Green fun – In this day and age where it’s all about the latest thrill, high or adventure, choose to rather be refreshed with simple family and friend orientated activities.
Whether you are a singleton or a couple, perhaps a parent like me, there are always ways to have a little bit of green fun. This month’s challenge is for you to embrace a new habit and to perhaps get rid of an old one.Introduction
There is an old adage that says: “All work and no play, makes Johnny a sad boy” and even though living a simple green lifestyle has massive rewards, we all need to have some fun every now and again and take a break from the hard work involved in running a green home and I know that you have been busy implementing all sorts of changes in your home through this ecourse.
#1 Spend less ~ live smart
The current (2012) world economy has put the breaks on uncontrolled spending that has marked many homes across the world. People have found themselves up to their eyeballs in debt, loosing jobs and unable to live without counting every penny. The many who have faced retrenchment have had no choice but to cut back and use what they have got and find more frugal ways to live. (By the way, month 7 deals with frugal living and will show you lots of ways to cut your budget).
But what if you are one of the fortunate ones who do not need to cut back on your spending because your job is secure and your income still coming in every month?
Would you have the courage to say “No!” to the impulse buying? Could you say to yourself that your existing wardrobe, car, cell phone or any other appliance is good enough when the latest fad or gadget grips the rest of the world?
Your first challenge for month 5 ~ when you next go to the mall for a bit of retail therapy or receive an advert in your mail box advertising the latest-greatest â€œsomethingâ€, and you are tempted, critically assess whether your hard earn money should be spent on this item. Remember the green principle of reusing before replacing?
Dinners out, paid for entertainment, leisure time activities all can be something that swallow a whole lot of cash too, which leads me to the next point.
#2 ~ Embrace a family orientated green leisure time activity.
Our family is a great lover of the outdoors and we try to make a weekly event of one meal in some safe outdoor space. Where we live we have lots of forests, mountains, dams and beaches where we can choose to have a picnic together. But this is not the only thing you can doâ€¦
Most botanical gardens have wonderful spaces for you to walk with your friends or family, instead of spending money in a mall or at the movies.
Creating a international food evening with your children or friends is another great fun activity instead of travelling to a restaurant.
Popcorn and movies at home are a great way to pass a drizzly afternoon or make as a Friday night tradition.
In summer when local farms are offering a U-pick day, take some friends (share the cost of petrol) and go cherry, strawberry or apricot picking. Then learn to can them or make jamtogether. This is one way to have a whole lot of fun and learn a new skill all at the same time.
Another great idea is to start a family scrapbook where you can stick photos and write about your green activities as a family.
There are so many simple green fun things to do together that require little spending, create little waste and make a whole lot of good memories.
But either way, make sure you try one green activity with your family or friends each week for the next month and feel free to let me know what you decided as it is always great to get feedback! There is more specific help for you on my green celebrations pages should you have need of more inspiration for birthdays, anytime get togethers or even weddings.
Next month I will be addressing how to encourage others to live a greener lifestyle, so if you have inquisitive friends or a reluctant partner or children, be sure to watch your inbox for the next instalment.
Oh…don’t forget to download your 4th month checklist here.
Helpful Organic Gardening Advice
You need to have some knowledge of what to look for and expect from an organic garden. You need to know what resources are available to you and who can provide you answers as to what you need for your organic garden. The tips below can help you with how to start:
* When you are planting in the shade, use colors that will best stand out in the lighting. Some plants look great in bright sunlight. Other plants will look fantastic in shady areas. Choose purples, blues, and greens for shade. Plant these cool colors behind warmer colored plants in your garden.
* Make sure your seeds have enough room to grow. It is fine to have many seeds in one container before they sprout, but you will have to replant them as they grow. Use containers that are actually big enough for one plant, and avoid having more than one plant in each container.
* Do not sun shock your new plants, if your new plants were not in a full-sun location when you bought them. Place the containers in an area that receives only partial sunlight for a day or two, and then gradually expose them to increased amounts of direct sun for several days before planting.
* Embrace earthworms in the organic garden! Earthworms are an organic gardener’s best friend. Through tunneling and their nitrogen-rich castings, they can help to aerate the soil. This improves the amount of oxygen that gets to a plant’s roots, improves water retention capacity, and keeps the soil loose and workable. They actually raise much-needed minerals from the garden’s subsoil to the topsoil, where plants can get the greatest benefit. These worms also break up hardpan soil, which is detrimental to root growth.
* Make your own compost pile for your garden needs. The average household produces more than 200 pounds of kitchen waste every year. You can successfully compost all forms of kitchen waste, with the exception of meat, dairy products, and high-fat foods. Place the waste you want to compost in an area that can be protected.
* Compost plants at the end of the season to strengthen the next season’s crop. The plants you have been harvesting all season are still full of rich nutrients that will be highly beneficial to your compost stock. The key is not to waste any part of the plant that is available.
* Be sure to test your soil before you plant your garden, if you want to be successful without the need for chemicals. A home testing kit can tell you the pH of your soil, which indicates the likelihood of plant survival. A vegetable garden requires a pH of about 6.5; if your soil is off, you can supplement before your plants start to die.
* If you have an infestation of bugs in your organic garden, you can make a simple spray to deter them. Soak hot peppers or garlic in hot water for several hours then strain the solids. Add a small amount of soap to the water and put in a spray bottle. Spray your plants on a regular basis.
* Black-eyed Susans are perennials that are basically pest-free. It will not be necessary to use pesticides on these plants. Leaf spot and crown rot may develop in older, crowded clumps that are unattractive. However, if you divide these plants every four years, you will avoid these problems. Also, thinning the clumps will maintain vigor and increase quantity of bloom.
As you have seen in the above tips, there is a lot of knowledge you can acquire before starting to grow your own organic garden and it’s this knowledge that can help it grow successfully. Do what you must to find out what you need and what you need to do to have a successful organic garden.