5 Ways to Create a Desktop Garden

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Spring is a time of growth and new life – bring life to your desk by creating a desktop garden! Whether you are a master gardener or have a “black thumb,” a desktop garden is within reach for you.

1. For the animal lover…

Consider an aquaponic fish tank and garden combination. Feed your fish, and the fish’s waste nourishes the plants. The plants in turn clean the water. You can purchase kits in pet stores or online, like the Aquafarm from ThinkGeek.

If you have cats, grow cat-friendly (and edible) plants like catnip, wheat grass, and oat grass. You can buy a pre-designed planter or just plant the herbs in small pots.

2. For the tech geek…

There’s an app for desktop gardening. Many gardening gadgets are out there, such as USB flower pots, hydroponics kits, and desktop plant lighting.

3. For the foodie…

Grow your own organic herbs at your desk. Herbs need some sunlight, so you will need a window to grow a desktop herb garden in your home office. You can grow from seeds or starter plants, or purchase a small herb garden kit of your choosing. Watch out for herbs in the mint family – if you give them an inch, they will grow all over the place!

4. For the zen master…

Create your own miniature garden for your desk. Mini gardens can last for years if grown in a good size pot – if they outgrow the pot they can usually be transplanted to a bigger one or outside and still survive. Two Green Thumbs is a website dedicated to miniature gardening, and they discuss options for indoor office plants as well as outdoor mini gardens.

5. For the black thumb…

Let’s not talk about my dead Valentine’s Day hyacinths, okay? If you don’t do so well with indoor plants, take up a collection of hard-to-kill air plants, succulents, or cacti. These come in a variety of beautiful shapes and sizes and they won’t judge you when you forget to water them for a week or more.

You could also consider a Marimo moss ball – these little guys hang out in a small jar of water and look cute, requiring very little upkeep. Just change the water every week or so and your tiny ball of algae will stay happy and healthy.

What will you grow?

Tell us about your desktop garden on our Facebook page!

Short Memorial Day Trips

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Memorial Day is Monday, May 26th. It’s a day of remembrance and respect for the fallen members of our Armed Forces. As a national holiday, it’s also a day that many people have off work, and it’s a great day for a short vacation with your family.

These ideas for short Memorial Day trips are great for any location. Whether you just want to take a trip for the day or you want to take advantage of the full weekend, check out our ideas to make your Memorial Day a good one. And remember to call your friends and family who have served or lost loved ones in the Armed Forces to thank them for their contributions and sacrifices.

Visit family

Go visit relatives and celebrate with them. You can have a cookout or just a nice family meal. Depending on your budget, this could be a car ride or you could fly to see relatives a bit further away from home. Memorial Day is a wonderful day to celebrate the people that we have in our lives as well as celebrate the lives of those who have served our country.

See a national park

Memorial Day is a great day to go embrace the great outdoors and take your kids to a national park for the day. Leave the smartphones at home and hike a trail, see a landmark, climb a mountain, or learn about the native animals and plants in your region. Check out the U.S. National Park interactive map to find a park in near you.

Check out a local attraction

Drive to the nearest zoo, amusement park, or museum, depending on your and your family’s interests. Spending a day relaxing and enjoying a favorite family diversion is something that can fit into anyone’s budget. If you frequent the zoo, consider buying a membership – it will likely pay for itself in just a few visits and your money contributes to animal conservation!

Hit the beach

Depending on your budget and location, you can drive or fly to a nearby (or faraway) beach. Stick your toes in the sand, build a sandcastle, get some much needed Vitamin D from the sun, and relax.

Take a One Tank Trip

How far can you drive with one tank of gas? Set up a search radius on Google Maps and find someplace to go on one tank (usually within 150-200 miles). It might be a small town festival, or a big attraction. Include your family in the decision making process and let the kids pick someplace that sounds fun!

Packing tips

No matter where you go, remember to pack smart! Always have a bottle of water and some sunscreen available if you’ll be outside in the sun for prolonged periods. Also pack a hat to keep the sun from your eyes. Pack light – sticking to just a carry-on if you’re flying will save you a lot of time, and keeping suitcases limited in a car ride will save you space and sanity. Remember to pack healthy snacks and drinks to avoid bad junk food decisions too.

Tell us about your Memorial Day plans on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) cc / Added copy overlay to original and cropped image

5 DIY Green Gardening Tips

Earth Day has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do an eco friendly home project to be friendly to the planet. A back yard garden is a great way to go green and there are countless DIY projects you can do to create something without making a big impact on the environment. Check out five easy ideas below:

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1. Save the bees

The bees need all the help they can get. Plant fragrant blooms to draw pollinating insects to your garden. Be sure to avoid spraying toxic pesticides.

2. Up-cycle old tires

You can paint old tires with bright colors and use them as planters for flowers. Don’t plant food items in tires, as they can leech chemicals you don’t want to ingest.

3. Make a pallet garden

Use a small food safe pallet (find one that is heat treated, not fumigated), cover the back in gardening fabric or burlap, and fill with soil. Plant herbs or leafy greens between the slats and stand the pallet up against your home or on a balcony for a space-saving garden.

4. Paint your own garden markers

Use paint to turn flat, round stones into crafty garden markers for your fruits and veggies.

5. Create a rain barrel

Making a rain barrel is quick and easy, in addition to saving money and reducing your water footprint. Take advantage of rainfall to collect water for your garden during dry spells.

5 Tips for an Eco Friendly Easter

Easter and Earth Day are close this year (April 20 and April 22), which is a great reason to consider the environmental impact of your Easter traditions. The Easter holiday is a time to celebrate rebirth and often means candies, egg hunts, and Easter baskets. These can all be wonderful traditions, but they can also mean a lot of waste. Our eco-friendly Easter ideas are a great way to involve the whole family in some Easter and Earth Day festivities.

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1. Cut Back on Plastic

Avoid plastic baskets, eggs, and “grass” when decorating and planning your festivities. You can use wicker baskets and crinkle-cut paper “grass” for a biodegradable alternative. There are also many craft ideas to make your own eco-friendly eggs.

2. Dye Naturally

When coloring eggs, use a natural egg dye kit or make your own using ingredients in your kitchen.

3. DIY Candy

Avoid the mess of candy wrappers and instead make your own chocolates at home using molds from a craft store. If you don’t have the time to DIY, choose organic and fair-trade certified chocolates.

4. Plant Flowers

Easter and Earth Day are both great opportunities to plant some spring flowers in your garden. Choose flowers that are bee-friendly such as borage, crocus, calendula, hyacinth, and wild lilac. Avoid toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

5. Source Dinner Locally

Try to find local produce and meats for your Easter dinner, to reduce the carbon footprint of your meal. Whenever possible, support organic farmers.