July 2013 - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Keeping carpets clean for allergy relief

Today's information is brought to you by Same Day Carpet Cleaners

One of the common misconceptions in the treatment of allergies is to get rid of the carpet in a home. While indoor air quality is a growing concern, consumers do not need to forego comfortable flooring in order to improve the quality of the air. Contrary to popular belief, carpet, and especially clean carpets, may even be safer for an allergy sufferer than bare floors. Walking on hard surfaces disturbs more dust and mite particles. When these particles become airborne, they are more apt to enter the breathing zone. Conversely, a carpet holds those same particles stationary and they can be vacuumed with a hypoallergenic vacuum to keep the particles from recirculating without ever becoming airborne again.

A dark buckskin black mouth cur with a more typical brindled black mouth cur
photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Cleaning carpets will keep pet dander, grass and tree pollen, fungus, bacteria, mites and pollutants from cigarette smoke and other fumes out of the fibers of the carpet. Experts recommend that carpets be cleaned at minimum once a year, but more frequently for allergy sufferers. Regular cleaning will keep any allergies, asthma, or breathing problems minimized from the particles in the carpet.

In addition to carpets, it is also important to keep draperies and upholstered furniture clean so they don't trap and hold the same allergens. The primary methods professionals use to clean are hot water/steam, dry extraction, rotary shampoo, and absorbent pads. A professional can discuss which method is best for your home and which option is the most environmentally friendly for your family.

Like shopping at local businesses? Now you can invest in them, too! (from YES! Magazine)

A newly formed company based in Seattle makes it easy to put your money to work in the local economy
posted Jul 17, 2013
Community Sourced Capital
The team at Community Sourced Capital (left to right):  Brent Cochran, Rachel Maxwell, Meryl McDonald, Casey Dilloway, and Alex Mondau. Photo by Community Sourced Capital.
Community Sourced Capital is a newly formed lender that aims to apply the crowd-sourcing model to encourage the growth of locally owned businesses. The company's founders—Rachel Maxwell, Casey Dilloway, Brent Cochran, and Meryl McDonald—say they were inspired by the growing desire to support local businesses among their friends and neighbors.
A balance between making a profit and building local businesses is essential to CSC's business model.
"The hardest part is often not attracting shoppers once the project is off the ground," Dilloway said, "but securing capital to get it started."
All four founders are graduates of
Bainbridge Graduate Institute, the brainchild of entrepreneur and conservationist Gifford Pinchot III and his wife Libba, and the first business school to offer an MBA in sustainable business. It was while searching for an entrepreneurship project that they noticed a gap in the thinking about how people can best support the local economy.
In 2012, the four decided to do something about that and founded Community Sourced Capital. They worked in a shared office space in a converted furniture store in the historic district of Pioneer Square, just south of downtown Seattle. Their idea was to harness the power of the connections that tie local people together—both on social media and in the physical world—to find people willing to loan money to small local businesses.
Lenders make funds available in $50 blocks, up to a maximum of $250 per project, and are acknowledged by the receipt of a pale-blue square card bearing the CSC logo, which identifies them as "Squareholders." The funds are then made available to borrowers at zero interest, and loans are paid back at a rate based on the company's revenue. CSC makes loans of up to $50,000.
After repayment, Squareholders can withdraw their funds or purchase a square in another project, allowing them to keep their money at work in their community.
In a number of ways, Community Sourced Capital's business model departs sharply from that of traditional lenders. Because the staff of CSC aims to create a model that resembles the sharing of money between friends, borrowers are not required to provide collateral. By keeping capital within the local economy and basing their lending in personal trust, they hope to strengthen ties between businesses and their communities.
"The loans are simple enough that owners won't get weighed down in complications," Maxwell said, "which doesn't make sense for a $50,000 loan anyway."
And then there's that part about zero interest. That may seem too good to be true, but president and director Casey Dilloway explains that CSC's loans aren't entirely free. Borrowers pay a campaign fee and a flat monthly membership fee when using the CSC platform, a system that Dilloway believes is more equitable than traditional lending schemes, as the fees allow CSC to make a profit without burdening their borrowers with interest payments.
That balance between making a profit and assisting its clients is essential to CSC's business model. As a "social purpose corporation"—a company with social goals written into its articles of incorporation—CSC has a mission that goes beyond just making money. As the company's mission statement puts it, "CSC provides a simple way for community members to lend money to the local businesses where they find the most value. Our unique take on crowd funding aggregates many small loans and turns them into one big loan for a business. We call those small loans Squares and the lenders Squareholders."
In May 2013, CSC successfully funded two projects: Bainbridge Island-based Eleven Winery’s campaign for the planned automation of its bottling process, and Harmon Brewing Company’s new restaurant location at the Tacoma Narrows Airport. Both campaigns raised $20,000 from more than 60 squareholders.
As of mid July 2013, CSC has two active campaigns. For one, they hope to raise $15,000 to enable the Adrift Hotel on Washington state’s Long Beach Peninsula to add solar hot water and rainwater catchment systems and thereby lower their environmental impact. That campaign was less than $1,000 away from full funding at the time of this writing. The second campaign is for a Seattle deli called Delicatus, which aims to raise $9,000 to purchase new refrigeration units, beverage storage, and new hardware for their sales system. That campaign has already raised more than $6,000.

David Rutherford headshotDavid Rutherford wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media project that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. David is a blogger and a graduate of Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The allergens hiding in your scented products (infographic)

Women's Voices for the Earth

Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, a drug-free, at-home allergy treatment. We post information about allergy news and different studies to enlighten and help our readers. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Genetic link to allergies found (repost)

Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, an at home, drug free allergy treatment

Scientists find faulty gene link to allergies (via AFP)
US scientists said Wednesday they have found a genetic link to allergies, which also exists in people with connective tissue disorders. The findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine show that a single genetic pathway may open the door to…

Fresh pesto recipe

One of the delights of summer is the chance to eat fresh from the garden, and one of my favorite sauces to make is basil pesto. Mama Daily Green and I used to make batches of it every summer and freeze it for the winter, but nothing will ever top that first batch. The other night I made the season's first pesto. Everyone's recipe varies a little, but I'll share mine, along with the variations. 

The word pesto comes from the Italian word pestare, meaning to pound. Traditional pestos are made in a mortar and pestle, but I use a food processor. 

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (I like to toast them first)
5 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wash and spin dry the basil leaves. Add loosely to food processor and begin to pulse while streaming the olive oil in the processor. Add nuts & garlic and pulse until it's a smooth paste. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper last and then by eye, add enough oil until the paste reaches your desired consistency. Some folks like a firm paste for spreading on bread, or a more thin paste to serve over hot pasta. 

Pesto can also be made from radish tops, sage, or spinach. The nuts and oil can be switched, and you can add lemon peel for a fresh flavor. The food processor makes the job go fast. 

Basil is high in vitamins K and A and raw garlic is a fantastic antioxidant, great source of vitamin B6 and C. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Eat well, walk more, live longer (from: OtherWords)

Americans die younger than citizens of most other rich countries.

We just got some bad news. Or maybe it’s some good news.
study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that Americans don’t live as long as citizens of most other rich countries. How is that good news? Because many of our top risk factors are things we can change.
By and large, people who reside in the world’s wealthy countries live longer than we do. We’re the anomaly. We've got the money. We can make the changes — if we want to.
Richardson-Life-UN Women Asia & the Pacific
UN Women Asia & the Pacific/Flickr
In 2010, a baby born in Japan was expected to live to 82.6. Babies born in Iceland, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Israel, France, and a number of other countries could expect to see their 80thbirthdays. What about American babies? Those born in 2010 are expected to live only to age 78.2.
It’s just a difference of a couple years. But still, why do we rank below Chile?
The answer to this question requires other answers. Why are we dying young? What are the biggest risk factors? The study ranks the causes of “years of life lost:” At the top are heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Also ranking high are diabetes, cirrhosis, and colorectal cancer.
What puts you at risk for those things? All the usual suspects: poor diet, smoking, not enough exercise, and too much booze. The study specifies that, “the most important dietary risks in the United States are diets low in fruits, low in nuts and seeds, high in sodium, high in processed meats, low in vegetables, and high in trans fats.”
Yep, it’s the same stuff we've been hearing forever. Eat your fruits and vegetables — put down the McNuggets.
What do people in other countries do differently that makes them live so much longer? For one thing, they walk more. I lived with a British family in the outskirts of London for a summer during college, and I could count on one hand the number of times they used their car. Of course, with the excellent public transportation available to Londoners — not just the famous subway system, but buses and trains as well — it’s a lot easier to get around without a car than it is in most American cities.
Many of these countries also offer universal health care, which makes it much more likely that people will see a doctor before their condition becomes life-threatening.
As an exchange student, I was terrified when I got a painful eye infection during my summer in England. I didn't have British insurance. Surely, I couldn't afford a doctor visit.
Finally, when the pain became too intense, I went to the doctor. (I went on foot, of course.) My doctor’s bill? It came to $0. And the cost of the drugs he prescribed? A grand total of $18. Thank God, the problem I let malinger was simply an eye infection and not a strange-looking mole.
You know what else is more common in places where people live longer? Real food.
The French, Italians, Spanish, Greeks, and Japanese all have strong food cultures. An Italian would not even think about swapping out extra virgin olive oil for cheaper, less-healthy soybean oil. And can you imagine the reaction you’d get if you tried to serve Cheez Whiz to a French person?
In America, we spend a smaller percentage of our income on food than the people of any other nation on earth. Author Michael Moss wrote in his book Salt Sugar Fat how food companies feel compelled to produce junk because healthier alternatives cost more than customers would pay. Real food costs money. And getting sick is the hidden price we pay when we buy cheap food.
Of course, the high cost of an unhealthy lifestyle isn't shared equally among Americans. A man in wealthy Marin County, California can expect to live nearly a decade longer than a man born in Mississippi. That’s a sad statement in a nation founded on the principle that all men are created equal.
OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It. OtherWords.org

How is corrugated cardboard made and recycled?

Today's post was brought to you by our sponsor at Déménagement à Montréal par Martel Express/montreal demenagement
Déménagement à Montréal par Martel Express
photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
One of the most prevalent images of a household or business moving is piles of cardboard boxes. When we moved a few years ago, the mountain of boxes was overwhelming and I honestly worried about the environmental impact of packing everything we owned into so many boxes. We broke down our boxes and over the course of the past six years have been on ongoing source of boxes for anyone we knew who needed them. The box supply has almost depleted itself.

My concerns, while somewhat accurate did not take into account that a high percentage of corrugated cardboard is not only comprised of recycled material, but can again be recycled into new cardboard. While many areas do not offer curbside collection, several communities do have collection sites for corrugated cardboard recycling.

To understand how corrugated cardboard is recycled, we first need to understand how it is made. It is a type of "cardboard sandwich", with two layer of outer board and an inner layer of board that has been run through a fluted press. The layers are glued with a starch based (read: not polymer) adhesive.These fibers are often the cleanest source of pulp for recycling. A few exceptions are food/pizza boxes as the grease makes the cardboard difficult to re-pulp, as well as boxes covered in tape. (a little tape and or labels is okay and can be sorted, too much will jam the machines and should be removed before recycling). The staples and other metal fastenings are removed during the recycling process with industrial magnets.

Corrugated cardboard also makes an excellent layer of compost or to line garden beds for weed control. According to recycling advocates, every ton of recycled cardboard saves between three and nine cubic feet of landfill space as well as 25% of the energy required to make new cardboard. Paper pulp can be recycled up to 9 times before the fibers are too short to recycle, at which time, composting is an excellent solution. However, that sort of cardboard can be shredded and get a second life as packaging material.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How bike friendly cities beat the opposition and became the new normal (reprint from YES! Magazine)

Now that all the debate about whether bike lanes are OK seems to be (mostly) over, cities around the country are enjoying their benefits.

Mayor Bloomberg and Citi Bikes
Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan launched Citi Bike, the nation's largest bike share system, on May 27, 2013. Photo by NYCStreets.
Former New York mayor Ed Koch envisioned bicycles as vehicles for the future, and in 1980 created experimental bike lanes in Manhattan on 6th and 7th Avenues where riders were protected from speeding traffic by asphalt barriers. It was unlike anything most Americans had ever seen—and some people roared their disapproval. Within weeks, the bike lanes were gone.
A lot of the criticism of New York’s bike share program is now coming from people in neighborhoods without racks who want them.
Twenty-seven years later, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and his transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan saw the growing ranks of bicyclists on the streets as a key component of 21st century transportation, and have built more than 285 miles of both protected and unprotected bike lanes. They had studied the success of similar projects in Copenhagen and the Netherlands and learned how to make projects more efficient and aesthetically pleasing.
These “green lanes” and pedestrian plazas were an immediate hit but ignited a small but noisy reaction from people unhappy about projects in their neighborhoods, including Bloomberg’s former transportation commissioner. Lawsuits were filed, while columnists with the conservative New York Post and sometimes-conservative New York Daily News thundered about the inconvenience to motorists and supposed dangers to pedestrians. New York magazine declared the situation a “Bikelash” on its cover.
Pressure mounted on Bloomberg to sack Sadik-Khan and rip out the bike lanes. Anthony Weiner, then a Congressman from Queens and mayoral hopeful, told Bloomberg in 2011 he would spend his first year as mayor attending “a bunch of ribbon cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.” Bicyclists everywhere worried that progress toward safer streets in New York and around the continent would be slowed down.
Two years later, Sadik-Khan is still commissioner and the Department of Transportation continues to install bike lanes and pedestrian plazas across the city.
Two-thirds of New Yorkers call bike lanes a good idea in the most recent New York Times poll, compared to only 27 percent who oppose them. All of the major candidates to replace Bloomberg as mayor expressed support for bicycling at a recent forum, notes Paul Steely White, executive director of the local group Transportation Alternatives.
“Bike lanes are the new normal in New York,” White adds. “People in East Harlem are saying we want bike lanes like those in other parts of town.”
And now another of Bloomberg’s and Sadik-Khan’s big ideas to improve New York has hit the streets: the bike sharing system called Citi Bike, which is the largest in North America with 6,000 bikes available at 330 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. There was an inevitable reaction from neighbors when the racks went in on the their blocks, but a lot of the criticism is now coming from
people in neighborhoods without Citibikes who want them .
Unfamiliar ideas like bike lanes always spark opposition—at first.
What rallied the public around bicycling? “It was a combination of things,” reports Ben Fried, who chronicled the debate as editor of Streetsblog, a web magazine covering transportation in New York. First, independent polls debunked the myth that New Yorkers disliked bike lanes. “Actually a strong majority from throughout the city supported them,” Fried told me.
Fried also credits neighborhood leaders and bicyclists with mobilizing grassroots support for bike lanes, both on the web and at public meetings. “In the end, politicians need to see that bike lanes are a win for them.”
Pressure for new biking facilities came also from business leaders who see better biking conditions as anasset for their companies. High-tech executives at 33 firms—including Foursquare, Meetup, and Tumblr—urged Bloomberg to implement the bike share system “as a way to attract and retain the investment and talent for New York City to remain competitive.” The Hearst Corporation recently announced it will pay employees’ cost to join the Citi Bikes program. “It’s a cool New York thing to do and good for fitness,” says Hearst spokesperson Lisa Bagley. “Our decision is driven by what are employees are interested in.”
Tim Blumenthal, president of PeopleForBikes and the sister Green Lane Project, stresses that “Bike issues need to framed in the context of what they mean to the city, not just what they mean to people who bike. In New York City, for example, more green lanes, better bikeway networks, and the new Citi Bike system will benefit all residents and visitors by reducing traffic, noise, and air pollution—making city life a little less frenetic for everyone.”
All this represents good news for cities coast-to-coast. “If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere,” says White, paraphrasing the old song “New York, New York.”
Other communities will no doubt face their own version of “bikelash,” but the high-profile debate in New York over bike lanes highlights two key assets of protected green lanes:
1. Bike lanes create safer streets for everyone. “It’s the safety stats that carried the day,” notes Ben Fried, editor of Streetsblog. “They’re pretty indisputable.” Crashes for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists drop on average by 40 percent on streets with green lanes, and sometimes as much as 50 percent, according to a memorandum from Deputy New York Mayor Howard Wolfson. Bike lanes of every kind also lead to significantly fewer bicyclists riding on sidewalks, Fried notes.
2. Bike lanes are good for business. Shop owners are sometimes zealous opponents of bike lanes, which they claim will suffocate business by reducing traffic and eliminating parking. Yet businesses on 9th Avenue, the first major green lane in the city, saw a 49 percent rise in retail sales, compared to 3 percent across Manhattan as a whole, according to research by the New York City Department of Transportation. Another study of consumer patterns by researchers at Portland State University found that shoppers who arrive by bicycle spend 24 percent more at stores per month than those who drive.
Unfamiliar ideas like bike lanes always spark opposition—at first. “Pushback is inevitable,” Fried explains. “It doesn’t mean the project is flawed. Once it’s built, the constituency for it will grow.”
The issue isn’t simply a New York state of mind. Complaints about a “war on cars” have echoed around Seattle from a small but persistent chorus opposed to bike lanes. In response, the Cascade Bicycle Club commissioned a poll of Seattle voters (conducted by the independent research firm FM3 using a scientifically rigorous sample of 400 respondents), which found that 79 percent view bicyclists favorably, 73 percent want to see more protected green lanes, and 59 percent support “replacing roads and some on-street parking” to build green lanes.” Only 31 percent believe Seattle is “waging a war on cars.”
(Green lanes in Washington, D.C. have also been denounced as a “war on cars,” even though only one percent of D.C.’s roads are dedicated to bicyclists, according to computations by Washington City Paperreporter Aaron Wiener.)
In Chicago, there’s no organized opposition to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision of boosting the city’s economy by providing 100 miles of green lanes and 550 more of on-street bike lanes. More than 16 miles of green lanes were built in 2012. One project on the South Side’s historic Martin Luther King Drive, however, did raise aesthetic concerns, which were solved by shifting the protected green lane to a parallel street and adding buffered bike lanes (wide swaths of paint separating car traffic from bikes) to King Drive. The community engagement process around this issue resulted in neighbors forming the Bronzeville Bicycling Initiative to encourage more people to bike in this historically African-American community.
None of this stopped Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass from warning that the mayor’s plans “foreshadow the day that cars will be illegal.” He also targets “little bike people” as “free riders” who don’t pay to keep up the roads and as scofflaws who defy traffic laws.
Ron Burke of the Active Transportation Alliance sees “little bike people” as a compliment, noting “how little space we take up on the roadway, how little wear and tear we cause, and how little our facilities cost within the grand scheme of transportation spending.”
Burke agrees with Kass that bicyclists who endanger other people should be ticketed, but deconstructs his claim that motorists pay their own way on the streets. Between 24 and 38 percent of total road costs in Illinois are not covered by user fees such as gas taxes and vehicle stickers, even when you count federal funding as user fees, Burke explains, citing a study from the Environmental Law and Policy Center.
Kass is one of a number of commentators across the country who regularly target bikes and bicyclists. After New York Daily News columnist Denis Hamill wrote, “I hate bike lanes…they are steering some people like me to road rage” one reader responded “All I hear is an old man yelling, ‘Get Off My Lawn.’”

Jay Walljasper wrote this article for YES! Magazinea national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. writes, speaks and consults frequently about biking and other ways to improve our communities. His website: www.JayWalljasper.com

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A scorched earth: arson in Nevada and the West (guest post)

Image courtesy of :Wikimedia Commons
In the dry climate pervasive throughout most of Nevada, and much of the western U.S., during the summer months, the danger for wildfires escalates to levels that are difficult to imagine in the substantially wetter states east of the Mississippi.   The moisture barrier preventing a spark from catching dissipates as rainfall diminishes for weeks or even months at a time, and a rogue ember on dry grass equates better with taking a lit torch to kindling. While wildfires are an ever-present concern, naturally-occurring fires have been shown to play a critical role in revitalizing forest habitats. The more pressing environmental issue is the human-triggered event, which represents four out of every five wildfires and is not a sustainable rate that natural preserves can absorb.

When hundreds or thousands of acres are scorched in an uncontrolled burn, precious shelter for native animals is lost, and even with a rapid return of nutrients to the soil, trees and other large plants often take many years to retake the land.  Arson, the act of setting a fire with an intent to cause harm, can results in the obliteration of natural habitat much larger in scope and scale than the single person who initiated it.  This doesn't even take into account the loss of human life from arson or arson-related acts, which data shows to be responsible for over 700 deaths annually in the United States alone.

Nevada is no exception to the recurrence of these incidents.  In 2011, the year with the most recent data on arson activity by state, Nevada trounced the national average for arson, with a rate per 1,000 people over three times higher than the norm.  Though many fires started do not blossom into the raging infernos that actually get covered on television, living in a state with a persistently dry climate presents frequent opportunities for a small burn to go out of control.  It’s a simple reality:  if plants are dry, even a single fire can turn into boundless devastation.

Unless and until more extensive arson and wildfire prevention initiatives are put into place in Nevada and elsewhere, the human impact on cross-generational habitats remains too high, and the consequences too unpredictable.

Brett Robert is an eco-friendly writer raising awareness for overlooked local and regional issues. He enjoys exploring the relationship between crime and the environment.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What’s your water footprint: innovative ways to conserve water in the hot summer (repost)

What’s Your Water Footprint: Innovative Ways to Conserve Water in the Hot Summer (via http://www.kalev.com)
Story by Kimberly Serrano Kalev.com Contributor SAN ANTONIO, Texas  — Almost every summer, the good old hot state of Texas experiences a drought, leaving the greenery thirsty for water. With the state’s 100-degree reaching summers, it is important…

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Are you ready to move?

Several years ago, Our Daily Green's family was transferred to a town about 90 miles away. Though the move was in 2007, there are still boxes of stuff remaining unpacked in our home. Some of those items are childhood memorabilia that will remain packed until our children have a place of their own, but other boxes are simply things we've managed to live without for all that time. 

With our oldest child heading to college in the fall, it seemed that many of the things we no longer were using could be purged, but we didn't want them to end up in a landfill. Child sized golf clubs, a little red wagon, and camping equipment found second lives through an online sales forum. Outgrown clothing and well loved books were donated to appropriate charities. CDs and DVDs were sold through a used media group. Old electronics were properly recycled during a electronics recycling drive through one of the high school booster groups. Earth911 is an excellent resource if you need to know the appropriate place to dispose of something. 

When we moved, our movers told us to estimate that every year together resulted in 1000 pounds of "stuff". In other words, our family had been together 18 years at the time, and sure enough, we had 18,000 pounds of things in our move. It was a daunting consideration and we've made a concerted effort to find appropriate homes for much of our stuff since then. We adopted a philosophy to "live like we'll have to move" and try to keep nothing that we aren't currently using. 

How many boxes do you still have to unpack from your last move? Have you found new homes for items you no longer use? Purge now or move it later... remember, 1000 pounds of stuff for every year.

Today's post has been brought to you by a Montreal moving company that specializes in all your moving needs. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

8 grocery bill slashing fruits and veggies you can grow in a "jar" (guest post)

When one talks of bill slashing through gardening, there are a million ways to you can do this. One of the most expensive grocery items in the average household are for fruits and vegetables because they are regularly consumed on a daily basis. Growing your own fruits and vegetables, whether indoors or out, can help you significantly slash a nice percentage of your monthly grocery bill.
Kale Apples Strawberries Snap Peas
photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons


Since they grow best vertically, tomatoes are the perfect fruit for any container or raised bed garden. Buying tomatoes can easily run up your monthly bill they are so widely used to enrich main meals with flavors and appetizing concepts. They are also a vital source of vitamins.


Lettuce is a common vegetable consumed by most people and produces seeds that can be harvested. It is also a major source of vitamins and also acts as a flavor adding product. Growing lettuce in containers is an interesting practice since Lettuce, like other varieties of small greens, can produce quite a lot of leaves in shallow containers (6-8 inches deep).


Carrots are a vital vegetable in flavoring and coloring food. They also don’t require a lot of room to grow. A long, narrow windowsill box stuffed full of seeds can net you handfuls of this produce.

Peacock kale

Peacock Kale is a leafy vegetable that falls under the same category as spinach and other greens. It is an essential source of vitamins and iron. Peacock Kale can be grown in a container since it does not grow tall or require fertile top soil.


Strawberries have significant nutritional value and are another flavor adding product. These plants come in three types: Ever-bearers, June-bearers and Day-Neutrals. For home gardening, June-bearer plants are recommended even though you’ll have an entire year to wait before you can harvest the fruit.

Apple trees

Apple trees can be grown in large containers on a balcony since they do not have tap roots that go deep underground. In addition, there are also dwarf varieties that are well-suited to being grown in containers. Unlike citrus trees, apple trees actually require chilly weather to thrive, so you can leave them outdoors all year. Also, having two trees that bloom around the same time each year will help with cross-pollination.

Snap peas

Snap peas do not require a large surface area to grow. The only requirement is to hoist the plant upwards with a string so that it can climb and produce.


Cucumbers are another fruit that is an essential flavor adding component that can grow in a container since it does not require a lot of space. However, it does need to be strung upwards like snap peas in order to increase each plants production.


From hanging baskets to chimney pots to half barrels and the basic clay and plastic variety pots, a wide assortment of pot types are available for use with container gardening. Plastics are light-weight and allow you to easily determine the water content of the pot just by lifting it. Clay pots needs to be watered more frequently but they also allow excess water to evaporate through them.

About the author: Alex is a writer, husband, father and aspiring urban fantasy novelist. When he isn't writing for HomeDaddys or completing chores from his “honey- do” list, he’s most likely spending quality time with his wife and kids or working on his novel.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Are compostable bags a good alternative to plastic bags?

Plastic Bag Recycling: Good Progress, but Numbers Show Recycling Alone May Not Be Enough. Use of Compostable Bags Could be Key to Improving Waste Recovery (via PR Newswire)
By Lynne Brum Download image Metabolix. (PRNewsFoto/Metabolix, Inc.) CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- I recently read an article in Plastics and Rubber Weekly stating that in 2011, "More than one billion pounds of post-consumer plastic…

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day -- Freedom from Wastefulness

This week, Our Daily Green's theme has been looking to our national past, and recognizing that we have a strong heritage of conservation, resourcefulness, and mindful eating. These are themes repeatedly addressed in this blog. Ultimately, what resonates most strongly is that embracing a life without waste is truly patriotic.

Somewhere along the line, as we became prosperous, we began to equate plenty with freedom to waste. Today, I would like to encourage anyone reading this to shift their paradigm. I am not opposed to prosperity, I am opposed to wastefulness. We as a nation should also be more mindful. During the first and second World Wars, we were encouraged to conserve fuel, water, and to recycle. We were asked to grow gardens and to save seeds. It's ironic that seed saving now is considered illegal according to the Supreme Court. It's ironic that we spend more time defending wasteful practices than we could if we just saved.

My wish for this year's Independence Day is that we free ourselves from wastefulness. I want to declare independence from the notion that if we have a lot, it's acceptable to waste it. We need stop using items once and thrown out. We recycle, we reuse, we look to the things that last.

We remember that what makes our nation strong is not how much we throw out, but how much we value what we have and preserve it. Let's take today and reflect on our history to let it shape our future.

Happy Independence Day! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Seed saving was the American way: (Monsanto, are you listening?)

Yesterday and Today

Uncle Sam and Farmer
home grown, field selected, well preserved seed

Farmers cannot replicate Monsanto seeds for second crop, Supreme Court rules (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor)
Farmers cannot by-pass the patent protection provided for genetically-altered seeds by producing a new generation of seeds with the same traits, the US Supreme Court ruled Monday. In a unanimous decision, the high court sided with Monsanto Co. in a…

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

World War II conservation posters

Library of Congress
Doing the Green Thing was a popular internet meme about how our parents and grandparents just naturally conserved resources. Being green was not a political divisively stance, but instead considered patriotic.

National War Garden Commission
Library of Congress
That's something that is sorely missing in today's dialog with each other. I was recently at a graduation party and was looking for a recycling bin for my can, when someone next to me said they want to make a shirt that says F* Green. I thought it a really odd way of thinking, but the fact is, now simple conservation is considered a political statement. "Treehuggers" is thrown out as an insult. 

Save metals, paper, rubber and rags
Library of Congress
And yet, when we travel back to the days of World War II, we learn that it was our patriotic duty to conserve all resources, including food, water, and fuel. We recycled and saved and reused scraps of any sort, including even fabric rags. Our citizens were encouraged through poster campaigns to grow their own food, can it, and save wherever possible.  

Being careful with resources was considered a matter of national pride. So as we approach Independence Day for 2013, Our Daily Green would like to encourage you to rekindle your patriotic history and think about ways you can show the world you're proud of your history and heritage in our nation.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Patriotic posters promote conservation and gardening

In honor of this week's Fourth of July holiday, American Independence Day, Our Daily Green is looking back at some of our nation's historical campaigns. 

While the iconic Uncle Sam military recruiting poster, with his pointed finger beckoning "I Want You", is probably the most well known World War I posters, it was only one of over 700 posters created to promote patriotism during that era. Beginning in April 1917 through the end of the war in November, 1918, illustrators and artists submitted posters to encourage conservation, defense, and sacrifice on the home front. President Woodrow Wilson wanted to rally support from the American people. 

Under the leadership of Charles Dana Gibson, The Society of Illustrators in New York City launched what became the Division of Pictorial Publicity. These posters brilliant colors and urgent demands were a rally cry to hold the nation together." Artists utilized national symbols and icons such as the American flag, the Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam, and the girl next door to inspire the American nation to contribute to the call of liberty. Every American citizen was asked to stand up and take his or her patriotic place in the defense of our great country. To do less would be un-American. After the war, Congress tallied up the bill and found that two-thirds of the cost of the war was raised by poster bond drives.

Our Daily Green was especially happy to see posters that encouraged gardening and food conservation. Nearly 95 years later, the sentiment still rings true. 

from the Library of Congress archives: