I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we can grow a wide variety of vegetables here in Florida, YEAR ROUND. This really needs to be done with some help. Most of Florida yards (or so it seems to me) have been clear cut and offer no real natural shade so our gardens tend to FRY in the summer months (and die back in the winter). Lets keep in mind that I am located in Zone 9. The die back is controllable, it just takes a little discipline to remember to get out there and wrap ornamental plants and make Hoop Houses for the rows (or boxes) (or grow in the green house). But now that summer is here and only going to get hotter, it is long past due to talk about shading sun sensitive plants and vegetables. Now there are many resources on-line for agricultural shade cloth, and that is very pleasing to me, but what if you are a do it yourselfer type and want to create your own shade. Where are we to begin?
Well YOU TUBE is always an awesome place for us to find many how to videos, so lets take a look...  These are just two videos I found, there are many more. There are a few things I discovered for making our own way with this.... Old screen... You may even have some laying around the house or have some old screens that have some holes in em. We can use these materials to protect our amazing gardens from our harsh sun. Use your imagination with this. We can take a ridged shade and mount it to some garden stakes. We can use PVC, just like Hoop Houses. If you have a green house, you can shade it with screen. We could make screen tents.
Another wonderful method I learned was to make your garden mobile, this way you could move plants to shadier spots when the time is right.
Over the next few days I am going to experiment with this and do an update. I would love to hear your ideas and see any projects you may have done.

KEEP US POSTED!
Tara & Sara
"The Ground Breakers"
Nana's Garden
Visit us at;
http://nanasgarden71.blogspot.com/
 
 
Organic Gardening Tips for Apartment Dwellers

Organic gardening is surging in popularity as more people seek the superior taste, nutritional benefits and lower cost of vegetables grown naturally at home. Growing vegetables in containers on an apartment balcony allows the apartment dweller to avoid the pesticides and fertilizers used to raise most commercially grown vegetables. By choosing the right plants and soil, those living in apartments can successfully grow healthy vegetables and herbs.

Choosing the Right Plants

Gardeners should choose appropriately sized plants that will not overwhelm the growing capacity of the containers. Many plants are suitable for apartment gardening.

• Green beans, spinach, leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, cabbages and cucumbers can be grown in one-gallon containers. Only one or two plants should be placed in each container, with the exception of lettuce, which can be planted in groupings of four to six plants.

• Eggplant, peppers, radishes, carrots and beets require three-gallon containers. Containers will hold one or two peppers or eggplants. The other plants should be thinned to two inches apart.

• Standard tomatoes require three-gallon containers and cages. Beans, squash and peas need trellises on which to climb.

• Herbs that are hardy and take up little space include parsley, mint, cilantro, rosemary and basil.

Compost

Gardeners should buy commercial organic compost and mix it with their own home compost for the best growing results. Commercial compost is generally made up of organic material that may include plant matter, mushrooms, manure and worm castings. Apartment dwellers may wish to avoid compost containing manure because of odor issues and opt for vegetable compost instead.

While small composting containers are available for purchase, householders can easily make their own inexpensive composting bins out of 32-gallon garbage cans or similarly large containers with locking lids. Layers of green or new waste should be alternated with brown waste. Compost must be kept moist, and turned daily or at least once a week.

The following items are suitable for composting:

• Vegetable rinds, stems and peels

• Coffee grounds

• Dead leaves

• Egg shell

• Newspapers

Items to avoid:

• Cooked foods

• Dairy products

• Meat

• Bread

Pest Control

Apartment dwellers should make sure compost is well-rotted in order to eradicate insects. Several natural materials are available to combat pests.

• Insecticidal soaps, available in nurseries and home and garden stores, work well to control aphids and some other pests.

• Pyrethrins are made from chrysanthemum-type flowers and work to kill soft-bodied insects.

• Rotenone, made from the roots of tropical plants, works effectively to kill many insects, including caterpillars, beetles and aphids.

Window Sills

Some would-be gardeners lack the luxury of a patio or balcony for growing vegetables and herbs. In these cases, the window sill can serve as a site for raising smaller plants. The motivated gardener should have no problem growing herbs, salad greens and small tomatoes in window pots. Not only will these gardeners experience the nutritional benefits of home-grown organic produce, they will enjoy improved interior air quality and additional moisture.

Chris Bromfield is a contributing writer at probiotics.org.

 
 
By JOAN NATHAN Published: August 9, 2011 GALILEE, R.I.

Recipes


SEA gulls and cormorants circled overhead in the early morning fog as the Block Island ferry blew its horn in the distance.

On the deck of his trawler, the Elizabeth Helen, Steve Arnold took out his Droid Incredible and photographed the best of that day’s catch of fluke. He e-mailed the photograph to a number of chefs and sent them a note saying what he had hauled in, what he would be fishing for in the coming days, and when he could deliver his catch that afternoon.

The chefs fired back requests for squid, fluke, striped bass and a dozen or so other species. In iced containers, the orders would be rushed to restaurants in Providence and towns nearby in Massachusetts in a refrigerated van that Mr. Arnold recently bought.

“I start stressing out if it takes more than 24 hours from sea to kitchen,” Mr. Arnold said.

Derek Wagner, the chef at Nicks on Broadway in Providence, answered a call on a recent day and saw a bucket of butterfish on Mr. Arnold’s boat with a glove on top to show their size.

“It is amazing,” Mr. Wagner said. “This is real time. No middleman. I texted Steve back. He got my brain going about butterfish. As Steve is pulling the fresh stuff out of the water, it shows up at the back door and whole.”

This boat-to-table initiative is part of Trace and Trust, a program that Mr. Arnold; Christopher Brown, the head of the Rhode Island Commercial Fishermen’s Association; and Bob Westcott, another local fisherman, started this year to make fishing more lucrative and shopping more reliable. By cutting out the wholesaler, Trace and Trust lets fishermen get a bigger cut of what chefs and stores pay, and lets restaurants and retailers know they are buying the freshest fish possible. (Consumers can go to its Web site,
traceandtrust.com, to find participating stores and chefs, and to trace a fish’s identification tag back to the boat or fisherman who caught it.)

Trace and Trust comes at a moment when the seafood industry is under attack because of misleading labeling as well as the freshness and sustainability of what it sells. Consumers and fishermen have reacted by setting up community-supported fisheries, in which consumers pay in advance for a weekly delivery of seafood. And fishermen have reached out to chefs before.

But Trace and Trust has used technology to create a more direct and responsive connection between consumers and fishermen than any other program in the country, said Peter Baker, director of Northeast Fisheries Program for the Pew Environment Group.

“These fishermen are cutting edge,” Mr. Baker said. “Working together, the Rhode Island group came up with an innovative and unique marketing idea that no one else is doing.”

Mr. Arnold said he even follows chefs on Twitter and Facebook to see what fish they are using or want.

Most of the catch from local fishermen goes to processors, who fillet and pack it, in Boston; New Bedford, Mass.; or New York, or, by air freight, even farther away. That’s still true of most of the fish Mr. Arnold catches in the 200 days or so that he sets out to sea each year. “We are at the mercy of the processors,” he said. “It is no way to do business.”

Mr. Wagner, the first chef to participate in the project, said that fish from distributors ends up being two or three times as expensive, and is usually out of the water three days longer than the Trace and Trust fish.

Fish sold through Trace and Trust are not filleted, making delivery quicker and giving chefs more to work with.

“While the whole fish program does tack another six, seven hours onto my week with butchering, packing, etc., we still make more profit off this fish than we ever have before,” said John Vestal, the chef at New Rivers in Providence, who goes by the name Beau. “We also get all the odd little bits to play with. When the yellowtail flounder was coming in flush with six-inch roe sacks intact, we would harvest them, pan roast them, serve them with a simple vinaigrette and get $8 a pop. An extra $16 per fish, in our pockets, all the while sharing with our customers flavors and textures they never knew existed.”

“In my first phone call to Steve he basically explained his plan and said, ‘We’ll give it a try, if you like the fish, then great,’ ” Mr. Vestal said. “He showed up the next day at my back door with a perfectly packed and iced crate of whole codfish, yellowtail flounder and skate wings. I have been buying all the seafood for the restaurant for over a decade, and what I saw amazed me. The fish was the absolutely most beautiful, fresh, cleanest seafood I had ever seen. I was truly overwhelmed. It also saddened me. Where was all the local Rhody fish that was being landed right here going?”

Sixteen restaurants in Rhode Island are participating in the program, including New Rivers, Chez Pascal and La Laiterie in Providence, and about a half-dozen in the Boston area. Recently River and Glen, a distributor in Pennsylvania, joined in, selling the three fishermen’s catch — which goes under the Wild Rhody label — to high-end restaurants in the mid-Atlantic area.

“You can now eat really fresh fish at the Tastings Wine Bar at Gillette Stadium,” the home of the New England Patriots, Mr. Arnold said with pride.

Mr. Wagner said: “I have never had such positive feedback from any fish that we have served, ever. The proof is the guest returning more than once a week to have the fluke crudo again, or to try the squid this time, or they had heard about the skate with capers.”

Trace and Trust has forged strong ties between the chefs and fishermen. Mr. Vestal said he even told Mr. Arnold early on that he needed to charge chefs more to help guarantee success.

“It is absolutely essential that programs like this survive and flourish,” Mr. Vestal said.

Original Article Found Here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/dining/a-boat-to-table-initiative-brings-fish-to-chefs.html?ref=joannathan
Recommended Reading :
http://www.traceandtrust.com/Default.aspx?id=39&default.aspx?id=8
 
 
You can count the seeds in an apple, but you cannot count the apples in a seed.

via vintagegardengal.com

Seeds can be viable for hundreds, even thousands of years. The oldest seed that has grown into a plant was a Judean date palm seed about 2,000 years old, recovered from excavations in Israel. But conditions have to be just right for that to happen – dry, cool and air tight is ideal.

We have several seed collections, but there is one special one – our biggest, called the Whole Garden Collection. It contains 32 types and 40 varieties of vegetable seed, sealed in triple-layer foil mylar packaging for long-term storage. We can’t promise 2000 years, but it will last 5 to 10 years or more in the right conditions.

Whole Garden Collection

This collection is 100% non-hybrid, open-pollinated, and untreated seed and includes guidelines for vegetable growing and seed saving right in the package.  Like all of Sow True Seed, it can be saved and replanted year after year, continuing true to type. Saved hybrid seed will not grow true, but will have unpredictable results, perhaps taking after one of it’s grandparents or not bearing fruit at all.

The collection will cover a full 3/4 acre garden for one or several families to share for the growing season. It is also well suited for storing away with your water and food supply in case of an emergency. It includes 2.3lbs of seed, approximately 36,000 seeds.  It will plant 2,600 row feet and yield up to 2,700lbs of fresh, nutritious vegetables!

It includes the following: 2 varieties of Beans (1 pole, 1 bush), 2 varieties of Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, 2 varieties of Cabbage, 2 varieties of Carrots, Cauliflower, Chard, Collards, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Kale, 2 varieties of Lettuce, Melon, Mustard Greens, Okra, 2 varieties of Onions, Sugar Snap Peas, Hot Pepper, 2 varieties of Sweet Peppers, Pumpkin, Radish, Spinach, Summer Squash, 2 varieties of Winter Squash, Sunflower, 2 varieties of Tomato, Turnip, Watermelon.

In the uncertain times that we live in, it makes sense to keep something as important as vegetable seeds on hand.

 
 
I recently read a post in The Green List USA about the sustainability about electric cars. There were some good points, they are cleaner, less noise pollution etc. When I think about transition ans sustainability I start thinking about reviving the old ways and starting to appreciate the sustainability of them. For instance what happened in Cuba when the Soviet Union fell. The people of Cuba found themselves without any oil, no imports of food, the island was abandoned and the people had to make a way. One of the things that they did among many others is tackle transportation many of its citizens were use to traveling 10-20 miles to work before the fall of the Soviet Union then they woke up one day and there was no more gas. They got on their bikes and started riding their bikes to work. Now you can imagine what a pain in the ass "literally" that was. As they became more sustainable and independent their lifestyles yet took another transition they began creating community in which people lived and worked. Shortening the commute. You guys say what are the benefits to this? Well let me tell ya. Physical health, cleaner air, increase levels of energy and most importantly mental clarity. I have read that the statistics for the average Human on Earth walks ten miles a day. The average human in the western world is 3 miles per day. It is said the 5 miles will bring you optimum health. So with that being said I am going to show you some pictures that I took while I walked.





 
 
The green movement seems to be sputtering to a slow, halting stop lately. The release of emails from several academic centers (known as "ClimateGate") put a seemingly irreparable large dent in the climate change movement. The movement to make businesses and homes eco-friendly is still ongoing, although the damage on the global warming side has bled through to the broader green trend. Making businesses eco-friendly is still a priority for many companies. Public perception of the green movement is mixed, but consumers may still view eco-friendly businesses positively. This provides an incentive to "go green" and start investigating how to do so.

Tracking Wasted Energy

An ordinary business, even one involved in seemingly innocuous sectors like computer repair or accounting, can waste a lot of energy. Appliances, building construction and electronics can waste electricity or make costs go up by accidentally releasing heated or cooled air outside. These issues are well-known in HVAC and other trades, but businesses can track how much energy they waste. Some companies also offer consulting services that businesses can use. Energy usage statistics can be an eye-opener as well as suggest improvements to be made. Simply becoming aware of how much energy is wasted can itself be very instructive.

Cutting Down On Electricity

Wasted electricity is the biggest drain on a business as well as the most environmentally inefficient aspect. The biggest consumers of electricity are electronics like computer systems and machines. Even a simple move such as turning off the computer at the end of the day can save a lot of electricity and money. Cutting back on printing and storing documents electronically saves plenty of paper, which means less trees have to be cut down. Data centers in particular would do well to cut back on their electricity usage. Some centers consume the equivalent of five power plants' worth of electricity.

Using Green Products

The green movement has spawned several companies dedicated to replacing hydrocarbon-based products with Eco-friendly materials. Polystyrene foam, made from hydrocarbons, is not considered very environmentally friendly. A company known as Ecovative Design has created EcoCradle, a green replacement for polystyrene foam made from mushroom roots and seed husks. EcoCradle is 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. Products like these help businesses go green without making any expensive investment in new equipment or technology. They can help the environment simply by switching products. Eco-friendliness does not have to be complicated or confusing.

This guest article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from http://www.healthtrainingguide.com/
Health Training Guide. Check out her site to learn more about http://www.healthtrainingguide.com/optician/
Optician training and other exciting health careers.

 
 
The Sustainability of Electric Cars
Marc Castro
Editor
www.electricforum.com

The Internet is replete with articles and opinions on the environmental as well as economic benefits that electric cars provide to the individual car owner. Aside from these benefits, the electric car revolution can help assist in sustaining the environment to assist in its repair and recovery in the long run.

Lowering Carbon Emissions. It has been learned that the single biggest carbon emitter into the atmosphere is the internal combustion engine car. This though is not the only source of carbon emissions for the automobile. Each part requires massive amounts of fossil fuel use in extraction, smelting, forming, manufacturing and assembling car parts for the internal combustion engine. On the other hand, the fuel used to power electric cars are lowered because the electricity it can use to recharge batteries is taken only from the electricity provided to light communities and homes. The increased demand can easily be provided when electric cars attach to the electric grid because the recharging can be done during the off peak hours in electricity demand. Furthermore, because of the environmental guideline for electric cars, the materials use lowered the overall demand for fossil fuel in the creation of parts and other materials for the electric car. The increased use of plastics and polymers essentially cut a major portion of the carbon footprint in manufacturing and assembly of these green cars.

Lower Environmental Impact in Manufacturing. In conventional fossil fuel cars, the main components are steel and oil to allow it to be manufactured and assembled. This means that iron ore and other precious metals need to be mined large-scale to address the demands of the industry. The mining industry is known to be one of the greatest pollutants and environmentally changing activities known to man. Also, many cars are junked but much of its poisonous materials, such as oils and other acids are allowed to leach into the environment, leaving greater issues for the environment. This though is minimized thoroughly with the electric car. While there is still a need for preciously mined metals for the electric car, much of the design for the materials and other components use plastics and other polymers for a lightweight efficient car. As for the fuel and other essential liquids, this though is limited to just the lithium ion and other few materials used to operate the vehicle of the future.

Other Environmental Impact Factors Decrease. With a conventional gas powered car, leaking oil and noxious fumes are part and parcel of this car design. There are other environmental impact factors though that are associated with internal combustion cars and these are noise pollution as well as heat pollution generated by these gas-guzzlers. When the fossil fuel engine is running, heat is generated as well as noise because of the manner that energy is produced within the engine itself. This though is not present with the electric car design. Here, there is no explosion needed to generate energy but the electrical energy goes directly to the electrical motors of the vehicle. There is no residual heat or noise pollution that is generated with the electric car.

As can be seen, the electric car provides a sustainable environmental alternative as a mode of transportation. The carbon footprint is lessened substantially in the manufacture, fuel and other environmental impact factors, allowing for the environment to be able to recover and recuperate for many generations to come.

For a more comprehensive discussion on electric cars, do visit us at  http://www.electricforum.com/electric-cars/electric-vehicle-batteries.html  please visit the author’s site http://www.electricforum.com/

 
 
As we enter into this new age, My daughter and I have been making transitions along the way. We are constantly learning new ways to cut our consumption and free up money for our passions. We are studying as much as possible, and one amazing resource of our study has been the book "Food Not Lawns" by H.C. Flores.
Our major concern was water, and how much it cost. In the past our water bill would sky rocket during gardening season. Now we have converted over 40% of our property to edibles and were concerned with the cost of our water bill. You see, we put the horse before the cart and do not exchange our time for money anymore and $ needs to be used as smartly as possible.

Ms Flores started her transition with a very simple method. Hey, ya gotta start somewhere. She undid the elbow to her bathroom sink and used her hand wash water and tooth brushing water to flush the toilet. So we started, we took off the elbow to the bathroom sink. Then low and behold, the universe steps in and gives me a small plumbing problem and forces me to snake the kitchen sink. During this learning experience, we still had dishes to do. That is when we discovered that it took over 13 gallons of water to wash dinner dishes! So we never put the elbow back to the kitchen sink. We now do our dishes just a little slower ( because we must stop to empty the grey water in the garden :).
So all of that aside, I was eagerly waiting for the bill to come, I thought I would see a small drop. But Low and Behold! I saw something I was not expecting. Consider this, we are still watering our garden with the hose....
Last months bill was $38.14
This month it is $14.32!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
$23.82 difference!!!!!!!!!!
I encourage you to make some small transitions as you go, eventually you will be very happy that you did!
Now I need to convert my washing machine to store grey water for the garden, and utilize a rain catchment system for showering ( I already have the shower stall made :)

I also cut my electric bill down dramatically by selling my clothes dryer and using my clothes hanger, no AC till we cant take it any more, and unplugging appliances and lights instead of just flipping the switch from a normal May electric bill of $150.00 to $200.00 to $75.00!
Learn how Cube dealt with their Peak Oil Problem, This is an AMAZING video!
Watch All parts It is INSPIRING!

Original Post at:
http://nanasgarden71.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-we-cut-our-water-bill-in-more-then.html

Published May 14, 2011



 
 
First thing is first: if you want to live on your very own homestead; you must first define what it is you want . You may want total isolation, and live in a forest, or you may want to live in a community of others that live like you. That part is up to you, CLARIFY your desire and writ it down. We have been dreaming about finding a perfect homestead for us to settle on. I have big dreams about living and working on this amazing homestead.
My homestead will be many things:
1~ Self sufficient (as off the grid as possible, with the exception of Internet and phone communication)
2~We will raise all of our own food, from vegetables to livestock.
3~It will be 50 acres or more
4~There will be facilities for housing students,guests, and teachers; as well as more private facilities for myself and my family.
5~We will use natural building for any buildings we need to build. If the property has existing structures, we will restore them as best as possible to maintain the integrity and history of the property.
6~The land will have valuable water resources, ie. river or spring feed lake.
7~The design of the Homestead will implement Feng Shui and Permaculture design standards.
8~The Homestead will raise the food with out Chemicals, utilizing natures own Armour against pests. We will defend the livestock and plants from disease by breaking the triangle of disease.
9~There will be a smoke house for preserving and storing meats we produce.
10~We will raise Goats, chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs,etc.
11~We will have horses for travel on the property and to help us with large scale gardening.
12~We will have educational opportunities,ie. Permaculture Design Certifications, Animal Husbandry, Homesteading Skills,etc. We will be a place to learn how to become self sufficient in a responsible and healthy manner.
13~We will not only offer courses and classes, we will offer retreats for those that just want to get away and relax.
14~We will have Yoga, meditation, and Holistic practices available (we will subcontract instructors for anything we can not teach or perform ourselves)
15~Our Homestead will be on high ground with a good growing season. We will have green houses for the cold season.
16~We will be a place to learn, work, volunteer, relax, and grow.

Top 10 Tips for Finding Your Affordable Homestead

Make a list of your required criteria, along with what you’d like but isn’t necessary.
Focus on a particular county or region where you’ll begin your search.
Research free land opportunities.
Spread the word that you’re looking for land.
Scour local newspapers and Web sites for available properties.
Drive the back roads — knock on doors and ask questions.
Research foreclosure properties and government land sales.
Consider teaming up with friends to buy property.
Think of your long-term plans as you search for property.
Make an educated offer based on the market.




Resources
Nationwide Real Estate

www.landandfarm.com
www.landflip.com
www.landsofamerica.com/america
www.landwatch.com
www.unitedcountry.com
We will find the perfect Place and we know you will too! Weather it be an Urban area or a Rural Area, weather you want isolation or community; the Perfect place is waiting for you!

Nana's Garden
View Original Post at:
http://nanasgarden71.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-to-find-your-dream-homestead.html
 
 
We are looking for Guest Bloggers to submit their writing talents for our readers to enjoy! Blogs must be original writings. And the content has to relate to Greeness. Some examples are:
Farming
Gardening
Animal Husbandry
Crafts
soap making, homesteading
natural building
Self sufficiency
Seed saving... Oh you get the picture :)
Please send a request to be a guest blogger on our home page!
We look forward to reading your wisdoms!