Ingenious Ideas for Thrifty Organic Gardening

If you haven’t joined the grassroots home garden movement, it’s nice to know you still can–and without spending a load of cash.  

Economical Organic Home Gardening

Is organic gardening really all that difficult, or costly?  We turned to our experts, Caitlin Blethlen of Growing Gardens and Mara Reynolds of Portland Community Gardens to see just how easy and inexpensive it can be to grow your own food organically.

GBG: In your opinion, are organic gardens more expensive to plant and maintain than those using pesticides and herbicides? 

Caitlin: No.  The basis of organic gardening is establishing healthy soil which can take time through using cover crops, and adding compost and creating a balanced eco system in your yard.

Mara:  As far as I know, with the exception of the initial cost of seeds, organic gardening is cheaper all across the board.  With proper planting techniques, composting, and soil amendments, you should be able to successfully garden organically with very little inputs.  (To be honest I’ve never gardened with pesticides or herbicides)

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Saving Money and The Planet With Reused Easter Baskets

For many families celebrating the holiday, an Easter basket is a once in a lifetime purchase.  You may be picking one out for your baby this year for the first time.  Why not recycle, save some money, and splurge a bit more on the chocolate bunnies?

You just wouldn’t believe how many Easter baskets clutter the shelves of our local thrift store.  There are hoards of pastel wicker containers stacked on top of each other, all priced reasonably.  There are also decorations of all sorts including plastic eggs (not my favorite—but better recycled than new), stuffed rabbits of all sizes, and other odds and ends.  Of course, after this past Monday’s post, you can skip the plastic Easter grass and grow a real grass in your basket! 

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The Emergency Diapering/Snack Car Kit

You know how it happens: You’re strolling casually through the grocery aisles when suddenly a horrible stench fills the air and you realize that your diaper bag is still sitting on the living room floor.  What do you do?

Or you’ve just driven thirty minutes across town to run a set of coordinated errands only to have your little one erupt in sobs of hunger.  But she just ate!  You have no food, no spoons and now the choice to buy grub on the go or drive all the way back  home.  

We’ve had to buy baby food or toddler snacks, disposables, wipes and even a pair of pants once to deal with the short term emergencies created by our forgetfulness.  While these events were funny and even a bit adventurous, we finally realized that we needed a more proactive solution. 
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Yumm Sauce Recipe Imitation

First of all, if you don’t know what the amazing Yumm Sauce is, you’ll have to check last week’s post for details.  It is a magical liquid that makes young and old alike beg for bowls of brown rice and beans–seriously!

Now I like to support our local Cafe Yumm just because I believe in their business and want to contribute, but some of you live across the country and will never be able to experience the wonder of Yumm Sauce for yourselves.   Hence, the reason for today’s recipe imitation.

This recipe comes from the site Chick Chat, written by a local mom right here in Eugene.  I can take no credit whatsoever for the following recipe or its authenticity, but I hope it’s as delicious as the real thing!
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Repairing Diaper Covers

Want to repair your tired diaper covers for just a few bucks and an hour of your time?  I learned how recently from my good friend Valerie Perrot.  As she began to cloth diaper her second child, she noticed the covers she had used with her first weren’t fastening correctly.  Upon closer inspection, Valerie found that the soft part of the Velcro closures wasn’t as deep as it should be.   Considering that she had purchased the covers used, she wasn’t surprised that they were worn–but she wasn’t about to go out and buy a whole new set for her second child.

After getting advice from a seamstress, Valerie decided to take matters into her own skilled hands.  She found an outdoor gear website called thegreenpepper.com that offered soft Velcro and heavy duty sewing needles for just under ten dollars. The Green Pepper has loads of patterns for making your own backpacks, fleece jackets and other notions, as well as fabric and materials. Honestly, the website is a bit difficult to negotiate, but they are very helpful if you call or email. 

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Cutting Costs in 2009: Part 2

For us, the craziness of life with a toddler takes over any moments we could use to reflect on our spending habits, but this is the perfect time to evaluate our family budget and make some positive changes.   We aren’t always thinking of our long-term goals or values when we run out to a big box store and come back with far more than we intended.  But we’ll start by acknowledging our progress this year.

1. What are our favorite thrifty green victories of 2008? 

  • Haircuts.  I now cut Roscoe and Jett’s hair every month in the comfort of our living room or our backyard.  Since each of those cuts would cost around $15 a month, we’re saving about $330 per year!   In this photo, Roscoe’s Aunt Pauli is giving me a few haircutting tips. 
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Cutting Costs in 2009: Part 1

With a recession underway and holiday bills coming due, many families are feeling the pinch this month.  But even if you’re feeling comfortable financially, January is a great time to evaluate spending and consumption in 2008 and set new goals for the year to come. 

In my family we look through our bank statements and think about how they line up with our priorities. 

1. Did we spend too much on a few things we didn’t need? 

We’re making far too many quick trips to the market that result in rash purchases.  Our goal for 2009 is to plan our meals each week and try to limit our shopping to one major trip.  Also, we tent to go a bit crazy in Grocery Outlet at times, buying some organic processed foods to stock our pantry that we sometimes don’t like in the end.

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Welcome Back to the Thrifty Green Thursday Blog Carnival!

For most of us, going green isn’t about quantum leaps, it’s about tiny fledging steps that are made in the midst of our hectic lives as parents.  If you have a budget-friendly, earth-friendly tip (even one that seems a bit obvious to you) you’d be a perfect addition to Thrifty Green Thursday.  

What are the benefits of adding my post to the Thrifty Green Thursday carnival?

It’ll help you generate traffic for your site, put you in touch with like-minded bloggers, and give you a chance to pick up some easy tips for going green on a budget.

How do I join the carnival and link my post?

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Affordable, BPA-Free Sippy Cup Solutions

I wanted a BPA-free sippy cup for my son, but I heard so many complaints about leaks and design flaws from other mothers, that I was hesitant to shell out the cash.   I was under the (misguided) impression that most BPA-free cups cost $15-20 dollars apiece, plus shipping, which was tough to swallow considering that I hadn’t heard great reviews.

The Tightwad Gazette offered the simple, thrifty solution of having a child drink out of a cup after turning one.  After all, what did people do before plastic was invented?

We tried instructing our child to gently sip with a straw, but a few dozen cups of spilled milk later, I felt we needed a better solution.  Just then, I read a post on Green and Clean Mom announcing the happy news: Target now carries Munchkin BPA-free sippy cups for between one and three dollars! Eureka!  In her post, Green and Clean mom apologizes for her wild enthusiasm about finding these cups, but I instantly shared her thrill. 

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