Author Archive | Jennie

A Beginner’s Guide to a Lush Eco-Friendly Home Garden

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.

Each spring, many environmentalists and lovers of nature find themselves in their backyard, knees covered in dirt, starting their own home garden. However, a few shovels of dirt in, they realize they have no idea what they’re doing.

Sound like you? That’s okay! You’re not alone!

If you’ve ever owned a plant, you’ve learned that they require time and love in order to thrive, in fact, there’s quite the science behind it. As one might expect, gardening also requires dedication — oh, and the proper amount of sunlight and water (not too much and not too little), the perfect soil mix in a pot that’s just the right size, and so much more.

You get the drift — raising a lush home garden isn’t as simple as it seems, which is why gardeners often run towards expensive watering mechanisms, toxic chemicals and pesticides, and so on. But, fear not! If you’re a beginner home gardener looking for some eco-friendly home gardening techniques, we’ve got you covered!

Creating an eco-friendly garden can be made easier with these simple tips and will lighten your carbon footprint, leave you healthier than ever before, and create a special haven out of your backyard space. 

Let’s get growing!

1. Location is Everything

The first step to growing a beautiful home garden is picking the right spot in your outdoor space. It could be a plot in your yard or a wall on your balcony — as long as it gets the right amount of sunlight, you’re good to go. Different plants require different amounts of sunlight, so as you’re picking your location consider what kinds of plants you want to grow. This tip seems simple, but it’s very important and will keep you from wasting time, energy, and water on a garden that was doomed to fail from the start. 

2. Get Organic Seeds

Many home gardeners forget this important step as they are planning out their gardens, which can result in produce that’s just as bad for you and the environment as that bought at the supermarket. In order to ensure your garden is helping your carbon footprint, instead of hurting it, opt for growing non-GMO seeds and using only organic soil in your garden.

3. Companion Planting

In order to avoid the need for nasty pesticides and insect repellents, plant similar and complementary species of plants next to one another. Known as ‘companion planting,’ this method includes the use of other plants to deter hungry insects and harmful diseases. Companion planting guides can be easily found online!

4. Get Creating with Your Trash

You know the old saying — “One man’s trash is another man’s planter!” Okay, that may not be exactly right, but reusing your old plastic bottles and containers is a fun way of creating an eco-friendly garden! Convert your trash into planters, make little seedling covers from the base of plastic bottles, or poke small holes in containers to create a makeshift sprinkler system or Plumber Queanbeyan to help you!

5. Start Composting

Stop throwing away your organic food waste and start using it to create healthy, organic soil for your garden! Not only will you be reducing waste, but you’ll also be saving money and reducing your plastic use by not having to buy fertilizer. Start by buying a small container from a thrift store to keep around your kitchen. Everytime you cook, throw your organic, compostable scraps in the bin until you have enough to sow into your larger compost pit or bin.

6. Save on Watering

Having a lush and healthy home garden can cost you (and the environment) when it comes to water use. There are some simple ways to conserve water and keep your garden as eco-friendly as possible. This one’s simple — if possible, choose plants that will require less water. Next, avoid spending money on complicated and expensive watering systems — not only are you at risk for overwatering and damaging your garden, but there are several innovative (and cheaper) watering systems to adopt instead. One option is installing rain water barrels that will collect rain water to use later in your garden. You can also reuse water that is collected from showers and sinks (as long as you aren’t using harmful shampoos and soaps). These simple watering hacks will help you save money and the environment! 

It may seem like a lot of work, but the benefits of creating a truly eco-friendly home garden will quickly outweigh the time and effort! So stop reading and start planting

Holiday Traveling? Can a Long Distance Trip be Eco-Friendly?

Eco-Friendly-FlightsNOTE: This post was written for me – thank you for supporting the companies that help keep Sweet Greens in business.

Like most families, the annual vacation is something we all look forward to – my family is super excited for our fall family trip later this month! With the holidays right around the corner, we will be traveling again to spend time with friends and family – like many of you! While most of our travels are done by car, your long distance trip may require you to fly to your vacation destination. Naturally, you may be concerned about flying and whether you will be undoing a year’s worth of good eco-friendly living with this one trip, while flying isn’t always the most eco-friendly option – it is something a necessity, so we have outlined 3 tips to help make your next flight to your vacation destination more eco-friendly.

1. Flying the Eco-Friendly Skies
Lowering emissions on a jumbo jet is no easy task, but the major airlines are trying to find new ways to lower emissions and make the skies a lot friendlier. First of all, airlines are exploring the use of biodiesel fuels as an alternative way of fueling flights. While there have been several successful flights with 100% biodiesel on board, bio diesel has a major drawback in that it freezes, thickening up like gravy. All is not lost, though; blending biodiesel with jet fuel generates a more environmentally-friendly fuel that won’t freeze up at 40,000 feet. While the fueling debate and experimentation continues, airlines are taking other steps to assist environmentally-savvy travelers, helping them to travel with peace of mind. Many airlines are using environmentally-conscious materials, both inside the plane and in the structure itself, to increase efficiency and decrease excess carbon output. Airlines are also adjusting flight patterns, improving the quality of landing procedures, and making it easier for planes to fly higher and faster. Hopefully as more time passes, flying the eco-friendly skies will become easier to do.

2. Off-Set Your Carbon Vacation Footprint
Even with all the advances that airlines are making, you have to acknowledge that, no matter where you go,  you will be in an aircraft producing greenhouse gases. Nearly ten percent of the greenhouse gases on earth are produced by aircraft. For the environmentally-conscious, this is a real problem; the solution for many is carbon off-setting. Carbon off-setting allows you to make up for the polluting emissions that your flight will be causing by having trees planted to restore balance in the environment. Many airlines, including American Airlines, are partnering with carbon off-setting companies to offer passengers a way to restore balance to the environment and still enjoy the vacation. Once you have your flight information, you can enter it into one of a number of websites that calculates flight mileage and total carbon emissions. Then, simply pay the desired amount to off-set the effects of your vacation footprint.

3. Look for Alternatives
Planning a family vacation that required you to fly to your destination means considering the effects that your trip would have on the environment. I recommend looking at alternatives to flying but, when a flight can’t be avoided, to do the research and try to make your trip as green as possible. After selecting your flight plan carefully, look for an airline that demonstrates a concern for the environment and a desire to improve their carbon footprint by increasing fuel efficiency and offering eco-friendly features such as carbon off-setting.

It is possible to travel the world and keep on saving the world in the process. All it takes is some savvy research and careful planning.

How to Upcycle Wine Corks into Place Card Holders for Your Thanksgiving Table

Every Thanksgiving, I encourage Eben to spend some time crafting something special for the Thanksgiving table. He has made apple printed napkins, pine cone turkey centerpieces and floral arrangements. This year we really wanted to utilize the corks we have saved over the past year – so we started brainstorming fun crafts. We decided to use the corks along with a handful of other supplies from the recycling bin and craft closet to make turkey inspired place cards.

This project is super simple and will keep your child busy Thanksgiving morning while you are cooking, baking, cleaning and getting ready for the big day. At the end of the project your child will have these fun colorful place cards to offer as their part of the Thanksgiving table decor. Then, as your guests leave after the feast, they can take their turkeys home with them as a memento of a cherished day together. Jump over to Inhabitots for the simple instructions on how to make these upcycled wine cork turkey inspired place card holders for the Thanksgiving table.

Green Your Thanksgiving: Our Organic Menu for the Big Day

The mister has finally decided on the menu for this years organic and Earth friendly Thanksgiving dinner. He has planned a meal that leaves me drooling, just reading it. He is a lovely cook and I can not wait to have my entire family with us for a nice Thanksgiving vacation.The mister is preparing the entire meal from scratch and he only uses the finest organic, natural, local and Earth friendly ingredients. Here is the menu, I will be sharing some of the recipe with you soon. If there is something that you want to recipe for immediately, leave me a comment or send me an email.

The Menu:

* Organic Homemade French Onion Soup.

* Organic Homemade Rolls.
* Organic mixed salad with delicious yellow apple, Bermuda onion, sliced almond and a honey mustard vinaigrette. {This is a fave among the little ones}

Main Course:
* A free range organic Turkey roasted with organic oranges and fresh herbs.

* Orange and herb gravy.
* Organic mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives.
* A sweet Italian sausage stuffing with sage.
* Organic broccoli Le Gruyere Gratin.
* Organic apply and cranberry relish.
* Organic pumpkin cheesecake
* Organic Creme de Banana pie
* Homemade Organic French Vanilla Ice cream.
I can not wait, I love Thanksgiving and think this year will be exceptional.
What are you having for Thanksgiving dinner?

Make Your Move More Earth-Friendly

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.

There are a number of ways to reduce your carbon footprint on the planet. One way is to have a green home. You can even make your move easier on the environment as well by hiring a moving company. If you are making a long distance move hiring a moving company, such as North American Van Lines, it is much more cost efficient and is also easier on the environment since you will be moving all of your belongings at once rather than having to make multiple trips in a personal vehicle. That saves a substantial amount of gas and will also make your move go much more quickly.

What a Green Home Has to Offer

In order for your home to be considered a “green” home there are a number of things that you need it to have. Your appliances should be Energy Star compliant. Energy Star appliances use much less energy than appliances that do not have the sticker on them. Your home should also be built with materials that have been locally sourced, renewable, or non-toxic. You could even use materials that have been repurposed such as old barn wood. You may also choose to have your home situated in a certain way so that you can make the most out of what mother nature has to offer. For example, if your home faces the south, you can get the full benefits of solar heat that the sun gives off, and you will not have to turn on your lights and heat on as often. This is a more green way to live and will also save you money on your utilities.

Enjoy the Benefits of Green Features

The sun also has therapeutic benefits, so you will be able to enjoy a better mood and happier outlook on life. You can also cut down on your water usage by utilizing a rainwater recapture system or by using more efficient plumbing fixtures. Even if you implement a few green features into your home, you will gain the benefits that a green home has to offer. You can gradually add more green features of your home but a great place to stay is with your appliances since you use them often and you can save a lot of energy consumption in that area quite easily.

Ways to Make Your Home More “Green”

Other ways to consume less energy are to get an on-demand water heater and to install triple-paned windows. You should also replace your regular bulbs with LED lights. Be sure also to unplug anything that you are not using such as your printer, computer, and television as they can still drain power when they are not in use.

Take a Load Off and Hire a Moving Company

Hiring a moving company for your move will make moving less stressful, and you will not have to worry about moving those large items on your own. You can also focus on other things while your movers take care of the heavy lifting. Moving a few items on your own is no big deal, but when you are moving far away from your old home, and you are moving an entire household, it is just simply too much to do on your own. Not only will it take much longer but you are more likely to injure yourself and to break things as you hurry and try to get everything done on your own.

It is just not worth the headache. Plus, hiring a moving company can save you money as you will not have to take as much time off of work to get moved. You also won’t have to get all of your moving supplies or make multiple trips with your vehicle to get the move completed.

It can also be helpful to stay organized so that you spend less time hunting around for things once you get to your new place. You can do this by properly planning boxes to their corresponding rooms. So, if things belong in the kitchen, you should label it as such. Try to pack similar items together as well so that you can put things away more quickly since you unpack. A little planning will save time and your sanity.