Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Legumes

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we began a month-long effort to protect soil, a precious resource. Our first challenge asked that we start composting which is an excellent way to add nutrients into the soil. It's also an excellent way to reduce waste. I've been composting for a long time. I started out tossing veggie scraps into a large, 10-gallon planter which was located on my apartment patio. Done correctly, there isn't any smell or negative "side affects". Now that I have a larger space, we're expanding our efforts. This week we built a compost bin using pallet boards. We've placed it above our garden area so that nutrients will leach out to where they are needed most and it'll be easy to remove rich soil when ready.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Vicality accepted the challenge this week and offered readers a ton of great information, including worm composting, starting a food scrap compost at work, and a great link to important composting instructions (pretty much everything you could ever want to know on the subject). To learn more, read Your CTWW Challenge: Make Compost.

Have you met Rose of Rose Rambles? If you haven't, OMGOODNESS!! The blog is about sustainable living with an entire section dedicated to composting. A post which Rose shared via twitter will be of interest to anyone who has ever been confused by the conflicting thoughts on what can and cannot be included in a compost bin. In A Rubbish Conversation turns to Compost, she shares her own experiences about what works.

Andie wrote an exciting post entitled As the Worm Turns. No, it's not a vermaculture "soap opera" but rather a unique way to compost. Want a hint? Andie's method is underground. For those who are concerned about odors and attracting pests, this method will definitely be of interest. Check it out!

Alicia grows such beautiful vegetables each year and knowing that she's a true "greenie", I suspected that she made good use of compost. Here are her comments: "We are big composters! It really can make a big difference in your soil. The University Of Tennessee's Agricultural Department will do a test on your soil if you send them a sample. We are going to do that this year because it will let you know what nutrients your soil is lacking. Our son sent in a sample this past year and he was able to give his soil what was lacking and it made such a difference in the quality of his veggies and a big bonus was that he had very little fungus to deal with because his soil was in such good shape. People don't think a lot about the soil they pant their seeds and plants in but it should be a top priority. A great way to start is by composting!"

Marla joined us and shared this: "I am currently collecting my egg shells from all the pickled eggs for Easter and any thing we are using eggs for and saving them to crush to add to my garden. I am using my peelings from potatoes and other vegetables and putting in a small tub. We put our ashes from our wood pellet stove in our garden regularly throughout the winter. I keep my leaves and let them on the ground in the fall to add nutrients to the soil and use them to protect my plants. I put banana peels around my rose bush roots every year. I do about everything I have that is good compost and use to help my soil. Never use chemicals fertilizer - if I buy fertilizer it is organic - I use organic fish oil fertilizer for my house plants. Let save our soil and get it healthy the natural organic way. I think this is a really important challenge for every one to follow. Almost all our food source come from the soil in one of the other so keep on composting and keep those chemicals out or soil and food."

Morag shared some interesting information about consuming fruits and veggies ... if we follow the guidelines, we should have peels and scraps to compost. Here are her comments: "It's interesting that reports say that 8 portions of fruit and veg a day can reduce heart disease. Here in the UK we are encouraged to eat 5 portions of fruit or veg a day, in France you'd be told to get 10 portions daily and in Australia is 5 veg and 2 fruit. So when I created the VEG OUT quest I decided that 5 is probably the a minimum amount! With regards to composting we compost absolutely everything that is food or plant waste. I've also started composting the "confidential" things that might otherwise be shredded and put into the recycling. But I have realised that we don't have a "compost" quest on our website (we have two other related quests: - sorting out your home recycling bins and cutting down on food waste - but not an actual compost one) so for this weeks #ctww my aim is to get that compost quest up on the site!"

Clare stopped by and shared a lot of information: "Composting is so easy, yet it makes a HUGE difference to the amount of waste we discard, and therefore to the environment. Not to mention all the yummy compost that the garden just loves! Thanks for those lists you referenced, there were some items that I wasn't composting, now I will. On your topic of soil and its importance, I read an excellent article in the Guardian which will resonate with many:
And if anyone is totally new to composting, I've got a really really simple starter guide here Thanks for your ideas on what to do with your compost if you don't need it yourself - many people tell me they don't need it and I hadn't thought of suggesting Freecycle or Freegle."

Charlotte shared an interesting method which is especially great for people with limited space, Bokashi Composting. This method involves fermentation rather than the usual aerobic situation.

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@2kidsandacoupon @beatepdx @bestrawesome
@brokeblokeblogs @collegegogreen @debsmikdav1
@dehelen @diyfolks @dyslexiarate
@ecoexpert1 @familyfocusblog @fitnessrate
@freshcleanersaz @ginavalley @givelocal15
@greengympenge @greenqueenofmod @gronavra
@groovygreenlivi @growingwestside @herbgir1972
@jchapstk @kaitlingarder @kayelleallen
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @lady_bren
@ladyjcmuses @leslieveg @letgogracefully
@lyndilane @martha_bourke @mdgblogger
@memorialgrdnscg @mimibarbour @moha_doha
@momfindsout @myzerowaste @nolafusion
@organicgpodcast @outdoorfammag @paintoolkit2
@parkhillfriends @rainyofthedark @rckweddings
@realityarts @rose_rambles @rulesofgreen
@shopwhatpops @spafloating @sweetnsvry
@texaninoz @thefreckledrose @thetransmitter
@theworld4realz @treesgroup @turningclockbac
@wandlepark @wary12 @wellminded
@wimpyvegetarian @worldchangingme

My Final Thoughts:

Before building our current compost bin this week, we simply placed kitchen scraps into a container and covered them with a thin layer of soil. Recently I noticed beautiful onions growing out of one container. As it happened, an onion from the grocery store became mushy before I could use it and I tossed it into the compost container. It grew! What was one, rotten onion has turned into six beautiful, healthy vegetables which I've transplanted into our garden. The mushy onion, along with other decaying materials, became food for the young veggies. To me, it is a perfect example of the benefit in composting ... trash becomes something of value. In addition to adding nutrients to the soil, composting reduces household waste and, potentially, associated fees. It is easy to do, taking no more effort than tossing something into a trash bin. It's a win for us and a win for the earth!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

April's theme is: 2015 Year of the Soil

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Legumes
Growing Peas benefits
the soil and other plants.

Here's an interesting fact:

Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, etc.) add nitrogen to the soil.

So, in addition to being lovely to eat, they help both the soil and other plants. Marvelous!

Here's your challenge ...

This week, make plans to grow some kind of legume in your garden.

OR ...

If gardening isn't for you, please come up with one other way, except for composting (which we've already talked about), to protect the soil.

OR ...

If neither of the above activities appeal, find out when organic legumes will be available at your farmer's market or grocery store and make plans to incorporate them into your diet. Buying these foods will signal growers to grow more which will, in turn, help the soil.

Are you up for adding nutrients to the soil in a delicious way? I know that you are!

Until next time ...