These Eco friendly everyday home essentials cover all the bases; sustainable, reusable, and recyclable! Start out the New Year feeling good about converting your space into a low waste, earth friendly spot with minimal cost.
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How cool are these Eco Friendly bottles? 40 OZ, 64 OZ, 84 OZ. No more plastic in your water!!! And no more plastic water bottles in the trash or ocean!!! At $24 for a one time purchase you definitely save money fast! 36 different colors and designs to choose from. Simple Modern Water Bottle!
100% plastic free, Loofah biodegradable kitchen sponge scrubber. Plant-based fibers come with brown paper backing. Great for non-stick pans and dishes. Their tough, natural, compostable, ZERO WASTE. ECO FRIENDLY! 2 Loofah sponges for $6.99! Worth it!
Who hates plastic wrap?🙋♀️🙋♀️🙋♀️ Such a great Eco friendly alternative to the earth polluting wrap. Dishwasher and Freezer Safe, win-win! At $15 for 14 varied sized stretchy lids you will recoup the initial costs in no time!
No more guilt straw sipping!!! With all the obvious evidence that plastic straws and other plastics are littering our oceans, parks, and basically OUR Earth we need an Eco friendly solution to this mounting problem…It Sucks! At .04 cents a straw for this biodegradable plant based alternative I would gladly pay extra if I was offered a choice at a restaurant. I bet one of these straws could last all day!! That’s more than half a year’s supply for $9.00!
Those of you that know me, know I’m a super believer in composting. This countertop-no mess, no smell, nice looking- composter is a must in every kitchen…especially if you’re a coffee drinker. Used coffee grounds are soooo good for everything growing in your yard…house plants too!
How to compost guide on just about anything from your kitchen scraps to anything you can grow – and reminds us that developing your own composting practices not only can be fun but also saves money and encourages self-sufficiency. Saving money and reducing landfill waste, what a concept😉 Guide to backyard composting!
There is nothing in your kitchen that is more durable or sustainable than a good ol’ cast iron skillet, nothing! I have several that were passed down from my mom and mother-in-law. I hope my kids, not real soon, choose to keep and use my collection someday. Easy to clean and very healthy to use! Organically non-stick if you just love them a little!
These cute bamboo kitchen plates and bowls are made from bamboo fiber, which is much more Eco friendly than melamine, while still maintaining all the benefits. Bamboo is sustainably grown and mostly biodegradable, so you can have peace of mind about your impact on the environment. Very long lasting, shatterproof and comes in a really nice looking storage box…perfect for camping, glamping, RV enthusiast, picnics, BBQs, BeachaQ’s:) $40 for 12 pieces…that’s cheap!!
It’s that spooky time of year again when all big and little kids around my house turn into Halloween pumpkin carving maniacs! Not just one scary Jack-O-Lantern will do for this house…we always have to have one for each member of the tribe. Needless to say all this Halloween fun and games comes at the expense of a poor little ol’ pumpkin, the trash men, and landfills…ugh!
Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Composting is easy…easier than bagging them up in a plastic bag and putting them in the trash, I promise!!
Recycle or compost Halloween pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns!
Believe me, we go through more Halloween waste around here than I care to confess. From pumpkins to candy to candy wrappers, copy paper for the Jack-o-lantern cut outs, candles…need I say more? This fun holiday really creates a tremendous amount of trash in our landfills and it just doesn’t have to!
I truly believe most people are really interested in recycling/reducing their trash trail and Halloween Jack-O-Lantern composting is great place to start! It’s overwhelming how much information is out there; trust me when I state that I’m no recycling warrior! I’ve really tried to make a concentrated effort to recycle, reuse, and compost as many household items as I can think of but it’s A LOT of work and could easily be a full time job!! So we do what we can and try to improve as we go along.
Halloween Jack-O-Lantern composting made easy!
So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty before I lose you guys to some really great easy to make pre-Halloween dinner (like my Drip Beef Recipe) ideas for the kids!
First of all, if you’re carving a pumpkin to put out on your front porch that probably means you have a yard of some sort. And I’m also going to assume for this suggestive recycling/composting guide you might have a bush or two in your yard; do you see where I’m going with this😉?
Where are you putting the pumpkin guts and cutouts?
I hate to admit it but I have been guilty of disposing the pumpkin guts in the worst way…in a plastic grocery bag then in the trash🤦♀️; I’ve done it…ugh…I’ve done it and still feel quilt about it?
Below are a few “better” suggestions for Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Composting :
Put the pumpkin innards, seeds, and cutouts in a kitchen bowl instead of directly in the trash can. This will make you think outside of your house and hopefully where you could dispose of them outside. I usually put them under a bush or in my vegetable garden and rake some leaves over them.
If you’re a fan of roasted pumpkin seeds then that reuse is a no brainer! Save them from the pumpkin guts and roast them for a nutritious treat!
After the Jack has had his fun!!
Basically you do the same thing with the whole pumpkin but of course you just have more of it to dispose of.
After the Jack has had his laugh, take the candle or lite out before you compost him.
Smash or cut the whole jack-o-lantern up into smaller pieces. The easiest and less messy way is to smash right where you want to compost him. Under a bush, in the flower or veggie garden, or compost bin.
Rake leaves, grass clippings, veggie garden debris, dropped branches, or mulch over the top of the jack-o-lantern remains. You can also do this with those anniversary or birthday roses your sweetie brings home every year. What came from the earth should return to the earth, natural recycling!
Big treasures from not throwing you’re spent Halloween pumpkins in the trash!
Now I bet you’re wondering where am I getting the whole recycling part of this blog. Look up👆 This is the number one benefit to recycling rather than throwing your used Jack-o-lanterns in the trash!!! This one appeared in July and made it all the way to the big day at the end of October!! We discovered it in our front flowerbed but who cares. It is a direct result of recycling the pumpkin.
Pumpkin vines are not only beneficial but also very attractive among other flowering plants. They’re beautiful blooms attract all kinds of pollinators and enhance the background of your other plants. I long ago got over the orderly, designed look of a flower garden.
Not only are they a wonderful, FREE addition to your garden, they are a super FREE soil enricher!! And that’s what plants need to thrive, it good, rich, fertile soil to live in.
My gardening taste have evolved from trying to outdo my neighbor in the quest for the most “beautiful” landscaped yard in the hood to the healthiest, most earth friendly, organic spot we can create. Check out my blog post on what I call Trash Gardening.
Pumpkins are a favorite among the worm family!
Pumpkins are one of worms most favorite foods…just ask one😉! Seriously, if you just don’t want to smash and cover your left over spent Jack-o-lanterns then find a local vermiculturalist like my friend at The Texas Worm Ranch in Dallas and donate them. Below is a picture of a bed of worms loving their pumpkin food.
Or you could ask one of your local plant nurseries if they would like to compost them. Or if you have a neighbor that gardens and compost; I’m sure they’d love the donation.
Lastly, If you’re afraid you will attract weird insects or small animals because of your new love of “spot” composting then fear not… Those critters are around anyway and they help in the process of composting! And believe it or not…Spot composting or regular composting of veggies and natural debris does not stink! Let me repeat that…It Does Not Stink!
Enjoy your new found way to help the environment and Happy Halloween!!!!
This easy homemade Dijon Italian Salad Dressing will easily be a fast family favorite. Just a few simple fresh ingredients you’ll understand why homemade salad dressing is by far better than any restaurant or store-bought kind. Move over Caesar Salad; say hello to yummy Dijon Italian Salad Dressing!
Dijon Italian Dressing is so easy to whip together!
I usually don’t write down my famous (LOL)Italian Salad Dressing but I made an exception this time. Thought I better start writing these things down before I get to old to remember what I did, LOL!
You start with these ingredients:
Olive Oil (you can use any oil you have on hand)
White Balsamic Vinegar… In this house we don’t like dressing to tangy so I used 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar to 1/2 cup olive oil. Of course, you can adjust this to taste. If it’s still makes you pucker up and squint then add more oil.
Dijon Mustard (I use Koops) It’s organic, easy to find and Whole 30 Approved!
Fresh Rosemary and thyme (from my garden)
The secret ingredient…green olive juice (can be added in any amount your taste buds prefer)
You pretty much blend everything up in a single-serve blender and let it sit in the fridge until you’re ready to use it! Made with fresh, organic ingredients you can both pronounce and spell!! Win, Win!!
Uses for Italian Dressing:
If you’re not in the mood for a big healthy salad you can always use the Dijon Italian Salad Dressing as:
a chicken marinade
a dip for an antipasti plate, veggie platter or Pizza
use as adelicious pasta sauce
Use on a plain avocado slice
Or just eat it by spoonfuls!!!
Salad Extras to Include in Your Big Italian Mob Salad:
Pepperonis, Salami, Canadian Bacon, Regular Bacon, Ham
Sliced Red Onion
Mozzarella and/or Parmesan Cheese
How Long Does It Stay Fresh in the Fridge?
It should keep a couple of weeks in the fridge…that is if it’s not eaten up first!
Once you decide to grow vines this easy DIY step by step verticaltrellis will help tremendously for vertical gardening success! Vertical garden trellis arches reduce ground space so you can grow more veggies. It’s easy to work around when all the surrounding plants are blooming and it provides shade for heat sensitive plants like spinach, lettuce, and cilantro.
At the Austin house we love to grow vines! Moon vines, cardinal vines, American wisteria, green beans, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and watermelon all make our list of favorites. We don’t have a lot of space so going up was our best option.
Fall and early Spring are the best times to start planning your Vertical Trellis!
Yes, vines take more time to grow, but in the end they produce abundant goodies either to eat, smell or just look at. My main complaint with with these fun plants is they get a little unruly and tend to take over the whole area they reside in. You might say most are born wanderers and are sometimes just plain ornery!
Late last summer when we were trying to start our fall garden, we couldn’t find any open space for spinach, beans and lettuce. There wasn’t one sunny spot that wasn’t run over with a vine. They had taken over everything and didn’t want to share!
Easy All Season Green Beans
This arched garden trellis is absolutely perfect for green bean vines. I planted green bean vines from seeds in late July and we had beautiful, organic, homegrown green beans all Fall long. There is room enough on the DIY garden trellis to grow several varieties at once. So fun!
Vines are Super Fun to Grow!
The idea of giving them their own space by way of a vertical trellis was the best solution. We were hoping a trellis would keep them somewhat under control instead of running amauk all over the place?
The contractor wanted a simple one to build, easy to vine train and with a lot of surface area. One that can accommodate a couple of different vines and one that wasn’t going to block out the sun for other veggies.
Picking the right spot in your garden is key!
This space usually holds a couple of tomato plants, basil, and cilantro. With the addition of the trellis; everyone has their own spot plus beans and aren’t run over by a creeping vine!
Easy Trellis Assembly
The contractor started out with 4 hollow metal poles that were easily pounded into the soil and set about 30″ apart. Note: If the poles are hard to pound into your garden soil you need to amend the soil with organic nutrients with organic compost, worm castings, mulched leaves and grass or plant a cover crop ASAP like clover or peas. Anything organic that will add nutrients and structure to the soil.
Bendable PVC pipe was inserted into the top of the metal pole and carefully bent to meet the other pole top. To reinforce the frame, he drilled a hole through the pipe and PVC and secured with a bolt.
36″ Bamboo poles were then positioned perpendicular to the frame and set about 2 feet apart. Strong metal wire attached the bamboo to the metal using the bolt screws for an anchor.
The anchor screws came in handy when the garden fencing was draped over the structure. Heavy gauged wire was again used to secure the whole structure together.
The the final step of draping the 2″ x 4″ welded wire over the frame was the easiest. The wire cloth had to be securely fastened to 9 bamboo poles and the arched frame.
All done and ready for some friendly cantaloupe and watermelon vines! (FYI, the watermelon didn’t make it…we planted them to late)
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro the first signs of Spring is magic time to all interested in growing things! I know this because it happens ever year, it’s one of those wonderful things about seasons. If you wait…Spring will come!
In Oklahoma we go all the way from zone 6 to zone 8. That’s a big deal when trying to figure out this “gardening thing”. We can get zero degree weather in March and 110 in September. When all my southern gardening friends are planting their early peas in February, I’m impatiently waiting and waiting until March 1st.
PLANTING GUIDE THOUGHTS
Planning your garden layout while waiting on spring to get here can be fun and just the right recipe to get over the winter blues! Before that first seed or veggie start goes in the ground decide:
what plants to plant
which ones need more sun than others
the best layout for everyone to get along and grow well together
when to plant
OK my design isn’t all fancy like some on the internet. It would take me till summer to get around and perfect a CAD garden diagram. It all does the same thing; organize thoughts and purchase seeds and starts ASAP before the catalog companies and local plant nurseries sold are out.
EARLY SPRING GARDENING PLAN
Cilantro, dill and peas will be planted directly from seed in a sunny spot that will change over to partial shade in May. Make sure the ground temp is at least 40 degrees before planting. You can check this daily with your area AG university.
Cabbage starts will be planted in an area that will have full sun until their life cycle is complete.
All of the above will have finished producing by the time tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, okra, basil, green beans, and Swiss chard are ready to plant.
Lettuce and spinach thrive in the early spring sun but will get overheated easy when early May arrives. Because it’s always a crap shoot when things start to heat up, reseeding these in the very back of the garden will happen in April for their best shot during June. But…even planting these in partial shade might not help them thrive in my Okie garden.
Cilantro will reside close to the peas and beans. It thrives on the nitrogen the beans produce.
Chives will be scattered around the whole garden. Not only do they get along with most plants, they can be long season perennials if left to flower and reseed. Plus, fingers crossed, they will deter those cute bunnies from feasting on my peas! Plus, Plus, the blooms and stalks are edible and delicious in almost any dish. And PLUS, PLUS, PLUS…THE BEES LOVE THE PURPLE FLOWERS!!!
1: The number one activity to really get your garden area super charged is MULCH! If you don’t do anything else do this. Mulch with fresh garden compost if you have it, wood chips, crushed leaves, bagged mulch from the garden store. Leave last year’s plant root remnants (except tomatoes) and add minerals like Azomite, Green Sand, bone meal, organic fertilizers, worm compost, or cotton burr compost.
Mulch is crucial to a healthy garden during the really hot months of summer. It helps with moisture retention in the soil during the hot times and water saturation during heavy rain periods.
LASTLY – WATER, WATER, WATER! Even if you don’t have any plants in the ground yet!
4: Don’t forget the water! Dusty garden soil is worthless, void of nutrients and definitely lacking in all the underground goodies like worms, protozoa, and space for water to seep through to plants. Mulching will help retain all of this.
SUCCESSFUL GARDENERS USE INTUITION
I think most gardeners are successful because they use their instincts.
They frequently check the 10 day forecast.
Are observant of their backyard garden daily conditions
And are patient…very, very, very patient!
I would absolutely love pics of your garden this year! I think I learn more from other gardeners than any course I’ve ever taken.
Finally January is over!! Have I told you how much I truly despise that first month of the year? Well let’s just say the only thing that’s good about it is I have a dear friend who has a January birthday…and that’s about all.
Now that it’s February I can feel some happiness is just right around the corner.
I was in Trader Joes about 2 weeks ago and stumbled on these herbs, $1.99 a piece! Can you say bargain! Cheaper than the hanging boxed variety you get in the fresh produce section… by a lot! I love that store!! Ha I should probably just live at TJ all January!
These cuties have lived on my window sill for the past few weeks bringing a little sweetness to some diners every now and then. Knowing they won’t live much longer (the cilantro is already looking puny) on my sill or in the small containers they came in I decided to plant them. Hopefully they will make it to the big garden in a couple of months.
Pictured above is 3 out of 4 garden ingredients I used to plant these babies. I know, it looks like a bunch of trash. Coffee grounds, worm compost, and old coffee filters; please don’t get all judgy until you hear me out.
Used Coffee grounds are really beneficial to plants, garden compost, and even as worm food. The grounds, if already wet and used, don’t really add much acidity to the soil. Most herbs don’t like acidity soil, but it does add structure for drainage.
The used coffee filters also add structure to the soil. You can never have enough of this kind of materials. It helps keep plant roots aerated and the soil around the roots loose. Hey and the filters don’t end up in the landfill being helpful to nothing but real trash!
The worm compost or vermicompost is the ultimate in food for plants. It’s 100% organic, contains nutrients that are water soluble (the organic and natural way plants feed), and enhances the microbiology of the soil. Vermicompost also aids in moisture retention making it a perfect addition for drought prone areas. I could go on and on about the benefits! Let’s just say I’m a true believer?♀️.
I’m embarrassed to say this but not to long ago these two herbs would have ended up in the trash by now. Being ignorant I would have never thought to plant these living organism.
Give Back to Mother Nature
If you don’t want to go to the effort of planting and keeping them alive before it truly is gardening season; throw them under a bush or a pile of leaves. Put them in a corner of your veggie or flower beds to decompose on site. Or better yet…start a compost pile or create a worm bin and feed them to the worms. (highlighted is an example of another type of worm bin)
“Trash” gardening is really just organic gardening. It’s using your household carbon and green waste to enhance the outdoor space your enjoy so much. Even if you don’t garden, organic trash doesn’t belong in the landfills! It belongs right where it started…in the ground adding beneficial nutrients back to Mother Nature!