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Mel’s Mix Soil for Square Foot Gardening

Posted on Apr 29, 2016 in Blog, Square Foot Gardening

You’ve started your raised square foot garden boxes, it’s time to fill them with Mel’s Mix soil.  It would be great if we could run to the local big box or garden center to pick up pre-made Mel’s Mix, for today we can’t, so we’ll show you how to make your own!

Remember the raised box needs only to be 6″ deep and the formula below will fill a 4′ x 4′ box.  This is the perfect mixture of nutrient dense organic matter, it will retain water and is light and airy for the roots.  Because we are adding compost matter to peat moss, you’ll find this is a weedless mixture for your square foot garden.  The 5 types of compost add a diverse amount of nutrients and because compost heats up in the process of composting, weed seed are killed off and won’t germinate.

Supplies needed to make Mel’s Mix soil for your square foot garden are compost, vermiculite and peat moss. You’ll use a 1/3 of each to make the perfect soil for your garden.

2 – 4 cubic foot bags of course vermiculite = 8 cubic feet

1 – 3.9 cubic feet of peat moss  Keep in mind 3.9 cubic feet compact = 8 cubic feet loose, 2.2 cubic feet compact = 4 cubic feet of loose peat moss

8 cubic feet of compost. Compost is a mixture of 5 different types of compost, for example, mushroom, sheep, cow, horse, poultry, vermicomposting,  compost from home compost. This is the key to nutrients, using a blend of 5 different composts. Make the compost mixture on the tarp first.  Save the bags from compost to hold your mixture or keep a bin for your compost mixture.

 

 

Mels Mix

 

After your 5 types of compost are mixed, you’ll add 1/3 of each material and blend on the tarp.  When making this by myself, I only made half at a time which made it simpler for me to blend on the tarp.  If you have 2 people working the tarp you can make the entire mixture at once.

Add the mixture to the garden box 1/3 at a time, water in, add the second 3rd of mixture, water in and finally add the last 1/3 and water in.

Add the square foot garden grid and you are ready to plant!

Sq Ft Garden Boxes

 

Happy gardening!

Lori

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5 Easy to Grow Superfoods

Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Blog, Eat Green, Grow Green, Square Foot Gardening, Vegetable Gardening

www.LiveLifeWhole.com

5 Easy to Grow SUPERFOODS

 

Have you wanted to start a garden, but you’re not sure what plants to start with?   With the right growing foundation,  anyone can have success with these 5 easy to grow superfoods! If you are new to gardening, you can easily grow these 5 SUPERFOODS with harvests from Spring to Fall and the Winter Squash will keep for several months after harvest in the perfect conditions. Leafy greens are easy to grow and a powerhouse superfood full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.

  1. Spinach:  This is a cool weather plant and one of the first to add to the garden. High in Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K,  Vitamin A and a great source for iron.
  2. Kale: This green powerhouse superfood is easy to grow and is a great cool weather option extending through the Summer and Fall.  Kale is high in Potassium,  Vitamin A, C and B-6 and a great leafy green source of protein.
  3. Swiss Chard: A great source for magnesium, Vitamin A and C.  Beautiful color and so easy to grow.
  4. Winter Squash:  This one requires a bit more space, but worth growing due to the lasting storage.  High in fiber,  potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and B-6. Butternut, Acorn or Spaghetti Squash are the easiest to grow and bumper crops will keep giving back over the winter months.
  5. Romain Lettuce:  Seasonal superstar for spring and fall crops, high in Vitamin K, A and Folate

If you aren’t into growing these 5 easy to grow superfoods, definitely find a local organic source, like a local farmer’s market to add these to your diet for nutrition and to meet the daily requirements of fruits and veggies servings.

See you in the garden,

Lori

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5 Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics

Posted on Jun 4, 2015 in Blog, Live Life Green

With minimal regulation in the cosmetic industry, the US has not passed a Federal law to regulate ingredients in personal care products since 1938. In the USA, there are no laws requiring cosmetic companies to demonstrate the safety of their products! Be informed, know what to look out for and here are 5 toxic ingredients in cosmetics you definitely want to remove from your cosmetic stash. Our skin absorbs toxins into our blood stream within 20 seconds of being applied.

 

 

US cosmetics are banned in Europe due to toxic ingredients. There are only 8 chemicals banned in from US cosmetics compared to 1,373 chemicals banned in Europe.

These are the top 5 toxic ingredients to remove from your cosmetic collection.

1. Formaldehyde – preservative and carcinogen know to cause cancer in humans

2. Triclosan – disrupts natural hormone system

3. Paraben – Are found in breast cancer tumors

4. Ethylene Oxide – carcinogen

5. Lead – neurotoxin

Cosmetic companies may use any ingredients they choose, with the exception of the 8 that are regulated.

Switching to a new, safe brand is simple and easy.  If you’d like to know more, share your info with us and we’d be happy to help you make the switch!  Don’t worry, we don’t share your information!

Yes, I’d like to know more about safe toxic free cosmetics.

 

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4 DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash Recipes – Reduce Toxins

Posted on Oct 5, 2014 in Blog, Live Life Green

The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen list from The Environmental Working Group rate the most toxic and least toxic produce items when purchased conventional growing produce. The Dirty Dozen are the most pesticide laden and purchasing organic is the best choice for items on this list.  Download EWG.org shopping guide for quick reference at the grocery store. In order to safely clean your fruits & veggies, we have 4 DIY fruit & veggie wash recipes to eat cleaner and reduce toxin exposure.

4DIYFruitandVeggieWash

Ideally purchasing organic is the best option, but it’s not always the cheapest or even readily available and even then, you’ll still want to wash organic produce.  Conventional produced is waxed and covered in pesticide and contaminates.  Giving your produce a good scrub and rinse will break down the wax and help reduce pesticides and toxic exposure on the body.

Here’s a ranking of the worst to the best fruits and veggies with pesticide residue:

Apple, Strawberry, Grape, Celery , Peaches, Spinach, Sweet Bell Peppers, Nectarines – Imported, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Snap Peas, Potato, Hot Peppers, Blueberries, Lettuce, Kale/Collard Greens, Plum, Cherries, Nectarine – Domestic, Pear, Tangerine, Carrots, Blueberries, Green Beans, Winter Squash, Summer Squash, Raspberries, Broccoli, Snap Peas – Domestic, Green Onions, Oranges, Banana, Tomato, Watermelon, Honeydew Melon, Mushroom, Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Eggplant, Kiwi, Mango, Papaya, Asparagus, Onion, Sweet Peas – Frozen, Cabbage, Pineapple, Sweet Corn, Avocado

Why Wash Produce Thoroughly: Produce Journey, Pesticides and Waxes

Produce travels on average 1500 miles and can be touched by 30 hands before it reaches your home. Think about all the contaminates just in the checkout process and what has  been on the check out belt, from cleaning products, meat contaminates etc.

To preserve produce, maintain moisture, produce is waxed.  The wax traps in the pesticide residue, bacterial and pathogens.  There are many types of waxes use to preserve fruits and veggies and even some organic produce is waxed.  The World’s Healthiest Foods states the following about produce wax: “When purchasing non-organic fruits and vegetables, you should ask your grocer about the kind of wax used on their surface even if you are going to peel it; carnauba wax (from the carnauba palm tree), beeswax, and shellac (from the lac beetle) are preferable to petroleum-based waxes, which contain solvent residues or wood rosins. Yet, it is not just the wax itself that may be of concern but the other compounds often added to it – ethyl alcohol or ethanol for consistency, milk casein (a protein linked to milk allergy) as a film former or soap as a flowing agent.”

Organic fruits and veggies can also be waxed under natural wax standards.  Most common waxed organics include, eggplant, cucumber, apples, lemon, lime, orange and bell peppers.

4 DIY Fruit and Veggie Washes

Supplies needed:  Spray bottle, lemon, vinegar or salt, baking soda, grapefruit seed extract and marker to label spray bottle.

White Vinegar Wash

White vinegar is inexpensive and making a wash is simple.  The acidic nature of vinegar will break down the wax and kill bacteria.

1 part vinegar to the spray bottle.

3 parts purified water to spray bottle.

Spray the fruit and veggies and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Scrub with a produce brush to remove residue and wax.

Lemon Wash

1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Organic Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Vinegar

1 Cup of Water

Add to spray bottle and shake well to mix

Essential Oil Lemon Wash

3-4 Drops of Lemon Essential Oils (Use a high quality grade, from doTerra, Forever Green or Young Living)  Grocery store essential oils typically have fillers.

Add produce to a bowl with water, add the Lemon essential oil.  Allow to stand for 15 minutes in the water.

Grapefruit Seed Extract Wash

20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract

1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda

1 Cup of Vinegar

1 Cup of water

Remember, vinegar and baking soda foam, go slow when combining.

 

 

Resources:

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

http://www.naturalnews.com/028277_pesticides_fresh_produce.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=175

 

 

 

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Applesauce Recipe

Posted on Aug 16, 2014 in Allergy, Blog, Dairy Free, Desserts, Gluten Free, Recipes

The apple trees are just amazing this year in Denver, last year, it was peaches. I was just thinking about making apple sauce to freeze and enjoy over the winter. Two years ago, we received a bunch of apples picked from a friend’s tree in Ft Collins and it was the first time I had made sugar-free applesauce and it was a big hit! These friend’s live an hour and half away and I knew a trip was not in the cards or even if their tree had produced this year.

ApplesauceRecipe

I see all the neighbor’s trees just hanging with so much fruit and the apples are falling and rotting on the ground.  And to my surprise, my neighbor posted this sign….

Free Apples

 

We pulled the truck up next to the tree to gather the high hanging fruit before the storm rolled in…… {oops, got him with his eyes closed}

Apples

 

Our apple loot….

Apples

 

Applesauce Recipe – Sugar Free

12 cups of peeled and sliced apples

3 tsp of cinnamon {more or less to your liking}

2 tsp of organic vanilla

2 cups of water

1/2 lemon fresh squeezed

Add water, cinnamon and vanilla to water bring to a low boil, peel and slice apples, and squeeze fresh lemon on apples, add to pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, keep on low until the apples break down and  mashed with a fork.  I prefer a chunky applesauce, if you prefer it more smooth creamy consistency, add more water.

Let cool, eat warm or cold.

Enjoy!!

xoxo,

Lori

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Get the Toxins Out

Posted on Aug 14, 2014 in Blog, Live Life Green

There’s not doubt we live in a toxic world. Our homes are 5-7 times more toxic than the outdoor  environment .  Consider we are bombarded with toxins all day, so let’s control what we can and remove the toxins from our homes and replace them with products that are safe for ourselves and the environment.

Common household cleaning agents are a trigger for asthma, allergies and skin conditions. These are the easiest to remove from the home.

Get the Toxins Out

 

For starters, remove the chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, and ammonia.

Chlorine Bleach:

Chlorine bleach can be found in almost every cleaning product and many of us grow up using bleach and we associate the smell of bleach with clean!  All I can say is “get it out”, it’s a registered pesticide and fungicide.

“Bleach containing products are often sold as a laundry additive or as an all-purpose cleaner. Products containing bleach that claim to sanitize or disinfect are considered pesticides and must be registered pesticide products.” Source epa.gov

Did you know that a pesticide is added to your washing machine to help keep your white clothes white? This pesticide is also found in many household cleaning products that contain a “disinfectant” to kill germs. And it is found in household products used to clean mold and mildew from your shower or tub. Can you guess what this pesticide is? Chlorine Bleach!

You wouldn’t think that ordinary chlorine bleach is a pesticide, but it is. Because it kills bacteria  and viruses it is called a disinfectant or an antimicrobial pesticide. And because it kills fungi and molds it is also known as a fungicide.

If you are responsible for doing laundry or other types of cleaning as some of your chores around the house, you may be using liquid chlorine bleach to do the job. If so, you need to be sure to always “Read the Label First” to know how to properly use this product and for safety information. Make sure you use them safely and do not mix cleaning products.

If sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) is mixed with ammonia, poisonous fumes result. The inhalation of these fumes can cause esophageal damage and can be deadly.

There are ways to whiten clothing and disinfect without the use of pesticides/bleach.

Formaldahyde:

Formaldahyde can be found in personal care products as a preservative for water based products.  You’ll never see “formaldahyde” on a label, it’s hidden and can be found under the following names: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol).

Formaldehyde can create the following symptoms: dermatitus, burning itching swelling of the skin, asthma triggers as well as difficulty breathing for those with respiratory issues, as well as watery, burning, itchy eyes, headache.  Formaldehyde was classified as a know carcinogen in 2006.

Formaldehyde can be is used as a preservative in personal care products {including baby products}, cosmetics, salon products, particle board, building materials, etc.

Ammonia:

Ammonia is an irritant in both liquid and gas forms.  It can burn or irritate eyes, skin, mouth and lungs.  NEVER mix ammonia with bleach or vinegar as it can create a deadly gas.  Ammonia main irritants are inhalation, skin and eye irritations. Ammonia can create lung issues and trigger asthma, symptoms can include tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Ammonia gas can burn the skin and irritate the skin.  Remove ammonia especially when there are skin concerns like eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. Ammonia can also irritate and burn the eyes.

This is just scratching the surface of getting the toxins out of the home.  These are some of the most common and bleach is in just about every cleaning product from the laundry, bathroom and general purpose cleaning.  Keep in mind, after using these prosducts they can linger in the air for up to 72 hours and settle to the floor area where children and pets spend most of their time.

Request more info for green and toxic free products for your personal care and cleaning needs at explore.Live-Life-Green.com/toxicfree

Sources:

WebMD

WiseGeek

Safe Cosmetics

EWG

http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/cehsweb/bleach_fs.pdf

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/ammonia.html#_1_4

http://www.ehow.com/about_5422349_dangers-clorox-bleach-fumes.html

 

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