Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Go Green To Save Green: Making Eco-friendly Choices Can Save You Money

Our grandparents had it right, I think. The old depression mentality that made people save, re-use, fix and mend instead of buying replacements knee-jerk style when items lost their lustre.

A few of the tips I'll share here make my husband think I'm slightly off my rocker, but I'm far from perfect when it comes to making green choices. One thing that makes it easier and doubly satisfying to keep me on the green path is thinking that not only am I making good choices for the health of mother earth and her inhabitants, but I'm saving money. I'm pretty simple that way! Maybe some of these tips will resonate with you and become part of your daily green habits.

1. Save rubber bands. I've created a ball that my friend's kids love bouncing when they visit. I've seen them sold at stationery stores for $5 or more.

2. When you think there's no toothpaste left cut the tube diagonally and find up to five more brushings worth of paste.

3. Air dry your clothes. It saves on electric costs AND clothes last longer.

4. Re-use old cotton t-shirts, socks and pajamas for dusting cloths.

5. Make double sided prints on paper. Re-use paper from junk mailings. Print or write on clean sides when the document's not important.

6. Borrow library books instead of buying.

7. Unplug appliances and lights that are not in use. Most of know now that even when they're off they use electricity.

8. Give up paper towels and napkins. Use cloths that can be used many times before washing and re-using.

9. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

10. Walk, bike, or carpool when possible.

11. Close curtains in the summer to keep out the sun.

12. Clean your refrigerator coils annually to keep it running efficiently.

13. Weather strip and calk.

14. Buy from bulk bins when possible. Saves on packaging, often money.

15. Turn off your computer completely. Don't just leave it in sleep mode.

Monday, March 14, 2011

After Dinner Gardening: How to Grow An Avocado Tree from Seed

I was raised sowing and caring for plants, and earned a college degree in Botany, but you don't have to be a green-thumb or live in the tropics for that matter, to grow a tree from an avocado fruit's large seed.

The photo here is of an avocado I rooted and planted for a client in her Central Park West apartment about 2 years ago. You can see that it's thriving in the middle of New York City!

All this reminds me of one of my all-time favorite plant books, a classic titled "The After-Dinner Gardening Book" by Richard Langer. He provides entertaining anecdotes of his botanical escapades and good directions for collecting seeds and other growing parts from the fruits and vegetables from our kitchen tables, planting, and caring for them. I came upon the book as an adult and love it, but it's a great book to share with children, too.

The best online directions for growing your own avocado tree can be found here.

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