Our Green Baby

We decided that we would have a green baby the day we found out I was expecting. When I say green baby I am not talking about an alien or plant. But to nurse and care for our baby in a conscious way. Minimizing the exposure of harmful substances and making as wise choices (economical, social and environmental) as possible. Letting her grow up with awareness of the environment and learn to care for the nature. To give our girl a chance to a future on a healthier planet. Can you think of a better reason to devote to a more sustainable lifestyle than becoming a parent?

Green baby. Our Green Baby | My Green Nook

Plant baby. Photo: daily sunny ©

One of the downsides not breastfeeding is the environmental issue. No food can be greener than your own milk. And sadly eco-labeled supplements are hard or even impossible to find. For instance many include palm oil which are grown on plantations known to be one cause of deforestation of rainforests. Being a threat to biodiversity and species like orangutans. This of course broke my heart to realize. Sometimes ignorance is a bliss. There are even brands which use aggressive marketing in developing countries. Promoting mothers to stop breastfeeding and give supplements instead. This in areas where clean freshwater is not available. Causing illnesses and death among newborn babies. This, sadly, makes many supplements far from sustainable.

As you may have noticed in my earlier post s and presentation I am striving for a greener living. Now I am more eager than ever but have less time and energy for research. So I am quite happy I got guidance from my sister-in-law A, other blogs and my previous findings. My green choices are hands on and not difficult to apply in the daily life with a newborn.

Cloth diapers there are several kinds and brands of them and you may choose one that suits your needs. All-in-one, two-part diapers or a hybrid between the two (aka snap-in one or AIO2). We had the opportunity to buy second-hand which made us able to try different alternatives and brands. Our favorite for now is a snap-in one diaper with a lower waist. It is very trim and comes in three sizes S, M or L. The second-hand market, via Facebook groups etc, have much to offer. And you can make real bargains. I have to confess when we got home from the hospital and during the first weeks we used disposable diapers. No one is perfect…

Cuddly diaper. Our Green Baby |My Green Nook

Cuddly Diaper. Photo: Charlotte, My Green Nook

Glass bottles for feeding instead of plastic. It reduces the risk of leakage of unhealthy chemicals. Though, I have to mention, most plastic bottles of today are free of BPA and other debated compounds. Glass bottles are user-friendly in many ways but not unbreakable. We chose a bottle with a protective sleeve which also gives a better grip. It is dishwasher safe and resist fast temperature changes. It can be sterilized by boiling it for five minutes. Spare parts as well as nipples with different flow are available. The bottle can be customized as our baby grows to adjust to change in needs.

Second-hand clothes are often softer and eventual chemicals have been washed away. We got a lot of clothes of my sister-in-law L. Her girls had worn them and she was happy to see them get used again. Since newborns grow fast and do not get too dirty the clothes look like new.

Second-hand gear allows you to save a lot of money. We got the baby carriage from my cousin in exchange for a computer screen. It was a bit worn but works and fills its purpose. He on the other hand bought it on eBay. The baby safe, for the car, we also got from my sister-in-law A. It was well used so the cover was pretty worn out but we bought a new cover. Now it looks fine.

Organic baby care is gentle to the skin and eco-labeled. Newborns do not need many products a good oil is all at start. You may even use an oil made for cooking. Avoid fragrance since it may cause allergies and asthma. And don’t you agree that the scent of baby is the best there is? I love to ‘sniff’ on my daughters head and get tickled by her soft baby hair. Use washable cloth wipes these are easy to make from used towels.

As our baby grows I have to find new ways to stay green. This progress I would be happy to share with you. Do you have any experiences from daily life with a green baby? What do you do to let your children grow up in a greener world?


© The photo is licensed by Creative Commons and some rights are reserved. License Attribution 2.0.

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Add Nitrogen to The Soil

Add nitrogen to your soil with legumes and other nitrogen fixating plants. This weeks #CTWW challenge: Are you up for adding nutrients to the soil in a delicious way? By growing legumes we get food at the same time as we fertilize the soil with nitrogen via biological nitrogen fixation. I love sugar peas and usually grow a pot with them on my balcony. Last year I had a problem with mildew so this year I have to skip them. I am trying to figure out a replacement since legumes are so delicious and useful. Do you have any suggestions?

Pea Pod. Add Nitrogen to The Soil | My Green Nook

Here are some plants that via symbiosis with bacteria binds nitrogen: alfalfa, beans, clover, lotus, peas, soya beans, Lupinus and Sesbania. The bacterium lives in so-called nodules in the plants root system. From there they fix the nitrogen required by the plant. The soil access the nitrogen when the plant droops and withers. It is crucial to leave the plant in the soil. Mulching it down in pieces. If you tear up the plant the nitrogen will go to waste unless you put it in the compost.

Nitrogen fixation is a part of green manure. When you buy a seed mix you will see that some plants with this function are included. This is a great way to treat your soil in a greener way. Green manure is used to nourish and decompose the soil. In the end you get a healthy and airy soil. I have mentioned green manure in an earlier post Prepare for the green season.

Here is a link to a video showing how to grow green manure.

Make sure you check out the hashtag #CTWW in all social media to get more information about legumes. This challenge is managed by Reduce Footprints you find the link in my sidebar.


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Bokashi Composting

It is time to summon this weeks #CTWW Challenge – Compost. The theme during April is 2015 Year of the Soil. Read more about the theme and challenge on Reduce Footprints.

I wrote a short post about different compost methods earlier – read it in the post Greener Gardening Tools in the section called Compostation systems. Since I live in an apartment a compost can be hard to manage. I thought of a worm compost but realized it would take up too much space. And the poor worms would not be able to leave the bin. So I got the advice of a friend of mine to try Bokashi.

Bokashi Composting | My Green Nook

In a Bokashi the compostation is driven by microbes which you add in form of a granulate. The process is called fermentation and requires an anaerobic environment (non-oxygen process). I have started it up and will hopefully receive a terrific soil in June. I compost kitchen scraps like peels and other vegetable based matter in a bucket with an airtight lid. In a real Bokashi bucket there is a tap at the bottom where you get a concentrated nutritious fluid. After dilution you can use it to water your flowers with (both indoors and outdoors). When the bucket is filled (which in my case went very fast) the compost should rest in a couple of weeks letting the scrap get fermented. Then you mix the Bokashi with soil and keep it warm for about three weeks to end the process. In this stage the process is aerobic (needs oxygen) so do not cover the soil. Finally you get a very nice soil to plant your flowers or grow your veggies in. I will keep you updated.

I Failed Meatless Monday

I have to admit I failed this weeks Change The World (#CTWW) challenge – Meatless Monday. Why? I have no excuse and am not going to talk myself out of it. I feel guilty and embarrassed. But I take the criticism for being lazy, a bad planer and tired. These are no reasons to fail a quest that is so basic but what else can I say. Now I have confessed and will make it up to myself. I will have a meatless day this week. And with some planing I will manage to purchase the necessary ingredients. This by creating a menu for a day and make a shopping list to bring to the grocery store. And tomorrow is our food shopping day.

 

Meatless Menu. I Failed Meatless Monday | My Green Nook

 

Breakfast
Oatmeal Porridge, milk and lingonberry

Lunch
Broccoli Pesto recipe by Kristin at Dizzy, Busy and Hungry
with Bean Pasta and a Salad (carrots, spinach, swiss chard, arugula)

Dinner
Zucchini Pizza Crust recipe by Sam at Pancake Warriors
with Veggie Topping (arugula, cherry tomatoes, cheese)

In between meals – snacks
Raspberry smoothie recipe by Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb
fruit and nuts

As I always do I will drink loads of water. The ingredients will be organic and grown as close as possible. I have decided to go easy in the beginning eating a lakto-ovo-vegetarian diet once a week. This means I am allowing egg, milk and milk products in my meals. Some of you may think it is cheating but for me it is a step in the right direction. I will also have to read more about a vegetarian diet to make sure I get all essential amino acids, vitamines and minerals. I want all my nutrients to come from healthy and organic food. Stay tuned – I will leave a full report when I succeeded.

If you want to start a new greener and healthier life I recommend you to visit Deborah at Urban Naturale a blog where you find all about a Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Lifestyle. I can also recommend a visit to World Changing Me where you find quests challenging you in sustainability. The quests are leveled and include many topics so everyone can enjoy it. I think it also has an educational value so let your kids get involved too.

WE’RE CHANGING THE WORLD …
ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME

Cyndi at Reduce Footprints

Start a Garden

Our balcony. Start a Garden | My Green Nook

Our Green Nook summer 2014. Photo: Charlotte

A garden does not have to be large even the smallest patch may do. I garden on my balcony and know the challenges you meet when growing in containers. Maybe you do not have a balcony either and think gardening is out of reach. But why not try to grow your own kitchen herbs? You can enjoy the pleasant scent while harvesting and of course use them in your cooking. Put the herbs in a light window sill or on the kitchen counter with a LED grow light above.

Since I have a small balcony garden I will focus on container gardening in this post. If you want to find out more about gardening in large-scale I suggest you visit Garden and Gardening or Garden Matter. So back on track. I told you there are some challenges included in container gardening. Here are six things to consider when starting a container garden:

  1. Too much water
  2. Too little water
  3. Nutrients
  4. Soil
  5. Space
  6. Going on a vacation

Maybe I scared you of container gardening by listing these challenges. But every obstacle have a way around and I will tell you how to overcome the hard parts.

Flower container. Start a Garden | My Green Nook

1. Adding too much water is actually more common than too little. It is easy to overdo it leading to suffocation of the roots, which needs oxygen to support the green parts. There are two easy ways to know if it is time to water your plants. The first one – stick a finger straight down in the soil. How does it feel and look? This gives you a clue – dry means water it and moist means let it be. The second, feel the weight of the container by lifting it up. This is of course only applicable on small containers. If it feels light give it water and if it feels heavy do not. Never put soil in the whole container always add gravel or likewise in the bottom. Make sure there is a drainage where access water can leak out.

2. Too little water can be managed in several ways. First of all the larger the container is the more water it holds. The material of the container also matters where cast iron easily gets heated up causing the soil to dry. Terracotta sucks water out of the soil making it dry faster. Before putting soil in and planting in a terracotta container be sure to soak it in water. You can put the container in a bucket of water for an hour or more while attending other chores. Put in or make a water storage in the bottom of the container. Make sure the roots reach the water. To minimize evaporation leave no open soil make sure the plants quickly cover it up or put some gravel on top.

3. When gardening in an enclosed and small space like a container nutrients can be a problem. You do not want to give the plant too much or too less. This is why you have to know what kind of plant you grow. Is it a hungry one or more modest in its cravings. You may also gain from learning how to read the plant by watching the colors of the leaves etc. Plants do talk – in a sort of body language. I use a method called micro-nurishing where I add small quantities of nutrients every time I water my plants. This way I avoid nutrients from leaking out in the environment. And not over-feeding the plants which often results in less yield of fruits and flowers.

4. When picking a soil to use in containers there are two main concerns – water and oxygen. You want a soil with good drainage and ability to hold much air. A good soil contains different particle sizes creating microscopic air pockets. When watering a good soil the water soaks into it in a descent pace. Not staying on top or running straight through. When dry It should be light and fluffy. High quality compost and gravel are two components you may use to create a good soil. Change the soil every year/season to avoid pests and diseases. And clean the containers before using them again.

5. Space both for you and the plants is needed. In my eyes a balcony is double pleasure – gardening and relaxing. We often have our meals on ours during the summer which we treasure. Planning is therefore necessary. Make room for a table and some comfy chairs. Different plants have different requirements. The root system varies some plants go deep others shallow the size of the container should be chosen to fit the plants needs. In small spaces vertical gardening is a great solution.

6. Going on a vacation during the season can be difficult if you want your plants to survive. The optimal is to have a plant watcher taking time to care for your plants while you are gone. Protect the plants from the mid-day/noon sun. Use some kind of watering system like the classic string or a upside-down bottle, which provides the plant with water when needed. Choose draught tolerant species.

Herbs - vertical garden. Start a Garden | My Green Nook

In Sweden we have regulations about gardening on the balcony. There are two important things to consider. Never hang flower containers on the outside of the balcony. They can fall down on people passing by. Ask your landlord if there are any weight limits for the balcony. The construction can be weak or have a safety guidance. In Sweden the maximum weight per square meter is 100 kilograms including yourself. So take that into account when purchasing containers, decorations and furniture. A last advice – think of your downstairs neighbors when watering or cleaning on your balcony.

The reason I have not told you what to grow or not is because it depends on where you live and the conditions on your balcony. Ask your neighbors or a local nursery what they recommend. And do some research online. Please share your experiences by leaving a comment.

For more information and book tips visit my Pinterest boards: Container Gardening and Books and literature

Happy gardening!

 


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Liebster Awards Nomination

Liebster Award

I have been invited to participate in the Liebster Award by Sarah at Sarah Heiman Blog + Portfolio. Thank you for the nomination!
The Liebster Award is a way to connect with other bloggers and get the chance to make new friends. I love to mingle around in the blogging community. So I thought I would give it a shot. You get the chance to get to know me. And meet my amazing nominees. Let us do this – it is just for fun!

 

First an introduction: the Liebster Award is a chain award created by bloggers and passed on from one blogger to another to encourage connections. It is a wonderful, fun way to interact and make friends in the blogging community. These are the rules:

1. Thank and link the person who nominated you.

2. Answer the questions given by the nominator.

3. Nominate 11 other bloggers, who have less than 200 followers and link them. (Please! Do not be offended if I nominate you and you have more followers. It is my way to support you regardless of your numbers. My “mistake” is probably done because I could not find your rates. I am sorry for any inconveniences).

4. Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer.

5. Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

My answers to the questions from Sarah

1. If you could only watch one TV show on repeat for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
I rather not watch at all. Do I have to? In that case The Office (US). I had some good laughs watching it.

2. What is your “holy grail” beauty or skin care product and why?
My natural hair products made by my organic hairdresser Friekosör in Stockholm. Since I started using their products my hair has become healthy and shiny. And the scent of essential oils from herbs and flowers is so refreshing.

3. What is your favorite TV show or movie that’s based on a book?
I will have to go with the movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

4. What’s your current favorite blog?
This is a hard one – I have so many to choose from… If I have to pick one – Reduce Footprints an engaged blog with great posts about sustainability and environment. Connecting like-minded bloggers via challenges and features. Always supporting fellow bloggers by sharing and commenting on their content.

5. What inspired you to start your own blog?
I love to write and thought I would do something about it. Blogging is a nice way to connect with others and be creative. The writing form of a blog post suits me – the process behind is inspiring.

6. What’s your guilty pleasure?
A real Swedish fika. There is no English name for it (but it roughly means having coffee/tea and a pastry/cookie/bun often with friends or family).

7. What is the best product you’ve recently discovered?
Organic Rose Petal Hydrolat I use it as a skin tonic dabbing it in my face and underneath my eyes. It has a constraining and refreshing effect. The scent of roses is so revitalising.

8. What’s your beverage (alcoholic or non) of choice?
Fresh squeezed lemon juice with ice. Water to meals.

9. What is your favorite beauty tip?
Be yourself and smile. A cliché I know but it is true. If you feel comfortable inside it shines through. Some people just have that sparkle in their eyes and you can almost see their inner strength. I think it is beautiful.

10. What are your top three dream travel destinations?
Chelsea Flower Show. Potsdam to visit all the parks (many are UNESCO World Heritage Sites). To snorkel at a healthy, thriving coral reef (not a specific destination but a dream).

11. What’s your favorite smart-phone app?
Except for all social media apps I will go with Mindfulness II it is a part of my everyday routine.

My nominees

I can guarantee you will find some interesting blogs/bloggers among my nominees so be sure to visit them. With no particular order – let me introduce you to:

  1. Life Breath Present
  2. Domestic Geek Girl
  3. Reduce Footprints
  4. Urban Natural
  5. Nature Moms Blog
  6. The Green Queen of Moderation
  7. Pam´s English Cottage Garden
  8. Garden Matter
  9. Autism Mom
  10. Organic 4 Greenlivings
  11. The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl

Congratulation to my nominees. Liebster Award | My Green Nook

My questions for the nominees

1. Which is your favorite plant or flower and why?

2. Which is your motto in life (or life quote)?

3. What kind of exercises do you prefer/enjoy most and why?

4. Which is your favorite cook book?

5. Which is your number one environmental/sustainability advice?

6. Why did you become a blogger?

7. How do you treat/reward yourself when you have accomplished something (really made an effort)?

8. Which is your top well-being tip?

9. Which is your favorite book?

10. What kind of garden style/design do you prefer and why?

11. What is your favorite meal or recipe?

Good luck!

 


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