Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Winter Gardening

Winter Gardening! I have never had a winter garden until this year! I did alot of research and asked a ton of questions! I decided I should start out small. I decided just to use a small area of my large summer garden. My lil one and I planted Swiss Chard, Red onions, Walla Walla,Torpedo Onions, Celery, Spinach, Peas,Carrots, Parsley, Garlic,Turnips,Bok Choy & multiple Lettuces. We still have Brocolli and Kale and Brussel sprouts to plant. Which I am hoping to get done today! We have had such wonderful weather here in Cali that we are still picking Peppers! Heres a few Pictures of our makeshift winter garden.

Are small makeshift Winter Garden!

Swiss Chard! I love the red! Adds such brightness to dark cold winter days.

A clump of Peas! Hopefully the other seeds will sprout soon!

Bok Choy! I love this in stir frys and my homemade eggrolls!

Celery! Great with peanut butter and in soups. I will be drying the leaves after I pick them! They will taste great in my homemade stock.

Baby Spinach! We eat alot of this in so many things! I have it planted everywhere throughout the garden.

Red Onion! The rest of my backyard is a mess! We are Re-Landscaping ourselves and its a HUGE project, but we will get there.

Here is our Salad Bar! Red Leaf Lettuce, Romaine and Spinach! I do lots of growing in Wheel Burrows and old dresser drawers! The dresser drawers are growing Garlic Chives and Parsley.

Happy Gardening!

Wheel Burrow Salad Bar

I find so many broken Wheel Burrows on the side of the road. They usually are only missing a wheel! Their trash becomes my treasure! Instant gardening containers! I place them throughout my large garden or on my back patio. I usually have one for summer herbs, flowers and for winter im doing a salad bar!

Here I have planted some Red Leaf Lettuce, Romaine and Baby Spinach! I have also placed Red Onion throughout the wheel burrow!

In a few weeks I should be able to harvest my first salad. The wheel burrow salad bar will be alot fuller with the bounty of lettuce.

Happy garden Recycling!

Compost & Growth

My morning rituals consist of feeding the chickens, bunnies, checking the garden and turning the compost pile! Today as cleaned the coop and the bunnie cage, to add all the wonderful poo to my compost. I noticed my compost pile was growing! Im not sure what plant this is! Its a dark green and the stem is thick! I think I might let it grow and see what becomes of it. Do you ever have stuff growing in your compost? If you do, tell me all about it and what has grown.

Does anyone know what this might be?

Heres where I added all the poo!

All mixed up! You may notice I have plastic looking cups and forks in my compost! Thats right I do! They are made from corn! They take about 6 months to one year to break down! Pretty cool dont ya think!

Happy Composting!

Monday, November 2, 2009

~Eco Monday~


It is that time of year when Pumpkins are in full force and are everywhere! What will you do with them once they are gutted and made into jack o' lanterns?

Roasting the seeds is a great nutriotional option!
Drying the seeds for next years harvest!
Using the flesh on the inside to make Bread, Cakes, Pie, Muffins and Biscotti!
Decoration for the house, centerpieces for the kitchen table!
Making pumpkin soup using the whole squash!
Mini pumpkins make great candle holders, cut off the stem, make a small hole in the top and place a tealight.

The best part is using whats left in your compost!
By the time you are finished with your pumpkins and following these many ideas, you should have nothing going in to the landfill. Another great way of lowering your carbon footprint!

Happy Recycling!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Compost Demonstration

Composting is good for the garden and the enviroment!

 That was my pitch this past weekend for a  composting Demonstration! I was asked by Placer Grown http://www.placergrown.org/ to teach about backyard composting. Pretty Awesome! We attended an event called "Family Day on the Farm" it was held at a Mandarin Farm. The family had a great time. Kids got to build things out of Veggies, play games and eat great food! They had a raffle and a dessert auction. I won  twice in the auction. I won a Private wine tasting  In Auburn, at the Lone Buffalo Vineyards http://www.lonebuffalovineyards.com/ . I also won a wonderful wool purse that was handmade.

I never win anything, so it was pretty AWESOME to win!

Here was our booth! Kids helped make a display board and we posted the information and pictures of differnt recycled compost bins. We also brought our own recycled compost bin made from wood pallets. Throughout the event People brought us there compostable trash. Such as produce and the forks that were made from corn. They take a year to biodegrade back into our planet, pretty cool stuff.
We also got all the veggies from "The Build your own Veggie Art" folks to compost at the end of the event.

Composting Veggies is a great way to reduse a carbon foot print. Its great for the garden!

Here is the handout we made to give to people at the event! Just an easy discription on how to get started on backyard composting.


What Is Compost?

Compost is organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants. Mature compost is a stable material with a content called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like, earthy smell. It is created by: combining organic wastes (yard trimmings, food wastes, manures) in proper ratios into piles, rows, or vessels; adding bulking agents (wood chips) as necessary to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials; and allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process.

Natural composting, or biological decomposition, began with the first plants on earth and has been going on ever since. As vegetation falls to the ground, it slowly decays, providing minerals and nutrients needed for plants, animals, and microorganisms. Mature compost, however, includes the production of high temperatures to destroy pathogens and weed seeds that natural decomposition does not destroy.

Create Your Own Compost Pile

You can create a compost pile in your backyard or indoors, depending on your available space. Backyard and indoor composting are most suitable for households to convert small quantities of organic materials, such as yard trimmings and food scraps, into compost that can be spread in garden beds, under shrubs, or use it as potting soil for outdoor plants.

All composting requires three basic ingredients:

• Browns—Includes materials such as dead leaves, branches , twigs

• Greens—Includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds

• Water

Having the right amount of greens, browns, and water is important for compost development. Ideally, your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens and alternate layers of organic materials of different-size particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost and the green materials provide nitrogen, while the water provides moisture to help breakdown the organic matter.

There is no one "right" way to compost, but you may want to follow one of the approaches below:

Backyard Composting
1. Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.

2. Before you add your brown and green materials, make sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded.

3. Cover your composting area with a 6-inch layer of brown materials.

4. Add a 3-inch layer of green materials and a little soil or finished compost.

5. Lightly mix the two layers above.

6. Top with a 3-inch layer of brown materials, adding water until moist.

7. Turn your compost pile every week or two with a pitchfork to distribute air and moisture. Move the dry materials from the edges into the middle of the pile. Continue this practice until the pile does not re-heat much after turning.

8. Your compost will be ready in one to four months, but let the pile sit for two weeks before using.

Tools you may need:

• Pitchfork

• Square-point shovel or machete

• Water hose with a spray head

Indoor Composting

If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy or make yourself. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. Your compost should be ready in 2 to 5 weeks.

Build your own indoor bin:

1. Drill 1/2-inch diameter holes in the bottom and sides of a plastic garbage can.

2. Place a brick in the bottom of a larger garbage can, surround the brick with a layer of wood chips or soil, and place the smaller can inside on top of the brick.

3. Wrap insulation around the outer can to keep the compost warm and cover the cans with a lid.

What to compost:

• Animal ( cow or horse) manure

• Cardboard rolls

• Clean paper

• Coffee grounds and filters

• Cotton rags

• Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint

• Eggshells

• Fireplace ashes

• Fruits and vegetables

• Grass clippings

• Hair and fur

• Hay and straw

• Houseplants

• Leaves

• Nut shells

• Sawdust

• Shredded newspaper

• Tea bags

• Wood chips

• Wool rags

• Yard trimmings

Leave Out & The Reason Why Not To Use

• Black walnut tree leaves or twigs

o Releases substances that might be harmful to plants

• Coal or charcoal ash

o Might contain substances harmful to plants

• Dairy products (e.g., butter, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, yogurt)

o Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies

• Diseased or insect-ridden plants

o Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants

• Fats, grease, lard, or oils

o Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies

• Meat or fish bones and scraps

o Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies

• Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)

o Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans

• Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides

o Might kill beneficial composting organisms

Did You Know That Compost Can...

• Suppress plant diseases and pests.

• Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.

• Promote higher yields of agricultural crops.

• Facilitate reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by amending contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils.

• Cost-effectively remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste.

• Remove solids, oil, grease, and heavy metals from stormwater runoff.

• Capture and destroy 99.6 percent of industrial volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in contaminated air.

• Provide cost savings of at least 50 percent over conventional soil, water, and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable.

What Can Compost Be Used For?

• Farmers use compost for enhancing crops and for sod farms.

• Landscapers use compost as a soil amendment and for decorative purposes at properties, golf courses, and athletic fields.

• Landfill operators use compost to cover landfills and carry out reclamation projects.

• Nurseries use compost for enhancing plant and forest seedling crops in reforestation projects and to prevent certain plant diseases such as root rot.

• Public agencies use compost for landscaping highway median strips, parks, recreational areas, and other public property and remediating contaminated or eroded sites.

• Homeowners use mature compost to enrich gardens, improve the soil around trees and shrubs, use as soil additive for house plants and planter boxes and as a protective mulch for trees and shrubs.

Happy Recycling!!!

~Eco Monday Tip~

Glass Jars and Glass Containers.... How do you use them?

As an avid Food Preserver I have glass jars in large amounts everywhere! I have also found many other uses for them. The mason Jars are thick and durable and have many uses!
  • Canning
  • Freezing soups/Broth
  • Storing Herbs
  • Storing Dehydrated fruits
  • Vases
  • Display around the house
  • Homemade liquors
  • Homemade Candles
How about all those other fancy cute glass products! Some with spouts, differnt sizes, fat ones, skinny ones and of course the unique looking ones.

  • Making Simple Syrups
  • Vinegars
  • Liquors
  • Salad Dressings
  • Bath Salts
  • Sugar Scrubs
  • Cotton Balls

The possibilites for uses or endless!

How about large glass containers?
Currently I am using them to cure olives.
  • Terrariums
  • Sugar/Flour
  • Candy Jar

What do you use your glass jars and special glass containers for? Share your thoughts with me!

Happy Recycling!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

~Eco Monday Tip~

What to use those old metal trays for! Use them around your house as a magnet board. Put one in the kitchen ,by the front door or in your childs room. Use the board by your stove to hold recipe cards as you cook. Put import to-do-lists and important papers under a magnet by the door so you always remember what you need! Another fun thing for children learning the ABC's or learning to read, by the alphabet magnets and they can use the tin tray for practice!

Happy Recycling!

Thursday, October 1, 2009



I have chosen a winner & one of my children helped me decide! Everyone submited some great ideas! Drum roll please........

The winner is.......Mangocheeks!

Here is what she submitted!

Hi Jenn,

I was going to share this idea with yourself and your readers a little while ago, but did not get round to submitting it, but the temptation of getting a book - well how can I resist, it would be a bonus.


This is a picture of the recycled item! (I borrowed the pic from her blog)

Sadly this idea is not mine. One of my fellow veg growers at the allotment made this dog out of recycled wellies inspired by one he saw exhibited at a Glasgow Musuem. Check out the link to my blog.

I think you and your readers will adore Welly woof woof. If you or anyone you know has access to a number of wellies (those that children have outgrown) this recycled piece would be loved by all who see it.

I will write about your contest on my blog before this week is out.
She has a wonderful blog all about her gardening plot and makes some delicious food. She also pots pictures of her country. Its like a vacation to visit her blog and I never have to leave home! She was even nice enough to post my contest on her blog!
My goal now is to recrate this adorable little pup for my own garden. My take me some time to come up with some good ol' rubber boots!

Congratulations Mangocheeks!
Email me at 4bratz2luv@gmail.com so I know where to mail your Recycled Book!

Monday, September 28, 2009

~Eco Monday~

Buckets (5-Gallon)

Use as an upside down Tomato planter (like topsy turvey)

Fill partially with soap and water and use when washing your car.

Use as a garbage can for the basement or garage.

Use when picking apples, pears, etc.

Use for storage of items when camping (it is semi animal-proof). Be sure to secure the lid.

Put a chair pad on to and use it as a seat.

Use as a muck bucket for horses.

Use for collection when weeding the garden. When the bucket is full, transfer the weeds to a compost pile.

Use as flower outdoor flower pots.

Fill clean buckets with water for your dogs when they are outside in the summer. When the water gets dirty, use it to water the plants.
Use as a chicken feeder. Drill holes in bottom of bucket so food can fall out. Place bucket on large old shallow bowl. Fill  bucket as needed, secure lid when food is in bucket.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"The Brighter Planet Blog"

Today as I was on Twitter I came across a contest that someone posted! I read all the terms and thought why not! So many of us are trying to be sustainable and change our ways! The more we can change, the better off our planet will be. I try very hard in my daily life to buy fresh organic produce (if im not already growing it) and meat from local farmers that are grass fed and organic. I try to find places within 100 miles of me. I shop many differnt Farmers Markets and am always searching for Farms (meat,produce & orchards). I feel this helps my local econmy,lowers my carbon footprint drasticly and creates better food for my family.

I think I will be entering the part of the contest On Food Sources! Heres the following options in that catagory!

Get in touch with your hunter/gatherer roots

 Grow your own food

 Support grocers with sustainable practices

 Shop at the farmers’ market and join a CSA

Support restaurants with sustainable practices
I cant decide between Growing your own food or Shop at Farmers Markets. What do you think? I would be intrested in your feedback! I thought if I did Growing your own food I could Incorporate my Recycling Garden Ideas and how I create my food and how it lowers my Carbon footprint.
I hope that some of you enter the contest!

If you win you could get this...

•The top 5 entries – 1 in each category – will be awarded an Amazon Kindle DX e-reader and a $100 gift certificate to load it with cookbooks.
•The top sustainable cooking experiences will be featured online by Brighter Planet and partners.

•The top entries in each category will receive cooking prizes such as sustainable kitchenware and cookbooks and get credit for their experience on Brighter Plant website.

•Random prizes will be awarded to a striking entries of our choice.

Im excitied to enter this contest! Wish me luck! I will keep you updated as to what I might do! Dont forget to give me your input! If you are a reader of both of my blogs, give me your thoughts about what catagory I should enter under. I think you as the readers would know what you like best about what I write! Thanks and dont forget to enter my Recycled book contest!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

~Eco Monday Tip~

Egg Cartons!

Egg cartons and their many uses! I always keep the cartons my eggs come in. The uses for them are endless.
You can start seedlings in them. Use them to hold fresh eggs from your chickens. They can be used for crafts, holders when dying easter eggs, fire starters or sorting nuts and bolts in large tool boxes.

~Seedling Pots~
Poke small hole in bottom of each egg cup (for drainage).

Fill each egg cup ¾ full with potting soil.

Plant a seed in each egg cup.

Water, put in sunny window ; continue to water when dry. Watch plants grow! (They will need to be transplanted to the garden or bigger pots when they outgrow their pots.)

~Fire starters~
Fill the paper egg cartons with dryer lint.

 Pore melted wax over the lint.

You can tear apart the sections and use for fire starters when you are camping, or in your fire place.

 I use left over candle pieces for the melted wax. You could also use old crayons.

~Egg Carton Ladybugs~

Heres something I saw on the internet that I thought would be cute to make with your lil ones! It looks like a fun craft for when spring arrives!

From what I can see from the picture, All you would need is paint,Fuzzy craft balls, pipe cleaners & googly eyes! I love all the differnt colors. You can even make these and put them in your lil ones Easter Baskets. How cute would they look in the baskets of grass.


Heres a cute idea for Halloween to do with the kiddos also!

If you are feeling really strongly about the Triple R's, you can build your own furniture! I found this picture while doing research on the internet. I thought it was pretty cool.

Happy Recycling!

Friday, September 18, 2009

~Recycled Book Contest~

If you are like me, you have a ton of Gardening Books and maybe even Cookbooks. Everyone I know is always giving me these types of  book's, which I love and will always except.
Here's a Recycling tip for those who dont want their old books anymore. Dont leave them on the shelf and PLEASE do not throw them away. Recycle those bad boys. Many High Schools will take gardening and cooking books for their Agriculture classes and Home economics classes. You can give your books to a retierment community or have a book sale. You can also donate to your library or give away an old book on your blog in a contest.

Which brings me to my first RECYCLED BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!! The book I am giving away is this one!

I have 2 copies of this book and I am letting one go! Its called "Welcome Home For The Holidays" Its a Gooseberry Patch Book. This particular book has alot of Fall and Winter Ideas!

The contest!
1.You must submit a reply to this blog!
2.Your reply must share a recycled tip not already posted on my blog!
3. Share my Blog and Contest with a friend! Have your friend post a comment and say that you told them about the contest.

I will announce the winner on October 1, 2009. Just in time for you to have this great book for Fall/Winter
 I will pick the winner on the best submitted Recycling Tip! Be creative! I will also write a blog about your idea and try your idea myself!

Good Luck!
Happy Recycling!

Monday, September 14, 2009

~Eco Monday~

Ever wonder what to do with faucet handles from your outdoor faucets! I have a wonderful idea for those of you who love garden art and windchimes. At the Auburn County Fair today, they had on display a faucet handle wind chime! They used old faucet handles, some small springs & a chain to withstand the weight. What an intresting way to liven up a garden space! Absolutly adorable and so very creative! You can use many differnt colored ones and it makes a beautiful piece of art for any gardener! I cant wait to start collecting faucet handles to make my own windchimes! What a great way to Re-use this item. Another fantastic way of Recycling and keeping these little items out of the landfill!
Happy Recycling!

Monday, September 7, 2009

~ Eco Monday ~

Why Recycle?

Batteries power many parts of our lives from our mobile phones all the way to our hybrid automobiles. Responsibly recycling these batteries saves natural resources and protects human health through reuse of reclaimed materials and by keeping heavy metals out of landfills and water supplies.
Most Radiology departments in hospitals now a days have little bins to recycle them in.
There are many great web sites that have kits. These kits give you great information and help you get started.
Heres a great place to check out! http://www.batteryrecycling.com/
Its very easy to do! Check your local listings for places near you. If you have school aged children get them involved too. Have them start a Battery drive at school. Its great for the enviroment!
Also, invest in rechargable batteries, its not as expensive as you may think. Honestly you are saving money in the long run!
Heres a link for Residental homes! http://www.batteryrecycling.com/residential  They will send you a kit to get started and the shipping is free! So sign up now!
Happy Recycling!

Compost Bin!

Its Finished! Here is my new Compost Bin made from wood pallets. I placed this one next to my chicken coop. That way I dont have to travel half way across the backyard to dispose of the chicken poo when I clean out the cage! Not so fun droping it everywhere!
I have already added some compost to my new bin today! Some wonderful Rabbit poo, Chicken Poo, Veggies, Egg Shells, Newspaper,Leaves & Coffee Grounds! My new compost bin is on its way. Will be adding much more in the next couple of days!
Happy Recycling!

The new Chicken Condo!

My new Chicken Condo is finally done! Im happy to report, my chickens love their new home! Everything used in their new home is stuff I picked up in junk piles or stuff I already had!
This is an old cabinet that was sitting in our backyard not being used. I had my wonderful hubby cut part of the back out. This way the chickens could use the shelves to nest on and sleep. I even had him give them a little ramp, so they could get up and down easily. On the other side is a door that latches. This gives me easy access to eggs and to change the hay out periodicly.
Heres a little bit of the progress my son and hubby made. They made a frame using wood from old wood 
pallets. They also re-used pieces of wood from the old coop too. Are chicken coop has a shaded area and a sun roof area. This way they have more sun to bask in, yet they still have shade when they want it!
We also have an old metal ladder inside that was givin to us (its not sturdy enough for people use) So it became part of the frame. Which is great for the chickens! Each end of the ladder has places they can perch on, one side in shade the other in sunshine. We also have a long branch in the middle for them to perch on as well. We have a green plastic mesh that went around my garden for the roof! This is temporary! Some time this week im getting some free chicken wire from a friend. So the chicken wire will replace the plastic mesh. There chicken area is about 14 feet long & 6 feet wide. Lots of room.
Here they are enjoying there new space! They got a special snack of Crab Apples filled with worms.
Heres all my babies! They will still get there 5-6 hours of release in the backyard daily. But, in our area they have to be in a coop at night!
As you can see, you can make many things by re-using what you have on hand!
Happy Recycling!