Good on Mountain Equipment Co-op in implementing the use of compostable, biodegradable bags in their stores. We use canvas bags and avoid taking plastic whenever possible, but I am really happy to see a real alternative moving into the marketplace.
From the site:
“Unlike older Ã¢â‚¬Å“biodegradableÃ¢â‚¬Â plastic bags, BioBags are 100% compostable and biodegradable, and will disintegrate in compost in 4-12 weeks, depending on conditions. They can also be reused.
Primarily made of corn starch (made from non-GMO corn), BioBags also consist of Novamont resin and fully biodegradable polymers or polylactic acid. Production of BioBags use less energy and produce two-thirds less greenhouse gasses than the manufacture of plastic bags.”
I also like that they are using bags made of non-GMO corn.
I’ve started a new contest on the site. The prizes are copies of Tsia Carson’s book, “Craftivity.” I tend to make contests that are simple to enter but thought it would be fun to do one that is more interactive. I love to see the inventive things you are doing in your gardens. I also think it’s important in a gardening media that is saturated with images of pricey, hyper-perfect gardens to get as many images of gardens by you and me out into the world as possible. Your little pot of basil set on the stoop is just as valid as anything seen in the glossy pages of a magazine.
So in the spirit of Tsia’s book I thought it would be inspiring to see how you are making use of former tin cans, plastic bottles, and other items from the roadside economy in your gardening practice. And to get the ball rolling I’ve tagged a bunch of my own images on Flickr so you can see that we’re not looking for over-the-top submissions here (although those are great) but simple and creative solutions to recycling and reusing.
Visit the contest page for more details and submission details.
Oh man. I don’t know what to make of the level of paranoia we’ve reached about the recent spinach/ecoli outbreak that has compelled Epic Roots, grower and distributor of mache to go this far in disassociating their product from the maligned leafy vegetable. First the pulp news casts featuring headlines asking, “Is organic food a safer choice?” and now this. All the more reason I suppose, to grow your own.
Related: Grow a Crate o’ Mache
I know that this cute little product has made the rounds in the design and gardening world so I know I’m probably not showing you anything new. I have been resisting the charm of the Eggling since I first heard of them because I generally do not support this kind of product no matter how cute. My reasons for blacklisting such products are simple: they aren’t appropriate vessels for growing healthy plants and as a thrifty gardener I am inherently against promoting excessive gardening product purchases. I mean, why buy a fancy porcelain egg meant to look like a real egg when you can just use a real egg — at no additional charge! Gardening for the first time can be a bit daunting. I am all about reducing some of that pressure in any way possible. And inevitably the eventual demise of what began as a fun try at growing something leads to the new gardener’s assertion that they just don’t have a green thumb. And so they give up.
So I generally stay away from promoting this kind of product or buying one for myself. Because even though I know how the story will end, I am a designer at heart and I can’t help but be drawn in by pretty things anymore than the next person. So cute! And simple! And pretty!
However, my spouse just came back from a short work trip to Southern California (no jealousy here) and surprised me with a thyme Eggling as a treat. He knew I would never buy one for myself and thought it might make an interesting experiment for the site. He’s heard me talk publicly about gardening enough (and read the book) to know that if anything was going to endure the hardships of such a small space it would be thyme. I’m very proud. Sigh.
I know it’s unfair of me to judge without personal experience so I plan to give this little one a go and will post updates here as they occur. In the meantime I am eager to hear about your experiences with this product. Please add your comments below.
p.s In an effort to light a fire under my ass I’ve elected to participate in NaBloPoMo here on YGG. There are plenty of day-to-day gardening experiences that I could be sharing here but many topics slide and become outdated before I get a chance to write.
I am finally accepting the fact that winter is coming and I had better enjoy fall (despite all of this horrible rain) while it lasts. One of the gifts gardening has given me is the ability to look at the landscape and plant life around me with new eyes. I started to look with a new perspective as a way to better understand my plants and their needs. I have found that closely observing a plant growing in the wild has lead to really “getting” something that was formerly unclear or missing in my care of a specific plant. And watching the way the plants grow and spread in different conditions has inspired me to rethink the way I design and plan a garden. But over time I also found that a little bit of knowledge can turn a landscape that was formerly dull, overlooked, and taken for granted into something fascinating and full of wonder. Those tiny observations seem to create a domino effect to learn more. I should add that photography has only added to that because as my way of seeing has changed, so has my approach to documenting what I see changed.
It may seem cheesy — y’all aren’t going to laugh at me right(?) — but I have fallen in love with the grassland, beach, and marsh areas on The Toronto Islands and have taken to documenting the changes that occur there with the seasons. It’s fascinating to see how the plants differ growing in such sandy soil. I like the stark, vertical direction of the landscape. Plants seem to grow up rather than overtly puffy or outward. I am slowly learning the identities of some of the previously unknown plants. I took the majority of these pictures on a beautiful Fall day a couple of weekends ago. If you know the name of a plant or disagree with my identification please post.
Panic Grass (Panicum virgatum) aka Switch Grass
I believe this is the same plant, taken last year.
Bullrush (Typha latifolia) aka Common Cattail
It seems like they’ve been revitalizing this beach area. Further up the hill there are several native wildflower species that I don’t recall previously.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus). One of my favourite local herb plants used for throat conditions and coughs. It is also a beautiful and very structural plant that looks great in the winter. A few have grown as volunteers in my street garden and I have let them go since they also do very well in drought conditions.
Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) They grow all over one particular section of the beach, putting out their fluffy seeds at this time of year and then remaining as clusters of sculptural shells. I had pickled, immature milkweed pods a few years ago and they were very tasty.
Goldenrod (Solidago) These also grow on the beach among the milkweed. They are very short and tiny in comparison to the goldenrod that pops up wild in my street garden.