Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top 10 tips for your Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving!!

By Larry West, About.com

Top 10 Tips for an Eco-friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is an American holiday that is loaded with tradition, so why not start a new tradition in your family by making Thanksgiving an eco-friendly celebration from start to finish?

Here are 10 tips to help you capture the spirit of the original Thanksgiving by making your holiday celebration eco-friendly. An eco-friendly Thanksgiving will enrich your family’s holiday experience, because you will know that you have reduced your impact on the environment. And that’s something for which everyone can be thankful.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

To make your Thanksgiving celebration as eco-friendly as possible, start with the three Rs of conservation: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying only as much as you need and choosing products that come in packaging that can be recycled.

Carry reusable bags when you do your shopping, and use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again.

Recyle paper, and all plastic, glass and aluminum containers.  If you don't already have a compost bin, use your Thanksgiving fruit and vegetable trimmings to start one.  The compost will enrich the soil in your garden next spring.  

2. Buy and Eat Locally Grown Food

Buying only locally grown food is one good way to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. Locally grown food is good for your table, your health and the environment.  Locally grown food tastes better than food that has to be grown and packaged for maximum shelf life, and it requires less fuel to reach store shelves.  Locally grown food also contributes more to  your local economy, supporting local farmers as well as local merchants.

3. Make Your meal Organic

Using only organic food for your feast is another good eco-friendly Thanksgiving strategy.  

4. Celebrate at Home

This year, why not reduce global warming and improve air quality by lowering your auto emissions at the same time that you lower your family's stress level?

5. Travel Smart

If you must go over the river and through the woods, there are still ways to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving.  If you drive, use less fuel and lower your emissions by making sure your car is in good working order and your tires are properly inflated.  If possible, carpool to reduce the number of cars on the road and lower the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to air pollution and global warming.

6. Invite the Neighbors

7. Plant a Tree

8. Make your Own Eco-friendly Decorations

9. Make it a Spiritual Day

10. Say Thank You

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Exciting news about Recyling!!!

Recycling 101
This article is from Earth 911.

Recycling is the third R of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product.

Create a Workplace Recycling Program So, how do you start recycling at work? That’s what we’re here for—to walk you through the process. If you already recycle at home, you’ll find many similarities to office recycling. Start with just a couple of products. Once your program is up and running, add others. Eventually, you will have a flawless program in place. Hey . . . you’ll be offering us tips in no time. Let’s get started on creating your office recycling program; First, choose a recycling coordinator, pick materials to recycle, decide your collection method, determine how it will be hauled away, set up recycling bins and guideline, monitor the program, and promote your program through education!

Curbside Recycling - Curbside recycling now serves half of the U.S. population, providing the most convenient means for households to recycle a variety of materials. While all curbside programs differ, the most commonly included materials are The Big Five: aluminum cans, glass bottles, paper, plastic and steel/tin cans.

Electronics - Technology has revolutionized our lifestyle through telephones, radios, TVs, computers and cell phones. However, the brisk pace of technology means these devices become obsolete quickly. A more recent issue is how our old electronics should be disposed of, because they often contain dangerous elements such as lead and mercury that can contaminate our soil and water supply.

Composting - Managing organic material at your home can not only decrease the amount of material you send to the landfill; it can also help turn your organic waste into a landscape asset. Composting will reduce the amount of food waste in your garbage can, while creating nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.

Garage Garbage - Did you know that used motor oil can be recycled? How about paint and batteries? It turns out many of the items in your garage are recyclable. Claim your garage back, learn what to do with the mess and help the planet while you’re at it.

Earth 911

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Four "Organic" Back-to-School Tips

This article is from www.organicauthority.com

Written by Laura Klein, Publisher

As we enjoy the last weeks of summer (or “freedom,” as kids may call them), it’s time to prepare for the new school year. For organic families, the emphasis is on healthful lunches. Sound challenging? Not if you follow these four kid-pleasing tips.

1. Protein in Perspective

Years ago, our moms sent us to school with protein-heavy meat sandwiches and coins to buy whole milk. These days, it’s easy to lighten up with your kids’ favorite organic vegetables, low-fat cheese or tofu—each of which proves wholesome with whole-grain bread. Beans are another terrific source of protein and fiber, with negligible saturated fat.

“Nuts and seeds are portable, healthy snacks that are perfect for lunch boxes,” she adds. “They are loaded with protein and packed with energy. Ounce for ounce, pumpkin seeds have almost as much protein as beef or chicken, with a lot more of the good fats—and even have some of the amazingly heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.”

2. Liquid Logic

 “What your child drinks with lunch each day is just as important as what he or she eats,” Dr. Renna says. “Send your child with either water, low-fat milk or a fruit-juice box—but make sure that the juice box is made from only 100% juice and is fortified with calcium, as well. Many juices contain only minimal amounts of real fruit juice and instead are filled with a lot of sugar. Read the labels and look for a juice box that is 100% pure fruit juice, such as Apple & Eve’s 100% juice box line.” (It’s organic!)

As an added bonus, juice boxes can help keep your child’s lunch cold throughout the day. Simply freeze a juice box the night before school and use it as an ice pack, Dr. Renna suggests. By lunchtime, it will be perfectly defrosted and ready to drink.

3. Involvement and Input

Moms haven’t traditionally asked us what we wanted to eat for lunch. We’d open our lunch box and grab a soggy tuna sandwich and some cookies—the icky kind no one even wanted in the daily trade. Times have changed: When you take your children to your local natural and organic food store, allow them to help you shop for school lunch staples and snacks.

“Involve your children in picking out the foods and packing the lunch box,” says Elena Serrano, an assistant professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech. “You’ll find out what they like and, if they feel a part of the process, they’re more prone to eat it.”

Make sure your children have a variety of foods in their diet, including whole grains and low-fat dairy products, she adds. You can visit MyPyramid.gov to learn more about healthful organic choices in each food group.

4. No Fuss, No Muss

It may seem obvious, but it helps to prepare organic lunches that are easy to eat, Serrano says. Make sure food is cut at the appropriate size for young children.

“Kids don’t have a lot of time to eat, and they don’t want to spend that time getting their foods ready,” confirms Carmen Byker, a Virginia Tech senior majoring in human nutrition, foods and exercise. “Cut, peel and slice fruits and vegetables in advance, or buy them ready to eat, like baby carrots, sliced apples, raisins and grapes.”

Byker encourages shopping for fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market. Not only will you find the freshest organic produce, but you’ll also support regional growers. These fruits and veggies also taste better, which encourages your kids to eat more servings each day, she says.

We hope this will help you pack a healthy, organic lunch, made with love for your little ones!

The Marvin's Organic Gardens Team

Friday, September 19, 2008

Keep a Pitcher of Water in Your Fridge

By Brian Clark Howard

This article is from
The Daily Green

Such a simple action as filling a pitcher of water from the tap and placing it in your refrigerator provides several benefits in terms of energy and water savings, as well as your health.

For one thing, a pitcher full of water will help your refrigerator keep your food cool more efficiently, much like how a cold ice pack works in a cooler. Also, whenever you want a glass of water, you won't have to let the tap run for a few moments to obtain a cool temperature, cutting down on waste. You won't need as much ice, which requires energy to make.

Having cold water at the ready will discourage you from reaching for disposable plastic water bottles, which have a sizable environmental footprint to produce, ship and store.

You'll also be likely to drink more water, keeping hydrated while avoiding sugar-loaded sodas and other alternatives. Plus, when tap water sits for a while (particularly when uncovered), much of the chlorine that is present from the filtration plant evaporates out. This means you're enjoying a tastier drink, and cutting down on the toxins, extremely dilute though they may be, that enter your body. Doesn't that sound refreshing?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Clean Your Windows with Vinegar

Article from The Daily Green

Instead of harsh chemical sprays, get those windows and mirrors crystal clear with a simple solution of white vinegar, newspaper and a little elbow grease. You'll also save money and the hassle of needing to stock more cleaning supplies.

It's simple: mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking.

If you run out of vinegar, or don't like the smell, you can also substitute straight lemon juice or club soda (don't dilute either in water), and rub with newspaper. See, simple!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Put In A Small Rain Garden

Article from The Daily Green. By Brian Clark Howard

Homeowners and businesses can stem the tide of polluted runoff threatening our waterways by setting up a simple “rain garden,” which is beautiful as well as beneficial.

The concept of a rain garden, which mimics natural systems, was crystallized in Maryland in the 1990s. The idea is to create a depression filled with plants that collects the rainwater that runs off a building and its landscape. The plants — such as sedges, rushes, ferns, wildflowers, shrubs, trees and so on — absorb the water and release it slowly. This reduces the surge of water running off the landscape, which picks up fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil and other contaminants and carries them into waterways.

Rain gardens reduce the risk of flash floods, and they help stabilize the flow that enters waterways, both in terms of volume and temperature. That leads to healthier streams and rivers. Plus, the plants naturally filter the water, neutralizing some of the toxins that are present. They also provide valuable wildlife habitat.

No two rain gardens are exactly the same. They can be large and interconnected, with different levels and features, or very small and simple. Normally, they are placed in natural low spots, near where gutters drain. Ideally, they are populated with plants that are native to the local area. Sometimes they have swales to maximize their ability to hold water.

Call Marvin's Organic Gardens and ask to speak with Wes about adding a rain garden to your backyard.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Organic Hero Play List (cranked up to 11)

(Saw this in a guide from Whole Foods Market and wanted to share it).


1. Organic farming meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

2. Growing organically supports a biologically diverse, healthy environment.

3. Organic farming practices help protect our water resources.

4. Organic agriculture increases the land’s productivity.

5. Organic production limits toxic & long-lasting chemicals in our environment.

6. Buying organic supports, small independent family farms.

7. Organic farmers are less reliant on non-renewable fossil fuels.

8. Organic products meet stringent USDA standards.

9. Buying organic is a direct investment in the long-term future of our planet.

10. Organic farmers preserve diversity of plant species.

11. Organic food tastes great.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fresh Pesto Recipe


• 3 cloves garlic
• ¼ - ½ cup pine nuts (negotiable)
• ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (you can cut this half and half with chicken broth)
• juice of half a lemon
• 2-3 cups fresh basil
• ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
• 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
• dash of pepper (optional)


Fill food processor with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth. Add basil, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Pulse until well blended. Scrape down sides and pulse until smooth.

Serve on whole grain baguette slices topped with yellow bell pepper slices.
Or toss with a whole grain linguini pasta.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Building Green!

For those of you that don't know - Marvin's is more than a nursery.  We have a huge garden center, spacious greenhouses, and even on-site compost and mulch bins.  This year we have added on a new department to our business.  Marvin's is now offering Cincinnati residents the option to start building green.
So what does it mean to build green?  Basically, we are using environmentally safe materials and utilizing better building practices.  By building green you are adding quality to your home and/or garden.  
Brandon Berning is the Construction Manager for us here at Marvin's.  He comes to us with years of experience under is belt.  To set up a FREE consultation with Brandon, just give us a call at 513-932-3319.
To take a look at some of our finished hardscapes by visiting our online photo gallery.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Throughout history, the story has repeated itself: Great civilizations have grown where soils were fertile enough to support high-density human communities, and fallen when soils could no longer sustain our rough treatment. Soil directly and indirectly affects agricultural productivity, water quality and climate. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear to the air we breathe, humanity depends on the very dirt beneath our feet. Biodiversity in the soil ranges in size from microscopic one-celled bacteria, algae, fungi and protozoa, to larger nematodes, arthropods, earthworms, insects, plant roots and small animals. This community of organisms help to break down and incorporate organic materials into the soil, convert nutrients into useable forms for plants, and help to hold carbon which might otherwise enter the atmosphere, potentially contributing to global warming. Healthy soils also contain an abundance of minerals, air, water and organic materials, all which are essential for healthy plant growth. We must learn to understand, respect and rebuild our soils, before this precious commodity degrades beyond repair.

The major threats to our soil, and ultimately our water is: over-intensive farming and gardening practices that arise from tilling, heavy machinery and the use of harsh chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Soil compaction from heavy equipment reduces the soils air space and ability to take in water and nutrients. Compacted soils become hard when dry, and can restrict root growth and the activity of soil organisms. Deep tilling accelerates soil erosion, which ends up washing into our streams, rivers and eventually the ocean. When excessive nutrients from eroded soil enters waterways, algal bloom is stimulated to grow in abundance, and suck up most of the available oxygen as it breaks down. This process known as eutrophication, leads to death of aquatic life, and has created a “dead zone” in the mouth of the Mississippi river larger than the size of New Jersey. In addition to water degradation, a 1995 study published in Science concluded that in North America alone, the loss of soil from croplands in the form of erosion decreases agricultural productivity by about $27 billion per year. Lastly, the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizer can not only over acidify the soil, but also destroy the very soil organisms that support healthy plant growth. Soil is being lost faster than it can naturally replenish itself, but the good news is that we can rebuild our soils and revitalize soil life.

Soil is the skin of our planet, and a vital living system. Too often we forget that soil sustains all life, and is arguably the most important natural resource we have. The more abundant, diverse forms of life we can nurture in the soil, the more fruitful and self-sustaining our crops and landscapes will be. Harvey Blatt, author of the 2004 book, America’s Environmental Report Card, points out that one heaping tablespoon of healthy soil contains up to nine billion living microorganisms, which is more than the human population of earth. Better known as the soil food web, this complex group of organisms bear the important task of breaking down toxic pollutants and purifying water as it passes through the soil. Other roles include increasing the soils porosity, which improves air and water movement, as well as increasing the soils ability to bind, which can lessen the damaging affects of soil erosion. There is constant interaction among the organisms living in the soil. The few “bad” soil organisms are kept in check by the vast diversity of beneficial organisms, wherein keeping healthy soils in balance for optimum plant growth with the least amount of effort to upkeep them. If we do our part to encourage healthier soils, the organisms of our soils will flourish, and work even harder to help us build more nutrient rich crops, cleaner water and bigger, brighter blooms in our gardens.

We can increase the health of our soils, and ultimately the productivity of landscape plants and crops with a few simple techniques. Most soil organisms like cool, moist conditions, which are enhanced by the addition of mulch, plants of all sorts or lawns. Such groundcovers also help to hold soil, which lessens the affects of soil erosion. Also, the addition of well-aged compost can add organic matter back into the soils. The more diverse the ingredients that are incorporated into a compost pile results in a greater diversity of nutrients and soil organisms in the end product that is ready to be applied to your lawn and garden areas. Compost ingredients such as plant debris and manure should be aged for at least one year before being applied to such areas. Reducing the amount of tilling in one’s garden areas also help to reduce the loss of organic matter. Leave all landscape plant and crop residues in your bed areas through the winter to help reduce erosion in otherwise barren areas, as well as providing habitat for over wintering beneficial insects. Such plant debris can be removed in the spring to encourage soil temperatures to warm faster, which can increase early season plant growth. All over the world, a great portion of our useable soils are worn out, depleted and close to death. These soils possess the ability to be restored to maximum productivity. We need to continue to work together to enrich our soils and treat them as living communities of organisms that can enrich all life that stands a top them. Only when we stop treating our soils like dirt, will civilizations such as ours be able to sustain themselves permanently.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our Organic Gardening Arsenal

At Marvin’s Organic Gardens, we are dedicated to safe and natural, lawn and garden practices. We approach plant health and pest control with products and techniques that reduce soil and water pollution, and to minimize health concerns for both humans and wildlife. We continue to introduce new and useful organic gardening products to our garden center shelves so that we can all approach plant health, pest pressures and weed problems naturally and safely. Some of the earth friendly products in our organic gardening arsenal include:

1. Organic 8-3-3 and 3-3-3 Fertilizer - These multipurpose granular fertilizers have a range of short and long-term growth and disease suppressive benefits for lawns, gardens and containerized plants when used at the proper rate. These poultry manure-based fertilizers are easy to spread, reduce the risk of soil and water pollution, and promote healthy lawns and landscapes.

2. Corn Gluten- This natural pre-emergent weed control contains naturally occurring substances that inhibit weed seeds tiny feeder roots when applied to lawns and garden in early spring, late spring and fall. Also, C.G. naturally contains 9% nitrogen which helps promote healthy lawn and landscape growth.

3. Bagged and Bulk Compost- These superb compost blends are an excellent amendment for both garden and container plantings, and help to restore worn out lawns in need of rejuvenation. Compost helps reduce disease incidence in both lawns and gardens, and will loosen compacted clay soils when applied at a ½”-1” rate.

4. Burn Out Weed Control- This safe, fast acting product is for non-selective control of most broadleaf and grass weeds. Burn Out is most affective when applied on warm, sunny days, and can be used to spot treat weeds in lawns, mulch beds, patio, walkways, fence lines and driveways.

5. Milky Spore- An all-natural bacteria-based product for Japanese beetle control developed by the USDA that will not harm beneficial insects, humans or animals. Once applied, Milky Spore can last up to 20 years in your soil controlling Japanese beetle grubs. This safe grub control product can be applied to open lawns, mulch beds, flower and vegetable gardens.

6. Diatomaceous Earth- This safe and affective control for ants, fleas, ticks, slugs, termites, spiders and roaches is derived from fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. This product is so safe that it can be rubbed right into your dog or cat’s fur for flea control. Can be applied around home foundations, around garden plants and in the corners and crevices inside your home.

7. Deer Scram- Our most popular organic granular deer and rabbit scent based repellant works for up to 45-60 days, even when rained on. D.S. has no foul odor to people, but when applied as a protective band at the base of vulnerable plants, will prevent damage to valuable landscape plants and vegetable crops, and also acts as a mild fertilizer.

8. Mycorrhizal CPR-We are proud to introduce this beneficial plant fungi product which helps encourage overall plant health and growth, lessen disease pressures and increases plants drought tolerance when applied around the root system of almost all plants. As the mycorrhizae associate themselves with plant roots, they send out hair-like strands in the soil, which act as siphons to dissolve and facilitate the absorption of many minerals and water essential for healthy plant growth.

9. Fertilome Bt- This naturally occurring biological/microbial insecticide-based spray is intended for control of bagworms, borers, leaf miners and most leaf-eating caterpillars. When larvae eat the treated plant leaves, the Bt bacteria destroys their stomachs, and kills target insects in 1-2 days. It is most effective to apply Bt to young, heavily feeding larvae, and poses no health risk to humans, pets, birds, bees and fish.

10. Mosquito Barrier- When first sprayed, the natural sulfurs kill the mosquitoes that are struck by the spray, afterwards any mosquitoes entering the area detect the garlic sulfurs and avoid the area for 2-4 weeks. The M.B. spray also works well to keep fleas and ticks from your yard, and is entirely safe for humans, pets and wildlife. M.B. is designed for spraying on all plant foliage and areas of standing water.

Stop in today to Marvin’s Organic Gardens to arm your lawn and gardens with our vast arsenal of environmentally safe plant health and pest control products. We have numerous organic gardening products in addition to the abovementioned, and a helpful and friendly staff to answer all your gardening questions. Please mention this article at our garden center to receive 25% off all Ornamental Grasses, Asters, Mums and Ornamental Kale and Cabbage. Go Organic! It’s Only Natural.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Top 5 Reasons to Go Organic!

Here are the top 5 reasons that we have found to Go Organic!

1. FOR HUMAN HEALTH (and pets too!)- Countless studies have linked conventional chemical gardening pesticides and fertilizers to cancer, reproductive and neurological damage. Organic fertilizers and pest control products are safe for both pets and humans, most of which are derived from plant remains, animal waste and naturally derived minerals from both soil and water.

2. FOR SOIL HEALTH-One application of a chemical fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide, fungicide (and so on) can kill soil organisms. Soil is alive and teeming with microorganisms that help to convert inactive minerals and water into the building blocks of life, reduce soil erosion and compaction, reduce soil borne disease, break down soil pollution and much more. Studies
even show that soil, with its many life forms, can reduce global warming by holding carbon in the soil rather than releasing it into the air. Soil is the base for all life, and one can improve the quality of their soil by simply adding compost. Compost helps to regenerate soil life, and corrects many soil imbalances, eliminating the need for harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

3. FOR WILDLIFE HEALTH-Many recent studies have correlated the use of garden chemicals to a decline in the health of birds, aquatic life and land animals. Many of these garden chemicals are not only proven to have an immediate adverse impact on wildlife, but additionally, these chemicals are gradually magnified as they move up the food chain. For example, minute water life feed on pesticide tainted algae, a small fish then consumes many of these small water animals, which are then consumed by a larger fish. The larger the animal, the more food it must consume, which means it is taking in more and more of these harmful pesticides. Scientific studies have shown that organic farms and gardens support a greater number and diversity of wild creatures than most conventionally managed farmland and residence. By planting more Ohio native shrubs, trees and perennials, one can help to attract more wildlife to ones gardens.

4. FOR INSECT HEALTH-An estimated 80% to 90% of all insects have a beneficial impact on plants. One application of a chemical pesticide can eliminate many of these helpful critters. Beneficial insect help by pollinating plants and reducing pest insect numbers in our gardens. Pest insects are proven to recover more quickly after a pesticide application than beneficial insect populations, which could compound an infestation of pest insects in the long run. The insect world is a system of checks and balances, which if unaltered by chemical inputs, can work to minimize insect damage on our garden plants. With organic control methods, the goal is not to eliminate pest insects, but to reduce their populations enough to prevent serious injury to plants. By mixing flowering plants with vegetables and fruits, one can increase the diversity of beneficial predator insects in ones gardens.

5. FOR THE FUTURES HEALTH-The idea that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors but borrow it from our children is a compelling one. The conventional gardening world is wrought with “quick fix” products with many long-term repercussions. For every pest, disease or weed problem one might have, there is always a safe and natural approach to correct that problem. Organic gardening creates a healthy environment for you and your family, and causes little to no soil and water pollution. The hidden cost of chemical agriculture and gardening is tremendous. The cost of cleaning up our drinking water to reduce pesticide content is now well over $200 million a year in the U.S. alone. Organic gardening helps to create more sustainable agriculture and home gardens, and encourages a healthier environment for future generations.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A blog of fantastic firsts!

The month of June is a month of firsts for us here at Marvin’s. As you can see, this is our first blog entry!

In addition to our pioneering post, we are preparing for our first annual Farmers Market at MOG. Saturday the 14th will be the first time the market is open. (aha another first!) We are still in the process of confirming a couple of vendors and we are still looking for additional farmers to partake in the market. If you or someone you know is interested feel free to contact us at info@marvinsorganicgardens.com or click here for more info. If you make homemade jams/jellies, grow organic veggies, produce quality baked goods, etc. we would love to have you join us! The market will be open from 10am to 3pm on Saturdays through October, weather permitting.

We are also in the process of adding some new photos to our website from our first thinkGREEN event. Check them out here.

(I know we may have some first time readers to our blog so let me just verify that MOG stands for Marvin’s Organic Gardens. If you are going to be a dedicated reader you need to understand our jiffy lingo!)