Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living

Create and maintain a clean environment of your very own.

September Garden Do’s: Planning for Spring

Posted on September 05, 2013

Did you know that September is an important month for your urban garden? This is the time to plan for the future. Think ahead to the spring and summer and carefully cultivate the future garden of your dreams!

If you’ve got a large rooftop or backyard garden wait for the temperatures to cool so the soil is less than 60 degrees to the touch and plant spring flowers such as crocuses, anemones, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. Dig three times deeper than the diameter of the bulbs.

Consider these tips from our gardening friends at MSN Real Estate:

  • For an abundant tulip display, place 10 to 20 bulbs in a hole one foot in diameter; plant so that the bulbs aren’t touching.
  • Irises and other early-blooming perennials still can be divided this month. Give them plenty of water after replanting.
  • Dig up and divide or transplant crowded perennials.
  • For swatches of fall color, plant mums, winter pansies, and flowering kale and cabbage.
  • Take cuttings from geraniums, 2 to 4 inches, for indoor winter flowering.
  • Plant perennials from seed by scattering them in an open bed or in individual rows. In the spring, the seedlings can be moved to more permanent locations.
  • Bring household plants inside before cool weather damages them. If you’ve already cultivated a thriving indoor garden, move plants away from unprotected windows and open drafts so they don’t risk frost or cold damage.

If you’re looking ahead to organic holiday decorations, start “seasoning” poinsettias and Thanksgiving and Christmas cactuses in mid-September. They’ll need 10 hours of bright daylight or four hours of direct sun, plus 14 hours of night darkness. If you’re raising cactuses, they need a cool environment (50 to 60 degrees), while poinsettias prefer a warmer 65 to 72 degrees.

If you’re involved in corporate gardening – schools, community projects, nonprofit gardens – you’ll need to use this month to layout next year’s landscape design and overall appearance. Planning months ahead is a great way to demonstrate the importance of long-term thinking and future planning to kids and underserved communities who live day to day.

Are you planning your first urban garden? If you’re planting outside, you’ll need to watch for lead deposits in the soil. Lead is not biodegradable so it is a long-term source of contamination. Do some research into the planting site using the city lot number to check land use and ownership records at city hall. Of course, don’t try to rehab the soil if you know for a fact that it was a former toxic zone because despite your best efforts it won’t be suitable for growing food.

 Let us know what you’re planting for next year!

Latest Posts

Coronavirus Reopening: How to Mitigate the Risk of COVID-19 in Your Workplace

In the turbulent times of Covid-19, business need to make critical decisions quickly. As we all learn to navigate our new "normal" with the Covid-19 pandemic, Greenhouse remains invested in working in tandem with our New York City business community to safeguard the health of their workforce. Contact Us Today!

Making an Eco-Friendly Move

  Cardboard boxes in apartment, moving day   Boxes, tape and bubble wrap, oh my! If you have a move on the horizon or have experienced one in the recent past, you understand well that the act of moving doesn’t lend itself to eco-friendly living at first blush. So much packaging can make the least green of us shudder. Rest assured, you can remain environmentally conscious and stay committed to controlling the waste during your move, while also keeping your transport emissions down. Just follow these simple tips: Box smart. According to Move.com, the average move uses about 60 boxes (see infographic below).   That adds up to a whole lot of trees over time. Keep usage down by getting the word out about your move as early as you can. If you know folks who are making a move before yours, ask them to save all their packaging, including bubble wrap and protective packing paper, so you can reuse it during your own move. Choose box alternatives. Before you buy new boxes for your move, make sure you’ve exhausted all possible resources for box alternatives. Pack in empty large plastic bins you own, borrow from friends or ask your mover if they supply or rent reusable bins. Not only is this a great green option, it takes some of the work off your plate as movers drop bins off ahead of time and take them away after the move. No need to break down boxes or recycle them, you can move on to decorating your new home. Fuel emissions. The size and distance of your move makes all the difference when it comes to emission of CO2. When interviewing moving companies, be on the lookout for green options such as these:
  • Fuel type—ask each company what type of fuel they use. Many organizations have converted trucks to biodiesel fuel, an upgrade that helps reduce your move’s carbon footprint.
  • Car shipping—if you’re moving an automobile, price out both truck and rail shipping options. Train transport can represent huge savings to you and lighten the moving truck’s load on the road.
  • Clean out before you move—whatever you can do to reduce the number of goods you plan to move will make a big impact on related emissions. Don’t pack mindlessly and hurriedly, instead, think about items you can donate before making your move.
Get things clean.  Make sure you leave your old space clean and healthy for the next inhabitants.  Use eco-friendly cleaning products for floors, countertops, and windows or hire an eco-friendly cleaning company—like us!—to come in and take care of dirt, dust, and debris. Grab this great online checklist from our friends at MakeSpace for all your pre- and post-cleaning tasks.   Talk to us: Have you made an environmentally conscious move in recent months? Share what you learned and your best tips for other readers below.

How To Buy An Energy-Efficient Stove Or Range

Energy-efficient Stove   Is your stove or range petering out or nearing the end of its life expectancy? Experts say the best time to make large appliance purchases is in September when manufacturers are rolling out their latest models and looking to make space by offering good deals on last year’s versions. Follow our shopping tips to ensure you’re getting the most affordable, energy-efficient model in your price range.
  • Look for the Energy Star® label. The Energy Star folks have done their homework to identify the most efficient models in every appliance category. This is a great place to start when you’re beginning your search to make sure you’re saving money and protecting the environment.
  • Buy for your space. Make sure to take precise measurements for the space your kitchen allows for a stove or range before you shop. Appliances function at maximum efficiency when located in a spot that allows for proper ventilation.
  • Use the EnergyGuide. All new appliances are required to have an EnergyGuide label affixed to the packaging or appliance so consumers can compare as they shop. Read each one carefully and take pictures of the labels with your mobile device, for a quick comparison. Having an image with key features, estimated yearly operating cost and estimated yearly electricity use at your fingertips will help with decision-making after you’ve shopped around.
  • Choose gas. When it comes to stoves and ranges, manufacturers often offer both gas and electric models. On average, it takes about three times as much energy to produce and deliver electricity to an electric stove, compared to a gas one. The California Energy Commission says that over time, a gas stove will cost about half as much to operate as an electric one. Gas stoves boast more ease of use as well; giving cooks more control of temperatures and cooking time.
  • Plan for long-term useIt’s no secret that consumers pay upfront for energy efficiency, only to reap the many benefits for themselves and the planet down the line. If you can, reach deeper into your pockets for this appliance purchase and others with the end goal in mind.
Talk to us: Please share your favorite energy efficient range and stovetop models below.   Photo by Naomi Hébert on Unsplash

Now Is The Time To Check Your Fireplace

Fireplace   We're sure the last thing on your mind right now is lighting your fireplace.  But it really should be - at least the maintenance of it. Do not wait for cold weather to hit before you get your fireplace inspected and cleaned. Doing it now while the weather is nice--and while it’s still considered offseason--will have you ready to light that a match as soon as the first cold fall night arrives. Has it been at least a year (or more!) since your last professional cleaning?  Then definitely hire a professional chimney sweep so they can clean the flu and inspect the entire fireplace for hazardous cracks. If it’s been less than a year since your last professional chimney sweep…then you can easily clean and inspect the fireplace yourself by following these steps:
  1. Check the flu for nests, animals or leaves.
  2. Check the chimney. Use a flashlight and mirror to look up to the open damper.
  3. If you see blockages of any kind you’ll have to call a professional chimney sweep.
  4. Repair cracks in the chimney, firebox or hearth--making sure you use the proper materials. Click here for tips and DIY advice.
Once you’ve inspected your chimney, it’s time to clean it:
  1. Gather your materials: a vacuum, bucket, gloves, two cloths, mild dish soap, stiff-bristled brush, table salt, and water.
  2. Vacuum the soot from inside the chimney.
  3. Mix one ounce of soap with one ounce of table salt in just enough water in a bucket to make the mixture creamy.
  4. Thoroughly rub it into the brick with a cloth (wearing gloves if you so choose).
  5. Allow it to dry for at least ten minutes. Then use the stiff-bristled brush to remove the residue and scum from the bricks. Repeat if necessary until your fireplace is “shiny” and clean!
  6. Take another wet cloth and wipe away any leftover soap scum or residue.
Now, stock up on wood before it gets too cold.  Buy a full face cord or a half face cord of firewood to last you a full winter (or two).  Remember to purchase only local wood to prevent spreading invasive species.  Choose hardwood like walnut and maple for a clean, longer and hotter burn. Then sit back and enjoy your warm fires in your clean, safe fireplace! Talk to us:  What month do you usually light the first fire?  

As an essential business, Greenhouse Eco-Cleaning is continuing to serve our customers during the COVID-19 emergency. Learn about the steps we’ve taken to protect our customers and employees and our Coronavirus Cleaning and Disinfection Services that can provide extra peace of mind during these challenging times.