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Esbenshades Garden Center Plants Review – Online Store

Esbenshades Garden Center Plants Review – Online Store

This review is for the online ordering portion of Esbenshades Garden Center Plants.

I’ve ordered plants on line before, from an Indian rope plant to a Pilea peperomioides that now looks like it’s taken over the window shelf. Both came packaged exceptionally well, and you could see that the person sending them was someone who really cared for the plants’ wellbeing. It’s something that I do, and with the lockdown in NYC and no place to get fresh herbs, I figured I’d buy them online. 

Harder to do than say that’s for sure. My first inclination was to go to Ferry Morse, where I get a lot of my seeds from, they do non-GMO, and organics, and they’re reliable, and I’ll be doing a review on them soon enough. But seeds and plants were sold out until May, and simply put, I didn’t want to wait, so I continued my search elsewhere. 

esbenshades garden center online ordering.

I looked into a couple of other places until finally finding some available plants on Esbenshades, who I’d never heard of before. In any case, they had plants in stock, so I went on my hunt. Found rosemary, thyme, oregano, and was super pleasantly surprised to find they had Tomatillos, so got a plant of those as well. 

Esbenshades garden center plants are available online in April / May 2020 with limited inventory

The order was shipped out pretty quickly, and within 3 days I had a part of it on my front doorstep. After further research, Esbenshades is based out of South Central PA, so not all that far from NYC, but impressive nonetheless. 

After opening the box, though, I was pretty bummed. The plants were not in the best of shape. Earth had spilled all over the box, the tomatillo had a bent stem that I’m now trying to fix using a splint, but need to order grafting tape, otherwise I’m going to wait and see if they perk up 🤞.

Not great, and I’m a little bummed to be completely honest. To be fair, it could be the fault of the FedEx delivery guy, but my suspicion is on Ebonshades. I also bought a bag of organic potting soil that was not packed very well, which makes me suspect them more than the delivery company. Simply because we tend to have excellent experiences with all our delivery folks here. 

I wrote the company a message, see below, and waiting to see what they say. 

message esbenshades garden center

Recommendation: Esbenshades Garden Center Plants seem fine other than the one tomatillo, the delivery was quick even if sent out in multiple packages, but that could have just been the way I ordered. Pricewise, they’re on par with other garden centers, but I don’t know if the products they sell are organic. The packaging was not super great but could have been a fluke, let’s see what customer service has to say about it. 

The ranking is based on a five star (*****) scale.

Delivery: *** Super quick, but take points off for allowing a multiple part option. 
Impact on the wallet: *** Neutral, costs are more or less on par with other garden centers. 
Plants: *** 3/4 came in Ok shape, one in poor shape.

Would I use them again, probably and definitely over a chain, but I would look elsewhere first. But if you really want to start growing, check out Ferry Morse and our review of the Hamama Greens Microgreen Grow Kit.

Three New Reasons to Join a CSA this Summer.

Three New Reasons to Join a CSA this Summer.

We’re really excited to join a CSA this summer. Our first CSA delivery won’t be ready for another few weeks and already we can’t wait to taste our seasonal goodies.  If you’re not familiar with the concept, here’s a brief overview of the what and why of joining a CSA.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is a concept that brings together local farmers with local customers.  While specific CSAs vary, customers generally sign up for a weekly or biweekly supply of fresh, seasonal and local fruit and veggies, which may be supplemented by other products like eggs, meat, honey, spices, beer or milk. We’ll be picking up our CSA weekly at a chill local bar here in Brooklyn.

There’s something rotten with our food – dietary illness.

There’s something rotten with our food – dietary illness.

Why is dietary illness so prevalent in the U.S.?

Let me preface this by saying that this is entirely based off of my own experiences, and a number of assumptions here will lack the data I would normally want to have back up my arguments, but with a lack of it, I can write only through observation, and what I see is that there is something wrong with our food.

Growing up in New York, no one had gluten allergies, no one was constantly bloated, and no one had to watch what they ate. Some folks had lactose intolerance, but that was about it. Fast forward 20 some odd years, and everywhere you turn someone has some form of food ailment or allergy.

This can’t be normal. In fact this isn’t normal. The moment I leave the US and go to Europe, Asia, Africa, and eat the local food all my dietary ailments end. I eat more, drink more, I lose weight, and don’t get hangovers even though I drink more, and all is good and well, then I come back home to the states and without fail a week later, I’m ill.

So I started thinking, why is that? Am I the only one who has this? Well a few weeks ago a friend was coming back from Europe and she posted on facebook that the same thing happens to her. I then asked a few other friends who travel abroad often, do they have similar reactions, not all of them, but a few do as well.

What is it? Why are we so prone to dietary illness here in the U.S. whereas other developed countries don’t seem to have the same issues? Where does our food come from? How does it get here, is organic really organic, how can we eat well, while keeping costs down, how can we grow things ourselves, indoors, or close to our homes year round. These are just some of the questions I’m planning to uncover as I embark on a this project.

Greener pods is as much an idea, as it will one day be a product, and hopefully a movement. It’s based on the belief that all people should have access to fresh greens and vegetables, and know where they came from, how they were grown, and sourced.

Here I’ll explore various ways to grow greens and veggies in an apartment, share a few easy, good, affordable recipes, I’ll look at some of the current gardening systems on the market, and will even try to build one or two of my own documenting the entire thing. I truly hope you’ll join me on this journey.

There is something wrong with our food.

It’s being covered in poison and then distributed to people in this country for consumption. Look at most flours you buy, they are bleached and enriched. Fine, but what does that mean?

It means that in the U.S. flour is treated with chemicals like chlorine, bromates, and peroxides that aren’t allowed in other places in the world like the European Union. Gluten allergy, think again, could be an allergy to chlorine – a poison.

Want more? The pesticides being used in commercial fruit and vegetable farming that are on most grocery store shelves and slated ok to eat are not. It’s explicitly recommended to pregnant women they don’t eat non-organic fruit and vegetables. Why? Because they’re covered in poisons that detrimentally affect the fetus.

There is something wrong with our food, and we need to stop eating all those things that harm us, and tell others to do the same. Stop buying non-organic.

3 Little Things you Can do to Help Save the Oceans.

3 Little Things you Can do to Help Save the Oceans.

The oceans are getting warmer, and this is causing coral reef bleaching, disease, marine dead zones that lack any trace of oxygen and are impossible for marine life to live in. There’s also the plastic issue that gets a lot of attention due to its unsightly nature. So, what is the best way to save the Oceans?
The cause of ocean warming is – global warming – it’s the release of Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. The atmosphere warms, this warms the seas and oceans and leads to all sorts of nasty things like sea-level increase, weather pattern changes, climate unpredictability, the emergence of superbugs, and of course the coral bleaching and disease, marine dead zones, and species destruction mentioned earlier. You name it; we’ve got it.

What can I do to save the Oceans?

First of all, be aware that everything is interconnected. Oceans, land, seas, forests, it’s all a working functioning system. If one thing gets out of whack, then it causes something else to get out of whack. Raise awareness. Be the annoying family member at dinner or the office. Climate change is everyone’s problem.

Cut out as much carbon dioxide (CO2) causing activity you can.

Take public transportation, lower on-grid electricity consumption (solar is ok, not coal burning). Lower meat consumption, grow your veggies, drive less, fly less, be mindful of where your goods are produced and how they’re transported. Buy local.

Lobby your politicians.

Write your representatives, first and foremost, they want to get reelected, and if the climate is on the ticket, then they’ll at least raise awareness about it. The more of us who know and talk about climate change and back our talk up with purchase decisions, will put pressure on politicians and polluting corporations.
The bad news is that our cumulative individual actions will make only a small dent in the total amount of CO2.

Grow your own food.

Think about the carbon footprint of going to the grocery store, all those fruits, veggies, and herbs had to get there somehow, When you grow your food at home, be in your garden or indoors you’re helping to do the littlest bit to help fight climate change while also eating better. If you want a super-easy way to start, check out Hamama Greens, or the Click & Grow.

What is the most effective way to cool the oceans?

Plant trees and restore forests. Individually, get involved with local groups and reforestation efforts. Mass reforestation is the least expensive, and most effective way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and in turn, cool the oceans. The question that remains is – is can we pull this off on a large enough scale and do it in time, the oceans are getting warmer at an accelerated rate. Right now, the odds are against us. 

Simply Planting Trees Won’t Stop Climate Change. We Need to do More.

Simply Planting Trees Won’t Stop Climate Change. We Need to do More.

Many people think that planting trees can stop climate change, but the truth is this isn’t enough. It is an overly simplistic approach to a carbon dioxide abatement problem that is inherently much more complex. To mitigate climate change, we have to look at the problem holistically. We need to take into consideration not only the topic of deforestation but its causes. Be they political, economic, sociological, technical, or legal. We also need to change the way we consume, partially, by growing as much of our own food as we can.

Politicians can’t guarantee conservation.

Planting a tree doesn’t mean that it’s going to be protected. Governments, despite their best efforts, aren’t very good at maintaining a policy. Parties change, and with them, environmental protections get wiped away with a fell swoop of a pen.

–      How Trumps is Changing Environmental Policy
–      Brazil’s President is destroying the Amazon

However, if forests are on private land, then the issue becomes much more complicated. Now we’re exploring property seizure, which is a much more difficult task to accomplish, across the developed, and the developing world.

By owning the land and mineral rights to the areas we reforest, we can ensure their preservation.

Buying land and planting trees is better economically.

While land prices vary across regions. We’ve identified areas in Central and Latin America where we can reforest an acre of land for a variable cost of ~$2500 to ~$14,500 per acre, including land, for the first year. Then $6,000 for each subsequent year for a maximum of two.

Compare this to the $1/tree that is touted by many organizations, and we see direct cost savings per acre of about 50{7cad9107fef93f823e7d01b74766c2acdc23385445c87476ed9926ce50a65185} when using the Miyawaki method, estimating 43,560 trees/acre.

The afforestation in each target area should also provide economic benefit to its residents, by injecting that capital into local economies. Land ownership also provides us certain rights, possession, control, collateral, etc.

Planting trees by themselves isn’t enough.

What we ought to be thinking about is about making the greatest impact over time, ecological conservation, reforestation, and environmental replenishment. Not to mention the environmental benefits that come along with reforestation, like filtered and stored water, cleaner air, maintaining biodiversity, and ecosystem restoration, to name a few.

Hamama Greens Grow Kit Review

Hamama Greens Grow Kit Review

For part one, (the ordering experience) head over here. Otherwise, continue reading.

Hamama Greens is Based out of SF and they produce home grow kits for microgreens. When writing this review I reached out to them via their website, and Camille, one of the founders was awesome enough to answer my questions, so some of this comes directly from her.

In addition to general questions about the device, I asked Camille what she’d like to accomplish with Hamama, and her quote was pretty awesome. “Our goal is to help as many people as possible experience that gardener’s high and get hooked. The feeling of eating something healthy that you had a part in producing.” Which to us is very solid. We’d love for every household in the US to grow a portion of their food at home, in fact that’s a big part of our mission so this resonated pretty well with us.

Cool, so let’s start it off with this – we’ve had them growing for four days and so far it works, and pretty well, but onto that in a bit. First let’s look at what you get for $35 bucks (looking around the internet the price here seems to have increased. (more…)

Indoor Gardening Product Ordered, Hamama Greens Preview

Indoor Gardening Product Ordered, Hamama Greens Preview

Let’s start off with this Hamama Greens has a pretty great mission which we align with here, they “want to help create a world where anyone can grow and eat fresh food as a part of a healthy lifestyle routine.” Right on! As someone who believes accessibility to fresh nutritious greens is pivotal, this initiative speaks to me. Price wise it’s also economical, the starter kit which comes with everything you need to get going is $35, this comes with enough seeds to grow your greens for a month, and then a monthly subscription to seeds at $16/month.

From my research this is one of the less expensive options, which is awesome, as economic accessibility to fresh greens is super important, and the monthly seed subscription won’t break the bank. Lastly if you love the system, Hamama Greens also offers a microgreen flat they call a grow tray for $25. Not bad at all. You can all this on their website, and they use Shopify with a custom domain to process all transactions.

Hamama Microgreens Mixed Salad

I ordered over thanksgiving weekend and the microgreen kit was shipped that Monday by USPS, and arrived here in Brooklyn NY, Friday morning. We’ll get to setting all this up soon and will post updates here.

UPDATE!!!!! We’ve been getting the Hamama Greens kits for ~ 6 months now, and wanted to update our Hamama greens review. In short we’re absolutely thrilled with their product aside from one tiny snafu which was the postman’s fault.

We have Hamama greens every 7-10 days with our salads and eggs and sandwiches and are love the product so much we’ve bough it for friends and family. Get on this! Here’s part two of the review.

In terms of other indoor kits, we’ve done considerable research and have opted to simply start growing our food at home in coconut coir and hydroponic systems. More on that later though. If you’d like a Hamama Kit, you can get one form their site or support us by getting one here.

Also check our out review of the home herb garden Click & Grow.

How to go zero waste?

How to go zero waste?

Let’s start with the basic facts, going zero waste is not easy. Especially if you live in any kind of urban or suburban environment where single-use plastic items are next to impossible not to consume.

Think about it, every trip to the supermarket results in you bringing home plastic bags, plastic containers, and plastic packaging, some of which is non-recyclable, making it extremely difficult to cut single-use plastics out of your life.

Then you look at detergents, cleaning supplies and the like, and another problem presents itself. Many of the products will claim to be “eco-friendly,” but much of their friendliness is nothing more than greenwashing. Many products in this category will contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment, that can kill insects, plankton, and harm marine life.

We fix a dish rack! Being sustainable by fixing household items.

We fix a dish rack! Being sustainable by fixing household items.

One of my big pet peeves about the way our culture has developed is that when something breaks, we just throw it out, and get something new. We constantly buy, upgrade, and consume. So when a wooden dish rack we’ve had for ~3 years broke, we could have chucked it and bought a new one for ~$10 – 15, but instead, I decided to fix it. So how do you fix a wooden dish rack, and why even bother?

The reasons were as follows:
1. Don’t throw things out that don’t need to be thrown out.
2. Don’t buy things no matter how inexpensive to replace something easily fixable.
3. Save time by not going to the store to buy a new one, or, save packaging, carbon etc… by not having one shipped to us, and spending the 15 mins to look for the right dish rack on Amazon or some other e-commerce site.
4. Household items can be easily fixed in about the same amount of time it takes to order a new one.


Ditch The Dirt Book Review

Ditch The Dirt Book Review

A pretty unbiased Ditch the Dirt Book Review. A while ago I ordered the new book from titled Ditch The Dirt, written by Rob Laing, CEO of Farm.One which is also based here in New York. I’d heard about what they’re doing a while back through some friends in the venture community. Since then I have been following their progress and development as a company. So I was pretty excited to learn that we’d be getting a book on indoor farming from someone who’s had so much success in urban agriculture. My initial thoughts were that this book would help facilitate growing food at home, and it’s description on Amazon, pretty much states just that.

“Growing plants hydroponically―in water instead of soil―is easier thank you think. Ditch the Dirt will teach you the basics of hydroponic growing at home, including how to set up and take care of your garden, information on the most interesting edible plants, and delicious ways to use your harvest in your next meal.”