It’s already that time, you guys! That’s how you know spring is almost here…. it’s seed sowing time. I’m so excited to start in on my vegetable garden, I’ve got my grow light out, I’ve got all my books (this and this) on my coffee table and I’ve been madly perusing the Seed Savers Exchange website. But I got a little overwhelmed with where and when, exactly, to start, so last weekend I sat down to talk a little bit with Meredith Shepherd of the DC-based organic home gardening service Love & Carrots and get her advice for starting your own small home garden.
Here are a few of her tips:
- Grow herbs. Meredith advises the best way to get started gardening is to design and grow a small herb garden, especially if you’re a renter. Her favorites are lavender, sweet woodruff, lemon verbena and chives.
- Don’t over water or under water. Read up on what you plant and what kind of soil and water level it needs so you don’t waste your time or drown your plants. (She told me I should be keeping my rosemary separate from the rest of my herbs because it likes it a bit drier.)
- Salad greens can grow in the shade, especially the “cut and come again” varieties. This is handy if you live on a narrow street and don’t have much sunlight.
- The District proper is a plant hardiness zone warmer than the rest of the surrounding DMV area. This is handy to know when you’re trying to figure out when and what to plant.
Overwhelmed? Love & Carrots can help. Meredith’s service offers everything from consulting (a one-time service where she helps you think it all through) to coaching (you set up regular appointments where they teach you everything you need to know, complete with syllabus and notes emailed to you after), or full plant-and-care service done by her staff.
After confessing the way growing a garden makes me feel like I’m sticking it to big agriculture (Monsanto, I’m looking right at you), Meredith agreed. “I feel like I’m bringing back a part of culture,” she said about Love & Carrots. “All our grandparents had gardens, it just makes sense.”
courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’
I’ve been participating in the Zipcar Low Car Diet challenge this month, and something that I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten more transit-dependent is that a lot of intelligent, resourceful people are completely confounded by any bus that’s not the Circulator. If their destination is not close to a Metrorail stop, they drive to it. I humbly submit that this is completely ridiculous; the bus is just not that hard.
However, it IS true that Metrobus lacks the navigational simplicity that Metrorail has. The Metro map gives you a nice sense of the finite nature of Metrorail: there are only 5 lines, and they’re, well, lines; they go to all the stops in order one way, and they go back along the same stops the other way. That’s it. Have you seen the full Metrobus system map? It’s a freaking mess. It’s not even one map; they had to split it into three.
So with the goal of making it all a little less daunting for the novice Metrobus-rider, here are a few things you need to know: Continue reading
courtesy of ‘bhrome’
Ever wanted to do more than just wander among the cherry trees during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF)? A new partnership between the NCBF and Casey Trees will now let you do just that.
Community groups who are interested in adding ten or more trees to public property in their neighborhood – property which includes DCPS and Charter schools and universities, parks, libraries, places of worship – can apply to the new Neighborhood Tree Planting Program for all eight wards of the District.
Groups can register by visiting the Casey Trees website and should make sure to list their intention to plant between three and ten cherry trees. Eligible sites should have the capacity to plant and maintain a minimum of ten trees; only three need to be cherry trees as part of the program.
The application deadline is November 30, with plantings occurring in the spring of 2011.
‘Do my nails clash with the red?’
courtesy of ‘fromcaliw/love’
After a lengthy community discussion about where to place the new Capital Bikeshare station, the latest addition to the operation has opened in the Northwest neighborhood of Glover Park in the parking lot of the Guy Mason Recreation Center.
According the Glover Park resident listserv, residents are hopeful that bikesharing will get a lot of use as an alternative to pokey buses and single-occupant car trips.
courtesy of ‘Dan Dan The Binary Man’
Weekend plans still up in the air? Then add the Green Festival, taking place Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center, to your calendar.
This is the nation’s premier sustainability event, where individuals, businesses and community leaders come together to discuss critical issues that impact us at home and abroad.
The event features renowned authors, leaders, educators, great how-to workshops, cutting-edge films, activities for kids; organic beer and wine, vegetarian cuisine, live music and the latest and greatest in green innovation.
It’s also a great place to pick up some holiday gifts with more than 350 eco-friendly businesses selling everything from all-natural body care products to beautiful kitchen tiles made from renewable resources.
courtesy of ‘erin m’
Over an especially gluttonous meal one night, filled with lamb chops and veal, we had a thought: What would life be like without all this meaty goodness? But not only without meat, what about life without this cheesy, eggy goodness? That crazy night (after maybe a few too many glasses of wine) the idea of Vegan Week was born. We, your loyal food writers here at We Love DC, decided to tried are very best to eat completely, 100% vegan for one week.
Well…one work week. Ashley ate most of her meals out of the house, for no other reason than everything she knew how to cook had bacon in it, while Katie had to make her decidedly unveg work location work for her. What follows is the sometimes humorous, sometimes surprising, sometimes depressing account of Vegan Week 2010. (For more on our decision to go vegan, check back here Thursday at 11 a.m. for the wrap-up post in this series, We Love Vegan: The Question and Answer Session.)
A disclaimer: Through plenty of Internet research and polling our friends who know a little bit about living a meat-free lifestyle, we came to our conclusions about how to attack Vegan Week. We tried, to the best of our abilities to eat vegan, and to our knowledge we did. If we screwed something up along the way, it was on account of our own stupidity more than anything else. We are not vegans, not even vegetarians, but we tried our best. Also, just a reminder, we here at We Love DC respect all lifestyles, from the meatful to the plantful, and expect that you do too. Take your haterade elsewhere, thanks. Continue reading
courtesy of ‘Peter Alfred Hess’
Tomorrow night, you can go bare in Dupont Circle – at the launch of Herban Lifestyle’s Naked ™ beauty and skin care line, that is. Come check out the new body butter, mineral soak, facial masque and more. They have only minimally processed natural, organic and fair trade ingredients and no harsh chemicals.
Chief Herban Developer Mary Kearns will be debuting them at One Restaurant and Lounge, at 1606 20th St. NW. Even if she were not a friend of mine, I’d still suggest you go; her products are great, and they’re very green.
Prices range from $5 for lip balm to $35 for bath tea. Fifteen percent of tomorrow night’s proceeds will be donated to Miriam’s Kitchen.
Zozo: International Walk to School Day! from Streetfilms on Vimeo.
Perhaps on your commute today you noticed an increase in the level of munchkins and parents walking around the city. That’s because today is National & International Walk Your Child to School Day.
Beginning in 1997, the Partnership for a Walkable America sponsored the first National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago, modeled after the United Kingdom’s lead. The event’s mission was simply a day to bring community leaders and children together to create awareness of the need for communities to be walkable.
In 2010, the event has gone completely global and it’s goals have slightly expanded: To Create Safe Routes, To Engage Kids of All Abilities, To Enhance the Health of Kids and To Improve The Environment.
Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, and his pigs
If you’ve been to some of DC’s restaurants that tout local fare, or if you’ve read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or seen Food Inc., chances are you’ve heard of Polyface Farm and its charismatic leader, farmer Joel Salatin.
Go to the farm’s Web site, and you’ll see that “Polyface, Inc. is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.”
These are all very good things, in my opinion—and it lets you know, if you don’t already, that you’ll get a lot of adjectives from Salatin. So a friend and I recently took a day’s journey to Swoope, Virginia, to check out the wonders of Polyface for ourselves.
courtesy of ‘romana klee’
Andy Keller, known to many as the “Bag Monster” is bringing his 500 – 700 plastic bag suit and plastic bag display to DC today. If you caught Andy when he visited DC on September 6th, then you already know that Keller’s suit represents the amount of plastic bags the average American uses in a year and the rest of his display, 45,000 plastic bags, a single person’s lifetime consumption of bags. Keller’s goal is to educate communities about the harms of single-use bags, and while DC’s bag tax has helped diminish bag consumption, we’ve still got a ways to go.
If you spot the bag monster, send us a tweet @welovedc with his location.
You may have seen that you can get $10 to try Silver Diner’s yummy new Fresh & Local menu if you are one of the first 5,000 fans to like them on Facebook.
They’re almost to their goal – and if they reach it by 2 p.m. today, they’ll hold a drawing. You could win two tickets to The Sound of Music at Wolf Trap on Aug. 31 and a $25 Silver Diner Gift Card! Plus, four fans each get a $20 Silver Diner Gift Card.
But you better be quick!
When you think about diner food, “fresh” and “local” probably don’t spring to mind. But the fine folks at the Silver Diner are out to change all that – and to let you try some of their new dishes for free.
Starting today, if you “like” Silver Diner on Facebook and enter your e-mail on their form, they’ll send you a coupon for $10 off once they reach 5,000 fans.
Their new Fresh & Local choices mean if you order a salad topped with local blueberries and goat cheese, it’ll taste great.
And you can still order a burger – they’ll just hold the hormones and the long truck ride for your beef, and stack on extra juicy flavor.
‘Jeff Hancock and Brandon Skall’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’
“We’re quitting our jobs, next week,” Brandon Skall tells me. I look over at his business partner, Jeff, who smiles wryly. “From here on out, it’s all DC Brau.” Maybe it’s a crazy thing to do. Starting a business in the best of times is tough, but in this economy it’s especially risky. Still, Brandon and Jeff don’t seem worried, which inspires a certain confidence.
“How do your wives feel about it?” I ask, noticing wedding rings on their fingers.
“They’re scared shitless, but they’re excited,” Jeff Hancock replies. “That’s how I knew this was a good idea.” Both men smile, lean back in their chairs and sip their beers. It’s one of the hotter days in late June and we’re sweating it out on the back porch of Little Miss Whiskey’s, talking about their start-up brewery, DC Brau.
‘Summer Film Series’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’
Looking for a way to escape the heat tonight? How about a free movie?
Come see Food, Inc. at Letelier Theater in Georgetown. A reception starts at 6 p.m., with the movie at 6:30. A discussion follows with Food & Water Watch and Food Program Director Patty Lovera.
It’s an eye-opening movie that I found empowering. Especially in the DC area, it takes only a little extra effort to find farmers markets and restaurants offering local food that’s safer and healthier than what comes from factory farms – and that tastes fresh and delicious.
If you’ve ever thought of starting your own sustainably sourced salad shop or of plucking all the trash from the city streets, check out tomorrow night’s screening of Climate of Change, a film that shows how ordinarily people are making a difference for the planet, around the planet.
It shows how self-described “hillbillies” in Appalachia battle strip mining and mountaintop removal, a London woman starts an environmental communications firm, a 13-year-old in India rallies against plastics, and more.
The screening starts at 6:30 p.m. at Georgetown’s Letelier Theater, and a wine reception catered by Sweetgreen follows. Tickets are $20 and RSVPs are required to this Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital event.
courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’
If you like buying stuff online at a steep discount, check out the newest program in town – Greenbacks. The twist? It’s all green, giving you at least 40% off of eco-friendly products, services, and events.
To celebrate the launch, today and tomorrow you can get a $50 gift card to Java Green and the new Cafe Green for only $25. Just buy the coupon, print it off, and take it to them.
Each week, Greenbacks will offer new deals at places like Holeco® Wellness Medi Spa, Herban Lifestyle, Big Bad Woof, and Energy Efficiency Experts, all eco-friendly businesses in the DC-metro area.
And if it’s on Greenbacks, you’ll know it’s green–each product or service goes through Live Green’s rigorous vetting process, which measures quality, social responsibility, and the greenness of both the product/service and the business’ operations.
‘Dreamy Creamy Chocolate’
courtesy of ‘Hoffmann’
Even the mayor will be on hand to welcome a new farmers market to the city tomorrow. The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace kicks off at 9 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. at 14th and Park, across from Giant, Target, and Tivoli Theater.
At 11 a.m., Mayor Adrian Fenty, Chairman Vincent Gray, and Councilmembers Jim Graham and Kwame Brown will kick off opening ceremonies. Dancers and actors from the Dance Institute and Gala Theatre will perform; live entertainment will take place the first Saturday of each month and include activities like tai chi and cooking demonstrations.
Come every Saturday for fresh veggies and fruit (it’s berry season, you know), meats, breads, cheeses, flowers and beat-the-heat gelato–all grown and raised within 150 miles of DC.
Thrive DC, Miriam’s Kitchen and Christ House, three local homeless services, will be gleaning leftover produce to make meals for the homeless.
Ever wonder happens to your recycling once it leaves the bin?
Arlington County recently released a video that takes you inside a recycling facility. It shows how items are sorted, where they go, and what’s made from them.
Your host? A bathrobe-clad man carrying a coffee cup labeled “dork.” Check it out for good info and good cheesy fun.
‘The Lawnmower Man (197/365)’
courtesy of ‘NomadicLass’
You may think that grass and veggies are inherently green, but a new guide tells you how to make yours even greener.
The Climate-Friendly Gardener: A Guide to Combating Global Warming from the Ground Up, tells you how to lock carbon dioxide in the soil so it doesn’t heat the atmosphere.
“Gardening practices alone won’t solve global warming, but they can move us in the right direction, just like installing super efficient light bulbs and using reusable bags,” said Karen Perry Stillerman, a DC-based senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment Program, which released the guide.
Tips include avoiding chemicals and motorized equipment, planting trees and shrubs so they shade your house and block wind, minimizing fertilizer and water use on your lawn, composting, and planting winter crops.
courtesy of ‘loop_oh’
United Parcel Service (UPS) is expanding its alternative fuel fleet and deploying 17 new next-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks in the metro DC area. These vehicles are part of a 200 alternative fuel vehicle expansion taking place in DC, Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Long Island, Minneapolis and Louisville.
According to UPS’ press release, the new fleet will ” reduce fuel consumption by roughly 176,000 gallons over the course of a year,” and will “reduce the amount of CO2 gases released annually into the atmosphere by 1,786 metric tonnes. ”
This UPS “green” fleet uses a multitude of alternative energy technologies, such as hydraulic hybrid technology, regenerative braking (when energy generated from applying the brakes is captured and returned to the battery as electricity,) compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, electricity, etc.
The new hybrid trucks, currently being deployed in DC, will look exactly the same as regular UPS trucks, except for the additional labeling identifying them as hybrid electrics. So keep your eyes peeled.