Organic Gardening Books to Help Your Garden Grow

March 8, 2018 by  
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At the core of homesteading, the ultimate self-sufficient lifestyle, is growing … The post Organic Gardening Books to Help Your Garden Grow appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Organic Gardening Books to Help Your Garden Grow

Seed-Saving 101: How to harvest and store herb, tomato, and berry seeds

September 21, 2016 by  
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Another great aspect of harvest season is that it’s the time of year when most plants go to seed , thus ensuring a strong new crop for the following spring. Those of you with food gardens have probably noticed the metamorphosis that your plants are going through right now, but unless you have experience with harvesting and keeping seeds, you probably don’t quite know how to go about doing so. Good news, then! This is the first in a 2-part piece on how to harvest those little nuggets of potential so you can sow them once springtime rolls around once again. With so much dirt coming out about Monsanto ’s unethical practices and the prevalence of GMO plants , it’s become far more important to save organic and heirloom seeds to preserve diversity and health in our food plants. If you’ve planted organic herbs/veggies in your own garden , it’s great to harvest seeds for the next planting season. But if you’re uncertain whether they’re organic or not, you might want to hold off on doing so—there’s a good chance that any non-organic seeds you harvest won’t be viable, and may have genetic modifications we don’t want to propagate. We’ll be focusing primarily on small seeds for the intro here: namely herbs, tomatoes, and berries. Related: 7 Easily Propagated Fruits to Transform Your Backyard into a Food Forest Garden Herbs If you’ve ever planted herbs from seed (either culinary or medicinal), you’ll remember how teensy those they are: basil seeds are around 0.5mm each, for example, and most other herb seeds are comparable size to that. If you try to pluck the pips from your culinary or medicinal plants while they’re out in the garden, you’re likely to lose half of them to the soil below. The best way to collect these seeds is in a simple brown paper bag . If you’ve decided to harvest your own seeds, be sure to let a portion of your plant stock go to seed , instead of plucking all the flowers from them; those buds will dry up, and the pips will form inside them as they do. Let these dry out as much as possible on the plant itself out in the sunshine, but keep an eye on weather forecast and feel free to harvest them  early in case of major storms brewing. When the seed heads are dry enough to be plucked, place a small paper lunch bag over the plant and secure it several inches down the stalk with a twist-tie. Cut the plant with a knife or scissors a few inches below that, tie a string around the twist, and hang the bag upside-down in a cool, dry place for about a week; this will give the plant even more time to dry out, and the seed casings tend to pop open as they dry and shrink. After a week (or two) has passed, take the bag down and shake it fairly vigorously—this will help to free the seeds from their casings, and they’ll collect at the bottom of the paper sack. Tomato Seeds Most people who are new to home/urban gardening start out with a couple of tomato plants —whether little cherry tomatoes in pots on a balcony, or several varieties scattered through their garden space. Saving tomato seeds is a slightly more involved process, as they require a bit of fermentation  to break down the delicate membrane around each seed so they’re open, fertile, and ready to plant in the spring. Related: DIY – How to Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds for Annual Growing Scrape out the seeds of a ripe tomato, and set them aside in a dish. Try to harvest only one variety of tomato at a time so you don’t accidentally mix your batches. Put the collected seeds into a very fine sieve, and run them under running water, rubbing them very gently to get as much of the pulp off as possible. Once cleaned off, put the seeds in a clean jar, add about a cup of room temperature water, and seal with the jar’s lid . Keep the jar in a cool, dark cupboard for a few days, and just give it a bit of a swirl a couple of times a day. In a little less than a week, you should see frothy bubbles forming in the jar, and most of the seeds settled at the bottom of it: these are the viable ones, so discard any of the floaters, and tip the bottom-dwelling seeds back into that sieve, give them a good rinse, and then spread them out on paper towel or a very fine mesh screen ( like an old window screen ) to dry for a couple of days. Berries The method of saving berry seeds is very similar to that of tomatoes, only without the fermentation process. For species like currants, raspberries and blackberries, just mash the overripe fruit around in a metal sieve to loosen it all up, rinse under running water, and allow to dry on paper, paper towel, or a mesh screen. To save the tiny seeds of certain berries (mulberries, blueberries), it’s actually better to freeze or dehydrate some berries whole and then plant them in the spring: as the fruits decompose, they’ll nourish the seeds held within them. Storing seeds If you’ve decided to go ahead and dry some seeds, you’ll need to store them safely until the next planting season. The two greatest enemies of safe seed-saving are high temperatures and high moisture, so if you store your seeds in a place that tends to get damp, or where the temperature and humidity fluctuate dramatically, it’s more than likely that the seeds will lose their ability to germinate. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your seeds in paper envelopes that have their variety and date harvested written on them, and store those inside closed glass jars. Keep these in a dry place that stays at a pretty even temperature, and you should have viable seeds aplenty next season. Note: If you can get your friends and neighbors to save seeds from their gardens, you can organize a seed-trading party in the spring. This will give you all a chance to get your plants cross-pollinated with other strains, and you’ll be able to try out different varieties to see what grows best in the space that you have . You’ll also be able to see which varieties you like the most! Stay-tuned for Seed-Saving part 2, in which we’ll focus on saving larger seeds: gourds, melons, beans, and grains.

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Seed-Saving 101: How to harvest and store herb, tomato, and berry seeds

Tiny two-pound Micro Wind Turbine folds up just like an umbrella

September 21, 2016 by  
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While scaled-up renewable energy plants can generate a great deal of energy , there’s a huge demand for smaller devices in off-grid, remote, or harsh locations. Designer Nils Ferber created a Micro Wind Turbine that works as well on a blustery mountaintop as it does in a backyard garden, and can charge smartphones via a USB port on the turbine . Weighing around two pounds, the Micro Wind Turbine folds up like an umbrella and can be easily transported. https://vimeo.com/174336941 Ferber’s Micro Wind Turbine unfolds along a telescopic shaft, popping out into a tiny turbine that ” produces a constant output of five watts at a windspeed of 18 kilometers per hour .” An “integrated battery pack” with a 24 watt-hour capacity can store the energy, or users can charge a device directly through a USB port right on the turbine. The blades are made of sturdy fabric and can capture wind energy blowing from any direction. Related: Insane Screwdriver-Powered EX Vehicle Rockets You Headfirst Through the Streets The Micro Wind Turbine works where solar panels tend to struggle, such as cloudy locations where sunlight is infrequent or at night. It’s designed for outdoor explorers, filmmakers, climbers, scientists, and even rescue workers who adventure or labor in extreme locations where there’s not as much easy access to power. Its slight frame won’t add much to the gear or equipment a person is already packing; at around two pounds it is ” 40 percent lighter than the closest competitor ,” according to Ferber. He tested the Micro Wind Turbine in the Swiss Alps, demonstrating its effectiveness in very windy weather. While the initial Micro Wind Turbine works for just one person, Ferber says the turbine is “easily scaleable.” According to his James Dyson Award page , he is searching for partners to develop the wind turbine into a marketable product. + Nils Ferber Via Treehugger Images via Christian Holweck , Jagoda Wisniewska , and Nils Ferber

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Tiny two-pound Micro Wind Turbine folds up just like an umbrella

ENR2 is the largest project in Arizona to earn a LEED Platinum certification

September 21, 2016 by  
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The 151,000-square-foot ENR2 building is an addition to the UA campus with three other LEED-certified buildings – the Student Recreation Center expansion, the Árbol de la Vida Residence Hall and Likins Hall. It houses interactive and shared learning spaces, boosting productivity and collaboration. Related: University of Arizona’s Breakthrough Telescope Solar Panel Doubles Efficiency Thanks to an efficient water usage and rainwater harvesting system , the building reduced the amount of water used annually by 40 percent. It can capture up to 260,000 gallons of rainwater each year. A underground storage and filtration tank provides water for irrigation . Related: The Hestia Project Maps the Carbon Emissions of US Cities Down to Street Level “The LEED platinum certification for ENR2 is great news for those of us who teach or research on the environment because it shows that we try to practice what we preach in terms of workplace sustainability,” said Diana Liverman, co-director of the UA’s Institute of the Environment. + The University of Arizona Via UA News Photos by Liam Frederick

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ENR2 is the largest project in Arizona to earn a LEED Platinum certification

HOW TO: grow your best spring garden yet

February 11, 2016 by  
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HOW TO: grow your best spring garden yet

Ultrathin grass condoms could make safe sex better than ever

February 11, 2016 by  
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Australian researchers at the University of Queensland have found a way to make latex condoms thinner, stronger, and more flexible than anything else on the market. The scientists extracted nanocellulose from a native variety of grass, spinifex, and used it as an additive in ordinary latex rubber. While a grass condom might sound a little strange, it turns out that adding the natural nanoparticles to rubber actually enhances the latex’s natural properties. This could be the first step toward overcoming some of the most common complaints about condoms reducing sensation during sex, and even enhance safety by making them less likely to break. Read the rest of Ultrathin grass condoms could make safe sex better than ever

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Ultrathin grass condoms could make safe sex better than ever

7 Gardening Ideas For Creating A Greener Garden

February 8, 2016 by  
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Spring is just around the corner, and avid gardeners are already mapping out their gardens and starting seeds indoors.  Gardening ideas? Yeah, we’ve got ’em. There is so much to consider when planning out your garden. What fruits and vegetables…

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7 Gardening Ideas For Creating A Greener Garden

17 Tech-tastic Green Gadget Gifts

November 30, 2015 by  
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With the ubiquity of smartphone technology and tablets, there’s really a little bit of gadget geek in every person on your holiday gift shopping list. Whether your loved ones’ wider interests lie in music, photography, gardening or cycling, we’ve got you covered for green gadget gift ideas for the upcoming season. From a reusable cardboard smartphone amplifier at just $10 — perfect for the office Secret Santa or hard-to-buy-for teenagers — to a splurge on an electric bicycle that will knock somebody’s socks off, there’s something on the list for every budget too. Click through to see them all. GREEN GIFTS FOR GADGET GEEKS >

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17 Tech-tastic Green Gadget Gifts

INFOGRAPHIC: Why are my plants turning yellow?

June 19, 2015 by  
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Even the greenest of thumbs are sometimes puzzled by their plants’ yellow leaves, but that yellow pattern can actually tell you a lot about what kind of problems your plant is having. That’s why Safer Brand created this infographic so that you can easily determine what your plant needs to stay green and healthy. Potted plants are particularly susceptible to yellow leaves, most commonly because lack of sun indoors and water. The upper part of the graphic explains how to determine if you are getting the right balance of sunlight and water. Check out the lower half of the graphic to view six of the most common nutrient deficiencies that cause a plant’s leaves to turn yellow. Besides showing you the signs, it will also list an organic way to fix your yellow leaf problem. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Why are my plants turning yellow? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: dying plants , Gardening , gardening tips , green thumb , house plant gardening , house plants , infographics , organic gardening , plant growing tips , plants turning yellow , reader submission , safer brand , yellowing leavings

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INFOGRAPHIC: Why are my plants turning yellow?

This mind-reading device can turn your thoughts into text

June 19, 2015 by  
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Brain-computer interfaces are nothing new—several companies have developed technologies that allow one to conduct a number of pre-determined activities, such as moving a cursor, by monitoring brain waves. But one group of researchers at the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies and the State University of New York at Albany are hoping to take that concept a step further, and have successfully tested what may be the world’s first “brain to text” interface—a device that can read ones mind and translate those thoughts to digital text. Read the rest of This mind-reading device can turn your thoughts into text Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: brain computer , brain computer interface , brain to text , Design for Health , internet of brains , mind-reading , neuroscience , speech recognition programs , suny

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