Tag Archives: green

Watering Guide for Summer Vegetables

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Watering Guide for Summer Vegetables

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Do Marigolds Really Repel Garden Pests?

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Do Marigolds Really Repel Garden Pests?

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11 Things to Declutter From Your Yard

“Declutter,” “tidy up,” and “get rid of stuff” are mantras that many modern homeowners live by. But in your passion to organize your house (and your life), don’t neglect that large expanse of outdoor real estate ? your yard. Make it beautiful, livable, and safe with these yard cleanup tips.

Prepare For Your Yard Clean Up

Find out facts. Check out essential information about yard waste removal, including municipal pickup dates and times, local recycling center location, and bylaws related to burning garden debris.

Schedule. Choose a time slot when you’ll be able to devote a stretch of several hours to your yard work, like a weekend morning (not too early ? you don’t want to disturb your neighbors or risk the wrath of your HOA).

Gather equipment. Here’s a recommended list, depending on the size and condition of your property. Some tools can be rented.

Work gloves for handling broken glass and prickly plants
Wheelbarrow
Extra-large trash bags
Garden tools, such as a mulching mower, leaf blower, rake, branch lopper, pruning shears, shovel, trowel.

Now Get Rid Of These 11 Things

  1. Trash. Clearing out obvious trash like food wrappers and dog poop as your first yard clean up task will give you a pleasant sense of accomplishment.
  2. Dangerous trees or branches. An unsound tree or limb ? whether dead, damaged, diseased, or infested ? poses a danger to people, animals, plants, and property. Trimming branches is often a feasible DIY project, but large jobs like tree removal should be tackled by a landscape professional.
  3. Weeds. Weeds are unsightly and a major curb appeal killer. In addition, these unwanted plants tend to be incredibly hardy, fast growing, and space hogging. Stop them before they choke out your grass, flowers, or vegetable garden.
  4. Stuff that attracts bugs. Pick up rotting fruit and vegetables from your garden. Eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds by emptying standing water — from roof gutters and disused birdbaths. Stack firewood (a favorite hiding place for pests) up off the ground, away from trees or your house.
  5. Fallen leaves. Go over fallen leaves with a mulching mower; use the mulch you produce to protect your tree trunks, lawn, and garden beds. If you’ve got more than you can reasonably handle, rake them to the curb and pack them for pickup.
  6. Garden clutter. Tidy your garden beds. Remove any plant that didn’t work — or that you just dislike — to make space for new plantings. Give live plants to neighbors or members of your garden club. Compost dead plants, unless they’re diseased. In that case, burn or bag so they won’t infect future plantings.
  7. That mess of tools. Repair or recycle broken implements. Keep usable tools in good shape by cleaning (disinfecting, too, if they’ve been in contact with sick plants) and oiling. Then put them away neatly in your garden shed ? that’s what it’s there for!
  8. Extra plant pots. Scoop up any clay pots you’re not currently using and get them inside before they’re cracked by winter’s cold. Are you saving the thin plastic pots that nursery plants came in, hoping you’ll find a use for them? Cut the clutter by freecycling or, in some locations, recycling.
  9. Outgrown toys. Once your kids have grown taller than you, hang on to a few cast-off Legos or teddy bears if you must ? but outdoor swing sets, climbing frames, and water slides take up substantial space in your yard. If they’re in good enough shape, sell or donate.
  10. Unsafe fence or railing. As part of your yard cleanup, check fences and railings. A decayed or shaky rail or post is an accident waiting to happen, especially on an elevated deck or around a swimming pool. Get any of these safety hazards replaced pronto.
  11. Algae. On the side of your deck, it’s just ugly, but on a garden path or steps, algae growth can be slippery and downright dangerous. Remove by scrubbing small spots or pressure washing larger ones (and consider improving drainage in this area, to control the problem in future).

By Laura Firszt,?Networx.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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11 Things to Declutter From Your Yard

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6 Simple Swaps for a Green 4th of July 

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6 Simple Swaps for a Green 4th of July 

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Keep Your Home And Yourself Cool Now That Heatwave Time Is Here

Who doesn’t love summer? Wait, do I see a few hands being shyly raised? Well, go head and admit it: summertime is absolutely incredible . until it’s not. When the thermometer starts to climb up past that 90-degree mark, the heat is on and suddenly sunny turns into steamy. Your electricity bills start to shoot up too, and you worry about the effect on the environment. Fortunately, there are ways to keep cool at home without cranking the thermostat up, up, and away.

Refresh yourself fast.

After commuting home from the office or doing some work in your garden, give yourself a quick, cool lift without cranking up the ol’ A/C. Takea mini “shower” by spritzing face and neck with cold water from a plant sprayer. Alternatively, change into a T-shirt that you stashed in the freezer before you headed out. Or you can simply cuddle up with an ice pack. (Wrap it in a dishtowel to prevent skin damage, please.)

Stay hydrated.

Drink lots of water during a heatwave, even indoors. Remember that if you begin to feel thirsty, that’s a sign you’re already beginning to dehydrate. As well as watching your fluid intake, replenish your electrolytes with natural yogurt,coconut water, or miso broth (lukewarm if the very idea of hot soup gives you the heebie-jeebies). Think of your animal friends, as well make sure your pet’s water dish is constantly full of clean water.

Tune up your air conditioner.

Make yourair conditioningrun more efficiently: give it a tune-up every summer and clean the filter at least once a month in the warm weather, more oftenif you live on a dusty area or have furry pets. To save even more energy, set the temperature two or three degrees higher than you normally would and supplement with a fan.

Dehumidify.

You will feel cooler if the relative humidity indoors is fairly low. Forty degrees is comfortable for most people. To reach this level, use the dehumidifying function on your A/C or a separate dehumidifier.

Don’t add useless heat.

Turn off as many electrical appliances and lights possible when not in use, to avoid adding unnecessary heat to your home. A timer,smart home system, or power strip will make this task easier. Include your fan in the list of appliances to switch off; it cools people not air, so it can only do its job when someone is in the room.

Hang thermal window treatments.

Hanging sun- and heat-blocking curtains and blinds is an inexpensive, eco-friendly way to keep your home cooler. They are especially useful when you have unshaded south or west facing windows. These exposures tend to make your house nice and sunny, which is pleasant when the weather is mild, but HOT in the summer.

Take advantage of cooler nighttime air.

Open draperies and windows themselves at night. This works when both the dew point andpollen countare low, usually below 50. The pollen count starts to increase shortly after the sun comes up, so close all those open windows as early in the morning as you can.

Insulate your attic.

Attic insulation is not just for winter. It will also help reduce heat exchange in summer, increasing your A/C energy efficiency by keeping hot airoutsideand air conditioned airinsideyour home. You will feel more comfortable while using less electricity. No wonder this upgrade offers the best return on investment of any home improvement, according toRemodeling Magazine’s annual report. HANDY HINT: If you already have insulation but it’s not enough for your needs, you can install more right on top of the existing insulation. Just don’t put a vapor barrier between the two.

Handle your thermostat with TLC.

Test this useful device to make sure that it is functioning as it should. Move heat-producing appliances like lamps or TV sets away from the thermostat so that they don’t trigger it to get the air conditioner going needlessly.

By Laura Firszt,Networx.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Keep Your Home And Yourself Cool Now That Heatwave Time Is Here

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Make Waves with a Natural Swimming Pool

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Make Waves with a Natural Swimming Pool

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5 Appliances You Should Be Cleaning (& Helpful Tips for Cleaning Them Efficiently)

Clean my appliances? you may ask. I thought they were supposed to make life easier, not harder!! Well, yes. But occasionally cleaning appliances will not only keep them fresher and cleaner, it will also help them work more efficientlyandlast longer. And its a simple procedure once you know how. Here are a few appliances that are likely getting ignored during spring cleaning chores, but shouldn’t be.

1. Washing Machines

Does your washing machine have a weird, moldy smell?Then it needs a little TLC. Over time,mold and bacteriado tend to collect in washing machines, especially front loaders.

Try one of these fixes (or all of them if the appliance is really smelly):

  1. Wipe around and under the rubber door seals.
  2. Pull out the detergent drawer and give it a good scour.
  3. Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the detergent dispenser. Follow up with a hot water or sanitary wash cycle.

To help prevent odor build-up in a front-loading machine, leave the detergent drawer, as well as the door, open between uses. Make sure small children and pets wont be able to get inside.

2. Dryers

Yes, it’s important to remove the flint from the dryer after every load — but that’s not enough. If you use fabric softener in your wash, you will need to remove the lint screen occasionally and wash it with soap and water. This will remove softener build-up that tends to interfere with the dryers functionality. Let the screen dry completely before replacing it. In addition, once a year, you should have ahandymanclean the lint out of your dryers ductwork to eliminate a potential fire hazard.

3. Stainless Steel Appliances

Don’t let the name fool you. Stainless steel items still need to be cleaned. Heres how to do thatwithout scratching their elegant surface:

  1. Wipe down with warm soapy water, using a soft cloth or a sponge.
  2. Rinse off with clean water. This is especially important for your stainless steel range, which might otherwise develop a permanent soap stain when you heat it.
  3. Buff with a soft, dry cloth.
  4. Never use abrasive cleansers or pads on stainless steel.

DID YOU KNOW? An environmentally safe stainless steel conditioner is great for quick touchups, and prevention of annoying fingermarks and grease stains. It also leaves your appliances nice and shiny. Use a soft cloth and always apply in the direction of the grain.

4. Ovens

Have you ever made a lasagna that overflowed and landed on the oven floor? When that happens, make life easier on yourself; deal with it ASAP. Sprinkle the overflow with salt immediately (it will help loosen the residue) and finish your cooking process. After turning off the oven, take out the casserole dish. Scrub the floor with a damp sponge; be careful to avoid contact with the oven racks, which will still be very hot. Enjoy your dinner!

HELPFUL HINT: The salt trick also works miracles with burned food in the bottom of non-coated metal cooking pans.

5. Dishwashers

Yes, your dishwasher is regularlyexposed to soap and water, but italso dealswith leftover food, grease and soap scum. (Yuck!) Giving it a good cleanse will increase its efficiency. Remove the bottom rack and clear particles out of the drain. Next, place a dishwasher-safe container full of white vinegar (about 1 cup) on the upper rack and run a hot-water cycle to remove grease and odors. If the interior is stained, sprinkle 1 cup ofbaking sodaover the bottom surface. Once again, run a hot-water cycle a short one will be fine this time.

Laura Firszt writes fornetworx.com.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Appliances You Should Be Cleaning (& Helpful Tips for Cleaning Them Efficiently)

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5 Great Grad Gifts That Are Meaningful and Green

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5 Great Grad Gifts That Are Meaningful and Green

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A Syrian refugee camp got solar power for the first time.

Steph Speirs thinks about solar the way one might think about a community garden. Why go through the trouble of planting panels on your roof when you could instead plug into a shared neighborhood resource? Through her company, called Solstice, Speirs and cofounder Steve Moilanen roll out community solar gardens that allow people who don’t own their properties — or who don’t have the means or interest in installing a home setup — to tap into a local solar project and save a few bucks on electricity.

Solstice identifies locations for new community projects, works with local developers to arrange financing and installation, and ensures subscribers see credits on their electricity bills. Speirs’ company has earned seed funding from Echoing Green, a social entrepreneurship fellowship, and was recently picked for the selective Techstars startup accelerator. Solstice currently has solar gardens scattered around Massachusetts and intends to expand nationwide.

Community solar isn’t a new idea, but Speirs and her team are working hard to make it more accessible. Example: In 2015, the First Parish Unitarian Church in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, couldn’t install panels on its roof because of its status as a historic building. Last year, the church leadership became aware of Solstice and its existing community solar program in Bridgewater. The congregation voted to plug into the project, thus saving 10 percent on its electricity bill and putting its sustainable values into practice. Better yet, individual parishioners followed the church’s lead and signed up, too. “We’re proud that these are typical stories at Solstice,” Speirs says.


Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.

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A Syrian refugee camp got solar power for the first time.

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4 Ways to Kill Weeds the All-Natural Way

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4 Ways to Kill Weeds the All-Natural Way

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