Just say NO to plastic straws!

The scale of plastic pollution in the oceans is appalling. An estimated 8 to 11 million tons of plastic enters the oceans every year — the equivalent of emptying a garbage truck filled with plastic into the oceans every minute.Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale, a nonprofit committed to protecting the oceans and marine life said that because the average human doesn’t interact with the oceans much, the problem isn’t widely known.   “We tend to focus more on land issues, but we have equally if not more impact in the oceans,” she said. “But it’s so far away from us, it’s so out of sight, out of mind, and really inaccessible for the vast majority of people, that we don’t really understand that it’s happening.”Plastic straws might seem like a trivial place to start — but the US alone consumes 500 million straws each day. Most of these straws end up in the world’s oceans. They end up being mistaken for food by marine life, which, when swallowed, can cause injury or even death.  Plastic straws — coffee stirrers, cocktail straws, big, bendy straws — gradually break down into microplastics that leach toxins into the water and eventually blanket the sea floor. There are several ways you can help the first is by giving up plastic straws and if you just have to have a straw try these alternatives. Bamboo These are lightweight, durable and sustainably made https://www.brushwithbamboo.com/shop/bamboostraws/Paper Disposable and biodegradable, these straws are made from high-quality, biodegradable paper. Perfect for cocktails, swimming pool drinks, private and special events. Elegant and fun with different colors they will be the perfect accessories for your next event. Steel Straws Steel straws are durable, easy to clean, and do not harm the environment. This set from Amazon is dishwasher safe, guaranteed not to rust and comes with its own cleaning brush.https://www.amazon.com/ALINK-Stainless-Steel-Straws-Replacement/dp/B07B64CM7W When we hear the word “sustainability” we tend to think of renewable fuel sources, reducing carbon emissions, protecting environments and a way of keeping the delicate ecosystems of our planet in balance. In short, sustainability looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life. Living earth is committed to making little changes that can make a big difference for our health and the planet, and helping you to live a sustainable zero-waste lifestyle.  Just say NO to the plastic straw next time you are in a restaurant, little ripples can affect great change.

Green Tip- Compost

Skip the poisons and layer on some all-natural compost, instead.  Compost, ewwww we know it sounds gross.   Start by throwing in your vegetable waste, instead of allowing it to be trucked off to the landfill. Known as “gardener’s gold,” compost enriches soil fertility by giving it a shot of high-powered, plant-loving nutrients. Aside from stimulating healthy root development, the addition of rich and earthy compost also improves soil texture, aeration, and water retention. Win-Win. Compost is the single most important supplement you can give your garden. It’s a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus to your lawn or garden that fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It’s also free, easy to make, and good for the environment.How to: Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.Lay branches or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, banana peels, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down.Add manure, green manure (grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let the rain do the job.Cover with anything you have – wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked.Turn. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. This aerates the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning “adds” oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material like straw. Once you’ve established your compost pile, add new materials by mixing them in, rather than by adding them in layers. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion.Is your pile steaming?? A hot, steamy pile means that you have a large community of microscopic critters working away at making compost.  Good job!! If this sounds too hard and you want to buy a composter, rather than build your own compost pile, you may consider a buying a rotating compost tumbler which makes it easy to mix the compost regularly.  If this sounds too hard and you want to buy a composter, rather than build your own compost pile, you may consider a buying a rotating compost tumbler which makes it easy to mix the compost regularly.  If you’re unable to generate enough compost at your home, Living Earth would love to supplement you with our Premium Organic Compost.

June TO DO List

According to Central Texas Gardener, this is the TO-DO list for June.  It is extensive don’t panic!! Living Earth has you covered from pots to mulch.  Keep calm and Garden on! Make sure to tag us on Instagram share your creations with us. #livingearthtx Plant: ornamental & wildlife Annuals:  zinnia, cosmos, sunflower, celosia, penta, periwinkle, gomphrena, portulaca and other “ice” plant succulents, Mexican sunflower, salvia coccinea Perennials & vines:  (shade them for a week or so) Semi-tropicals like Pride of Barbados Tropical plants Succulents Crinum lilies, cannas, caladiums, ginger Ornamental (clumping) grasses like muhly and Mexican feather grass Clean up and replant containers—annuals, perennials, herbs, hibiscus, vegetables in larger containers Top new containers with light layer of mulch to conserve water; use decomposed granite, pea gravel or other grit for potted succulents Plant: herbs Basil, catnip/catmint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, Mexican mint marigold, peppermint, lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon verbena, bay laurel Plant: food crops Cantaloupe, okra, Southern peas, sweet potato slips, pumpkin, summer & winter squash, watermelon Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Vegetable Planting Guides (Central Texas) http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/home-landscape/edible-gardens/growing-vegetables/ Prune Trees: DO NOT prune red oaks and live oaks unless damaged. Spray immediately with clear varnish. No need to apply pruning paint to other trees Dead head flowering plants Cut back fall blooming perennials like aster Once-only spring bloomers if you haven’t already Move/Divide Succulents Late-spring blooming bulbs while you can still see them! Fertilize Foliar feed flowers and vegetables with liquid seaweed Fertilize bougainvillea with high nitrogen Citrus with high nitrogen fertilizer like Citrus-tone. Fertilize every few weeks through growing season. Insects Watch for aphids and spider mites. It’s easy to spray them off with a hard blast of water. Be sure to get the undersides of the leaves. Ladybugs and green lacewings will be chomping down those aphids, so watch for them and their larvae. Aphids and other insects can create sooty mold on plants, a fungus that develops from their secretions (honeydew). Wash off the culprits and the leaves. Remove damaged leaves to the trash (not the compost pile). Walk the garden in early morning to pick off stink bugs and largus bugs from tomatoes. Check under the leaves for eggs. Lawn Move the lawn mower setting up to high. As we head into summer, keep the roots cool by leaving the grass long. Don’t remove more than 1/3 of the top at a time. Leave clippings on the lawn to naturally fertilize. Other tasks Collect seeds from spring-blooming plants. Clean off the chaff and let dry indoors. Store in jars, envelopes, or paper bags (not plastic) to plant in November. Collect cilantro seeds when totally dry for coriander in the kitchen or to plant next year Mulch, but avoid touching the base of trees and roses WEED! Do not let weeds go to seed. Do not apply chemicals: pull them up or mow down before they set seed. Deeply water new plants. Even if rain comes, check the soil to 3” deep to make sure their roots have water.  A brief shower doesn’t mean it penetrated to the roots. Keep a garden journal to note bloom times and insect habits. Tips Prune herbs often to encourage new growth Walk the garden in early morning to pick off stink bugs and largus bugs from tomatoes. Look under the leaves to for their eggs. Water fruit and nut trees deeply to avoid fruit drop-off Avoid over-watering plants as we head into heat. To avoid root rot, check soil moisture. Water deeply and then let dry out.