Green Fest at Navy Pier

I’ve got to be honest, this was not something I would have been happy to have had to pay to attend. All the community organizations had free passes to the event and a lot of the people I’ve met through the gardening groups were going, so I went too. Of course Greg Bratton was there and Stephanie, one of the faithful volunteers for Healthy South Chicago. I saw a couple of people who were at The Green Summit (Naomi Davis and LaDonna Tittle).   Dominique Bowman, Executive Director for The Green Lots Program was there.  I got a chance to meet the proprietors of Black Oaks.

The theme was about eco-friendly products.  There were clothes made out of recycled plastics, the eco-friendly tankless water heater.  They had book signings. 

There were only a few exhbits that caught my eye.

These guys sell paper made with elephant dung, a perfect addition to any compost pile after you’re done with it.100_0154

This guy was selling yard art and plant stands made from twigs. They were actually reasonable priced too.


The best thing for me was we found some free seeds.  You know me and my free seeds.  I’ve got a fair collection of the usual seeds, so now I look for the unusual. 


41 inches long and 70 pounds.  That’s a pretty big squash.  Or maybe the company is fudging a little bit. says they average 20 inches and 15 pounds, but that’s still impressive for a squash.

Anybody out there in the blogosphere have any experience with this particular squash?  How’d yours do?

More free goodies.

Every day I try to pop over to the My Good Cents page (under frugal living on the sidebar).  Anything that says free sample gets my attention.  So far I’ve gotten a coupon for a free Kashi frozen dinner, info for free bowling for kids, two $1 $2 printable coupons for any size All 3x and Mighty detergent, free seeds from Campell’s Soup and a free (ahem) intimate raincoat.  Hey, it was free.

Reynolds is giving away a coupon for a roll of their recycled aluminum foil.  I signed up for that.  And just a little while ago, I signed up for a sample of Dunkin Donuts coffee.  They had a blog widget which actually works.  Half the time I can’t get the widgets to work.  So, there it is,  Hope you find it useful.

Today, still at My Good Cents, I read that Home Depot has a buy one get one free seed sale in honor of Earth Day (4-19 to 4-28).  I missed out on the free compact fluorescent bulb.  I stopped by and got lavender seeds, because I don’t have any, and organic cantaloupe, because I’m trying to change my evil ways and buy organic seeds.  Not that I have any more room for anything else on the grow rack, but I started a few of the lavender seeds and tomorrow I’ll plant a few cantaloupe seeds.

Happy Gardening!!!

Campbell’s Soup Free Seeds

I got mine, thanks to a link from My Good Cents…complete with coupon code. 


Now you get yours.

Campbell's Free Seeds

(Click cute little tomato growing in can to get your free seeds)

Be sure to check out their Get Growing page.  It has some good basic instructions for growing tomatoes.

Happy Gardening!!!!

*The link and code is probably available at My Good Cents, but you’ll have to search for it.

**Offer valid until June 21, 2009 (or while supplies last).  One per househhold.  Good only in the USA, Puerto Rico.  Allow eight weeks for handling and delivery

Soil Solutions (and) Snatching up Sensational Seeds

Here’s what I learned in the class I sat in on a couple of days ago.

The class was on soil. The presenter mentioned the soil-in-a-jar test to get a rough idea of your soil composition, just like the presenter at the Building Urban Gardens class, but she also said you can get a rough idea of your soil acidity using a purple cabbage. She mentioned the purple cabbage and some baking soda, but I was distracted and didn’t quite get it. But here’s what I found on how to do it.

Chop up some purple cabbage leaves, add an equal amount of distilled water (which is ph neutral at 7.0), and let sit for a few hours. You want the water to turn purple.

To test the solution, mix a few drops of the solution with a few drops of regular cooking vinegar, the five percent kind. The solution should turn red, which indicates a 3.5 ph.

To test your soil, in a container mix one part dry soil to two parts of the cabbage solution. Stir and let soil settle. The color of the solution gives you an idea of your soil acidity.

  • Pink or red = Indicates acidic soil
  • Purple (no change) = neutral ph
  • Blue = indicates alkaline soil
  • Green = Indicates highly alkaline soil

Soils with lots of organic material tend to be more acidic.

They gave out seeds again at the end of the class. This time it was herbs. I got…


The salsify was a trade. I had the regular basil, which I didn’t need, so I wanted to try the salsify and the woman I traded with wanted the basil. So, it was a win-win situation.

I needed some spinach seeds and stopped at the Big Lots and found these …


I was going to order the lemon cucumbers, but the shipping and handling was stopping me, so I was really happy to find these. And I don’t really eat beets, but who could resist a bulls eye beet. And how often do you see white radishes? Do I hear seed-aholic in the making?

Happy Gardening!!!!

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