Democratech’s Sprout Pencil Becomes A Plant Instead Of Trash.

When the Sprout pencil becomes an unusable nub, plant it in your garden instead of the garbage. That’s because it has a seed enclosed in its end-cap that when planted, can grow into an herb (the basil variety), flower or vegetable. Simple idea that with the help of their Kickstarter funds, Democratech will hopefully sell at a price close to standard pencils.

I first heard about the Sprout pencil back in August 2012. It seemed like a “gimmicky for good” idea and moved on. Then I watched the Kickstarter video and I have to make one recommendation: only plant the Sprout pencils in a pot. If you plant a dozen of these in a garden, pointed up, you are unintentionally creating a booby-trap similar to what you’d in see in a movie like Platoon or even Home Alone. No more barefoot walks in the garden.

And while I’m on the subject of pencils – has anyone noticed how low-quality they’ve become? Is it the wood or the lead/graphite? Maybe I should avoid the 20 for $1 deals from the office stores because after sharpening, I may end up with 10 usable pencils.

More than likely, the Sprout will sell at a premium over standard pencils so expectantly, they’ll be of higher quality. If they turn out to be inexpensive and low-quality, at least I’ll get 10 future plants immediately from my 20 pack. [Treehugger]


Surprise Of Last Week: Finding Sun Chips Bag In Our Compost Bin.

Compostable Sun Chips bag in tumbler composter.The whole debate around the more audible, compostable Sun Chips bags is old news now but that didn’t lessen our excitement when we cranked our compost bin last week and re-discovered a bag we put in our tumbler 10 months ago. It has become elasticky and is definitely in the process of breaking down. We’ll give it another 10 months and see what happens.


iRobot’s Updated Gutter Cleaning Looj 330 Is Our MUSTN’T Have Product Of The Week.

iRobot Looj 330 Remote Controlled Gutter Cleaner

“I’ve cleaned gutters, I know gutters, dirty gutters are NO friend of mine. Looj 330, you are no gutter cleaner.”

The makers of the Roomba self-guided vacuum from iRobot, have released a new version of their $299 gutter cleaning Looj 330. The updated Looj 330 utilizes blades and brushes that spin at 500 RPM and can operate in up to 8 inches of water. It’s even smart enough to sense the amount of debris and adjust its cleaning ability. The goal of the Looj 330 is to make it safer to empty your gutters.

Here comes the big question: Why would anyone buy this? I partially get the safety aspect but in my role as resident gutter cleaner, there’s no way the Looj 330 is going to shake out the collected wet leaves, pine needles and who-knows-what else in our gutters. More than likely, I would end up spending as much time at roof height freeing up the Looj 330 as I would just hand emptying my gutters.

Even in perfect conditions, cleaning up what 500 RPM spinning brushes sends flying out of a gutter would make using the Looj 330 more impractical. You might as well empty your gutters old-school, by hand, and save yourself from having to cleanup the scattered Looj-spooj.

The $299 Looj 330 is wasteful and unnecessary. That’s why we’re making it the premier product on our Jubbling Un-Shopping List.


From Grist: How Do I Get My Neighbors To Stop Spraying Pesticides Along Our Shared Fence Line?

Pesticides in your garden.Great article in the “Ask Umbra” Q&A section on Grist. Patricia in Lafayette Colorado wanted to know what she could do to get her neighbors to stop using spray pesticides that drift over to her yard and onto the vegetables in her organic garden. It’s gotten a little contentious but the collateral crop-dustings by the neighbors hasn’t stopped and she’s afraid the pesticides are going to permanently damage her soil.

In the article, Ask Umbra points out how Americans apply 67 million tons of chemicals on our lawns each year; 10 times the amount of pesticides per acre that farmers do. Umbra then suggests some ideas on ways to get a neighbor to stop and how to prevent the pesticides from entering your yard:

  1. Talk To Your Neighbors – Be reasonable and then ask them what they’re using and let them know what it’s doing to your vegetables.
  2. Put Up Barriers – Physically separate your yard from your neighbor’s with plastic sheeting our by moving your garden away from the fence line.
  3. Contact The Authorities – Lodge a complaint with the state our county so it’s on the books. Umbra also suggests finding out the local regulations through the National Pesticide Information Center.

Everything about Umbra’s suggestions are reasonable and hopefully work for Patricia.

Jubbling thought about this and has one more suggestion for getting Patricia’s neighbors to stop spunking up her vegetables with pesticides:

4. Prepare Them A “Peace” Meal Only Using Items From Your Garden – Preferably uncooked. Of course you should inform** your neighbors that the veggies came from the garden along the fence line.
**For legal reasons only.

We wish Patricia luck with the fresh meal and changing her neighbor’s mind about using pesticides. Hopefully, changing their minds won’t involve vomiting, nausea and joint pain from acute pesticide poisoning but then again, they did provide the pesti-seasoning. [Grist]


When Jubbling Grows Up, We Want To Be More Like The Burlap Bag!

The Burlap Bag
Re-Grow Celery By Planting The BaseThe Burlap Bag in Austin Texas just gets it. We may never make it to their brick and mortar storefront in Austin Texas but thankfully we have their website that is chock full of neat DIY ideas. The tone of the site is never “better than you” and The Burlap Bag’s Lauren and Josiah easily explain how to recreate their projects and they’re very responsive to visitors asking questions. Some of their projects include making overnight bread & butter pickles and how to grow endless celery. It’s all great and delivered in a self-deprecating tone that Jubbling appreciates. [The Burlap Bag]


BioCouture: Will Vegetable Leather Be The Future Fabric Of Fashion?

Suzanne Lee can whip up some amazing veggie-leather in her BioCouture laboratory. The BBC recently posted an article about Ms. Lee’s work and Treehugger also did in 2010. Vegetable leather is made from a concoction of green tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast mixed and stored in temperature controlled water for about two weeks. What is produced is a flexible material that can be moulded, dried and stitched into handbags or clothing. The vegetable leather eventually hardens and since it’s all-natural, you can throw your BioCouture fashion item into the compost pile. Here are some veggie-leather samples:BioCouture Fashions - Blouse and Coat
Definitely check out the “biocouture” blog if you get a chance. It’s loaded with more recent samples of Ms. Lee’s work and includes the backstory of each item.

Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the LambsNow as cutting edge as the apparel the BioCouture lab produces, I couldn’t help thinking the organic veggie-leather clothing looks skin-like and a little too creepily close to the twisted dress the Buffalo Bill character was working on in “The Silence of the Lambs.” Pretty sure they won’t be using that comparison in their marketing efforts.

Anyways, new ideas from smarter people is a lot better than comments from dumb ones and I hope the BioCouture team can make veggie leather a viable material. If down the road, they need somebody to wear and promote their products, I’m available. My preference: a veggie leather muscle-half-shirt. [EcoFriend]