Archive for Green living

Think spring- compost

Well, it actually is kind of hard to think spring when the forecast always has some snow in it, but if you wait until it looks and feels like spring, then it will be too late to harness the entire growing season. Some plants can go into the ground after the last frost, so if you start some seedlings indoors, you will be able to enjoy the baby plants during the final winter weeks and have hardy plants to start off your garden.

Part of what makes a great organic garden, is the type of soil you plant your seeds in. A great way to have fresh dirt, full of nutrients for your plants, is to compost. I know that composting is a scary thought for some, because of the idea of smells. However, a properly done compost pile doesn’t stink. If yours is giving off unpleasant odors, use this trick from The Daily Green. “Add more dry carbon material (leaves, straw, or sawdust) and turn it more frequently” and this should eliminate any smells coming from your compost pile.

During the winter, composting can prove to be problematic if you live in a climate the gets ice and snow often. One solution is to keep your compost in a sealed bin, that has ventilation for creating the proper mixture, but that is shielded mostly from the elements. You can use these bins year-round, so while the inital cost  investment can be high, you will get many seasons out of it.

Another idea comes from Organic Gardening. He describes how he insulated his outdoor compost pile with hay and snow to keep the heat in and used hot water when adding food to the pile. Read his description here.

Finally, you can go to your local co-op and see if they have any soil that you could buy from them. A few specialty green houses do have organic soils in bags for purchase, but think of the satisfaction you could get through making your own. In what ways do you compost? Any tricks to share with those of us just starting on this endeavor?

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Green cleaning

While it is still February outside, I am starting to think about spring cleaning (it is never too early!) With less money in my pocket due to the economy, I have started to look for recipes to make homemade cleaning products. Many sites boost that you have all the cleaning items already in your kitchen pantry, you simply need to employ them for scrubbing rather than cooking. One great site that I found claims you only need 3, that’s right, 3 products to clean everything!

http://beingfrugal.net/2008/01/29/save-money-by-making-homemade-cleaning-products/

One recipe provided on the post that I thought would be useful was the bath tub cleaner. “My favorite bathroom cleaner is a spray bottle filled with 1/2 cup Dawn and as much vinegar as the bottle holds.  It works better than any commercial tub cleaner I’ve ever tried!” I wonder though how strong the smell of vinegar is and how long the scent lasts. Maybe using scented Dawn would help?

Another option I found while looking for homemade cleaners was green/ natural cleaners. Again, the ingredients are readily available in my house already, and the consistent theme I found was the use of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. HGTV offers a list of household items and recipes to create your very own green cleaning products.

http://www.hgtv.ca/green/indoors_cleaningproducts.aspx

A floor wax recipe that I know of consists of mixing equal parts vinegar and mineral oil together and applying with a clean mop. Very simple, but also very green! Do you have any special recipes to share?

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