A compost pile goes well with a vegetable garden, but that’s not the only reason to start one. You can use the compost anywhere in your yard as a fertilizer when it’s ready. And of course it’s a great use of your food and yard waste.
Most people prefer to have a compost bin rather than a compost pile. There are many great ones on the market that can help to speed up the process and keep the smell down.
It’s pretty amazing what you can put into a compost bin. Typical advice is to not throw any meat or cooked foods into the pile, but lots of other things can go in. Grass clippings, of course. Cardboard, although you need to tear it up some but even old pizza boxes are fine. Lint from your laundry. Hair. Paper towels and napkins, if you’re still using them. Some people even put urine in their compost. Others can’t stand the thought.
When it comes to being green, food miles is an important consideration. The further your food comes to reach your table, the less efficient it is. Eating organic food is nice too.
Gardening is a wonderful way to be green and to encourage the entire family to appreciate what it takes to bring food to the table. You may or may not save money gardening, but you can’t beat the food quality when it all works out.
Plan by what your family will eat and what grows well in your area. If you’re in an area with water shortages, do take that into consideration as well.
Especially for younger children there is nothing like seeing a plant go from seed to the table. It can even encourage some of the pickier ones to try vegetables they thought they didn’t like.
There are many ways to keep your garden organic. Delight younger children by getting lady bugs to help with pest control. Plant marigolds near tomatoes. Get a good organic gardening book – Square Foot Gardening is a good choice for your typical, space limited yard as well as for larger properties.
Gardening also gives you a great excuse to make the most of your compost pile. Some cities do now take yard waste in special containers, which is a big help, but it’s better yet if you can use it yourself. Much better than using chemicals on your garden. There are plenty of compost bins and such that you can buy to keep the process running with a minimum of odor.
One of the challenges of recycling is knowing exactly what you can and cannot recycle. It varies a good bit from place to place. So many places take only plastics #1 and #2 in bottle shape only, while others take just about the whole spectrum. If you don’t know you could be throwing out recyclable plastics or dropping in things that mess up the recycling routine.
In many regions the recycling company has a website you can check. It may be on your bill from the disposal company. If not, find them using your favorite search engine. Smart companies will list on their websites what they do and do not take.
Companies can be picky about the type of plastic. They can be picky about how clean your glass and plastic are before recycling. You may need to sort, although you probably know that one already by the kinds of bins you deal with. Some are more or less restrictive on the kinds of paper you can send in and if they accept shredded paper.
Have you checked the tire pressure on your car lately?
This is a green habit that you should try to do regularly. It’s quick, simple and can save you a lot of money while making your car more efficient. It’s something you can even get non-green friends and family to do in the name of saving money, gas prices being what they are.
Having the right amount of air pressure in your car’s tires not only improves gas mileage, it’s better for the tires so they last longer.
Keep the pressure within the range recommended by your car’s manufacturer. They do have reasons for the numbers they quote. Some of it is your comfort, as the more pressure in the tire the firmer the ride of the car, and most people don’t like feeling the bumps that much.
I’ve been posting a few small steps people can take to be more environmentally friendly in their lives. I’d like to suggest that you make it a resolution.
That’s the idea behind Hip Mountain Mama’s One Small Change. Their idea is to have people make one small change in their lifestyle each month until Earth Day, blogging about the change they make each month. Or if you don’t have a blog you can post comments about it at their site sharing the changes you’re going to make.
You blog throughout the month about the change you make and how it’s impacting your life, then summarize the entire experience on Earth Day, April 22, 2010.
I’m thinking on doing it myself, although it would be challenging. Many of their suggestions I already do regularly. Others I can’t do as a renter. And then there are things that relate to stuff I rarely do anyhow, such as printing things out.
Bringing more plants into the home sounds fun to me, although my husband should be worried that I can even think it. I’m a little hooked on an orchid my mother gave me and if more get into the house there could be trouble. They might start taking over.
Oh, wait. I have a soon to be toddler. Talk about a home’s natural defense from going overboard on plants of any sort!
Seriously, we aren’t perfect and I’m sure I can find some areas to work on. I’ll be giving this a go.
How about you? And you? And YOU?