‘Tis the Season…

…for Compost2theMoon to remind you about some simple ideas to help make the holidays greener!

  • Get a real tree. Ideally, one grown locally as opposed to say… shipped to a Home Depot near you. Not only will your home smell like lovely pine without any artificial sprays or candles, but you are contributing to a business that is good for the planet. I know, I know: Instinct dictates that cutting down trees = bad. But that isn’t exactly the case in the business of Christmas trees because higher demand = more trees planted.  Christmas tree farms are a big business. We’re talking about 56 million trees bought each year that grew and absorbed carbon dioxide for 5-16 years before getting tied to the roof of your car. Read all about it a previous post, “Purchase the Pine, People.” (By golly gosh, those are some cute sisters in that picture!) Of course, purchasing the tree – roots and all – to be replanted after the holidays is the absolute greenest of the green but not everyone has the land for that.
  • Re-use ribbons, gift bags, paper, baskets, jars and everything else from last year. If you didn’t hang on to them, be sure to do so this year! Simply pack them away with holiday decorations and you’ll be amazed at how little you have to purchase next year.
  • Make your own gift tags from last years holiday cards. This is our FAVORITE tradition. If you don’t think you’ll have time to make them on your own, feel free to donate them for next year’s re-purposing promotion. Email me for details and mailing address.
  • Buy local! Supporting local artisans, small business, farmers, grocers and organizations is a great way to keep wealth in the community and reduce the footprint of large manufacturers and shipping. For great gift ideas in our region, check out Foodshed Magazine’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide.
  • Give food! Yummy holiday treats rarely go to waste.
  • Consider purchasing gifts that give back through organizations like the World Wildlife Fund. Not only will you be donating to an important cause, you’ll get on the mailing lists for similar organizations that send out holiday-themed return address labels and wrapping paper made from recycled materials (and a request for a small donation).
  • As far as online shopping, Amazon is one of our favorites because of their eco-friendly, frustration-free packaging. If you can’t find what you are looking for on there, be sure and sign up for an account on your favorite sites so that you can save items in your cart until all your purchasing is complete and can be sent in a single shipment. Save yourself the shipping fees and save the packing materials and shipping miles.
  • Brighten your home and tree with LED lights and be sure to put them on a timer. If you aren’t fond of the bright-white, grab a colorful strand instead.

If you’ve got any tips for the season, please tell us about them in the comment section.

Re-Purposing Around The Farm

In preparation for the first frost that came through on Friday night (October 12-13), we were busy bees harvesting the last of the tomatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, okra and ristra peppers. But busy as we may be, we are always making the absolute most out of the materials and extras.

Here are a few great ones:

Saving Sunflower Seeds

Our sunflowers kept the bees happy all summer and as they dry up and go to seed, we are leaving some in the fields for the birds to snack on now and harvesting and cleaning the seeds out of others in order to feed the local birds through the winter.

Okra Stalks Saved For Compost Aeration

Okra stalks, like okra that has been left on the plant too long, are very woody. Sure, we could just toss them in a compost heap but there is an even better way to use them in compost: as aeration. Laying them down as a base where you intend to pile compost aids aeration, which is necessary in high temperature aerobic composting for rapid decomposition and the reduction of initial moisture content.

Thinned Beet Greens (and other mixed greens)

Just like Allison pointed out in her recent post Planted Too Many Greens?, we sometimes need to thin crops after a direct sow. But that doesn’t mean they have to go to waste. So many of them are edible and incredibly delicious.  At Willowsford Farm, we saved, trimmed down and washed all our thinned beet greens for market and they were a hit!

Garden Shed and Tables Built From Local Lumber

Willowsford Farm is growing at the center of a new community that is also growing. As the developers have had to clear trees in areas where houses are being built, they have cleaned and saved the lumber for use in community buildings. The “Farm Garden Shed,” now home to our Wednesday and Sunday Market, was built with this lumber. So were the picnic tables (inside the shed in this picture). Pretty cool, huh?