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Greener Homes and Gardens

greener gardenThe perfect hybrid of green, healthy and beautiful are qualities that we should look for in our day-to-day lives. Providing a lovely living space while nurturing our families and helping them grow is the formula for a good life. Sadly, not everything is made of sunshine and daisies, and the water you drink and the veggies you eat, might not be as pure as you think. According to the EPA, there are pesticides used on your food can have negative effects on your health and the environment. Although the use of pesticides have been reduced since 2007, the EPA uses close to a billion pounds per year of commercial pesticides on crops in the U.S.

Pesticide manufacturing plants have even been known to make the National Priorities List (NPL), a list of places labeled extremely toxic by the EPA. To help in the  reduction of toxic sites, there are remediation companies, like Sevenson Environmental, that can restore valuable plots of land.

A Bounty In Your Kitchen

If you don't have a yard, or you'd like to keep gardening during cold winter months, there are plenty of kitchen or spare-room friendly gardening options for you. You've probably seen the infomercial for the Topsy Turvy Tomato grower, which can be grown indoors and found online for less than ten dollars. The same company also makes a Topsy Turvy Strawberry grower that can hang from just about anywhere. For the devoted kitchen gardener, Urban Farmer makes a mushroom growing kit for less than 30 dollars. You can grow up to two pounds of fresh mushrooms in as little as ten days.

Backyard Bonanza

If you are lucky enough to have a backyard and you'd like to start a garden, you will save money, lower pesticide exposure, and get fresh air and exercise at the same time. Some of the most common, popular vegetables you see in the store are also the easiest to grow in your backyard. Here are a few tips on growing a great garden from SparkPeople.com's Jenny Sigler.

  • Carrots: all you need is some soil or a deep pot (preferably not rocky soil), water and light, and as soon as their tops breach the soil they're ripe for the harvest

  • Lettuce: there are many types to choose from, and most are as easy as pie to grow, and better for you. Head lettuce, leaf lettuce and spinach are some of the easiest, and you can sow seeds every two weeks.

  • Cucumbers: while they're easy to grow, they like to sprawl out, so allowing them adequate space is advised. As long as there is no danger of frost, growing these is a snap. Plus, you can make your very own pickles.

Start a Compost Bin

A Landfill's lack of space is a growing problem, and much of the material left to waste in landfills can be composted instead. Composting is easy and extremely healthy for the environment and your garden. Compost can be pretty much anything organic except for fats, oils, meats and dairy (those make it stink). All you need is a bin and some soil, and you can start piling your scraps on the bottom of the bin in four inch layers, alternating layers of soil. Frequent aeration and upkeep will provide you with some of the healthiest fertilizer around.