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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Kathy reminded me that it has been an awful long time since we’ve talked about all the challenges!  So… spill it everyone – how are you coming??

The Growing Challenges

The Growing Challenge New! The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition – From Seed To Seed! The Growing Challenge: Evangelist Edition

I planted seeds in my new p-patch 2 weeks ago.  I’m experimenting with peppers and tomato seeds directly in the ground.  Who knows if they’ll come up!

My mom and I spent Saturday morning at the Seattle Tilth and Master Gardener plant sales, stocking up on seedlings for her garden and our balcony garden.  Neither of us had the ability to do seedlings indoors this year – due to travels or too much work.  But I’ll grow lots straight in the ground, and supplement those with organic seedlings!

Evangelizing wise, I’m here and pumping away on the blog, hoping to reel in a few more gardeners here.  I also spoke at Sustainable Capitol Hill a few weeks ago about urban gardening, I’m regularly writing for the city’s Community Garden Post (comes out quarterly), and every time I garden at my p-patch plot I talk to about  10 different people passing by!

Accomplish Your Dreams and Walk 10,000 Steps

Accomplish Your Dreams Challenge

I walk to and from work every day, and I now walk to my garden patch, too!  I very rarely drive now – it’s getting easier and easier to walk everywhere.  I’ve also lost several pounds, and shrunk from a size 12 to a size 6!  :)

As far as accomplishing my dreams, I’m pushing my new business forward and really really really trying to make that work for me financially, socially, and environmentally.  It’s growing, we’ve hired 6 employees with a couple more on the way soon, plus a few sub-contractors!  Each job we take on is more exciting than the one before.  On the path!

Green Your Insides and Buy Sustainably

The Buy Sustainably Challenge! I\'m Green Inside

Buying sustainably took a turn for the worse when I started working so many hours and Matt started graduate school.  I continue to find more and more locally-sourced products – there are very few things we buy regularly that don’t come from Washington or Oregon.  But… I’m eating a fair amount of packaged, organic food for lunches and even – gasp – dinners!  I can’t wait until the local farmer’s market opens up again – I think it will help considerably because I can eat a lot of raw fresh foods again.

As for greening my insides, I think I’m pretty much green inside and out.  That’s the one I’ve done pretty well for a while now, due to my asthma.  Soap, moisturizer, deodorant, shampoo, dish soap,… all our body products are low-impact on our bodies and our world.  Yay!

So How About You?????

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12 comments to ALL CHALLENGE CHECK IN!!

  • Green challenge: tiny successes, but it’s my best yet, in spite of my porch being hijacked for more than a month by the local ducks (17 ducklings hatched on my porch!). Red bell pepper is starting to flower, tomato is growing but stubborn so far in the flowering department, and my parsley and basil are both thriving. Hoping to add some more herbs soon. SO nice to have live plants again! Accomplishing Dreams: reality bumped that one back a bit, but it’s still on my radar…we can’t move this year, need to clean credit some more, but I’m taking steps to get government money to supplement our income and I’m trying for a promotion at my job, so working in the right direction toward this goal. 10,000 Steps: yeah, well, have no business still having that tag on my blog, have been lousy at walking this year so far…ironically, I usually turtle the minute it turns hot down here (which happened this past weekend), but instead it’s motivating me to shed some poundage, so I’m hoping to get moving more starting this week.

  • Rob

    Okay the community garden is coming along, wont know until the 12th if mom and I get a plot or not, trying to find a picnic table for the community garden if anyone knows of one cheap or free please let me know!
    For my own garden I am sallying forth. In the green house my cantaloupe is popping up, my patio tomatoes got some blooms already, and my squash and gourds need to get in the ground!

  • Well, I planted my seeds. I’ve got some nice lettuce coming up, and half my peas survived the chickens, and I’ve got some teeny tiny swiss chard. But otherwise, not much happening. I’ve realized that the reason I don’t do well with seeds is that I am terrible at watering consistently. I’m a perennial flower gardener of the put-it-in-and-see-if-it-survives variety. Nurturing seeds along at the periphery of my yard when I killed my hose over the winter? Not so good at that.

    I’ve been blogging about my gardening on Mondays, along with Sharon Astyk’s “Independence Days Challenge” updates. Come on over and check it out if you’re interested. I’ve been planting lots and lots of berry bushes this year (not from seed).

    I’m super impressed with your dedication to walking and how much weight you’ve lost that way!

  • I’ve been rather distracted lately. The garden is getting weedy but I went our and mulched this evening. My little broccoli seedlings are getting big and my peas are starting to vine up the trellis. I was sorely tempted to eat the first little radish but it’s not quite big enough yet.
    I was excited to spend the weekend at a permaculture gardening class (this was 2 of a series of 6). Learning lots and beginning to rethink how I garden. But it’s fun and inspiring!

  • My garden is off to a great start! I’m going to plant my melon seeds this weekend (my new crop). I also have pumpkin and bean seed that I saved from last year to plant. My tomatoes that I started from seed that I saved are doing great. I have a plant that my mother started from the same batch of seed as last year’s tomato so that I can compare. Told a coworker I’d bring her a cucumber start once they were up and she accepted. Need to check in with a few others that I’m encouraging to garden.

  • Everything’s coming along – my cold frame is literally bursting. The tops are off and the claytonia is flowering so it’s time to pull it out and open up space. I’m eating radishes from the cold frame that I put in back in early March, black seeded simpson lettuce and the overwintered lettuce took off like crazy once the days lengthened. The spinach is no longer “baby” spinach.

    Outside the cold frame, peas are up and into the chicken wire fencing, onions and garlic look good, beets, chard, carrots and spinach are up. I am a bit behind in my seeding though – have to get out there and catch up.

    Tomato seedlings, pepper, brussels sprouts and broccoli are up in their little pots as well. In fact, the tomatoes are now too big to stay under the lights, so I’m starting to acclimate them to being outside and they’ll probably move to the cold frame in a few days. Despite our frighteningly early spring, I’m still considering the safe date for transplanting tomatoes to be Memorial Day.

  • I’ve started seeds for the garden and flower beds, a few of them from seeds I saved last year. We have a greenhouse this year so I hope to grow a few heat lovers that I’ve never been able to get to fruit here. I’ll be saving seeds again this year and trying more native plants as well as preserving what I can.

  • ALM

    Be sure to post about what happens with the pepper/tomato seed experiment.

  • Ack. I have one basil plant that has survived the heat, and only because we keep it in the villa! The desalinated water takes it toll AND it’s just too darn HOT for plants to grow–we’re in the 100+ every day now and not much relief at night. I think I’ll wait until October when we’re back on our way down the temperature scale and see if I can get something to survive.

    I’m not officially doing the 10K step challenge–thank goodness since I can’t even walk my son the one kilometer to school anymore (too hot even that early in the morning!). But I do help with an after school program and walk around the indoor sand pit (7 laps = 1000 steps). It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing in this heat!

    It’s great to hear about all the gardening going on! Can you tell I’m green with envy?

  • Growing Challenge Evangelist Edition.
    Our garden is planted, seeds are sprouting, and some of the peppers and tomatoes are almost ready to bloom.
    We’ve had lots of interest from the community around us, almost every time we are in the garden at least 3 or 4 people stop to ask about the garden or comment on how it is coming along. The children have helped plant, and the highlight of the first evening was hearing one little boy tell my husband, “I’m going to be a farmer when I grow up!” :) I hope he does!

  • I got rid of my car! It’s 100% cycling and walking for me and my kids. I carried an arm chair in my little bike trailer!
    I’ve been having a yard-grown lettuce and spinach salad every night for months.

  • Xan

    My challenge this year was to do everything from seeds, both indoor starts, wintersown and direct. As always, the direct seeded stuff is great– beans, corn, garlic, greens, broccoli, beets, carrots, onions, snow peas, parsnips. The wintersown are okay; a little small, but thriving (mostly cucurbits, some ornamentals). The indoor starts (only the 2nd year I’ve done this, though I’ve been gardening for 20 years) are pretty much 100% a disaster. They all germinated and were thriving for a few weeks and then they just stalled. My 9 week old tomatoes are 2″ high. I put them out anyway, but it’s not looking like I’ll have a tomato crop this year, since I can’t afford to buy starts, plus I wanted to do all heirlooms. I’m so discouraged.

    My big challenge for the rest of the year is to get out of my job in the arts and find a job doing a similar thing in sustainability and/or food activism.

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