Save Your Egg Shells

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I have known the benefits of egg shells and been saving my egg shells for a while now. People when they come to my house wonder why I have the glass jar filled with egg shells and I am always left to explain to them why it is a good idea.

We use a lot of eggs in our house and we have a compost heap as well as lots of plants. So in an effort to get the most out of my scraps I knew I had to save my egg shells. Since I get asked so many times why save your egg shell? I figured I should research it more and share it with you here.

Why should you put egg shells in your garden?

Egg shells are very rich in calcium and all plants need calcium to grow. Some plants deplete calcium faster than others. Heavy rain and over watering can also wash away calcium from the soil making it more essential for you to replace.

How should I prepare and store my egg shells?

I keep my egg shells in a glass jar so they can dry out (do not put dirty or wet with egg yolk shells in the garden). Crush up the egg shells into tiny pieces. The smaller the pieces the easier it will be for it to breakdown and get the calcium into the soil.

How do I use them?

You can put the egg shells in the bottom of a planter this will help get the nutrients into the soil and right to roots. It will also help with drainage. You can also place the crushed egg shells in the bottom of a hole when you plant your flowers or vegetables or place around the stems of the plants.

Are there particular plants they work well with?

I have read that they work particularly well for peppers, tomatoes (helps prevent blossom end rot), broccoli, and cabbage. They also help deter slugs and cutworms (if you have a slug issue you can also put small saucers of beer in the garden, they will be attracted to that and no eat you plants).

What if I just want to compost them?

Make sure they are dry before you put them in your compost heap or bin. You can put them in as a larger pieces because your compost will work at a different rate.  I recommend that your compost be well balanced and rich in many nutrients so even if you use your egg shells in your planters and around your plants put some in your compost as well.

Now maybe when visitors to my house ask my why I save my egg shells I can give them the Barney Stinson response from How I Met Your Mother “Don’t you ever read my blog.”

Do you know any other plants that egg shells work well with?

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Awesome Green Gift Guide Take One

Last year I made a gift guide and I had a blast doing it. This year I am creating a few. This is my first in a few posts of green gifts by category. You will see that in each category I listed an experience. All to often we are left with lots of “stuff” after the holidays that we do not need but someone wanted to get you something so you got that. My list of categories below are short I thought of easily 25 more categories and I will get to them through out the month.

My fellow fabulous bloggers who have made some awesome gift guides that you must check out Cupcakes and Cutlery, A Fabulous FeteI Go You GoMint Loves Social Club, and Hank and Hunt. Check out their guides too (they blog about other awesome things), these take a lot of time to prepare and you will not be disappointed with the awesome ideas you can get from them!

GIFTS FOR THE COOK IN YOUR LIFE

Eco-friendly cookware from Cuisinart Their new GreenGourmet line they created “Cuisinart Ceramica” which is a nonstick technology that is ceramic based instead of petroleum and it’s completely free of PTFE and PFOA. Even the packaging is made out of recycled materials.

Bamboo Cutting Boards Everyone can use new cutting board and utensils, they get old and dirty and the bacteria can grow in the cracks so since using plastic cutting board (which are easier to keep clean) is not a good idea replace their old wooden ones with renewable bamboo.

Cookbooks: I made a whole list of great cookbooks on my post here so go check it out (leave a comment for a chance to win the whole list)

Apron: get an upcycled apron from on of the crafty wizard at Etsy like the one above from Scarlett’s Plunder

Experience: Send them to a cooking class. There are millions around the country go to Google to find one near their home (I found like 90 websites for cooking classes, it really depends on where you live).

GIFTS FOR THE OUTDOOR ENTHUSIAST

Solar backpack I am completed fascinated by these and think there is a level of safety that this can bring to anyone who likes to explore the outdoors. The solar panel can charge a gps or a cell phone, which can help ensure safety when out in the elements.

Outdoor clothing Head over to nau.com to check out outdoor wear made from recycled materials, made in factories that adhere to their code of conduct and they give 2% of every sale to partners of change.

Experience At Adventure.travel you can browse by destination or by what you want to do so send your friend on a trip of a lifetime (great group gift for the family to chip in on). If you know of a particular location you want to send your family member to you can always find great travel agents who can help create a great experience for them.

FOR THE KIDS


Doll House: Plan Toys The Green Dollhouse Last years list had a doll house on the list but this years doll house is even better. It is from Plan, they make their toys out of recycled rubber tree wood. This house has solar panels, wind turbine, rain barrels, and recycling bins. As soon as my daughter is old enough to enjoy this I am buying it for her. I love it.

Craft Supplies: Get some Crazy Crayons Eco Stars everyone loves these I have not put my hands on them but I am have read they great. Get the kids recycled roll paper because kids go through a ton of paper creating their master pieces use recycled paper to cut down on the impact (and recycle it again when they have made a new master piece!)

Experience: Take your kids to local natural history museum or zoo and get a guided tour from one of the experts or create a fun scavenger hunt helping them learn about the things that they are really interested in. Make it a real experience by traveling to a place they have not been to or make sure the experience at the place they have been to is special and different than before. Think of a what an awesome experience it would be for your son who loves dinosaurs to get a tour by a paleontologist, no amount of plastic Legos can make up for that!

FOR THE GUYS

Beer: Lots of guys love beer. Go to the local BIG liquor store and make a sampling box of local or organic beers for your man to enjoy. Here are some links to some posts about good organic beers The Daily Green and GreenAmerica.org. Head over to Uncommon Goods to get a creative upcycled bottle opener. Finish off the basket by going to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or other health food stores to get snacks to go with it (this is also a great last minute gift).

Sporting Equipment: Go to The Fair Corp website to get fair traded ethically made sporting equipment (they have a cool pair of Ethletic shoes that look like Converse but are organic) LostGolfBalls.com to get the golfer in your life reclaimed golf balls.

Experience: Music lessons or rock camp, lots of guys dream of the rock star lifestyle and that usually includes playing the guitar or drums so let them live the dream for a little bit. Tickets to a sporting event or concert pick a venue that is close to public transportation or even close enough to walk to. While there is nothing inherently ecofriendly about this idea it is not an actual thing but is something every man will enjoy.

FOR HER

For the new mom: Motherlove makes the best products for the new mom, I love their Green Salve (you do not even need to be a Mom to love this just have some dry skin). Their products are available widely at Whole Foods but also other health food stores or on their website. Every Mom needs a robe… really they do Gaiam has great organic cotton and soy robes and they are incredibly soft.

For an avid reader: Amazon gift card if they have a Kindle or an Ipad, Barnes and Noble card if they have Nook. Personalize it by making a list of your favorite books, books you would like to read, or a list of books you found online that you think they would like. You can always personalize a gift card rather than making it basically money by showing why you thought about giving them that gift. If they are really green and go to the library make a donation in their name and make them a special canvas bag to carry their library books home in (here is a tutorial)

Experience: Get a personal shopper to help vintage shop, lots of cities have walking tours of vintage shops with tips google it for your area or go on Craigslist (make sure you check reference for any Craigslist options, I could say I am good at vintage shopping there and it would not be true).

Tune in tomorrow for my personal green wish list and though out the next few weeks for more ideas. There are a ton of ideas in my head that I need to get the details on to post them!

Upcycling, Terracycle, and Walmart?

OK so I put the keywords right in the title of the post but really Terracycle and Walmart have partnered to sell upcycled products starting today.

First, what is upcycling? basically it is taking items that would otherwise end up in the garabage and making it into something new (different than recycling in that it reuses the product in it’s current form, it does not chemically mash it up to manufacture something new… think taking an old pair of ripped jeans and making it into a skirt or a purse).

You have probably seen Terracycles stuff before at Whole Foods, Home Depot, and Target. They make clipboards out of old computer circut boards, coasters from the center of old vynil records and book bags from candy wrappers.

They work with a network of people and places to collect their materials. Their website boasts over 9 million people collecting materials for them!! If you want to be a collector sign up here. You can sign up a group of people to fundraise for your school or group or you can choose one of their preselected orgnizations for your donation to go to. They have already collected 1.2 BILLION units of waste and donated $700,000 to charity!

Terracycle has joined with Walmart to market Terracycle’s products next to products they use to make them. Imagine Skittles next to the Skittle’s kite! All the Walmarts around the country will be selling 60 of Terracycle’s products. The goal is to help consumers see what they can do with their garbage (and maybe get Terracycle more collectors).


Here are some of the items that they will be selling at Walmart:

Eco-Kite: The world’s first standard Delta Kite to be made from food wrappers! These brightly colored kites are made from waste packaging of popular brands like M&M’s, Skittles, Frito-Lay and Oreo and look great flying at the beach or above your picnic. Cookie wrappers, chip bags and candy wrappers are made strong and light to protect your snacks, which makes them an ideal material to make these affordable, fun kites. 
 
Kids Growing Kit: Teach kids about gardening and the environment at the same time with the TerraCycle Kid’s Growing Kits for Vegetables, Flowers or Herbs. The Kits use upcycled Stonyfield Yogurt Cups as planting pots and TerraCycle’s famous Worm Poop mixed with compost for the growing medium. The Kits come with growing instructions and the cardboard tray holding it all together is even embedded with the seeds needed to start the plants. Almost no part of these kits is waste and they come with everything you need to start growing right away. Stonyfield and TerraCycle run a free collection program that pays organizations 3 cents for every used Yogurt Cup they collect.
 
Printed Totes and Wristlets: For the first time, TerraCycle is proud to introduce a full line of bags made from upcycled food wrappers that are reserved to show the white or silver side, instead of the branded side with logos. Frito-Lay wrappers are turned inside out and have a variety of patterns ranging from flowers to skulls printed on each side. With handles and trim selected to match the patterns, no one will even know these bags are made from waste, until you tell them of course! The line includes a variety of tote bags, wristlets and clutches.
 
Notebooks, Folders, Pencil Cases and Journals: TerraCycle makes a full line of Journals, Folders and Notebooks made from used Mars candy wrappers from favorite brands like Skittles and M&M’s, as well as, Capri Sun drink pouches. These unique, bright items are great for school or personal use. Made from waste wrappers, all of TerraCycle school products have a drastically smaller carbon footprint than traditional products and are still just as affordable and fashionable as any other item!
 
Accessories Bags: This range of bags includes everything from camera and shoulder bags to backpacks and lunchboxes.  Made from a variety of upcycled wrappers including Mars candy wrappers, Frito-Lay wrappers and Capri Sun drink pouches. The items are made from the same wrappers that will cover the very food they may hold on the way to school or work! All made with trim and handles which match the original logos product these bags are as fun and fashionable as they are eco-friendly!

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