25 December 2008

Local Pennsylvania Edition: Living Tree

This holiday season my mom and her partner opted for a live Christmas tree. This tree (pictured) was purchased from Mostardi's Nursery in Newtown Square, PA, but I'm told you should be able to find them from most local orchards or nurseries. Depending on where you go the live tree can range anywhere from $50-$180. Call ahead to be sure.

The tree my mom bought is about 4 ft. tall and comes in a pot. Some come with the root ball wrapped only in burlap. In that case you would provide your own pot. To care for it properly the tree should remain outdoors when it is not being used for decoration.

It must be nurtured into the indoors. About 2 weeks before the holiday put it in a garage or covered area for about 5-7 days. Less than a week before the holiday you can start to enjoy it inside your home, but only for another 5-7 days.

Once you've celebrated the holiday, reintroduce your tree to the natural elements, which means another 5-7 days in the garage. After that time it goes back outside to a year of full sun with continuous watering. The tree can go through this process of inside/outside for 3-4 years of holiday cheer. Be prepared with a larger pot after a year or two, as the root ball could outgrow its original home. You can then plant it in your yard. If you don't have space, consider donating it to a local park or school.

If you can find a live tree in your area, I think its a great idea. I hope to get one for our house next year.

Local. Reuse. Grow.

18 December 2008

Los Angeles Trash Part 2: BLUE

What can you put in the BLUE bin?

- Clean dry Paper: computer, ledger, wrapping, arts and craft paper, unwanted mail, flyers, telephone books, note cards, newspaper, blueprints, magazines, file folders, paper bags, Post-it notes, catalogs, envelopes (with or without windows)

- Cardboard Boxes and Chipboard: cereal, tissue, dry food, frozen food, shoe, detergent, paper towel and toilet rolls

- Metal: aluminum, tin, metal and bi-metal cans (soda, juice, soup, vegetables, pet food), pie tins, clean aluminum foils, empty paint and aerosol cans (plastic caps removed) and wire hangers

- Glass: bottles and jars (soda, wine, beer, sauce, pickle jars), broken bottles

- Plastic: Plastics 1 through 7, plastic bottles (soda, juice, detergent, bleach, shampoo lotion, mouthwash, dishwashing liquid, milk jug), butter tub, yogurt, plastic planters, food packaging, plastic bags (grocery, dry cleaner), Styrofoam & Polystyrene (egg shell cartons, block  or clamshell packaging), plastic coat hangers, non-electric plastic toys' plastic swimming pools and plastic laundry baskets

Make sure all boxes are broken down or flattened.  Sometimes your recycling may not get picked up if it is spilling out of the bin and rinse all food related products, if possible.

What NOT to put in the BLUE bin:

- Contaminated Paper: all soiled papers or bags with oils and food waste (no dirty pizza boxes)
- Broken Glass: windows, mirrors, auto related, light bulbs, flourescent lights and ceramics
- Miscellaneous: electric or battery operated toys, coated milk cartons, electrical cords, cloth/fabric, appliances, mini blinds, kitchen utensils, lawn furniture, garden hoses, rubber tires, construction materials including asphalt or concrete, wood and wood products

To dispose of these materials, call: 1800 98 TOXIC
- Hazadarous materials: partially filled aerosol cans, containers for fluids (automotive, cleaning, pool or garden related), batteries of any kind, pesticides, oil based paint

If any of these BAD items are placed in the blue container you can run the risk of contaminating other clean items.  I am definitely guilty of this, you may be putting the wrong things in the blue bin unknowingly too.

If you DON'T have a blue bin, contact the LA Bureau of Sanitation at 800 773 2489.  I was able to get an extra blue bin for our building.  It came within a week!

Review this list before you put out your recycling OR download this comprehensive sign and keep it handy.

17 December 2008

Los Angeles Trash Part 1: GREEN

I've put together a 3 part post that will help you figure out what trash items you can put in each of your 3 Los Angeles bins: black, blue and green.  If you do not have a home composting system yet or want to know more about where to throw out your trash, here are some answers.  And the more we know about what we can recycle or compost, the less waste will clog up our landfills.  

What can you put in the GREEN bin?

- Food scraps: fruits, veggies and grains 
Basically the bin is vegan - so no scraps that contain animal products, even milk, cheese or eggs.

- Grass, leaves, old flowers, weeds, palm frawns/tree branches, clean wood
Make sure that these items do not contain metal like nails in wood or wire wrapped around the flowers.

And it's interesting to note that compostable food containers, bags and silverware cannot go in the green bin.  These items should go in the black bin, unless of course you do have a composting system at home.  The LA Department of Public Works tells the LA Times that the city is looking to change that in the future.

Now if you live in Santa Monica (or have a friend there) it's a different story.  The green bins act as a composting bin, so feel free to throw in all your food scraps (even the non-vegan ones) and compostable food containers & silverware.  I think you can even throw pizza boxes in the green bin, but you might want to talk to the city and confirm that one first.

06 December 2008

Local Ghostwriter checks in about Rooftop Garden

In addition to being too busy to write about my Thanksgiving, I have also been remiss in taking care of the garden.  News from a ghostwriter about the rooftop garden.

I was just up on the roof.  I gave the plants a once over.  I think the siberia that split may give some fruit after all.  I think we could end up w a hundred tomatoes total.  The only one suffering from the recent cold seems to be the grape.  Thankfully its bearing now.  I think we can safely say that operation tomato is a success.  I'd like to start prepping the next crop before xmas. But this time I want them all from seed.  Let's order some of those Martino Romas over the weekend along w some others.  I think mail order is the way to go. And there is a nice red grape tomato w your name on it.  You can grab it in the morning. ;) 

I put that lettuce in with its bigger brother too.

I'm just hangin on the balcony with a beer and a gardening book. You should come over.

04 December 2008

Nature Mill in the News

I have been gone from this blog for a bit because work has taken over all my free time.  I have every intention of doing a few Thanksgiving posts after the fact.  Some of the recipes I used went over like gangbusters with my group and maybe some of you can use them for the upcoming holidays later this month.

In the meantime, I'd love to talk about my Nature Mill composter.  I have been posting for months about the problems Donny and I have encountered with our composter.  Our latest version still can't transfer even though Donny recently replaced the springplate and mixing bar.  This sad fact turns a great indoor composter into a messy bucket.  I felt obligated to post today because the LA Times put out a review of the Nature Mill (unbeknownst to me Smith & Hawken now sells the composter).  Take a look at the review and then come back to my site for more discussion.

I had a good feeling about this writer because right off the bat he seemed to have a clear sense of what it takes to compost.  He also mentioned that he grows cuccumbers in rain barrels, so thats pretty cool.  On the other hand, I don't think he gave the Nature Mill a chance.  Since Donny and I had not endeavored on anything so "hippie" as the composter beforehand, its not impossible to think perfecting your compost is something you can learn about and get used to easily.   

At the end of the day, we're both just looking for an easy composting experience.  If the Nature Mill doesn't do the job soon there are many kitchen top manual composters I might start looking in to.  The real question is whether I will get refunded for the machine AND the upgrade.  

About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Blog Design | 2007 Company Name