Monday, December 28, 2009

The More You Know...The More You Grow

I recently bought some peat pots for my seeds. It came with about 24 pots for around $4.00; which isn't a bad price. I loved them because I didn't have to transplant my seedlings from one container to the ground; which always causes a little "shock" to the plants. Once the seedlings grew a bit I was able to plant them directly into the ground. This was an added bonus since the dirt in my backyard is pretty dry, so the pot contained the plant well. Peat pots are a definite bonus in my eyes.

I stumbled upon a few articles on how to make your own peat pots from newspaper. Although the cost of the peat pots is minimal, in this economy every penny counts. Most newspapers are printed with soy ink, and is biodegradable. Many gardeners use newspapers for mulch, so why not as a peat pot.

What you need:
*A glass, rolling pin, or soda can

1. Split the newspaper down the center either with your hands or scissors.

2. Take one half and split/cut in half again.

Basically you've taken the full paper and cut along all the folds.

3. Take the paper and fold it in half lengthwise to make a rectangle.

Make sure all your creases are tight.

4. On one of the long sides of the rectangle: fold over 1 inch to make a small flap.

5. Lay your glass/can/rolling pin over the paper so the the end without the flap is extending beyond the glass/can/rolling pin.

6. Wrap the newspaper around the canister so the paper overlaps. Turn upside down, keeping your fingers on the seem. Fold the ends of the paper over. This may take some practice with one hand. Just think of it like wrapping a gift.

7. Once all the edges have been folded over, flip over and remove the canister...remember to keep holding the seam so it doesn't fall apart.

8. To "seal" the pot, take the outside layer's flap and carefully lift it up and fold over the inside flap.

9. Fill pots with soil and seeds. I decided to use the seeds from seeded paper I made recently.

Happy Potting!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Growing Junk

One of my favorite blogs is Michelle Kaufmann's Green It Yourself. She's got some great ideas on there and I decided to try out her paper making tip. I love the idea of taking your junk mail and turning it into home made paper with seeds. You can then create cards from the paper and when your friends receive the card they can plant it and yield beautiful flowers, veggies, or other plants.

What you need:

*Shredded paper
*Frame with wire mesh
*Packet of Seeds

1. Shred some paper - use junk mail or any other paper you would normally recycle.

2. Fill your blender with the shredded paper, then pour in water to cover the paper. Pulse until combined.

3. Place meshed frame over a bucket. I was lucky and found a wire frame at my grandmother's house. My frame is about 4" x 4". Watch Michelle's YouTube video to see how you can make your own frame.

4. Pour contents from blender over the frame, catching the pulp. Continue to mix and pour until you have nice coverage over the wire frame. I made 1 blender mixuter for my frame.

5. Pour seeds over the mixture. For my frame it took 1 package of seeds.

6. Leave to dry, until its not dripping anymore. Remove paper and place between towels or newspaper while using a sponge to extract the remaining liquid. Leave to dry for 12-24 hours. I'm lucky so I just placed mine outside in the sun.

What I learned:

- Considering I was using a small frame, I will use less mixture next time as my paper came out really thick. If I try to bend the paper I think it will crack.

- I also waited too long to pull the paper out to remove water with a sponge. By the time I went back the whole thing was dry....which could be the reason its so thick.

- I will definitely try this again, but will not add any seeds until I perfect the paper portion.

- Its still a whole lot of fun to make mistakes...and at least I can plant this one and have beautiful flowers.

Don't feel like making it, then buy it from my friend. Brynne creates her own stamps and hand makes each of these cards. Check out her site Backward Prints!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Upcycle Christmas Cards

I love receiving Christmas cards, as an eco-girl I'm always looking for a way I can reuse them. Some cards are so beautiful it pains me to just throw them in the recycling box.

Last year I decided to hold on to some of my favorite cards to see what I could possibly use them for the following year. I simply cut the front of the cards and recycled the back part. Now that the Christmas season is upon us, I was excited to go through my box of saved cards.

I had some gifts to wrap and instead of buying Christmas tags or writing on the box, I decided to use my old Christmas cards as tags. A great benefit was it didn't cost me anything and I was able to get about 3-5 different tags out of one card depending on the design.

My friends loved their little tags and were not even aware that they were homemade.

Here's what to do:

1. Find a card that has a nice image or designs

2. Simply cut around the image/design. You can use simple scissors or find one of those crafty ones that cuts in a pattern.

3. Punch a hole at the top

4. String ribbon through the hole...and viola! Easy Peasy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Have to Start Somewhere

This is my first attempt at a blog, so I'm figuring it may be a few steps forward and a couple stumbles back. I started learning about sustainable living in 2008. Who knew a restless night flipping channels, settling on Oprah, would lead me to a new path. I really don't want to say that it was my "A-HA" moment, but dang it Oprah, it was.

Oprah was featuring the author of Gorgeously Green, Sophie Uliano. The next day I was bored at work and decided to check out her book on Amazon. Since it was on sale, I figured what the heck. 8 simple ways to go green without having to break the bank? I mean organic always sounded good, but was out of my budget.

The book does have some great ideas and ways that you can start going green. I began by challenging myself once a month on trying or changing something in my life to move towards sustainable living. Bring my own bags to the stores, ride my bike within a 2 mile radius, make my own cleaning products, make my own face products, go to farmers markets, replace my plastic containers with glass containers, and the list goes on.

Here it is almost two years later, and I'm finding myself in a whole new challenge. You'd think moving to Hawai'i would make things easier, but I live in Waikoloa. Waikoloa Village is a beautiful area on the west side of the Big Island. Its dry, rarely rains, dusty and windy, and most stores are 30 minutes away.

My plan is to use this as a forum to chronicle different things I'm trying here and the challenges I've been facing Greening Mew.