These glass vases let you grow your own avocado tree no toothpicks required

November 8, 2019 by  
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While most home gardens tend to conceal the roots within decorated pots, Ilex Studio ‘s new collection of glass vases displays one of the most underrated parts of a plant — the roots. The studio’s transparent glass vases, which can be used to grow avocado and oak trees, feature minimalist silhouettes with spherical bases that showcase the plant’s incredible root systems. Recently unveiled at the London Design Festival , Ilex Studio’s collection was designed to let people skip the prickly process of using toothpicks to grow avocado trees. Additionally, the vases can be used to turn a humble acorn into a magnificent oak tree. Related: AvoSeedo makes growing avocado trees easier than ever Unlike most home gardens , where the plants’ roots are buried deep in the soil, these glass vases let you watch the magical powers of sprouting seeds. The hourglass shape has a small neck, where the avocado seed or acorn sits. The strategic shape lets the seed or avocado stay nice and dry up top while the roots begin to sprout below. Did we mention that there’s no need to stick anything with toothpicks? Over time, the roots begin to spread out into the water. Letting the roots hang freely allows them to become stronger until they are eventually ready to be planted in soil . The bulbous shapes of the vases actually magnify what is going on inside, giving you an up-close view of the roots as they grow. The Avocado Vase is slightly larger than the Acorn Vase, but according to the studio, the growing pattern is similar for the acorn and the avocado tree. The oakling can be left in the vase for up to one year, but growing an avocado tree is a bit more complicated. They both come with instruction booklets to guide you through the process of growing your own trees, straight from the seeds. These playful growing vases cost between £22 and £35 (about $28 to $45), with the larger avocado vase costing a bit more and the vases sans acorns costing less. Each order comes with a 20-page handbook of helpful instructions. + Ilex Studio Via Design Milk Images via Ilex Studio

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These glass vases let you grow your own avocado tree no toothpicks required

Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

October 29, 2019 by  
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One of the biggest complaints about urban living is the lack of space to grow your own veggies, but this automatic home garden can fit in nearly any kitchen space. Recently launched on Kickstarter, Verdeat is an indoor garden system that uses soil-less, organic plant cultivation to grow up to 76 plants. Additionally, the innovative gardening system is made out of 95 percent recycled materials and is designed for zero waste. Although there are quite a few home garden systems on the market, Verdeat stands out in that it is designed to be flexible. The garden comes in three different sizes to better suit your needs. The system is arranged in a tower shape, made up of one, two or four stacked trays that use a soil-free organic system for cultivation. Each tray is suitable to a certain type of growth using a natural substrate (such as coconut fiber). For lighting, the system has an integrated lighting system that mimics sunlight and promotes faster growth. Related: This sleek lamp provides light and grows food Depending on the size, the trays are arranged precisely for seeds or microgreens but can also be ordered to include a tray of small potted plants, perfect for strawberries, flowers, peppers, onions and more. No matter the size, the entire system is designed to be user-friendly and produce zero waste . Better yet, the garden system is nearly 100 percent self-sufficient for weeks at a time. Almost entirely maintenance-free, the gardening tower only needs to be watered every 1 to 3 weeks. To make it even easier, there is even a handy app to take care of the plants while you are away from home. The app monitors the amount of water, energy and nutrients and adjusts automatically according to the needs of the plants. This precise system allows Verdeat to grow plants without generating unnecessary waste. + Verdeat Via Yanko Design Images via Verdeat

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Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall

October 18, 2019 by  
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As the crisp, misty mornings of fall greet the day, autumn colors emerge across the landscape. Meanwhile, your garden and flower pots begin to look barren and colorless as annuals die off and perennials go dormant for the upcoming winter. In most areas, though, there is still plenty of life left in the fall, even in the smallest spaces around your home. With a bit of planning, you can bring a new season of life to your porch, patio or balcony, even during the short days of fall. To get started, follow these tips for color, variety, texture and height variation. Color Fall is synonymous with falling leaves and bare trees, leaving a trail of red, orange and yellow along the roads. You can match the colors associated with the season using pumpkin decor, rusty red or gold mums, plants that produce berries, ornamental grasses and plants that retain their colorful leaves until late into the season. Grab a journal and list some plants common to your area that offer complementary colors. Then, add in some accents, like prolific white mums, silver-leaved herbs such as sage and evergreens like boxwood for a stable green color. On that note, remember that evergreens are a delightful option for every season and make a nice backdrop to seasonal plants that you can swap out every few months. This gives you a lot of options year-round, even with limited space. Related: 11 unique edible plants for your garden Variety Along with the plan for color comes a blueprint for variety. Your preference might be to have window boxes full of a single varietal. If so, great! If not, choose plants that contrast each other throughout the space. Include plants with different types of leaves, heights and lifespans. Put some in the window box, but surround it with potted plants, shrubs, trees and even an ever-changing vase of fresh wildflowers. Just be sure to choose options that can be pruned to stay small or are naturally compact. Even your planters can add to the variety in texture and color. Use galvanized buckets or watering cans mixed with colorful ceramic pots and a miniature wheelbarrow. Insert a glass vase with bamboo , surround plants with an old tire or carve out a pumpkin for a naturally-compostable planter. Use bronze, terracotta or copper to add to the fall color palette, and make them really stand out by surrounding them with white rocks. Texture Plants in nature vary from each other as much as the human face or fingerprint. Embrace that diversity to feed the need for visual appeal. After all, your garden space, no matter how small, should bring you pleasure. Mix it up — bring in some spiky leaves and balance those with the dainty Sweet Alyssum. Throw in some curvy-edged flowering kale, and place it next to your Aster that still might be in bloom, attracting bees and butterflies well into the season. Height Nothing adds variety and depth like a display of flowers, plants and shrubs of varying heights. This can be accomplished using supports or props. For example, use a window box. Then, place a table beneath it with potted plants ranging from tiny succulents to larger herbs . On the ground, add another layer of potted or planted options. Mix in small trees and shrubs if your space allows. You can also choose plants that are all planted in the same bed with diverse heights. Just plant the tallest selections in the back, so they don’t obscure the view of the lower-to-the-ground superstars behind them. Depending on how much space you have, you might include a dwarf conifer, Dogwood or slow-growing Japanese Maple. For very small spaces , use pots to contain purple fountain grass, croton and other plants. Also, use those long-lasting summer climbers to your advantage. Create height with the hops over the pergola, grapes covering the arbor or ivy up the pillars in the front of the house. Placement Another planning consideration includes the placement of your plants. For a back patio or areas where you still spend a lot of time outdoors in the fall, create clusters of texture or color along the edges. Plant a tree just off the edge of the deck and surround it with seasonal potted plants that sit on the deck, creating a vignette of eye-catching cohesion. If you spend most of your time next to the window near the front porch, invest in color within the frame of the window. For an upstairs office, load up the window box. If you’re going for curb appeal, make sure to include border plants to pull the look together. A simple display of a few potted chrysanthemums with some decorative gourds can spice up the entrance to your home. Hanging baskets are another option that complement your decor in any season and work in any space, large or small. Small gardens might present some challenges, but with the right plant selections, you can create spaces that bring visual interest and life to your balcony or patio throughout the seasons. Images via Shutterstock

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Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall

Sustainable Alternative Lawns

October 8, 2019 by  
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The suburban lawn is a potent symbol of the American … The post Sustainable Alternative Lawns appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Sustainable Alternative Lawns

We Earthlings: 90 Companies Account for 2/3 of Global CO2 Emissions

October 8, 2019 by  
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Did you know only 90 companies account for two-thirds of … The post We Earthlings: 90 Companies Account for 2/3 of Global CO2 Emissions appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: 90 Companies Account for 2/3 of Global CO2 Emissions

Geometric pavilion with an inverted living garden holds court in a public square in Annecy, France

September 27, 2019 by  
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Almost 10 years ago, New York-based Behin Ha Design Studio erected an incredible green-walled living pavilion made out of recycled milk crates in the heart of Governors Island. Now, the plant-loving designers are back at it, unveiling a beautiful, inverted garden pavilion in a public square in Annecy, France. Installed in the Notre Dame plaza in the old city center of Annecy, the 330-square-foot Living Pavilion is a modular system of dairy crates. Assembled in a three-sided geometric shape, the recycled milk crates serve as the framework for the inverted garden. The exterior shape of the Living Pavilion, with its hipped and gabled roof, was meant to pay homage to the historic buildings of Annecy. With three immense openings, visitors are invited to enter under the pavilion to enjoy the suspended, lush garden planted on the interior walls. Related: A tiny, 96-square-foot rustic pavilion brings the outdoors in The geometric design gives the structure the potential to become a public or private shelter that is open to fresh air yet protected from harsh elements. The crates that make up the structure were strategically planted with drought-tolerant Liriope plants, which are resilient to almost any type of climate and can naturally cool the interior. Like the original installation in Governors Island in 2010, the most recent version of the Living Pavilion uses multiple milk crates to create a planting system for the garden. The drought-tolerant plants are initially cultivated in the crates in an upright position. Once the vegetation has grown, the planted crates are then installed upside-down to form walls. At the end of the Annecy installation, the crates can be removed and cultivated in another environment. According to the designers, the modular system creates a full-circle lifecycle for the structure. The design ensures that the pavilion can be easily disassembled and reassembled in another location while protecting the plants during the transition, allowing for regeneration of the same pavilion year after year. + Behin Ha Design Studio Photography by Aurelien Vivier and Behin Ha via Behin Ha Design Studio

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Geometric pavilion with an inverted living garden holds court in a public square in Annecy, France

Mulch 101: Mulching Your Soil for a Healthy Garden

September 18, 2019 by  
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Mulch is any material you use to cover bare soil … The post Mulch 101: Mulching Your Soil for a Healthy Garden appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Ace Hardware boosts efforts to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides

September 16, 2019 by  
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The world’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative, Ace Hardware, is becoming more “bee-friendly” by phasing out inventory products associated with neonicotinoid pesticides . Neonicotinoids — sometimes called ‘neonics’ for short — are notoriously toxic to bees. Ace Hardware’s move to distance itself from neonics is a step closer to promoting better pollinator population health. Neonicotinoids work as an insecticide by disrupting neural transmission. This is owing to neonics’ design to mimic the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Disruption of the normal activity of an insect’s central nervous system takes place when neonicotinoids bind onto its acetylcholine receptors. In doing so, insect neurons are adversely affected through over-excitation, to the point of paralysis. Repeat exposure increases neural vulnerability and toxicity so that the insect neuron is destroyed. Related: EPA lifts ban on pesticide proven to be toxic to honeybees Unfortunately, bees have higher numbers of acetylcholine receptors than other insects, thereby occasioning their increased susceptibility to neonicotinoids. What’s more, bees have fewer genes for detoxification, thus they are not as capable of detoxifying harmful chemicals compared to other insects. Bee exposure to neonicotinoids is rather pernicious. Studies reveal that neonics accumulate in individual bees, resulting in adverse defects in memory, flight, dance coordination, communication abilities and pollen collection effectiveness. Correspondingly, bees exposed to contaminated pollen and nectar bring them back to the nest. This exposes the colony to further risks, such as increased insect mortality, widespread susceptibility to neural disruption within the hive, erratic behavior in the colony, increased queenlessness and subsequent population decline. In light of this, Ace Hardware’s move to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its store shelves sounds promising. The hardware store giant announced, “Currently, over 95 percent of the insecticide product offerings distributed by Ace Hardware Corporation are neonicotinoid-free.” More natural and organic products are being added to the Ace Hardware inventory to help bee, butterfly and other pollinator populations bounce back from the brink. Ace Hardware’s greener, more bee-friendly approach echoes that of other garden retailers like Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and Whole Foods, all of which have expressed similar commitment to better stewardship of the environment. + Ace Hardware Via Medium Image via Pixabay

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Greenery-filled renovation rethinks Indonesian colonial architecture

August 14, 2019 by  
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Indonesian architecture firm Kantor Gunawan Gunawan has transformed a century-old Dutch Colonial house into the PB House, a modern home with a strengthened connection to nature. The house, which has been handed down for three generations, has been updated to meet the needs of the new family while paying homage to historical elements. Indonesia’s lush tropical greenery has also been brought indoors with full-height glazing that pulls in garden views and frames a massive green wall . Following the typical Dutch Colonial style, the house was originally designed in quarters, with many rooms arranged along a main axis and joined together by a long hallway. To modernize the space, the architects knocked down most of the walls and created a large open-plan living area, dining space and kitchen that measures 10 meters by 6 meters. The ceilings were also raised to create a more airy feel. Related: Cooling breezes blow straight through a low-energy brick house in Indonesia To bring greenery into the 300-square-meter house, the architects had to grapple with the challenging narrow site, which only allowed for a small sliver of landscaping along the house. Making the most of a constrained footprint, the architects added a huge green wall on the west side that is framed through tall glass sliding doors in the living room. The walls of glass have also been installed throughout the house to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. The exterior of the building was given a fresh coat of paint, a black door and new window seals. It was also spruced up with original mosaic glass but has otherwise been kept the same. In contrast, the interior of the home has been completely transformed. “Using white, gray, orange and dark wood pattern, Kantor Gunawan Gunawan creates a consistent color palette throughout the whole house,” the firm noted. “The furniture is also consistently made of the same walnut material as the door and wall background. The dark wood and gray marble flooring also set the tone of a cozy and welcoming living area, as it also extends to the pantry table and to the wooden decking at the terrace.” + Kantor Gunawan Gunawan Photography by Mario Wibowo Photography via Kantor Gunawan Gunawan

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Greenery-filled renovation rethinks Indonesian colonial architecture

Sustainable floating dairy farm in the Netherlands is home to 40 blissful bovines

July 9, 2019 by  
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Years of urban development in the harbor area of the Merwehaven in the Netherlands have led to decline of traditional trade in the area, especially in the agricultural sector. However, thanks to the Dutch firm, Goldsmith Company , the harbor is now home to a floating dairy farm that brings sustainably-sourced milk and dairy products to the locals. The Merwehaven area is a bustling port that drives most of the region’s economy. However, due to the ever-growing nautical presence, the agricultural sector in the area has been diminishing for years. With the addition of the floating farm, the locals are now able to appreciate locally-sourced, sustainable milk and other dairy products. Related: An Australian dairy farm is updated with solar-powered ‘grass-to-gate’ facilities According to the architects, the design of the floating farm is based on nautical principles. Built on three connected concrete pontoons and coming in at a whopping 21,527 square feet, the structure’s layout, structural principles and materials were carefully designed to enhance the farm’s buoyancy and stability. The production of fruits used to produce yogurt is found on the bottom floor, which is equipped with a rain and wastewater recycling system . The  upper factory floor houses the milk and yogurt processing, feeding system and manure handling and retail. The upper, open-air floor is where 40 blissful bovines live in a covered cow garden. The area is equipped with a manure cleaning robot, along with a milking robot. In fact, the garden boasts state-of-the-art systems that were strategic in enhancing the animals’ welfare , including as a series of green towers that ensure cooling. In addition to the animal-centered architecture and technology, the farm was also built on full-cycle sustainability principles . Urban waste flows are upgraded from residual product to create feed for the animals. Brewers grains, potato scraps and grass clippings from the nearby Feyenoord football stadium are used to create a daily feast for the bovines, who in return produce healthy sustainable milk to sell back into the local market. + Goldsmith Company Via Archdaily Photography by Ruben Dario Kleimeer

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Sustainable floating dairy farm in the Netherlands is home to 40 blissful bovines

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