January 26th, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
New York City real-estate company, the Durst Organization, is planning to spend nearly $1 million to install more than an acre of rooftop gardens on top of its prime Manhattan buildings using composted food, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Read More:New York City Real Estate Company Composts Food for Rooftop Gardens
May 9th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
A proposed rule could make it illegal for hospitals, large restaurants, hotels, universities and other large businesses in Massachusetts to throw away food waste with the rest of their trash.
Read More:Massachusetts Could Become First State to Ban Food Waste
December 3rd, 2010 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Where does your food come from? If you say “the supermarket,” then stop reading and go sit in the corner. But the truth is a lot of people don’t know where their food is grown, raised, cooked, whatever. That’s why the Iowa City School District is taking time to introduce kids to farmers.
“We’re looking to introduce the kids to their local farmers,” a spokesperson from the Johnson County Local Food Alliance told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. “We want to make it fun because eating local is delicious and healthy.”
Read More:Iowa School Children Meet a Farmer
June 19th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Ever feel guilty about throwing away vegetable and fruit peels, rinds or scraps?
Your intuition may tell you there’s a better way to handle these leftovers.
Composting is a great way to make use of organic matter that you would otherwise trash.
Building a compost heap is relatively easy, and it will continually give back to your garden and the environment.
According to California’s CalRecycle program, the four necessary composting ingredients are:
- Nitrogen (from sources like grass clippings or those throwaway veggie scraps)
- Carbon (from sources like sawdust or twigs)
Once your compost is at the ideal level of decomposition (uniformly dark brown and crumbly), spread it on your garden to give plants a nutrient boost.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Let It Rot! The Gardener’s Guide to Composting
Photo courtesy of ARA
Read More:Do-It-Yourself Organic Fertilizer
May 27th, 2010 - Scott Shaffer
Having trouble on that crossword? Don’t turn to Google for an answer—spend some time in the garden, instead. BusinessWeek reports that Sage Colleges researchers found that mice who were fed a bacteria naturally occurring in soil made it through a maze twice as fast as the squeaky-clean mice. The cognitive benefits of the bacteria lasted for about three weeks after it was consumed. Researcher Dorothy Matthews said that the bacteria in soil “may play a role in anxiety and learning in mammals.”
Chalk this up as another reminder that we need to rethink our germaphobic concepts of “clean” and “dirty.” I had a geology teacher in high school who wouldn’t let us say the word “dirt” in class—he thought the word had negative connotations that didn’t do justice to the life-giving power of soil. It pains me to say it now, but Mr. Lundgren: you were right. Soil isn’t dirty, it’s good for you.
Think about it for a second. Animals have been eating around dirt for millions of years, but we’ve only been using pesticides for a couple of generations. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a chemical-filled, dirt-free diet is going to have some negative, unintended consequences for us—like causing learning disabilities in children. And that’s not even beginning to mention the effects on the rest of the planet.
Looking for ideas of how to get some of that smart, dirty bacteria into your system? Start an organic garden. Here are 5 tips to get you started. And here are 2 easy compost recipes.
Image Credit: Steven DePolo
Read More:Dirty Food Might Help You Learn Faster
May 6th, 2010 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Here’s the secret to good business – actually, it’s not really a secret – make more money than you spend.
That’s why farmers in Mindanao, Philippines are raving about organic banana farming. They’re making more money – cha-ching!
Farmers have switched from chemicals to compost to fertilize their crops, doubling their income.
One farmer said the compost improves water retention, keeping the soil moist even when there’s no rain in sight.
Plus it helps that the city banned the aerial spraying of fertilizers; health risks prompted the move.
Sure, this is exactly the kind of news you want to here, but you got to wonder if it is profitable on a grand scale – for example, in the United States.
It’s entirely possible.
Even though most bananas consumed in the U.S. aren’t grown domestically, the government could still provide tax breaks and incentives for U.S. companies growing organic foods abroad.
These cost savings could be used to offset any unforeseen costs. Remember, less expenses mean more profit – cha-ching again!
Image credit: Australia’s Coral Coast
Read More:Organic Banana Farming is Very Profitable in the Philippines
March 24th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
While a cup of coffee can get you moving each morning, a java jolt is also a great pick-me-up for your organic garden.
You can use coffee and tea byproducts as a slow-release fertilizer and key compost ingredient. Thinly dispersed coffee grounds serve as a soil amendment that puts nutrients back into the ground.
Here are some tips for getting “grounded”:
- Add coffee grounds (including filters) and tea bags to compost piles to create a rich, all-natural source of energy for plants.
- Dilute with water to make a fast-acting fertilizer.
- Use in soil for houseplants or in vegetable beds.
- Some gardeners believe coffee grounds can help repel pests, such as snails and slugs.
- If your garden needs more nitrogen, turn to coffee. Nitrogen is essential for leaf development.
- Plants that thrive in acidic soil—think pines, evergreens, blueberries, raspberries, roses, azaleas, gardenias, ferns, rhododendrons, lily-of-the-valley and marigolds—can benefit from coffee grounds, which slightly lower soil pH.
- Feed coffee grounds to garden worms. Worm excrement and the aeration provided by tunneling worms work wonders in the garden.
Read More:Give Your Garden a Coffee Break
April 17th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
It happens to us all. You buy some fruits or vegetables, you don’t eat them quick enough and they go bad. Most people throw them out or if they plant a garden they toss them in their compost pile and use that as fertilizer, but you don’t NEED to compost, there’s another way.
L. A. Rotheraine of McKean County Biodynamics in Bradford, Pennsylvania grows tomatoes like that giant one in the video on a mound of garbage. It’s simple. You dig a whole and pile it high with rotten fruits and vegetables, spoiled food, dead plants, manure, pretty much anything that rots. Then plant a tomato on top and watch it grow to gigantic proportions.
Trust me, it works and you don’t need to live in the country or be an expert farmer to do it. I’m hardly an agricultural guru, actually I’m kind of a moron, and I managed to do it. Last year, I saved up a bunch of garbage and raised a big tomato. This Spring I’m doing it again. I’ve already got sprouts growing on my windowsill and three boxes of rot and counting.
Read More:Growing Tomatoes on Garbage…
December 22nd, 2008 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
My credit card hates me. I hardly use it and when I do, I pay my bills on time. So, my credit card company hates me too.
Now, for you charge-oholics, there’s a new card out there, you can feel a lot better about using. Sorry, it doesn’t have a magical spending limit.
This Discover card is made from biodegradable PVC. Meaning, after it spends 5 months in water, dirt, compost or whatever’s in a landfill, it breaks down 99%, leaving no toxic effects on the environment. However, your credit rating is another story.
Discover encourages people to wait until their current card expires before placing an order.
Biodegradable cards are only 1 of Discover’s green innovations. The company’s also making an effort to convert to paperless billing statements and setup a company-wide recycling program and employee rideshare website.
Read More:New Credit Cards Won’t Charge the Environment
May 4th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
If you’re an apartment dweller or have limited yard space, there’s still a way to flex your green thumb: container gardening. Cherry tomatoes draped from hanging baskets, herbs, morning glories and vegetables can thrive in flower pots. And even if you do have space for a vegetable garden, “there’s always the possibility of adding a few more pots,” says Stori Snyder, assistant director of the Hilltop Garden and Nature Center at Indiana University Bloomington. She offers the following tips:
Preparing the Containers
Containers need holes at the bottom for drainage and some rocks for the plant roots to wrap around. The roots “don’t want to have ‘wet feet,’ so to speak,” she says. Containers should be at least one size larger than the purchased pot size.
Feeding the Soil
More plants can be grown in a small space if the soil has been enriched with manure, compost or humus. You can buy a kit to test soil its composition to see if it needs more nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium, which are important nutrients for plants. It’s practically “a given,” Snyder says, that soil will need compost or manure after subsequent plantings because plants always remove nitrogen from dirt. One way to improve the soil is to add a scoop of compost in a hole when burying a plant. Feed the plants again at least once during the summer with a sprinkling of compost or compost tea, where a compost powder is mixed with water.
Consider planting native varieties because they handle a region’s climate better. Local nurseries and county extension services can offer guidance. Some herbs, such as mints, sage and thyme, are hardier than others and grow back in the spring.
Read More:No Room for an Organic Vegetable Garden? Container Garden