Archive for June, 2010

My Backyard Farming Adventure

Last summer I explored the idea of an organic farm in my backyard. I had Green City Growers come out and give me a quote, but just couldn’t justify the expense.

This year, a colleague told me about Square Foot Gardening.  This is the approach that the Green City Growers use.  Each raised bed is divided into a grid of 1 foot squares.  Each square has a different crop, and can be replanted several times throughout the year.  This approach takes very little space and is very easy to maintain.

I built 2 2×3 planters and planted with:

  • mixed salad greens
  • sumer squash
  • cucumbers
  • green beans
  • cherry tomatoes
  • big boy tomatoes
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • dill
  • basil

So far so good! I love going outside in the morning before work to water the garden and pick salad greens to bring to work for lunch.  It makes me feel really grounded and relaxed.

There have been some downsides lessons learned, but I’ll save those for another post…

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Good Jeans

As I mentioned in my New Year post, last fall I had denim insulation installed between my basement and first floor.  I made the choice to go with denim because it is:

  • non-toxic
  • made from recycled materials
  • a better insulator than fiberglass (according to Bill Nye the Science Guy)

There are a couple of  downsides, however, including:

  • the expense, which is significantly more than fiberglass
  • the blue fuzz that has covered my basement

Overall the benefits outway the downsides.  Government rebates and tax credits help offset the increased cost.  The blue fuzz is annoying but easily remedied by vacuuming.  When I get motivated I will put a layer of Tyvek, which will not only contain the fuzz but also add another insulating layer.

The best part, however, is how much more even the temperature in my house was this past winter.  My house is about 100 years old, and was very drafty.  When sitting in the living room, you could feel a breeze coming through the windows, even when they were closed and locked. The combination of the insulation in the basement, airsealing the foundation of the house and caulking around the windows almost completely eliminated drafts.  This allowed me to use less heat and overall made the house much more comfortable.  I would definitely recommend these energy efficiency improvements to anyone, especially while the government rebates and tax credits are in place!

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