Browsing Tag

Gardening

The Uncommon Life

Earth Month Giveaway: Compost Crock

April 8, 2011

Composting is a great way to prevent organic waste from ending up in landfills; it also provides a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers for your lawn, garden or houseplants.

Of course, not everyone has the space for a big outdoor compost bin. Fortunately, composting doesn’t always have to start outside.

In honor of Earth Month, we’re giving away Beth Mueller’s Ceramic Countertop Compost Container. These handmade crocks don’t take up too much space, so they’re perfect for apartments, trailer homes and other small living quarters. Once your small container is full, take it to a larger bin in your yard, or community compost center.

Entering to win is easy; just leave a comment sharing your pledge to compost. We’ll choose one winner to receive a “Grow” crock and one to receive a “Simplify” crock.

Already compost? You can:

1.) Pledge to advocate composting to your friends, family and community.
2.) Start a composting program at school or work.
3.) Promise to take home your organic scraps for composting after dining out—don’t forget to bring a reusable container and skip the doggie bag!

Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Biodiversity Bombs

February 2, 2011

Punxsutawney Phil has spoken, and if the groundhog is to be believed, it looks like spring is right around the corner. Time to start thinking about spring flowers?

Last week, Treehugger blogger Sami Grover wrote about a growing movement of people swapping seeds. These folks are planting more than plants and vegetables; they’re committed to biodiversity in their gardens. Many will be meeting up in England for a “Seedy Sunday” this weekend.

But if there’s too much snow on the ground to make it to a seed swap in your area, get started with our brand new wildflower seed bombs. Choose a packet from your region, and you’ll be ready to go with wildflower seeds native suited to your area. Each bag contains 5 seed bombs, plenty to fill your backyard or share with your neighbors.

Originally these bombs were created as a way to revive vacant lots in Cincinnati. But I think they might just revive all of us from the winter blues!

Read on for a full list of seeds included in each set.

Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

East New York Farms

November 3, 2010

East New York Farms is no regular farm. It is an “urban farm” that was created in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The organization literally transformed once abandoned lots into beautiful fields of fruits and vegetables. Its farmers are the young people who live in the community. The food they grow is sold at a bi-weekly farmers market, only to residents of East New York at a price they can afford. They also provide workshops and cooking demonstrations to make health eating more accessible.

They hire a small staff a folks who oversee the operations and development of the youth, including my friend Sarita, who is honestly one of the happiest people I know. It is clear to me she is fulfilled by the mission of organization.

I am passionate about this organization, because I too have been transformed by produce. I got interested in cooking ten years ago after discovering a farmers market across the street from my office. I made simple dishes based on quality ingredients, and slowly over time noticed my health improving. I eventually lost 30 lbs and had a number of health conditions clear up. My experience taught me that improving our food is the best way to improve our health.

It’s the unfortunate truth that poorer neighborhoods, like East New York, generally have higher incidents of obesity and diet-related health conditions. And I think a big reason for that is little access to fresh food and less education about the issue.

East New York Farms is the perfect model to address these issues. I encourage your support by voting for ENY Farms on Facebook.

– Ameet Maturu, Online Marketing Manager

The Uncommon Life

A Composter’s Dilemma

May 17, 2010

In preparation for Compostapalooza, our partnership with Quirky to create the ultimate composting product, we’re running a series of compost education posts. Read up, then put those brainstorming caps on for kick-off on May 17!

compost

I got into composting in 2008.  I had never seriously considered doing it until I read the Omnivore’s Dilemma (by Michael Pollan) earlier that year – it helped me understand the food cycle and how throwing organic material into landfill was a lousy solution.  Sanitation departments waste a lot of energy, money and land carting away food scraps that could otherwise be enriching the soil.

However, like recycling, composting is more work than just throwing something away, especially if you’re an urban dweller like me. To start with, you have to take the food waste and put it in a separate bin (no big deal).  But you also need to cut up the food waste into small pieces to help it break down faster and then put the compostable material into some vessel outdoors. We were lucky to have a few friends and neighbors that were interested in the same thing and were able to convince our building to provide us with an outdoor space to place a compost tumbler.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that our sons knew all about composting from school and were only too happy to tell daddy everything he was doing wrong, which was plenty. There was nothing they enjoyed more than catching me putting compostable material into the trash.  I then had to dig through the garbage to find the food scraps and move them to the compost bin.  I learned the messy way that tea bags, coffee grounds and egg shells were all fine for composting.

Compost

Read more about Dave’s adventures in composting!

The Uncommon Life

Compost & the City

May 13, 2010

In preparation for Compostapalooza, our partnership with Quirky to create the ultimate composting product, we’re running a series of compost education posts. Read up, then put those brainstorming caps on for kick-off on May 17!

compost

I’ve officially caught the compost bug.

I never thought I’d get much satisfaction from dumping smelly food scraps into a bin of other smelly food scraps. But sometimes I surprise myself.

I now bring my raw food scraps (i.e. fruits, vegetables, egg shells, tea bags) to my neighborhood community garden in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The scraps are then processed into compost that is used to nourish the vegetables and other plants in the garden with essential minerals.

I love the concept of making something useful from something we have no use for. We recycle paper and plastic. Why not food? Food waste accounts for the largest component of our trash each year.  Composting also reduces our need for chemically laden fertilizers, most of which are derived from oil.  And why pay for something you can get for free?


compost

I store my food scraps in the freezer. That way, you can enjoy the benefits of composting without the stink factor. I then make my weekly trip to the Garden of Union on Saturday morning. I simply look for the marked bin, add my scraps, and cover with sawdust. The sawdust helps keep rodents away and also ensures the proper chemical balance of carbon and nitrogen. And that’s it! I’m doing my part to reduce my footprint, and grow yummy food within my community.

Continue Reading…