Garden Inspiration - by House of Hurleys

Posted by Allyson Owens on

We discovered Cristin (CC) Hurley on Instagram and she is living all of our gardening dreams. CC lives with her family (twins, a sweet little baby on the way and her husband) in California - in her late grandmother's house - the house her mother was raised in!  Keep reading to learn more about where CC's garden inspiration comes from and some super helpful tips for starting your own garden! xo, Allyson/Pleni Naturals

Spring, it’s finally here! The time of year that all gardeners long for. The time to dig out your seed packets and start planning on what you want to grow in your summer garden. The time of big harvest dreams, ripe juicy tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, spicy radishes, sugary sweet figs and and the scent of fresh cut flowers straight from the garden. 

As a child I could always find my mom in the backyard planting or harvesting something for dinner that night. The earliest memory I have from my childhood garden is when I was four years old. I would pick handfuls of my moms' blackberries right from the thorny vine. I was supposed to be collecting them for the jam she was going to make, but I could never help but taste test a few. They were the sweetest, juiciest blackberries I have ever tasted. When I would pick them they would still be warm from the hot summer sun and burst with sweet juice in my mouth. My mom definitely passed down her love of gardening to me as well as the passion for growing my own nutrient rich organic produce to feed my family. When I grew up and moved out of the house and into my own place, I always had some sort of garden growing even on my apartment patio’s. Whether it was just herbs or a couple of container tomatoes, I always made sure to be growing something. After buying and selling our first home, we decided to move into my late grandmother’s home that my mom grew up in. It has a lovely backyard that we are slowing turning into a little food forest of our own. I was so excited to share the love of gardening with my twin daughters in our new yard, so we began to plant. Every season that passed we tried a new variety of vegetable. We currently have the following growing in our garden; lettuce, scarlet runner beans, purple bush beans, two types of kale, sugar snap peas, golden fall raspberries, potatoes, celery, herbs, squash, pumpkins, beets, swiss chard, tomatoes, a volunteer passionfruit vine, broad beans, garlic, cabbage and dragon fruit. We also have a little patch dedicated to wildflowers and milkweed for our beloved monarchs. The wildflower patch gives our garden a nice bright and refreshing pop of color. We have planted several fruit trees as well. We currently have a tangerine, weeping mulberry, red baron peach, sundowner apple, Santa Rosa plum and my favorite tree of them all is our mystery fig tree. Let me tell you why... 

About 15 years ago when my grandmother was still alive, she was showing me around the backyard. I stopped and asked her about a tiny fig tree sprout I saw growing along her back fence. She began to tell me all about how one of the birds that she feeds came and dropped a fig in the yard and it ended up sprouting. That day we decided to leave the tiny fig tree in its place and not remove it. Every summer, this massive tree gives us hundreds of beautiful juicy green figs with bright pink centers. My daughters love to pick and eat them straight from the tree. They also enjoy helping me make fig preserves that we give away to friends and enjoy eating ourselves all winter long. See, having a garden and growing your own food not only gives you fresh and healthy organic produce, but it gets people connected to their food while learning where it comes from and how it grows. 
When planting your first garden you have a few options in getting started. One option would be to use plant starts which you would buy at a nursery. Me being impatient, I have done this many times! Its a great way to get something growing right away in your garden. There are however some downsides to that as well. Sometimes the plants are not always the healthiest since they have been shipped in from all over the country. Also, most of the time the nursery's just offer generic fruits and veggies that you would typically see at your local grocery store. So, if you are wanting to try and grow some unique varieties your best option would be to grow some plants from seed. There are many great places to buy seeds, here are my top three favorite seed companies. Baker creek seed company has a plethora of seeds to choose from. They have some very rare seeds that have been sourced all over the globe. You can buy their seeds on their website. Second, Luke and Sindy from Migardener who have an incredible youtube channel where they have loads of information on how to grow pretty much anything! They also have a fabulous seed store with tons of varieties for only $.99 a packet! They offer by far the least expensive seeds that I have ever found. Also, I have never once had a germination issue with any of their seeds! Botanical interests is a company that sell their seeds in many nursery's and online. They have many great seeds options, and I also like that if I happen to be at the nursery picking up a bag of dirt I can check out their seeds as well. 
That leads me into what soil I have had success using in my garden. Our family does make our own homemade compost, but unfortunately we do not make enough to fill the size of our garden space. The best store bought compost that we use to supplement our own compost is Eb Stones Organic compost. I like to use compost along with store bought worm castings for added minerals and nutrients to the soil. Without using various soils and amendments, these two components offer a great and simple start for your first garden. This Spring get in the garden and start planting! It doesn’t have to be anything big, just start off small and you will see how rewarding it is when you are enjoying your first harvest! 
Happy Gardening! 
xo 
C.C. Hurley 
@houseofhurleys

 

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Best Non-Toxic Shampoo for Everyone in the Family

Posted by Allyson Owens on

Micaela from Mindful Momma wrote this great blog post which is a roundup of the best natural, non-toxic shampoo brands for every type of hair, including natural shampoo for babies and affordable family-sized shampoo. Thank you for including Pleni Natural's Apple + Broccoli Hair & Body Wash! You can read the blog post here.
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NEW Safe Baby Products Guide

Posted by Allyson Owens on

Well this is exciting! The new Safe Baby Products Guide from the Getting Ready for Baby Campaign only recommends Made Safe Certified products, which includes our Apple + Broccoli Hair & Body Wash, Cucumber + Grape Baby Oil and Berry + Olive Baby Balm.

There is so much to think about when preparing for a new baby and this guide makes it easy for parents to choose safe, non-toxic products -  they even have an interactive tool to create an online registry for baby and mom. Check it out and please make sure to tell everyone you know who is expecting!

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Bath Time With Pleni Naturals - Chapter 5

Posted by Allyson Owens on

We are smitten with Cynthia, the blogger behind Green Passion Beauty! She has a passion for sharing her finds of safer, green products and has some really nice things to say about the Pleni Naturals line we wanted to share here. We are so happy the Pleni products are working for so many families!

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After Sun Care With Pleni Naturals

Posted by Allyson Owens on

Yes! Summer is almost here and the weather is definitely warming up! And when the sun is out, the skin is out. That means we need to take measures and make sure our skin is well protected from the glorious - but unfortunately, damaging - rays of the sun.

We know that wearing a protective hat/clothing and applying sunscreen during the day are important preventative measures to make sure our families’ skin does not get burned. But did you know SPF only measures protection from UVB rays, which are the rays that cause sunburn?  And it doesn't protect the skin 100% - per the Skin Cancer Foundation, an SPF 15 protects 93% and an SPF 30 protects 97% from damaging UVB rays. Also, SPF doesn't protect the skin from UVA, which are the main rays that cause tanning and actually penetrates the skin deeper than UVB rays. For best protection against UVA and UVB, a broad spectrum SPF sunscreen of 15 or higher with zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide as the active ingredient is recommended.

It only takes up to about 20 minutes (sometimes as little as 5 minutes) of unprotected skin in the sun to cause a sunburn and -  as well intended as we are  - sometimes circumstances make it difficult to reapply sunscreen after two hours and many don't actually apply enough sunscreen to give proper protection.

So what can we do to make sure we protect our kids' skin while they are having fun in the sun all summer long? Considering staying indoors all summer long is NOT an option (how boring!), we suggest making sure you add a protective and restorative treatment product to your child's skin that contains plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and soothing ingredients such as our Cucumber + Grape Baby Oil. This product was strategically formulated with the following premium fruit and vegetable oils to work synergistically and help boost skin protection and soothing:

Cucumber Seed Oil. Cold-pressed cucumber seed oil is rich in moisturizing omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, tocopherols and phytosterols that soothe, protect and replenish skin moisture balance.

Red Raspberry Seed Oil. Cold-pressed red raspberry seed oil is a rich source of moisturizing and healing omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids and provides superior skin protection from its high level of antioxidants and tocopherols.

Cranberry Seed Oil. This oil is exceptionally restorative and moisturizing due to its unique balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids and is also known to have the highest level of tocotrienols (a form of vitamin E) than any other fruit or vegetable oil.


 

Avocado Oil. Rich in vitamins, minerals, oleic acid and essential fatty acids, this nutritious oil has the ability to deeply penetrate skin and provide excellent skin softening and moisturizing benefits.

Look at all of these amazing fruit and veggie ingredients! As you can see, the Cucumber + Grape Baby Oil is so much more than a massage oil for baby - it's a true treatment product that can help replenish your child's skin and provide soothing and healing properties as well.

Here is a tip: also apply the Cucumber + Grape Baby Oil before sunscreen for a smoother application and feel good knowing you are adding on an extra layer of protection with all of the essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants!

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