At the Garden's Gate

In the Meadow: St John’s Wort

st john's wort

 

 

St John’s Wort typically blooms the end of June around St. John’s feast day hence its name. Small yellow flowers, five petals, poked out from underneath a spirea bush where I was recently visiting family. I was surprised to see this meadow and field plant in this unexpected place by a sidewalk. It’s flowers were bright yellow and leaves were green and did not appear to be waning. These flowers bloom most of the summer months.

When one looks at the plant’s leaves up in the sunlight you can see tiny droplets within the leaf structure which is a good plant ID characteristic to know and experience. The flowers and leaves when rubbed leave a red oily residue on the skin. In fact, when flowers are infused in olive oil, the oil turns red which is another characteristic to know about this plant.

St. John’s Wort plunged into the public’s eye in the mid 1990″s. I worked at a health food store at the time. Apparently 20/20 ran a special on this plant and its specific properties one Friday night. I opened the store on Saturday morning and actually had a few people waiting in line to get in. This was surprising. I asked them what they needed and all three of them talked about the TV special the night before.  They proceeded to buy the only  three bottles of St. John’s Wort capsules we carried right off the shelf. The next week we sold 24 bottles in two days. Why? The news report stated that this plant was helpful in mild to moderate depression when given correctly. Since then, this plant and its constituents have been extensively studied for depression, in particular. Hypericin, one of St John’s Wort primary constituents is listed on standardized extract labels. St. John’s Wort can interfere with MAO inhibitors, a specific class of drugs used for the treatment of depression and both should NOT be used together.

St John’s Wort is typically known for its expectorant and nervine healing abilities. I really don’t hear herbalists sitting around with a cup of St. John’s Wort tea though my herb books from the 1500-1600′s state that a tea can be made from the flowers and leaves. I have seen tea companies offer St. John’s Wort for tea making.

Typically known to soothe the nerves, St. John’s Wort was used for pulmonary complaints and to heal deep wounds. I remember in herb class, one of my teachers related the following experience: years ago, she was living in a primitive cabin in a forest and burned herself. She went to her herb books and realized that this plant was known to help relieve the pain to nerve endings from burns. She tried some and though this is a testimonial, she reported it worked very well.

My own experience with the oil of St. John’s Wort is with shingles. Shingles is an infection of the nerve endings and typically affects one side of the body. It is very painful. I have had customers and family use this oil on their skin and all reported decrease in pain which brought relief, again these are testimonials.

(Please don’t self diagnosis. If you suspect you have shingles get it confirmed by a health care practitioner. The above is meant to be informational only and not a substitute for medical care.)

St. John’s Wort has a recent history of research, and some controversy in the mental health field. Check with a qualified practitioner if this plant interests you. The oil is available from herb companies and can be kept by wood stoves for an occasional burn or would healing. As a tea? It’s not typically used for everyday use.

I write about St. John’s Wort here today to inform my readers of plants that have practical uses. Many are often considered  “a weed” yet have a rich history of practical use.  Again, know your plant. Identify it correctly. Share that knowledge with family and friends.

Enjoy.

Judith

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. 

 

Another Edible Weed: Chenopodium alba

 

There’s a silvery green plant that pops up in most gardens. And it’s just as readily pulled as a weed.

Chenopodium alba goes by many common names such as, pigweed, Lamb’s quarters, goosefoot.

This is one plant where it is helpful to know the botanical name. There are many common names that are not the same botanical species. When foraging and looking for edible weeds one must be careful to ID plant properly. In this case I usually refer to the plant’s botanical name after introducing the plant by its common names.

Today I help out at a community farm that produces food for 10 area soup kitchens. This farm grows and gives 30,000 lbs + per season. In between the neatly sown kale or swish chard, lettuces and beans, is chenopodium alba. Soft velvety and whitish pale green silvery leaves show up on stems. This plant is delicious as a salad green, pot herb  (which means it can be cooked in a pot, steamed much like spinach) or frozen. This plant is in the same family as beets and spinach. When cooked, it has a spinach like flavor. Fresh leaves can be blanched and then frozen for later use.

Steve Brill in Edible and Medicinal Plants, recommends steaming them in this way:

  • Wash cut plant material.
  • Shake off water.
  • Fill pot but adding water is not necessary. The water left on leaves is enough to  steam them.
  • Steam 5-10 minutes.
  • Season to taste: olive oil, lemon juice etc.

The underside of the leaves has a whitish dusting though you can feel some of this characteristic on the top side of leaves.

You can harvest the seeds when it goes to seed later in the season. Some folks gather enough to grind into a flour and then add it to muffin, bread recipes. I suggest you start with 1/4 cup to 1 cup organic wheat flour or organic unbromated, non chlorinated white flour for a lighter texture.

However, I observed that aphids like it. Some of this plant popped up next to beans that were also infested. Then we saw lady bugs munching on the aphids.  The other gardeners and I decided to leave some of chenopodium alba throughout some of the beds to help with aphids and attract the ladybugs.

This plant is easily spotted. Take a look around your gardens and I bet this is one you pull out. If you should notice it, I suggest you try it in your salad or lightly steam it with other greens for a nutritious treat.

Nutrition data: vitamins, especially Vitamin A, K, and Folate, minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, plus fiber.

Silvery green often disregarded, Lamb’s Quarters or chenopodium alba, is nutritious and delicious.

Enjoy.

Judith

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. 

Summer Edible: Prolific Purslane

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Growing up my mother always had portulaca in her gardens. Pink and yellow flowers, low growing, graced her garden bed edges. I remember harvesting seeds for the next year. Little did I know how edible and nutritious this little beauty is.

Purslane, portulaca oleracea, is often pulled out as a weed. Yet, folks from across the sea have been eating this hardy annual for centuries. Prolific, its watery stems can withstand drought, dry weather conditions.

Purslane is not native to North America. It originated in India and Persia where it has been eaten for over two thousand years. Today it is growing in many parts of the world and can be found in America from coast to coast.

Purslane is low growing, maybe one foot long by 1-2 inches high. It looks like a succulent, its leaves and stems very mucilaginous. Small yellow flowers grow near the last leaves and only bloom for a short period of time.

For foraging purposes I am focusing on common purslane, also known as green purslane, portulaca oleracea.

Whole plant can be eaten. However in the spring, the tender tips are sought as a salad green. The above video gives a great recipe for a purslane slaw. When the tips are pinched off, new growth easily replaces those taken.

Older stems can be used as a pot herb. Steam with dandelion greens for example. These can also be frozen for adding to winter soups and stews. Thicker stems gone to seed can be pickled.

Euell Gibbons, Stalking the Wild Asparagus: offers an easy, no cook recipe for purslane pickles.

Recipe: Stir together:

1 cup white vinegar

2 cups cold water

1/4 cup salt

1/2 teaspoon alum

In bottom of jar place a flower of dill, a clove of garlic, and a small red pepper. Then pack jars but not too tightly with purslane stems. Place in a dark place and leave for at least one month before using.

Nutrition Facts: Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular[4]) than any other leafy vegetable plant. Studies have found that Purslane has 0.01 mg/g ofeicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). This is an extraordinary amount of EPA for a land-based vegetable source. EPA is an Omega-3 fatty acid found mostly in fish, some algae, and flax seeds.[5] It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin Avitamin CVitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)[6] and some vitamin B and carotenoids), as well as dietary minerals, such as magnesiumcalciumpotassium, and iron.”

It’s interesting to me that many of our so called weeds have a culinary use. Foragers in particular know plant ID and how to cook and store these edibles found in meadows, near hiking trails, or those that always pop up near gardens. The above video helps you ID this plant in your garden. Remember only eat that which you have properly identified.

There are other portulacas. Seeds are easily available.

Enjoy.

Judith

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. 

Independence Day: Random Look at our Founders

 

Today I decided to take a random look at our founder’s diligence with gardens and homesteading. There is much to be gleaned from their wisdom and struggle to craft this country from a  set of ideals and passion  that we seem to have lost. I highly recommend Caroline Myss’s unique look at our Founders vision and I hope we can reclaim an inspired sense of our identity this independence holiday.

The founding Fathers and Mothers of our Country were amazing people, crafting a nation that stood for freedom. My sense of this country’s history , value and worth was renewed when I listened to Caroline Myss’,  The Sacred Contracts of America. I wondered about some of the founders garden passions and philosophy. The following are simply random facts I thought would be interesting this holiday.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, for example, gives one a sense of his passion for gardening. For example, he grew several varieties of peas and had contests:

“The English or Garden pea is usually described as Jefferson’s favorite vegetable because of the frequency of plantings in the Monticello kitchen garden, the amount of garden space devoted to it (three entire “squares”), and the character-revealing playfulness of his much-discussed pea contests: according to family accounts, every spring Jefferson competed with local gentleman gardeners to bring the first pea to the table; the winner then hosting a community dinner that included a feast on the winning dish of peas. Among the nineteen pea varieties Jefferson documented sowing were Early Frame, which was planted annually from 1809 until 1824; Hotspur, named for its quick, frantic growth; Marrowfat, a starchier and later variety; and Blue Prussian, which Jefferson obtained from Bernard McMahon. Twinleaf offers Prince Albert, indistinguishable from Early Frame and introduced into America in the 1840s.”

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were scholars of classic thought, advocates of freedom and education.  Both were farmers and exchanged gardening information.

“The personal friendship of Madison and Jefferson was built on other interests as well. They shared a love of the Virginia countryside; the fertile lands of the Piedmont offered both men the opportunities to study and discuss practical and financial questions of gardening, agriculture and forestry. Both kept careful records of local temperatures and rainfall while they exchanged seeds and farming tips. “

Ben Franklin’s Poor Richards Almanac, featured much wisdom.  However Ben, the inventor, was always curious about nature and health. The following quote shows he too was an environmentalist, recognizing the interdependence of life and how limited we are at times in understanding the purpose of each species on this planet.

“In New England they once thought blackbirds useless, and mischievous to the corn. They made efforts to destroy them. The consequence was, the blackbirds were diminished; but a kind of worm, which devoured their grass, and which the blackbirds used to feed on, increased prodigiously; then, finding their loss in grass much greater than their saving in corn, they wished again for their blackbirds. “
— Benjamin Franklin
Letter to Richard Jackson, 5 May 1753. In Albert Henry Smyth, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin (1905), Vol. 3, 135.
Science quotes on:  |  Ecology (21)
Abigail Adams was left at home for many years to manage their farm and family while her husband traveled to England and France. She introduced a crude vaccination to her family to spare them from small pox. She was successful.  At home she was resourceful, resilient and outspoken. She is one of many women who contributed to the formation of our country through dedicated effort, self education and diligence.
These men and women were close to the land. They made detailed observations of soil, climate and problems. This connection seems an invaluable reminder today that they were more than just political visionaries but also stewards of the land.  Role models of long ago, can inspire us today.
Today I wonder what our founders would have to say? Any comments?
Enjoy.
Judith

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. 

Summer’s Bounty: Foraging for Wild Edibles: 3 Easy Plants to ID

 

 

 

There are several sorrels among our garden and meadow plants that show off yellow or reddish flowers.  Today I am speaking of wood sorrel  (Oxalis acetosella) and sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella).

First, wood sorrel’s bright green leaves are obvious and often considered weeds at garden borders, meadow carpets, roadsides.  Several sources recommend that they be used fresh or made into a tea. The juice of the plant material contains vitamin C which gives it a sour taste. It was also favored as a pot herb till Henry VIII favored French Sorrel with its large tasty leaves. Tiny wood sorrel grew out of favor.

I like to add a handful to a salad or to a solar tea. Solar teas are easy to make. Gather edible herb flowers such as peppermint, spearmint, red clover, wild daisy and place in a glass jar. Fill with water and let steep in the sun. A couple of hours later you have a refreshing summer time tea.

In Edible and Medicinal Plants by Steve Brill, he comments that he often teaches young children this plant first. They like the lemony sour taste.

This clover like plant is easy to identify. It is small maybe 4-6″ in height, with heart shaped leaves, and a tiny yellow flower. It can be eaten raw, right from the garden but not handfuls everyday due to its high oxalate content. Sorrels soups, popular in Europe, combined with milk or cream supply calcium which oxalates can block. It is thought that the addition of dairy mitigates the possible loss of calcium from oxalate action.

Sheep sorrel, though it has the same common name, is not of the same family: Rumex acetosella. What is the same is the sour taste to the leaves and also it contains vitamin C.  The leaves resemble a sheep’s face hence the common name. It also shoots up a stalk where the flowers turn reddish and that characteristic makes it easy to identify. This plant can be gathered from spring to frost as it doesn’t change flavor with the heat of summer.

I see the sheep sorrel leaves too among the garden weeds and its flowers in some areas are turning red. Sheep sorrel is used in the herb formula known as Essiac, that may help mitigate early stage cancers. The leaves can be added to salads and solar teas as well as the wood sorrel species. Both of these sorrels have a cooling property which is refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

Sorrels, two different species, are abundant at this time of year. Always make sure you have identified the correct plant before consuming.

What are your favorite sun teas recipes? I would like to hear from you.

Enjoy. Judith

Summer’s Bounty: Foraging for Wild Edibles: 3 Easy Plants to ID

 

 

Wild edibles are blossoming. Some are easy to identify right now because of their flowery display. Bees are humming too, gathering sweet nectar.

Red Clovers (Trifolium pratense): sweet purplish pink flowers fill fields and meadows, hang out at the edges of our gardens. Who hasn’t picked a flower and enjoyed the sweet taste? They are not naive to the US and probably came with the early settlers. Today, red clover can be found all over the world. Trifolium pratense is the species most often referred to for edible and medicinal use.

What’s so special about them? They are nitrogen fixers which basically means they contribute to soil fertility. How? These plants contain nitrogen fixing bacteria that can pull unusable Nitrogen from our air and convert it into usable nitrogen compounds that can be used by the plant. In the video you can see a different species of red clover used to help organic farmers rebuild soil with nitrogen fixing plants, not synthetic fertilizers.

nitrogen-fixing bacteria, microorganisms capable of transforming atmospheric nitrogen into fixed nitrogen, inorganic compounds usable by plants. More than 90 percent of all nitrogen fixation is effected by them.”

Clovers, legumes, for example, are in this category. Because of this nitrogen fixing ability, we use them as cover crops.

The NRCS states: Cover crops have the potential to provide multiple benefits in a cropping system. They prevent erosion, improve soil’s physical and biological properties, supply nutrients, suppress weeds, improve the availability of soil water, and break pest cycles along with various other benefits. The species of cover crop selected along with its management determine the benefits and returns.”

Your State’s Agricultural Extension Service can help you decide on the right cover crop for your purpose and area.

In the study of herbalism, we use these flowers in our recipes and for medicine. Red clover tea is light and palatable and easily mixes with other herbs such as the mints. Red clover flowers can be added to grain dishes. Pick them now while vibrant, always save some for the bees. They can be placed on a tray and dried for future use. These flowers can be added to a summertime solar herb tea too.

Mother Earth News article on red clover has a great recipe. While I haven’t made a bread with red clover flour, I have made solar teas and toss these pretty flowers into salads.  This year I volunteer at a farm that has community gardens and produces food for soup kitchens. I noticed plenty of  red clover. I intend to gather enough and make a flour out of them plus dry some for tea.

Red clover is an easy flower to get to know when learning about edible plants. This time of year they can be easily found. Remember do not use those by a roadside. There are tars, lead and other pollutants by roadsides.

Do you have a favorite red clover recipe? I’d like to hear from you. More to follow.

Enjoy. Judith

5 Facts About Sustainability You May Not Know

 

 

I visited Quora the other day and saw a question I felt I could answer. It got me thinking about sustainability from a different perspective, namely what don’t we know or what is not well known about the topic. I couldn’t find the question in my stream ( just don’t have the hang of it yet) but thought it was a good one. I would like to address it here.

When we decide to use our landscapes more efficiently, more sustainably many factors must be taken into account. Let’s start here:

  1. Site Evaluation: when looking at your property, an often forgotten aspect, is where are the utility lines on the property? This is especially true if you live in a newer area where power cables are underground. It’s also true if you are working with a business property. No one wants to dig into lines and sever them.
  2. To be successful in planting where is the windbreak? For example, in New England, winds in my area typically come in from the N, NW in winter. These are cold and can be severe. Plants have to be able to withstand these extremes. A good tip if you have to transplant a small tree is to mark the north side. Then when replanting it, keep the north side of the tree in the north. Your tree will have a better chance of surviving winter.
  3. Butterfly gardens are really popular. We have a fascination and appreciation with these beautifully colored insects. However, they need one plant for the larva to eat and grow and make a chrysalis and another plant to eat from when fully emerged as the butterfly. As a mature butterfly they eat the nectar from many flowers. For example, butterfly bush is very popular as a source of nectar for the mature butterfly. It does not support the larva. It is not native here either. While it is a lovely addition to the garden, larva need something else. Butterfly weed, Asclepius tuberosa, is a lovely orange flowered plant that not only attracts many butterflies but can be a food source for larva. Milkweed, Asclepius incarnata, is another suggestion. Milkweeds are found in many sites often those ready to be developed. We sacrifice these wonderful open lands and the beneficial plants that exist in this environment for the sake of development. Habitat reduction has been seriously reduced all over this globe. Also Butterflies do not travel very far and many have a home territory. If we disrupt the habitat we can lose a species. Reasons are complex but know that most  butterflies are home bodies.
  4. Years ago there was a magazine titled Garbage. I learned, in this magazine, that it takes up to seven miles of marshland to filter and purify our water. I have seen two large shopping malls in New England built on marshland.  Again we sacrifice  biodiversity, decrease habitat, increase stormwater runoff and consume more resources. Today we can no longer claim innocence. We know better. Are you involved in town planning? Do you want to make your voice known for development in your area? Are you wanting to create sustainable homes and yards but frustrated with surrounding neighbors lack of awareness?
  5. Bug facts: most are beneficial and contribute to quality of life here on earth. We have forgotten to have a relationship with them and to recognize how invaluable there are. Doug Tallamy in, Bringing Nature Home, reminds me that one oak tree can support over 400 species ( this includes birds etc)! When we look at imported Asian plant varieties, we see that they simply cannot compete. One theory is our bugs have not developed a taste for them. Lovely Clematis, introduced over a hundred years ago supports only one species. Diversity while frequently highlighted in this type of discussion needs more emphasis and facts. I find Doug’s book does just that.

We have many resources today to find out answers to questions. We have just as many causes that desperately need our attention. What is your passion? Mine is reclaiming lawn (my book will be out soon) and how we can diversify a landscape. Meadows may not be considered as pretty as formal gardens. The species they support, the soil that gets replenished, the water that soaks, the urban heat they mitigate, all contribute to sustaining our natural world.

What’s your passion? What have you done to your own yard, lawn to bring back diversity? Let’s share ideas.

Enjoy,

Judith

Water Sustainability: 5 Easy Practices

Pink Tree Peony Flowers

 

 

 

This month we are heading into summer. I have been discussing sustainability from a couple of  perspectives: soil and water. Today I would like to highlight 5 easy practices that conserve water. Gardens are planted. Summer’s heat and drying conditions will be here soon. Hopefully we have planted plants suitable for our area’s growing conditions.

1. Established plants generally need less water. Regional natives added to the landscape usually are adapted to the climate and require less watering.

2.  Plant at recommended time of year. This not only helps plants take root but decreases stress.

3. This year think about minimizing lawn size. Take one manageable area of lawn space and create a focal point with a butterfly garden, small pond or a wild flower type garden. Garden centers have many helpful suggestions.

4. When to water or irrigate: depends on a number of factors: how established are the plants, season and climate. Frequent shallow watering, for example, can lead to weak shallow roots. Less frequent but deep and slow watering encourages deeper root growth.

5. Water at the best time of day: usually the early morning is the best time to water. Wind and sun increase evaporation and this contributes to water loss.

 

Meadows bring in diversity. Small areas of lawn can easily be tilled and then seeded with a wildflower mix specific to your region and area: shade, partial or full sun. Vermont Wildflower Farm is one of my favorite places. I had a chance to visit their farm, see the wildflower meadows and came home with lots of seed packets. Meadows support so much wildlife and the diversity creates its own checks and balances. Once seedlings reach a height of 4-6 inches, they typically require no further consistent watering and usually flourish.

Water is a precious resource. What water conservation practice have you initiated? Let’s share ideas.

Enjoy Judith

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. 

Creating Solutions: 7 Ideas

 

 

 

I was browsing through Quora the other day and came upon a question that reflected a feeling I get from time to time. We have created so many problems on this earth it can be overwhelming and even depressing. It seems like big business wins. We lose homes, salaries and no matter what environmental efforts we make as individuals it feels as if we are peddling nowhere. Kind of like the mice we see spinning in endless circles. Reports flood us constantly about water pollution, storms, financial unsteadiness. I think we feel an underlying anxiety about our daily life. And even if we sign petitions, it seems practical, easy solutions take a back burner to legislative jams. The person asking the question was in environmental studies and felt such sadness over these problems.

bigstock-Basket-With-Irises-Garden-Flow-489206601.jpgWhat’s my answer? For me, I look to the innovative solutions happening around the world. I have written about one woman’s vision to save seeds in her country and the seed banks she has created : Vandana Shiva and her Navdanya project.

1. I look to the poets and the mystics who recognize that we must take responsibility for our actions. Remember Ghandi said we must be the change we wish to see in the world. We lost an incredible voice this week. Maya Angelou died but her message and her Spirit will inspire us through the coming times.

2. If I buy a product that contains GMO’s such as corn ( most of our corn is GMO either Bt or roundup ready seed) chips then I am not walking my talk. Every item I purchase today goes into a data base that determines the type and quality of food I buy ( as a consumer) and therefore contributes to perpetuating the growing and manufacture of those foods.

3. Popular Science magazine has great articles on the latest innovations: the possible and the futuristic.

4. Inc. magazine features innovative business ideas and the people who implement them. I remember one issue where a successful restaurant owner ( of one physical restaurant) decided to open a second one. He quickly learned he did not like being torn for a number of reasons. The message I got is that he did not let the seduction of more money interfere with a decision that was right for him.

5. I care about the children. I raised my sons on as much organic as I could afford and alternative medicine. The edible schoolyardfor example,  began as a way to get quality food into schools and teach the children about the food they were eating. It’s spreading. One teacher in Mississippi has literally changed the menu. Kids in Harlem hip hop to well being.

6. Bette Midler has picked up tons of garbage and replanted areas of NYC. Many folks who do not have her measure of success continue to help everyday in areas of Manhattan picking up garbage one piece at a time.

7. Politics: Marianne Williamson is changing the voice of politics. She speaks from wisdom, compassion and is a leader in the true sense of the word. I encourage you to listen to her message.

Today I was sent an article about folks building solar roadways.  They work long hours creating a template.  They use recycled materials and they have a great model and proto types in development. Their videos area amazing.

The antidote to being depressed about these problems is to take some kind of action: grow a vegetable; buy a rain barrel and conserve water, stop buying water in plastic, bring reusable bags to the supermarket, make mindful choices : how much packaging? can I reuse it? how long does it last in the landfill? can I give it away? do I really need it? adopt a pet and if you can’t, contribute towards the people who rehab one; sign a petition about whatever bothers you? We have so many opportunities before us and I like to remember that the time of adversity gets us off the couch and doing something. The road before us is lit with opportunity and choice. What will yours be today?

Share your ideas: what one thing have you undertaken recently to contribute to helping the planet in some way? Together we make a difference. In the meantime, worry, depression do not help create our future. Together lets hold a vision of pure water, clean air, healthy, vibrant organic food and more….a bountiful, beautiful planet.

Enjoy.

Judith

 

10 Tips for Conserving Water

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This video is short and sweet with easy tips to apply in everyday life.

I have been more conscious about using a water bottle with a filter to decrease my use of plastic. I line the inside of my trash barrels with the $.99 bags from the grocery store that can be washed and reused. I use them when taking trash out to the outside garbage cans. That one change in my habits decreases my use of plastic in the house  and the need to buy kitchen plastic trash bags, which saves me at the grocery store. Its only a matter of time before they are banned.

The Earth Policy Institute reports that many cities and towns are banning the sale of plastic bags at the checkout counters. Is it an inconvenience? It is because many of us have grown up with them as a part of our daily life and we are used to this convenience.

I also recently heard from someone in the recycle collection business that plastic bags mixed in the paper, can, bottle bins clogs the equipment, causes damage. Solution: bring them to the collection bins at the supermarket or if you have a local transfer station see if they have a drop off spot. Many transfer stations have places to drop off clean plastic bags.

Tapped is an eye opening documentary about the problem of plastic bottle manufacture and waste. I highly recommend it. Do you know how many towns and community aquifers are seriously depleted when the big water companies tap their water source? I didn’t. The site highlighted offers a free viewing.

Any suggestions? What are you doing to reduce plastics in your household? Let’s share our ideas. My next post will look at water sustainable ideas. Thanks and enjoy your day.

Judith