This website is an online environmental resource for kids to find ideas, information, and inspiration to go green.

Join My Mailing List!

Well said...

"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." Rachel Carson

Visit My Shop

Redwoods by Jason Chin

“Stunning... inventive... eye-opening...”
-Kirkus Reviews

by Jason Chin

email me for advertising rates

Monday, March 24, 2008

Recipes from the garden

After all that hard work in the garden, you’re probably hungry! Here are some great snacks that you can make using ingredients from your garden.

Salsa Fresca
1/2 medium onion
1 jalapeno stemmed and seeded (less if you don’t want it too hot)
2 cloves of finely minced garlic
4 tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

Coarsely chop onion, jalapeno and cilantro and put in medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well and serve.

Optional ingredients: basil, corn, black beans, chopped green, red or yellow peppers, green onions, diced zucchini and shredded carrots. Salsa is a recipe that you can experiment with depending on your tastes and what you have in your garden.

Mini Pizzas
1 Tomato chopped
Several leaves of basil chopped
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mozzarella or parmesan cheese
Several slices of toasted bread

Combine chopped tomatoes, basil and olive oil in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Place one spoonful of mixture on each slice of toast. Top with cheese and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bug–Off Bugs! Gardening without Pesticides

Whether you think bugs are icky or cool, they are total pests when they eat our plants. Most of the food you buy at the supermarket is grown using pesticides to keep bugs at bay. Pesticides are chemicals that kill insects, weeds, rodents, fungi and other creatures. But there are many helpful creatures that we want to keep around because they pollinate flowers, eat the pests that damage crops, help recycle nutrients by eating dead plants and animals, and aerate the soil by digging and burrowing. Pesticides are also very toxic for your health. Luckily there are ways to scare off pests without hurting yourself or the environment.

Here’s what you can do:
–Clear your garden of weeds and dead plants, which are breeding grounds for insects.
–Plant a variety of vegetables and rotate your crops every year. Pests are often attracted to specific plants, so when planting is mixed pests are less likely to spread throughout a crop.
–Water your garden early in the day so that plants are dry for most of the day. Wet foliage encourages insects and fungus.
–Attract beneficial pest–eating bugs to your garden buy planting flowers such as cosmos, sunflowers, sweet alyssum, corn cockle and marigolds. Marigolds also have a strong stench that deters pests.
–Plant an herb garden. Some good pest–warriors are coriander, dill, caraway chervil, fennel, and parsley.

And when all else fails, you can concoct your very own homemade bug spray. Here’s the recipe:
– Mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap with one cup of vegetable oil.
– When you are ready to spray, combine one or two teaspoons of the mixture with a cup of water in a spray bottle and shake well.
– Spray the infected plants, but be cautious not to spray when the weather is too hot, as vegetable oil can burn plants in hot weather.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Container Gardening

Lacking space or a yard to plant a garden? No problem! Start a container garden in a flowerbox or a large flowerpot.

Here’s what you do:

1) Get one or more containers with drainage holes, making sure that the container size is big enough for the type of veggies you want to grow.
2) To help with drainage, place a layer of pebbles or gravel in the bottom of each container.
3) Make a planting mix by combining potting soil and compost and fill the containers almost to the top.
4) Follow the instructions on the seed packet and sow in your seeds. Thin out your seedlings as they grow.
5) Water your garden when it feels dry.
6) Harvest and enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Grow Your Garden

Mud pies aren’t the only delicious dish you can concoct in your backyard. Grow your own garden and you will have an abundance of fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruit right from your back yard.

Gardens need three important things: light, soil, water and space. Find a location for your garden that is flat and sunny. Once you have picked out your plot your ready to go!

You’ll need:

–Seeds, compost, a rake, a hoe, a trowel, and a spade

Here’s what you do:

1) Sketch out a garden design, remember to start small, and leave plenty of room for a path between each row of plants.
2) Dig the earth in your garden plot to loosen the soil. Add compost to enrich the soil.
3) Sow in the seeds following the instructions on the packet. Thin the seedlings when they begin to appear to leave enough room for your vegetable to grow.
4) Water your new garden, and keep it moist.
5) Weed your garden of those pesky, space-–hogging weeds.
6) Harvest your fruit and veggies when they are ready.
7) Eat and enjoy!
No sure what to plant? Here are some combinations of plants that grow well together:
Tomato & basil – basil improves the flavor of tomatoes and keeps away flies and mosquitos
Chives & carrots – chives boosts the flavor and growth of carrots
Cucumber & oregano – oregano keeps cucumber beetles away

Tip: If you live in a northern climate, you might want to get a jumpstart on growing your seedlings. Make your own mini-seed pots using an old Styrofoam egg carton. Cut off the top of the carton and poke holes in the bottom piece for drainage. Fill it with a mixture of compost and potting soil and plant a few seeds in each one. Place the top of the container underneath and water. In a few weeks they be all set to transfer to your big garden!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Worms in my kitchen!?!?!
Composting when you don't have a backyard

Ordinarily it would be pretty hard to convince your parents to allow you to keep worms in your kitchen, but Vermicomposting is a great way to make compost that the whole family can get excited about. Worms make compost by eating then casting (what you and I refer to as pooping) organic matter that is very high in nutrients and free of bacteria. If you are lacking in outdoor space or just like playing with worms, this effective way of composting is a great alternative. To learn more about composting with worms, get a book from your library or search online for how–to's, such as this kitchen-composting guide.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Spring is in the air

This week at the Green Guide for Kids we will be talking about gardening. Spring is right around the corner (yeah!) it's a great time to think about planning a garden. First things first, you'll need some nutrient rich soil. Compost tackles so many concerns at once, from organic fertilizer to reducing your household waste. Here's a little background info to get you started:

Dirt, Glorious Dirt

Next to your brother’s shoes, there is nothing stinkier in your house than your garbage can. The reason that garbage smells so bad is also the same reason that cow manure stinks, and why landfills are such a danger to our climate. What you smell is methane, that dangerous greenhouse gas we talked about. Methane gas is the by–product of anaerobic bacteria slowly breaking down the garbage. Because the garbage in landfills is compacted together, only Anaerobic bacteria (meaning without air) can survive. Aerobic bacteria (meaning with air) thrive in compost heaps where there is plenty of oxygen. In fact, millions of microscopic organisms set up camp in a compost piles, quickly devouring and recycling its contents to produce a rich organic fertilizer known as humus. This process does not produce methane and therefore should not stink. That is, unless, your brother decides to compost his socks.

You can cook up your own compost pile in your own yard by following this easy recipe. Here’s what you do:
The ingredients:

Green plant matter: fresh plant material such as weeds, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters.

Brown plant matter: dried plant matter such as fallen leaves, branches, straw, cornstalks, newspaper and sawdust.

Air: remember that those aerobic bacteria need oxygen.

Water: they also need water. Keep your compost moist like a wrung out sponge.

1) Choose a place in your yard that is level and approximately 3x3 feet.
2) Put down the brown and green matter.
3) Cover the pile with an inch of soil and mix well.
4) Turn the pile every week to let air in. Keep the pile moist.
5) Stand back and let the chemistry happen! In 10-12 weeks you’ll have a nice pile of cooked organic soil.

Did you know?
—The average household produces more than 200 pounds of kitchen waste every year.
—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cites landfills as the single largest source of methane emissions to the atmosphere.