Posts Tagged ‘EcoCraft’

Seed Starting Ideas – Commercialism Vs. DIY in Gardening

It’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s a season that inspire all gardener to go all out. Even containers ones like me.

So, as of a few days ago, I found myself rumbling through my boxes for seeds. The questions though, is how I should grow them? The plant nursery has so many different seed starter kits, sparkling in front of me and tempting me. So, what are someway to start seeds indoor?

Hmm… how about the good old jiffy pots? The compressed soil tend to led to sterile soil that will develop a moldy surface. I want to use my own, healthy soil. Besides, my chives has never successfully seeded in a jiffy pot – and I plan to plant some chives seeds.

Plastic container? They don’t have it, and transplanting is going to be nightmare for the seeds I have in mind.

Oh, what’s that? Biodegradable Coco-fiber pot? And it looks shiny too. But nope – bigger than what I want, pricier than other products in store, and don’t look that biodegradable. Maybe it will degrade outdoor, but I am not so confidence about indoor without all the bacteria and rain. I want something with thinner surfaces, like paper.

…No cowpot, pulp pot, or other paper-like pots on store shelf.

In the end, I ended up buying only a bag of all-purpose “Natural Plotting Soil” from a nearby succulent shop named Succulence (Yep, they sell not only succulent soil, but also natural and occasionally organic soil, all for a lovely $2 per bag. Oh, and they have Renee seeds and… wait, wrong post! Shall shut up now).

At home, I mentally debated on which seed starter products I should use. I mindlessly took some paper out for recycling. Lo and behold, I saw a egg carton. My mindless haze cleared up, and the wheel in my brain started cranking as ideas popped into my head. I was so busy thinking about what to BUY to solve my problem, I totally forgot my Eco Crafty side! The scariness of consumerism culture.

I make a quick, sneaky gaze around the apartment trash room. Area clear. I grabbed the carton and checked for a clean condition. Good. I chucked my papers-to-be-recycle and stealthy transport my egg cartoon without any neighbors seeing me.

Once I got home, I renewed my research, now with a new mindset and a new weapon idea. Excitingly, I googled about egg carton seed starter. I immediately learned that it is too small and not very biodegradable. Fortunately, I came across other solutions – homemade paper rolls, eggshell, and newspaper containers. I didn’t had any eggshell and paper roll prepared, so newspaper it was.

I decided to forgo the tape that several blog uses, and relied on my origami foldingĀ  skill. Then I rumbled through the cabinet for something to put it in. To my luck, I found a take-out rice box with a clear plastic cover – perfect for a greenhouse. All the seeds are edible plants. A lunchbox of edible garden – yummy.

From left to right, there is two strawberry, chives, nasturtium seeds.

The nasturtiums outgrown the box pretty quickly though. So I took it, and it’s now arrange symmetrically with two other baby aloe. One of the chives have also popped up. Strawberry will take a while, but I think it is a pretty successful experience so far.

Point one to DIY.

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SF Green Festival 2011 P2: Sunday Sessions

Without a balcony, I really shouldn’t rebuild my herbal garden or buy more plants, but a a free succulent plant don’t count, right?

I am talking about my first session on Sunday, namely, the:

DIY Living Succulent Walls and Other Creative Garden Ideas by Elan Segarra

When I went, I wasn’t planning to bring home a ring of succulent. The session title have the word wall, and I presumed that it would be a presentation on green wall. With so many events, I didn’t read the details, and I certainly was not planning to bring home a new plant.

Then I saw the sample succulent ring by Elan from Three Bees Nursery, and I am in love:

It’s destined, and there is no beating destiny, or so I keep telling myself the entire day I carried the new baby of my garden family:

It’s really easy to make. At the risk of dragging another addicted gardener into getting more plants, I recommend everyone to find out how to do it.

Getting an extra succulent plant’s ok though. The ring is actually pretty small and easy to care for indoor. It’s a beautiful addition to any home, whether it be a suburban house or a city apartment. Besides, it’s perfect for Christmas.

Laundry To Landscape Workshop by Gavin Raders and Andrew Charhrour

When I studied for the green build LEED exam, water use was big. It is even more important in a place like SF. In fact, the local USGBC and PG&E holds an annual Water Conservation Showcase. But most of the time, as an architecture student, I listened to to Powerpoints and case studies.

And so I would like to shout that I love the DIY area!

Planting Justice brought cute little gadgets used in laundry-to-landscape system, and even have a real three-way vault.

Much like the Nature Build session, hearing the experience of someone who makes a job installing the actual system is terrific, since I really get to hear all the little details and see the system comes together. They also have sample Herbatergent from Vaska, which should work with a laundry-to-landscape system. I don’t have that system, but I am all for natural detergent, and therefore I can’t wait to try it out!

Solar Is Hot! by Danny Kennedy

In the green profession, everyone talk about solar at some point, so it is no wonder that GF have a session on solar energy.

Plenty of interesting discussion came up, and Danny fromĀ Sungevity made a good comparison about the raise of cell phone and solar panel – that solar and phone gets more affordable as more people use it. I call it the Costco Effect. Real Good Solar Inc is right next to the Pavilion, so in the middle of the session, Danny actually got to demonstrate his point when someone pop out to lent him a solar panel (or I think he is from Real Good Solar, seems like he was standing there later). The wonders of festive environment and good business-relationship.

The Governor’s Clean Power Goal – How We Get There Together by Wade Crowfoot & Efren Carrillo

While POWER’s presentation was more on inspiring action, this one is more about informing current happenings. Wade talked about several codes and regulations here – current aims, AB32, Energy Efficiency Standards, etc.

Efren from Sonoma County showed some of the current projects. I have never been to Sonoma, but I have been hearing the name again and again. It seems like they are doing some amazing works there – retrofits, hydroelectric fuel cell, waste-into-energy, geothermal, Energy Independence Program, and more. It’s too bad that Stephanie Wang from Clean Coalition was sick, as I would love to hear about Clean Coalition as well.

And that’s the last session for me.

Such is some of my favorite sessions this year. I will write another post about the booth later.

Funny – initially, I only circled about 4 sessions on my schedule. Now I have went to what? Over 8 sessions! And I haven’t even gushed over all the booths I visited yet (that’s another post…). This is the magic of Green Festival. What are some of your favorite?