Saucy Gift Set for the Home Gardener

I don’t know about you, but when I’m shopping online, I look at customer reviews before I add anything to my shopping cart. Well, the reviews for the Grow Your Own Marinara Kit are pretty funny. While positive, there are some people who felt like the package needed something like a pretty pasta bowl or a recipe for marinara sauce in the box to really complete the package. I’ll tell you, I laughed. I mean, do bath salts tell you how to run water in the tub? Do yoga mats come with instructions on the proper asanas for relaxation? Uncommon Goods is really great about listing adorably named green products on their site. This one certainly isn’t the only product with a catchy name. The three items—a mini tomato plant, oregano, and basil—complement one another so well that it just makes sense for the kit to have a fun name. I suppose it could be called Grow Your Own Caprese Salad Kit, but then you know there would be someone out there wondering why there’s … Continued

Design Your Garden Using Seeding Square

A backyard garden sounds like the ideal family project for many of us, but figuring out exactly where to plant each crop in order to maximize its potential isn’t always the easiest task. Seeding Square, a very handy square foot gardening tool developed by Karl and Jennifer Pratt, could be the answer you are looking for. The Seeding Square not only increases the yield of average home gardens while decreasing the time it takes to plant fruits, vegetables and herbs; it also makes gardening a fun activity that all members of the family can participate in. How it Works The Pratts have done all of the hard work for you. To use the Seeding Square, start with the seeds you want to plant in your garden. The User Chart that is included in the seeding kit includes a color-coded listing of seeds that are most popular among home gardeners. If you pick a seed that is marked yellow in color on the chart, for instance, the yellow-ringed holes on the actual square piece of the … Continued

Get Rid of Pests and Weeds the Chemical-Free Way

I think we can all agree that chemical warfare sucks. I mean, things like anthrax, smallpox and sarin gas are nobody’s idea of fun. So why, I ask you, do we feel it’s okay to spread neurotoxic chemicals in our yard? Monsanto’s Roundup contains glyphosate, which has been associated with tumor-producing activity in lab animals, so the jury is still out on the potential carcinogenic properties of this chemical. Other brands contain 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, commonly abbreviated as 2,4-D. You know what that is? One of the primary ingredients of Agent Orange. I feel like there’s an “Apocalypse Now” joke in there somewhere, but this stuff is no laughing matter. If you’re like me and want a chemical-free yard and garden, here are some tips that will get you on the right track. DON’T TRY TO ACHIEVE A GOLF COURSE LAWN Perfectly manicured lawns come at a price and that price is often introducing toxic materials into the environment. Let a few of the “weeds” grow. They’re not hurting anything. Take clover (sometimes called microclover) for … Continued

7 DIY Recycled Bird Feeders

Invite your feathered friends into your garden this spring with these seven bird feeders you can make out of materials you might have otherwise thrown away or recycled – plastic bottles, milk cartons or scraps of wood. There’s a project here for everyone, regardless of your age or skill level; from young children and DIY novices to crafting pros who are handy with drills and hacksaws. 1. Soda bottle bird feeder A favorite of the elementary school classroom, the soda bottle bird feeder is a simple DIY project for bird lovers of all ages. After rescuing a 1-2 liter soda bottle from the recycling bin, look around your house or yard for two wooden spoons, dowels or twigs you can use for the project; these will create a place for the birds to sit while they eat. Then follow the instructions on to cut small holes in the bottle where you will insert the spoons or dowels; parents will need to help their kids with this step. Fill the bottle with bird seed, twist … Continued

5 Great Plants for the Office

Windowless cubicles and wacky watering schedules can bring most plant varieties to an early demise. Avoid getting stuck with a sad plant cemetery on your desk by choosing one of these air-cleaning, mood-boosting varieties that are also nearly impossible to kill.

Start Seedlings Off Right With Recycled Toilet Paper Rolls

Spring is in the air! It’s time to start getting some seeds sprouted and in the ground. One of our Facebook followers posed a question about using the cardboard rolls from toilet paper to start seeds for the garden. Jolie suggested it as a great activity to do with kids and I could not agree more. Not only is this a simple project, but you can also use it as a teaching tool with your kiddos. It requires a short list of supplies to construct the seed-starters, but you’ll need a few weeks to prepare depending on how much toilet paper your family goes through on a weekly basis. I’m sure you can also cut paper towel rolls in half to achieve the same effect, so keep that in mind too. Once you’ve collected all of your cardboard rolls, grab a pair of scissors and get started. Use the scissors to cut one to two-inch slits at one end of each cardboard tube. Some bloggers have stated that four cuts are best, while others suggest … Continued

Making Your Garden Beautiful With Used Coffee Grounds

I’ve always known that coffee is magical. Well, if not magical, then close to it. I’m a writer after all, and I’m pretty sure that writers uphold at least half of the coffee industry’s sales. But this also means that we dump tons of coffee grounds into the garbage on a daily basis. Now, coffee grounds by themselves are not bad for the environment—in fact, I’m going to tell you how to use them in your yard in a minute—but they do contribute to landfill bulk. Ever the social beverage, coffee mingles with other waste in stinky piles of trash to create methane, which we all know is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. So instead of just chucking the grounds into the garbage, try something a little different next time. When you’re done with your first pot of coffee of the day (oh, you only have one pot of coffee a day? … well, ok then), you will have a bunch of perfect mineral-rich grounds with which you can infuse greatness into … Continued

The “Greenest” Yard on the Block

The “Greenest” Yard on the Block After the brutal winter we have had, I personally have been looking forward to spring with the kind of childish enthusiasm that is usually reserved for Christmas morning, the arrival of a pizza delivery man, or even payday. I live in Texas, so spring is usually about four days of mild weather before we start hitting triple digit temperatures, but still, it’s exceptionally nice for those 4 days. With the change in weather comes the annual re-claiming of my yard from winter’s grasp, and let me just point out that I am not a fan of yard work. It is a necessary evil at best. Alas, in preparation for the improved weather I still broke out the old lawnmower, trimmer, chainsaw, edger, and hedge clippers. Then I fueled up and got to work.   Halfway through mowing my front yard my neighbor comes out from his side yard pushing a bright shiny new mower. Now as a Texan, and as a man, equipment envy is a terrible thing. I … Continued