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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S as in Sedum

S as in Sedum. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Crassulaceae

Genus: Sedum

Species: Sedum acre

Common names: goldmoss stonecrop, mossy stonecrop, goldmoss sedum, biting stonecrop, wallpepper Swedish name: gul fetknopp

Sedum is a large genus of flowering plants commonly known as stonecrop. The genus has up to 600 species of leaf succulents, varying from annual and creeping herbs to shrubs. The plants have water-storing leaves. Sedum species are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Many sedums are cultivated as garden plants, due to their interesting and attractive appearance and hardiness. The various species differ in their requirements; some are cold-hardy but do not tolerate heat, some require heat but do not tolerate cold. Numerous hybrid cultivars have been developed. Sedum can be used to provide a roof covering in green roofs.

The leaves of most stonecrop are edible. But the ones of Sedum acre are somewhat toxic. The leaves contain an acrid fluid that also can cause skin rashes. It is native to Europe, but also naturalised in North America and New Zealand. In the wild Sedum acre grows in thin dry soils and can be found on shingle, beaches, dry-stone walls, dry banks, seashore rocks, roadside verges, wasteland and in sandy meadows near the sea. It can survive half a year without soil and water.

Sedum acre. S as in Sedum. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Sedum acre. Photo: Dick Culbert ©

Description: Sedum acre is a tufted perennial herb that forms mat-like stands. The stems are short and densely covered in leaves. At the flowering time in early summer (June-July), the stems lengthen and often gets pinkish-brown with the leaves further apart. The leaves are fleshy and shortly cylindrical with a rounded tip, like a sausage. Sometimes they have a touch of red. The starry flowers have bright yellow petals.

How to grow: Sedum acre is used in hanging baskets and container gardens, as a trailing accent, in borders, or as groundcover. It spreads when allowed to do so, but is easily controlled, being shallow-rooted. It grows as a creeping ground cover, often in dry sandy soil, but also in the cracks of masonry. It grows well in poor soils, sand, rock gardens, and rich garden soil, under a variety of light levels. With one exception it does not thrive in dense shade with limited water.

Living Roof – Sedum roof covering

Living roofs are not a new thing. It has a long history and due to its many advantages it has made a come back in todays societies. Green roofing reduces the heat radiation, cleans the air from carbon dioxide and pollutants. It also reduces the load on the stormwater system and conserves energy. Green roofs also provide habitats for plants, insects, and animals that otherwise have limited natural space in cities. All this makes green roofing a sustainable alternative to traditional roofs. And I think it is beautiful to see a living roof instead of a dead flat space. What do you think about green roofing?


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

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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I as in Impatiens

I as in Impatiens.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Balsaminaceae

Genus: Impatiens

Species: Impatiens hawkeri

Common names: New Guinea impatiens Swedish name: lyckliga lotta

 

Impatiens is a large genus of about 850 to 1000 species of flowering plants, widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere and the tropics. Some have a special dispersal mechanism where the mature seed capsules burst in an explosive way. The seeds are sent up to several meters away. The name Impatiens is derived from this mechanism since it is triggered when the capsules are touched. All Impatiens taste bitter and seem to be slightly toxic upon ingestion, causing symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Impatiens are popular to use in garden beds and containers. Hybrids of busy lizzie (Impatiens walleriana) and New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri), have commercial importance as garden plants. Impatiens hawkeri was first collected in the Territory of Papua in 1884 and soon became popular as a greenhouse plant. The flowers are visited by bumblebees so it may be useful in a wildlife garden.

I as in Impatiens.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Impatiens hawkeri. Photo: Forest and Kim Starr ©

Description: To most of you busy lizzie probably is more familiar than the New Guinea impatiens. So why am I not talking about it instead? During recent years buzy lizzie have been affected by a pest. It is a kind of mildew spreading in wet and rainy conditions causing the plants to wither leaving only a green soup. It seems like the New Guinea impatiens is resistant to this pest. That is why I use it instead. Impatiens hawkeri consists of plants with a great variety of flower and leaf colors sold in nurseries. Many are beautiful with dark ornamental foliage and vibrant flower colors, bright orange or pink.

How to grow: Impatiens hawkeri is both an indoor and an outdoor plant. It prefers light or partial shade, sometimes it is said to suit in dense shade. My experience is that it needs a few hours of sun/light to thrive. But keep it shaded from hot, direct sun in summer. It needs a moist but well draining soil and is a bit fussy about water. It does not like the soil to dry completely. So keep the soil evenly moist, but not over watered. Remember that flowering plants are thirsty, and they dry out quickly in containers. Propagation is by stem tip cuttings or by seed.  Many hybrids do not set seed or the flowers can be sterile. Some plants will not come true from seed.

Pest control

I am a green gardener. I think that environmental and nature care is part of being a gardener. I like to enjoy a living, thriving garden where wildlife is welcome. But of course I want my ornamental plants and veggies to be left alone. Not being affected by any pests or diseases. So how do I keep my green treasures safe? And if disaster strikes what do I do?

Wildlife garden. I as in Impatiens.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

There are a couple of ground rules to keep in mind

  1. Plant rotation – never plant the same species at the same spot year after year. Make a rotation scheme for the garden bed. This is of great importance in a veggie garden.
  2. Polycultures – diversity is crucial do not be too focused on one species learn to love variety and let wildflowers have a place in your garden
  3. The right plant in the right place – adapt to nature rather than work against it. Learn more about your plants. Just by looking on them you will understand how it works. Large thin leaves with no hair – commonly shade plants. Grey/silvery, hairy leaves or fleshy, waxy succulent leaves – commonly sun lovers. These are just a few features to look for.
  4. Garden patrol – take a daily stroll in the garden look at your plants. Any signs of something being wrong? Do they need water? How about weeds – time to make an effort?
  5. Correct composting – never put affected plant material or soil in your compost. Put them in the garbage or burn them. Some diseases are worse than others.
  6. The right care – plants are living and need proper care. They can not pull up their roots and move to get what they need. It is your job and responsibility.
Ladybug. Wildlife garden. I as in Impatiens.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Ladybug – the gardener´s friend.

And if a pest or disease get its grip anyway

  • Remove affected parts
  • Identify the pest and read about it
  • Use biological pest control – use predators or parasites preying on the pest to eliminate it. For example nematode against fungus gnats (Bardysia spp.)
  • Use mechanical pest control – simply remove the pest by hand. Pick larvae, squeeze lice
  • Use chemical pest control – make a mix of water, soap and alcohol to spray on your plants – works against lice among other things. Baking soda mixed with water may work on mildew. These are the only chemicals I use. Conventional pesticides and herbicides – never!

And if you do not manage to control it? Well, that is life and a part of gardening.

 


 

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

 

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