The Five Steps to an Eco-Friendly Garden

The Five Steps to an Eco-Friendly Garden

Guest post by Katie Myers

Did you know that 44% of young people are unhappy with the current state of the environment? There are many ways that we can help to improve the state of the environment, and many of these we try to practise daily such as recycling and leaving the car at home when we can. However, whilst many of us often try so hard to make our homes eco-friendly, we often forget about our gardens.

Becoming an eco-friendly gardener is not nearly as hard as it sounds. There are just five easy changes that you can make to transform your outdoor space into an eco-friendly one. The right gardening techniques will not only help you to achieve your eco-friendly status, but will also attract a wider range of wildlife into your garden, help you save money on your water bills and can even help you to lose weight.

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Effective pest control without the harmful chemicals

Effective pest control without the harmful chemicals

If you have grown plants for food or aesthetics, you have probably experienced the frustration of losing some of your crops to insects and other pests. That is just a part of gardening, although if you grow crops year-round, you’ve probably realized that the upside of winter gardening is that you don’t have to spend much time fighting herbivores, since the cold weather kills them or drives them into a dormant stage. Animals are a different story, however, and you may find that hungry squirrels, deer, raccoons, or other critters are helping themselves to your plants even through the cold season.

To get rid of insect herbivores, many gardeners resort to using insecticide-pesticides. (Pesticides consist of a number of substances, including weed killers like RoundUp, insect-killing chemicals, and molluscucides, or “snail bait.”) In fact, most commercial (and many non-commercial) plants are grown with the aid of pesticides. While this may seem like a solution to the problem of insect herbivores ruining all your hard work, it has many downsides that have implications for your plants’ health, the health of the environment, and your own as well.

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Green Home Activities That Will Increase Your Property Value

Green Home Activities That Will Increase Your Property Value

Guest post by Will Sandford

It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking of selling your home in the next couple of months or years, or the idea is still far away in the future for you: knowing ways to increase your property’s value is always good. Seeing as how spring is always an appropriate season to get some remodeling done and it’s drawing near in Australia, we think that this is the perfect opportunity to give you a few tips. Read on to discover which green activities can boost the value of your home.

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7 Ways to Lower Energy Bills in Your Rented Apartment

7 Ways to Lower Energy Bills in Your Rented Apartment

Guest post by Lana Hawkins

Being mindful of your energy consumption will not only help you save money on your electricity bill, it will also have a positive impact on the environment. However, when renting an apartment, you can’t make any major changes before discussing them with your landlord. What you can do is implement some simple everyday practices and make some minor updates that can help you reduce your energy consumption and make your apartment a bit greener.

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Back-to-school healthy eating: starting out right, staying the course

Back-to-school healthy eating: starting out right, staying the course

With the beginning of another school year comes the inevitable question for every parent whose child has dietary restrictions, or whose kid’s school doesn’t have a cafeteria: what should I pack for lunch? In the first weeks of school this may not be much of an issue: you try the old standbys, only to eventually become bored with them. Maybe this year you want to make more of an effort to pack healthy (healthier) lunches. Maybe you are weaning your kids off packaged processed convenience foods that you know are not healthy for them.

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Helping Kids Learn to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Helping Kids Learn to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Guest post by Bob Roberts

By reducing the amount of natural resources you consume, reusing items that would otherwise go to waste, and recycling trash so it can be repurposed, you’re helping ensure a brighter future for children today. However, planning for the future includes not only taking steps in the present, but also preparing for tomorrow. By teaching children good conservation practices today, you’ll contribute to a cleaner future. Children who learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle now will gain the foundation they need to pass those practices on to their children and continue preserving natural resources.

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7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

If you have been gardening for a while, you’ve probably realized that making mistakes is a big part of the process of learning. Even the most experienced gardeners make errors of judgment that can lead to a failing or otherwise unsuccessful harvest. Some problems are inevitable when it comes to growing your own food: weather changes can ruin a harvest in a single day, so if you are not prepared (or available) to act fast in case of unexpected frost, heat wave, extended periods of rain or humidity, or sudden insect infestation, all of your hard work can be ruined very quickly…

Whether you’re a neophyte, a seasoned grower, or a business owner looking to make a profit from your harvest (or just earn a little extra cash on the side from your farm), you may be making some of these common mistakes that growers make, all of which affect the health, productivity, and viability of your garden in a major way.

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What Is Battery Recycling and How Can You Recycle Nickel Batteries?

What Is Battery Recycling and How Can You Recycle Nickel Batteries?

Guest post by Erich Lawson

People use 4-5 wireless devices powered by batteries on an average in their daily lives. Batteries contain environmentally hazardous heavy metals, which must be removed from traditional waste treatment systems. While these batteries do not pose threat to humans when in use, they can affect human, animal and aquatic life if not disposed of properly. Like newspapers, glass and plastic, batteries can and must be recycled and help us save the environment.

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Preparing Your Bee-Attracting Garden for Winter

Preparing Your Bee-Attracting Garden for Winter

Guest post by Clara Beaufort

Bees, unfortunately, are disappearing at a rapid rate. Those of us who are already gardeners are doing their part to sole the problem by setting up a bee-friendly series of plants. The Honey Bee Conservancy offers some tips for those who are not aware of what makes a garden attractive to pollinators like bees. Bee-friendly gardening is a year-round task, and with fall approaching it’s important to prepare. Winterizing your garden and planting cool weather-blooming species that will keep the bees coming back are crucial steps in making fall adjustments.

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Companion planting: how to do it, mistakes to avoid

Companion planting: how to do it, mistakes to avoid

Companion planting is a small-scale method of intercropping, which refers to the practice of planting one kind of plant next to another or others that help it thrive. It is often associated with small-scale organic gardening (the type of gardening I have exclusively done for the past 18 years) or other biodynamic planting methods, and it is a favorite technique of farmers seeking to produce more yield in less space.

Although popular literature touts the benefits of intercropping over monocropping, there is a lot of debate, and consequently, confusion over which plants go well together, and whether some of the reported benefits of companion planting are consistent or coincidental. This is partly a debate between using scientific methods (usually in controlled, laboratory stings) and using personal experience to determine how to companion plant. There are benefits to both methods, though admittedly, I prefer to rely mostly on experience (my own and that of successful gardeners I know) with a smattering of science to help me understand why certain combinations have seemed to work well in my own garden, while others don’t seem to have much effect one way or another.

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Sick Building Syndrome: a hidden cause of stress at your workplace?

Sick Building Syndrome: a hidden cause of stress at your workplace?

Guest post by Toby Dean

A workplace involves a myriad of stressors, and each individual in the same office environment copes with the same stress differently. Apart from stress coming from human beings and situations, there could be unexplained health issues at the workplace that could be creating a problem in your life. This is especially likely if you have shifted to a new office building, have been transferred to a different place, or changed your job. If you have experienced sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, runny nose or blocked sinuses, itchy eyes and skin, etc. as soon as you enter your office building, and if these symptoms subside on their own when you step out of the building, then you are suffering from Sick Building Syndrome. 

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How to Build A Bug Hotel (Infographic)

How to Build A Bug Hotel (Infographic)

Guest post by Eamon Fennelly

For the environmentally-conscious gardener, building a bug hotel can be a wonderful and rewarding DIY project. Not only do bug hotels provide an attractive garden feature, but they also attract beneficial insects that provide natural pollination and pest control. What’s more, building a bug hotel is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy, and is a great way to teach children about the natural world.

Constructed from plant materials and common garden odds and ends, bug hotels offer a cost-effective and fun way to help preserve local wildlife by giving nearby insects a safe place to shelter. When it comes to designing a bug hotel, there aren’t any set rules, meaning you can get as creative as you want.

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Container Gardening 101: Small Spaces, Big Yields

Container Gardening 101: Small Spaces, Big Yields

This summer I’ve been blogging about container gardening quite a bit (that is, when I managed to blog! We’re undergoing some big changes here at Green and Prosperous that have taken up most of my blogging time, including developing an online course on container gardening for beginners and experienced growers alike). This post continues our summer theme, with a focus on how you can grow more in less space.

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5 Tips to Bring Nature Indoors

5 Tips to Bring Nature Indoors

Guest post by Lana Hawkins

It’s common knowledge that nature has a positive impact on people and can help us relax and get in touch with our inner selves. Having this in mind, it’s not surprising that more and more world-famous interior designers are incorporating numerous elements of nature into their projects. So, if you want to follow in their footsteps and decorate your home according to the latest trends, take a look at the list of 5 tips on how to bring nature indoors which we’ve prepared just for you. Enjoy and get inspired!

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How often Should I Clean That?

How often Should I Clean That?

Guest post by Kat Buckley

Some of the basic household tasks we will generally get done but other places in the home can go months or even years without being cleaned. This infographic from HappyCleans looks at how often you need to get all the different items around the house cleaned. For example, the fan vents are one area of the house that rarely get cleaned. The problem is that if they’re left too long dust, pollen, and other allergens will end up clogging them, and in some cases, can cause particles to be released into your home from supply registers.

If you have ceiling fans, they are another area of the home that can get really dusty and these can be quickly dusted with a pillowcase. Of course, if they’re high up you need to be extremely careful not to injure yourself. Using a duster with a long handle that is made for such hard-to-reach areas is usually the best way to tackle the problem.

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