Posts filed under ‘Ideas’
As a new gardener, I’ve been quickly learning about different plant varieties I can grow, in what seasons they grow best and how to take each plant from seed to maturity. The first seeds in my new garden have sprouted and are well on their way to maturity. The layout of the garden has been planned, and seasonal, organic vegetable and fruit seeds have been chosen. Everything seems to be in order, or so I thought it was.
A fellow gardener and I were looking over my plans and plant choices when he noted I did not have enough biodiversity in my selections. I had evidently chosen plants that would increase pests in my plots, and I had none that would keep them away. Additionally, some of the plants I wanted to raise together for seasonal and ornamental reason would kill each other if left on their own for too long. This might sound like bad news, but this is why I asked him for help. I wanted to have the right information before I began planting my sprouts into the ground. Now I have a better understanding of what to plant, where to plant it and in what seasons I should start sowing.
After our conversation, I promised to plant a variety of seeds that would not only produce a tasty product, but would help protect my garden and the gardens around the neighborhood. I was able to source a fantastic nursery near my home that specializes in seeding heirloom vegetables and fruits. I found this curious as I did not know what they meant by heirloom. Evidently, an heirloom vegetable is a plant that was commonly grown during earlier years in human history, but is not commonly grown at present for one reason or another. I became fascinated by these vegetables and quickly learned as much as I could. I discovered that many heirloom vegetables are becoming extinct. I was quite appalling to me.
There are a vast number of wonderful and beautiful vegetable and fruit varieties I was blissfully unaware of until now. Knowing of them now is bittersweet as many of them are endangered. Right then I made a promise to myself, and vowed to grow a number of endangered varieties in my garden. One might suggest we simply let nature run it’s course, but I disagree. The more common vegetables and fruits are ones you see at the supermarket. These varieties were often selected because of their tolerance to pesticides, frost and drought. Nutritional value and flavor was usually a secondary concern if at all. I am certain there are exceptions, however, the homogenization of our horticultural world is only increasing the number of heirloom species that are becoming extinct ever year. I might be an in-experienced gardener, but common sense told me this probably isn’t good.
Cary Fowler, a biodiversity advocate and member of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, gave an excellent TED Talk on this issue. I certainly recommend giving his talk a listen. It is incredibly fascinating, and he highlights some very important arguments for maintaining the biodiversity in the Earth’s crops.
I would like to think I am doing my part by deciding to grow a number of heirloom vegetables along with more common varieties in my garden. I have great hopes and expectations for my plot as I have meticulously planned every detail. However, I do realize that the best gardens always come with time and dedication. It is going to be a long process, but I am very excited for the outcome. The most exciting part for me is knowing that I am aiding in the continued existence of endangered vegetables and fruits. That in itself, is all the drive I need to continue with this endeavor.
Video via TED Talks
Image by Carmen Dirica
Architect William McDonough discusses the negative impact industry and large cities have on the environment, and ways in which good design can reduce carbon footprint. McDonough suggests a “cradle to cradle” design method that considers the full life cycle of a product.
I love sustainable design especially when it involves architecture and urban planning. His plans for a fully sustainable city in China are just phenomenal. It’s designs like these that give me hope for our future. I only wish I had the knowledge and experience needed to make a significant impact.
Video via TED Talks
I was absolutely stunned when I discovered Barbara Umbel’s sea life jewelry designs. At first glance, her pieces seemed too perfect to be actual sea shells. I was amazed to discover she actually uses seashells, gemstones and freshwater pearls found on Pawleys Island in South Carolina.
Barbara’s designs are beautiful, and the creative use of materials found in her environment is very inspiring to me. All of Barbara’s designs are one-of-a-kind, and can be found on BarbaraUmbel.com or Barbara Umbel on Etsy.
Images via Barbara Umbel
I nearly fell over when I saw these in a window while out taking a stroll in the Lanes this Sunday. Two of my favorite designers have collaborated to create these fabulously funky shoes. I have written about Melissa Plastic Dreams shoes before and I have good news to report. Since then I have tried them on and they are quite comfortable. Additionally, the claim that they smell of bubble gum is very true. Now, Vivienne Westwood has collaborated with Melissa Plastic Dreams to bring us this new collection called Anglomania. Let the girly screams commence.
Images via Melissa Plastic Dreams
I am very fond of Bridget West’s company and products. She designs and produces ethical products for the home made from recycled textiles and their labels. Almost every piece is unique, and the rest of her designs are digitally printed onto organic hemp cotton canvas. Aside from her product design business called Pieces of You, Bridget runs eco-workshops and she lectures on the topic of ethical design and consumption. She is certainly someone I admire greatly. I love her designs as well as her dedication to her cause.
If you are interested in any of the products below please visit Pieces of You where you will find many more lovely products.
Images via Pieces Of You
These designs are just extraordinary. I kind of want some for my living room now. Boris Bally is an award winning American industrial designer that creates a series of products from recycled street signs and other products. His work is very funky and eclectic. It’s the type of work I love to see. I certainly recommend viewing his site.
Images via Boris Bally
Irish Designer David Barry developed The Eden Project which is a very creative green solution to urban gardening. The concept involves the use of portable gardening pods which allow the user to grow their own food. The pods can then be stored away after the growing season has passed.
I love this concept. It is an absolutely brilliant idea. Dennis and I live in a very small place, and we have been looking into ways of our own food. At the moment, it has been incredibly difficult. We managed to grow a tomato plant, and we are working on a cucumber plant. While we did have success, it was incredibly difficult to find space for them. Moving them around after they grew to be a certain size proved to be a problem as well. These portable garden pods would eliminate this issue.
Images via David Barry