Category Archives: The Sustainability Report – 2015

The recycling of banana peels

Barbara had a brief sustainability tip for members regarding the recycling of banana peels.  She quoted her report from the June 2015 issue of “House & Home” magazine.

  • Plant perk up: Rub the inside of a banana peel on potted house plants to buff away dust on leaves and add shine. Additionally, the potassium on the peel provides nutrients to the plant.
  • Buff scuffs: The peel’s potassium absorbs into leather, making it a natural for getting scuff marks off your shoes. Lightly rub the marks then wipe with a clean cloth.
  • Anti-ant: Protect your garden against ants and aphids by cutting up a few peels and burying them near the base of your plants.

Members’ Sustainability Reports – May 2015

Sustainability Report – Lawn management: Hiro has started to reduce his lawn footprint to cut down on time on mowing primarily as a motivation but also because of the positive impact on the environment. An area of lawn the size of 10 X 15 yards has now been replaced by recent new projects in Hiro’s yard. Lawn maintenance is causing lots of environmental problems due to emissions from mowers not to mention other gas-powered equipment we routinely use. The runoff of fertilizers and herbicides into our streams can be eliminated or cut down by reducing lawns and replacing them with other planting options that attract pollinators, butterflies and other helpful insects into the garden.  Hiro recommends checking out this website for other ideas at

Joanie spoke on water sustainability and agriculture in particular where they are trying very hard to reduce their need for water by looking for alternative ways processing food.  Joanie mentioned that her garden worker who is a student at the U. of Del is very interested in sustainability and sent her 40 pages of information on the topic!  Joanie summarized by giving us some ideas to reduce electricity use by turning off monitors and other electronics when not actively using them.  Use LED bulbs instead of the incandescent type.

There are lots of opportunities to reduce or replace energy use so look for just one or two ways in our own homes and it will significantly impact the environment.

Exercise Tips for Gardeners by Kris Qualls

Kris reported the article, titled “Exercise Tips for Gardeners” in AARP The Magazine as her sustainability report at our April monthly meeting.

“An hour of gardening can reduce stress, boost bone density, and burn a whopping 300 calories. But all that bending, squatting, raking, and lifting can challenge muscles as much as any competitive sport.”

Read more detail in the AARP article.

Food Wastes by Barb Boyce

We waste a lot of food each year. According to an article in the NY Times 2-25-15, “60 million tons of food is wasted a year in the US, with an estimated value of $162 Billion. About 32 metric tons of it end up in municipal landfills, at a cost of about $1.5 billion a year to local governments.” “Food waste is not only a social cost, but it contributes to growing environmental problems like climate change, experts say, with the production of food consuming vast quantities of water, fertilizer, and land. The fuel that is burned to process, refrigerate and transport it also adds to the environmental cost. Most food waste is thrown away in landfills,, where it decomposes and emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”

According to government figure, an estimated 40% of all edible food in the US is wasted at a cost of $165 billion a year. This is from farm to fork, all segments of the food chain.

Percentage of food waste by average American (from Natural Resources Defense Council):

·       33% meats

·       25% seafood

·       20% vegetables

·       18% grains

·       17% dairy products

·       15% fruits

Remember the three R’s: recycle, reuse, and reduce when it comes to food waste. Recycle by using compost; reuse black bananas into banana bread or smoothies; reduce the amount you make or purchase. We need to prevent food waste as well as find better ways to deal with it.

According to USDA: FOOD:

1.     Buy it with thought

2.     Cook it with careimages-1

3.     Use less wheat and meat

4.     Buy local foods

5.     Serve just enough

6.     Use what is left; don’t waste it images

Sustaining the Gardner by Pat Boyd

This is the first report of the sustainability series initiated by the Countryside Garden Club. Each of our members will participate in reporting a subject of their choice.

Need to sustain the species responsible for the care of our landscapes.

  • Use deciduous trees on south side of our home to creScreen Shot 2013-11-08 at 6.24.29 AMate summer shade and evergreens on north side to stop winter winds.
  • Water efficiently – use soaker hose or drip irrigation – water directly to root zone preferably in the morning – avoid sprinklers – water infrequently but deeply to encourage deep roots.
  • Group plants with similar water needs.
  • Reduce storm water runoff by using rain barrels and/or rain gardens.
  • Stabilize stream banks or pond edges using water-loving plants that reduce soil erosion.
  • Stabilize slopes with ground covers.
  • Reduce or eliminate lawns!!!
  • Minimize the use of impervious surfaces so rainwater can be filtered before reaching storm water system.
  • Choose drought-tolerant plants, except in wet spots.
  • Weed regularly – because weeds compete for water with the plants we want.
  • Let lawns go dormant in summer.
  • Mulch.
  • Compost.
  • Adopt low maintenance techniques such as:
    • Relying on trees and shrubs
    • Planting in sweeps and masses
    • Use simple curves around landscape beds
  • As sustained gardner, we increase local plant and animal diversity while creating the air and filtering water– so gardening benefits the environment more than we may have thought!!