How to Lessen Your Monthly Bills by Saving Energy in the Kitchen

Guest post by Ally

The kitchen is one of the most frequently used rooms in your home, whether you are whipping up a snack or cooking a three course dinner for two. So it stands to reason that this is also the place where the most energy is wasted. Making some simple changes in the way you prepare your food and use kitchen your appliances can help you to save a lot of money on utility bills each year.

The kitchen
The Kitchen by eightfivezero

The following tips and advice will help you to conserve as much energy as possible in the kitchen, and subsequently lower your monthly bills. Continue reading How to Lessen Your Monthly Bills by Saving Energy in the Kitchen

Organic Soil Management – Water Repellence

Guest post by Alisa Bryce

Water repellence is when water can’t filter into a soil. Instead it pools on top and often runs off, sometimes causing erosion.

Water repellent soil (or hydrophobic soil) develops for two main reasons.

  1. When the soil has remained dry for a prolonged period
  2. The soil particles become covered with a waxy coating

Fresh compost and mulches are a frequent source of waxy coatings. This is why it’s important to use aged compost and mulch.

In Australia, overhanging eucalyptus trees are another common culprit of water repellence. As the leaves decompose, the eucalyptus oil inside is released and coats soil particles. Continue reading Organic Soil Management – Water Repellence

5 Ways to Save Water So That You Can Save Money & the Environment

“Running Water” by Jessica Melling

There are two very important reasons why we should all be doing our bit to help conserve water. There is the obvious money-saving benefit that comes with using less water but in my view the second reason is something most of us do not about nearly enough – the environment.

In the developed world, having easily accessible water is not considered a luxury, but although we take running water for granted, the fact is that less than 1% of all fresh water in the world is easily accessible to humans.

In under-developed countries, more than 884 million people lack easy access to safe, clean water, and this number is still growing. This means that only about one in every eight people has water when and where they need it. This alone should motivate you to use water sparingly, but in addition to this; using water, particularly hot water, contributes to global warming by increasing the emissions of greenhouse gases. The average family in the developed world uses about 500 litres of water per day, which produces around 1.5 tons of greenhouse gasses every year. Continue reading 5 Ways to Save Water So That You Can Save Money & the Environment

What to Plant in May: 12 Cold Weather Roots & Vegetables to Plant Now in Sydney (Temperate Zone)

1. Garlic

DSC_0143a
DSC_0143a by zdjecia Jacka P

Where: plant gloves directly into the soil
Harvest: from November Continue reading What to Plant in May: 12 Cold Weather Roots & Vegetables to Plant Now in Sydney (Temperate Zone)

What to Plant in April: 15 Autumn Vegetables & Herbs to Plant Now in Sydney (Temperate Zone)

It’s not quite winter yet, but there is a definite feel that it’s coming. The morning air is chilly and crisp, and it’s almost time to bring out the warm comforter blanket. What I love about Autumn and Winter seasons are those delicious opportunities for soups and stews. Given my Russian heritage, I would like to share this Bortsh (Борщ) recipe that makes frequent appearance in our household. It’s healthy, it’s in-season and it tastes great!

Borsch recipe
image by http://www.ayurvediclight.net

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 1 beetroot
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (can put more!)
  • 1/2 head of cabbage (or silverbeet, as we have discovered)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of tomato paste (can also add fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 table spoons of vinegar
  • 2 table spoons of olive oil for shimmering vegetables
  • dill, parsley, black pepper and salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Peel and cut potatoes, set to boil in about 4 cups of water
  2. Peel and thinly slice beetroot and carrots. Heat up oil in the pan and shimmer beetroot and carrots on low heat for at least 10 minutes (or until tender). Add vinegar and lemon juice to the mix. This will release the deep red colour of the beets.
  3. Cut the onions and add them to the carrot & beetroot mix about 5 minutes before they are done
  4. When ready, transfer the carrot & beetroot mix to the pot with boiling potatoes
  5. Add salt, pepper, cabbage, tomato paste to broth and cook on medium heat for about 20 mins
  6. Now the secret ingredient: cut raw garlic, dill, and parsley into small pieces. Put in a cup and mix well. Let them sit together while the broth is boiling.
  7. When broth is almost ready, add the secret ingredient mix. It will add a lot of flavour to the soup, but don’t over-cook it! After 3 mins, turn off the pot and let it sit for 10-15 mins on the stove.

Serve with toast and sour cream for a truly Russian experience. Enjoy!

And now, on to the planting guide…

1. Beetroot

Harvesting Beetroot
Harvesting Beetroot by amortize

Where: sow directly into the soil
Harvest: from August Continue reading What to Plant in April: 15 Autumn Vegetables & Herbs to Plant Now in Sydney (Temperate Zone)