tell when it was fundraising time on our local PBS station because they’d have him live in the studio, telling us that all we had to do was use items such as baby shampoo, instant tea, and whiskey, and we’d be able to grow our best garden ever. Those claims seemed pretty far-fetched to me back then, and now that I know a little more, I know that several of those concoctions were either just plain bad ideas or that one item in his recipe was the one that was actually doing the work while the rest were either unnecessary or possibly harmful to plants, insects and other soil-dwelling organisms. So please know that my b.s. radar is at high alert when I see anything about homemade gardening sprays and the like. With that in mind, here are 15 homemade, organic solutions for garden problems. I use them, and they work. And not one of them requires you to pour whiskey on your plants.

Pest Control

1. Tomato Leaf Spray is effective in killing aphids and mites. It works because the alkaloids in the tomato leaves (and the leaves of all nightshades, actually) are fatal to many insects.

2. Garlic Oil Spray is a great, safe insect repellent. Simply put three to four cloves of minced garlic into two teaspoons of mineral oil. Let the mixture sit overnight, and then strain the garlic out of the oil. Add the oil to one pint of water, and add a teaspoon of biodegradable dish soap. Store in a bottle or jar, and dilute the mixture when you use it by adding two tablespoons of your garlic oil mixture to one pint of water.

This mixture works because the compounds in garlic (namely, diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide) are irritating or deadly to many insects. The oil and soap help the mixture stick to plant leaves. What insects does garlic oil repel? Whiteflies, aphids, and most beetles will avoid plants sprayed with garlic oil. A word of caution: don’t apply this spray on a sunny day, because the oils can cause foliage to burn.

3. Hot Pepper Spray is a great solution if you have problems with mites. Simply mix two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce, a few drops of biodegradable dish soap, and one quart of water and let it sit overnight. Use a spray bottle to apply the spray to infested plants.

Hot pepper spray works because the compound capsaicin, which causes the "heat" in hot peppers, is just as irritating to insects as it is to us (have you ever sliced a hot pepper and gotten any of it in an open cut? Ouch!) This mixture also helps repel whiteflies, but it may have to be reapplied if you start to see the mites or whiteflies returning.

4. Simple Soap Spray is useful in taking out a wide variety of garden pests, including aphids, scale, mites, and thrips. Just add one tablespoon of dishwashing soap to a gallon of water and spray the mixture on the pests.

Why does this work? The soap dissolves the outer coating or shell of the insects, eventually killing them.

5. Beer for the Slugs: sink a tuna can or pie plate into the ground, and add a couple of inches of beer, to about an inch below the top of the container. The slugs will go in for a drink and drown.

Beer works because the slugs are attracted to the yeast. It’s really important to sink the container into the soil and keep the beer about an inch lower than the soil. This way, the slugs have to go down after the beer, and they drown. If the beer is near the soil, the slugs can just have a drink and then go and munch some hostas when they’re done with happy hour.

6. Citrus Rinds as Slug Traps. This works. If you don’t have beer in the house, but you do have oranges, grapefruits, or lemons, give this a try.

7. Newspaper Earwig Traps work well for reducing the population of these sometimes-pesky insects.

8. Soda Bottle Yellowjacket Traps work by attracting the yellowjackets away from seating or picnic areas, and then ensuring that they can’t escape the trap.

9. Red Pepper Spray works well for making your plants less tasty to mammal and bird pests. If bunnies, deer, mice, squirrels, and birds are regularly messing with your garden, make the following mixture and spray target plants weekly. Mix four tablespoons of Tabasco sauce, one quart of water, and one teaspoon of dish soap. The capsaicin in the pepper spray will irritate the animal pests, and they’ll look for less spicy fare elsewhere.

Fungal Disease Solutions

10. Milk for Powdery Mildew. The milk works just as well as toxic fungicides at preventing the growth of powdery mildew. This mixture will need to be reapplied regularly, but it works wonderfully.

11. Baking Soda Spray for Powdery Mildew is a tried-and-true method for preventing powdery mildew. It needs to be applied weekly, but if you have a problem with mildew in your garden, it will be well worth the time. Simply combine one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of vegetable oil, one tablespoon of dish soap and one gallon of water and spray it on the foliage of susceptible plants.

Baking soda spray works because the baking soda disrupts fungal spores, preventing them from germinating. The oil and soap help the mixture stick to plant leaves.

Weeds

12. Vinegar works very well for weeds in your lawn and garden. The main issue with vinegar is that it can harm other plants. I recommend using a foam paintbrush to brush the vinegar directly onto the leaves of weeds you’re trying to kill. This prevents the vinegar from getting onto other plants and ensures that the entire leaf surface is coated with the vinegar.

13. Boiling Water for Sidewalk Weeds: Boil some water, and pour it over weeds in the cracks of your sidewalks or driveways. Most weeds can’t stand up to this treatment, and your problem is solved. Just be careful when pouring!

14. Vinegar and Salt for Sidewalk Weeds: I personally prefer pouring boiling water on sidewalk weeds, or pulling them. But if you have some really stubborn weeds, you can try diluting a few teaspoons of water into some white vinegar and pouring that onto your sidewalk weeds. Please note that this concoction will kill just about any plant it comes in contact with, so keep it away from your other plants, as well as your lawn.

And the Best Homemade Garden Concoction of All

15. Compost! Seriously, whether you’re an apartment dweller with a fire escape farm or a rural farmer, you need to be making and using the stuff. It adds nutrients, improves soil structure, increases moisture retention, and increases the number of beneficial microbes in your soil. And that’s all besides preventing organic matter from making its way to the landfill.

I hope these ideas for safe, homemade organic garden concoctions are helpful. By having just a handful of inexpensive items on hand, you can take care of most common gardening dilemmas in your own, green way.


method: home care and personal care products : squeaky green dryer cloths http://www.methodhome.com

I bought these cloths sometime in at the start of April, and I have to say I am a little disappointed, especially since I wanted to love them so much. Our clothes still came out with static, and they felt rougher than usual. I was using them with the combination of the new smart clean laundry detergent, which I have never tried before. The idea of more loads, in less packaging, appeals to me, especially when the product claims to do the same job as other detergents with natural ingredients. These products get a 2 star rating, great idea, but just not 100% there yet, more expensive than other options, yet do not deliver what is promised. My search for cleaner, greener laundry continues.

method:

this is the product

nifty, minimal packaging. sheets made from a wood-fibre base. mother nature’s finest cocktail of softening agents, static-reducers and fabric conditioners, all made from natural plant oils like coconut, palm and canola. this is how dryer sheets look when you reimaging them with respect for the earth built in, and the typical nasties (like beef fat and toxic softeners) kept out.
  • plant oil softening emulsion
  • coconut- and palm oil-derived static reducers
  • antioxidant
  • fragrance
  • natural solvent (from corn sugar)
  • non—toxic solvent
  • calcium salt

this is the product

method laundry detergent free + clear

with smartclean technologyTM
50 loads

two words: laundry revolution. that’s what this is. it’s a brand new detergent that’s changing the way people do laundry. this teeny package packs a lot of punch. our patent-pending smartclean technologyTM uses an ultra concentrated plant-based formula that delivers big cleaning power with just a few tiny squirts. a 35% smaller carbon footprint than conventional detergent, this lightweight pump bottle is designed for easy, one-handed use. made from 50% recycled plastic, it’s a lean, mean, stain-fighting machine.

our high-powered formula is readily biodegradable, non—toxic in use and is made using 95% natural and renewable ingredients. thanks to our ultra concentrated formula (it’s 8x!), our bottle uses over 36% less plastic compared to traditional 2x detergents and is made from 50% recycled plastic (PCR, for those in the know). overall, it has a 35% lower carbon footprint than conventional detergents (calculated per load from cradle to gate using planetmetricsTM rapid carbon modeling software). the result? meet the world’s most innovative green laundry detergent. and like other method home cleaning products, it’s recognized by the US EPA’s DfE program for its safer chemistry.

want to go deeper on the ingredients below? click here for the naked truth about method laundry detergent free+clear.

  • plant-based + biodegradable surfactant blend
  • purified water
  • glycerine carbonate
  • phenoxyethanol
  • corn-derived solvents
  • calcium chloride
  • protease + amylase + celluloses’
  • biodegradable brightening agent
  • vegetable glycerin
  • non-toxic solvent
  • biodegradable polyester

Gold River Buzz

I love this site, its a great way for me to keep up with what is happening with my hometown; which I miss incredibly. Luckily I am fortunate enough to still have family there, so visiting is easy for us!  Gold River is in the news quite a bit these days, with the possibility of it becoming the new site of a waste burning plant; taking the garbage from one city and creating jobs in a town that needs something to help revive it. There is some interesting discussions on the Gold River Buzz site, between various townspeople that I have been following about the subject.

  I find myself torn on the subject, I agree that jobs are needed in order for the town to survive, and I love the concept of green energy, and the waste going somewhere other than into land fills. However I am a little worried about the long term effects on the trees and water. What they have proposed sounds like the impact will be a lot less than the pulp mill that was there for years before, and the trees surrounding the site are healthy despite all of that.

My biggest worry is that the company is another big corporation promising changes, and that they have no real interests in what is best for the community. If things don’t work out they are not left having to see the faces of the townspeople who are depending on this so greatly. To many times have these people been let down and I don’t want to see them hurt again. It broke up my family when the pulp mill closed and even though it was over 10 years ago it is still and sore subject.

 

Gold River Buzz


Adventures in composting

It’s the simple things in life that get me really excited, things like our brand new composter!!!!! For the past year we had been living in a suite above a store, with no yard or balcony to host a compost; and with children we didn’t want to have a kitchen composter for them to get into. So here we are in the new house and one of the first things we bought, after a bbq of course, was a composter. Jay had it built in no time, that’s why he handles that sort of stuff, what takes him 15 minutes takes me 2 hours, the neurotic side of me has to read the instructions every time before I begin. We made sure we broke up the earth before we placed it, and as a bonus, the soil had a lot of earth worms in it already!! I love earth worms, they are magnificent little eating machines, natural composters.

   We eat a ton of fruits and veggies, so our garbage going out, between composting and recyling is going to be cut down to just maybe one can a week.  Not to bad for a family of 4, especially since that includes diapers. We tried the cloth diapers, but our son is enourmous, and we couldn’t keep up with the cost of buying new cloth diapers every time he grew out of them, a month of two later. We are planning on switching him back to the cloth ones, in june, to prepare for potty training.