Ask me anything
My kitchen is nearly up to date with the latest gadgets and tools to maintain a healthy green environment. This one will be considerably shorter than the last “Going Green” segment, merely because of the amount of links I will be sharing that provide the information for you (which are located in the read more section).
First things first, the kitchen is the hub of a large amount of activities, cooking, eating, gathering; so you’d think that it would be the most pristine locations in the house. Who would believe me if I told them that their toilet bowl is more likely to be more sanitary and clean than their kitchen sink? Most would think I was crazy. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to eat your cereal out of a toilet bowl, but most people will spend more time in one month cleaning their toilet than their kitchen sink.
Imagine all the bacteria and molds that can easily grow from produce and other food products. Your kitchen sink is a living growing petri dish. So a few items to help you keep that bacteria at bay and your kitchen and eating areas clean without the use of harsh chemicals. I am a big fan of Seventh Generation products simply because the have absolutely everything you need and at prices that are comparable, if not cheaper, than their competitors who use harsh chemicals in their cleaning solutions. The only thing that is not Seventh Generation in my kitchen is my hand soap, which is my favorite Basil scented Mrs Meyers. At $4 each, it is a bit expensive, but the varying scents are great.
A few other small tips to keep your kitchen moving at its optimum level. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE needs to own a compost pail or so me form of container that can contain food scraps without being thrown in the garbage. Charcoal lining inside the lids of many of these prevent the odors from the items inside escaping until you’ve filled your container full to be disposed of in your COMPOST PILE. Again, let me say, you take the scraps from your COMPOST PAIL and dump them on your COMPOST PILE. The pail does no good if you end up just tossing them in the trash. For a good example and a well made very inexpensive price, here’s the pail that I own and use daily: http://www.amazon.com/Pinzon-1-Gallon-Ceramic-Compost-Pail/dp/B002EZYY6K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1319663638&sr=8-2 .
Use energy star appliances and use them the correct way. Simple things such as using your dishwasher when completely full will reduce the energy necessary to maintain order in your kitchen.
If at all possible, cook with a gas stove. You’re able to control the amount of energy used more efficiently, and cooking on gas is the preferred method for chefs as you can quickly adjust the temperature whereas using electric would take a while longer to cool down the surface or coils, causing food to burn and waste. Good for your compost, not for your wallet. Gardening is another way that I control energy and harness nature into my own kitchen. We grow a large amount of vegetables throughout the summer that eventually get canned or dried. By providing my own produce, I reduce emissions by not needing an item sent to a store and
Well, I think I’ve covered that for the day, time to move on a little more…
Next week (hopefully): Work and office spaces
My little guy Filburt not much bigger than a quarter back in October. Of course he’s about three times the size now and no longer needs an aquarium with 7/8 of the space covered in rock. Has one rock he can climb on now, but it’s mostly water as he is a painted turtle and eats underwater as well as swims like a crazy person…
“…there are plenty of trees that can provide paper bags, we shouldn’t use plastic bags as they hurt the environment and the reusable canvas and fiber bags are an advertising campaign for companies to make more money…”
Really? I heard this at work the other day and I just had to school them on the fact that paper bags are not better than canvas. When I asked if they recycle their paper bags when they’re done, they said no. Much like a lot of other things they didn’t see the need to recycle: newspapers, aluminum cans, glass containers. I then said the only way it makes sense to use paper bags over canvas, if you so choose, is to recycle them after you’ve used them, not just throw them in the garbage.
Energy saving lightbulbs:
“…they have too much mercury in them…”
Yes, CFLs contain mercury, as do other fluorescent bulbs, like those found in fixtures at schools, offices and governmental buildings. Here’s a news flash, many fish fillets contain a trace of mercury as well. If you like fish and eat it as often as they say you should, you may be more likely to have some form of mercury poisoning than if you use these bulbs. Here’s a tip: they’re like lightbulbs, if you treat them as you should and gently replace them, then stick them in a bag to take to a recycling center (or Lowe’s, Best Buy, Target, etc.) you will not be exposed. Exposure only occurs if they break, so pay attention and don’t break them.
“…by living a more natural lifestyle and living off of nature, you’re taking more and depleting what nature needs…”
Yes…someone said this to me once, and my response, “Did you graduate high school or are you still trying to pass on an elementary education?” You’re not killing the earth by planting trees, shrubs, flowers or other plants, you’re helping balance the earth more. I believe their argument was over planting trees and other plants that produce an array of fruits, vegetables and herbs. When I explained that the purpose of these plants and trees was to produce said items, and if the items were not picked and consumed, they’d simply fall off and rot, they were perplexed. I then explained that many vegetables would not grow a second year and even if they were perennial, again something I had to explain, there wasn’t a guarantee they would produce. I’ve begun to simply sit back and tell people if they make a comment like this that they need to further educate themselves before they would be allowed to formulate such an opinion.
I’ve often been asked many questions as to why I would choose to live more off the earth, and much like the question I receive when asked why I chose to be gay, I simply say, “because it’s natural…”
So I decided I was going to chronicle my year of gardening, and as usual, other things became more important, and between school, work, painting the rooms in the house and actually getting the garden ready, the blog has fallen behind. So better late then never, here it is.
The first picture of the season for new plants. Haven’t been able to get around to a whole lot, most of it has been preliminary prep work.
This year is all about experimentation. Lots of new varieties and techniques as well as a proper time set aside for dehydration, canning and storage of all that I can.
At the end of the season last year, I was able to dry a very large portion of my produce left over. Is it gone yet? No. There were so many peppers and tomatoes they’re still coming out of my ears. That hasn’t stopped me from planning a bigger garden than last year.
We tried starting our new varieties a little early so we could get an idea as to how well and how big they’ll grow. Most were seed packs unlike what we had left over. We dry and store seeds from our plants to carry us until the next year and have had a great amount of success in doing so. All but three of our tomato plants (there are fifteen mind you) are from seeds we harvested from plants last year. Same with our peppers, everything but the jalapeños are ours.
We’re trying a new variety of broccoli along with the basic. Romanesco broccoli is green and grows in the shape much like a cauliflower with pointed bits.
The herbs have started and hopefully the chamomile and lavender grow this year as we’d like to start trying to blend our own tea.
As usual, I’ve started many companion flowers that will be placed strategically with the vegetable plants.
Hopefully in the next week or two, we’ll be able to plant our potatoes and garlic, all of which will be planted out in the country on Trent’s parents’ property. Since they don’t require as much maintenance as many others, we decided a lot of the variety of vined and sprawling plants will go out there. We do live in the city you know, so space can be somewhat limited.
I’ll be sure to “attempt” to maintain this as the season moves forward and provide many pictures as well as tips and products that I’ve found useful.
As always, this garden, much like the rest of my life is a sustainable garden and as organic as is possible at the moment. I welcome questions and comments as well as tips from others who had helping bits of information to make things move more smoothly.