Posts Tagged ‘raised bed gardens’

Growing Food in Small Spaces

Once you start eating freshly picked vegetables, you realize that’s the only way to go. Fortunately, growing your own food, or at least some of your own, is easy to do, even in small spaces.

Last night's dinner of fresh-picked asparagus

Last night’s dinner of fresh-picked asparagus

 

There are as many ways to garden in small spaces as your imagination will allow, but listed below are a few ideas.

Container Gardening

Containers range from traditional clay pots to self-watering ones to antique ice chests and even old work boots. All are perfect for growing herbs or small vegetables, just make sure there is sufficient drainage and good soil.

Raised Beds

A raised bed garden is a garden built on top of your native soil.  The basic idea of a raised bed is that instead of battling against poor soil conditions, you build above ground where you have absolute control over the soil texture and ingredients. You can make a raised bed garden any size you want and any height. They are easy to weed and easier on your back. Check out the advantages here.

Vertical Growing

Vertical growing is also ideal for small spaces, allowing you to actually grow a lot as long as you have enough sun. The idea is to grow up, not out, like with beans, tomatoes, peas and cucumbers, on trellises for example.

Though garden catalogs are filled with expensive vertical growing containers, you can also upcycle things you already have or invest in cheaper things like shoe pockets, a great idea for lettuces and herbs, old pallets or gutters mounted on a fence. Check out this website for fun ideas.

Sunny Kitchen Windows

Don’t forget sunny window sills, which are perfect for growing herbs, microgreens, and some vegetables like spring onions, even all year long.

 

Whether you are an apartment dweller with a sunny balcony or a new gardener with a tiny yard, discover the joy and satisfaction of growing your own food.  Don’t let it intimidate you.  All it takes is sun, good soil, adequate water and a little time.  Bon appetit!

 

Some information compiled from bostontreepreservation.com and inhabitat.com.

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

 

Green Entrepreneurs

I have recently met some impressive green entrepreneurs who are making a real difference by the earth and our health as they squeak out a living.  In this 2-part blog, I will share with you some of the eco-businesses these creative people are running.

FarmFare Market – A registered dietitian, Nicole Cormier is a green go-getter who has her hands in everything related to organic, food and local.  She runs her nutritional counseling office out of a cute little store in Sandwich, MA where you can buy seasonal fresh vegetables, farm fresh eggs, fresh cold-pressed juices, bulk items like nuts, berries, and beans, specialty food items such as locally made cheeses and organic vanilla, and environmentally friendly products.  She also started a farmer’s market in Mashpee, MA, offers a yearlong CSA, does organic catering, runs wellness workshops for businesses, schools or groups, and hosts a radio show with “nutritionally sustainable topics.”  Whew!

Edible Landscapes of Cape Cod –A talented musician and gardener, Dave Scandurra’s goal is to make the local food movement even more local by bringing it to you.  How?  He creates (installs and maintains) low-maintenance perennial edible landscapes on Cape Cod that will feed you and your friends or family for years to come. He specializes in herbs, perennial vegetables, fruits, nuts, beneficial flowers, trees and edible water gardens. Using raised beds, cold frames or interesting swirl designs, Dave’s gardens are fabulous.  He also consults and is a whiz at plant identification, finding obscure but beneficial plants like St. John’s wort among your “weeds”.

The Optimist Company – A young mother of two, Devin Donaldson’s strong interest in green living led her to make and sell pure cleaning and laundry products.  Her powerful, but gentle and of course non-toxic products are made from simple (and pronounceable) ingredients like baking soda, coconut oil soap, Epsom salts and other household ingredients.    I use her “Loads of Laughs” natural laundry suds and softener and love it.  The attractive packaging is basic and naturally recyclable, reusable, compostable, and biodegradable.  Along with the finished products, The Optimist Company provides DIY (do it yourself) kits.  You can order her products online.

Each of these young entrepreneurs has a similar mission and a passion for protecting the earth and our health. Each exhibits drive and ambition in a socially responsible way.  The green movement is here to stay!

Next blog I’ll highlight a few more conscientious green entrepreneurs.

Congratulations to the winner of the advanced power strip from MassSave, Nancy Yardley of Houston, Texas!

 

GREEN TIPS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

 My last child is about to start her senior year in college. Over the years I have noticed colleges getting greener and instigating some innovative practices to help the environment, but there are lots of things students can do individually to reduce carbon emissions and lead a greener lifestyle.

Image by jeremy.wilburn Flickr.com

Moving in and out of dorms creates a lot of waste.  The amount of cardboard and plastic packaging for the new bedding, bath and personal care products, school supplies, etc. is overwhelming and recycling bins are not always available.  Instead of always buying new, reuse some things from home and try not to bring so much stuff.  Dorm rooms are small and you can get away with less.  When you do buy new things, buy them locally at school and avoid shipping.  Target stores are everywhere and even sell organic towels and sheets!  For futons and other furniture, graduating students often donate their old furniture or look on line at craigslist.com or freecycle.com.

Use low energy certified microfridges, computers and tv’s.  Share appliances with friends – not everyone needs every appliance.  Use power strips instead of extension cords to save energy and keep air conditioning to a minimum.  Install CFL light bulbs and turn off the lights when you leave the room.  Make sure to unplug your phone charger when not in use to eliminate vampire energy.

Instead of stocking up on water bottles, use a BPA free water bottle instead.  For the late night munchies, eat organic fruits and snacks and compost the waste.

Choose green cleaning supplies like Seventh Generation for washing your dishes (forget disposable ones) or cleaning your dorm room.  Houseplants make great air filters and improve air quality.

Get involved with on campus environmental groups, or start your own.  Several colleges now have local raised bed gardens – volunteer to work in them.  Working with the soil is a great stress reducer and you’ll learn a lot.

Of course, print on recycled paper and recycle used paper, bottles and those ubiquitous beer cans!

Some information compiled from Treehugger.com and Gouchercollege.edu.