Category: Living Green

Don’t Have a Garden? You Can Still Garden!

Anyone can garden! That may sound like a crazy thing to say when so many of us live in accommodation that doesn’t even have access to a garden, but there are still options available to anyone who wishes to plant a few things, watch them grow and harvest them when the need arises.

It does not depend on having a patch of land attached to your home, no matter what the size of accommodation you live in. You can still garden as long as you have the meteorological conditions in which to do it. And for most of us, if not all, that is the case – even if we live in a third floor apartment.

Have you got a window?

Yes? There you go, that and a garden hose are just about all you need in order to start. You will need to add a window box, but they are far from expensive and you can even make one yourself with some wood, some soil and a few rudimentary tools.

Then you just need some seeds or seedlings, and you’re away. Natural light is not a problem, so all you need to do is water your plants regularly and make sure the soil has all the nutrients it needs. If that is not naturally the case – and good soil is usually available cheaply from any good garden centre – then you can buy plant food to give it that extra boost. No problem.

If you want to take things further, there are many areas of land given over to allotments. An allotment is a small spot of land that can be used to cultivate plants. As long as you are not using them for the growing of anything illegal, you are generally free to use them for any purpose that you see fit.

They are generally quite affordable, and they allow more freedom and space than a window box or something similar. They allow you to learn the principles of gardening without having to move heaven and earth, and they are also a relaxing haven away from the cut and thrust of everyday life. See? Anyone can garden.

The Greenhouse Effect

Part of the problem with gardening in the western world is that our climate is often very changeable and it can be hard to second guess the conditions from week to week. Think of the hardy crops that are often destroyed by inclement weather or a lack of rain in any given year.

Then think of how much less “hardy” a garden variety plant will be. It is not difficult to see why you will face problems if the weather for the months when your preferred plants should be growing turns out not to be what you were expecting. It’s disappointing when it happens, but there is no doubting that it does happen.

One solution that is certain to work is a greenhouse. OK, greenhouses are not cheap. So they are pretty much out of the question if you do not feel that you have the money to spend on getting perfect conditions for your gardening. But they are also not hideously expensive, particularly as there are so many different sizes of greenhouse.

Don’t Forget to Water Your Garden!

One of the biggest things to do that a lot of people often ignore is watering your plants. Get a nice garden hose and water them twice a day, depending on the amount of sunlight.

It’s usually a good idea to have your water faucet nearby to your plants, so that you can save money on your garden hose length. If your garden is 100 meters away from a water faucet, then you’re going to need a lot of hose.

My personal favorite style of garden hose is the expandable hose, which is less expensive than most of the traditional garden hoses. This style of hose is becomming more and more popular these days because they weigh less and cost less. You can easily carry them around, unlike the 50 lb rubber garden hoses.

Are you a gardening fanatic with money to spend?

Go for a big greenhouse and fill it with all sorts of different things? Do you specialise in a few things which are dependent on the correct elements?

A smaller greenhouse will suffice perfectly. It won’t cost the earth, and it makes gardening a heck of a lot less hassle.

The Greenhouse Advantage

The advantage that a greenhouse has is that inside one, you control the elements. If you need it to be a certain temperature, then you set it to that temperature. If you need a certain amount of light, you can hook up artificial lights.

Although they may not be the perfect substitute for direct sunlight, they are a whole lot better than no light at all. If you have a variety of plants which all need different levels of light and heat, then you can partition areas off for each separate section of your gardening repertoire.

The great thing about having a greenhouse is that they give you an element of control that you cannot have over the outdoor climate, unless you are Mother Nature.

And if you are, you don’t need this advice anyway.

Biomass Furnace – The Eco-Friendly Heating System

The biomass furnace or boilers are those that use natural fuels from renewable sources for their operation. The wood pellets from forest residues or surplus industries, olive pits, nut shells, wood etc. are natural energy sources that can be used in any biomass furnace. The bio-fuel which is used to feed the biomass furnace is more economical than conventional fuels (diesel, propane, etc …). Besides, the price of bio fuel also remains more stable over time because of which bio mass furnaces are increasingly used for generating heat as part of any home heating system.

The high calorific value per unit weight (reaching the 4,200 kcal / kg) makes biodiesel a form of renewable energy which is profitable and contributes to the efforts of preserving the environment and the sources of energy on this planet. Moreover, its characterization as a renewable energy source makes the authorities subsidize its use. Compared with fossil fuels, one kilogram of pellets has half the calorific value than a liter of diesel. In other words, we need two kilos of pellet or olive stones to produce the same energy as one liter of diesel.

Types of Biomass Furnace

Pellet – Only substances such as pellets or olive pits, which are absorbed into the boiler by means of suction or screw, can be used in these furnaces. They are most commonly used for medium power generation (domestic use).

Poli-combustible – They require crushed substances for combustion. They are larger in size and are mostly used for industrial purposes.

Wood stoves – They use wood logs for combustion and the wood furnace are usually used at home (domestic use).

Operation of Biomass Furnace

A biomass furnace or biomass boiler functions in a manner similar to a gas boiler. The burner burns fuel pellet that is provided, generating a horizontal flame that enters the boiler, as is common in diesel systems. The heat generated during this combustion (in this case of natural fuel) is transmitted to the attached water circuit in the heat exchanger incorporated in the boiler. The hot water generated is used for heating pools, water for domestic use etc. Heating can be done by any conventional water systems, for example, under floor heating, radiators or fan convectors.

This biomass combustion need a container or silo for storage of biofuel located near the boiler. From the same, a screw feeder or suction, leads to the boiler, where combustion takes place. The pellet type fuel must be stored at an angle of about 45 degree for proper insertion into the boiler.

Burning biomass produces some ash, which is usually collected automatically in an ashtray, which needs to be emptied four times a year. To optimize the operation of the biomass furnace, we can install a battery, storing heat in a manner similar to a solar energy system.

Advantages of Installing a Biomass Furnace

Clean energy:  dies not emit CO2

Cheap energy: the price of biomass does not depend on international markets such as fossil fuels, besides being much lower.

Safe energy: the biomass, unlike the gas can not explode.

RV Solar Panels for Your Mobile Living Space

RV solar panels are part of RV (Recreational Vehicle) systems and refer do different things such cabin systems or small boats. They come in large varieties and can start from small 5 watt mechanisms that can constantly charge your battery during some of your trips or even during the whole winter. Larger scale models can help you function on a daily basis and can reach 900 watts.

This type of RV solar panel based structure comes with an inverter and a rather large battery bank. Almost all solar panels are built the withstand water both salty and normal. Manufacturers usually provide their products with 20 or 25 year warranties. Besides RV solar kits, some people use wind generators. This solution is better suited for those running sailboats and remote homes that stay parked longer than usual.

RV Solar Panels Basics

The vast majority of RVs including their accessories are pushed into motion by 12 volts DC. All the mechanisms incorporated in the RV have no problem running on batteries or solar panels. A good way to reduce the usual power requirements which in turn will lower the number of solar panels and the amount of money spent is to switch to DC fluorescents. Some 12 volt fluorescent illuminating elements will draw less than 33% energy out of the RV solar panels.

How Many Panels to Use?

An accurate estimate is done depending on the needs of every RV. Some may use large amounts of power and others can be quite cheap to run. It you plan on letting electricity flow through a small TV and a few fluorescent lights than all you need is around about 100 watts.

Combine the panels with a properly made heavy duty deep cycle battery and all things will work perfectly. For more intense use that is usually associated with microwaves, coffee makers, AC appliances or vacuum cleaners an inverter will necessitate 400 watts of RV solar panels.

Hybrid RV System

This implies using RV solar panels and a small generator. This type of approach is very popular because it distributes energy depending on the amount of power needed. The solar panels come in when turning on lights that work most of the time. An average 800 watt inverter will keep TV’s and computers on without any problem whatsoever. A generator is not that cheap to run on a regular basis and can be very annoying especially for the neighbors because of the sound it produces.

The hybrid system will necessitate a few hours a week of generator power and can also recharge its batteries by using the inverter. The concept behind hybrid systems refers to other combinations as well such as wind generators and solar panels. This is mainly seen on boats.

RV Solar Battery Charger

Most manufacturers create their convertors in such a way that they will charge the batteries just as two panels would do. Take great care with this process because you can risk burning your batteries because of the constant high voltage.

Benefits of Organic Fertilizers

If you ever look around one day in the grocery store you will notice how many synthetically produced products there are in the world. Even if food such as fruits and vegetables have had contact with synthetically produced chemicals in the form of fertilizers and pesticides.

While synthetically produced products have helped us greatly they have also hurt us as well. The DDT pesticide that was responsible for a major environmental impact and subsequently banned for agricultural use, along with plastics that will never biodegrade are just a couple of the many synthetic materials that helped us but in the long run will ruin the environment for future generations.

There is a simple yet effective way to help control this type of problem in your own house, just go organic. Organic living really isn’t all that hard a type of life style to get use to. You don’t have to jump right in it immediately and do a 180 in your lifestyle. You can slowly ease your way into organic living or at least take up a few habits of the organic life style.

Organic gardening is a good way to slide into the organic lifestyle. For those of you with gardens or wanting to start a garden in the house there are many ways to have an organic garden in your house. Using compost from your house which is just a pile of organic materials such as grass clippings, dog feces, and organic left over from meals left to rot and decompose into fertile soil. Or you can buy organic fertilizer from the store.

Cow manure is the most popular kind but they have it in granules you can spread over the garden and yard as well as liquid that can be spread used a hose. With an organic garden you don’t even have to worry about using synthetic pesticides on your organic garden. There are a few ways to prevent pest from attacking and eating your garden.

One good way to keep pests away as an organic pesticide is companion planting. What that does is it naturally reduces the amount of pests that are attracted to the plants.

A few examples of companion planting are cucumbers planted with beans, sunflowers, and corn. Or if you don’t want to companion plant then a simple mix of crushed onions or garlic in a spray water bottle with a bit of vegetable oil mixed in.

Spray the plants and it will stay on the plant and the pest when they land or if they are on the plants. That will kill them in a safe plant organic way. Just a simple way to start and maintain a little organic garden for yourself you can even save a little bit of money on buying vegetables from the market place.

Green Living Organic Gardening

One of the reasons why organic gardening can come as a real challenge is the limit on insect (pest) control methods. Green living means saving the ecological habitat from noxious pesticides. While environment and health may be smiling in relief at the non-use of toxic chemicals, our eco-conscious gardener is apparently at a loss here. But not really! A number of safe and environmental-friendly means of pest control can be practiced to obtain a healthy yield in plenty.

Organic gardeners, unless they are just about to begin with the gardening practice, know that selective plantation of certain plant species/families obviates the need of using any insecticides. A large number of herbs and vegetables – including radish, pea, turnip, sweet potato, beet, and onion etc – develop with little threat from insects. However, there are crops that fall a prey to garden bugs. These include potato, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, cucumber, pumpkin, and many other food plants. The first thing to do for an organic gardener, therefore, is to mark the pest-resistant and pest-prone varieties of crops.

Companion planting has been tried by many a gardener for pest prevention. What they do is grow certain varieties of plants – edible, flowering, and/or herbal – next to one another. This contiguity is believed to prevent certain pests from invading the plants due to an aversion of the neighboring vegetation (on account of aromas or other qualities disagreeable to insects). Remarkable as it sounds, companion planting is not backed by scientific studies. In fact, some research studies conducted on the putative benefits of companion planting show that there is more assumption in it than truth.

Realizing the need to use some kind of non-toxic, health-friendly, and pro-environment source of insect control, organic gardeners have often tried natural pest control strategies. Releasing ‘beneficial’ insects, like ladybirds and lacewings etc, is still considered a natural remedy for insect pest. But their effectiveness is quite limited. In many instances, these ‘control insects’ start eating one another or sometimes just leave the garden without doing their job. Though not totally useless, insects are not a very reliable means of controlling pest.

Another method that works against some pests is biological control, i.e. using living organisms to check the invading population of harmful insects. Certain varieties of Bacillus bacteria are available in commercial organic formulas and are useful in growing healthy crops of Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes. The organisms used for pest control do not harm useful insects and thus are also cherished for use in growing economically important crops.

A specialized form of organic pest control is the botanical control – extracts of plants that function as natural pesticides while they are effective in short-term and small-scale action against some insects, many of these natural pesticides are not friendly to the environment or ecological health. Using insecticide soaps and rotating crops are also used as complementary methods of pest control. Removing or destroying crop refuse and disposing it safely are considered an important part of organic gardening.

At the movement, no single pest-control method is known to get over the problem of bugs in organic gardening. Pest-control is done effectively on an ‘as needed’ basis – a time to time and persevering job.

Danger of Chemical Household Cleaners

Whenever it comes to a general discussion of hazardous chemical products, most people tend to feel worried about industrial wastes that are contaminating the air, water, and land around us.

To give you all goose bumps, the threat of toxicity is more immediate – lying next to our daily life inside our very own houses. True that the levels of toxic chemicals used in households is usually much lower than those dealt with in industries or workplace.

Nevertheless, houses do carry a threat to health and environment due to hazardous chemical products. While different substances in the house may contain higher than safe levels of toxic chemicals, household cleaners are particularly infamous for posing greater risks to health.

Aside from the composition of household cleaners, the latter are of worse concern to health-conscious families because they are used throughout the house for cleaning purposes. Since water is used with many of them, the vapors formed indoors may affect all the inhabitants of the house.

Within a house, various cleaners of toxic composition are used in the kitchen, bathrooms, garages, and virtually anywhere. Two main reasons appear to be responsible for the use of potentially harmful chemical cleaners in our modern day houses. First, synthetic chemical cleaners are quick to use and help save the consumer’s time. Secondly, they are easier to use than many natural cleaners that were used prior to the popularity of synthetic cleaners. Given the health and environmental effects (both actually related) of synthetic cleaners, spending more time and effort is worth adopting.

Prior to going for natural and safer cleaners at home, it is important to identify hazardous cleaning agent used for household cleaning. This is easy since most of such cleaners are labeled with one of these three main alarming words: Danger, Warning, and Caution.

Those marked with the word ‘Danger’ are the most toxic followed by those with ‘Warning’, and products labeled with ‘Caution’ are rather low in toxicity (though still not advisable for use). Generally, caustic and highly evanescent (solvent) substances used at home are mostly toxic to health. In the long term, they cause a large number of health problems ranging from skin problems to cancer.
For general safety to your health and environment, proper disposal of all waste/left-over materials is indispensable.

Following the instructions on the container is the best way of safely using the product it contains. All labels need to be duplicated and affixed to a new container in case the user needs to change containers.

People with access to the Internet (and who hasn’t got it these days) can get plenty of free information on safe disposal of household products. It goes without saying that all chemical cleaners need to be kept out of the reach of kids.

Bottled Water vs. Filtered Tap Water

Water is something that every human needs to survive. Everyday in the United States people either purchase water bottles at there near by supermarket or simply just drink out of the tap. However, is bottled water even filtered; is it even regulated by the government?

Bottled water can be glacial water, purified water, and spring water. It is said that even most bottled water companies simply put regular ‘tap water’ in each bottle. Of course doesn’t that mean that bottled water isn’t filtered? In the year of 2007, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) had announced that they have carried out a four-year study on bottled water. The results were startling; it showed that one-third of the bottled water tested high for contamination.

Numerous corporations are making a large effort to promote tap water over bottled water, since tap water can be filtered unlike the average polluted bottled of water. It has been said that Americans purchase approximately 28 billion water bottles a year, and 80 percent of those bottles end up in landfills. The average cost in the U.S. for a bottle of water can cost between $0.25 and $2 per bottle; whilst tap water cost less then a penny. According to the NRDC about 90 percent of manufacturer’s costs is from making the bottle, label, and cap.

Even if you still consider to purchase a water bottle, recycling is something that everyone should take part in. Each water bottle ultimately becomes a pollution problem for our planet. However, not everyone takes part, or considers the well being of mother earth. So every time you or someone else buys a water bottle, ask yourself this one question…what’s in the water?

Five Ways to Go Eco-Green Friendly in Your Apartment

Here are five ways to make your apartment an eco-friendly place:

  1. The first thing you should always do is take into consideration the location of your apartment and make it as convenient to your occupation and also the places you go to on a regular basis, so that you could walk or ride a bike. You will be helping the environment and your heart from all the exercise you would be getting.
  2. Several of us tend to get into the habit of turning the lights or television on the moment we get home. We usually do it because we like the noise in the background and the lights to feel warmth of security. Try going without it for a while. When coming home, instead of turning on your lights, open some blinds or curtains. Plus you’ll be amazed at how much more calming it is, without having the T.V. blaring.
  3. One thing that everyone has trouble putting into there daily routine, is there use of water. Spending less time in shower (low-flow showerhead on your taps are recommended), turning the water off while you brush your teeth, don’t use hot water for your laundry are just some things you should take into consideration. Cold water works just as great and only run your washer machine and dishwasher with a full load.
  4. Something that everyone uses carelessly is plastic bags. They continue to be one of the worst things for the environment. People have stockpiles of things they collect in their garages and storage bins that are covered in plastic bags that will never be used, and eventually end up discarded someplace. At the very least, try to reuse them as much as possible. When you do decided to throw them away, be sure to recycle them.
  5. Of course, one thing that has grown to be given in most cases, however, this is also a key contributor to bad pollution. Smoking is a threatening habit and it ends up affecting other people. Second-hand smoke is a main indoor air pollutant and extreme health hazard. There are always alternatives to helping you quit smoking. Such as “the patch” and a product known as “Ecigarette”.

It is important to making your home a better environment, for yourself and for others. Try to stay optimistic in everything you choose to do to becoming eco-friendly.

Green Eco-Friendly Laptops

Apple has done it again, by creating something spectacular, even though everything they create is notorious in every way. They are the new ‘Green Notebooks’. No they are not really green laptops. They are the hottest laptop known to be Eco-Friendly. They are highly recyclable and have even more energy then other laptops offered by Apple. These incredible notebooks are being sold everyday, for there sleek style and their friendly environmentally status.

Apple has worked extremely hard to eliminate the numerous toxins that are primarily used to manufacture notebooks. They have also done this with other green products of there’s such as: MacBook computers, iPod touch, iPod Classic, iPhone 3G, and the iPod nano. In addition to the removal of toxins, this infamous laptop is completely recyclable and every material within this notebook can be reused in other products for recycled aluminum and glass. Both of which are very wanted by recyclers whom use it to their advantage on other products.

When people found out that this amazing laptop is free of toxins and is also 100% recycled material they were anxious to get there hands on it, especially when they found out that it is more energy efficient which uses less electricity.

This miraculous notebook could be used by anyone for anything! This 17-inch MacBook Pro has a longer lasting battery. Most laptop batteries are known to be replaced every year or two, which means more batteries, will be used and thrown out. However, the battery that is in the MacBook Pro last up to five years!

Most people don’t even think of new ways to help their environment, ways to living green and preventing pollution of the things they buy. Whether it is recycling their garbage, prevent smoking, using recycled shopping bags rather then plastic bags or even discussing the bad effects it has upon our world. Maybe since it is a new generation of a virtual world; environment friendly technology is the best result to making a difference and explaining ways to becoming ‘eco-friendly’.