Monday, July 21, 2008

a few tips to reduce chemicals in the Garden

Bi-Carb soda is a very useful product, and in a recent ad for toothpaste I noticed it was mentioned.
It is so cheap, and 2 Tablespoons full of it , combined with 1 teaspoon of olive or cooking oil, with 1 teaspoon of detergent, mixed into 2 litres of water prevents fungicide on plants.

Bi-carb soda can be used on a cloth as a great cleaner and abrasive.
and to avoid blocked drains, drop a handful of bi-card soda into the drain , and follow up with a half cup of vinegar. leave for an hour.

and so is vinegar

If you have Algae on your fences or paths, try this.
Mix 1 part of vinegar to 3 parts of water and spray on.
Rinse off after a few minutes.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Down to earth climate friendly household tips

Did you know that you can make your own garden remedies from natural products?

For Mould on fences and paths - do this
Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and either spray or paint on.

For Slugs - Slug it to them!!! give them a cup of diluted coffee 1 part to 9 parts water..

Natural weed killer..
For a really difficult plant that you need to kill..
pour on a mix of 1/2 cup of salt and 2 cups of vinegar.
This will kill everything so don't let any of it get onto anything precious. It also stays in the ground for a long time -the salt content is is the main active ingredient.
If you have an accidental spill you should dig out that section of soil.

To avoid your compost worms escaping.. line the lower bins with an old mesh curtain.
They will try to escape if you forget to feed them... Wouldn't you?

A cheap way to make a worm farm is simply to cut a one metre square of garden cloth mesh,
sew up one side and the top. Place some straw, paper, and worms in the bag along with food scraps. (Not Meat) Fold the open end up and place it under the bag. Sit the bag in a shady spot in the garden and refuel regularly. Move it about and the castings will fertilise your garden.
Don't forget to wear gloves.

If you need a fungicide for your plants try this.. mix 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon kitchen detergent into 2 litres of water.. spray on.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

tips to Reduce your carbon imprint

How to reduce your Climate Costs
(Carbon emissions & impact or commonly called your carbon footprint. ie the amount of carbon you create via your lifestyle per annum. )
Switch off electricity / gas (energy) whenever possible. Switch off at wall when not in use, at night, while at work.
Reduce what you use.
Change to energy efficient light globes, energy efficient machines: washing machines, refrigerators, tv's, cars etc.
Use the car less. Reduce petrol use. inflate your tyres. maintain the vehicle in top condition. Repair oil leaks. Use BioDiesel. go to : How to make BioDiesel at home.Click Here!
Reduce water use.
Reduce energy use and waste in all aspects of your life. .
WALK WHERE YOU CAN! it's great exercise.
What to do at Home - Exterior Shade the exterior windows which face the sun in summer TO REDUCE COOLING COSTS. (a deciduous vine is best or cover the window with shade cloth halfway down. Roll up blinds are good, as are shutters.) Glass windows exposed to the sun cause extreme heat inside. It is amazing how much you can also reduce energy costs (BOTH heat and cooling costs) by installing insulation in the roof and walls.
You want the sun to come inside in the winter to reduce heating and lighting costs, but you don't want the sun in summer. ( Not in Australia o rin a hot climate.) A verandah or patio is a great solution.
TO REDUCE HEATING COSTS - You can create a heat bank - a brick wall- which will absorb heat and reflect it inside.(But no good in the summer). You can also install mirours outside to reflect heat and light inside, and remove them in the hottest months.
Have a clothesline, or foldaway rack, near the back door or under the patio or verandah or even on a balcony. If you have a pool use only biodegradable products and reduce the use of the pool heater. Dry your pool towels when used. Hang them up on a pool towel rack. Re cycle water where possible in the garden and design your garden to be water wise and energy efficient.
Sign up for renewable electricity- Green power.
What to do at Home -Interior - In the Kitchen:Reduce oven use or cook several items at once. Turn off lights, Fans, heaters. Put in thermostats or use auto cut off switches. Wear an apron to reduce soiling clothes and re-washing. Re-dry hand towels for re-use. Avoid using kitchen paper because paper products are not climate friendly. Use cloth towels which can be re-used, then re-use in the garden.Keep the freezer defrosted regularly. Use only bio degradable detergent and buy bio degradable freezer bags, Re-use recycled carry bags. Clarify your fat from chicken etc. (ie boil the fat in equal parts of water- let it cool then scrape any meat or residue from the base. keep the clarified fat for cooking) or place it on the garden NOT down the drain. Hand wash small number of dishes. Use dishwasher only when full.
Use reusable crockery,cups and glasses.Not paper cups or plates. Avoid throwaway or disposable utensils. Re-use paper and plastic to re-wrap rubbish. Re-use paper in garden as mulch. (it keeps down weeds- cover with grass clippings to create compost (soil) and feeds the normal garden worms.- ) Put food scraps in a compost bin or buy a worm farm to recycle your food waste. The worm waste is used in the garden or in pot plants as mulch. Buy locally produced meats and produce. "Sounds like a good idea, but you don't know where to start? Just type in your zip code on Local Harvest's website (or in Australia go to yahoo and look for organic food suppliers.) to see a list of farms and farmers' markets close to home, as well as nearby restaurants committed to supporting their neighbors. Buying locally produced food cuts out the middlemen and the vast amounts of energy required to get your products onto store shelves. Most produce in U.S. supermarkets travels an average 1,500 miles before it is sold! Evaluate your food choices carefully"ref Example Seafood: "Choose your seafood wisely. We can't afford to wait until 2008. The world's seafood will be entirely depleted by 2048, according to an early November report in the journal Science. That means the moment to shape up is now. By buying and eating certain types of seafood, you can discourage harmful fishing practices and avoid the more depleted or threatened species. Take a look at Seafood Choices Alliance or Seafood Watch to make smart choices." ref You should reduce meat consumption because meat production uses more energy than other food production.
Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

In the Laundry: Only wash clothes when there is a full load, and then ONLY in cold water. Wash and rinse in cold water. (If everyone in the United States alone switched to cold water with their washing machines, we could save about 30 million tons of carbon dioxide each year -- and more than $3 billion in energy costs, collectively. And what's more? Cold water cleans your laundry just as well as hot water. (ref Reuse towels. If they are hung to dry, they can be used again. Put up lines for drying in the room and outside. Avoid using a clothes drier. Hang your clothes up in the sun. Use biodegradable non phosphate washing powder. Re- use the grey water on the garden. Re- use the storm water from the roof to a tank and use tank water for washing clothes and car and patio or pathways. You can get more use from your clothing and household linen if you buy use an organic stain remover, and if you mend small tears and pulls. Try to buy retro or vintage clothing and avoid being a slave to the marketing of brand names. Donate to an underdeveloped country instead.

In the Bathroom: Always hang towels on a rail to dry. Use only bio degradeable shampoos and conditioners.Turn off lights/fan when leaving room. Reduce water use with efficient shower head and tap heads. Use block soap instead of liquid soap. Reduce use of sprays - hairspray affects the ozone layer. Minimise use of fly sprays or any spray cans, for the same reason. Minimise use of the hairdryer/curling wand/ straightening wand. The heat will damage your hair. Use organic products on your hair.
In the Lounge or family room. Turn off TV or other equipment when not in use. Do not leave on standby. disconnect. Allow more natural light into the room. Turn off heater when room is warm. if using a fireplace keep the chimney or flue clean. Put the ashes on to the compost or mix directly onto the garden. If using air conditioning keep the filters clean for increased efficiency and to avoid asthma and legionairs disease. Wear more clothes to keep warm. Keep lounge throws (wraps) handy and watch TV in wrapped up cosy comfort.
Outdoors and at Play.
Think carefully about your Play activities. Do these activities create carbon impacts? eg: Restaurants- fast food - excess packaging. Plan your trip. LIMIT your air flights and travel distances where possible. Use public transport. Take your rubbish with you or if in the bush, bury it. Limit fire use. If necessary light only small fires.Always leave a site CLEANER than you found it, pick up rubbish if necessary. Avoid using any spray cans or any products injurious to wild life. Do not leave plastic bags behind. They could cause harm to Animals especially to birds.
What you can do at work.
Try to minimise car use. Car pool where possible. Walk to work or move so you live closer.You will save both time and money Try to work from home at least one day a week. Consider riding a bike.When at work, minimise energy use where you can, and limit your water use as you would at home. Try to reduce lighting by 25%. Turn off lights especially if you are last to leave.
When printing your documents, configure the printer to print double sided and print on grey scale where possible. Re-use waste paper and print on the back whenever you are just printing a draft. Avoid printing if possible.Make sure your workplace recycles paper waste to charity recycling businesses- not just into the council recycle bin.

Add moreYourself! Jot down your ideas for reducing your footprint.
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