Tag Archives: Garden

Free wood chips help local small business, local landfills, and homeowners

IMG_2450What do you do if you’re a small tree chipping company and you don’t want to spend your money on dumping fees? What do you do if you’re a city planner trying to keep your landfills from filling up so fast?  What do you do if you’re a homeowner who wants to do some sustainable and frugal landscaping pathways?

IMG_2441A new website in Portland Oregon solves this three way problem with chipdrop.  You open an account and give your address, and whatever local tree chipping company has a load of chips they need to dump, they drive it to your house and dump it free in whatever location you mention. It helps the tree chipping companies because otherwise they’d have to pay dump fees. It helps the homeowner because you get free wood chips delivered to your door. It helps the city because it doesn’t get it’s landfills full of woodchips. Everybody wins.

We took advantage of this new service and created front and backyard pathways!  Our load, we were told, was mostly douglas fir, so the whole yard smells wonderful, and it’s safe for our backyard free range chickens.

Public urinal goes green

pplanterWhat happens when you combine bamboo plants and simple green science to create a public urinal?  The PPlanter.

The PPlanter is a simple and attractive public system that allows you to privately pee in a urinal (there are disposable women’s adapters as well), then step on a foot pedal that brings fresh water to wash your hands.  The fresh water flushes/cleans the urinal with liquids going into a holding tank.  From there, the mixed liquid is pumped into the planter/biofilter, where bamboo plants are growing in a mixture of rocks, wood chips and styrofoam. The water, nitrogen and phosphorous are used by the bamboo, while bacteria living in the growing medium break down carbohydrates and protein.

I talked to my son and he says guys would have no problem with this, but probably women wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic.  According to the Gizmag article, the test project had plenty of volunteers, but they didn’t break down how many were men/women.  Also what would you do if you ended up needing to do more than just pee – this particular invention doesn’t cover that.  But I think it’s a good start to re-imagine how to simplify waste systems.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

Garden Terrace Apartment Building uses recycled water and solar power

clearpoint-12Here’s an innovative apartment building in Sri Lanka.  It uses recycled water (including rainwater) to water the outdoor plants and flush toilets, and a solar panel to run the lobby lights and other shared resources.

When it’s completed in 2016 it will be the tallest residential vertical garden in the world, with planted terraces circling the entire structure.  The 164 apartments, each with 2300 square-feet of floor space and an open feel, are designed to give residents a sense of ground-level living, as well as privacy and tranquility in a bustling city.

The planted terraces for each apartment will help absorb sound, provide shade, and cleanse the air. They’ll be automatically watered using a drip-irrigation system of rainwater, and along with recycled water to flush toilets, will help to reduce intake from the national water supply by an estimated 45 percent.

Check out this innovative Sri Lankan apartment building here.  Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

Free fruit gleaning from all over the world!

pear tree lots of pearsFallingFruit.org is an an urban harvesting map that brings together community and city data bases from all over the internet/world.  Find, add, and edit information on the wild edibles growing in your neighborhood.  Check out  http://www.fallingfruit.org/ to find and share free urban fruit that otherwise would go to waste.

TomTato plant grows both tomatoes AND potatoes

This is not a genetic hybrid, but created with the age-old method of grafting by hand the top of a cherry tomato plant to the roots of a white potato plant, so that a single plant produces both tomatoes and potatoes at the same time.

UK Horticulture company Thompson and Morgan states that the Brix (sugar content) of the TomTato’s fruit is higher than most supermarket tomatoes, and the potatoes are fine for boiling, mashing, or roasting.  At this time the TomTato is only available in the UK, but the BBC reports that another such plant has been released in New Zealand, made by the company Incredible Edibles, and known as the Potato Tom.

Can’t wait for the US to develop such a plant – I’ve always had good luck with cherry tomatoes, but never with potatoes.  Maybe if I had a plant like this I could easily grow both on my little city lot – or better yet in a pot?

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

Aronia: The North American super berry with cancer-fighting properties | Fox News

Aronia berry clusterAronia Berries, also known as Choke Cherries, are a native American fruit.  They are full of antioxidents and make great juice.  So why don’t more people grow them?  Well, for one, they taste puckery/mealy if you eat them fresh.  The juice stains your skin. They don’t cook down all that well because of the tiny bitter seeds and skin, and they are terrible dried.

So what do you do with them?  I enjoy them two ways:

1. I wash the berries, take off the stems, and put berries in the blender with about 1 part berries to 3/4 parts water.  Then I strain and keep the juice, composting the remaining seed/skin sludge.  After the juice settles I strain it again to get the second smaller wave of sludge off.  I do this over the sink wearing an apron so I don’t stain anything (the stains scrub out of the sink and off your hands eventually). I put the juice in bottles in the fridge and Continue reading

RentTheChicken.com lets you practice raising backyard chickens

rent-the-chicken-dot-com-photo.JPG.662x0_q100_crop-scale

If you like the idea of having fresh eggs straight from the backyard, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to commit, RentTheChicken.com lets you rent some chickens!

Here’s how they pitch their service:

Thought of Raising Backyard Chickens? Every spring, thousands of chickens are sold at local farm supply stores. Often these chickens die before they are ready to start laying eggs (16-30 weeks). Children quickly realize that chickens are not as fun as the Xbox and parents find out that chickens cannot be house broken! The costs quickly start becoming more and more, then chickens are “sent to the farm”. Other people think about chickens but think they don’t have the space, worry about regulations, or just don’t know what they need. Do you build or buy a coop? Do you buy peeps? How do you raise an egg-laying hen if you buy a peep? Did someone tell you about a heat lamp? It can all be overwhelming and we take the guesswork out of all of the questions by offering a portable coop, the food & supplies, and the egg-laying hens!

RentTheChicken.com is based in Continue reading