A great way to start going green is to buy local! Getting food from local sources cuts down on carbon emissions from transportation and processing. But what's better than that? How about growing your own food! While starting a garden may sound daunting to some, it doesn't have to be a chore. Even if you don't have a green thumb, that are some vegetables you can grow that don't require constant attention and will keep you fed year after year.
Asparagus grows best in full sun and dry, sandy soil. Like the rest of these vegetables, it is a perennial so it will return every year if you're good to it.
Bamboo shoots are a less used perennial. Bamboo can be great if you're careful. Some forms of bamboo aren't edible or tasty and can be invasive species.
Bunching onions grow in bunches and can be fairly hardy even in cold weather.
Garlic is a mainstay in many gardens, but most of the time is not considered a perennial. By allowing a garlic plant to grow and seed, you can harvest garlic without needing to replant.
Horseradish will return every year if harvested correctly. Great for use as a spice for condiment.
Kale and Collard Greens will grow in many climates and are considered some of the healthiest foods you can eat.
Radicchio is a red, leafy vegetable that is great on salads or grilled.
Rhubarb is a staple of many gardens here in Wisconsin as it grows well in colder climates and will come back every year without fail. Great in pies, jams, sauces, and breads.
Did you know May is National Bike Month? It's the start of summer and the perfect time to get people thinking about ulterior means of transportation. You may have already participated in Bike to School Day, Bike to Work Day, or even Bike to Work Week this month, but don't let that be the end of your cycling adventures. Bicycling has been proven to reduce carbon emissions and boost health in those who ride. Despite this, in most cities cyclists and pedestrians don't get the attention they deserve from governments. The Alliance for Biking and Walking recently released their annual Bicycling and Walking Benchmark Report which revealed some interesting facts.
12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
But, states spend just 1.6% of their federal transportation dollars on bicycling and walking. This amounts to
just $2.17 per capita.
Bicycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per
$1 million spent on highway projects.
In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Twenty-seven percent of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car.
Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.
Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the
percentage of obese children rose 276%.
So funding for biking and walking is not in tune with the percentage of people who participate despite such funding being able to create more jobs. Also, as biking and walking levels have dropped, obesity has increased. While correlation does not imply causation, it seems pretty clear that an increase in support for alternate transportation would do well for everyone! So get out and bike, take others with you, and let those in charge see you!
Summer months can be a hard time for those who love to cook. Standing over a stove as hot as the air outside can take it's toll. Taking some simple steps can alleviate this problem and also reduce the amount of energy needed to cook or cool your house.
Be ready to cook. Have everything prepared when you preheat your oven so you can get it in as soon as possible.
Cook multiple dishes at once, if possible, to reduce the amount of time your appliances are on and hot.
Toaster oven! They aren't just for bread and bagels. Toaster ovens can cook as well as ovens while using less energy and producing less heat.
Keep a door between your kitchen and the rest of your home to contain excess heat.
Unless you're using air conditioning, open your windows to allow hot air out and cool air in.
Keep the oven closed. Opening an oven door looses 25 to 50 degrees of heat. More energy is required to reheat the oven and that extra heat fills your home!
Safe it for cooler times. Do your baking in the morning or afternoon when it is a bit less hot outside.
Not only will these tips keep you from burning up in the kitchen, they can also reduce how much energy you use in the process. Don't let the summer heat keep your from enjoy delicious food!
A great way to start reducing your waste output is to start composting! Composting is the act of turning natural waste such as leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable trimmings into nutrient rich fertilizer. Anyone with some open, outdoor space can begin composting with these tips directly from the City of Madison!
1. Use a bin. Instead of just throwing your compost in a pile, use a plastic bin or simple wire enclosure. This helps to retain heat and moisture, two elements needed for the waste to properly decompose.
2. Mix green and brown materials. Green materials, like grass clippings or food waste, are high in nitrogen, while brown materials, like leaves, are rich in carbon. Try to maintain a 50/50 ratio.
3. Bury kitchen waste. If you plan to compost kitchen waste, it often attracts flies. To avoid this, bury it at the bottom of your pile.
4. Keep the pile moist! Moisture is key to a good compost. Add water to dry material, but don't over water. Dry sponge is what you're looking for.
Composting is a great way to reduce waste and the resulting fertilizer will save you from needing to buy chemical fertilizers. For more info and tips on composting, visit the City of Madison website.
Did you know you may not be seeing much of Edison's 131 year old invention in the coming years? In push to make our light sources more energy efficient, Congress has signed a bill that will phase out production and sale of incandescent light bulbs. Originally set to begin Jan. 1, 2012, but now pushed to October 2012, the phase-out first focuses only on 100-watt bulbs, but in coming years will trickle down to 75-, 60. and 40-watts as well. So what are your options once you can't get your hands on those age-old incandescents?
CFLs or Compact Florescent Lamps are the most common alternative at the moment. The use about 75% less energy that incandescents and last 10 times longer. However, they are more expensive and produce a different light spectrum that some may find off-putting.
LED bulbs can last up to 22 years and save 75% on energy costs. They also emit a light spectrum more similar to incandescents. The upfront cost is considerably higher, but will save you over the life of the bulb.
Halogen Incandescent bulbs are very similar to standard incandescents. They have the same advantages while being 20% to 30% more efficient and lasting 3 times longer. They aren't has efficient or have the life span of other options, but they provide a smoother transition from what we're used to.
So don't be afraid if you go to the store sometime soon and can't find your usual bulbs. Look around and you'll likely find a replacement suitable to your needs.
I'm not sure why Pete Yorn decided to name his new music project after a European cave dwelling aquatic salamander, but if he stops by to play us some songs in Studio M, we'll have to ask him.
The Olms is a collaboration between Pete Yorn and...
Today's song was written by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. It was inspired by the 1957 novel Doctor Zhivago. No one was inspired by the song this morning. It was rejected by almost all the listeners.
Today is World Goth Day, a day to celebrate the post-punk, anti-establishment, dark clothes-wearing subculture.
I'm pretty sure I was a Goth for at least for little while, for two reasons.
1) I almost hardly ever wear pastels.
2) I used to...
Hello to all from Nfusion. Another round of challenges has moved beyond us all. Congrats to those of us lucky enough to have survived to this point. Sad to see the others eliminated as they were all very creative and talented. Good Bye to our new friends...
This morning it seemed like just about everyone was in the mood for some Funky Cold Medina...except Kitty. This ridiculous song made it all the way to number 3 in 1989. Jonathan says any song that references advertising dogs from the 80's has got...
Madison's summer music festival season kicks off this weekend with Brat Fest at Willow Island, where there are more bands than you can shake a bratwurst at! Check out the Brat Fest website to plan your itinerary.
Next up is the Marquette...
John Fogerty is making the talk show rounds this week, stopping in to see David Letterman Tuesday and Wednesday, and the ladies of "The View" on Thursday.
He's promoting his new album, "Wrote a Song For Everyone" which comes out next Tuesday...
It's a miracle that both Jonathan and KItty wanted to hear Barry Manilow this morning. They were not alone. Plenty of Fanilow's called in to vote yes. One caller claimed to have seen Manilow in concert 25 times!