Try This Delicious Anti-Aging Tea from Supple Skin

Supple Skin's loose tea comes in a wide variety of flavors for various purposes. Photo: Courtesy Supple Skin

For most of the past decade, I’ve been a coffee lover. As a former road warrior, I frequented a lot of city coffee shops and drank my share of airport coffee. But I’ve found something new to quench my thirst and soothe my spirit: La La’s Tea from Supple Skin. It’s filled with “Anti-Aging Antioxidants” that are not only healthy, but also delicious. Fancy that: a beverage that tastes good and does good for your body at the same time.

I have to admit that it took a while for me to get around to trying this product. I had it in my cupboard for a long time, preferring to take my coffee fix rather than brew up a cup of tea. My other excuse was that I didn’t have a tea pot; I had to buy a special tea cup so I could brew one cup at a time in my microwave. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been  trying Supple Skin’s La La’s brand tea. And I love it!

The ingredients are are all “green teas and super food extracts.” Sounds like a bit of advertising hype, until you read the contents:

“Ingredients: Organic Green Tea, Green Tea Variety, White Tea, Lemon Myrtle, Citrus, Osmanthus, Pomegranate, Mango, Guarana energy [What’s that?], Oolong Tea, Stevia, Ancient Sea Minerals, Goji, Cornflowers, Mango, Papaya, Honey and Lemon, Organic Stevia, Organic Spirulina, Brazilian Acerola berry, Aloe Vera power [should that be “powder”?], Organic Fo-ti (powder), Green Tea Powder.”

It’s after eight p.m. as I write this, and with all that green tea in my teacup, I’m wondering if it will keep me awake. I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine, so it might be a long night. Since most of my tea-drinking happens in the morning, that’s not usually something I think about. Still, for those who don’t have a caffeine problem, this could be the perfect cap to an evening meal. The flavor is slightly citrus-y, with a delicate aroma that tantalizes without being overpowering. I find it a refreshing change from a lot of the orange, lemon, or pomegranate teas I’ve tried from other companies.

Supple Skin’s La La’s tea comes loose in a brown-paper bag that holds two ounces of dried product. Two ounces doesn’t sound like much, but that’s a measure of weight, not volume. The directions say, “Steep 1 tsp of tea in a cup of hot water.” I don’t use a full teaspoon, yet my drink is satisfying and delicious. If you like a stronger cup, then steeping a full teaspoon might be a good idea. Because I’m content with weaker tea (and, let’s face it, I’m cheap), I tend to reuse the leaves from a previous cup and just add a small amount of fresh leaves to it. For me, this is yummy; for you, maybe not.

Supple Skin provides products for the health of your skin. Photo: Courtesy Supple Skin Boutique

It would be especially good if all of the ingredients were organic, but having some is better than having none. I just pulled out a couple of pieces of what looks and tastes like orange or lemon rind.  I don’t see “orange” in the list of ingredients, but maybe that’s what the company means by “Citrus.”

Most of the popular commercial teas that come in bags are finely chopped, but this product is different. The tea and other herbs in La La’s Tea are tightly wrapped in on themselves when dry, then expand into full leaves when wet. When I finish with the used leaves, I add them to our compost pile; it actually seems like I’m putting a food into the compost, not like I’m dropping some shredded bits of an unidentifiable substance.

Supple Skin offers a huge variety of teas, herbs, oils, and accessories. When I was offered the opportunity to review some of the Supple Skin products, the choices were almost overwhelming. If you visit their web store (and I suggest you do), you may find yourself wanting “some of this, and some of this, and some of this” like I did. The prices are low enough that you can probably try several varieties over a few months or weeks. There’s even a tea for psoriasis, a tea for acne, a tea for eczema, a tea for weight loss, and a whole lot more. Supple Skin also carries oils for reducing scars, soap nuts for washing your laundry, an organic eye mask, and citrus for vodka and soda! If you can’t find a product that appeals to you, I’ll be very surprised.

The fundamental idea behind Supple Skin is that what you put into your body affects your health — and that’s reflected in the health of your skin. I was just reading an article today in Real Simple that talked about how the foods we eat can age our skin or make it stay young looking. They might as well have interviewed the folks at Supple Skin; they seem to have figured that out long ago. Supple Skin’s La La’s Anti-Aging Antioxidants tea is actually good for your skin. Isn’t that a refreshing change!  And it’s reasonably priced for the amount you get: $12.95 when you purchase it on line from Supple Skin.

As you might expect, the Supple Skin website comes with the obligatory warning:

If you are taking any other herbs or supplements please consult with a qualified healthcare provider before starting any new regimen. If you are pregnant of breast feeding, consult with your physician before taking. Keep out of reach of children under 12 years and pets.

This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I love my new mug by The Tea Spot. Photo: Courtesy The Tea Spot

Okay. Consider yourself warned and informed.

While we’re on the subject of tea, let me put in a word for my new teacup from The Tea Spot. It’s a versatile three-piece system that allows you to brew the tea inside the ceramic strainer, which sits inside the cup. Put the lid on for brewing in the microwave, steeping tea leaves in boiling water, or keeping your drink warm on your desk. When your tea is as strong as you like, remove the lid and turn it over. Remove the strainer, and set it into the lid to drain. Then sip your tea from the cup and enjoy.  You can purchase a Steeping Mug from The Tea Spot on line for $21.95, or find one at a kitchen store near you.

Update 10/14/10: I had no trouble falling asleep last night after drinking La La’s Anti-Aging Antioxidant tea. Apparently, if there is caffeine, it isn’t enough to keep me awake. And that’s good news for those of us who like to drink a warm, comforting beverage before bed. JW

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received free samples of various Supple Skin products, including La La’s Anti-Aging Antioxidant Tea. No other compensation or incentive was provided. We purchased the Tea Spot Steeping Mug from a local kitchen store.

Our review policy is to only review those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product, we do not review it. We are not influenced by complimentary products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

Blue Planet Green Living has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com. If you purchase this product or any other products through Amazon by clicking on our affiliate link, Our company will receive a small financial compensation from Amazon, which we use to sustain this website.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living

The New Deal Supper Club – A Moveable Feast

Sarah Pace and Suzanne Barr prepare tacos for the meal. Photo: T. I. Williams

Sarah Pace and Suzanne Barr prepare tacos for the meal. Photo: T. I. Williams

Last week, Blue Planet Green Living had the privilege of introducing our readers to a unique, traveling supper club in the greater New York City area. Chef Sarah Pace of Rabbit Mafia and Chef Suzanne Barr of Sweet Potato Bakery have come together to provide unique, locally sourced, raw meals at a modest cost. To the delight of their patrons, they choose a different venue for each event. If you’re inspired to join this movable feast, check the websites at the bottom of the post for future event announcements.Julia Wasson, Publisher


The New Deal Supper Club on July 15th was sweeter than a song.

This time, the ladies of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato took their awesomely sophisticated show on the road to Brooklyn’s hinterlands (I mean, Williamsburg). The trip to BRIDGET Tasting Room felt like an updated Mission Impossible scene. Only this time, the instrumentals were the introductory bars to the infamous 1987 hit, Smooth Criminal.

Brooklyn provided a beautiful backdrop that surprised the guests, some from as far as New Jersey. There, miles from a train (translation: civilization) attendees were greeted by a beautiful waterfront — bridge and all. The wide-open streets of the once commercial district in Williamsburg edged right up to the wide-open glass façade of BRIDGET Tasting Room at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge.

The dinner, like Michael Jackson’s song, was a never-ending interplay of unexpected experiences and associations. Chefs Sarah Pace and Suzanne Barr touched on multi-layered possibilities when they served the Papaya Lime Summer Soup. Ooooowwwww. Spicy and smooth, guests at the dinner raved about the shock delivered to their palates in the form of summer tropical fruits cinched with lime.

The Cucumber Agave Juice, which came by the carafe, was eagerly downed by folks playing with the flavors of the mildly sweet and super-refreshing drink.

The

Summer Corn Tacos proved to be a hit. Photo: T. I. Williams

Then came the crescendo — both at the table and in the song that looped in my head. When the Summer Corn Tacos were placed before me, I was officially hit — by the smoothest of criminals. Radicchio & Romaine Chiffanade, Pico de Gallo, Chunky Guacamole & Nut Chili with a pickled side salad… these were just the parts of the carefully orchestrated whole. What more does anyone want from a taco… besides another serving?

And in keeping with the raw Latin American theme, the ladies capped the meal with the most appropriate dessert. Somewhere between pre-Colombian past and 2051, they landed in a middle ground that’s eons away from the present. And yes, I was very much okay after having the Spiced Chocolate Mousse. Thank you for asking.

There is one aspect of the New Deal Supper Club that outshines the food: the price. Pace and Barr make a conscious effort to buy local produce from Satur Farms and other local farmers, in combination with consciously sourced international items, like papaya, all at a an economical rate for guests.

All New Deal Supper Club meals are served at establishments that share the team’s mission to embody sustainability. A delicious, nutritious, three-course meal for $25.00 in New York is a rarity. A three-course meal that is raw, seasonal, and touches all the finer parts of the palate for $25.00 in New York is near impossible. The ladies, once again, shine as stars in the New York City Supper Club scene.
…………………………………

The most

BRIDGET Tasting Room proved to be a delightful venue for the New Deal Supper Club's second event. Photo: T. I. Williams

BRIDGET Tasting Room was well worth the trip. The tasting room carries a selection of amazing wines that round out BRIDGET’s own collection of superb bottles from the Bridge Urban Winery’s vineyard on Long Island. Respecting both the environment and discerning consumers, the vineyards in Hudson Valley were developed and cultivated by Greg Sandor and Paul Wegeimont. Later they were joined by Everard Findlay, who expanded BRIDGET’s presence by creating a home for the excellent wines in Brooklyn.

T. I. Williams
Baker and Live Foods Chef-Educator
LiveSip.com

Contributing Writer
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

The New Deal – A Progressive Supper Club

The New Deal – A Progressive Supper Club

Unlike Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the only thing complex about this supper club are the flavors of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato’s dishes.

Chef Suzanne Barr. Photo: T. I. Williams

Chef Suzanne Barr. Photo: T. I. Williams

The New Deal Supper Club, hosted by Chef Sarah Pace of Rabbit Mafia, features meals by the talented Suzanne Barr, chef and creator of Sweet Potato Bakery. The chefs have teamed up with marketer Kizzy Kae to provide the New York area with an exquisite dining experience that moves from one exciting venue to another.

Pace, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet, developed the affordable New Deal Supper Club in response to shifts in consumer consciousness favoring conserving resources and cautionary spending.

June: Green Spaces, Brooklyn

For the first installment in June, Pace selected Green Spaces New York in downtown Brooklyn. With its wide-open communal work spaces, unbelievable rooftop garden, and fully stocked kitchen, Green Spaces proved to be an excellent choice for an evening dinner punctuated with smart and inviting conversations.

Barr, who owns Sweet Potato Bakery, a boutique vegan bakery specializing in gluten-free cookies, met Pace while studying at Natural Gourmet. Barr’s pairings heralded a season of foods simple in presentation, yet deeply satisfying in their wholesome quality.

The evening began with a wine tasting by Saba Peace Wine, a homemade winemaker based in New Jersey. Saba featured its Multaburgandy and Merlac both from 2008. The earthy and sensuous wines were the perfect introduction to the menu, which started with Strawberry Basil Salad with Stinging Nettle Sauce, followed by a Cream of Cucumber Soup with Red Pepper Coulis Sauce and Sesame Flax Crackers.

Cream of cucumber soup. Photo: T. I. Williams

Cream of cucumber soup. Photo: T. I. Williams

The Wild Arugula & Mixed Green Salad with Pineapple Carpaccio plates came piled high with greens and herbs from the revolutionary Satur Farms and finished with a perfect Sorrel Dressing.

The main course was a surprisingly savory Sundried Tomato Walnut Torte stuffed with fresh Fava Puree, Lemon Bathed Radishes and Pickled Onions.

The grand finale was absolutely delightful — a Lavender Coconut Ice Cream served with a Fresh Berry Sauce and finished with Chocolate.

The best part? The dishes were mostly local, mainly seasonal and all raw! A tremendous feat, since Pace managed to offer all five courses and wine for $30.00!

Sun-dried tomato torte. Photo: T. I. Williams

Sun-dried tomato torte. Photo: T. I. Williams

For New Yorkers, the New Deal Supper Club hits the mark of sustainable dining. Where else can 30 people get together to dine on goods that still had soil on them just hours before while appreciating wildflower art on the rooftop — and still make the open-bar cutoff using mass transit?

The evening began with a wine tasting. Photo: T. I. Williams

The evening began with a wine tasting. Photo: T. I. Williams

In respect to taste and freshness, the dinner pulled together every element of a great Hudson Valley farm-raised dinner, sans farm. And even though the organizers skipped the animals and wide-open fields, they kept the composting and waste water recycling.

The ladies of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato Bakery are already hard at work planning their next Brooklyn affair scheduled for July 15th at Bridget’s Tasting Room in Williamsburg.

Pace’s talented team was successful in bringing together diverse people for a pleasurable evening, and I am sure the New Deal Supper Club will soon become a New York staple.

July: BRIDGET Tasting Room, Williamsburg

This month, New Deal diners will enjoy a 3-course raw dinner made with handpicked, local ingredients at BRIDGET Tasting Room, located on the edge of the East River in Brooklyn.

July 15 @ BRIDGET Tasting Room 20 Broadway at Kent St., Williamsburg

7:30 Wine Tasting
8 pm Seating
Wine is available for purchase by the glass or bottle
$22 in advance
$25 at the door (cash only)
Limited Seating Available

BRIDGET serves a variety of local wines from Bridge Vineyards in Mattituck, New York on the North Fork of Long Island. Bridge Wine is made from locally grown grapes on Bridge Lane in Cutahog, NY.

3 Course Raw Mexican Summer

  • Papaya Lime Soup
  • Duo Summer Corn Tacos with Radicchio & Romaine Chiffanade, Pico de Gallo, Chunky Guacamole & Nut Chili with a pickled side salad
  • Spiced Chocolate Mousse with a Nut Cream & Sweetened Raw Coconut Flakes

Who’s Who

Rabbit Mafia works specifically with the arts industry, non-profits, and socially conscious companies to provide excellent cuisine using locally sourced products.

Sweet Potato Bakerys Chef Suzanne Barr, a graduate of Natural Gourmet NYC caters to clients’ cravings for delicious seasonal vegan and gluten-free desserts in Brooklyn and — coming soon — Manhattan. Stop by V-spot, Organic Heights, or Tiny Cup for weekly cookie pickup spots in Brooklyn.

T. I. Williams

Baker and Live Foods Chef-Educator

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Product Review – Larabar Apple Pie Bar

Last week, when I wrote a review of the Bora Bora Organic Almond Sunflower Bar, I mentioned that I’d purchased another bar as well. The Larabar Apple Pie bar is, according to my 29-year-old son, Aaron, “Not as bad as you would expect from an all-natural bar. Pretty cinnamony, with a little less apple taste than cinnamon.” Overall, he said, “It had more flavor than you would expect from something without artificial flavors added.”

Larabar Apple Pie Bars are packed with raw dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon.

Larabar Apple Pie Bars are packed with raw dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. Photo: J. Wasson

I suppose that’s high praise from a guy who thinks Mountain Dew is the nectar of the gods. For comparison, he also had tried the Bora Bora bar, and reported “It had no taste. It was very bland.”

But we differ. Joe and I both loved the Bora Bora bars because of all the nuts and fruits they contain. The Larabars are good, too, in our opinions. They’re made of a mixture of dried dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. The ingredients are formed into a dense bar that is packed with flavor and nutrition.

I’m not a fan of cinnamon, so that flavor is a bit heavy for me. Joe, who loves that spice, finds it perfectly satisfying. Although the texture is primarily like dried fruit smooshed together (in a very pleasant way, mind you), there’s still enough of a crunch from the occasional nut to appeal to those of us who like a firm texture. In fact, it’s the nuttiness that I like most of all.

So, what about the nutritional element? Here’s what the Larabar folks have to say about their Apple Pie Bar:

  • All natural, unprocessed
  • No added sugars or sweetners
  • Raw
  • Non-GMO
  • Non-irradiated
  • No sulfites
  • No fillers
  • No preservatives
  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • Soy free
  • Vegan
  • Kosher

Ingredients list for Larabar Apple Pie Bar.

The Larabar Apple Pie Bar has a bit of fat — 10g, to be exact. And half the bar’s total calories (180) are fat (90). Not great. But no transfat, so that’s a plus.

On the other hand, it’s real food, not artificial sugars and fluff. And it has actual vitamins and minerals, as opposed to a lot of the other snacks I might try.

At $27.99 for 16 bars, the cost is $1.75 each. But deduct the $4.19 cash back (for shopping through your own eCommerce site), and we’re down to $1.49 each. (Shipping charges apply if your total order is less than $167.) Most likely, you can also find Larabars at your local co-op or health food store.

Overall, though the Larabar is more expensive than a candy bar, it’s no contest when you compare the effects of the Larabar ingredients vs. typical junk food on your body.

Have you tried a Larabar? Let us know what you think.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post:

Product Review: Bora Bora Organic Almond Sunflower Bar

Sustainable Living Profile: Jessica Klein

When Jessica Klein gets hungry for organic produce, she doesn’t have very far to go. “I have my own little sustainable garden,” she says. That’s a bit of an understatement, as Klein raises a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs on a bit less than acre of land. She lives with her husband on the southern exposure of Tiger Mountain, near Issaquah, Washington.

An abundant harvest from Klein's greenhouse. Photo: Jessica Klein

An abundant harvest. Photo: Jessica Klein

Klein has what she calls “quite a green thumb.” But from what we can see in the photos she sent us, she has ten green fingers and probably a few green toes. The photos alone are enough to start us yearning for fresh, juicy, red tomatoes, crisp green cucumbers, and crunchy orange — and red — carrots. By the time the interview is finished, we’re both ready to get out seed catalogs and start planning for the spring.

We interviewed Klein by phone from her home. We wanted to learn more about how she manages to get such lush growth and robust produce in a place where, she says, “It rains about a gazillion days a year.”


BPGL: Tell us about getting started with the greenhouse.

Klein: When I decided to get a greenhouse, first I did some research to determine what kind to buy. Then I watched the sun pattern in our backyard to figure out just where it should go. We have a lot of 150-foot trees on the property, so there’s not much sun. Location was critical.

I chose a brand called the Sunshine GardenHouse. The model is the Mt. Rainier series, which means it’s a local product — made and manufactured on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. (In fact, they drove it up and delivered it to my door.) It’s made of redwood, with polycarbonate walls and automatic solar vents.

BPGL: What did you have to do to get the property ready and then set up the greenhouse?

Preparing the greenhouse foundation. Photo: Jessica Klein

Preparing the greenhouse foundation. Photo: Jessica Klein

Klein: Our backyard was full of brambles, so we had to clear a space for the foundation. After we dug down about 4 or 5 inches, we laid a foundation of cinder blocks around the perimeter and put gravel around the outside. On the inside, we spread a permeable weed cloth to control the weeds, and unrolled chicken wire on top of that to keep the vermin from digging in from the bottom. We placed a flexible drainage pipe around the inside perimeter with an exit hole out one side.

Next, we covered the wire and most of the pipe with a layer of gravel up to the top of the cinder blocks and more around the outside of the greenhouse. That was our base.

On top of that, we built the framework and covered it with the polycarbonate walls that came with the kit. The greenhouse itself is 8 feet by 12 feet. We put it up in two days, but I think we could have done it in one. It probably took us longer than it might take someone in an area where it doesn’t rain so much. We spent a lot of time having to deal with the inevitable water runoff.

BPGL: Did you run any electrical or water lines to the greenhouse?

Klein puts on the last piece of roof. Photo: Brett Klein

Klein prepares to put up the last piece of roof. Photo: Brett Klein

Klein: No. We decided not to put electricity in, because it’s a long way from the house. And in addition to costing a lot, we just didn’t want to have a long electrical line running through the property. Besides, the solar vents work automatically to let out excess heat. We didn’t need to put water in, because of all the rain. When the plants get dry (which hardly ever happens), I just pull a garden hose over and give them a soak.

BPGL: Considering the cost of the building against the cost of the food you’ve grown, what do think the return is on your investment, your ROI?

Klein: Well, we didn’t purchase the cheapest model of greenhouse, or the most expensive one, either. I think we spent about $3,000 on the kit, then maybe another $200 for the raised beds inside. We used some recycled planter disks outside the shed — they look like big saucers. Then we bought trays, buckets, tools, and hoses. We spent about $125 on the worm bin.

And I joined the Seed Savers Exchange. I bought organic and heirloom varieties of seeds from the Seed Savers in Decorah, Iowa. They have varieties you can’t get most places. They grow their own and replenish the seed stock. So that was $35 for the annual fee, plus the cost of seeds.

The total cost of everything probably came to about $3,500.

What have I gotten in return? I’ve saved probably 4 or 5 bags of garbage from going to the landfill. So, from that I saved maybe $10.00 in landfill costs. I fed all of our food waste to the worms. They gave me about $10-$15 worth of the richest fertilizer in the world, worm tea. And I probably got about $10.00 worth of rich soil from the compost. So, how much is that? About $30 or $35.

BPGL: What did you save in produce by growing it yourself?

Klein: Let’s see. In our area, tomatoes in stores have to be flown in, so they cost about $3.99 a pound. I can’t tell you how many pounds I grew! And I can grow them four, five, six months of the year.

Emerging seedlings. Photo: Jessica Klein

Emerging seedlings. Photo: Jessica Klein

When we moved here five years ago, we started planning for the future, by planting fruit trees and such. We’ve been sowing the seeds (no pun intended) to get more production as time goes by. In my whole garden, I have three types of lettuce, zucchini, green beans, kale, peppers, eggplant, carrots, Brussels sprouts, jalapeños, cabbages, edible borage flowers, and all of my herbs, basil, oregano, parsley and more.

We also have fruit trees — an Italian plum tree, a three-graft cherry tree, an apricot tree, a peach tree, a five-graft Asian pear tree. And then we have grapevines, and wild blackberries and huckleberries, too.

I only buy organic produce, so the cost of that is even higher than in a regular grocery store. Without my garden, I probably spend about $15 or $20 a week for produce at the grocery store. But I certainly wouldn’t have consumed $3,500 [the cost of setting up the greenhouse] in vegetables. This year, I probably saved $400. That doesn’t seem like much, but this is just my first year.

BPGL: Do you see other benefits to growing your own produce?

Klein: Yes. The most important thing here is not the money. You have to remember that all of this food was grown organically. That means I know there are no poisons in them, no fertilizers or herbicides. There’s huge psychological ROI in knowing where our food came from, who handled the produce, how the plants were cared for. And I didn’t have to drive to the store to buy any of this.

I get a ton of exercise working in my yard. I get to plant seeds and watch them grow. I get to pick a ripe, red tomato from the vine and eat it. How much is that worth?

Maturing crops. Photo: Jessica Klein

Maturing crops. Photo: Jessica Klein

I do this for my family. I get to give my dad bags full of fresh tomatoes, which he loves. My mom loves the zucchini. And my sister loves the green beans. There is no price tag on that.

I don’t consider myself an earth-shattering change-maker. I just try to do my part. I support the locavore movement, which means eating food grown in a certain radius near your home. The point is to get to know your local farmer. Farmers’ markets are huge out here in the Northwest.

BPGL: Isn’t raising your own produce a lot of work?

Klein: Getting it all started was a lot of work. And at planting time, yes, it’s hard work. After that, it only takes about an hour a day. And during the long winter, when I’m stuck inside, I’ll be thinking about what I’m going to plant, just waiting to get outside and put in those long days again.

Tomato vines growing in Klein's greenhouse. Photo: Jessica Klein

Tomato vines growing in the greenhouse. Photo: Jesssica Klein

It’s such a labor of love, pure joy.

BPGL: Tell us about your worms. How did you get into that part of the gardening?

Klein: I read a couple of books. Amy Stewart’s From the Ground Up, which tells about how she grew her first garden when she knew nothing at all about gardening; and The Earth Moved, which is about vermiculture.

At the time, I thought, This sounds like something I could spend a lot of money and time doing, and I know I’m the type to jump into a project and then let it slide. But then I thought, What the heck? I want to do it. So, 15 minutes after I finished The Earth Moved, I was on the phone buying a worm bin.

The worm bin sat in the entry to my home for the winter. We fed them all our food trash and it didn’t smell at all. It was so easy to maintain, I couldn’t believe it. Then when summer came, I got the message from my husband, and I moved it out to the deck. A neighbor helped me take the bin apart. We scooped out the compost, drained out the worm tea.

Our worms are red wigglers. They’re quick movers, those little guys. They really do compost everything right down to black gold. There’s not much discernable that’s left when they’re done. I found one avocado peeling, but when I touched it, it disintegrated.

Reaping the reward. Photo: Jessica Klein

Reaping the reward. Photo: Jessica Klein

I’m so glad I did this. I’ve always been into recycling, and this kind of recycling is easy enough. Well, maybe I think it’s easy and for others it’s hard, but it’s what I can do.

BPGL: What about eggshells? Can you feed the worms eggshells?

Klein: They love eggshells. They compost them down to nothing. In fact eggshells are good for their tummies. And coffee grounds, too.  They’re just crazy little munchers! It really is very easy to take care of them.

BPGL: Do you ever find that you run out of food for the worms?

Klein: No, right now, I find that my worms keep up with my food and my food keeps up with my worms. They just turn all my food scraps and garden scraps into beautiful compost. It’s great! If we ever run out, we have loads of leaves and yard waste we could feed them; but, so far, we haven’t had to do that.

Klein's saucer garden. Photo: Jessica Klein

Mini gardens in recycled planting disks. Photo: Jessica Klein

BPGL: With organic gardening, where you don’t use any herbicides or pesticides, what are your biggest problems?

Klein: My nemesis is the slugs. The greenhouse tends to take care of the plants inside [because the slugs can’t get in], and they can’t crawl up into my round planters, but they’re everywhere else. I tried to put out dishes of beer. I heard that would work, but my dog drank them all. [She laughs.] So, I can’t do that anymore. And, I planted marigolds to attract the ladybugs to eat the aphids.

BPGL: Any other pests?

Klein: Oh, yeah, the deer. The dogs keep them way most of the time. And I had a bear walk through my yard last spring. Then there are all of the possum, raccoons, and coyotes. We also have occasional bobcats, and puma.

And, of course, with so much rain, we have mold. In fact, besides slugs, my biggest issues are with the climate. There’s not enough sun and too much water.

BPGL: What’s next for you?

Klein: It’s my hope that as I learn more, I’ll be able to teach other people.

BPGL: What advice would you give people about starting their own organic garden at home?

Klein: Start small, say with an herb garden on your deck. Or grow even just one vegetable to begin with. Just do what you can do. The hardest part is to make the decision to do something. Once you take the first step, everything else is reward.

Joe Hennager and Julia Wasson

Founders

Blue Planet Green Living (Home)

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