Our Guide to Backyard Composting

by Andrew on September 19, 2014 · 0 comments

 

 

Guide to Composting-LG

With the end of summer here I wanted to share some tips on backyard composting for the fall and winter that will surely benefit your garden come next year’s spring.

For those of you who have heard of composting but aren’t quite sure what it is and why you should do it check out below:

  • Composting is a controlled natural decomposition organic material, including items such as leaves, grass clippings, prunings, fruit and vegetable scraps.
  • Composting saves you money by reducing your need to purchase commercial fertilizers and soil amendments.
  • Composting benefits your yard and garden by improving soil health and fertility.  It also helps the environment by recycling organic material and extending the life of landfills.

Composting Basics:

  • There are four simple ingredients required for composting; greens (50%), browns (50%), water and air.  Mixing the proper amounts of each ingredient are very important.
  • Greens include any grass clippings, green leaves, fresh prunings, fruits and vegetable scraps.  However, you should not add any meat or dairy to the compost pile.
  • Browns consist of dry, wood material such as dead leaves, wood chips, twigs, sawdust and paper.  They are the best for decomposition when shredded or chopped to prevent a chunky pile.
  • Water helps to keep a moist pile
  • Air is essential to a sweet smelling composting pile.  It helps to turn your pile once or twice a week.

Using Finished Compost:

  • Top dress your planters by spreading compost to a depth of 3 inches around the base of plants and shrubberies as you would spread mulch.
  • For lawns, screen compost over the surface of the lawn to the depth of 1/2 inch.
  • I’ll have some tips next week about troubleshooting issues with your compost pile, check back then too!

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Caldrea Blackcurrant Mint Candle

by Andrew on September 17, 2014 · 0 comments

Photo Sep 14, 10 33 05 PM

When I was first presented a candle to review made by Caldrea, I was unsure what made a candle “eco-friendly.”  Why would this candle be better for the environment than other candles?  Well many scented hours later, with a bit of research, I have my answer.

The Caldrea candle I was asked to review is labeled “Blackcurrant Mint”, a scent I’m not all that familiar with.  The smell was a fruity, clean smell with a hint of grapefruit.  I tried to use the Caldrea candle often to get a feel for how well it worked.  The blackcurrant candle melted evenly and cleanly, without me having to clean soot off the glass.  I would trim the wick when cool to limit the flame size.  This was just done with my fingers, no scissors necessary.) Unfortunately I did not keep track of the exact amount of hours the Caldrea candle was actually burning, but letting it burn a few hours a day has let me enjoy this candle for several months. My room finally didn’t smell like a man’s bedroom.  However, I did learn that if the candle was left burning for too long the smell would get a bit too intense.  By limiting the burn time, I was able extend the life of the candle.

What makes this candle eligible for a Leafygreen review?  Well first off the wick is made with a cotton and paper core.     Second, the wax is made from a sustainable vegetable wax.  This lowers the impact on our environment by not using resources that, in other non eco-friendly candles, quite literally go up in smoke.  As an added bonus, the packaging also tells me that there was no animal testing used when choosing the various ingredients.

All in all I was pleased with the performance of this eco-friendly candle by Caldrea.  Though strong if used constantly, small doses kept my room scented pleasantly like “Blackcurrant Mint” and kept my earth-friendly conscious clear.

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Woobamboo Bamboo Toothbrush

by Courtney on May 16, 2014 · 0 comments

Recycling what you can is a great practice to get into. But what if the products didn’t need to be recycled because it is sustainable and made from organic matter? So it will eventually breakdown on it’s own, which is even better. Just remove the bristles and toss the handle into your compost pile. As the bristles are plastic they won’t breakdown in your compost. That is what Woobamaboo is great for, biodegradable bamboo handles help to make this toothbrush sustainably organically grown and antimicrobial.

Just like cutting boards which are made from bamboo, this handle is naturally low porous, so that helps with keeping bacteria at bay and away from your mouth. I was happy that this brush acted just as any other toothbrush would, but has an added “green” factor to it, to help the earth at the same time. They only thing that I noticed was that the handle seemed to dry out as I used it. It wasn’t as dark in color and softness as when I first started using it. However I think my hard water is likely the culprit. Perhaps some coconut oil could help hydrate it, but really that is with any bamboo product to keep it oiled. Though the handle being drier than it was out of the package didn’t affect the use of the toothbrush.

These brushes come in soft bristles and kid “sprout” travel sizes too. Medium and super soft bristles are available too, but dentist recommend using the soft uses. Not sure if Woobamboo is for you? Click here to request a sample toothbrush for free and you definitely should. For large orders or companies who request it, they also have custom laser logo engraving available.

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Tortilla chips have always been my choice of snack chip over potato chip, though sweet potato chips have come in a close second as of lately. So I was eager to try Food Should Taste Good’s All Natural Kettle Corn Tortilla Chips. Now don’t make the mistake as I did at first by thinking these chips are kettle cooked, as in extra crunchy thick chips. Instead of what they really are, salty and sweet chips, kettle corn-like kettle popcorn.

With all natural ingredients, all of which are easily pronounceable, including stone ground corn, toasted corn germ, cane sugar and sea salt. Though sugar being nearly the last ingredient, I found that they were very sugary. At least for me, a little sugar goes a long way. Perhaps for me it was just too much. So I thought if there was too much sugar, I could add some saltiness to balance it out more for my taste buds. I decided to turn these chips into my own funky nachos. I melted some monterey jack cheese over them and it helped so much to make them more enjoyable for my taste buds.

If you’re all about sugar and sweetness, by all means add nothing and enjoy. But if you need a little less sugar, try to fancy them up with some toppings or dips. The natural ingredients make for a healthier tortilla chip.

Check out my other review for Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips here.

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Though this soap is not organic, it is all natural and made from 4 simple ingredients. None of which are palm oil. Chandler Farm is big proponent of 100% palm oil free products, as harvesting palm oil threatens now endangered Orangutans in Indonesia. Since the palm oil is harvested usually in unsustainable ways, there is not enough palm fruit for the Orangutans to eat.

What I think is great is that each product is named after an actual Orangutan, each of these animals has been retired from the entertainment industry by Chandler Farm. I got the chance to try out “Popi’s” Pomegranate Soap.

Though the scent wasn’t overpowering , I’m sure I would have classified it as pomegranate. Seeing as how none of the 4 ingredients are products of pomegranate, I suppose using grapefruit and sweet orange oil extracts is how they are creating the scent, meant to smell like pomegranate. I think they should rename it a citrus blend scent instead.

Unlike traditional soaps, which are much more like detergents with their foaming abilities, the foaming of this soap seems to dwindle as you use it. At least that was my experience, used in combination with a washcloth; most of the suds ran out before I was done. No matter how much I created suds. Though we know suds do not equal being clean necessarily, but I did not find it pleasant to end up washing with a wet non-soapy washcloth in the end.

I usually like to slice up artisan soaps since sometimes as a whole they end up becoming too slimy after being in the shower a while. I tried to do that with this soap, but really it made the foaming even more troublesome. So don’t cut this smaller, but do buy this to help the Orangutans. As well as those who may have been exploited in the entertainment industry and those in the wild, who are being forced out of their home by man-made destruction. For a full line of their bath products and other ways you can help the Orangutans, check out their website.

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Chocolate is a great treat and certain kinds can be healthy as far as antioxidants. I’m not too much of a fan of bitter (usually dark) chocolate, I like mine to be sweet. So maybe that is why I’m not a fan whatsoever of this 100% raw organic chocolate from Agami.

As a treat to snack on, as you might a Hershey’s bar, this bar isn’t for that. Though I haven’t cooked or baked with this. Perhaps it’s better by being masked with other flavors, but by its self it is horrible. To me there are other chocolate bars that are way better, don’t waste your time on this one.

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I was very excited to receive a box of sweet potato chips from Food Should Taste Good (FSTG), as I have been enjoying sweet potatoes as a dinner element much more than white potatoes, so these kettle cooked sweet potato chips are right up my alley. FSTG offers them in original, barbeque, salt and pepper, salt and vinegar and ancho chile. Unfortunately I wasn’t sent the original or ancho chile but I’m sure they are fantastic.

Now before I get started with my thoughts on these flavors, I must share full disclosure. I have a thing against barbeque flavored chips, always have since high school and probably always will. Bad experiences with barbeque flavored chips have lead the way for me to steer clear ever since. However, that is not to say that I wasn’t willing to give them a try. I did try them, I had some and for what they were they are good. If you enjoy barbeque chips, you will enjoy these, for sure.

Salt & Vinegar are just tangy enough to keep your taste buds on their toes. With their slightly bitter salty coating they make for a great seasoned chip. The kettle cooked style help create the great crunch to add to the flavor. They are really great on their own because of their seasoning, but also pair really well with dips. Greek yogurt instead of sour cream is my choice.

Just as the Salt & Vinegar chips are flavorful on it’s own. The Salt & Pepper chips are just the same and just as fantastic. I love the little punch of spice from the pepper! It’s not too much pepper, as you only really start to taste it after having several chips in a row.

All of these chips are gluten-free and have a minimal amount of ingredients. All of which are easily known as your common kitchen ingredients, except for the malodextrin and natural flavor. Wishing they disclosed what exactly their “natural flavor” was. Though malodextrin may not be the healthiest thing to ingest, at least it is commonly made from rice, corn or potato starch. Thankfully since these chips are gluten free, the malodextrin hasn’t been made from barely or wheat, which it sometimes can be.

Overall, these Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips certainly do taste good! Watch out for more reviews of their products soon, including All Natural Kettle Corn Tortilla Chips and their new Pita Puffs.

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NYC Green Fest Recap: Part 2

May 2, 2014

Here is part two of my NYC Green Fest Recap, to see part one of my review click here. Three Blue Birds Similar to Skoy Cloths, these Swedish dishcloths are hygienic than sponges and save a ton of paper towels. Since they are way thinner than traditional sponges they will dry quicker and contain less […]

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NYC Green Fest Recap: Part 1

April 30, 2014

On Saturday I attended the Green Festival in New York City for the second year in a row. However, this time it was moved to Pier 94 as to not interfere with the NYC Auto Show at the Javitz Center, where this event was last year. I’m glad they did move it to a new […]

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