April 29, 2013

April is Financial Literacy and Fair Housing Month!

            Financial Literacy sounds like one of those fancy terms made up by someone wanting to sound smarter and better than others. Really though, it’s about making sure you’re financially stable and healthy. As it so happens, since 2004, the United States has recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month. If you happen to be reading this in Canada, November is their National Financial Literacy Month.

April 22, 2013


Most people think of April as a very environmentally conscious month. And it is. It’s National Clean Energy Month, Earth Day is April 22, TV Turn Off Week, National Parks Week, etc. There are many events and dates that are all focused at us making a better planet to live on. We’ve talked about gardening and composting this month, and to build off composting that reduces the amount of garbage we throw out, we’ll talk about what to recycle to reduce it even more.

April 15, 2013

New Workshop Series Focuses on Seasonal Topics

Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo is excited about the new learning opportunity they will be offering in 2013 – SEASONAL WORKSHOPS! The non-profit has always been dedicated to serving their community in any way they can, coming up with new avenues to address constituents’ areas of interest.

April 8, 2013

What's composting and why should we do it?

Last week, we spoke about gardening in small spaces or in a city. This week, we’re going to expand a little and talk about composting. You might be thinking, “Why are we talking about compost? There is no way I can do that.” Well, I invite you to think about the environment you are leaving to future generations and read on to see if you can do it! Keep in mind that New York City has had a composting project since 1993 and in San Francisco, composting is mandatory! Check your neighborhood to see if there is a community composting bin nearby  or even start one! You can also check to see if any nurseries in the area have one.
            In 2010, Americans produced 250 million tons of trash. Gross, right? The sad part is, about half of that stuff is compostable. This means we could let it go back into the environment naturally instead of sending it to the trash dumps. The other half (the non-compostables) also include recyclables, which we will get to later this month.
            So what’s compostable and what’s not? Well, here are some things that you can put in your compost pile and feel good about: fruits and veggies, shredded paper or cardboard, coffee grounds and filters/teabags, dead leaves, wood chips/bark/mulch/old top soil, egg shells (rinsed), grains, cereals,  grass clippings, hay or straw, cow or horse manure (probably not in the city!), fireplace ashes, dryer lint, hair, houseplants, pet fur, cotton rags, vacuum residuals, wool rags, pine needles, sawdust, shredded newspaper, and nut shells. Things that are NOT compostable are: pet waste/cat litter, meats/bones, dairy products, fats/oils/grease/lards, anything treated with pesticides, coal and charcoal.
            Now that you know what you can and can’t put in your pile, here’s how to go about making one. In your compost bin, line the bottom with four to eight inches of coarse brown materials. This can be as simple as a garbage can, but make sure you drill holes for aeration so the compost doesn’t turn. Keep the compost moist. Mix or aerate the compost two to three times each week. You can also use what is referred to as a worm bin, meaning that yes, you are bringing up worms, but it is space efficient and can (from one person) produce up to 30 pounds of compost in four months. If you’re thinking to yourself that you have no place to use the compost that you produce, look at the plants out front! Many plants are mistreated due to the elements, pets using them as toilets, etc. and could use the nutrient-rich compost to come back to vibrant life.

Helpful Links
-          There’s a lot of great information here, so please click around!
-          A neat blog post about one mom’s experience composting in an apartment
-          Great tips, including how to keep it from smelling

April 1, 2013

Big City, Little Garden

                Living in a city, you may think that gardening is not a do-able activity outside of a couple annuals planted around  your steps. Actually, there are whole books, blogs, websites, etc. dedicated to gardening in small places and big cities. We’re going to focus on food-related gardening in this blog, but if you come to our Spring workshop on April 20th, we will be discussing more gardening!