Earth Day

Eating healthy

Living green, eating healthy and caring for the planet are all things we hear we should do on a daily basis. Few would deny their benefits, but cost-effectiveness is the key element in any lifestyle change, especially when you’re a quintessential poor college kid.

There are several things you could use around your own home to save you money, the environment and the planet. Whether you helped out for The Big Event, Earth Day or are planning on helping on Arbor Day, below are things you can do every day that will make a lasting impact on Mother Earth.

Green beans
To grow your own green beans, start by growing them outside, as they may not survive transplanting. Green beans need full sun. For growing bush beans, plant the beans two inches apart. For growing pole beans, set up trellises, or “cattle panels,” and plant three inches apart. Water them regularly. As for health benefits, green beans are rich in fiber, Vitamin A and are low in calories.

Lettuce can be grown just about anywhere. It does not require full sun, but some sun or light would be beneficial. When growing lettuce indoors, select a medium-sized plastic pot. A medium container should provide plenty of room for it to grow. Make sure the container has drainage holes. The darker the green of the lettuce, the more nutrients it offers. As an antioxidant, it helps prevent cancers, heart disease and cataracts.

To grow your own tomatoes, it isn’t too pricey. All you need is a light and a stand, which cost around $69.95—a dome and stand is less than $2. Some health benefits of tomatoes include antioxidants, a high amount of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene and a rich concentration of lycopene. Tomatoes have also been shown to lower cholesterol and linked to good heart health.

Living green

Use your leftover egg shells to begin seedlings. Simply wash out the remaining residue in the shell and fill with a small amount of dirt. Insert the seeds and leave them in the same egg carton in a sunny spot. You can plant the seedling, shell and all, in the ground.

Plastic containers:
Use empty plastic containers to start seeds (yogurt cups work great) or seedlings. Cut them up and add a dash of imagination to turn them into pots for herbs or simply small containers to hold change, pencils or other items around the house.

Pallets are man’s gift to crafting. They are typically found at large businesses and scrap areas that will sell them for cheap or give away for free. Use pallets to create something as simple as a raised bed for planting or as complex as outdoor furniture.

Hang it up:
Use hardware such as pipe straps to hang terra cotta pots onto pre-cut boards. Simply screw the pipe strap to the board and place your pots in the strap. You can easily turn this into an over-the-door option if you add a couple of hooks to the back of the board as well. Perfect for dorm rooms or rentals where shelving is not allowed.