Latest posts in Queen of Green

The delicious benefits of edible perennial plants

November 29, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: The delicious benefits of edible perennial plants

Oca is from the Andes and the bulb can be harvested after frost, once the above-ground greens die back. (Credit: Fluffymuppet via Flickr)

I aspire to eat more local foods — out of my own garden, if possible.

So I took a perennial vegetables workshop by Solara of Hatchet and Seed @hatchetnseed. She introduced me to a new term, "edimentals" — edible, ornamental plants — and supplied a list.

Perennial vegetables are great because they:

  • Keep coming back!
  • Withstand pests better than annuals
  • Build and improve soil quality
  • Don't need tilling, leaving mycelial culture (mushrooms and other fungi) and soil structure intact
  • Increase aeration and water absorption
  • Create compost, add to topsoil and bring up nutrients from deep down when dropped leaves die back each year
  • Are edimentals — delicious AND beautiful!

Artichokes

Need a warm, protected spot. Varieties include globe and cardoon (wild). Blanch stalks and eat them cooked, too! Warning: sunchokes or Jerusalem artichoke spread.

Asparagus

Buy crowns or start from seed. From seed to shoot takes three years! Before prepping your bed, think long-term (they live up to 40 years) and keep soil mounded.

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Three DIY recipes that are healthy for your skin, hair and the planet

November 21, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: Three DIY recipes that are healthy for your skin, hair and the planet

Make my banana facial mask recipe with fair trade, local and organic ingredients. (Credit: Lindsay)

Many beauty product ingredients aren't pretty.

In fact, they're pretty ugly.

In 2010, the David Suzuki Foundation asked Canadians to read labels on their cosmetics. We were looking for a Dirty Dozen ingredients, including parabens, PEG compounds, parfum (a.k.a. "fragrance") and petrolatum. Eighty per cent of entered products contained at least one of these toxic chemicals!

Download a wallet-sized Dirty Dozen shopper's guide to help you avoid harmful chemicals in soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc. when you shop.

You can also make your own! These simple, effective recipes contain no toxic chemicals. They're healthy for your skin, hair and the planet.

Makeup remover recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately two months

15 ml (1 Tbsp) castor oil
15 ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil
Optional: 10 ml (2 tsp) sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil

Combine oils. Store in air-tight container. Use with washable cloth or compostable organic cotton balls/pads.

This recipe will help you avoid parabens used as preservatives in a variety of cosmetics. They're suspected endocrine disrupters associated with breast cancer and may interfere with hormone function.

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How to prevent bird window strikes

November 11, 2016 | 4 comments
Photo: How to prevent bird window strikes

Bird collisions with man-made structures is a leading cause of bird death in North America. (Credit: Andria Lavine va Flickr)

Windows are deadly for birds.

More birds die each year from crashing into homes and buildings than are killed by wind turbines and vehicles combined. In Canada it's the third leading cause of wild bird death, after cats (domestic and feral) and power lines, collisions and electrocutions. Window strikes kill about 100 million birds in North America each year.

Birds can't see glass. And they fly so fast, any collision is usually fatal.

Here are some simple, affordable changes you can make at home or work to prevent these deaths:

  1. Close blinds and curtains
  2. Move indoor plants away from windows
  3. Hang old CDs, aluminum pie plates or chimes to break up the expanse of exposed glass
  4. Plant a shade tree to cut down on reflection
  5. Dim or turn off lights, especially during spring and fall migration
  6. Install special screens to cushion impact
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How to make all-purpose scour

October 19, 2016 | 8 comments
Photo: How to make all-purpose scour

You'll need five minutes to make a batch of this nontoxic home cleaner which will last up to six months! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

This DIY "green" cleaning recipe is one of my one of my top nine. It works to clean tubs, tiles and sinks. And it's so safe, kids can clean, too. (My three-year-old begs to scrub the tub!)

Did you know that in Canada, manufacturers of home cleaning products are not legally required to disclose all ingredients (and hazards)?

All-purpose scour recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately six months

420 ml (1 2/3 cups) baking soda
60 ml (¼ cup) liquid castile soap (scented or unscented)
60 ml (¼ cup) water

Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl. Stir until the mixture is the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or store in a labelled, air-tight container. Rinse well.

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Choose reusable produce bags

October 14, 2016 | 4 comments
Photo: Choose reusable produce bags

Reusable produce bags are also great for bulk dry goods like nuts, seeds and beans. (Credit: Kate Fisher via Flickr)

You tote reusable shopping bags to the store. Now bring a few eco-friendly, fabric produce bags along, too.

These lightweight drawstring bags are often sold in sets of three. They make it easy for the cashier to weigh your items AND for you to carry and organize produce at home. They're washable, reusable, come in a variety of sizes and styles and the stretchy kind can carry a lot of stuff. They're also an excellent way to stop using plastic — even paper — produce bags.

Buy reusable produce bags at your local grocery or zero waste store, or online. DIYers can also sew their own or repurpose T-shirts (no sewing required).

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