The 4 Best Plants For A Sustainable Garden

All plants are natural, but not all are ideal for a sustainable garden. For environmentally-conscious gardeners, one of the best things you can do for your garden space is to grow sustainable or eco-friendly plants. These plants are mostly well-adapted to local environmental conditions, reducing your need for artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and excessive watering. Using less water and chemicals in your garden creates a healthier soil and ecosystem balance, starting with picking and growing the right plants. Here are some sustainable plants worth adding to your garden.

  1. Carrots and leeks planted together.

Consider planting carrots alongside leaks. Why this unlikely duo? Because leaks help ward off carrot flies, carrots can prevent leek moths – creating a mutually beneficial partnership. But that’s not all; carrots have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other vegetables. They also produce fewer carbon emissions than other types of garden foods or plants and are more sustainable. Cucumber, for example, produces 5 times the carbon emissions of carrots, and salad vegetables need more resources to grow, creating a higher carbon footprint. 

  1. Marigolds

Marigolds do great in any planting display. Aside from their beautifully vibrant appearance, these plants can ward off blackflies, greenflies, and other aphids. They do this by secreting limonene, releasing it to ward off uninvited pests. That means you’ll reduce your reliance on artificial pesticides if you have more marigold plants grown in strategic parts of your garden. These plants are also super effective against the fast-working (ironically) snails and slugs. When left unchecked, snails can quickly multiply in your garden, and before you know it, they’ve punched holes and chips in your plant leaves, harming or even killing them. If you’ve noticed these little pests in your garden and don’t know how to get rid of them, start planting some marigolds. 

  1. Fireweed

Planting fireweed is not only sustainable but also considered excellent for wildlife in general. In areas where it grows, this plant helps a wide range of pollinators while acting as a host plant for different pollinating species like butterflies. So, if you want to improve pollination in your garden, plant a few fireweeds. But their benefits don’t end in the garden. Fireweed is acclaimed for its immense health benefits. Research has shown, for example, that it has potent anti-inflammatory properties with many therapeutic qualities. That means not only will the plant benefit your garden, but you can harvest it for its health benefits for the body. You can learn more about the fireweed health benefits, including how to use it outside the garden.

  1. Herbs

Thyme, rosemary, mint, and basil are versatile herbs that need little garden space to thrive. But one of their greatest benefits to your landscape or garden is their sustainability. Herbs are also natural pest repellants and need little water to grow, making them an ideal choice for water conservation. Outside of the garden, you can use these plants for their flavor and many health benefits.

Smart plant selection is a great way to make your garden more eco-friendly. These sustainable plants will be great additions to any garden space. 

5 Last Minute Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Surprises for Your Family

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Valentine’s Day is almost here! When Eben was younger, I always surprised him with a Valentine’s book scavenger hunt! He’s a full-grown adult now, folks! Even though he just graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree and is applying to Grad School, I still have to surprise him on Valentine’s Day (he’s my only kid!)

If you are like me and need a handful of last-minute, simple Valentine’s Day surprise ideas that are eco-friendly too – read on and relax we still have a few days. Ha!

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#1: Add a Little Organic Love to Lunch
I am a little obsessed with heart shapes in food – especially for Valentine’s Day. For starters, these heart and heart apples are perfect for Valentine’s Day lunchbox – even teenagers will enjoy them!

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#2: DIY Mixed Valentine CD
Whether you are looking for a quick gift for your spouse or your teen –  I adore this DIY mixed Valentine CD from Dandee Designs – so old school. I remember receiving a mixed tape from a boyfriend in junior high – it was full of love songs from Boyz II Men and Tony! Toni! Tone! – how funny is that?

Heart-Attack

#3: Give a Recycled Heart Attack
When Eben was little, I surprised him by plastering his bedroom with recycled cut-out hearts. On each heart, I wrote something about him that I love. You could do something like this on a smaller scale too, such as in a lunch box or school locker. Don’t make it too mushy if you do it at school. You could even mail a box of hearts to someone far away!

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#4: Keep It Simple
I can put a lot of pressure on myself to think of a fun and creative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Eben and the mister. However, I have learned over the years that it doesn’t matter what I plan, the simple act of spending the entire day celebrating my love for them is all they want. Whether it is sweet notes in their lunchboxes, a heart-shaped breakfast, or a “fancy” dinner – it’s the quality time together that really counts.

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#5: Plan a Getaway
Several years ago, I wanted to celebrate with an experience, so the mister and I surprised Eben with a long weekend of winter camping. We picked him up early from school on a Friday and headed to the beach for a few days of camping. If you want to surprise your family with a getaway, think easy – mini-day trips or even visiting somewhere new close to home.

What surprises do you have planned for your family this Valentine’s Day?

How To Have A Sustainable Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the second most popular event for sending greeting cards after Christmas, with approximately one billion cards being sent on the occasion. Plastic materials, glitter finishes, and other embellishments are frequently used on these cards, rendering them unusable for recycling. Giving chocolate as a holiday gift has become commonplace, yet the majority of that chocolate is sourced in an unethical manner. When you factor in all of the other disposable gifts, like balloons, stuffed animals, and decorations, Valentine’s Day may be extremely harmful to the environment. However, this does not have to be the case!

February 14th is a day dedicated to celebrating love, and whether it is love for a romantic partner, a close friend, or a family member, Valentine’s Day is an excellent opportunity to let others know you care about them. There are numerous ways to accomplish this in a sustainable, ethical, and Earth-friendly manner. Here are some suggestions for Valentine’s Day gifts that are environmentally friendly:

Purchase A Long-Lasting Gift

By using your listening and observing abilities to pick something that the recipient genuinely needs, you can purchase a long-lasting gift that they will cherish for years to come. It could be a piece of art, a mug, or a super cute Valentine’s Day sweatshirt.

Fair Trade Chocolate

Chocolate typically comes at a high social and environmental cost that is considerably beyond its actual cost. It is the chocolate industry that is primarily responsible for widespread economic inequality, child labor, forced labor, and deforestation in the developing world. In order to purchase chocolate that has been ethically sourced, look for the Fair Trade label

Buy Ethical Jewelry

It is vital to purchase jewelry from a company that can trace its mining procedures for precious stones and metals in order to verify that the materials are sourced ethically and responsibly.   Consider purchasing from a company that assures that the stones used in their products were cut by personnel who were properly outfitted for the job with protective equipment. In addition, jewelry making frequently employs harmful ingredients and generates toxic waste.  it is critical to ensure that you are purchasing from jewelry companies that make every effort to have ethical and transparent sourcing and manufacturing practices.

Make an Upcycled Valentine’s Day Card

If you are going to give your loved one a card, either make it yourself using recyclable materials or get one from a small business that is recyclable and Fair Trade certified.

Give the Gift of Experience

Spend quality time with your partner by preparing their favorite meal, watching their favorite movie with them, enrolling in a class together, such as cooking or photography, setting aside time to paint, and so on. Another option is to write a poem or perform a song for your Valentine, create a film about all of your finest times together, get their friends to contribute to a list of their favorite memories with them or write down all of their best attributes and all of the things you admire about them.

As a final step, consider honoring love rather than consumerism this Valentine’s Day. If you do plan to shop, look for items from local businesses and companies that adhere to ethical business methods as opposed to mass-produced items.

5 Simple, Eco-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Home

This year the mister and I will be celebrating Valentine’s Day at home! So I thought I’d share some fun eco-friendly Valentine’s Day surprising you can do at home! 

#1: Organic Sweet Tooth:
I have a sweet tooth so there will definitely need to be a little chocolate on Valentine’s Day. I will be picking chocolate that is fair trade and organic too because nothing is sweeter than socially and environmentally conscious chocolates.

#2: Think Outside of the Dining Room Table:
We recently revamped our back patio, so we’re having dinner al fresco with a movie! It’s my new favorite space at our home. Nothing is more fun than dinner and a movie outside by the pool! 

#3: Bubbles Make Everything Better:
Who doesn’t love a bubble bath? What Valentine’s Day would be complete without a yummy bath full of organic bath bubbles, candlelight, and your special someone?

#4: Love is in Bloom:
I am not a huge fan of fresh-cut flowers, I would rather receive a beautiful potted plant that I can enjoy for years to come. 

#5: Cook Together:
Whether you are celebrating with your spouse, significant other, or kids, give cooking together a shot. Now that Eben is an adult the mister and I tend to cook together more often, which is a sweet treat in itself. 

What eco-friendly Valentine’s Day surprises do you have up your sleeve this year? 

10‌ ‌Ways‌ ‌To‌ ‌Live‌ ‌A‌ ‌Greener‌ ‌Home‌ ‌Life‌

Going green is unquestionably one of the most common goals shared by homeowners in the modern-day. Aside from saving the planet, it can save you money in the long run while also enabling you to build a better quality of life.

So, what steps should be taken to achieve this goal? Ultimately, no two households are the same, which is why you have to find a strategy that works for you. Nonetheless, some ideas are more likely to feature than others – here are 10 of the best.

#1. Reduce energy usage

Adopting energy-efficient ideas is perhaps the most common way to become more eco-friendly at home. And it’s also one of the most effective. Switching to LED lights is a simple job that can be completed in a day. Compared to incandescent lights, they burn far less energy. Those savings will reduce your energy usage every single day.

Reduced energy usage can also be achieved by adopting a smart thermostat. Or you could cover eating pipes with foam and water tanks with a jacket. Completing these jobs can deliver benefits that last several years.

#2. Be more resourceful

Electricity and heating energy aren’t the only resources you’ll use. Therefore, investing in low flush toilets and energy-efficient dishwashers can work wonders. Similarly, you can use a rainwater tank to collect water. This can subsequently be used for tasks like watering the lawn or using a power jet washer. As such, you’ll place less strain on other water sources.

Recycling is another fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint. Glass, paper, cardboard, and a host of other materials can be recycled rather than sent to landfills. Meanwhile, you could look to sell unwanted goods online to give them a second lease of life.

#3. Make things last longer

One of the best ways to use fewer products and resources in life is to make them last longer. Therefore, motivating yourself to implement improved maintenance habits will be key. Knowing how to make your pool fence last a long time won’t only prevent the need to replace it prematurely. It’ll additionally ensure that your backyard stays looking lovely.

A variety of internal items can be kept in better health through regular cleanings, such as showerheads. Products that are designed to help washing machines or dishwashers last longer will boost efficiency.

#4. Look for green upgrades

Even when you successfully get more use out of your home products, it will be necessary to make upgrades from time to time. As our guide to greener home renovations states, the building techniques are vital. You should also look for efficient products that reflect the tech advancements made in recent years. Persisting with wasteful items will restrict the progress.

Perhaps the most important thing in this aspect is to focus on insulation. New roofing, double glazing, and wall insulation can work wonders. Heat loss is often the biggest cause of carbon emissions from the home. Address this to go green and make your home look better.

#5. Make smarter purchases

Going green doesn’t stop your need to purchase a variety of goods. However, you can make a significant improvement by making smarter choices. Avoiding single-use plastic should sit at the top of your agenda. Meanwhile, purchasing goods made from natural materials can have a positive impact. Chemical-free cleaners are another key feature.

Crucially, you must think about the companies you support. Industrial carbon footprints easily outweigh residential ones. So, the indirect impacts you have through supporting ethical and ecological brands will be huge.

#6. Install a water filter tap

We all need to drink water to stay healthy. Lots of it. However, going through vast volumes of plastic bottles is terrible for the environment. Rather than buying bottled water, you can install a filter tap to ensure you have better-tasting water. Or this could be incorporated into your fridge. If neither of those options is viable, a water filter jug can work well.

In addition to a water filter tap, you may find that an instant boiling water tap is an ideal option. It removes the energy waste caused by boiling the kettle several times each day. For larger households, it is one of the most rewarding upgrades of all.

#7. Opt for green driving

While it’s not technically a home upgrade, you can’t go green without thinking about your car. Understanding how to make the switch to electric cars or hybrids will put you on the right path. You may also want to consider cycling or walking more frequently when taking short trips. Or when using the car, removing unnecessary weight is a useful habit.

Driving habits will indirectly influence your daily home life, which is why you must not ignore the benefits. Besides, seeing a greener vehicle on the driveway will serve as a reminder to maintain good standards in the home.

#8. Embrace greener habits

Putting the right features in place for a greener lifestyle is great. However, you still need to use the home in an efficient manner too. Food waste is shown to be the most common source of problems. Analyzing your grocery shopping habits should underline how wasteful you’ve been. As well as cutting back, you must be sure to recycle your food correctly.

Further green habits include embracing paperless billing and learning to turn items off at night. They may seem like small updates, but their impact on your carbon emissions and impact on the planet soon add up.

#9. Add Solar Panels

It is one of the more significant home projects to consider but solar roof panels can have a big impact. Any energy used to power your home from the panels will cause zero carbon footprint. Meanwhile, it may be possible to sell any additional energy that you’ve harvested back to the power network. So, you will effectively help others reduce their emissions too.

As well as solar panels, you can use garden solar lights. When supported by efficient boilers and heat pumps, along with the energy methods above, you will see a big change. The savings of energy and money are repeated each month.

#10. Be consistent

Last but not least, you must remember that consistency is king. Above all else, this winning mindset will lead you to great results.