Glass Dharma, one of our favorite companies that makes sustainable, beautiful glass drinking straws is hosting another promotion and they are GIVING AWAY 1,000 free glass straws to celebrate Earth Day (Tuesday April 22 2014) for their 6th Annual Earth Day event! The following is a press release from Glass Dharma:In celebration of Earth Day 2014, GlassDharma will give away 1000 free Glass Straws during the month of April. This annual tradition highlights GlassDharma’s mission to increase glass straw use and awareness about alternatives to single use plastics. This is the 6th annual Earth Day event, and GlassDharma is excited to celebrate with you in style, with the elegance of glass! Our 2014 Earth Day giveaway features a “Plastic is Drastic” educational campaign, welcoming you into the conversation of how to be the “Pollution Solution” with plastic trivia. To find out how you can qualify for your free glass straw, please subscribe to the GlassDharma e-newsletter. Check your inbox on February 18th for the GlassDharma Newsletter with complete details and instructions. Make a Difference “Disposable” plastics have a large impact on our environment and this Earth Day you can learn how easy it is to make different choices to sustain our Planet. GlassDharma’s Earth Day trivia activity will go live on March 10th. After completing that activity, participants will complete a form with information about where to send their glass straw, and will receive a confirmation email at the conclusion of the entry process. The first 1000 participants will receive a free GlassDharma straw! Starting on April 1st, 2014, Glass Straws will be shipped out of Fort Bragg, California for the duration of the month. No shipping charges will be applied to these free straw shipments. This offer is good in the USA only. Inspiring others by example makes a lasting impact that multiplies over time. When you get your straw, show it off! GlassDharma Straws are Durable, Sustainable, and Elegant The GlassDharma Quality Control department ensures the quality of each and every straw. Offering an unprecedented lifetime guarantee, GlassDharma stands behind their product and promises that if it breaks, it will be replaced. GlassDharma straws are made from borosilicate glass, the safest and strongest glass commercially available; they are even dishwasher and microwave safe. Garnish your Glass GlassDharma straws not only replace their plastic and toxic counterparts, but their beauty and style lend to compliments and conversation.
- Great for all hot or cold drinks
- Perfectly stage specialty drinks – bubble teas, iced drinks, shakes, smoothies, and juices
- Beautiful in cocktails – great accessory for stemware and martini glasses
- Concerned about staining or damaging your teeth? Use for wine, coffee, teas, and acidic beverages
- Kid friendly and safe
- Easy to Clean with our cleaning brushes or in the dishwasher
- Elegance at its best
In case you have not heard, our bee populations are in big trouble. Experts from around the world have been reporting on declining bee populations across the world, and the disappearance of our winged friends. Bee populations help pollinate the majority of our food crops around the world, and without bees pollinating our crops, our grocery stores would look very different indeed. Research has shown that GMO agriculture is affecting the bees, as is overuse of pesticides in conventional agriculture. One of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen was the hand-pollinating of apple trees in China, where there has been so much overuse of pesticides that the bees have simply disappeared. Watch the film More than Honey if you can!
There are lots of ways to help solve the bee problem: eliminate GMO agriculture to create safe, natural crops for our pollinators, reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides in agriculture and homes, and support bees to help them thrive. Grow native flowers and fruits to inspire the bees to visit your ‘hood, and try to keep some bees of your own to support their populations. And, always buy local honey to support the hard work of those bees already in your area!
To learn more about the state of our bee population, check out this great reposted article from our sister site, Eat. Drink… Better!Colony Collapse Disorder: It’s a biodiversity thing. (via http://eatdrinkbetter.com)
Bee expert Dave Hunter did an open Q&A on colony collapse disorder and shared some eye-opening insights. Are you guys familiar with Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything?” It’s basically a space where celebrities and experts can have an open conversation…
We’re big fans of natural healing here at Green Living Ideas. There are so many wonderful cures found in seeds, roots and leaves! Best of all, these cures don’t have nearly as many side effects (or corporate interests!) as regular pharmaceuticals.
One of the most powerful natural medicinals is turmeric. It’s a root related to ginger, smaller in size and orange in color. Most famously, turmeric is used to help with inflammation, but it can also help with digestive issues, helps improve eyesight and leads to clear, healthy skin. It’s easy to grow too: check out our how to grow ginger post to learn more!
Recently on Green UPGRADER I wrote a lengthy post about the many health benefits of turmeric. Click through to read why Chinese, Indian (Ayurvedic) and Hawaiian traditional medical practices all consider turmeric to be one of the worlds most important medicinals.
All this ice and snow got you thinking about planning your springtime garden? Whether you are planting in the ground or undertaking container gardening, these 16 plants will be easy to grow. Most of them grow in a range of climate zones and will do well in ground in even in small containers. Choose plants that you want to eat and that will add variety and joy to your life. Always choose organic plants and organic pest control methods when possible, and delight in fresh, as-local-as-possible produce.
Best 16 Plants for Your Home Garden
- Pumpkins: Choose your favorite squashes or pumpkins (really the same thing, just depends on the region where it’s grown!); they need some space to climb but will produce prolifically.
- Basil: One of our favorite herbs! Not only is basil super beautiful and found in a myriad of colors and flavors, it’s an excellent addition to all you meals. Try making homemade pesto or this SuperGREEN salad with your homegrown basil.
- Ginger and Turmeric: Not only are ginger and turmeric super potent medicainals (read about the health benefits of ginger and turmeric), they are gorgeous plants that can be grown with little space. Add some tropical flair to your garden with these plants! Read here some tips for growing ginger easily!
- Garlic: Yes, the stinking rose, can be grown in your garden! Read here some tips and planting guides for home grown garlic.
- Lettuce: Lettuce is infinitely versatile and with so many varieties of this ubiquitous salad green it’s hard not to love it! Lettuce is one of the 15 plants that can grow in the shade too, to help you make the most of your garden.
- Peas: few things are cuter than pea shoots! These climbers will produce edible shoots and pods in the early spring. Use in salad or as garnishes.
- Kale: It’s not secret that kale is my most-loved vegetable for the kitchen and the garden. Even in the smallest plots I’ve been able to grow prolific amount of this hearty brassica plant. Lacinato, curly and Red Russion are the most common varieties, but experiment with them all. And here our favorite kale recipes if you need some cooking inspiration!
- Thyme: This fragrant herb is great for newbie gardeners. It’s a perennial, drought tolerant, hardy, and endlessly easy to use in the kitchen. This is a plant best purchased rather than grown from seed, and works in pots or in the ground. Use the tiny flavorful leaves in soups, salads, eggs or in fancy homemade cocktails.
- Collards: like kale, collards are in the brassica family and are wonderfully nutritious and delicious in the kitchen. Use them lightly sauteed anywhere you’d use kale or spinach, or use the leaves whole as healthy wraps for your raw meals.
- Parsley: Often used as a garnish, parsely is in fact a deliciously nutritious herb that can be a main ingredient in your salads, juices and meals. In fact, it’s one of the few herbs that helps detoxify your body naturally, so get growing today! It’s hardy and easy to grow, and it’s a lovely plant to have around!
- Radish: Radish might not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but once you see these beauties grow it will be hard to resist. Bright pink, red, purple or white radishes and light greed edible leaves ensure that you’ll fall in love with them all over again!
- Passionfruit: This tropical beauty may not fruit in all climates, but it’s curly-cue tendrils and rapid growing rate will please most any gardener!
- Nasturtiums: a edible leaf and edible flower means nasturtiums are a love addition to your edible garden.
- Chives: A softer, sweeter member of the onion family, chives grow 6-8 inches high and have a very mild onion or garlic flavor. As a bonus they produce cute flowers are small mauve-pink and grown into a ball-like shape at the end of a strong stem rising above the plant’s leaves.
- Sage: Another beautifully fragrant herb, sage is great is soups, pastas and, if you are feeling classy, cooked in some brown butter. It’s strongly flavored and a little goes a long way. Easy to grow, nearly pest resistant and pretty!
- Mint: Who can argue with the fresh, clean flavor of mint? It has a tendency to creep around the whole garden, so do keep an eye on it. Make mint tea if there is a mint takeover!
Green Living Ideas is part of a funny project that allows bloggers all over the world to be involved in a large-scale Bingo game. To that end, we’ve created this adorable little video and the subsequent list of our favorite plants for your home garden to inspire you to get your green on!
Green Living Ideas would like to thank Content Amp for sponsoring this post.
This press release from Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) shares the great news that the potential for geothermal energy is largely untapped in the largest state in the United States. That’s good news for renewable energy sectors and bad news for the fossil fuel industries. And according to Planetsave there is still a lot of potential for US geothermal energy, so who knows what will be found in the next few years.
And no doubt, this is a super lucrative business to continue looking into as geothermal energy is expected to garner $278 million in health and environmental benefits!
GEA is is a trade association comprised of U.S. companies that support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. GEA advocates for public policies that will promote the development and utilization of geothermal resources, provides a forum for the industry to discuss issues and problems, encourages research and development to improve geothermal technologies, presents industry views to governmental organizations, provides assistance for the export of geothermal goods and services, compiles statistical data about the geothermal industry, and conducts education and outreach projects. For more information, please visit their website, subscribe to GEA’s newsletter here, follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Sacramento, CA (February 20, 2014)—As the California Air Resources Board is examining their new scoping plan for implementing the state’s ambitious climate law, AB 32, the leading geothermal industry group has issued a status report on the state’s geothermal resources that says they are still largely untapped.
Geothermal power is “a viable, cost effective, and plentiful renewable energy option to meet California’s climate goals,” GEA told CARB. Utilizing the Golden State’s geothermal resources can help achieve “carbon reductions with the least total cost and highest power system reliability,” GEA reports.
In brief, the status report shows that:
- Geothermal power generated 4.4% of total system power in California in 2012, but could have generated substantially more;
- Geothermal power produces some of the lowest life-cycle emissions when compared to almost every other energy technology and even some renewables;
- Depending on the resource characteristics and plant design, geothermal power plants can be engineered to provide firm and/or flexible power;
- Even with high upfront capital costs, geothermal power is a competitive renewable energy source;
- About half of California’s identified geothermal resources are still untapped, and significant resources may remain undiscovered;
- Geothermal power is key to achieving an expanded renewable power portfolio at the lowest total cost;
- New technology will reduce geothermal power risks and can expand the supply curve to make more resources commercially available;
- The Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (SSKGRA) is considered by many to be the best opportunity for growth in California in the near term;
- Distributed generation geothermal power and heating projects have potential in a number of areas, but are not eligible for the type of support provided other distributed generation projects;
- Challenges to growth of utility scale plants include weak demand, inadequate transmission, permitting delays, and a lack of coordinated policies.
The full report, entitled REPORT ON THE STATE OF GEOTHERMAL ENERGY IN CALIFORNIA, is available at www.geo-energy.org.
Image is the Bumpass Hell hydrothermal area, Lassen Volcanic National Park, photo from Shutterstock
How do you start a revolution? Simply look around you are see what issues need to be solved, and figure out how you can be a part of the solution. Does this seem simplistic? Absolutely. But is it doable? Of course!
Entrepreneurs of all ages are creating jobs everyday to address pressing challenges of today, like excess waste, dependance of fossil fuels and lack of meaningful employment by turning to self-sufficiency and exploring the ways in which we can help our own communities thrive. For Jesse Dubois, the decision to make change happened after returning home from college and trying to figure out the rest of his life. His vision: create urban gardens that will supply food for the city; gathering dinner from outside one’s window; mobile farmers help us grow our own at home and sell vegetables throughout the neighborhoods. To have vegetable deliver be as ubiquitous as mail carriers. And so, Farmscape was born. Working with some local friends and is helping to envision a new Los Angeles (California).
The goal of Farmscape is to re-farm the city of LA. They seek to tear out yards and replace them with fertile, nutritious vegetables. In the TEDx talk with DuBois, he notes his inspiration as the country of Cuba, which began a massive change in food infrastructure following the collapse of the USSR and their oil imports. In the same way that Cuba re-farmed the nation, so too can American cities. Check out the inspiring TEDx video below to learn more about Farmscape and the future of food in LA.
What do you think is the future of food growing? How can your city begin working towards a better food experience?
Many of us live in areas with decidedly poor indoor air quality. While we often think of countries like China and Indonesia as being the worst, cities in the United States and the UK are not really much better (and here’s an app to find out what your ozone looks like today). While big changes need to be made regarding fossil fuel use and emissions, there is something that we can all do to help improve our INDOOR air quality. Not that one is more important than the other, but indoor air quality is something you can fix really easily (and usually inexpensively) which can make a big difference for your health.
From our archives we have some great tips for improving indoor air quality (IAQ):
- Turn on hood fans when cooking to help expel fumes. Cooking, especially on a gas stove, releases chemicals that can contaminate the air, such as carbon monoxide. Use the fume hood fan when cooking and make sure it is vented directly outside the house.
- Turn on the exhaust fan when showering to limit moisture build up. Run the bath fan during showers to remove
the heat and humidity; if you don’t have a bathroom fan, a small portable fan will do the trick. And keep the shower curtain or bathtub sliding door open after bathing to increase air circulation.
- Clean regularly to prevent dust, dirt, and pet-hair accumulation. A clean house is a healthy house (please tell my boyfriend this!). Every day, dirt and dust collect in our home. We track it in on our feet and shed it from our clothes and skin. These particles can become airborne, contributing to the pollutants and biological contaminants in the air. Regular cleaning can help limit the problem.
- Install low emitting furniture and finishes.New or recently installed building materials and furnishings can emit
volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Look for products that are certified for low chemical emissions, and open windows when using paints, adhesives, sealants, and other materials that tend to offgas during installation. This is especially important for a healthy bedroom.
- Use cleaning products that do not emit chemicals into the air. Many products used to wash floors, countertops, and windows can offgas toxic or irritating chemicals. Avoid dangerous chemicals by selecting products that are certified for low levels of chemical emissions.
- Open windows to allow fresh air into your space. To achieve energy efficiency, we seal up our buildings and tend to keep our windows shut, trapping pollutants inside. From time to time, it’s good to open the windows and allow fresh air to move through our spaces, flushing out any stale or polluted air.
- Maintain your HVAC filters as instructed. Check, clean, or replace furnace and air filters regularly, at least every two months. Consider installing a “high efficiency particulate” (HEPA) filter.
And finally, one of the best things you can door for you indoor air quality is to bring some plants into your home. There are lots of types of plants that you can grow in the limited lighting of the home or office. And don’t worry you don’t have to do the work. Look for the best indoor plant hire service in your area to help you plan your bountiful home greenery. Here is our GLI list of 10 Houseplants that clean the air, and here’s another list of edible plants that help clean your air and flavor your kitchens with goodness!
What’s your favorite way to keep your air clean?
Window image from Shutterstock
It’s time for a revolution in the food supply chain.
BrightFarms, Inc has just announced a big step forward for their business. In this article from Clean Technica, we learn that BrightFarms has been working hard to make our supermarket produce more sustainable, more nutritious, and more delicious. By growing food on the roof of supermarkets, BrightFarms is able to increase the efficiency of the supermarket supply chain, decreasing dependance on fossil fuels for transport, reducing food waste and better tasting food. BrightFarms works to build turn-key farms for neighborhoods. They build the facility, manage the operation and cultivate the farmers in the area, and all the supermarket has to do is simply agree to purchase the fruits and vegetables from the roof. This cuts costs, helps urban agriculture, and improves our veggies. Sounds like a win-win-win.
In a recent TEDx talk, BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot asked the audience to visualize the best-tasting tomato they had eaten in the last year. Then he asked everyone who had purchased it in a supermarket to raise their hands…
What better way to encourage more renewable acceptance than having kids learn about it at an early age? This great program works with kids across the United States in 2014, including some international events. According to this article from Sustainablog, KidWind has developed an impressive array of educational programming both for science educators wanting to introduce their students to renewable energy, and for students themselves. The KidWind Challenge, the organization’s signature program, gives students a chance to compete in building small, working wind turbines. KidWind plans to host 35 of these programs across the United States in 2014, as well as two international events.
Have you ever worked with KidWind or similar projects? Would you child be interested in a project like this?
Originally published on Sustainablog. I’ve been passionate about educational programs for sustainability from sustainablog’s earliest days, so I wasn’t surprised at all to discover that I’d written about Minneapolis-based educational company…
There are dozens of ways to enjoy sustainable living: making your home more energy efficient, cutting out toxins in your body care products and making changes into your daily life that depend less on fossil fuels and more on natural sources. This lovely infographic helps you find some solutions for your eco-friendly home. Infographic courtesy of EcoSmart Fire.
Post this on your site (Embed Code):
This year marks the end of incandescent light bulbs. It is not illegal for retailers to sell them or for you to purchase them. But, they can no longer be manufactured or imported into the United States. For many of us who believe in green living, we say, “Good riddance!” Over the short lifetime of an incandescent light bulb, you would use five to ten times the original price of the bulb in electricity. Energy efficient bulbs like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) have revolutionized the lighting industry. We will take a closer look at these two efficient bulbs.
Compact Fluorescent Lights
When it was decided in 2007 that it was time to do away with incandescent light bulbs, many believed that CFLs would become dominant due to the high price and impracticality of LEDs. CFLs are still wildly popular and less expensive than LEDs, but it looks like they may just be a stepping stone on the way to LED dominance.
There are a lot of benefits to CFL light bulbs. Here, we will focus on five of them:
- High quality lighting – Originally, CFLs gave off a “cool white” color that seemed only appropriate for a morgue. The newer CFLs have improved on this quite a bit giving off an inviting and warm light.
- Less expensive – Compared to incandescent bulbs, you save $45 over the course of the CFL’s life. Here’s five other ways to save energy at home!
- Versatile – CFLs work anywhere incandescent lights are used.
- Reduced water and air pollution
- Efficiency – Compared to incandescent bulbs, CFLs are four times more efficient.
Light Emitting Diodes
By clustering the small LED bulbs, manufacturers have expanded their uses. Today, they are available in clusters of 180 or more and can be found with standard bases to fit in household fixtures. LEDs are the future of home lighting. In the last few years, engineers and researchers have worked to make the lighting characteristics of LEDs match what consumers are used to. Plus, the prices have gone down. Some other benefits:
- LEDs last ten times as long as CFLs
- LEDs use less than 33 percent of the amount of electricity CFLs use
- Since they are energy efficient, LEDs run cool
- Bumping and jarring will not affect LEDs, unlike incandescent bulbs with their fragile filaments
- Great for use off the grid or in other remote areas due to the low power needs
As you can see, LEDs and CFLs are both great alternatives to incandescent bulbs. However, LEDs are king. If you are interested in extending your need to live green to your light bulb choice, 1lightbulbs.com is a great resource. They have the widest selection of affordable energy efficient lighting on the internet.
Green Living Ideas would like to thank 1lightbulbs.com for sponsoring this post.
There are so many things wrong with our food system: massive food recalls, false advertising, miracle weight-loss pills and more. And everyday we learn more about how our corporate food structure is damaging the planet and harming our bodies in the process. But we can step away from all of that– everyday we have a chance for our own food revolution.
In neighborhoods, cities and communities across the world, people are coming together to build a more just, more sustainable food system. Activists are fighting against corporate takeover of our food supply, artisans are returning to oldways food production like fermenting, brewing and canning, and farmers are sprouting fields to inspire people young and old to eat more vegetables. One film that captures this excitement is Edible City: The Movie. Though the company is currently seeking distribution, you can watch the film below on YouTube. The film documents a broad spectrum of activists, organizations and inspired citizens and shows how everyone can get involved in transforming our food system.
Edible City introduces a diverse cast of extraordinary and eccentric characters who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system. The movie digs deep into their unique perspectives and transformative work – from edible education to grassroots activism to building local economies — finding hopeful solutions to monumental problems. Check out their website to to learn more about the film and the movement.
“People are already seeing that the system [as is] isn’t working. But there are other models out there to make our food system more socially just, more economically viable, more environmentally sound, and more important, more resilient.”
Traveling is a fun, adventurous way to explore new things and meet new people. Many people believe traveling involves a lot of expenses, and traditional ways of travel can harm the environment. Luckily, there are a number of ways to experience travel and leisure time that are not only more friendly to your pocket, but more friendly to the environment too!. Whether you’re heading south to ﬁnd some tropical warmth during the winter season, or just going a few hundred miles away- these tips can help you be budget and environmentally friendly.
1. Use Green Transportation
Back in the day, traveling meant loading up the station wagon and driving straight through to wherever you were heading. Now we know that cars and planes have a big carbon footprint. But there are a number of other ways to get to where you’re going. Riding your bike is a very adventurous option for physically ﬁt people who are going a few states or coast-to-coast. The number of cross-country bikers has increased dramatically over the last decade. Taking the train, sharing your car with other travelers and using public transportation as much as possible can help lower your environmental impact.
2. Environmentally Friendly Accommodations
While many hotels are working to lower energy consumption, the fact remains that a large hotel consumes way more energy than a local home. With websites such as airbnb.com and couch-surﬁng, ﬁnding local, small-scale accommodations is easier than ever. If you must stay at a hotel, ﬁnd one that is actively lowering energy consumption. You can also request that the staff not wash your sheets during your stay.
3. Eat and Shop Local
This is true all the time, but especially when you’re visiting someplace new. Particularly, if that someplace new is a developing country. Imports have a deleterious effect on developing nations and island nations, supporting the local economy by purchasing local foods, staying at locally owned bed and breakfasts or hotels, and purchasing locally made crafts are all wonderful ways to support local economies and limit the environmental impact of importation.
4. Volunteer On Your Vacation
A great way to give more purpose to your vacation is to volunteer at the many eco-centers developing around the world. Eco-tourism and volunteerism is becoming more and more popular, especially in South and Central America. This gives you and your family a wonderful opportunity to experience a new culture, learn some new things and have a lot of fun being with local peoples.
5. Limit Consumption
While on vacation it can be easy to adopt an extra-consumptive mindset, using justifications like, “I’m on vacation, what the heck” or other vague reasons to be excessive. Keeping a limited consumption mindset is a great way to lower your overall earth impact. Fun is in abundance if you step outside of the consuming mindset, you can ﬁnd a lot of service oriented ways to enjoy your vacation. And, if you want to save money, there are plenty of things to do that are free. Hiking, swimming, visiting local museums (on a free day) or just wandering through a new city are all exceptional ways to enjoy yourself without spending a dime or having any negative impact.
Traveling is such a wonderful way to experience the diverse world around us. It’s possible to do it without being destructive to the Earth. Following these tips can help you lower your overall carbon foot print and ensure budget-friendly, environmentally friendly activities for the whole family.
Suitcase image from Shutterstock
Ever wondered exactly what is pink slime? Jamie Oliver, charming British chef and passionate activist for real food, breaks down the process, legal here in the United States for rendering ‘unusable’ bits of meat, sinew and stuff after processing the animal, into food for school lunches. Not only is this process revolting to the core, this is a public health nightmare. Check out the video, which I found on Fit for Life.
In other, shockingly disgusting news, my favorite health care activist, Dr. Greger of Nutrition Facts.org recently recleased this video asking the question, what really is inside a fast-food burger? Surely most of us think that the burger at the restaurant is the meat from one cow, or at least from one farm. Turns out, the truth is scarier and grosser than you can imagine. In a recent medical journal study, it was found that only 5 billion burgers eat year and those burgers contain very little actual ‘meat.’ Instead, the burgers from the eight major fast food stores was found to have pretty high percentages of things like blood vessels, nerves and cartridge (but no brains). Watch the short video to see the percentage of meat in the burgers… But here’s a clue; Dr. Greger says that with such little meat, “They’re practically vegetarian!”
For the gardener who may be timid in regards to cooking and gardening in the front yard, a delectable and beautiful plant to consider is basil. Growing basil is delightful and easy; it can be direct seeded in the garden or started indoors in a seed flats to later be transplanted. And if you’ve no desire to start seeds, good garden centers, co-ops, or farmers at your local farmers market will likely have a selection of basils that are ready for you to transplant immediately into your garden.Direct seeding can be done into mid-summer for a late fall harvest. If starting indoors, plant seeds just below the soil surface 4-6 weeks before setting out. Be sure to keep the soil evenly moist for germination, and do not plant outside too soon as these are tender plants susceptible to light frost. You can grow basil outside in the garden or in various types of container gardening.
Be sure to “harden-off” seedlings before setting them permanently in the garden so that they get accustomed to winds, rain and the stronger light of the sun. If you should leave them out in the sun too long, the tender leaves will burn, and you will need to start over. Yet do not worry if this does happen, as it is a common experience for new gardener’s. An additional tip is to “pinch-back”stems to a leaf nodule to encourage branching in order to grow more leaves that can be used in immediate cooking, dried, used to flavor olive oil or to freeze into pesto for a winter time flavor-packed treat for tomato bisque soup.
Basil can be found in shades of green, purple, purple stems with green leaves and even one more chocolaty in color. Below are many of my favorite basils with some description of each variety.
1) Lettuce Leaf: light to medium green, large crumply like leaves of 3-4 inches long, with the plant growing from 18-24” in height. The plant is the largest basil I’ve yet grown. Although I love the large leaves to eat on top of French bread with a slice of fresh mozzarella and slices of fresh tomato or to make larger quantities of pesto, many prefer the stronger more defined classic basil flavor of Genovese.
2) Sweet Thai Basil: purple stem with medium sized 2 inch long lighter green shiny smooth-edged leaves . The plant that grows from 12-18 inches tall with lovely purple flowers. This spicy anise-clove scented plant is often used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.
3) Red Rubin: purple coppery colored medium to large 3 inch leaves may have edges with a bit of green, particulary if grown in more shady areas. The stem is purple as are the flowers. leaves are thinner and more delicately flavored than Genovese.
4) Cinnamon: similar to Sweet Thai in that the leaves are green with a violet stem, although violet will also be found in the veining of these medium length leaves. Flowers are violet colored and grows from 26-30 inches, although they will not grow so tall in shady areas. This basil has a cinnamon scent and a slight cinnamon flavor to add diversity to your culinary creations.
5) Holy Basil: these small to medium length green leaves grow on a plant that is used in the Hindu culture and Ayurveda. It is also commonly used in Thai teas and cuisine, as well as to aid digestion and to support the immune system. It grows to from 12-18 inches tall.
6) Genovese: medium to dark green leaves, the classic Italian basil growing from 18-24 inches tall. With a spicy flavor and larger leaves (though smaller than Lettuce Leaf) it also sports the classic basil scent that you dream of when stepping into an Italian eatery.
7) Spicy Bush: small leaved plant that can be more easily grown in a container with a height between 8-14 inches tall with a more rounded habit than other basils. Leaves are green and a small sweet flavor growing no more than 1 inch long.
Gardening, like many other endeavor’s, becomes easier with time and practice as knowledge and skill build. Growing basil is just one step along that flavorful gardening path.
If you think winter means you have to wash off that green thumb, think again. You can benefit from home-grown herbs all-year round with these amazing herbs that thrive indoors. Let them bask in the sunshine outdoors all summer long, and then bring them inside to a sunny window where they’ll continue to thrive from all your love and care. Growing plants indoors is a great way to enjoy fresh food and support really local sustainable agriculture and keep your home healthy and clean!
Here’s ﬁve of the best herbs to grow indoors:
1. Basil- This delicious herb is a wonderful addition to sauces, salads, and soups. With many varieties to choose from, it can be a great addition to your home. Start from seed in a medium sized container, and place in full sunlight in a south facing window. Make sure the soil drains well and water frequently.
2. Bay leaves- A must-have for any soup maker, bay leaves are very compatible to indoor growth. They have some speciﬁcations, however, such as requiring an adequate amount of air circulation. Place in an open room without anything boxing your plant in. Placing your bay leaf plant in either an East or West window is enough sunlight to nourish your plant.
3. Sage- A fragrant delicacy, Sage handles the dry air of winter indoors very well. She does require a large amount of sunlight, so be sure and place in a southern window. The best way to propogate your sage plant is by trimming the tips off of a mature plant. Parsley- This sweet-tasting culinary herb requests plenty of southern sun, but can also thrive in the East if you’re not too picky about how fast she grows. She needs plenty of room for her taproot to grow so use a nice deep container, and enjoy either ﬂat-leafed or curly-leafed parsley year round.
4. Thyme- This plant does well in either an East or West window, however, be sure not to water to frequently as the roots will rot with too much moisture. You can start Thyme from seed, or you can borrow a friends thyme plant, divide the roots and plant your share in fresh soil. Thyme is great in sauces, breads, and on top of pizza or pasta. Enjoy fresh vegetables, plants and herbs year round with these tips and support the local food movement for a more sustainable living experience on our beautiful Mother Earth.
Did you know that rivers exist in the air? Atmospheric rivers—the Amazons of the air—are vast and unbroken streams of wind that carry water vapor from tropical oceans, moving thousands of miles through the sky. Scientists discovered them in 1998, when they noticed that water vapor traveled from the tropics into mid-latitudes in narrow and intense bands of air. Atmospheric rivers are massive not only in their geographical extent, but in the amount of water vapor they transport. A typical atmospheric river is about 250 miles wide and one mile high, and carries as much moisture as seven to 15 Mississippi Rivers or one Amazon River. You may have heard of the Pineapple Express, a subset of atmospheric rivers originating in the waters near Hawaii that travels to the Pacific coast of North America.
Atmospheric rivers can rain themselves out over the oceans, but many travel over continents, bringing moisture. When atmospheric rivers sweep warm and moist air through a mountainous coastal area, such as the Coast Range and Sierra Nevada, air rises and cools and water vapor condenses into precipitation. Atmospheric rivers are one of the most important sources of precipitation, stream flow and flooding in the West Coast. The Sierra Nevada runoff is used for drinking water, agriculture and hydropower. California obtains one-third to half of its water supply from precipitation due to atmospheric rivers. Atmospheric rivers are also responsible for a great portion of wintertime extreme precipitation in the West Coast. They contribute 30 to 40 percent to the seasonal water equivalent, the amount of water contained within the snowpack. The amount of precipitation falling as snow or rain depends on air temperatures in the mountains; during winter, colder surface air temperatures increase the amount of snow accumulation. As far as scientists can tell, climate change affects atmospheric rivers in two opposing ways: in a warming planet, the difference in temperature between the poles and tropics is getting smaller, which can result in weaker storms. But, warmer air holds more water vapor, which can make atmospheric rivers even moister.
Today atmospheric rivers are easy to spot. Atmospheric rivers became visible to scientists when they started using microwave imagers in satellites. Microwaves are not absorbed by water vapor to the same extent as infrared radiation, facilitating their visualization. Despite their importance and impact, atmospheric rivers don’t generate as much publicity, evacuations or early-warning efforts. The scientific community is currently working on better understanding atmospheric rivers and the mechanisms to predict major weather events associated with them, to establish an emergency preparedness program.
Thanks as always to Earth Gauge for sharing the news!
Clouds image (featured image) from Shutterstock
Don’t listen to the pundits- the true cost of solar is much less than you’d expect. How much less depends on your region and the type of system, but especially if you calculate long-term and short-term costs, solar is a win-win. Our friends at Clean Technica shared this story recently and it details the hows and whys of the true cost of solar energy.
What have you found, readers? Did solar cost less or more than you had expected? What do you think is the future of solar?
http://youtu.be/KhVeJQKfsWs Below is an article I wrote a few months ago for CostofSolar.com — the story is essentially the same today. In order to bring even more attention to this matter, I also commissioned the above video through Solar Love &…
Bambu is one of our favorite sustainable businesses. Not only do they source great products and take good care of their workers, they produce really beautiful AND functional kitchen and home goods. Read more about Bambu here.
Bambu recently announced a corporate initiative to support honey bee research through its sponsorship of Oregon State University’s Honey Bee Lab, according to company president and co-founder Jeff Delkin.
“The Honey Bee Research Lab is making important inroads to understanding the complexities of maintaining healthy honey bee colonies,” Delkin said. “Honey bees are critical to healthy food systems. We’re sponsoring the lab to support its ongoing work— a great example of dedicated people working to build healthy eco-systems that benefit us all.”
OSU’s Honey Bee Research and Extension program focuses on honey bee health, nutrition, and pollination, servicing commercial beekeepers, backyard beekeepers, producers, and all citizens interested in bees. The lab is responsible for comprehensive analysis of honey bee health in the state of Oregon; evaluating effects of nutrition and pollen diversity on honey bee health; enhancing pollination efficiency of honey bee colonies in hard-to-pollinate crops; and development and support for the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program.
“Honey bees and other pollinators are critical for our food security and ecosystem. Currently honey bees are facing enormous challenges that need to be addressed soon to promote sustainable apiculture and pollination,” OSU Department of Horticulture professor Ramesh Sagili said. “The Honey Bee Lab is delighted to establish a partnership with Bambu to improve honey bee health.”
In addition to the financial support the company is contributing to the lab, Bambu has launched a Honey Bee Collection of products, which includes: an Organic Bamboo Honey Dipper, Honeycomb Bamboo Cutting Board, Bee Motif Coasters (set of four), and Hemp Denim Baby Bib.
With roots in Portland, Oregon, since 2003 Bambu has designed, developed and manufactured handcrafted, modern home products made from renewable materials such as bamboo, hemp, cork, coconut and soy. The company is headquartered in Shanghai, China, where it produces more than 150 different products in its own production workshop and partnering facilities, all of which are located close to their raw-materials sources. In 2013 Bambu opened a North American sales and customer service office in Portland. Its products are sold in more than a dozen countries through diverse retail distribution partnerships in the gift, kitchen, gourmet, grocery and hospitality market segments. The company is a member of Green America and its Green Business Network, and manufactures using organic sources certified by IMO Switzerland. A selection of Bambu’s products is USDA Biobased-certified.
After the warmth of summer and the crisp freshness of autumn, winter can come as a shock. Not only is it shocking on an emotional level, it can also shock the immune system. The dry air, excessive time indoors and the onset of a sedentary lifestyle can all break down a normally strong immune system.
There are plenty of things you can do to overcome this problem. Following these
tips will leave you confident that during seasonal transitions, you have a trusty toolbox full of ways to give your body the extra boost it needs during cold weather.
1. Use Immune-Boosting Herbs
Echinacea is the number-one immune boosting plant in my book. You can find more detailed information in our post here. This plant naturally increases immunity, and can be taken as a tincture or a tea. Other immune boosting herbs include stinging nettles, elderberries, astralagus, and peppermint. These herbs can be made into teas or into homemade tinctures.
2. Take Probiotics
According to researchers at Nutrition Journal, consuming probiotics has, “been shown to enhance immunity in humans.” You can find these naturally occurring bacteria in yogurt, kombucha, kefir or probiotic supplements. They work by enhancing productive bacteria in the gut, a place where anaerobic activity can really deteriorate the strength of the immune system. There are also probiotics available for little ones as well. Consider taking these especially if you become sick and need to take antibiotics.
3. Use a Humidifier
Dry air does treacherous things to nasal passages. Adding a little extra moisture to your home is an easy way to limit illness and keep immunity strong. If you don’t want to purchase a humidifier (which usually run about $25-$50), you can set a pot of water on the stove- just be careful to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t evaporate without your knowing. If you have a wood-burning stove, this is a great place to set a cast-iron tea kettle filled with water. Many humidifiers come with a little medicine tray, but instead of using synthetic ‘‘medicines’’ try using organic essential oils- lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint are all great during cold and flu season.
4. Avoid Over-Eating and Drink Plenty of Hot Water
Over-eating can cause troubles in the digestive system which is an important place to keep positive and productive for strong immunity. Avoiding excessive intake of heavy foods like dairy, coffee, processed foods and sugar is a great way to keep things top-notch. An Ayurvedic method for immunity enhancement involves drinking hot water to combat indigestion. Another remedy is to drink warm water with honey and lemon.
According to the National Institute of Health, “Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.” Don’t know how to exercise in the winter? It’s easy, just find a local gym and run the track a few times, ride a stationary bike or find a free aerobic exercise video on youtube. Yoga is another excellent way to keep your body in great shape during low immune seasons.
Above all, it’s important to stay in touch with your body, especially during the winter season. A little extra love in the form of warm, epsom salt baths, coconut oil massages and hot chamomile tea are simple ways to remind your loving body that you care, and the more love your body feels, the greater chances you’ll stay healthy through the whole winter season. Remember to also keep your mental and emotional body happy and healthy by engaging in regular, fulfilling social activities and enjoying sunlight whenever you can.
Tea image from Shutterstock