Gail of Green Living

Don’t Let Me Plant Tomatoes!
November 27, 2011, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: , , ,

I was very excited about the prospects of my fall garden, that warm day in September.  I believe it was 104 degrees F. when I bought my tomato plants right before Labor Day weekend.

The Arkansas Traveler promised by the nurseryman to be a real winner, has grown to be over 6′ tall, but very few tomatoes and the ones that are there are about the size of golf balls and that bush has had a million worms!  …not doing that one anymore!

The Husky Red were said to be great at setting in the heat.  They have not lived up to the billing, but have become wilted at the slightest wind, and have turned pale.  …not doing that one anymore!

The Celebrity bush is our best producer in the summers most years.  However, it did not set any blooms until the temperature finally decided to drop.  Therefore, its tomatoes might be candidates for some kind of green tomato relish.  We’ll plant this one in the spring.

The star of the fall tomatoes has been the Solar Fire variety.  There are several presently on the window sill in the kitchen, and several more on the bush.

A lot of wind has caused the tomato plants to blow over and pull the cages out of the dirt.  The victim of most of the wind damage has been the cucumber vines.

After dealing with this about five times this fall, I pushed the pot up against the south side of the house and used wire cutters to remove most of the tomato cage that had supported (sort of) the cucumber  since September.  There are so many small cucumbers growing and I can’t stand to give up on this plant.  But the foliage is literally piled in to the pot!

Next year please remind me not to plant tomatoes!  I think I’ll try lettuce and greens!


My Green Business

This week has been Keller Williams Green Week.  The mission of Keller Williams for its agents is to create careers worth having, businesses worth owning and lives worth living.  A life worth living would be one that includes a healthy environment, is money-smart and sustainable.  So this week we have celebrated our company’s growing environmental initiatives.  We have recently launched the book, Green Your Home,  that can help you develop a plan for making your life, your home and your lifestyle more green.

Our real estate listings and contracts are all turned in to a paperless system.  And we are transitioning to an online system that will allow both sides of the transaction to sign digitally and have the documents all saved and stored permanently online with permanent access to the transaction, even if the other agent is not with Keller Williams.  eEdge was designated the Most Innovative Technology for a real estate company by Inman News for 2011.

For my real estate business, I office at home and save miles on my car and in gasoline.  I have enjoyed classes online, called Webinars, that allow me to receive the latest technology education possible.  In line with this week’s theme, I have had classes on “Getting Green with Google” and “Building a Green Lead Generation System”.   This helps me stay ahead of the pack when it comes to marketing my listings online and generating leads to sell them.  The transaction can be handled online as well.  Title companies and mortgage lenders are also communicating and sending documents by email.

As I am sitting in my home office in Knollwood near the Medical Center, working by the light of my cfl lamp bulb, and feeling the comfort from the low-e windows, I wish you a healthy, green and fun weekend!  If you are interested in the Green Your Home book, please write your name and email address and/or phone number in the comments, and I can make sure you have a chance to get one.

Pumpkin Surprise!
November 12, 2011, 10:31 am
Filed under: Gardening, Green Living | Tags: , , , , , ,

After you’ve finished celebrating Halloween, compost your jack-o-lanterns,  instead of tossing them in the garbage.  I cook mine, but I still have plenty left for the compost pile–the ends and stems and the peel after cooking.  I wash the seeds and roast them; they are very nutrituous.

Pumpkins, which of course are 100% natural, will break down quickly as  compost in your yard, providing you with valuable nutrients for your lawn or  garden. As you probably know by now, pumpkins aren’t exactly light, so they  otherwise take a considerable amount of fuel to haul to the landfill — plus  their bulky size means they take up space.

To get the best results in your compost pile, cut up the pumpkin a bit to provide more surface area. Layer with other types of  materials, like shredded leaves, green weeds or grass clippings. If you want to maximize the opportunity, add manure, or a nitrogen supplement like cottonseed meal bone meal or dried blood (you might have some of that left from Halloween, too!). Keep the pile moist and turn it over frequently.  Once a week I add a compost maker.  Some items, like pine needles, need a boost.

If all that sounds like too much work, don’t worry about it. In most areas,  you can simply toss things in a pile, and just alternate materials as you get  them. It may not make the most super-dooper compost, and it may take a little  longer to break down, but you’ll still get some nice nutrients, and you’ll be  helping the planet one little bit at a time.

And you may get a surprise in your compost:

Pumpkin Plants

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Be a Responsible Shopper!

When I’m shopping, I am trying to be aware of where products are made.  I am focused on buying products made in the U.S. to benefit our economy and also cut the shipping expenses and carbon footprint coming from other countries.  One area I’ve found that is easy to make a difference is in green cleaning products.  I found Seventh Generation dryer sheets on my last shopping trip, and a word on the box got my attention right away…”compostable“!  On the back side of the box is some education material that makes me feel good about deciding to buy this product.  The product is free and clear of dyes, fragrances and masking agents.

“If every household in the U.S. replaced just one box of polyester fabric softener sheets with our paper sheets, and composted after use, we could prevent 7,400 tons of solid waste from entering our landfills, equivalent to 780 garbage trucks”!

And this company dedicates 10% of their profit to organizations working for positive change.

I’ll let you know how it breaks down in the compost pile…if I can!  Let me know if you have suggestions for better household products.