Eco Garden

Anamalz hit the children’s ethical gifts mark every time

Kids love animals. It's wonderful to see a small child making friends with an animal, whether it's a goat or guinea pig, cow, dog, cat or hamster.

In every child's development there comes a time when they're on an equal footing with non-human creatures. A time when they're on much the same wavelength as furry beasts, and see no real difference between themselves and their pet.

It's something that responsible, nature-aware parents all over Britain are trying to encourage more of. Children who are kind to – and can empathise with – their fellow creatures will undoubtedly be better equipped to handle the human race's challenges than kids who don't have a close affinity with the natural world. So it's good to see the super-cute Anamalz range taking off like a rocket.

Anamalz Wooden Tiger

Anamalz Wooden Tiger

So what's the Animalz story? The Anamalz range is fun and original, a collection of moveable animals that little ones play with happily for hours. They're hand crafted from organic maple, a fast-growing hardwood that's harvested sustainably, plus eco-friendly textiles. So there's a very low environmental impact attached to these toys.

The perfect way to inspire creative play, empathy and vital learning, every animal is unique with its own wood grain patterns and markings. Each animal includes a unique printed code too, which your child can use online to find out more about their animal, download a birth certificate and play games on the special Anamalz website. All in all Anamalz deliver more of an experience than an ordinary toy and the range is a top choice with ethically-minded parents.

Anamalz Wooden Hippo

Anamalz Wooden Hippo

Anamalz are manufactured to the highest European standards. The resources used are renewable and the glues and paints completely safe, 100% non toxic. There are loads of lovely creatures to choose from including cows, pigs, horses, gorillas, crocodiles, bears, hippos and a cool gift set, where kids can choose their two favourite animals. The gift set comes with a special branded calico bag and a colourful set of Anamalz cards, with the creatures displayed in their ‘natural' habitat'. Fun!

In a world where plastic toys still rule it's good to find great quality, sturdy wooden toys manufactured from the moral high ground. The less damage we do to our environment, the more children understand how important our fellow creatures are to our survival and the more respect your children have for their fellow sentient beings, the happier and safer the human race's future will be.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm

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How to Save Energy and Water with Smart Landscaping

Landscaping your home is a natural way to preserve your way of life cheaply and efficiently.  There are many ways to cut down energy costs in your home.  Most people think that this involves buying some kind of new technology such as solar panels to cut down on your utility bills.  Most wouldn’t consider shaping the land around you as a way to save money and not simply doing so for the looks of your property.  The way you design your plot of land can actually be very helpful in saving money and preserving out natural resources such as water.  When done the right way you can actually seek a return on your investment from doing so.

Landscaping for Shade

Providing natural shading for your home is a very simple way to keep cool in the summer and prevent high utility bills from constantly running your air conditioning.  When trying to accomplish this you need to think about the suns path across the sky as it relates to your home.  Be aware of what windows face the sun in certain times of the day and this will help you determine where to place trees and bushes to help shade your home.  You will want to think about how much of a shadow you will need to cast to effectively block the sun rays from your home.  Studies have shown that this can reduce you’re air conditioning bill anywhere from 15-59%!

Landscape Windbreaks and Efficiency

On the reverse side of planting tress to block the sun, you can also better insulate your home in the winter time by planting trees that will block cold winds in the winter time.  Trees with dense foliage such as the Evergreen tree can help cut down on the cold air impacting your home.  In addition adding fencing around your yard will help to break the wind from swooping across your property.  Studies for this have shown improved cost savings up to 40%!  Constantly running your heater is just as if not more expensive than running your air conditioning.  Adding shrubbery will also help to collect snow instead of it piling up near your home.

Landscape Water Conservation

There are many helpful options you can consider to save water from using the proper landscaping techniques for bushes, trees, and grass.  One very effective way to conserve water is using mulch around your shrubs and trees.  It helps to cool the ground and roots to encourage healthy plant growth and blooming.  When it comes to watering your plants it makes more sense to do so when the sun is low and not as intense.  This will prevent the water from evaporating into the air and will let it soak into the ground so the plants can absorb more of it.  Properly aerating your soil will help to channel the water into the ground instead of it running off to areas you don’t need it to be.  A final tidbit for water conservation is to plant similar types of bushes and shrubs together in order to have uniformity in their water needs.

Being aware of your landscape is a very practical way to save money and live more comfortably.  Controlling the temperature of your home by blocking sun and wind is simple and very helpful in reducing your utility bills.  Using the right planting techniques will also help you to conserve water and use it more efficiently.  Landscaping can be fun, and impact your home in many positive ways.

This article was authored by Oscar Stan.  Oscar is currently studying electrical engineering at UCF in Orlando, FL.  As part of his internship program, Oscar is currently working with  If you would like to read more of Oscar's writings or connect with him, you can reach out to him on Google+.

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Posted by Guest Author - June 14, 2014 at 9:55 am

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Vegetable Gardening: Saving the World One Carrot at a Time

Despite the smear campaigns by those who have a lot to lose, the public is finally beginning to realize the scientists’ diagnosis is right: global warming is real and mankind is to blame. Surprisingly enough, there may be some unlikely treatments to at least stop some of the disease from spreading. It’s old news that meat production causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes and trains in the world combined. One small thing that consumers can directly control is how much demand there is for the livestock industry’s growth.

Eating vegetarian meals just once a day, or even one day out of the week, can do a lot in the way of stopping climate change. The best way to reduce the impact is to grow our own vegetables to fill our fridges, to stop relying on imported goods with huge carbon emissions, and to buy local when we can.

Growing veggies for dummies

Plan what to plant by thinking about how much of each to vegetable you eat and realize that some plants like tomatoes keep producing throughout most of the summer. Find a place with full sun – only some plants will want partial shade. Make sure you have the supplies for organic vegetable gardening and the seeds you want to sow and then begin planting, either indoors or outdoors after the frost danger has past.

Even those without a yard can still garden by using a few containers and vertical supports for their patios. Snap peas, pole beans and cucumbers can all be grown with vertical supports. Add a tomato in a large container to the corner of the patio with a plant cage around it.

Getting a compost pile started is easier than most people think, and it’s a good way to ensure your soil stays fertile and retains water. Growing vegetables to support a vegetarian diet is also not as hard as it sounds. Yes, one still may need to buy some grains, beans or other food every once in a while, or during the harsh winter months, but keeping a garden when you can will lesson our reliance on the livestock industry

Local foods for dummies

Knowing what is in season is the first step to buying local produce. Planning a monthly menu around which fruits and vegetables are in season in a given month will help put you in the right frame of mind to shop locally. Take your grocery lists to the local farmer’s market – don’t just go to your nearest supercenter and delude yourself that the produce is local because it is in season. You can also find out where and when a local farmer’s market will be by searching a zip code here.

It might sound silly at first to think that you can save the world by growing your own veggies or by shopping locally, but it can make a big impact. Get a garden going, eat more veggies than meat, and buy local. You too can make a difference!

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 16, 2014 at 11:21 am

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Puzzled By Compost Making Rules?

Are you tired of reading about 50:50 and 60:40 brown-to-green compost ratios? Tired of reading about tossing your compost every 4 weeks? The real compost answer is much simpler than that.

All those compost perfectionists probably put a lot of people off composting.

The Theory

Organic matter breaks down into simpler components in a compost container. The bacteria that perform much of the breaking down need oxygen; they also need damp rather than sodden compost. If you can give the bacteria in your compost heap the perfect conditions, then they will reproduce faster and produce more heat. The heat will kill weed seeds and produce perfectly sterile compost quickly.compost1

Brown and Green

Compostable materials come in 2 types, brown and green. Green compostables provide all the nutrients that your compost will provide to your garden, but they also contain a lot of water and very little cellulose (fibre). Brown compostables are made up mainly of cellulose and they have very few, if any, nutrients locked up in them.

If you mix green and brown compost ingredients together, then the brown ingredients absorb the nutrients and water formed by the breakdown of the green ingredients, preventing the compost becoming waterlogged.

Brown compost includes dead leaves, eggshells and cardboard. Green compost is everything else: vegetable peelings, green leaves from pruning shrubs, grass cuttings and rotten fruit.compost2


Bacteria need oxygen, which they get from the air. The bacteria in a compost heap respire faster and produce more heat if they have more air/oxygen. Turning your compost heap puts more oxygen into it, so the bacteria work better.

The Reality

Most people want easy.

With compost perfectionists telling them that they have to micro-manage their compost heap, a lot of people just won’t bother.

People make compost for 2 reasons:

  • To get rid of kitchen waste
  • To improve their soil

If someone is only concerned with getting rid of kitchen waste, then a compost heap will still work without any turning or worrying about green/brown ratios. It will work more slowly, taking a year or more rather than the 6 months it takes in a perfect compost heap.

How To Compost: Everything You Need To Know To Start Composting, And Nothing You Don't!

How To Compost: Everything You Need To Know To Start Composting, And Nothing You Don't!

Perfect Compost

If you want perfect compost, quickly, then the only way I know is to buy a compost tumbler. You turn this every day, so the bacteria get all the air they need. The compost gets hot.

Even if your compost heap has the perfect brown/green ratio and you toss it every 3 weeks there will still be weed seeds in it. This is just one of those facts of gardening life.

While people are worrying about perfect green/brown compost ratios, they will put off starting a compost heap. While they are thinking about tossing a ton of compost at a time, they are going to be less than enthusiastic about the whole business of turning garden and kitchen waste into compost.

The perfect conventional compost heap or pile has alternating 3-inch thick layers of brown compost and green compost. Where do you keep all that green compost until you have enough for a 3-inch layer? Where do you store all your brown compost so you can cover all your grass cuttings with a 3-inch layer of leaves?

Compost in the Real World

Saw up some timber pallets and nail your half-pallets together with bits of scrap wood. Throw anything in them except animal poop, sugar, meat and oil. If you have grass cuttings, throw them in; if you have dead leaves, throw them in. It will all rot down in time.

When your compost heap is full, nail some more half-pallets together and construct another compost bin next to the old one. If you are feeling energetic one day, then toss the old compost into the new bin and start a new pile in the empty compost bin. If you never feel like tossing it, then don’t worry about it; it will all rot down in time.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - May 15, 2013 at 6:30 am

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Permaculture: An Environment Friendly And Healthy Way Of Gardening

Permaculture is the art of taking the natural and the self-sustaining and integrating it into your garden. If you are lucky, it will start an almost hostile invasion within your garden in which the high maintenance ecosystem is replaced by an ecosystem that manages itself. Many permaculture gardeners have to do very little to their gardens in order to maintain them. Some people make a silly decision or two that results in them having to heavily prune parts of their garden every few months, but other than that you will find that permaculture can create a very pleasing mini oasis in your back yard.

Using the principles that nature lays out for us

The key to good permaculture is to identify the fundamental natural designs that occur in nature. All biological life is advancing, but it happens at such a slow rate that planting evergreen shrubs in your garden is not going to result in a forest appearing within your lifetime.

How you can help things along

Creating a self-sustaining garden does mean creating your own mini ecosystem. This is difficult enough when quarries are returned to their natural state, and they have acres of space to play with. The chances are that you only have a few hundred square feet in your garden. You are going to have to encourage growth and help the garden out as much as possible.


Harvesting rainwater is a very important factor. Not only will you have an ample supply of water with detritivore bacteria inside, you are also helping to slow your garden from becoming waterlogged or flooded – which is especially important if you have removed a lot of plants and trees in previous months/years.

Garden waste

Permaculture Design

Permaculture Design

Recycle your garden waste and have a compost heap. There are compost bins you can use if you do not have the space or resources for a compost heap.
Find out which plants need lots of sun and which can survive hours of shade and arrange your plants accordingly around your garden. The plants that can survive in dark and gloomy places should be put in such places to stop weeds from growing there.

Animal friendly

Put animal friendly habitats in your garden. Even vermin have their role to play in a stable garden ecosystem. Certain plants and flowers attract pest-controlling insects so it is your job to find them and plant them.


Mulch is your friend because it maintains soil moisture and helps to stop weeds from taking over your garden. You will find that water gel beads do a similar job, as well as helping to reduce the number of times your garden needs watering.

Pest control

Make sure you utilize organic pest controlling agents because the long-term effects of artificial chemical agents will often damage your natural permaculture ecosystem.

Little by little

Set up your permaculture garden in stages, doing one area at a time. If you try to overhaul and change your garden all in one go, you are going to have a massive maintenance job on your hands. Change your garden a bit at a time and manage the changes until they are at least semi-self-sustaining.

Author’s Bio: This article was written by Toby Dimmitt for Crystal Water Beads, an online store where you can find environment friendly water gel beads which are perfect for a permaculture environment.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - May 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

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It’s Not Only the Times That Are Changing But Also Earth, Wind and Fire!

Even when we suffer one of the wettest years on record (2012), we also have to endure hose-pipe bans and water shortages: sat in our living rooms up to our knees in flood water contemplating a council fine for garden sprinklers. The summer months are plagued by contradiction and inconsistency. On the one hand, we want our gardens to be able to bask in the sunshine and on the other; we need to them to be nourished by rainfall. But when we it rains, we tut and curse and when we get sun we say it’s insufferable.

In the morning we complain that the summer is lacklustre and chill, by midday we have sunstroke and in the evening we get drenched in the rain. It often seems that if we stop to smell the roses we will only remember the manure.

The truth of the matter is of course that we live in a complex and dynamic ecosystem that is always in flux and not often compatible with our psychological need for stability and sameness.

Is it me or is it Getting Hot in Here?

The global ecosystem is constantly changing. The human race and its memories of life on earth are just a blink in the life of this planet. The human species was facilitated by the planetary conditions that prevailed as we came out of the last ice age; possibly only one among many that the planet has endured. Since the beginning of human history the ice caps have been melting. Seen in the context of geological history, the climate sceptics may have a point.

However, undoubtedly pollution, over-population and deforestation are playing a major part not only in making our world less favourable for life in general but also in hastening the process of global warming specifically. Moreover, the speed with which these changes will come at us over the coming centuries will not necessarily be conducive to natural evolutionary adaptations needed for our species to thrive in a fluctuating environment. Seen in the context of a more macro scale, our weather-based foibles seem somehow petty.

An Inkling of Sprinkling and Tinkling

Sprinklers & Drip Systems

Adaptation will of course mean cultivating new species of plant life which can survive in changeable environments. But it will also mean finding ways to preserve the flora and fauna that we have come to love. If all this sounds highfaluting in theory, it need not be in practice.

Garden sprinklers for the summer heat are an ideal solution. Not only do they provide water for shrubs, but they can act as a cooling system and help control airborne dust. In short, they provide multiple benefits for creating balance in our domestic ecosystems.

The mathematician, Hero, who was born in Roman Egypt around 10AD, was perhaps the first to devise something akin to a modern garden irrigation system; though his version was steam powered. The vogue for lavish French gardens in the 1700s soon spread, but didn’t come into their own until public water systems in the mid-19th century allowed them to thrive year-round. The very first lawn sprinkler was patented in New York State in 1871; its invention made possible the modern conception of the domestic garden lawn.

Don’t Smoke Your Grass; Be Cool and Let it Chill

Nowadays we are increasingly used to reading about slapped wrists during water restrictions such as hosepipe bans which are introduced due to depleted reservoirs seeming to threaten droughts. The first British prosecution for the wasteful use of water took place in 1921 where the naughty gardener was fined 20 shillings (roughly equivalent to about £80 in modern money).

However, if you plan ahead you can still respect the water needs of the community without cutting off the supply to your garden or giving up on garden sprinklers for the summer. For instance, rainwater irrigation systems collect water during the wet months for distribution during the dry. Water your plants in the morning and evening to avoid quick evaporation. You could even consider laying water retention systems such as retention crystals or attapulgite clays. You might think about increasing the amount of shade offered to your plants, solutions vary from bespoke shade-sails to just hanging up an old sheet; the same applies for windbreaks as the wind can also dry out the soil. Finally, you could even consider re-designing the layout of your garden plants by grouping those with low water needs together and bunching those with high water needs thereby making targeted watering strategies more effective.

Alternatively, stick a plastic windmill flower in a plant pot and kick back!

Sally Dimmock is a writer who has a keen interest in gardening methods. She recommends sourcing garden sprinklers for the summer ahead to ensure that your plants are watered consistently in the hot weather.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - March 29, 2013 at 5:04 pm

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Eco-friendly Ideas for Watering Your Outdoor Garden

Based on the numbers released by United States Environmental Protection Agency, one third of the entire residential water requirement is used for outdoor gardens. This means that seven billion gallons of clean water are dumped on lawns every day. It is quite obvious that we need to reduce this. If you think it's next to impossible, better think again. You may be used to watering your garden with clean water. But with a few adjustments you could help contribute in bringing these numbers down.

Collect rain water

Rain water is an excellent source of water that could be used on gardens and lawns. With 1,893 liters of water rolling off your roof, you'll surely be able to water your entire lawn. Purchase a rain barrel where the rain water can be stored. Install a spigot at least five inches from the bottom and build a platform for the rain barrel. This platform will provide you a lot of pressure to push water through your garden hose.

Gray water can be used

If you think gray water is unhealthy for the plants, better think again. Recycling it will help you save gallons and gallons of water intended for your lawn. Aside from sinks and showers, gray water can be obtained from laundry machines. You can install a three-way valve on your machine to divert the water to your lawn.

Because it's not 100% sterile, it's highly advisable for gray water to be placed directly on soil rather than sprinkle on plants.

Irrigation system

Your irrigation system should also be efficient enough for your garden to be healthy. Place a soaker hose at the base of your plants to ensure that the roots will sip enough water. This is way better than having sprinklers. Oftentimes, too much water on the leaves will cause damage to your plants. Trickle and drip irrigation systems are also efficient for all types of outdoor garden.

Add compost

Compost is the best friend of water. With it, water will stay on the soil for a longer period of time instead of being evaporated. It also helps your plants have deeper roots and sip more water. Adding compost is indeed a green way to water your plant. It also prevents your garden soil from erosion and compression. It will spare you from pouring lots of water to your garden each day.

Water at the right time

Right timing is also considered a green way to water your plants. Keep in mind that plants have different water needs. Refrain from watering your garden too much to avoid water logging. This is to ensure that your plants will have enough oxygen and minerals. Mornings are also the best time to water your garden.

Keep in mind that green watering is not all about the water itself. The timing and irrigation system should also be considered when talking about gardening. You don't have to spend much just to save up in the long run. With a little bit of creativity and enough knowledge, your outdoor garden will surely be healthy, and your water consumption will be less.

This guest post was written by Suzzane Edwards for Kitchen Cabinet Kings, a leading distributor of wholesale kitchen and cheap bathroom cabinets. For more information and kitchen ideas please visit them at Kitchen Cabinet King’s blog.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - February 6, 2013 at 7:45 am

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10 Frugal Ways to Start Planting In Your Garden

It is an irony lost on most gardeners today. Many individuals turn to gardening as a small contribution to the effort to help Mother Nature survive. These individuals will invest a great deal of time, and often money, acquiring all the tools, plants and necessary materials to start and maintain their garden. The irony lies in the fact that for much of man's history a garden was far from an afterthought. A productive garden determined how well many families survived, or did not, from season to season.

For centuries, the garden was an essential element of family subsistence. Very few today rely on their gardens for their survival. In spite of this, it adds to the power of the concept of local gardening if the effort is approached with a frugal mindset. Listed below are 10 frugal ways to start planting your garden.

1. Coffee grounds and compost

There is so much said about compost it almost seems unnecessary to lead off with it as the number one item. The reality is that your garden is only as good as your soil and your seeds. Rather than expensive and harmful chemicals, compost is the ideal starting point before the first seed is planted. There are many sites that explain the benefits of compost and how to make it in even the smallest of spaces. The very process of bacteria working in the compost brings life to the soil. You'll have plenty of items from your own food preparation to use as starters. Don't forget Starbucks program for providing used coffee grounds free of charge. These are great for natural soil enrichment.

2. Seeds are the key

You can buy plants of various sizes at different prices. The most efficient method, however, is to grow your own plants right from carefully selected seeds. That saves the energy of someone else doing the work and transporting the plants. You are really on track is you harvest your own seeds from your plants each year. Store them in a climate controlled emergency food container for next year's planting.

3. Smart water

Make plans to capture rain water for use; reuse as much of your waste water as possible. Just avoid the chemicals from soaps and cleaners.

Gardening on a Shoestring: 100 ways to create a garden on a budget

4. Manuals tools

When starting out, it can be very tempting to buy or rent a gas powered tiller to prepare the ground, especially if you are ambitious with a large area for your garden. Avoid any power tools. It's cheap, smart and the exercise is good for you.

5. Recycle

Multiple products are great for use in the garden. Reuse small containers to germinate seeds and newspaper for weed control. Study and you will find dozens of other ideas.

6. Share

Plan your crops with other gardeners. You don't have to raise every type of vegetable. Specialise and share with some other “specialist.”

7. Co-op purchases

When supplies such as seeds or plants do have to be bought, get together with your fellow gardeners to buy at the best price.

8. Cover crops

Always have something growing. The right cover crops in your off season can restore the soil and produce an attractive green cover.

9. Store

Experiment with dehydration, freezing and other food storage concepts. Enjoy your garden's bounty year round.

10. Barter

People love garden fresh products grown locally. Treat your extra produce as currency and barter for things you want or need.

Gardens are no longer our guarantee for survival but they can be fun and frugal.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

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Green Pest Control? 5 Facts You Didn’t Know

Wherever you live in the country, you could be prey to some seriously nasty pests. Whether it be a horde of rats going through your rubbish bins, or even bed bugs clogging up your sleeping area. Pests can be a real nuisance, especially to get rid of them! Many people are unsure of how they can manage pests, whilst still being friendly to the environment. Here are 5 facts you didn't know about green pest control.

1) Pesticides can still be used

Many people think that green pest control means not using pesticides at all, however this is not the case. Those who want an environmentally friendly way of getting rid of certain pests can still use pesticides, only those which contain natural ingredients. You will find ingredients such as rosemary, clove oil and certain plant oils can be used in green pest control methods. If you are unsure then look thoroughly at the packaging or contact the pesticide manufacturer.

2) High efficiency green pest methods

A high efficiency pesticide means that it has been made to target a specific type of pest. These may be a lot more expensive to use, but do mean that they provide a much greater success rate than low efficiency pest methods. What this means is that less of the pesticide needs to be used, meaning the whole ordeal is a lot more environmentally friendly.

3) Organic alternatives

Those who are pregnant, or have young children in the home may not like the idea of having their property sprayed with pesticides. Although the majority of these are safe to use and disperse within about 20 minutes, it is understandable why some people may feel uneasy. There are several organic alternatives on the market, although many are quite expensive. Your best solution would be to speak to a pest control company that will be able to provide you with the organic products and services that you need.

4) Prevention and control

The best type of green pest control is actually prevention. Detecting the signs of pests early can stop your home from turning into a breeding ground for some nasty creatures. Keeping an eye out for any sign of pests will ensure that the problem can be controlled quickly and easily. This means that more environmentally friendly procedures can be used and will cause less disruption to your home life. You may wish to look into ideas such as bird proofing, to stop pigeons hanging around or even something
as simple as mothballs in your wardrobe!

5) Just removing the pests, not killing them

Many people are worried about using pest control services because they do not want the creatures to be harmed. This is especially the case when it comes to mice, rats, foxes or other mammals. It is important that you look for a company that is going to remove the pests and not just lay down poison and leave you to deal with the aftermath. Always discuss with your pest control service company what you want from their visit and the green methods you expect from them.

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Posted by emmac - December 16, 2012 at 8:26 am

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Eating Weeds: Zero Carbon Footprint, Top Nutrition

So you're into organic gardening, and avoiding herbicides. You've already decided that weeds are allowed to a certain level, as a part of natural wildlife in your garden, and any excess is weeded manually. That's great.

But did you ever consider weeds as nature's vegetables? A lot of the wild plants we commonly find in gardens, allotments and parks are edible. The time that they were thought of as famine food or rabbit food is over, wild edible plants are a hot topic nowadays. And they just may be one of the smartest way to keep both yourself and the environment healthy.

Not convinced yet? Here are some reasons to eat weeds:

  • Effortless growing: weeds are strong plants that master the skill of survival. No need for extra compost, for pesticides, gardening tools or specialized skills.
  • Zero food miles: no packaging, no transportation. This is local, fresh and seasonal eating in its purest form.
  • Cost-free but priceless. Nature's supermarket is a whole different experience that that regular supermarket you go to. No stress, no lines, and no money involved. No muzak through music boxes, but birds singing and rustling trees instead.
  • More nutritional value: wild plants have not been cultivated to become foods with a long shelf life, or the biggest crops, or the sweetest fruits. They may not look sexy, but compared to store-bought foods they are much higher in nutritional value: more vitamins, more minerals, more phytonutrients and antioxidants.
  • New flavors. There's a reason why top chefs are such wild food enthusiasts. If you're looking for some new culinary inspiration, look no further, check out your own backyard first.

Now, you may have heard about dandelion and stinging nettle being edible, but here are 7 other common weeds that you can add to your diet:

Ground Elder

Ground elder/ Bishop's weed (Aegopodium podagraria), which was spread by the Romans who wanted a fresh supply of leafy greens for their soldiers on the road. The leaves, picked before the plant flowers, make a delicious soup vegetable, or are cooked as spinach. The very young leaves make a lovely addition to salads.

Redshank/ Lady's thumb (Persicaria maculosa), a green with a neutral taste. The ideal food for people who dislike greens, as adding this edible weed to a dish won't change the flavour, but will add a bonus of nutrients. You can chop it finely and use as a parsley substitute. Some of you may also know it as smartweed.

Lamb's quarters/ Fat hen (Chenopodium album), of which both the leaves and seeds were found in stomachs of 5000 year old bodies as a staple food. Highly nutritional food.

Lamb's Quarters

Chickweed (Stellaria media), that can be turned into an unique pesto. In fact, it was sold as a hyped salad green in the early 1900's, quite expensively, until people noticed it growing between the pavement stones.

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica). Yes, Japanese knotweed indeed, one of the most invasive exotic species. Bite back and eat it. Gather the young tops in spring, peel them like asparagus and use them as a rhubarb substitute. Repeat as often as needed.

Gallant soldier/ Potato weed (Galinsoga parviflora), which is used in Colombia as a spice herb in traditional soups, but hardly anyone here seems to know it's a quite palatable green. If you are open to adding new flavors to your kitchen, this plant is a must.

Field horsetail, another dreaded weed that turns out to be edible. It contains extremely high amounts of silica, an important building block for our bodies. Use it as a herbal infusion or simply steep the sterile stems into soups or stews (as you would do with bay leaves) and let the minerals leach into your food.

Note: For your own safety, always make sure you can identify a plant with 100% certainty before ingesting it.

Short bio: Leaf is a passionate herbalist and wild edibles expert.  Join her and her family with two kids on their journey with edible wild plants at

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Posted by Guest Author - November 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

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