Today marks the 40th celebration of Earth Day, and it comes at a perfect time of the year, when all the plants have sprung back to life in the northern hemisphere. Earth Day has matured into more than just a single day excuse to justify tree hugger, hippie like folks who were associated with it’s cause back in the 1970’s and beyond. Earth Day has blossomed into a year-round lifestyle for many folks, including the main-stream media, such as The Weather Channel, or marketing for companies also, take a look at Target, Silk Soy milk, Pottery Barn Kids, Disney and “Go Green”, this is big business now.
There are plenty of things that folks are doing to make a statement and impact for treading lightly on the planet, and I am not going to list all the possible things one can do. There are plenty of web sites and blog’s for that information, however, what I will do is tell you what we are doing in our little piece of heaven on earth that we hope will help to make three significant contributions for us and Mother Earth:
- reduce our total carbon footprint
- save money
- live a healthier lifestyle
Ten specific things that we do
All of the simple and little things that we do today help to reduce our total carbon footprint, save money, help us to live a healthier lifestyle, and give us peace of mind that we are making a difference:
- Recycle all plastic, aluminum, cardboard, paper, glass, metal, leaves, and plant material.
- Keeping our air and heating thermostats higher in the summer (76°) and lower in the winter (66°), saves on the energy bill every month also.
- Reuse brown water to hydrate non-edible plants and lawn.
- Reuse plastic zip type bags and deli meat containers for storage, dozens of reuses from each.
- Use “Green” reusable shopping bags for all grocery and market purchases. We also get back a five cent credit on each green bag we use at our local Lowe’s grocery, which goes toward our Green Points savings. Walgreen’s green bags are only .99 cents each.
- Grow many of our own herbs and vegetables, fresher, healthier, organic, and costs much less.
- Purchase locally grown produce at the farmers market.
- Wear outer clothing that is not soiled or dirty several times before laundering.
- Recycle organic kitchen waste for garden compost.
- Use filtered water to replenish reusable water bottles instead of buying cases of disposable plastic water bottles.
Expanding the garden
As part of item number six above, we have grown our own tomatoes and fresh kitchen herbs for the past six years or so. Moreover, last year we tested a crop of container tomatoes on the ground set next to the paver path in the front yard, and they did fairly well. So this year I decided to expand the front patio with adding two 4 X 10 foot garden beds to put vegetable plants into the ground. This area is on the south side and gets between six and eight hours of direct sun a day, so it makes a great spot for our “Eat The View” kitchen garden.
Marking out the garden plots and paver paths
Pavers added to garden plots
Edging added to garden plots
Next step is to till in some compost and top soil into the garden plots, test and adjust the soil, then plant the following, the number of plants listed also:
- Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes – 4
- Roma Tomatoes- 2
- Tree Tomato – 2
- Anaheim Peppers – 2
- North Star Green Peppers – 2
- Sweet Basil – 4
- Purple Basil – 2
- Eggplant – 2
- Zucchini – 2
- Yellow Squash – 1
- Cucumber – 1
- Cantaloupe – 1
- Arugula – 2
Returning plants that survived the winter and seem to make a re-appearance every year:
- Garlic Chives
- Creeping lemon thyme
- Italian parsley
- Curly parsley