Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Posts Tagged ‘grow your own food’

10 EASY green parenting choices that will save you money

1) CHOOSE SECOND-HAND ITEMS: It’s tempting for parents to buy shiny new gear for their first born, but since baby items are only used for a short period, isn’t it wiser to cut your consumption and save cash? Graciously accept donations and visit garage sales and online shops specializing in second-hand goods like Second Childhood, User-Ta,  supporting a sustainable future for our children is win-win for buyers and sellers.

2) NAPPIES: When you consider that the average family can save thousands of dollars by using cloth nappies instead of disposables, it really adds up. The good news is there are heaps of modern cloth nappies that are not only easy to use but gorgeous too. Some of our faves: TotsBots EasyFitcloth nappies and Designer Bums all in ones.

3) BABY WIPES: They are a nappy bag essential, but have you ever thought about the amount of waste they create and how much money they cost in the long run? One easy way save is to keep a stack of clean baby washers next to the change table and a spray bottle with nothing more than water and a few drops of essential oil – does the trick!

4) ECO CLEANING: Ever notice how much more laundry comes into your life when you have a child? If you are doing one or more loads of washing a day, that adds up to a lot of energy and water consumption. Invest in a good eco-efficient washing machine and it will pay for itself in no time. And for most household cleaning jobs, a little vinegar and baking soda can go a long way. And when you consider the health hazards associated with many commercial cleaning products, you’ll be doing your family a favour by cutting your exposure to harmful chemicals as well as saving money.

5) GROW YOUR OWN: Food prices in Australia are on the rise, and if you prefer to buy organic, it can quickly become unaffordable. The best way to manage both issues is to plant your own veggie patch. Even if gardening is not your thing, you can start small and experiment with a few seedlings. The kids will love digging in the garden, and there’s nothing more satisfying that eating food that you’ve grown yourself.

6) LUNCHES / SNACKS: There is so much money and unnecessary packaging that can be saved by using an eco-friendly lunchbox for your kids. Stop buying expensive pre-packaged snacks or using plastic wrap for sandwiches. Buy in bulk, and find reusable containers for packing lunches. Our favourite is the Goodbyn lunchbox, which is BPA free and has handy sections. Remember to fill up your water bottle on the way out the door too! Bottles made from food-grade stainless steel that will never retain or leach chemicals such as Onya and Kid Basix are great choices.

7) TOYS / BOOKS: When play is their primary job, it doesn’t take long for kids to get bored with their toys and books. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy more. Take a trip to the local library to find something new. Most communities have a toy library as well, so you can rotate things and the fun never ends. Save new toys (and your money) for birthday and Christmas gifts.

8 ) WALK / BIKE: to the grocery store, to the park, to the pool or post office. Stop using the car so much, support local businesses, get some exercise and teach your kids the value of this – not only for their health, but for the health of the environment too. Live local.

9) WATER: Water restrictions may not be as severe as a few years ago, but we should all remain conscious of wasting water and doing our part to conserve. Installing rain water tanks and recycling bath water for the garden, etc. will save money and this valuable resource.

10) SOLAR – The Australian government has offered homeowners incentives for installing solar panels, and depending on the size of your home, you can even sell solar credits back to the grid. A great way to reduce energy bills and your impact on the environment. For more information, visit the Australian government website on solar rebates and assistance.


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management




How Does my Garden Grow? (part 1)

This week we will be moving into our new house, and I will have the privilege of inheriting a *dream* garden complete with fruit trees, veggie patches and every herb under the sun. I’ve always wanted to grow my own food and am so excited about the possibilities, but the scary part is, I know very little about gardening and am terrified I might just kill off everything in record time.

While I try to be a good greenie in general terms, I must confess that up until recently, I’ve had little interest in gardening. And moving to the other side of the world only made the idea more intimidating, since the difference in climate, seasons, etc. still feel foreign to me and I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I’ve always loved the idea of growing my own food – not to mention the health benefits and cost savings – and now that I have children, I know this is something we can do together and it can be an educational and rewarding experience for our family.

But before I march out the back door in my gumboots and gardening gloves – this greenie has some research to do. Luckily, in my travels online, at the local library and in talking to the few green thumbs that I know, I’ve come across some great resources for the novice gardener. I’ve also been letting my three-year-old watch “Dirt Girl World” in the hope that something will sink in :)

Here are a few tips and tricks I thought might be worth sharing if, like me, you haven’t done much gardening but would like to. If you’re a seasoned pro on the subject, feel free to share some advice as well. I need it!

If you’re in Melbourne, these guys can be a godsend in your garden by taking the guesswork out of what to plant, when, where and so many other questions. They will come to your house and assess the aspect of your garden, give advice on soil, build your own custom veggie patch, etc. Bless! They’ve published a guide book, or their website is a great resource too.

If gardening organically is important to you, then finding folks who know the ins and outs is key. I used to traipse through the organic nursery at Ceres and buy my organic fruit and veg from the farmers market located on the other side. Now I’m going no further than the nursery itself in the hope that I’ll be growing my own. Again, this is intimidating. There are so many choices, and one can spend a good chunk of money… and these guys can help.

One trip to my local library and I had a new stack of reading that on everything from organic gardening to managing pests and more.

Oh, how I love that you can type anything into the search field of Pinterest and then proceed to burn hours of time sifting through the magical results. Check out my board on organic gardening to find some of the gold I’ve found on everything from growing tomatoes, starting seeds and other great tips for beginners.

Here are a few great websites I’ve found with helpful information to get you started:
Urban Farming Oz
Sustainable Gardening Australia
Environment Society of Australia‘s guide on checking your soil

Now I guess I just have to decide what to plant this winter. To be continued…


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management