HOW TO: Protect Your Plants Over the Winter

by , 10/22/13
filed under: Features, Gardening

winter garden, trees, tree protection, burlap wrapped trees, mulch, mulching, tree mulch, cloche, greenhouse, protect plants during winter, growing during winter, how to keep plants alive during winter

Frozen leaf image via Shutterstock

Here in the northern hemisphere, nights are growing chillier, and it’s not unusual to wake up to a light frost clinging to car windshields and lingering garden plants. Sure, the mercury might rise when midday’s temperatures hit “balmy” levels, but that’ll change in the very near future. Those of us who are cultivating plants to last through the colder months, or have young trees that are vulnerable to severe weather, would do well to ensure that these little wonders are protected against winter’s bite.

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The Biomimicry Manual: How Do Beavers Create Business Opportunity?

by , 10/21/13

biomimicry, keystone species, ecosystem engineers, lichen, mycelium fungus, mycorrhizae, elephants, stromatolites, rainforest, coral reefs, upcycle

I’m fascinated by creatures that create new ways of life for others. Ecologists talk about ‘keystone species,’ ones which support entire ecosystems, like the central stone in a renaissance archway. Pull it away, and the whole arch falls. But I like to go beyond the edge-of-your-seat ‘Jenga’ approach, and think about ‘ecosystem engineers’: category-busters that create new opportunities for everyone. The beaver is one of those. Beavers build lodges (domed shelters made of woven branches and grass, plastered together like adobe) and they also build log dams to raise the water level around the lodge, hiding the entries to their home safely underwater. When beavers are around, a wetland is nine times more likely to have pooling water, and in times of drought, these waterways have 60% more water in them. Where there are beavers, there is a greater abundance and diversity of songbirds, frogs, salamanders, dragonflies, and fish. Put simply, beavers make ponds, and ponds support life. There are other ecosystem engineers out there; fig trees, coral reefs, elephants, and fungus, for example. In each of these species, a radical innovation brought them success and changed the world forever, not just for themselves, but for everyone else as well. People do it too. But are we creating more life with our innovation? More opportunities? More value? Read today’s entry of The Biomimicry Manual, and find out!

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Inhabitat Test-Drives the New BMW 328D Diesel Wagon

by , 10/18/13


BMW 328D Diesel Sedan, Jill Fehrenbacher, New York City , testdrive, test drive, test-drive, diesel car, biodiesel, bio-diesel, clean diesel, green diesel, east river, Long Island City, Queens, Greenpoint, Inhabitat test drive, green car

When BMW first approached me about test-driving their brand new clean diesel wagon, the 328D, my first response was “huh?” My only experience with diesel up until this point was getting stuck behind black-smoke-belching diesel 18 wheelers on the highway, and riding around in smog-filled diesel “Tuk-Tuks” (3 wheel taxis) in Nepal. But when I learned more about diesel, and read up on the 328D, I was impressed. Diesel engines are 20-40% more efficient than gasoline engines, meaning you can drive a lot farther on one tank of fuel. BMW’s 328D has the über-efficiency of a typical diesel engine, but is much cleaner than yesteryear’s diesel, with 14% less CO2 emissions than a typical gasoline engine and a highway MPG rating that is better than a Prius at 45mpg! The most impressive thing is that you can drive 675 miles on a single tank of fuel.

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An Exploration in Diesel, Courtesy of BMW

by , 10/12/13


BMW328D Hits the Lower East Side, BMW 328D, BMW 328 diesel, BMW 3 series, diesel car, diesel engine, diesel beamer, lower east side, essex street, New york, manhattan, lower manhattan, canal street, hester street

I’m excited to announce that this week I will be test-driving a BMW 328D and reporting back to you, dear readers, on the experience. When BMW first approached me and offered me their new diesel sedan to test-drive, I was a little confused. Knowing virtually nothing about diesel, except the mental image in my head of giant 18 wheeler diesel freight trucks spewing sooty black smoke, I wondered why would a green-car enthusiast like myself would be interested in diesel. Then I started wikipediaing…

Turns out that diesel is highly efficient, much more so than traditional gasoline.

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How 7 Smart Technologies are Tackling New World Problems

by , 10/11/13
filed under: DIY, Features, green technology

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Team Texas' Solar Decathlon ADAPT House Takes Advantage of El Paso's Abundant Sunlight

by , 10/09/13

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DIY: Make Your Own Artisan Soap Bar from Repurposed Scraps

by , 10/09/13

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9 Great Uses for Pumpkin (Other Than Pie)

by , 10/07/13

pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, pepitas, pumpkin brittle, pumpkin soup, soup, curried soup, wrap, pumpkin syrup, latte, coffee syrup, pumpkin oatmeal, oatmeal, pumpkin pancakes, pancakes, pamcakes, pumcakes, pumpcakes, roasted pumpkin, vegan, Earth Balance, vegetarian, pumpkin ravioli

Pumpkins are popping up everywhere these days, from farmer’s markets to grocery store bins. Small one, large ones, white ones, orange ones; all stunning globes of delicious pumpkin-y goodness. Sure, they’ll be carved into ghoulish faces within a couple of weeks, but there’s a lot more that you can do with a pumpkin than turn it into a Jack o’Lantern or a pie. Here are 9 things you can do with punkins’ gloriously goopy innards and succulent flesh this season.

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Watch Ford and the AIANY’s ‘Design With a Purpose’ Webcast Featuring a Panel of Leading Architects & Auto Designers!

by , 10/06/13

On October 3rd, 2013, Inhabitat kicked off NY’s Archotober with a fantastic panel discussion and live webcast at New York’s Center For Architecture, to talk about resilient design and the intersection of building and automotive design. This provocative discussion brought together builders from across NYC with a prominent automotive designer and the head of AIANY to create a panel that spoke about how we can create designs that are sensitive to environment, beautiful, functional, and able to stand the test of time. The Design With a Purpose panel included Erik Churchill, project manager at SHoP Construction; Steven Colletta, Vice President of Sciame Construction Company; Ford’s group vice president of design  J Mays; and moderator Rick Bell, the executive director of the AIANY. Check out what was said after the break or watch our video above!

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8 Heartbreakingly Adorable Endangered Animals That We Need to Save

by , 10/06/13
filed under: Animals, Conservation, Features

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How Online Education Strengthens the Learning Experience at Boston Architectural College Landscape Design

by , 10/05/13

Boston Architectural College, online design education, online learning, distance learning, Patricia Bales Van Buskirk, BAC, Landscape Design, Landscape Institute, landscape design online class, landscape design class, design education, online classroom

Image: The rooftop of the California Academy of Sciences Building designed by Renzo Piano

Teaching studio-based design courses online has numerous advantages to the student not available in the traditional classroom. As an instructor with over fifteen years of landscape design teaching experience, I have found that translating classroom learning to an online class actually enriches the experience of a landscape design class. An online forum provides a custom experience for each student at that student’s pace as his or her project develops, step by step and week by week. At the Boston Architectural College, online classes have a high student to faculty ratio, keeping the classrooms small and tailored to the individual like a seminar.

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Edible Plants That You Can Grow in Autumn and Winter

by , 10/05/13

winter garden, winter gardening, winter vegetables, winter salad, winter greens, leafy greens, cabbage, kale, collards, kohlrabi, purslane, carrots, radishes, leeks, cold frames, greenhouse, greenhouses, cold frame, cloche, cloches

Summer’s glory might be fading here in the northern hemisphere, but gardeners don’t have to tuck their green thumbs away just yet: there are many cold-hardy plants that can be sown in the autumn and harvested over the winter, and if you plant them within the next couple of weeks, you may be able to indulge in fresh produce right through to January or February. Granted, you won’t be able to indulge in strawberries or tomatoes until next spring and summer, but being able to pluck some crisp kale or winter lettuce in mid December can induce some pretty big smiles all ’round.

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USC's Net Zero fluxHome Leaps Out of the Starting Gate at the Solar Decathlon 2013

by , 10/02/13

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What the US Government Shutdown Means for the Environment

by , 10/01/13

congress, congressional republicans, appropriations spending, federal budget, congressional spending, budget cuts, government shutdownImage © Shutterstock

After a prolonged debate over the Congressional budget and the effective date of the new healthcare law, Democrats and Republicans have failed to reach an agreement on appropriations bills for the coming year. That means the federal government has effectively shut down for the foreseeable future, closing all non-essential government agencies, sending home an estimated 1.2 million federal employees, and potentially delaying paychecks for the remaining workers kept on staff. The shutdown will also stymie climate research, close all national parks, and reduce the EPA’s workforce by 93.5%. Read on to learn what the US government shutdown means for the environment.

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Join Inhabitat, Ford & the AIA for 'Design With a Purpose' Panel Discussion on Resilient Design

by , 09/30/13

ford, ford motors, ford motor company, design with a purpose, Design With a Purpose: Built Tough, ford live, ford webcast, architecture webcast, architecture panels, automotive design, design events, design panels, architecture and automotive, car design, j mays, ford f series, shop architects, shop construction, AIANY, American Institute of Architects New York, J Mays

In celebration of Archtober happening this month in NYC, the Ford Motor Company and the American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY) chapter are teaming up to bring us a brand new panel discussion and webcast focused on resilient design. ’Design With a Purpose‘ is the third in Ford’s illuminating webcast series which has hosted talks between several of today’s leading architects and automotive designers. This month’s webcast will feature high-profile architects and builders from across New York, including Erik Churchill, project manager at SHoP Construction; Frank J. Sciame Jr., Hon. AIANY Chapter and CEO/chairman of Sciame Construction Company; Ford’s VP of Global Design J Mays; and moderator Rick Bell, FAIA, the executive director of the AIANY. This panel of though-leaders will discuss how designers can create strong, functional buildings that are resilient enough to endure the test of time, much like New York City‘s famous skyscrapers. We’ll be live streaming this discussion on Inhabitat.com on October 3rd, so mark your calendars!

We want your participation in this conversation! You can join in by submitting your questions in advance below in the comments, or during the live panel by tweeting questions to @Ford and @Inhabitat with the hashtag #FordArchitecture! We’ll be sending Inhabitat t-shirts to the selected question submitters, so send us good ones!

WHEN: Thursday, October 3, 2013, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST

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The Biomimicry Manual: How Does Mother Nature Clean House?

The Biomimicry Manual: How Does Mother Nature Clean House?

In my last column for The Biomimicry Manual, I mentioned the way the sea snake keeps herself clean of barnacles and algae by shedding her skin. Keeping surfaces clean is a huge…

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The Biomimicry Manual: What can We Learn About Resilience, Weight Loss, and Kidney Disease from the Grizzly Bear?

The Biomimicry Manual: What can We Learn About Resilience, Weight…

I'm off to the wilds of Montana this week, doing some in-person, up-close biomimicry research, and I've got my fingers crossed I'll see a grizzly bear. But you know, over there, not…

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