Garden Update

Chic Sustainability has moved to its new and improved location-!

February 9th, we started about a third of our plants for this years garden. Logan and Amelia planted the seeds in little planter trays. We decided on Leafpro Organic Planting Soil, four plastic planting trays with 72 spots already filled with little soil peat pellets, and a bunch of biodegradable plantable pots.

Seedlings 2-9-13

Just 4 days later the peppers were sprouting! Another two days later, everything had pushed throughSeedlings 2-13-13

Last Sunday afternoon, Logan set out to thin the starter tray and transplant to the biodegradable pots. Everything but the onions were moved they were looking a little weepy so we decided to give them another week. It was also time to start a few other plants so we planted them directly into the pots. Seedlings 3-5-13

Today, 4 days later, all the transplanted plants are doing well. So the final count of starter plants:

5 Jalapeños

5 Sweet Peppers

5 Marconi Peppers

5 Habanero Peppers

20 Cabbage

5 Tobacco

5 Cherry Tomatoes

5 Brandywine Tomatoes

5 Roma Tomatoes

5 Millionaire Tomatoes

5 Red Onions

5 Eggplants

Just started:

5 Dill Plants (already sprouting!)

5 Basil

5 Cilantro

5 Parsley

5 Kale

5 Cauliflower

Everything else is directly sown. Most of the other seeds require warm soil so we are anxiously awaiting Spring.

I attribute a majority of our success to our little indoor green house we got at Lowes (similar ones are sold on Amazon). We were contemplating all these different little green house plans to start our plants in and everything was pretty labor intensive and large, plus they would require warming lights and we were just not wanting to invest the time this year. Then we stumbled on the Garden Plus Indoor Greenhouse. Its the perfect size and only $30.Indoor Greenhouse

It was super easy to put together, no tools required! The plastic cover fits snugly and zips open for easy access for watering. The greenhouse is on casters so I can easily move it from window to window as the sunlight moves through out the day. Considering the price and easy assembly this was the very best solution for out needs. It keeps them moist and warm. I’m really happy with our purchase.


big plans

Chic Sustainability has moved to its new and improved location-!
we have big plans. lots of big plans. will we do everything we list here? probably not. something may end up too hard, somethings may end up unnecessary. they are just plans.
short term: starting in the next weeks
  • build a small green house
  • start herb garden
  • plant large veggie garden
  • build chicken coup
  • start using only our eggs
  • purchase and raise meat chickens
  • get serious about composting
  • find and use local Dairy source
  • make butter
  • switch to homemade bread
  • switch to natural homemade cleansers
near-ish future: in the next months
  • become totally independent of store bought meat (buy from local butcher or family)
  • build pig pin
  • purchase a goat for milk
  • learn to “put up” (canning, freezing, drying, ect.)
  • try to make cheeses
  • make homemade soda syrups for SodaStream
  • homemade soap
long term: in the coming years
  • grow grains for bread and beer
  • grow potatoes and corn al though they are easy they are also very cheap and accessible so no need to grow them
  • plant berry bushes
  • plant fruit trees
  • learn to grow mushrooms
  • learn to cultivate yeast
  • solar panels for new house water pump and water heater
  • raise our own calf, pig, occasional lamb

we have already started on some of these things. next post will be about the sustainable things we already do.

sustainability, why?

With my hubby by my side, my kids underfoot, Jesus in my heart and our very own soil between my toes I feel like I have everything I need. In reality, you can’t live off of good vibes and Eskimo kisses. You need actual sustenance. Like nearly all Americans, our family depend almost completely on others to provide this sustenance. Other people grow it. Other people deliver it to our community. Other people provide a central place for us to access it (for a price of course). This system bothers me for several reasons; mainly the sustenance provided is, by in large, terrible for your health, very costly compared to cultivating it yourself, lastly (and most seemingly far fetched), that system may not always be there to depend on. We want to learn to sustain ourselves.

Eating better. Living better.

After reading Barbara Kingolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I was inspired to eventually cut out store bought food all together. One of the most profound concepts in her book happened to be the simplest: if you do not recognize an ingredient then don’t eat it. Our foods and everyday products are so full of chemicals, antibiotics, and pesticides it’s really absurd. I only want to eat naturally occurring foods. I only want natural oils and soaps to touch my skin. I simply want my family to be healthy and feel great.

Cutting Cost.

We are a one income family with a mountain of student loan debt. We strive to live as simple and economical as possible. Our appetites require variety, we eat fresh and make from scratch whenever possible. In result, our grocery bill racks up fast. I go to the store with a very strict budget, I rarely stray from the list and we make do. But I dream of the day when we only buy a handful of things at the store nut because we can’t afford it but because we can sustain ourselves. This will not just cutting down on food cost but cleaning supplies, and personal care too. There are natural, healthier, cost effective alternatives if we just put in the effort.

Becoming Independent.

You could say I’m a bit if a ‘Prepper”. Yes, like the TV show full of crazy people. We don’t have a huge capsule dug in the side of a remote mountain nor do we have a hidden room with enough to feed ourselves for years. Nothing that extreme. I have, however, given some thought to the possibility of another Great Depression type of collapse in our economy. If you haven’t noticed there is a large amount of economic instability worldwide. A total break down of our society really not as far fetched as we’d like to think. I’m not going to go into all the factors at play here (maybe I’ll have my hubby write a little synopsis on this topic later) but lets say the American economy does crash. Our dollar inflates and our money is next to worthless. Those other people that produce our goods cant afford to keep producing. Those other people that drive our goods cant afford to gas up. Those places that sell the goods cant afford to staff their stores. Makes no difference because, we, the consumer can’t afford the goods anyhow. In this dark scenario, how are you going to feed your family? What is your plan? We decided to move to a farm with a good amount of land and start providing for ourselves, just in case.

So we are making plans to change our lifestyle, to live off the land and sustain ourselves. I began to research becoming a ‘sustainable’ family and what I found was a bunch of weirdos. Seriously, there’s a lot of pot-smoking, soda can collecting, mud house building, hippies out there living sustainable lifestyles ‘off the grid’. We are changing it up. We are doing this for us not to spare the poorly treated animals or to save the earth from Global Warming. I am using sustainability more for the ‘ability to sustain or endure’ definition, while, as a general rule, ‘sustainability’ refers to cutting down overuse of finite resources, striving to using more renewable, and reducing the overall human impact on the earth. Saving planet Earth is worthy cause but we are making this change for purely selfish reasons it is only by happenstance we also become ‘sustainable’ in the typical sense. I think, by and large, the sustainability scene is changing. Big city dwellers are planing rooftop gardens, canning is making a comeback, living ‘green’ is in. Those people, like us, are doing it for more reason than saving the earth. Sustainability is becoming chic. I am determined to start living it. Chic Sustainability.