Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Earliest Blooms Recorded in U.S. Due to Global WarmingArticle: Plants still able to cope with rising temperatures, study finds. In 2010 and 2012. I know I missed blackberry season. Just about the normal time for blackberries, I asked a few people if they'd seen any and I was told I'd missed them. In 2011, it was big news in Wisconsin and Minnesota that the cold tolerance zones had been adjusted for the warmer weather and they could plant some non native things they hadn't been able to before. But there wasn't much talk about how this isn't necessarily a good thing. It means new species invade. It means old species die out in that area. And some species might not get the cold period they need so they know when it's warming up and time to sprout or bloom.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Minnesota drinking water is contaminated with nitrates from agricultural fertilizer. Chemical fertilizers also harm wildlife throughout our waterways by boosting oxygen removing algae growth in lakes, rivers, ponds, streams and even the ocean near mouths of rivers. Check out the Gulf Coast Deadzone. Note: your phosphate filled laundry and other soaps don't help. Use less or find alternatives.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Eco-Insanity - supposedly new eco products that have existed for centuries or that people just don't need

Peopletowels!  Get this. They are reusable cloth towels!  Machine washable and they last for years!  As if we hadn't had such a thing for centuries.  And they began with a  design contest at!

What are PeopleTowels?
People Towels are the newest concept in sustainability, and the latest in eco-chic fashion. An on-the-go, sustainable alternative to paper towels in public facilities, these reusable personal hand towels are made of a patent-pending fabric that’s 100% certified organic Fair Trade cotton.  The light-weight fabric is absorbent, yet dries quickly.

PeopleTowels are printed with eco-friendly dyes, and come in a variety of designs to appeal to different tastes and styles.  Convenient hangtags even allow you to clip or loop your PeopleTowels to your backpack, belt buckle or purse.

PeopleTowels are machine washable and will last for years. The towels will soften and fade slightly after repeated washings.  You may see slight variations in the towels.  

Reusable PeopleTowels are a small sustainable lifestyle change that everyonecan do to reduce their carbon footprint. Read more about the environmental benefits of PeopleTowels here.

Their mission statement: PeopleTowels’ mission is to empower ordinary people and socially responsible companies to contribute to a sustainable environment by replacing paper towels with reusable PeopleTowels.

Is this a joke?  People buy these?  I have more reusable cloth towels than I can use and they are all hand me downs or resale.  And they all last for years.  That's eco-chic. 

My Garden--Eating Well Can Be Cheap

Filled with greens, onions and herbs.  And right now, strawberries, but they will be moved soon to make room for leeks.  Soon, I'll have to post a picture of my verticle Strawberry planter sitting in one of the few other tiny patches of sunlight.
Picture of my garden filled with acne and disease fighting greens, onions, herbs and leeks
It's a small raised bed at the very edge of my front yard, the only spot that gets enough sun year round in my home that faces entirely the wrong directions at angles to the sun. That's the neighbor's driveway. Built this past October with the help from Transition Houston in a program they call a Permablitz--the group spends one day doing various permaculture and sustainable projects around your home.

A raised bed garden like this can be trouble free for years if you follow a few simple tips. You don't even have to remove sod. Just put down many layers of newspaper or one layer of corrugated cardboard right on top of your lawn.    Then put down your cinder blocks, timbers or whatever you are going to use. Fill with good soil. Plant. Run a soaker or drip hose around your plants.

Many food producing plants are quite attractive and there's no reason not to include them in your landscape.  Greens, sweet potatoes, pea and bean vines and blueberry bushes are some examples of truly lovely plants. Tomatoes can be made more atractive if you use nice trellises to support them. Put flowers here and there to pretty up the space.  Marigolds repel many pests. Nasturtiums are edible.

I've yet to eat much from this garden though, as I get more fruits, greens and other veggies than I can eat for free each week in exchange for 2 hours volunteer work at a community supported farming and organic coop.