Why You Should Have An Indoor Greenhouse

Being able to grow your own food is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Every spring since I was 12 was dedicated to seed growing. Except that one spring in my college dorm where my roommate hogged the entire window. Although a few boys down the hall did ask how to grow weed in their room. Ah, Colorado.

Mentioning Colorado, the seasons are completely different here compared to my much more northern state of Michigan.

The sun here is lethal.

One summer, I lived in this place where the patio floor would get so hot, I couldn’t even stand on it without my feet feeling like they were melting. Needless to say, nothing I grew that year survived that heat.

This is when I decided to invest $40 and buy a baby indoor greenhouse.

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This thing has been through three moves in the past few years and countless seasons.

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I’m not an expert by any means, but a few people have asked me the easiest way to keep a garden going all year in these cold climates and don’t have access to a full greenhouse… this is my solution.

If you’re looking for one, this one: click here, is very similar to the one I have (that I don’t believe is for sale any longer).

Do The Best You Can

After my last grocery haul, I got home and realized some of the products were not products I really meant to buy.

Some were from companies I don’t support.
Some were not nearly as “healthy” as the label claims.
Some of these foods have ingredients I always try to avoid.

After being upset and debating walking all the way back to the store to return everything, I took my dog out and thought about it for a second.

Here’s the thing, sometimes we need to just relax.

Yes, it’s important to continue to give money to amazing companies and healthy products.

At the same time, we’re all just trying the best we can.

Some days everything goes well, and some days it doesn’t.

All that matters is that you never give up.

Earth Month 2016 Celebration Ideas

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Photo by Christian Joudrey from Unspalsh

Today is Earth Day, and although every day should be Earth Day, this is a good time to go through our lives and see if we’re helping or hindering the environment with our choices.

I know I personally have a lot of things to go continue to adjust, especially as I learn more things about companies and the things they try to sneak under the eye of the public.

While it seems like one person changing their habits won’t have a huge impact, when a lot of people collectively make a lifestyle change, the impact is huge. Don’t underestimate your influence on your friends, family, and community.

Here are some easy solutions this month for small habit changes:

Reducing plastic use

From our food packaging, to our bathroom items, to our childcare products, and everything in-between, plastic is in all of it.

While plastic seemed like a good, cheap alternative in the beginning to other options like glass and wood, it ended up being disastrous for the planet and our health.

Here are 11 more easy options from Treehugger to reduce your daily plastic use: here.

Simply Straws, a glass straw company, is giving away a free straw this month if you pledge against plastic on your social media account.

Cutting down on water use

“According to the U.S. Geological Survey the average person uses between 80-100 gallons of water per day and estimates that 95% of the water we use, goes down the drain (1). So we waste 76-95 gallons per day per person.” Source: Here.

That is an insane amount of water.

Walk or car pool

Living in downtown Denver has made it incredibly easy to walk where I need to go, but it’s interesting how many people I talk to that refuse to walk anywhere even if it’s just a few blocks away.

Grow your own herbs or plants

I have a whole post on this: here.

Spend time in nature

There is a ton of research on the benefits of spending time in nature, and Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to receive all the benefits from being outside.

Only recycle

The average American throws away 4.5 lbs. of trash a day. Try to make today at zero. Only recycle today, or better yet, aim for zero trash at all.

Buy from a farmers market

Items from a farmers market are usually more nutrient dense, but did you also know buying from a farmers market can help the environment?

Donate to a cause that matters to you

There are thousands of organizations across the world that work hard to save the environment. If you have anything to spare, a lot of those organizations could always use your help. Make today the day.

5 Essential Herbs for Any Kitchen

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The most common complaint I heard as a personal trainer was, “Healthy food is just so bland.”

I always shook my head and asked them how many herbs they had available in their kitchen. The answer was always zero, and if I was really lucky, they had one.

We would always get together and I’d introduce them to the wonderful world of herbs. They quickly learned that healthy food is, in fact, not bland at all IF you know what you’re doing.

There are hundreds and hundreds of herbs out there, but if you start with these essential five, you’ll fall in love with them.

Pro tip: If you buy them as plants as opposed to dried branches at the store, you will save a TON of money throughout the season. Seriously.

1. Basil

In my house, basil goes on top of pretty much everything. Tomatoes, pasta, pizza, sandwiches… Of course, “basil” is a blanket generalization, since there are different kinds, but most stores will have Italian basil (my personal favorite) or lemon basil.

It also has an excellent amount of Vitamin K and Manganese.

Take some bread, add on a slice of tomato, mozzarella cheese, and some basil. It is HEAVEN.

I also add it to fish and other meats while they cook for extra flavor.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary is HEAVEN to add on top of meat and in soup. It also tastes wonderful in eggs or in olive oil for a dipping sauce.

Rosemary became popular back when people believed that the smell would strengthen their memory. The Greeks would put branches in their hair while studying for exams.

3. Thyme

Thyme is delicious in pretty much everything. I add it to almost every chicken dish.

Thyme works as a wonderful anti-oxidant and also contains a healthy amount of Vitamin C.

4. Cilantro

Cilantro and I only recently fell in love, but now it is a kitchen necessity. Ever since moving out west and being introduced to real salsa, I add this herb to so many dishes, especially any Mexican recipes.

The health benefits are a long list, but add a few leaves to your salsa, tacos, or quinoa salad to get why this is such a wonderful herb.

5. Mint

I use mint less so for cooking and more so for my life. You know how there is mint flavored gum? Yeah, that comes from an herb. Sadly, most major companies don’t actually use dried leaves, but you can! Just like the other herbs, there are different kinds of mint including peppermint, applemint, and spearmint.

Mint can help your skin, freshen your breath, or add an extra kick to your tea. I always add some mint leaves to my nightly peppermint tea.

 

I want to hear from you!

What are your favorite ways to spice up your dishes? Leave a comment below!

Gardening to save money

Gardening has many perks besides having a whole selection of food on your patio. Apparently other major seed companies have seen the growth in popularity as they have all seen an increase in sales since the economy started to tank a few years ago.

I’ll be the first to admit that gardening takes time, but any worthwhile investment does to start.

I was just at the store the other day, and tomatoes were going for about $1.50 a pound. Now, that’s not the best price I’ve ever seen, but as someone who has gardened for a long time, that is just crazy. To put it in perspective, a packet of organic seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds (my favorite company ever), is $3.45. A packet of seeds generally has about 40 seeds, and each one of those seeds will easily grow pounds and pounds of tomatoes.

Let’s say that you buy about 5 pounds a month of tomatoes for the summer (May – Sept). That comes out to $37.50 for the cost of tomatoes for you for the summer. (plus we’re not even talking about organic tomatoes which is now $2.50/lb.) I know that’s not a huge crazy amount, but that’s only one specific food we’re talking about there.

Not to mention, who wouldn’t want to find ways to save money, bond with their family, and eat healthier?

What is the Dirty Dozen?

You may or may not have heard of something called “The Dirty Dozen”. (No, not that kind of dirty. Sorry.)

The dirty dozen is basically the 12 fruits and veggies that you should try to get organic because they tend to have the most pesticides on them. How do they get the most? Well, usually this occurs because the skin is thinner than the other fruits and veggies out there, so the chemicals can seep through easier.

Here is the list according to organic.org of the 12 most contaminated:
-Peaches
-Apples
-Sweet Bell Peppers
-Celery
-Nectarines
-Strawberries
-Cherries
-Pears
-Grapes (Imported)
-Spinach
-Lettuce
-Potatoes

They also included a list of the 12 least contaminated:
-Onions
-Avocado
-Sweet corn (Frozen)
-Pineapples
-Mango
-Asparagus
-Sweet peas (frozen)
-Kiwi fruit
-Bananas
-Cabbage
-Broccoli
-Papaya

Why you should garden

I hear this all the time: “Why should I garden?” “Doesn’t it take a long time?” “I don’t know what I’m doing.” “I can just buy my food at the store.”

Let me explain to you why these are all horrible arguments for not gardening, and more importantly, why you should start.

1. In this hectic pace we all seem to live at, gardening forces us to slow down and simply enjoy the scenery. With all the crazy stress that can lead to severe problems, it’s important to find a hobby that makes us take a step back and breathe for a minute. Gardening also forces you to get outside (or bring the outside inside if you have a container garden inside your home). At first it may be weird for some people to dig around in the dirt, especially if you’re brand new to gardening, but after a while you will see that it really helps you relax and start to feel like a kid again. Plus, you truly can’t make gardening happen fast. Nature goes at its own pace so no matter how rushed you feel, it is a good reminder that some things need patience.

2. Gardening is a great hobby that you can do with the whole family. Kids especially seem to love gardening especially when it comes to being able to see something grow. It’s a great first step to show them how their work can pay off. You’ll see it in their face the moment they eat their first fruit or vegetable that they grow.

3. A packet of seeds is only a few dollars. That one packet of seeds will usually contain plenty of seeds so you will be able to grow a good handful of plants (and if you have a small amount of space, one packet will last you a few seasons). Now go to a store and you’ll see that even one pound of tomatoes costs more than the packet that could provide you with tomatoes all summer! People are always talking about ways to save money at the grocery store, but gardening cuts out the store completely and you’ll feel the difference in your wallet.

4. When you garden from home, you don’t have to wonder what kind of pesticides/herbicides are all over your food because you are in complete control of that. You can even go the extra length and put organic dirt in your garden and buy organic seeds. Plus fruits and veggies grown in your own backyard just simply taste better. Grow some and try it for yourself!

5. Gardening counts as exercise. If you really get into it and spend a few hours outside a week pulling up weeds, moving plants around, trimming them, picking veggies… it will definitely get you sweating!

What other benefits from gardening have you found?

Welcome to Let the World Grow!

I’d like to personally welcome you to Let the World Grow.

Let the World Grow has been an idea in the back of my mind for some time. I started gardening on my own when I was in middle school. It was a passion that slowly but surely grew on me throughout the years and now with the economy the way it is, I am more passionate about it than ever.

So, here’s my plan: I want to see a garden in every backyard and patio of lower and middle-income families across America.

Every time I step foot in a grocery store and see the food prices (especially for organic food), it upsets me beyond belief. One tomato is now the cost that a packet of 50 seeds would cost you. Honestly, gardening isn’t that hard of work. It’s not like most people have acres and acres of land, so you’re only managing a very small area, and I’m here to help.

I don’t personally come from a lot of money and every summer my Mom and I would save so much money just on the food we were able to grow. Keep in mind, we only had about a 10′ x 3′ area of space and we had enough to give baskets away every week!

It kills me to see people having to get lower quality food simply because they can’t afford the better, healthier food.

So, hi, I’m Jackie. And I plan to help you provide healthy, natural, organic food for your own family at a lower cost than you ever thought was possible.