June 17, 2011
August 18, 2010
Marvin’s Organic Gardens teamed up with Loveland Canoe & Kayak, Rivers Unlimited, The Izaak Walton League & Little Miami Inc. to clean up the beautiful river in our community.
With 66 volunteers we extracted:
80+ tires – Thank you to Tire Discounters for taking these!
1 hot tub
1 16 ft power boat
Over 2 tons of trash in total!
August 16, 2010
The next time you clean out and de-clutter your home, garage or tool shed, please consider your local school garden programs and community gardens for donation of your old tools and gardening supplies. Granny’s Garden School in Loveland, for instance, works with students at Loveland Elementary to teach them how to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers organically, and how to use them. This community-focused nonprofit organization has been accepting ’gardening junk’ for years and turning it into productive educational (and safety) tools for Granny’s childhood learning gardens. Other programs such as Lincoln Heights and Price Hill Community gardens run on a shoe-string budget and are in need of volunteer help and material donation support. It has been projected that there are about 1 million new edible gardens built in the U.S. this year alone. Many of these gardens (and gardeners) help their local communities by providing nutrient-rich herbs, fruits and vegetables to food pantries that may otherwise have no access to enzyme dense, nourishing produce. Such wholesome foods help to promote healthier, more productive, and yes, safer, communities.
These grass (and vegetable) root gardens are run primarily by passionate volunteers that are sacrificing their time and energy to not only provide good quality food for themselves and their families, but also for those in need. Gardening projects like these help to build a stronger sense of community and bring both old and young together for fellowship, food and fun. We can all help to support the cooperative garden programs in our community by donating any of the old tools that we’ve replaced with newer models or that are just taking up space. This is a tax-deductible offering that will enrich your community and keep the gardens growing! All of these community gardens are looking for items such as, but not limited to:
1. Metal garden trowels, shovels, rakes, hoes & other gardening hand-tools
2. Wagons, wheelbarrows & kitty litter boxes for hauling materials around gardens
3. Terracotta pots, larger ornamental containers, plastic pots & propagation trays for all growing needs
4. Canning jars for soil tests, storing seed & canning produce
5. All sizes of baskets with handles for harvesting produce
6. Plastic Venetian blinds, which are cut into smaller strips and used for plant tags
7. Tomato cages are excellent for tomatoes & other climbing edibles as well
8. Sprinklers of all sorts, both drip hose & solid hose
9. Sturdy scissors and any hand shears which are used for cutting flowers, weeds and to harvest vegetables
10. Knee pads, ear and eye protective gear assures everyone’s gardening experience is as safe as possible
11. Outdoor chairs, benches and tables provides areas for rest and enjoyment within the garden areas
12. Scales weigh produce, seeds & other items and magnifying glasses to study insects and other garden life
13. Plastic and metal trash cans for storing all sorts of gardening supplies
14. Envelopes of all sizes to store seed in
15. All shapes, colors and sizes of vases to fill with flowers and share with those in need
Please feel free to drop donated items by Marvin’s Organic Gardens and we will distribute your items to local garden programs in need. Or, you are welcome to take your supplies directly to the sources in need. Donating your ‘gardening junk’ to local community gardens helps to promote healthier and more self-sufficient communities. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and this effort not only promotes a stronger community, but also recycling, ultimately keeping useful ‘trash’ out of our over-filled landfills.
July 30, 2010
We think these vintage-inspired seed bomb satchels are too cool! Made by Visual Lingual in Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, we now carry them at Marvin’s Organic Gardens! This can be a fun project to do with children – just throw them out in the lawn & see what sprouts! The 5 “bombs” in the bag are bee, butterfly & bird friendly.
July 29, 2010
Looking for a fun eco-friendly project for the weekend? Try 1 or all of these 6 suggestions for reusing plastic bottles!
Read the article on Earth911.com here.
Be sure to post photos of your finished projects on our Facebook wall!
Trendy lamp made from plastic bottles, believe it or not!
July 16, 2010
By Wes Duren
Drift back in time for a moment, and imagine yourself again as a child. Do you remember playing outside, your youthful curiosity urging you to explore the wild world beyond your home? Maybe you can recall memories of a childhood adventure amidst seemingly vast woodlands or a babbling creek that appeared larger than life. Perhaps there was a favorite tree you used to sit beneath or dangle from, or a garden that you helped nurture to maturity. Can you remember digging in the dirt or lifting the edge of a rock to discover the wild creatures that dwelt beneath?
While many of us can recollect warmhearted memories of playing outdoors in our youth, scores of children today have never had the opportunity to embrace nature and benefit from its many healing qualities. In an age where visual and audio technology have become the dominant entertainment and educational tools, gardening is one way to bring peace and the natural rhythm of life to a child. Numerous studies have shown a connection between spending more time in front of the TV and the computer, with the ever-growing obesity challenge among both children and adults. Unlike TV and computers, nature does not steal our time- it amplifies it. According to a study performed at the University of Maryland, from 1997 to 2003, there was a decline of 50 percent in the number of children ages nine to twelve who spent time in outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, fishing and beach play. In the gardens and natural world just outside our homes, neighborhoods and cities, children’s creative imagination is evoked and there they can find freedom, adventure and time for reflection, while exercising full use of the senses.
An easy way to introduce children to nature is through the practice of organic gardening. Such practices include working with nature to promote safer, more sustainably grown and nutrient dense food, while helping to protect our wildlife, soil, water, farmers, and ultimately the health of future generations. Because organic gardening is an action-oriented activity, it helps children to channel their energy in positive and constructive ways. Gardening can be an educational tool for children because it helps them develop cognitive skills such as problem solving, a sense of responsibility and purpose, as well as improved focus and patience. Many aspects of organic gardening can be therapeutic for children by improving self-esteem, confidence and interpersonal relationships. When adults and children garden together, it is well known that children feel more useful, productive and possess a profound sense of belonging. Organic gardening and playing outside teaches children how to nurture and respect all life forms, from the tiniest insect to their gardening helpmates. The mind and spirit of a child is a lot like wet cement. When a child is young, it takes little effort to make an impression that can last a lifetime.
Think about what it means to be a child growing up in today’s media driven society, inundated with technologies that distract them from a close connection with nature and their community. We are spending more time communicating with each other through cell phones and computers, rather than quality face-to-face time with our friends and family. Nature captivated the imagination of older generations, but now many of our youth are lured indoors with a bombardment of media driven messages telling them what to wear and how to live. We’ve become disconnected with our natural areas, whether it is a garden, woodland, field or ponds edge, and many do not even realize what they are missing. One of the greatest benefits of gardening and of unstructured outdoor recreation is that it doesn’t cost anything. Because organic gardening and nature exploration are free, or very inexpensive, there is no major economic interest involved. Rather than allowing media to manipulate and define our youth with profit focused messages of self absorbed materialism, let us help to guide our youth towards the ever enriching outdoors, filled with adventure and age-old positive life lessons.
Organic gardening helps children to develop practical skills that they can use throughout their lives, while reducing their exposure to dangerous and persistent garden chemicals, such as pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. More crucial now than any other time in history, we need to help reduce our children’s risk of exposure to harmful pesticides, which have been directly linked to ADHD and childhood cancer. While gardening organically, children are able to learn about plants, their environment and themselves. It begins now, here, and with you! We can all help to positively impact our youth by trying some of the suggestions below:
1. Build an edible organic garden together. Help to plan, plant, maintain, harvest, prepare and eat the fruits and vegetables that you grow together. Teach the children about the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetable grown organically. Let the children help make decisions regarding what to grow, and guide them to patiently and steadily culture the garden to final harvest. Take time together to savor the sweet, dripping flavor of your own summer plucked watermelon, or of the fresh picked asparagus stalks which can be easily snapped at ground level by hand and eaten raw. There are many edible and equally ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, vegetables and herbs, so it can be very exciting to explore new fruits, nuts, flowers, herbs, veggies and berries that could enhance your child’s gardening and culinary experience. If you do not have land or gardening knowledge, let the children join a farming camp at your local not-for-profit learning farm such as Gorman Farm (http://www.gormanfarm.org/) , Green Acres (http://www.green-acres.org/GAF_sitepages/GAF_MAIN/GAF_MAIN-Home.html) and Turner Farm (http://www.localharvest.org/turner-farm-M343).
2. Construct a compost pile together. Collect kitchen scraps, garden debris, lawn clippings, fallen leaves and animal manure from local livestock farms (if available), and mix all ingredients in a pile, tumbler, bin or other compost containment system. Allow children to see, touch and smell each material before it is incorporated into the compost pile, and then let them help to turn (or tumble) the compost to speed up decomposition. Once the compost is well broken down into a usable garden amendment, show the children how to incorporate compost into the soil around plants, making sure they get to work with their hands as much as possible. Children love learning that soil is alive and that we shouldn’t treat it like dirt.
3. Plant native Ohio flora in your yard and community together to encourage wildlife. From birds, bees, bats, butterflies and other bugs, children can help you integrate plants that predate European settlement in our area, many of which help cater to our abundance of local wildlife. By spending more time outdoors, children will begin to see and enjoy the infinite wonders our wild natural world has to offer. Television, computers and video games will never replace the enchanting chorus of frogs and toads belching in harmony along the rim of a muddy pond, or the song of a myriad of migrating birds as they flutter effortlessly amid the tree canopy of colorful autumn foliage. By learning to enjoy plants and wildlife, children become more competent and confident and are more likely to protect and preserve nature as they get older.
What greater gift can we give our children than the opportunity to care and share and to be a positive force in their community? The oldest children’s garden in the United States was built in 1914 at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and a quote printed from within the garden gates that resonates through the ages proclaims, “He is happiest who gathers power from the wisdom of a flower.” While simple, this passage magnifies the importance of interconnectedness with nature and humans. Together, we can nurture positive childhood development in our community through the support of organic gardening and outdoor activities. Share your love of gardening or nature with a child, and watch them bloom into a beautiful, loving adult. Please contact us at Marvin’s Organic Gardens to discuss ways we can help you and your community develop an organic children’s garden or build educational hiking trails through a local wooded area. Go organic. It’s only natural!
June 17, 2010
This month we have put together a helpful list of ways you can promote safe and sustainable gardening and green living, while saving money and time. We hope you’ll try some of these eco-friendly practices and let us know if you have other green ideas that could save some green.
1. Replace a section of your lawn with native prairie plants or permanent edible plants.
2. Raise your lawn mower blade height to reduce weeds, slow lawn growth and extend the life and gas economy of your mower.
3. Mix a gallon of white vinegar with a tablespoon of eco-friendly liquid detergent to be used as a natural herbicide to kill weeds. Works best on sunny days above 70 degrees F.
4. Plant shade trees around your home to lessen the need for AC.
5. Plant intensely to crowd out weed competition in your beds and to increase your seasonal interest.
6. Start small. Use smaller trees, shrubs and perennials because they establish faster and require less work to plant.
7. You may want to use an old reel mower to reduce fuel consumption. Newer models are easy to use and very affective.
8. When purchasing construction supplies, use recycled or reclaimed materials from not for profit organizations such as Building Value in Cincinnati. www.buildingvalue-cincy.org
9. Take your family on a hike and picnic instead of a movie, amusement park or restaurant.
10. Your purchase is your vote. Shop at your local farmers markets and independently owned businesses for high quality products and to support local business. Learn more about our co-op program here: http://marvinsorganicgardens.com/blog/?p=117
11. Make and use your own compost. You can compost your food and yard waste and turn it into black gold! Your plants will thank you by blooming and fruiting bigger and better than ever.
12. Use recycled cardboard, paper grocery bags and newspaper to reduce weeds and watering needs. Simply apply paper over all of your beds prior to mulching.
13. Extend the usefulness of your mulch by flipping and turning it with a hard rake every 4 months.
14. Use organic fertilizer, which costs less than chemical fertilizers due to reduced fuel consumption in the manufacturing process. Also, organic fertilizer is safer for you, your family, our soil and water.
15. Use sustainable organic pest control products, which tend to protect your plants longer than chemical pesticides and they will reduce your exposure to toxic pesticide carcinogens. Also, organic pest control products tend to target just the pest that needs controlling, while leaving your beneficial insects unharmed and healthy.
16. Fertilize your plants for free! Have your family pee in a designated pot and mix 50% urine with 50% water and then water your plants with this mixture. t works well to green up plants and will help to keep rodents away. If mixed correctly, there will be no unpleasant odor!
17. Select plants that are naturally insect and disease resistant, such as Ohio natives. There are many selections of fruit trees and shrubs that have been hybridized for better pest resistance.
18. Use rain barrels to capture your chlorine- and fluorine-free rainwater. This can be used for water features, lawn and garden irrigation and to clean your car.
19. Use drip hoses rather than traditional sprinklers to lessen water waste.
20. Use free leaf mulch and woodchips from your local municipal yard waste collection site.
21. Grow your own food. You can raise organically grown vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs and permanent edible plants such as trees, shrubs, perennials and vines, all which can add beauty and function to your landscape.
22. Use energy efficient landscape lighting such as LED.
23. Attract more birds, bats, frogs, owls and beneficial insects to your yard. The more beneficial wildlife you attract, the fewer pest insects you’ll have to combat.
24. Raise your own birdseed by planting annual sunflowers. Sunflowers provide beauty in your yard, while providing nectar and pollen for honeybees and butterflies, as well as seed for the birds.
25. Take care of your soil life by eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. our soil is teeming with life, most of which is very beneficial to your lawn and garden plants. By adding compost to your lawn and gardens annually, you will stimulate your soil life and gain maximum benefit from your soil critters.
We look forward to sharing another safe and sustainable summer with you.
May 21, 2010
It’s a horrifiying statistic that 58 billion paper coffee cups are thrown in the trash each year. Styrofoam cups are made from fossil fuels and are not recycleable or biodegradable. The 3 billion cups provided at Starbucks every year are not eco-friendly either (due to the thin waxy coating). And anytime you drink from a single-use water bottle, you are contributing to a serious waste problem of 2.5 million thrown in landfills every hour!
Recently we posted an article on our Facebook page about The Great Coffee Cup Challenge. We at Marvin’s Organic Gardens were thrilled when we recently found out that one of our Facebook Fans, Micah Dennison of The Party Source read this post and sparked advocacy.
“After reading the ‘coffee cup challenge’ you guys posted a few months back I managed to get The Party Source to switch the coffee cups we use to recyleable paper cups, plus get a bunch of people (myself included) to start using their own. Thanks for the heads up!”
It’s incredible what social media can do to engage those in our community and motivate them to take action. We’re so glad we could influence the sustainable choices being made at The Party Source in Northern Kentucky. By using BPA-free reusable coffee cups or aluminum water bottles, we can help diminish the waste sent to landfills as well as wasted water and trees in production- and still enjoy our daily brew!
March 24, 2010
After our recent Giving Gardens workshops at the Vineyard Community Church’s Healing Center, this post on Flourish’s blog really felt relevant to our programs and motivations. Click the title to check out the original post.
What is so refreshing about sitting on a front porch? It can be the company you’re sitting with, a gentle breeze, or an impromptu jam session. But a lot of the time, it’s encouraging just to have a physical space in which to enjoy creation in the company of others.
The beauty of God is in your midst when you plant a flower garden.
Most American churches do not have a physical front porch where folks can gather to enjoy God’s fresh air. But the lack of a front porch shouldn’t inhibit the development of a front porch culture. An alternative outdoor space that is often easier for churches to construct than an actual front porch is a garden. Much like a front porch, a garden welcomes us into a relaxed, fresh air setting and encourages curiosity among passersby, strengthening community ties.
But is your church ready for a garden? If so, there’s a lot to consider before breaking ground: Do you want a flowerbed with a curbside bench for weary walkers? Or is your church up for establishing a full-blown vegetable garden to feed the neighborhood?
If dreams of ecclesial-based produce are floating through your head, lead your church in responding to this questionnaire to get started:
Church Gardening Questionnaire
1. Is there support in your church for a garden? You will likely need to share a report on a potential garden with your church’s governing body to gain that support. Addressing the following questions in that report will help you make your case.
2. Would your larger community benefit from having a community garden in its midst?
3. Does your church have a clear understanding of its goals for the garden?
- Will the garden space be open to church members only, or to the wider community?
- Will the garden be primarily a place for rest and meditation? If this is the case, you may want to be sure you include seating and perhaps a prayer walk in the garden.
- Will the garden provide a space for gathering, holding events, or building community in groups? If so, you may want to factor picnic benches, shelters, and waste receptacles into your plan.
- Will the garden produce food for church members? For the wider community (either directly or in partnership with another entity)?
- Will the garden provide a place for groups to learn and volunteer?
4. Does your church know what type of garden it would like to establish? (Note: these garden themes are not exclusive of one another, and can overlap. However, it’s helpful to know the main thrust of your garden before you begin planning it.
- A flower garden: Amenable to variable levels of light, moisture, and soil pH, a flower garden helps your church bring creation into the sanctuary by providing a treasure trove of cut flowers for decoration. It can provide a beautiful respite for souls in need of restoration, and a volunteer site for students, seniors, and individuals in rehabilitation programs. It also provides instant, free floral arrangements for church members experiencing illness, grief, or celebration
- A prayer garden: Like the flower garden, a prayer garden is adaptable to geographic and climatic variations. The amount of upkeep it will require can be determined by those who plan it, as the goal of this garden isn’t to produce a harvest or even cut flowers. Planning a prayer garden allows for a creative use of space and garden elements: prayer walks or labyrinths to encourage walking and meditation; nooks and crannies where folks can read and pray; benches, gazebos, and tables to rest on; water features to soothe with their gentle sounds; and signs with quotations on them to encourage those in prayer. A prayer garden can provide peace and rest for those undergoing illness or rehabilitation.
- A vegetable garden: Requiring the most work and specific conditions, this garden also produces the most visible harvest. Sun, healthy soil, access to water, and a lot of sweat goes into a vegetable garden. But the requirement of physical labor may open opportunities to work with other groups and partners in your church’s community, and provide volunteer opportunities to anyone from school children to individuals on probation. Provided it is large enough, a vegetable garden can also produce healthy food to feed the neediest.
- A container garden: A container garden allows your church to produce a harvest of fruits and vegetables even without
Container garden can-do.
access to a vast swath of land or eight hours of sunlight. This garden takes some ingenuity, but it can help a church locked in a sea of concrete to add some green. It is also a terrific learning tool for children. Classes can work container gardens and learn about healthy eating, natural life cycles, and our connections to creation. Seniors and members of your congregation with special needs can also find joy in gardening in a space that is limited and accessible.
- A wildlife garden: Establishing a wildlife garden is a conservation tool that provides food and safety for local creatures, especially in suburban or urban areas. It also creates a great learning opportunity for schools and other educational groups to discover more about their local ecosystems. This kind of garden will require less regular maintenance than a vegetable or flower garden, but it may be difficult to establish if your municipality understands the wildlife you’re trying to attract to be pests.
- A native garden: Much like a wildlife garden, a native plant garden works in a symbiotic relationship with the land and the creatures living on it. Requiring less maintenance because it is perfectly suited to your area, a native garden can provide a valuable learning space for school and community groups. It is also beneficial to the land on which it is placed, nourishing the soil, taking in only the water naturally available to it, and providing food for local wildlife. It will not, however, provide you with cut flowers or a human food harvest to the extent that other garden types will.
5. Does your church have (or have access to) the physical and financial capacity to start a garden? This community gardening site can help you brainstorm the amount of space and money you may need to get a garden together, but here are some general financial factors to take into consideration:
- land: Does your church own property that would support a garden? If not, is it feasible to buy or rent land for this purpose? What sort of financial partnerships could be made with other institutions to make this possible?
- soil and mulch: Establishing a compost bin in your garden will reduce your need to buy soil, but to start your garden you want to ensure a healthy source of nutrients for your plants.
- gardening tools: shovels, trowels, rototillers, wheelbarrows, buckets, wood (especially for raised beds), rakes, hoes, hoses, rain barrels
- plants: seeds, seedlings, transplants, cuttings, etc. Also consider what you will be feeding your plants, and how much that plant food will cost you.
- larger garden elements: a toolshed, compost bin, picnic tables, bird feeders, bird baths, benches, gazebos, fences, stones or gravel for paths, a water source, lighting, trash and recycling receptacles
It takes a community to make a community garden.
6. Are there people who live close enough to your church to tend the garden?
7. Are there people in your church with basic, proven gardening skills?
8. Is there ample physical space, exposed to at least six hours of sunlight, available for your church to establish a garden? How much space is accessible to you will help you determine what kind of garden would be appropriate for your church.
9. Are there potential institutions and non-profits in your community (a grocery co-op, a food pantry, a shelter, or a school) that might benefit from your garden and be able to provide you with volunteer support?
10. Are there community members or institutions that could provide your garden with donations or funding to get it started and keep it going? These might include members of the local business community, hardware stores, nurseries, florists, sister churches, etc.
Taking these questions into consideration as you plan a church garden will set your community on its way to establishing a hospitable, outdoor space in which to share the refreshment of God’s love (and maybe his juiciest peaches or sweetest strawberries) with your neighbors!
October 7, 2008
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This article is from Earth 911.
Recycling is the third R of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product.
Create a Workplace Recycling Program So, how do you start recycling at work? That’s what we’re here for—to walk you through the process. If you already recycle at home, you’ll find many similarities to office recycling. Start with just a couple of products. Once your program is up and running, add others. Eventually, you will have a flawless program in place. Hey . . . you’ll be offering us tips in no time. Let’s get started on creating your office recycling program; First, choose a recycling coordinator, pick materials to recycle, decide your collection method, determine how it will be hauled away, set up recycling bins and guideline, monitor the program, and promote your program through education!
Curbside Recycling – Curbside recycling now serves half of the U.S. population, providing the most convenient means for households to recycle a variety of materials. While all curbside programs differ, the most commonly included materials are The Big Five: aluminum cans, glass bottles, paper, plastic and steel/tin cans.
Electronics – Technology has revolutionized our lifestyle through telephones, radios, TVs, computers and cell phones. However, the brisk pace of technology means these devices become obsolete quickly. A more recent issue is how our old electronics should be disposed of, because they often contain dangerous elements such as lead and mercury that can contaminate our soil and water supply.
Composting - Managing organic material at your home can not only decrease the amount of material you send to the landfill; it can also help turn your organic waste into a landscape asset. Composting will reduce the amount of food waste in your garbage can, while creating nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.
Garage Garbage – Did you know that used motor oil can be recycled? How about paint and batteries? It turns out many of the items in your garage are recyclable. Claim your garage back, learn what to do with the mess and help the planet while you’re at it.