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Upside-Down Tomato, Flower and Vegetable Planter

by Justin Thomas •

An interesting idea. This planter can used to tomatoes, other vegetables or even flowers from a small area. Hang on decks, patios, porches, balconies, or even from a tree. The manufacturer claims feeding and watering is easy: you pour water or nutrients into the top of the funnel. Web Site: Clean Air Gardening ($19.95)

9

Recycled Rain Barrels

by Justin Thomas •

Aaron makes rain barrels out of recycled plastic, and runs an informative web site about rain water harvesting. The 58 gallon rain barrels are made out of thick food-grade plastic, and can withstand both hot and cold temperatures. The barrels connect directly to the downspout of your rain gutter. They are also paintable (with Krylon Fusion) for those who want …

5

Solar Tubes: Very Efficient Heating

by Justin Thomas •

Apricus makes a unique solar hot water heater which is 30-40% more efficient than flat plate solar systems. The secret to the performance is the use of cylindrical evacuated glass tubes to absorb the heat from the sun. Because the tubes are cylindrical, there is always a surface area that is perpendicular to the sun. The tubes also house a …

3

Slow Sand Filters

by Justin Thomas •

Slow sand filters are perhaps the most efficient means of producing clean drinking water. Slow sand filters rely on biological processes for their action rather than physical filtration or disinfection. They require no electricity, no chemicals and no filter changes. How is this possible? The secret is that slow sand filters work through the formation of a gelatinous layer called …

6

Lead-Free Garden Hoses

by Justin Thomas •

Some garden hoses leach lead and other chemicals into the water. The problem is that they are made of PVC, which uses lead as a stabilizer. Consumer Reports tested 16 brands of garden hose sold at national chains and on the internet. In some hoses they measured 10 to 100 times more lead than the EPA considers safe coming out …

4

Solar Heated Outdoor Shower

by Justin Thomas •

This looks interesting — it’s a solar shower that heats 5 1/2 gallons of water with a built-in solar collector. Created in Europe, the imported shower is able to heat water to 140°F in 1-2 hours in sunny weather. The manufacturer claims that the shower is capable of capturing heat from the ambient temperature in the air on hot, but …

2

Remove Chlorine From Your Bath Efficiently

by Justin Thomas •

We previously noted that we consider Vitamin C to be the best way to remove chlorine from your shower water. But what about baths? Surely soaking in chlorinated water is just as harmful. Indeed it is — especially for children. If you have a shower filter, one way to avoid this is to fill your bath with the water from …

3

Self-Contained Watering System

by Justin Thomas •

The Oasis Automatic Plant Watering System by Claber is a programmable system that distributes up to 6 gallons of water to as many as 20 plants. It is a completely independent system, needing no connection to a tap or electrical main. It runs on one 9V battery. Available from: Amazon ($89.99)

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Organic Vodkas: Metaefficient

by Justin Thomas •

Liquid Ice Vodka is a unique vodka made by distilling five grains — wheat, corn, barley, rye and oats, all of which are certified 100% organic. The vodka is made with water from the Snake River in Oregon, which runs right under the distillery. It is distilled four times and filtered three times through lava rock. In 2003 it was …

1

EPatch: Glue-less Stickers

by Justin Thomas •

EPatch is an innovative sticker that doesn’t use glue or water. The stickers are non-toxic, very durable, and are able to be bent, stretched or folded without losing their shape. Made of rubber-silicon, the stickers are fade resistant, resistant to UV radiation and to temperature extremes up to 220 degrees – which means it is useful for industrial purposes. Epatch …