Save energy and keep warm this winter

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May 272016

Hi everyone,

It’s officially Winter next Wednesday and that time of the year when I let you know a few simple things you can do that can help save a bit of energy and keep you warm too:

  • Wear more clothes instead of cranking up the heat – putting on a jumper makes more sense than having heating up so high that you can mooch around in a T-shirt
  • Drag out those really warm blankets you’ve got packed away in the back of the cupboard or that lovely handmade quilt and snuggle up on the couch while watching TV or reading
  • Set the thermostat at a reasonable level – 18-20 degrees is recommended. Increasing the thermostat by one degree can add 10% to your heating costs
  • Clean ducts & filters regularly so they operate more efficiently. Also have your heater serviced regularly (e.g. every 2 years) to ensure its operating correctly
  • If you have a ceiling fan that has a reverse switch that changes the direction of the blades, use it when the heating is on to push the warm air back into the living space
  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans sparingly as they can pull a lot of heat out of your house
  • Heat only the rooms that you are using e.g. close the doors & ducts of unused rooms
  • Close the windows & doors of rooms where the heat is on
  • Let the sun in when it’s out to naturally warm the house in the daytime and close blinds & curtains to trap in the warmth at night
  • Seal draughts from windows and doors with weather stripping and caulking
  • Seal gaps under doors by getting those material sausages or even a rolled up towel will do the trick
  • Don’t leave the heating on when you’ve left the house
  • Revert back to the good old hot water bottle or the modern version (heated wheat bag) to keep your toes and neck toasty – one of my favourites
  • Decorate for warmth with rugs on the floor, heavy drapes and flannelette sheets on the bed

 Source: Getting warm, Homestyle, The Sunday Age, May 2014, pg. 17

Why not try a couple of these things and feel warm & fuzzy about helping the environment – you might even save a few $$ too.

 Many thanks


Resource Management Specialist,

 Posted by at 9:16 am

Autumn – time for green manure

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May 232016

Hi everyone,

Autumn is a great time of year to get out in the garden. It’s when good organisation can set you up for a successful growing season. For the veggie growers amongst us we will be busy clearing our plots from the spent crops and thinking about what to do next. If you’ve decided to opt out of planting a Winter crop and leave the veggie patch empty then planting green manure is a good option.

Green manure is a crop grown in your garden to add life back into your soil. Once it gets to its peak you simply dig it back into your veggie patch. The use of green manure crops in a rotation has long been a practice of sustainable farming. It also stops the weeds from moving in.

Common green manure crops include:

  • Legumes – such as cow pea, mung bean, broad bean, fenugreek and soybean. These add nitrogen (vital for food crops) to the soil. Broad bean is a favourite.
  • Grains and grasses – such as millet, buckwheat and oats.

These crops can often be sown together to give a combination of nitrogen fixing crops and strong addition of organic matter.

For more details, go to:


Source: Autumn Tasks for Winter Gardens, Green Lifestyle,, Green Manure in your food garden, City Food Growers,

Consider planting green manure this season to give your soil a healthy boost.

Many thanks, Lila

Resource Management Specialist,

 Posted by at 10:47 am

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

 Compost, Food  Comments Off on Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
May 142016

Hi everyone,

In the recently released 2016 “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™”, conventional strawberries top the list as the produce most contaminated by chemical pesticides. Apples, nectarines and peaches were also high on the list.  Avocado, sweet corn and pineapple had the least pesticide residues. While these findings are based on US produce, it’s the best guide currently available. Knowing what produce has the highest and lowest pesticide residues can help you avoid contaminants.  You can do this by selecting organic for the ones that are high on the list or choosing not to have them at all.  By doing this you could reduce your pesticide intake from fruit and vegetables and help our environment as organic produce means there is less harmful pesticides being used.

Top 10 most contaminated in ranking order:

  • ·         Strawberries
  • ·         Apple
  • ·         Nectarine
  • ·         Peaches
  • ·         Celery
  • ·         Grapes
  • ·         Cherries
  • ·         Spinach
  • ·         Tomatoes
  • ·         Capsicums

Least contaminated in ranking order:

  • ·         Avocado
  • ·         Sweetcorn
  • ·         Pineapple
  • ·         Cabbage
  • ·         Sweet peas (frozen)
  • ·         Onions
  • ·         Asparagus
  • ·         Mangoes
  • ·         Pawpaw
  • ·         Kiwi

 To find out more about the study and to download the handy guide, go to:

Source: Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,

Reduce your pesticide intake to keep our environment healthy.

Many thanks, Lila

 PS: Further to the previouse Composting green message, a team member (thanks Andrew) let me know about a great scheme subsidised by local councils designed to increase household composting. For more information, go to:

 Resource Management Specialist,

 Posted by at 10:05 am