sustainability

TOP APPS FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVING

Living sustainably may sound daunting but it doesn’t have to be!  I found six apps sure to cut the work on your behalf substantially. Try out any of these apps and you’ll be on your way to a greener life!

  1. OLIO

A dating app but for the food in your fridge. The OLIO app connects you with people in your area who are trying to reduce food waste.  How? By sharing any over abundance of groceries, cleaning products or anything that could potentially go unused. All you do is take photos of the item you’d like to share and your neighbor’s can connect with you to arrange a pickup time. They have even adapted to the pandemic by adding a safety guide so that you can continue giving your neighbors a hand in the safest way.

OLIO is free and available on iOS and Android.

FUN FACT – Olio is a traditional Spanish stew created in order to prevent food waste.

  1. NoWaste

No Waste almost seems like a second grocery scanner. It literally has a scanner that you use on the barcodes of your groceries to catalog them and be able to access your fridge through your phone. There’s no need to buy anything and if it doesn’t have your grocery in the database you can simply type in the expiration date that way not one thing is lost or gone to waste. When you finish any of your food you go in and note that it has been completely consumed and the best feature it has is the “Consumption” tab that will keep track of the percentage of the food you buy has been consumed and the percentage that has gone to waste overall. A great app if you are looking to hold yourself more accountable in reducing food waste!

Sorry Android users, this free app is only available on iOS right now.

  1. iRecycle

It’s no secret… it’s better for our environment to recycle things versus tossing them in the trash to end up in our landfills.  The problem for many of us is knowing exactly what to recycle and where.

iRecycle makes finding those recycling centers so easy.

It’s a free app that uses your phone’s GPS to find the nearest location to recycle what you are trying to get rid of.

There is a huge list of items, everything from batteries, to hazardous materials, to paper and electronics… some things you never thought to recycle.

Click on the item you’d like to recycle and the app pulls up a registry of locations that recycles the item.  You’ll get the location’s address, phone number, website and a list of what is accepted.

Of all the locations I’ve chosen, the information has been current.  But these days, things can change very quickly.  So to be safe, I suggest calling or visiting the company’s website to ensure the information is accurate.

  1. Seasonal Food Guide site and app

 Seasonal Food Guide is a simple way to know what your body needs right now!  It tells you what foods are in season in your state each month.

Eating food that is in season gives you the best options for taste and nutrition.  Did you know that food contains its maximum amount of vitamins when it’s in season?  It also has more flavor, is better for the community, and has a lower carbon footprint because it doesn’t require as much transportation, refrigeration, etc. to go from the farm to your table.

Back to the Seasonal Food Guide;  it’s a free site and app.

It’s very easy to use; No need to sign up, just choose your state, the month and food you’re looking for.  You can also choose your favorite foods and the site will tell you when they are in season and the best way to choose the food.

For example, ever wonder how to know the watermelon you choose is at its ripest, sweetest moment?  According to the Seasonal Food Guide, you want to look for darker, green melons that feel heavy and sound hollow when tapped.

If you’re considering planting your own food, we have a planting calendar with everything from when to plant what, when to harvest and tips on planting.

  1. Foodprint 

This site is an extension of the Seasonal Food Guide.  It gives you even more insight into your food! It’s like an encyclopedia on the foods you choose, including the benefits, how to choose it, how to cook it, even store it.  Footprint also gives you fun facts, the sustainability of the food and it helps you figure out your “foodprint” and how to reduce it.

  1. . PlantSnap

 Starting a garden or planting trees are at the top of the list when it comes to lowering your carbon footprint.  The trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, store it in the trees and soil, and releases oxygen back into the atmosphere.

PlantSnap helps you identify plants, trees, flowers, even weeds… you’d be surprised at how many nutritious, edible weeds you may have growing right in your yard!

But if you don’t know the names of these greens, you don’t really know how to care for it.

This can also help you figure out which plants are edible and which you should not ingest.

To use the app, just snap a photo or use an existing photo from your image gallery.  The app will give you the best possible matches.

PlantSnap also plants new trees when we share photos!

This app is free, although they do have a paid version that gets rid of ads and avoids the daily snap restriction of 25.  You also need to register for an account to use the app.

If you’d like to start your own plant oasis, we have a planting calendar that shows you the best time to plant your favorite veggies, along with tips to help ensure a successful harvest.

These may all seem like small steps, which is the point of making sustainability more feasible.  I believe that every conscious choice helps get us closer to zero waste and makes lowering our carbon footprint more likely.

What new apps are you using to help you reduce waste?  Email me! I’d love to try them out!

Uncategorized

Society Garlic

The Must-Have Herb for every Kitchen

Is there one herb you can’t cook without?  You use it daily, in all types of dishes.  It’s part of what makes your food so yummy.

One of mine is Society Garlic.  You really can’t find it in stores but you can grow it, with no restrictions… even in a pot.  And let me tell you, once you try it, it’s sure to become a constant in your meals.

You can eat it raw or cooked.  I add it to my salads, beans, stir fry, eggs, stews… you name it.  And often I will cook with it, then add it fresh as well on top of some dishes.

Society garlic is definitely a must-have in my garden.  It’s resistant, grows year round and has gorgeous violet flowers, grass-like leaves.  That’s what I use in many of my meals! I chop them like garlic chives. I like flowers as a garnish… and they’re edible too!

I can’t say enough about this plant… it’s the type of herb that turns bland dishes into masterpieces.  Even more… it has benefits outside of the kitchen.

It’s known to repel mosquitoes, along with lots of health benefits including helping balance your hormones, reduce blood pressure and even help with depression.

What’s your Must Have Herb and Why?  I’d love photos!  Send them to me at info@greendesert.org.

Health

Ways to Boost Your Immune Health from Home

Ways to Boost Your Immune Health from Home

It’s a new year and that comes with new opportunities to take care of our bodies in natural ways! How you fuel your body affects everything from your mood and appearance to your overall physical and mental health. In a time where staying home is encouraged to protect the health and safety of everyone in our communities, here are some easy ways to boost your body’s natural defenses without having to leave your house. 

  1. Get outside for some moderate exercise.

Being outdoors when the sun is shining can give your body some much needed vitamin D and along with mild exercise – like stretching and conditioning/toning exercises – can reduce inflammation and promote circulation. Try to step into the backyard for 30 min a day for a light workout.

  1. Consume whole plant foods.

Whole plant foods – like nuts, vegetables, and seeds – are antioxidant rich and can help decrease inflammation. Many fruits and vegetables are also high in vitamin C, which can decrease the duration of a common cold. The vitamins in green leafy plants can boost your immune system and naturally deter harmful pathogens from remaining in your body. You can even grow these whole plant foods in your own garden making it a win for your health and a win for your wallet!

  1. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

This one may come as a no brainer, but getting good rest is the key to keeping a high functioning immune system. Lack of sleep has been linked to a higher susceptibility of illness and fatigue. Try having a cup of passion flower or chamomile tea before bed. An antioxidant called apigenin in chamomile can decrease anxiety for a better night’s sleep.

  1. Stay hydrated.

Water can help flush your system of germs and bacteria. In fact, not drinking enough water can lead to some serious problems including headaches, cramps, low blood pressure, seizures, even organ failure. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking about 3.7 liters of fluids a day for men and 2.7 liters for women.  You can also “eat” your water! Foods like melons, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, oranges are great hydrating foods.

Incorporating these things into your daily routine at home may help you notice an improvement in the way you look and feel. You can use what you already have at home to make these changes! 

Household

8 ways to use tea tree oil

Why tea tree oil is a staple in my home

 It’s common these days to see tea tree oil in all sorts of products including sanitizers, shampoos, antiseptics and more!  But you really don’t have to spend cash buying these products because you can make your own.  You’d be amazed at all you can do with tea tree… the benefits are never-ending!

 Even the Aborigines used the tea tree leaves for medicinal purposes, like chewing on young leaves to relieve headaches. They would also crush the leaves to extract the oil and inhale it to treat coughs and colds.  It’s naturally anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic.  

Today tea tree oil is used in homemade cleansers and to treat several conditions including thrush, vaginal infections, acne, insect bites, cold sores, and minor burns.  Studies have also shown that it kills several common bacteria and viruses responsible for causing illness, like E. coli. Other studies, published in the National Library of Medicine (NIH), show adding tea tree oil to cleansers makes washing your hands even more effective, vital with our current pandemic. 

HAND SANITIZER

So why not make your own hand sanitizer?  The timing couldn’t be more perfect! This DIY recipe is moisturizing, disinfecting and it’s quick…only takes me about 10 minutes to make!

This is NOT a substitute for hand washing… that will always be the best option to avoid spreading disease.  But it’s a great alternative when you don’t have access to soap and water.  The best part, you don’t have to be concerned with the toxic chemicals used in commercial sanitizers.

This recipe makes four ounces o sanitizer.  I like to use dark bottles since the essential oils are best when you don’t expose them to light.

For my sanitizer, I take 10 drops of lavender essential oil, 35 drops of tea tree essential oil, and ¼ teaspoon of Vitamin E oil.  I mix it all in a bowl.  Then I mix in 6 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol.  Next I take about 1 ounce of aloe vera gel from my aloe vera plants and mix everything really well and you’re ready to use it.

If you’d prefer a spray sanitizer over the gel, just substitute the aloe vera with witch hazel.

HOME DISINFECTANT

Other ways I use tea tree oil is to disinfect my home.

I mix one cup of water, ¼ cup vinegar, 10 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil into a spray bottle.  Next I give it a good shake before every use and it’s ready to use.  When my kids were young, I used this recipe to clean their toys.  Now I use it to clean my house.

LINK TO VIDEO 

CARPET FRESHNER

I love the clean smell so I also add it, and other essential oils, to my homemade carpet freshener.

LINK TO VIDEO

DEODORIZER

And if something is stinky, I pour 1/8 cup of tea tree oil into a bowl and place it in the fridge overnight.  By morning, you’ll never know there was ever an odor in the fridge.

ACNE

It’s also great for acne!  If I feel or see a pimple coming, tea tree oil to the rescue!

I dilute the tea tree oil with a carrier oil… usually olive, avocado or coconut oil.  It speeds up healing… I’m a witness!

But be careful… I take 4 drops of tea tree oil to one teaspoon of my carrier oil to help prevent any skin irritation, including burning.

You don’t have to take my word for it… there’s research backing my experience.

In fact, some studies show tea tree oil to be as effective against acne as some common anti-acne medications.  So if you want to try this remedy, a common way to use it is to mix one part tea tree oil with 10 parts water.  Use a cotton ball to apply it on your affected area daily.

When I have a toothache or cut in my mouth, I mix tea tree oil with water and I gargle twice per day.  The ratio is 1 cup of water to 10 drops of tea tree oil.

It actually numbs my toothache.  But be careful not to swallow it because it can be toxic.

VAGINAL HEALTH

If you’ve ever felt a vaginal itch or just want to feel a little fresher, try tea tree oil.  It’s known to be a safe way to maintain vaginal health and is supposed to get rid of yeast infections.

This is another remedy I’ve tried.

For a yeast infection, you can make a homemade douche.  I add about 10 drops of tea tree oil to about two quarts of water to a douche bag and I’ve felt immediate relief.  You can also add tea tree oil to your bath.  I put about 15 drops to my bath water.  It’s refreshing even if you don’t have any vaginal issues.

FASTER HEALING

Another popular benefit is it aids in healing cuts and bruises faster.  How?  Apparently it increases white blood cell activity that is instrumental in the healing process and it reduces inflammation.

I simply dab a few drops of tea tree oil on a cotton ball and rub it on the affected area.  Try it, you will be amazed by the results.

DANDRUFF

Got dandruff?  There’s a reason you see tea tree oil in many dandruff shampoos.  It’s supposed to help improve dandruff and itchiness.

So rather than spending a bunch on new dandruff shampoo, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a small amount of shampoo, size of a nickel.  Then wash away!!

There are so many other benefits to using tea tree oil.  I’d love to hear how you use it or if you try any of our recipes!  Email us at info@greendesert.org.

 

Health

Passionflower

Passion flower: A hypnotic herb

With everything going on in the world, it’s no wonder so many people are experiencing all sorts of negative emotions including depression, anxiety and of course boredom.  Look to nature for a cure!  You may be surprised at how many natural remedies are all around you.

Take the passion flower for example.  Some call it a hypnotic herb.

Did you know that many people use it for anxiety, insomnia, stress, stomach issues like indigestion, even ADHD?  There are even studies that show it’s known to help fight withdrawal symptoms from opiate medications when taken with the medication clonidine, And according to a study in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology, it’s a natural method to get rid of your nicotine cravings if you’re trying to stop smoking.

One of the best ways to get its benefits is by adding it to your daily tea.  I take one to two teaspoons of dried passion flower (you can use the stems, leaves and flowers) to a cup of boiling water and let it steep for about 10 minutes for my tea.

I’ve also read several articles touting that you can use the tea to treat inflammation and minor burns.  Just take a tea bag and soak it in a small amount of water.  Let it sit for about five minutes then apply it to the affected area for about 15 minutes a few times per day.  I haven’t tried this remedy so please definitely let me know if you try this one!

And if you have other remedies you’d like to share, leave it below or email us at info@greendesert.org

Health

Hibiscus

I call it hibiscus. I recently learned it has many other names around the world including… karkade, red tea, Jamaica sorrel, roselle, and sour tea.

Whatever you call it, it’s a staple in my home, especially now with so many viruses and germs floating around.

Using it as a tea is supposed to have tons of health benefits including fighting a cold, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, it can even help with weight loss.

That’s why I add it to my tea every morning! 

I love the red hibiscus variety!  It’s called Hibiscus sabdariffa.  Not only is it gorgeous but it’s filled with antioxidant and anticancer properties.  That’s why the red flowers of this variety are most commonly used for medical purposes. 

So let’s talk more about the benefits!

It contains Vitamin C and iron and as I mentioned, it’s a rich source of antioxidants.  But what does that really mean?

Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which attacks your cells and raise your risk for disease.

It also helps reduce oxidative damage, which is known to exacerbate the aging process.

I don’t know about you, but if there’s a chance that one plant can help protect me from disease, strengthen my immune system, lower inflammation, AND reduce wrinkles, I’m sold!  Did I say it’s also a delicious drink?

How to use it

One way to seep the benefits of hibiscus is by making hibiscus tea.  It’s naturally caffeine-free.  I found many articles online with several ways to use the flower for tea.  I keep it simple; I drop three whole calyxes (pictured above) into my mug, add boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes.  I sweeten it with a little honey or stevia leaves from the garden.  Once you’ve taken your calyxes from your tea glass, they are still useable for all sorts of things including relish.

Throughout the season, I dry the calyxes and leaves so I can have fresh tea all year long.  Remember the whole plant is edible!  So toss the leaves in your smoothies and salad.  You can even sauté the leaves like spinach, although fresh will give you more benefits.

If you have a yummy recipe, I’d love to try it!  Send us photos and recipes to our email and I’ll post them on our social media pages.

If you don’t have the honor of planting a hibiscus plant right now, you can still reap the benefits.

You’ll find supplements and teas at grocery stores and online.

  • Do keep in mind; since hibiscus is supposed to lower your blood pressure and affect blood sugar levels, some suggest you stop using it at least two weeks before scheduled surgery. The idea is that since it affects your blood sugar, it could make it difficult to control during surgery.

How to grow it

Now you may be wondering – how can I grow this at home? Well, good news because hibiscus is fairly easy to grow, even here in the Arizona desert climate. This plant can take the high temperatures, but cannot withstand cold weather below freezing.

Hibiscus typically thrives best in full morning sun, with some afternoon shade.

While the temps are still nice, we water our hibiscus plants every other day. Once temps reach over 100 degrees, we move to daily watering.

Deep watering encourages the plant to develop deeper roots, making it tougher when the weather gets hot and dry. Some gardeners flood their beds for about 25 minutes in order to saturate the soil.

March is the ideal time to plant your own hibiscus seeds here in Phoenix. Roselle hibiscus is what we plant. It germinates at soil temperatures between 75°- 85°F, and does well directly sown in the garden.

Dig a hole about 1 foot deep and 2 feet wide in moist soil. The roots need lots of room and the plant can get at least 4 feet wide so if you are planting more than one, give them some space. The branches can get heavy so you may want to use stakes for support, but our plants are fine without.

Next fill the hole with a mix of compost and soil, then plant your seeds about one centimeter deep before covering them with soil.

Keep the soil moist in order for the seeds to germinate.

For healthy upkeep of your hibiscus, try using compost as a fertilizer!

We add worm tea to our plants about once every two weeks.

Don’t get too anxious. It takes about six months to mature so don’t expect to harvest until fall. But trust me, it is totally worth the wait.

One of the best parts about hibiscus is it comes back every year.

We planted our plant years ago and I haven’t had to plant since.

In fact we have several volunteer plants throughout the yard and we harvest lots of seeds every season

So if you’re still looking for Roselle hibiscus seeds, check out the GreenDesertLifestyle Etsy shop!

 

Health

Is climate change solvable?

Is climate change solvable?

How to lower your carbon footprint.

It’s no secret that caring about our planet does more than help our environment; it helps our wallets, our health, our food supply, our sanity! I could go on and on. Science consistently shows our choices are killing our planet, so climate change is real… but it’s not unsolvable.

So let’s focus on solutions!

Here are 10 realistic things you can do right now to lower your carbon footprint:

  1. Grow your own veggies.

Growing a garden is not only beneficial for our body, it’s great for the environment. Replacing 20 percent of the food you buy with food you grow can reduce your carbon footprint by about 68 pounds of CO2 per year.  But that number can fluctuate, depending on other things you’re doing around your garden.  Things like mowing the lawn and using synthetic fertilizers and peat increases your garden carbon footprint so consider your resources with everything you do.

To put things in perspective… the average person exhales about 2 pounds of CO2 per day.

  1. Composting

Composting your food and yard scraps stops it from going into the landfill.  It’s also a great solution to the fertilizer issue because rather than the waste breaking down and producing the greenhouse gas methane, you are creating nutrient-rich soil.

Fun or not so fun fact: Greenhouse gas methane is thought to be more than 80 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

  1. Plant a tree.

Trees absorb CO2, then release oxygen into the air.  Just one mature tree can absorb 48 pounds of CO2 per year, while producing more than 250 pounds of oxygen each year. The average  person needs about 1600 pounds per year to survive. So every tree counts.

Other bonuses of trees include providing shade, absorbing and retaining water and many trees actually have medicinal benefits.

  1. Eat less meat.

You don’t have to completely give up meat but moderation does wonders.  For every day that you omit meat and dairy from your diet, you can reduce your carbon footprint by 8 pounds!  Imagine if everyone committed to just two days per week of avoiding meat products; the results could be priceless!

  1. Choose Conscious Clothing

When you’re buying new clothes, choose garments made from eco-friendly fabrics including organic cotton and hemp, and buy good quality so that it lasts. Another option is to shop re-sale stores.

Also don’t toss your old clothes, upcycle them, trade with friends, or even sale or donate them. Most anything is better than sending them to landfills.

  1. Wash your clothes in cold water.

You can save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year just by using cold water for two loads of laundry per week.

  1. Reduce your water usage.

There’s only so much water… we can’t really make any more of it, not enough to sustain our lifestyle.  So cherish it. That could mean taking shorter showers, turning the water off while brushing your teeth and only turning it on to rinse. Simply thinking of ways to conserve water.

Do you know how the water is cold when you first turn on the shower?  How many of us are going to start the shower cold?  But that’s a lot of water to waste.  While I’m waiting for the water to heat up, I let the cold water run into a bucket to use later.

  1. Minimize your energy use.

Adjust your hot water heater.  Turn it down to 120˚F. This can save about 500 pounds of CO2 a year.

Don’t forget the simple things like turning off lights and appliances when you’re not using them and switch to energy efficient light bulbs and of course limiting your time on the road.  All of this will help save you money as well.

Another way we minimize our energy is by using the sun.  It powers our offgrid container homes.  We also use the sun to make our meals which is so awesome because nothing burns!

  1. Just say no.

Avoid single use plastics and paper products by saying “no thank you.”  Take your own bags to the grocery store, and when you forget, simply ask for brown bags if it’s an option.

  1. Recycle and Reuse.

The goal is to keep products out of the landfill, so take care of your things so you can reuse and upcycle them.  That includes things that may seem disposable. For example, when my kids were younger, I packed some of their lunch in sandwich bags.  But the rule was to bring back all of their bags daily so we could wash them and reuse because realistically plastic isn’t going away, we use it too much in our society. But we can still be mindful.

So what’s your next step?  Calculate your carbon footprint… that means summing up the emissions from everything you do — from what you eat, to how you get around, to what you buy… even how you wash your clothes.

It doesn’t have to be a strenuous process.  There are tons of online carbon footprint calculators that make it easy.

So once you know how you are contributing to our carbon crisis, you can do something about it.  Simply make small changes in your lifestyle so it doesn’t feel hard or feel like you’re making huge sacrifices.  The little things count and they motivate all of us to do the bigger things.  And if everything feels to big for you, try other alternatives like carbon offsetting… it’s a simple way for you to pay for your carbon footprint by supporting programs that can help reduce greenhouse gases.

Remember, the problems aren’t going away just because we want them to.  Once carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere, it’s in no hurry to leave.  It stays around for a long time… anywhere from 100 to 1,000 years.  So what we do today directly affects how we and our future generations live tomorrow.

The planet provides us with everything we need to survive.  Let’s not take it for granted. Instead let’s strive for zero waste. Let’s make our planet a priority. Let’s encourage our engineers to design with the end in mind… mimic nature.

Health

A New Line of Fashion to Add to your Wardrobe

I want to introduce to you a new line of fashion to add to your wardrobe… conscious clothing.

It’s a simple way to keep toxins out of our bodies, land and our lifestyle.

I won’t bore you with ALL of the harm our clothes are causing, but I’ll touch on some of the basics:

Most clothes are made from cotton.  And many traditional cotton farmers ensure they get healthy crops by spraying pesticides and herbicides, including glyphosates.  Glyphosates are known, even noted by the World Health Organization, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Probably?  And it’s still okay that it’s being used?

Those same glyphosates leech into our skin and bloodstream; runs into aquifers used by other farmers and is blown throughout the atmosphere.  The same chemical that is supposed to “maybe” cause cancer?

Another thing glyphosates are known for is killing beneficial gut bacteria.  That’s your immune system! 

And did you know that cotton clothing requires 1/3 of a pound of chemicals for a single shirt, chemicals that are harmful to our environment?

I could go on and on.  They’re all examples of how the clothes we buy have a huge impact on or health and environment.  So we should be just as mindful of what we put On our body as we are about what we put IN our body.

So what do you do?

Consider resale stores and clothing swaps. You can take clothes you have and sale them for other clothes. This is a great way to get rid of kid clothes as they grow as well.

  1. This can be such a fun experience, especially if you’re crafty.  Take clothes you already have and create new ones.  I get it, most of us probably aren’t going to become overnight fashion designers and start upcycling our entire wardrobe, but it’s an option.
  2. Buy eco-friendly clothing. By wearing organic and eating organic, we lower the demand for so many toxic chemicals and we force farmers, scientists and engineers to come up with something better for our guts and environment.  I realize it really isn’t feasible for most of us to get rid of all of our clothes and start over with everything organic;.  But we all can limit the amount of new, traditional clothing we buy.  If you are going to shop new, make the majority of your purchases organic. 

I can’t pretend that my entire wardrobe is filled with conscious clothing, but it’s definitely the goal! I will admit, I’m in my 40’s and I still have clothing from high school.  How’s that for leaving less of a footprint!

As a commitment to sustainability we offer organic clothing with affirmations that reflect techniques that lessen our footprint.  Check out our merchandise… we have everything from shirts, hoodies, bags, even a graphic novel in the form of an e-book

Health

Calendula

Calendula officinals: None of us are immune, we all get cuts and bruises. But we don’t have to make the scars permanent.

Calendula officinalis is known to help you heal faster, it’s edible, and you can grow it! 

It’s also known as the Pot Marigold because they are in the same family, but don’t confuse it with ornamental marigolds. They do not have the same medicinal uses and are not all edible.

Calendula officinalis has so many benefits that even the FDA couldn’t deny its super powers. The FDA has approved it for internal and topical use.

Herbalists suggest using it to treat cuts, abrasions, sores, insect bites, diaper rash… even hemorrhoids and athletes foot!

I was surprised to learn how many medicinal things this pretty yellow flower is known to do.

Medicinally, it’s said the petals have been used since the 12th century! Internally it was used for things like fevers, upset stomachs and ulcers.

But its main use was similar to how many use it today, externally as a remedy for skin conditions and wound infections.

How it’s used:

Nothing is wasted! The entire plant can be used in herbal medicine… for tinctures, extracts, and teas.

If you’re not growing your own plants, I suggest using dried petals for tea, about a tablespoon  to one cup of water, or a small handful of dried whole flowers.

You can drink the tea for its healing powers, rinse with it to help with sores inside your mouth, or gargle it for sore throats… among other things.

You can also grind the flowers into powder for ointments and oils.

And although the petals are a little bitter, they are edible.  Some people add them to their leafy salads.

 So no matter how you choose to use it, just use it… the natural benefits make it worthwhile.

Click here for a list of dozens of other natural remedies using things you may already have in your home.

Garden

Should schools have gardens?

I had a fantastic start to my day – planting a school garden with the staff and students at Cheatham Elementary School in Laveen, AZ. It made me wonder why school gardens are not in every neighborhood!  We planted so many herbs and vegetables including lettuce, spinach, carrots, bok choi, swiss chard, kale, cilantro, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, even brussel sprouts.

It was so stimulating!  This was real life science, math, history, recess, even health.  Lots of the kids committed to trying new veggies we planted that they had not heard of and learned about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  They also learned how to garden without chemicals, we made our own trellis for our beans, it was priceless watching the kids talk to the plants.  One of the 2nd graders told the plants he loved them and would miss them over the weekend… it was definitely lots of awwwwwww moments.  And it was a great way to take a break from the computer to bond with Mother Nature.

In my opinion, or maybe it’s just my hope, that school gardens lead to home gardens which lead to more people making our environment a priority.  I think it will build stronger doctors and engineers because when we are connected to nature, we design with our environment in mind.  What do you think?

Back to the start of my day – one of the things that made it so pleasant was that the kids really wanted to learn… and they ranged from second grade to sixth grade.  They paid attention, they asked questions, they were respectful, they helped and taught each other; you could feel the joy, the positive energy throughout the garden. 

A large part of that addicting energy was due to the teachers who volunteered to help.  They were just as excited as the kids!  They were patient, fun and had no problem getting dirty.

None of this would have happened without the help of Arizona Worm Farm, who donated all of the compost for the garden beds.

Arcadia Colors Garden – not only did they donate seeds and plants, but they also gave us some great DIY ideas, including the trellis we made for our beans.

None of these volunteers and businesses hesitated because they were all passionate about growing and protecting their communities.  What a breath of fresh air!

The plan is to build gardens in schools all over the Valley.

There are lots of ways to help support GreenDesert.org so we can do more invigorating projects like this one:

For more information on how you can donate to the cause, go to https://greendesert.org/.