Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘organic products’

Here again is a small update on my veggie-herb garden to-be!  I went wild this week and procured the bags of dirt my dull yard soil desperately needed.  However, the joke’s on the yard, it won’t get this soil until AFTER the growing season!  I am taking an idea from Mother Earth News about getting started in vegetable gardening without dealing with the shortcomings of my current soil.  I have my seed potatoes soaking up some rays and getting their eyes ready in their handy egg carton tray.  I have two varieties; bintje, which is a golden yellow medium size tuber (seems like a Yukon Gold lite), and a French Fingerling which is a medium to large tuber with a distinctive rose-colored skin.  The only problem is that in some belated additional research I discovered that these are both mid-season varieties.  So much for a lengthy harvest!  Oh well, a lesson learned for next year 🙂

Eye on a French fingerling

 

 

In addition to potatoes seeds for a beautiful red poppy called “American Legion” went into the ground around my tulips and hyacinths.  I learned my lesson last summer when my fall bulbs had bloomed and finally dried up leaving me with a bed of depressing yellow husks and nothing to coming up to replace them.  If all goes well as the bulbs die out my hardy summer blooming perennials and new annual flowers will gently take over the show.

 

My final little announcement concerns my “herb garden.”  I have this in quotes because quiet frankly none of this is from seed out of fear that I would not be able to get anything started!  In the Northwest many of the popular culinary herbs can be tricky to get started because of their desire for such warm weather.  Instead I bought some nice starter plants; thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano.  There seemed to be a million different varieties of each but I gravitated towards ones that were deemed hardier and had more pronounced flavors to cook with.

The start of my "herb garden"

 

I chose a metal beverage bucket to house the herbs so they could be more easily moved around, very few places around my house get continual sunlight and I wanted the herbs to get the most they could.  Ultimately I want to always keep a strong and varied herb garden so that I can begin making my own supplies of essential oils and dried herbs.  It is amazing to see how even the smallest projects can create big opportunities for satisfying many daily needs.   It can be a great example of self-sufficiency, even on a small-scale.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

So, before I begin another post about the wonders of cleaning green, I wanted to touch on the use of the word “green” itself and how it gets used in less than satisfactory ways by companies to convince you to buy their product.  When I peruse the store aisles for green labeled products it is very inviting to simply pick up the first bottle or box with a tree or swath of greenery and flowers on it.  Upon closer inspection, many of these items stop being “green” once the packaging is stripped away.  From simple trial and error this is what I have discovered about the differences between “real” and “fake” green products:  its all on the label.  Turn over that bottle or box and look for an ingredient list.  If there isn’t one, its safe to say that you would not be happy with what is in it.  If you turn it over and do find a list, read it.  Sure, there are going to be ingredients that you don’t have a Wikipedia-sized knowledge of but what would you rather clean with?

Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Olive Oil, Tea Tree Extract, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

OR

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, Sodium Chloride, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Sulfate, Polyquaternium-7, Citric Acid, Poloxamer 124, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, D&C Red No. 33, FD&C No. 1

The first soap is the tea tree oil variety of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and the second is a common brand of hand soap.  I can’t make any claims against the ingredients in the second hand soap.  I have read a pretty large chunk of text that lists out various toxic compounds and chemicals that are used to produce everyday household materials.  Its a disturbing thought and I vote to use the kind of products whose ingredients are simple and straight forward, to me that is one of the definitions of “green.”

Consider another angle to the concept of a “green” product.  I have been out and about reading articles and blogs that concern this topic.  Something I see a lot of is the idea that what may be directly “green” and beneficial for your home and family-such as a kitchen cleaner that doesn’t require an additional rinsing to make the surface food safe-may continue to contribute to other environmental issues such as non-recyclable packaging or the use of non-renewable resources to produce the product.  It ends up being a lot to think about when turning your life green!  More posts on this in the future, I want to do a little more research on how people handle this balancing act.

Read Full Post »

The topic that led me to a more green, human and environment friendly approach to living, is that of cleaning. It certainly does not sound thrilling, but it can be especially satisfying to realize that you can get the same (and often better!) results by using what are being considered eco-and human-friendly substances. I don’t use the term products, which to me denotes a specific conglomeration of materials,  because a majority of the items I use for cleaning are simple ingredients that often alone or in concert with just one other ingredient can get all the work done.

Here are the top items every house should have on hand for cleaning:

  1. Vinegar
  2. Baking soda/Borax
  3. Vegetable-based liquid soap

Thats it, really.  You can use these in a variety of recipes that create everything from a soft scrub for the bathroom to an all-purpose spray.  A lot of times I find myself just grabbing the baking soda and soap and mushing them together on whatever surface needs some cleaning.  I have recently developed a drain cleaning fetish (do with that what you will!) But I love scrubbing around a drain with some baking soda and a cloth, smooshing the soda down into the drain and throwing a little vinegar down after it-make sure to cap the drain to let the fizz do its work!  Follow this with a boiling water rinse and you will be reminded of the original look of your pipes.  This is only the beginning!! Remember, your entire way of doing things is not going to change overnight.  Sometimes its nice to start with the small things and being green is as much about using responsibly as it is about nixing the chemicals.  Try to use up the cleaning supplies you have left.  Have 3/4 of a bottle?  Research your local household hazardous waste facility or give away to someone who will use them.

Coming soon, more discussion on the Big Three cleaning ingredients and what to do when concocting your own laundry detergent is just not practical!

Read Full Post »