Green @ Home: Shell's Mean, Green, Semi-Working Machine

Green @ Home: Shell's Mean, Green, Semi-Working Machine

Tammy Everts
Jul 25, 2008

Name: Shell
Location: Vero Beach, FL
Profession: Head Mom of local parenting site

Shell and her husband have transformed their tiny back yard into a space that not only grows food for their family, it's also inspired them to start their own business selling organic seeds and plants. Most important, it's been a wonderful learning and bonding experience for their two daughters.

More photos and details below the jump.

Green move: Growing our own food in a small space

We live in a townhome along the Treasure Coast of Florida with my two daughters and husband. We've built gardening boxes using Bartholomew's Square Foot Garden adapted for a super small area and have started growing our own food, selling organic plants and seeds on Etsy, and using it as a way to develop virtual how-to's across the 'tubes.

But most importantly it's a great learning experience for my daughters, who help me in the garden every morning and a family bonding experience. We created our own little ecosystem where there once was nothing but cement. It's so great to see what is growing, blooming, crawling, and going to seed every day.

Green move #2: Developing a more efficient composting process

We've developed a way of composting that allows us to compost directly in the garden boxes using 1'x1' extenders, speeding up the process and cutting down on the space needed for a normal compost box.

Green move #3: Giving up appliances

Plus, we gave up our dryer for clothes line (resist the temptation… maybe too soon, see frustrations below), and use our grill to save on electricity… all in our backyard that measures 16'x22'.

Greatest frustrations: Rainy weather and a non-green landlord

Going green has its own frustrations involved with it. For instance...it rains so much here, it's almost impossible for me to get the clothing to dry outside. We have clothes hanging everywhere on laundry days. And with two young kids...you can imagine!

Our green frustrations also involve our living situation. We are trying to figure out how to persuade our landlord to upgrade our 1970's windows, install a tankless hot water heater and solar panels (or figuring out how do these things temporarily... at least the solar).

Biggest inspiration: Living walls

I have a dream of living in a house with living walls on the outside, completely off grid. The day that will pass permitting here, though, will be a cold day in Florida.

Next challenge: Eating not just local, but native

Our next green challenge is trying to figure out what fruits and vegetables we can incorporate into our diet that are relatively native to the area. Fighting the elements to get tomatoes to grow isn't pretty. Fighting my husband to even try a vegetable is worse.

Thanks so much for sharing, Shell!

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INFO:

Please send us photos and info on how you live green@home. This is not a contest, just a way to build up an AT inspirational database of sorts on how real folks are living greener at home.

Simple, straightforward ideas are welcome, like how you deal with your recycling bin in a small kitchen, and so are ambitious projects - like your amazing green roof. We hope to have a big archive of ideas to inspire us all by the end of the month.

PRIZES:

6-26-ecover1.jpg6-26-ecover3.gifIn exchange for sharing your green@home ideas, Ecover will reward the first 100 ApartmentTherapy readers, who submit photo/essays demonstrating ways in which their lives are green, with their choice of Ecover Liquid Laundry detergent, Ecover Dishwashing Liquid, or Ecover Glass & Surface spray cleaner. Each of the first 100 will also receive Ecover Heavy Duty hand cleanser.

Raksha Bella will reward one lucky sweepstakes winner with a complete bedding set made from all certiefied Indian organic cottons. The set includes a queen-sized duvet cover, quilt, two pillow cases and two European shams in the winner's choice of three designs. The Classic Collection from Raksha Bella features sumptous textiles in traditional Indian prints, handblocked with lowimpact and vegetable dyes. Choose from the Raj Paisley (available in Indigo or Rum Raisin), Tree of Life (in Canton & Mimosa) or Indian Rose (in Dusty Cedar, Cress Green or Indigo). A retail value of $1,165.00.

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This is not a contest.

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