Saturday, April 28, 2012

Change the World Wednesday - vegetable garden

 This week's challenge is from Gaby who says "Grow one vegetable. You can actually just buy a bag of soil, lay it down, cut it open, and plant seeds in it. No green thumb necessary!" With hints of warmer temperatures and flowers beginning to bloom, I think it's a perfect activity.

This week plant a vegetable or herb. And then, tell us what you decided to grow and where (your yard, a container, a pot on the window sill, etc.).

Or ...

If you are a gardening guru and plant veggies each year, please offer us any tips, ideas and advice. We'd like to know if you plant in containers or till the soil ... how do you fertilize your garden ... and what about keeping pests away. We want to know it all!

I love the challenge being hosted by Reduce Footprints this week.  Last year was the first year I attempted to grow any vegetables.  I just used pots on my deck because I didn't know how good I would be about keeping up with the vegetables and didn't want to go to the trouble of creating a spot in the yard and then not following through.  I did really well last year and the husband loved having a steady supply of tomatoes (the only thing I grew) so we cleared a spot last fall in hopes of have a garden this year.

Tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, and onions
Earlier this month, due to the unseasonable warm temps we have had, I went ahead and planted everything outside.   I planted tomato's, lettuce, spinach, and onions.  I accidentally bought too much lettuce and the onions was a huge bunch, I ended up running out of room in the garden.  Luckily all the pots I had used last year were still on the deck.  Now those pots are all full of lettuce and onions.  One pot has a tomato plant in it that was given to me a couple of weeks ago.  Two pots have strawberries. I had attempted the strawberries last year and gave it up for a lost cause but they came back!

I don't  really know what I'm doing and I don't know how much time I'll have to tend to the garden but I'm excited about it.  We didn't do anything special when creating the plot.  We just took up the grass, built the enclosure, and put some extra soil/dirt we had on top.   When I planted each plant I made the hole bigger than it needed to be and added in organic manure we bought at the store.  I have been working on composting but, well, that isn't going too well as I don't have any yet.

Lettuce and onions...2 strawberry plants thrown in
Oh..and we had to enclose the plot because our subdivision backs up to a state park and the deer love to hang out in the yard.  I'm hoping they don't jump the fence.  

While the focus is on vegetables, I wanted to show off my fruits.  Three years ago my sister gave me 2 very small cuttings from her blackberry bush.  I planted them along the fence that encloses our pool and I believe that year I had 5 pieces of fruit total.  I figured it would take awhile to really get a good crop though.  Last year it took off and I had a lot of fruit. I made blackberry desserts, ate a lot, and froze the rest.  In fact, I just used the last of the frozen blackberries in my smoothie yesterday (I make a smoothie for breakfast 1-2 times a week).   From the picture, you can see that it is huge this year!  The husband wants me to cut it back and I keep telling him I will after it fruits as that's the right time.  However I don't want to.  I like that it offers privacy for when we use the pool and love that it costs me absolutely nothing to maintane (except watering it sometimes) and gives me a ton of fruit I would otherwise buy as organic.

The two plants with tags are the blueberry plants
the one outside the fence is the raspberry
Since Husband has seen the benefits of having the blackberry bush, we planted other fruit bushes this year.  We planted two blueberry bushes and one raspberry.   The Raspberry bush is planted along the pool fence on the other side.  The hope is that eventually it will do just as good and the two plants combined will provide all the privacy we need while using the pool as well as keep costs down as far as buying all the fruit for desserts and smoothies year round.  The two blueberry bushes are actually planted in the landscaping inside the pool area.  We needed to get two more plants to finish the landscaping and thought..why not something useful.  I buy blueberries for my smoothies as well so it was a logical choice 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Change the World Wednesday - pick up trash

It's been awhile since I've been able to participate in Change the World Wednesday with Reduce Footprints but I'm glad to be back!  I love reading the other posts for this challenge and I like doing the challenges myself.  You never know what tips and tricks you'll pick up.

This week the challenge is to pick up trash you see as you take a walk or reflect on ways to reduce trash in your home.  Both of these are excellent!

I'm very happy to report that when we walk the dog every night we rarely see trash in our neighborhood. So glad the neighbors are good about keep their yards clean and picking up trash if they see it, or maybe people  in the neighborhood just aren't litter bugs..even better!

We live in a cul-de-sac and I noticed several months ago a couple of bottles in the middle circle where the landscaping is.  We have new neighbors with 3 teenage boys and I thought maybe it was there's. So for about a month I saw it every time we walked the dog and every time I got annoyed by it. haha!  I finally picked up the bottles and put them in our recycle bin. I should have done it right away but was hoping whoever left it would be responsible and pick it up themselves.  Oh well, the good thing is that it ended up being recycled by somebody.

I run at a local park every weekend and am happy to report that even though a lot of other runners use the park and use gel packs, etc, I rarely see any trash along the trails.  Go runners!

As far as ways to reduce trash, unfortunately we've had a lot of trash lately.   I hate it!  With the impending arrival of Baby Girl (3 weeks!!!) we've had to get her room ready and get everything that we need.  This means a lot of waste.  I've bought organic where I could but even organic items are packaged.  I have hated seeing so much waste go into the trash but haven't seen another option.

The best thing, however, is that we have bought as little as possible.  This might come back and bite me as I run out of something but we are both with the belief that we don't want to buy a ton.   We have also been incredibly lucky that my sisters have young kids and are both not planning to have any more.  This means that we have been able to borrow a lot from them.  I didn't have to buy any swings, we have a bigger one and then a smaller one that we'll use in the bedroom when Baby Girl comes home.  One sister just bought her youngest (he'll be 1 next month) a new car seat and since the infant seat was less than 5 years old we have both her bases and the seat.  In fact, as far as the bigger items most people register for, the only thing we needed was a stroller.  Not too bad!

Both of my sisters felt bad asking me if I wanted all their stuff and bringing it to me, thinking that with this being our first (and as far as Husband is concerned our only) that I would want all new, etc.  Not the case! I told them that I would take as much from them as I could. It not only saves us money but it keeps so much packaging and other waste from hitting the landfills and resources used to make the products.   I even talked to one sister today and since we haven't received many toys for Baby Girl, I'm going to go "shopping" at her house after her arrival and pick out toys that I think she might like that my 3 yr old and almost 1 yr old nephew don't use anymore.  Win-win!

Oh..and for inquiring minds..we will be using cloth diapers and cloth wipes.  We already bought all the diapers (either no packaging or recycled packaging for all of it!) and wipes and are ready to go.   I'll be sure to do a post on what we plan to do and then another post on how it actually works out.  Husband is on board but would rather use disposables, so it's going to be an interesting adventure.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - small treasures

A signed copy of one of my favorite books.  Sometimes it's the little things
that matter.

More Wordless Wednesday can be found here.