The Environmentally Responsible Educational and Lifestyle Company

Tag Archives: Gardening

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It is that time of the year again when the back yard compost bin produces the most lovely black compost fit for the most royal of my flowers and veggies. I was very lucky to receive a Green Johanna and Pet Pooh Loo from Great Green Systems as part of My Waste Free Home initiative where I am taking care of my own home’s waste on site.

My Waste Free Home means that I needed to find an environmentally friendly solution for all my house hold waste needs. Reducing my costs as I would be using my local recycling centers for the vast amount of items that can be recycled, so many more recyclable items can be recycled here that can go in your green waste collected by waste providers – saving stuff from landfills and reducing your house hold waste costs. At the moment I still have a bin for landfill but there is very little going in here. I hope to create a scheme where neighbours can share the cost and service of a bin for landfill as once you have your Waste Free Home implemented it runs very efficiently.

Food waste is a huge factor in everyone’s home, there is always stuff to throw out. For me the solution was to have a hot composter where everything from the kitchen could go and break down into my garden compost. Even meat and fish remains can safely be discarded – keeping your bins smell free!

The Green Johanna works amazingly well. I have mine since autumn last year (2013) and I put all of my food and garden waste into it throughout the winter. The result is some amazingly fresh smelling black compost that has been applied to my roses, rhubarb and worked into the soil. The compost must be turned regularly to keep it on track to break down more efficiently – something I need to do more of, it also give your body a good workout doing this!

It is a great feeling to be able to solve some of your own waste issues and the Green Johanna, in my opinion should be installed in every home. Having a composting system also helps children understand nature that little bit better, emptying the kitchen compost bin is also a great chore!

Happy composting everyone!! 🙂

 


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I Love Orchids and here are my top tips for keeping these oriental plants in pristine condition. This is my repotted version above. I had numerous plants that just didn’t look great when on their own as they bloomed at different times of the year, and then looked a bit stalky for the rest of the time. So what I did was bought a bag of orchid compost, found a really nice bowl shaped pot and replanted them. It worked a treat and my orchids have loved the company!! Now if you think that they look a bit stalky from the picture, I will tell you that these stalks have lots of buds just waiting to be born! And there was an accident that involved a really heavily blooming stalk and an elbow, lets just say the duct tape surgery didn’t work.

So my top tips are:

  1. Feed your orchids during their blooming time of year, I personally buy the Baby Bio brand but any brand will do.
  2. Find the perfect spot and they will thrive. These plants are from oriental climates and love heat and humidity but never direct sunlight. They would have lived under tree canopies and in around rocks and ferns.
  3. Moisture is a real no no for the Orchid. If you over water and leave them sitting in a pool then they will die. In their natural habitat they clung in and around rocks and soil. The water would have naturally drained away through the rocks so they just don’t cope well with a swamp!
  4. They do like company so if you have a few group them together or repot them like I did above.
  5. Give their leaves a bit of a dust every once and a while – its like orchid grooming, showing them you care!!
  6. Enjoy your beautiful, regal and amazing plant.

livebelowtheline2013

So it is day 2 and my kitchen has just closed and I have had another very enjoyable day. The nettle tea is flowing as I type and it is so funny the reaction a simple nettle tea has received! Wait until I tell you what I had for dinner this evening…..

Firstly I want to thank those of you who sponsored me so generously I know times are tough and some times a spare few euro are hard to come by. But I just want to THANK YOU ALL for just even reading this is supporting my cause.

As the days are unfolding I am finding out more and more about myself and my limits – although the sugar with drawl were something nasty yesterday. I am also rediscovering FOOD and our relationship with what is such a basic need. But this need has turned on its head to what it is now for billions of us – a grossly wasted want. Instead of needing food we now want and expect it and want it with all the conveniences that we have come to expect!

One of my main fundamental questions this far is – What would happen if food production failed and there were global food shortages? Can you imagine the local super markets? Can you imagine the panic of normal working people who never had to think about food – where it comes from – the waste created getting it to the convenience store that the person stopped at on the way to work. What would happen to a normal civilized society?

So for today I had my three meals and made a few interesting discoveries in my quest to find FREE foods to supplement my very small budget of €1.19.

Breakfast: Porridge with water and dollop of Strawberry Jam. And of course a pot of tea with milk.

50g of porridge = €0.04

Strawberry jam = €0.03

Reused Tea Bag = €0.02

Drop of milk = €0.05

Total: €0.14

10am Cup of coffee:

Tesco cheap and cheerful coffee 1 tsp = €0.08

Drop of milk = €0.05

Total for the cup of you could get used to the taste but does the job waking me up coffee €0.13

photo (21)Lunch: Low Fat Natural Yogurt with some porridge on top and 1/4 of an apple

4 spoons of Tesco value Low fat yogurt =  €0.10

1/4 of an apple = €0.04

1 tbls of porridge oats = €0.01

Total €0.15

 

I just had to make this picture bigger as I just noticed my dog – Callie O’Malley doing a Photo Bomb!! LOL all those who know her will know she is part human and is obsessed with the family she will look at us hail rain or shine through the window, totally dedicated. While our other dog will be off sunning herself totally oblivious to the fact she has a family!

 

 

 

photo (20)Dinner: Chipatti Pancakes with garlic mushrooms and dandelion salad!! 

3 medium sized mushrooms that I bought in the reduced isle the whole packet cost €o.45 = €0.11

I very small clove of garlic = €0.04

Drizzle of olive oil = €0.04

Salt & Pepper = €0.02

Dandelion salad was FREE and guess what more good stuff packed into these leaves and what some would consider a garden pest! I obviously googled the whole idea before I went and chewed up the lawn and I also picked them where I picked my nettles yesterday – this is actually how I began to think about can I eat Dandelions as there were so many of them around. Check out that they have been eaten for centuries and that the French folk actually grow them like lettuce, read all about it HERE.

Chipatti Pancakes were to die for and were soooooooo easy to make – not sure of the effect on the waist line but hey they only cost €0.08 to make. I will be putting the method on how to cook these and the variations you can do in the next blog. ( My 3yr old had to help me as she thought we were making play dough, but she put chocolate in hers and we folded it over and fried it on the pan – needless to say I nearly fainted at the though of this! She and her dad ate them with ice cream 😦 and I just watched…..

Total for dinner €0.29

Because today was so under budget at 0.71c I have now gone into the kitchen and God help the two Oreo cookies that will be devoured!! And another 0.20c to the bill bringing todays eating in at €0.91

Thats another €0.28 put into my Live Below The Line Jar to go to Unicef Ireland and the Syrian Children caught up in that dreadful conflict that has been going on for over 2 years.

Thank You for supporting me with how ever much you can give as every cent counts.

To support me online visit MY Unicef Fundraising Page HERE

If you know me personally or my family and friends you can give them any donations and they can pass it onto me. Alternitavely if you would like to email me please do even if its just for the chat, I love to hear how my thoughts & actions can influence people : claire@clairelewis.ie

Thank you all 🙂 XX