Monthly Archives: May 2014
Leeks, Scallions, Spring Onions and Fennel
Celery, Bok Choi, Romaine Lettuce & Cabbage
And one for the kids….. ‘Pet’ Carrot Tops!!
Earlier this year the Idaho Potato Commission set their massive 6-ton potato out on a tour of America, turning heads and raising awareness for Meals On Wheels along the way. The IPC and the Potato Truck team recently filmed a fun commercial that aired on during opening football game.
Hosting a hoard of ghost and goblins for Halloween? No party is complete without spooky decorations, but most of the stuff now crowding the store aisles is made from plastic, toxic paints and synthetic fabrics.
Setting the stage for a scary Halloween party doesn’t require all of this spending and waste. In fact, you can create some truly festive Halloween decorations with stuff you already have lying around the house and have lots of fun doing it!
Invite some friends over for a pre-party craft-making night and bask in the knowledge that most of these 9 eco-friendly Halloween decorations can be recycled or simply dismantled when the holiday is over:
1. Upcycled Egg Carton Bats
If you’re an egg eating family, you probably send an egg carton into the recycling bin every week. Save a few, add some non-toxic paint and ribbon, and you’ll have these adorable upcycled bats from Happy Clippings.
2. Thrift-Store Scarecrow
Scarecrows are the perfect way to dress up your porch or yard, but why spend the money to buy one pre-made? Dig out some unused clothes from your basement (flannel shirts, funny dresses and work jumpers work best) or find some appropriate garments at the local thrift store. Stuff with leaves and other yard waste from your own lawn. Tie off arm and leg openings with string before stuffing into boots and gloves. Once your scarecrow body is properly positioned, top off with a pumpkin head and hat.
3. Upcycled Milk Jug Skeleton
Gather up seven empty plastic milk jugs and you’ll have the perfect materials for this jolly hanging skeleton from Make Zine.
4. Mini Cheesecloth Ghosts
Leave it to Martha Stewart to turn every day waste into adorable table decorations. Layers of starched cheesecloth, some used paper towel rolls and a little wire give these little specters their haunting postures. Tutorial here.
5. DIY Halloween Garland
If you have some cardboard or office paper sitting in the recycling bin, this simple Halloween garland from 6ftMama is the perfect way to give it a second life.
6. Mad Scientist Lab
Use Mason jars or upcycled pickle, olive and baby food jars to create a mad scientist tablescape. Toss food, animals toys or other strange objects into the jars, fill with water and non-toxic food coloring, and you’ll have a shelf full of freakish Halloween experiments. Check out the tutorial at MoneyCrashers for step-by-step instructions.
7. Mini-Pumpkin Wreath
For those who prefer a more classic seasonal look, this mini pumpkin wreath from Armelle Blog is the perfect DIY project. Best of all, it’s easy to disassemble and compost when Halloween’s over.
8. DIY Reusable Halloween Window Decals
All you need is a roll of recycled paper and some eco-friendly paint to make these super-spooky homemade window silhouettes from Inhabitat. Once the holiday’s over, just roll them up and save for next year.
9. Trash Bag Tarantula
With just a few materials you probably have lying around the house, you can create this creepy crawler from Spoonful for a lawn decoration. Use biodegradable garbage bags, or be very careful not to poke holes, and you can reuse them when Halloween is over.
Summer’s over, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy fresh, delicious salad greens throughout the winter months. With just a few small adjustments to your gardening methods and techniques,you’ll be able to grow your own tasty winter salad greens all year round.
There are several hardy varieties of winter salad greens perfectly suited to colder climates. While the usual spring and summer varieties need warm weather, or a greenhouse, these leafy vegetables can be cultivated even in chilly temps. Learn how to sow seeds for winter salad greens with our easy gardening tips.
6 Tips for Growing Winter Salad Greens
1. Prepare your soil – If you’re growing your winter salad greens outside, find a sheltered and sunny spot in your garden. Or choose large and narrow containers or pots for growing in a greenhouse or polytunnel. It’s important to choose a spot (or pot) with good drainage as seedlings can freeze if left in pools of water. Sift your soil into a fine grade if using your own compost, and add any necessary nutrients such as lime or potassium to make potting soil.
2. Sowing the seeds – The ideal time for sowing seeds is between early September and late November, depending on the first estimated frost date in your area. Sow your seeds in short and shallow rows, spaced as instructed on your seed packet. Cover with a thin layer of soil and water. If you have sown your seeds outside and a cold night is in the forecast, cover them with a fleece or cloches to protect them. For a continous supply of salad greens, sow seeds apporximately every 3 to 4 weeks.
3. Caring for your seedlings – Keep the soil moist but don’t let it get too wet, as the seedlings can die from the chill. Don’t water your winter salad greens in the evening or too early in the morning.
4. Thinning your greens – If you have sown ample seed, your beds or pots will have likely have too many seedlings trying to grow in them. You can thin them so that the ones you’ve left have ample growing space. Use the thinned baby greens in a salad!
5. Harvesting your greens – Your winter salad greens are ready for harvest when they are about 4 inches tall. Harvest the outer leaves, letting the smaller inner leaves form to full size.
6. Suggested varieties:
- Arctic King Lettuce – a large butterhead type lettuce that is light green and crunchy.
- Texsel Greens – fast-growing leaves similar to spinach, also known as Ethiopian greens.
- Land Cress – an alternative to watercress, hardy and spicy.
- Rouge d’Hiver Lettuce – dark green and reddish leaves, tender and similar to red Romaine lettuce.
- CanCan Endive – hardy and light green with a frisee type texture.
- Golden Purslane – Similar to the hardy Winter Purslane, but with golden leaves and red stems or a colorful salad.
- Mizuna Greens – Japanese greens similar to arugula but less spicy and more tender.
Beets, these ruby red root vegetables provide so much nutritional benefits! Who doesn’t love the deep red color that beets provide.
Betacyanin is a type of pigment that ranges from dark red to purple. Betacyanin is being studied for it’s anticancer and tumor fighting effects. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that increases the bodies immunity against different aliments. Beet juice is a great way to build immunity.
Betaine is being studied from its ability to lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is linked to heart disease.
Beet juice and beets have soluble fiber. This is my favorite type of fiber because soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach which could help control weight gain. Soluble fiber also is capable of lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Beets are packed with folate (provides 34% of the Daily Value) (Barone et. al, 2002). Folate is important for pregnant women, since it may prevent birth defects and promote brain development of unborn babies. Folate may also protects us against heart disease and cancer.
Beets may also prevent anemia since it can foster red blood cells due to it’s components iron and folic acid. It’s also a natural blood purifier since it works to push toxins out of the blood.
Due to it’s alkaline elements beets are a natural antacid.
Beets are a natural laxative and prevent constipation.
Lower Blood Pressure and Increase Athletic Performance
Beets are packed with nitrates. Many clinical studies have found that supplementing your diet with 2 cups of beet juice per day actually lowers your blood pressure. Besides lowering your blood pressure the nitrates found in beets enhance athletic performance by reducing your body’s need for oxygen during a workout.
Drinking 2 cups of beet juice before a workout is safer and healthier than taking caffeine and workout supplements. Workout supplements often have nitrite which is toxic at high levels.