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7 Tips For Growing a Greenhouse based Organic Vegetable Garden



Vegetable garden by Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr

How would you like to grow healthy and delicious organic fruits and vegetables in your own kitchen garden? Here are some tips to get you started with your own greenhouse.

1. Avoid Greenhouses Made with Synthetic Materials.

Many greenhouses have side panels made from various types of plastics and polycarbonates. For a truly organic garden, you should opt for a glass greenhouse. They come in all styles from self-standing to the lean to greenhouse style The material the panels are made from are important because moisture will accumulate on the panel’s surface and will drip on your plants.

2. Plan Your Garden Layout in Advance

Use graph paper to plot where each plant will be placed. “Companion planting” is not a new concept, and its use in your greenhouse can not be overemphasized. You will encounter a fair share of pest issues in your greenhouse and many of them can be avoided naturally by using companion planting.

– Onions and leeks can deter carrot fly.

– Nasturtiums chase away aphids.

– French Marigolds can keep blackfly and greenfly away from tomatoes.

– An Elder shrub deters mice.

Planting directly in the ground can lead to a problem with ants. Use peppermint, bay leaf, spearmint, or garlic to keep them away.

If you have a problem with slugs and snails, you can use a beer trap. They are attracted to the beer fragrance which leads them to take a sip, they get drunk and drown.

While you want to eliminate the harmful bugs, you want to attract the beneficial insects. Plants like Achillea and Buddleia, as well as flowering herbs like Rosemary, Dill and Lavender will help to attract hoverflies, lacewings, and ladybirds which are known pest devourers.

3. Start with Organic Soil

Don’t try to save money and risk the quality of the soil or organic material you add to your soil, including manure, sea products or compost. These additives act like fertilizer. They can increase the health of your soil and help to create a better environment for your plants to grow. But remember, different plants have different needs.

Be careful when starting your garden. If you’re planting directly in the soil, make sure the soil does not contain dangerous organisms or toxins. If you’re not sure, you can use a soil test kit which is available from most seed suppliers.

You can also sterilize the soil by putting the oil in an oven roasting bag and adding enough water to dampen the soil shut the bag and insert a meat thermometer into the soil. Heat the bag in a 200-degree oven and keep the soil at a temperature close to 170 degrees for 30 minutes.

The soil temperature should not reach the temperature of the oven within 30 minutes, however, it’s best to keep an eye on the thermometer, just in case. If the soil gets too warm, turn the oven temperature down or off if it’s near the end of the 30-minute cycle. Place the cooled, sterilized soil into the planters, pots, or directly in the ground.

4. Compost

Composting is one of the most important and affordable methods of fertilizing your garden. But you must remember to keep your compost organic. That means the items you toss in your compost should be organic. If anything in your compost contains chemicals, so will your compost.

5. Control the Weeds Before They Start to Grow

Place 1 to 2 inches of newspaper on top of the soil, covering it with the same quantity of soil. Don’t worry about getting the measurements exact, this is not an exact science. Just remember the thicker the paper, the more it will deter weeds.

Most newspapers use soy-based inks so they do not pose a danger to your plants. Do not use the glossy inserts because they are toxic and water cannot penetrate their glossy surface. Use a regular old newspaper. In time, it will decompose ad become a healthy additive to your soil.

6. Learn About Natural Herbicides

If you are ever hit with a massive bug infestation and you need an herbicide, one of the most tried and true methods is an organic soap mixture. Cheap lemon dish soap is the best to use for this since cheap brands use less of the costly toxic additives that costly brands use.

Mix one tablespoon of the soap into 1 gallon of water and pour it into your spray bottle or a sprayer. Apply to the top and bottom of the leaves. Reapply this mixture every week or two. This mixture also reduces the risk of some plant diseases. Here is a good piece on herbicides.

7. Pull Spent Plants From the Soil

After you’ve harvested your vegetables and fruit, don’t leave the plants in the garden. Pull them out as soon as possible and toss their remains in the compost bin for next year’s garden. Removing these plants will allow the soil to replenish itself and will discourage pests that will feed on the spent plant.



Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness



Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move



Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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