When our company moved into a new office last year, it was hard for us to imagine a garden on the vacant lot behind it. The property was sprawling, overgrown, and loaded with debris. It had been so long abandoned, only unwelcome critters called it home. But we summoned our green thumbs, rolled up our shirt sleeves, and, eventually, managed to turn that forgotten space into a thriving, sustainable, organic vegetable garden. Here are a few lessons we learned along the way.
1. Have a “workday.”
Friends and family are often happy- OK, OK, willing- to help start a garden. “Workdays” are ideal for making new beds, moving or planting trees, carving paths, or any number of your other, larger-scale projects. Keep your list of tasks manageable, the time window relatively tight, and the music playing. While it’s about getting stuff done, it’s also an opportunity to have fun and build community! Be sure to offer snacks and drinks afterwards, so everyone’s still your friend in the end. Bonus points if you promise to share whatever produce you grow.
2. Get your soil tested.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important. Since our land once housed an old gas station, we opted for raised beds and trucked in organic soil. We weren’t sure what kind of soil we had, nutrient-wise, and were a little lax on getting it tested. We actually waited to do it ‘til after we had planted our first plants! As it turned out, our guesses about the soil we had were way off– instead of being under-fertilized, ours was over-fertilized. Bottom line: get the right answers from a local lab so you can treat your soil correctly. The blog A Way to Garden is also a great resource to review before you begin.
3. Zucchini plants will take over your life.
Zucchinis have a cool name, are full of fiber and vitamins, and are super easy to grow. The perfect crop? Perhaps- but, they may take over! Plant about half as many plants as you think you need. (Same goes for summer squash.) If you don’t spot the younger fruit hiding underneath the huge leaves, before you know it your zucchinis will be the size of your leg. Our kitchen counters were covered with ’em, our friends grew tired of eating them, and we ended up giving many of ours away to a local soup kitchen.
4. You don’t need to spend a lot on perennials to get plants that come back.
Our first year, we planted a ton of annual flowers just to have something pretty to look at in the space. This year, we were delighted to find them ALL over our garden! Zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers dropped their seeds and then returned the next year in beautiful, unexpected places. We’ve found cleome to be a particularly lovely, long-lasting flower that looks great in the middle of beds and beside the front door of our office.
5. Native plants are the way to go.
In the summer, life can get in the way of, shall we say, consistent plant-watering. Listen, the beach calls! Luckily we learned that using plants native to our home, Rhode Island, meant that they would be better adapted and more resilient than any to be found at big box nurseries. We also discovered varieties we hadn’t known to be native to Rhode Island (a New England prickly pear cactus? Color us surprised!). For local plant sales near you, check out PlantNative.org.
6. Your blood, sweat, and tears taste delicious.
Yes, it will be the hardest you’ve ever worked for a tomato. Yes, you will be consistently overwhelmed– by weeds, or sun, or bounty. And yes, you will love it!
Have YOU ever started a garden? How did it go? (And grow?) Is there anything you wished you’d known before? We’d love to hear. Tell us your story in the comments below.
Where’s the GLEE this summer? So many places! Here’s hoping a few happen to be near you.
Whole Foods Market Presents the Kiss 108 Summer Movie Series at Ellsworth McAfee Park, Northborough, MA ~ 8/4/16
20th Annual Hollywood Pitch Festival, Los Angeles, CA ~ 8/5 – 8/7/16
Annual Back To School Bash with Whole Foods at the Seminole Town Center Mall, Altamonte Springs, FL ~ 8/6/16
Annual Celebrate the Day Event at Food Matters, Brevard, NC ~ 8/13/16
Gluten Free Expo at Harmony Farms, Raleigh, NC ~ 8/13/16
Save the Bay Swim at the Newport Navy Base, Jamestown, RI ~ 8/13/16
Lights on Stillwater in Stillwater, OK ~ 8/17/16
The Taste of Main in Old Bellevue, WA ~ 8/20/16
Back to School Bash at Sprouts Farmers Market, Austin, TX ~ 8/20/16
Yellowstone Trail Fest at the Starke County Fairgrounds, Hamlet, IN ~ 8/20 – 8/21/16
Build Your Own Back to School Lunches, Whole Foods Market, Santa Rosa, CA ~ 8/31/16
We see you, you beautiful yoga-going, green juice drinking, FitBit wearer. Reading food labels. Taking the stairs. Cutting vegetables into elaborate shapes to disguise them for your kids. And, we offer you with a big, virtual high five.
You’re fighting the good fight to lead a healthy life. It’s a noble pursuit and no mean feat, especially when neon drive-thru signs light your way home and the pizza delivery guy’s number just might be on speed dial in your phone. But while you dutifully swap Slurpees for smoothies, have you ever happened to check what’s inside your chewing gum?
Studies have shown that gum can be a small but mighty (and mighty tasty) part of a healthy lifestyle– from curbing cravings and helping with calorie reduction to aiding with focus, concentration, memory, and even cavity prevention. Most mainstream gum, however, is chock-full of artificial, unpronounceable, and unappetizing ingredients.
Yup. Flip over any pack of conventional gum, and you’ll most likely find that it contains artificial flavors, colors (like Blue 2 Lake or Red 40), sweeteners (like Aspartame or Acesulfame K), preservatives (like BHT), and 100% synthetic gum base for chewy texture.
Not Glee Gum! As our friends from Naturally Savvy show in the comparison below, Glee instead uses natural flavors, colors (like red beet and beta carotene), sweeteners (like the Fair Trade cane sugar in Classic Glee Gum and xylitol in Sugar-Free Glee), and natural, chicle gum base. No additives. No preservatives. Just delicious gum.
So, we invite you to change what you chew! And we also say cheers to healthy, wonderful YOU.
We know you’ve got the moves! Show us how you’re staying healthy and active this summer for a chance to win oodles of Glee Gum and Pops.
Three grand prize winners will be selected at random shortly after August 5, 2016. Everyone who enters will get an exclusive discount code to use on GleeGum.com in the meantime.
Now, you don’t need to be a star athlete to participate. In this contest, tricycles count just as much as triathlons. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, either. Smart phones take great shots! So, give it a go, shutterbugs. The pic you snap today just might mean free gum to snap tomorrow.
She returned to her car and began driving away, popping two pieces of Glee in her mouth as she went. She recalls, “I just had a hankering to blow a little bubble.”
She proceeded to blow THE BIGGEST BUBBLE OF GLEE GUM THAT WE HAVE EVER SEEN.
She took a selfie (presumably after parking the car) to capture the moment. “Although I could blow a pretty mean bubble as a teenager, it’s not something that I have practiced in many years,” she reveals. “I have to say, my friends didn’t believe it was real!”
We believe you, Cat. And, we salute you!
We’re pleased to share a special guest post from our pals at Preventive Vet, a collective of veterinarians, respected trainers, and devoted pet lovers. Preventive Vet’s mission is to educate and spread awareness about simple ways we can keep our pets safe and healthy. One of those ways involves protecting dogs from xylitol, the natural sweetener used in Sugar-Free Glee Gum. Read on to learn why Sugar-Free Glee, and all products containing xylitol, should be kept far away from pooches– plus tips on how to do so, and what to do right away if your dog somehow manages to get your gum!
Sugar-free gum and xylitol: Important awareness for dog lovers
Just what exactly is xylitol? It’s a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener and can be found in many sugar-free gums and other sugar-free, lo-carb, and “no artificial sweetener” treats. Xylitol is a common alternative to sugar because it doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels, and it has positive benefits for your teeth. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for our four-legged friends! Xylitol can be extremely dangerous to dogs, even in very small amounts.
If your dog decides to go for a taste of your sugar-free gum, sugar-free mints, peanut butter, or even lip balm or other cosmetics that may contain xylitol, there’s likely to be some very serious consequences. When a dog ingests xylitol, they can experience a rapid drop in blood sugar and damage to their liver, with symptoms including weakness, vomiting, seizures, bleeding abnormalities, and the risk of death. Not to mention, a very worried pet owner and an expensive stay in the Animal ER. Signs can come on in as little as 30 minutes, so time is truly of the essence!
How can I protect my pet from xylitol?
You can prevent a frightening situation by adopting these good habits.
• Hang jackets, bags, purses, and other bags in a closed closet, or high up and out of reach. A clever dog might figure out how to access your sugar-free goodies if they are left on a coffee table or in the pocket of a coat hanging off the back of a chair.
• Consider a dog seatbelt or proper travel restraint when riding in the car. Not only does it keep your pup out of your purse (where he may find sugar-free gum, or a host of other common purse hazards) but it also keeps everyone safe in case of an accident or sudden stop.
• Be mindful about what you set on end tables, coffee tables, and nightstands, both in your home and when visiting a friend or neighbor’s house with a doggy resident.
• Throw out chewed gum in covered trashcans, because even chewed gum could still contain enough xylitol to cause harm to a dog that likes to go dumpster diving.
• Make sure your friends and neighbors are aware of the dangers of xylitol to dogs. Spreading the word will help to keep everyone’s dogs safe!
• Appreciate responsible companies like Glee who care about you and your pets enough to work with pet safety experts to spread awareness.
I think my dog ate my gum, now what?
Some dogs are very clever, and accidents can happen, so if you think your dog may have eaten a food or product that contains xylitol, be sure to:
- Take away any remaining gum or xylitol-containing product to prevent them from consuming any more than they already have.
- Check the labels to see if there is xylitol in the products they ate – not all gums contain xylitol. Fortunately, Glee very clearly lists on their packaging if a gum contains xylitol, as well as the amount per piece of gum.
- Call an animal-specific poison control hotline (either ASPCA-Animal Poison Control Center or Pet Poison Helpline) for advice on what to do and what to watch for. Tell them what he ate, how much of it he ate, and how long ago he ate it. Do this even if you’re unsure if the product your dog ate contained xylitol, and even if he seems normal. They are your best resources for information and peace of mind.
- If your dog shows symptoms like vomiting, staggering, weakness, seizures or other concerning signs, get to your vet ASAP, and bring the gum packaging if you can. If your vet is closed, head straight to the closest Animal ER. (Not sure where the nearest one is? Find one here.)
What about cats—is xylitol dangerous for them, too?
At the time of writing, there have been no reported cases of xylitol poisoning in cats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for cats to consume. It’s best to take the same precautions to keep gum away from prying paws, and contact your vet or poison control if your cat does get into any xylitol products.
Now that you have all the facts, you can safely protect your pets from xylitol while you continue enjoying your Glee Gum!
We don’t miss high school, but sure do wish we could take Larry B.’s ecology class. He recently came up with a whole Glee-themed lesson plan!
Under Larry’s guidance, the students pictured here first explored our website. They started by taking the interactive “Journey from Tree to Glee” photo tour, then read about our products and attributes. Larry explained the concept of Fair Trade enterprise, described the all-natural ingredients found in Glee, and compared Glee to other gum on the market. He even distributed Glee Gum samples for the class to try.
What’d the students think? “They were thrilled!” Larry reports, adding jokingly, “You know teenagers– the quickest way to captivate their attention is to mention anything related to food and the word ‘free’ in the same sentence.”
Larry suspects that most of his students think he is “two times older than dirt.” This doesn’t bother him because, as he quips, “I’m actually much older!”
Larry lives in Tennessee, teaches in Virginia, and has been ordering Glee Gum from our web-store for a few years now. When asked what he likes best about it, he offers a lovely list: “It doesn’t contain PVC plastic, it uses all-natural, non-toxic ingredients, it is a Fair Trade product, it is eco-friendly (both in product and packaging), it is unique, and I like the natural flavors.”
Hats off to Larry. Here’s hoping he and his fun gum lesson plans “stick” around for many Gleeful years to come!
For free, supplemental educational material, we invite you to visit our “Learn More” section. If you would like to be considered as our next “Featured Fan”—and win a case of Glee Gum for the honor— simply send an email introducing yourself to our mascot, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the many places you’ll find Glee Gum samples this happy month. (And hopefully get a chance to chew them!)
Anniversary Celebration at Natural Market, Manitowac, WI ~ 5/1 – 5/31/16
“More for Moms” Mother’s Day Celebration at Whole Foods Market, Montclair, NJ ~ 5/6/16
10th Anniversary Celebration at Chatham Marketplace, Pittsboro, NC ~ 5/13 – 5/14/16
Family Day Event at Whole Foods Market, Albany, NY ~ 5/14/16
Earth Fare 5K at Carrier Park, Asheville, NC ~ 5/14/16
Kid’s Club Event at Whole Foods Market, Sarasota, FL ~ 5/18/16
Strides for Safe Kids St. Louis Fundraising Walk & Expo at Chesterfield Mall, Chesterfield, MO ~ 5/22/16
Kid’s Club Event at Whole Foods Market, Naples, FL ~ 5/25/16
Treating ADHD Naturally Conference at Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, Rosemont, IL ~ 5/25/16
Lots of Gleeful events this month! Here’s a selection, with fingers crossed that one or two are located near you. Expect to see gum galore for giveaway!
OwlThon Dance Marathon to Benefit the Shands Children’s Hospital at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL ~ 4/2/16
Spring Mix at Whole Foods Market, Jacksonville, FL ~ 4/2/16
Philadelphia Junior League’s Empowering You Health Fair at the Lankenau Medical Center Main Hospital, Plymouth Meeting, PA ~ 4/16/16
The Yoga Expo at Broward County Convention Center, Ft Lauderdale, FL ~ 04/16/16
19th Anniversary Celebration at Healthy Horizons, Hammond, IN ~ 4/16/16
LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival in Tallahassee, FL ~ 4/16- 4/17/16
Women’s Health & Education Fund (WHEF) Bowl-A-Thon at Town Hall Lanes, Johnston, RI ~ 4/17/16
3rd Annual Health Fair at Bel Air, Carmichael, CA ~ 4/18/16
Earth Day Celebration at Bare Essentials, Boone, NC ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Garden of Eat’n, Jesup, GA ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Health Hut, Hickory, NC ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Peggy’s Natural Foods, Stuart, FL ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Tidal Creek Co-Op, Wilmington, NC ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Fairhope Natural Foods, Fairhope, AL ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Virginia’s Natural Food, Mobile, AL ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Rosewood Market, Columbia, SC ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Hendersonville Co-Op, Hendersonville, NC ~ 4/22/16
Earth Day Celebration at Lassens, Ventura, CA ~ 4/22- 4/23/16
The Healthy Communities Festival at Cascades Park’s Centennial Field, Tallahassee, FL ~ 4/23/16
Sooo, we joined Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Then we thought, we’re really not
wasting spending enough time online. What are we waiting for? Let’s get on Instagram, too!
Follow glee.gum for a behind-the-scenes look at gummy goings-on, Gleeful shenanigans, the occasional sticky situation, and our ever-smiling staff (pictured here at the recent Natural Products Expo West). We can’t wait to see what you snap, too! Pun intended.
Here’s a chance for not one, but TWO lucky ducks to win oodles of gum.
Hosted by our friends at Naturally Savvy, this is one Gleeful giveaway. Each prize pack includes pouches of Peppermint and Sugar-Free Wild Watermelon Glee Gum, cases of Sugar-Free Refresh-Mint, Triple Berry, and Tangerine Glee Gum, and a bag of yummy Glee Gum Pops.
Enter by April 11, 2016 (US only). We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you! DETAILS HERE.
In the US these days, consumed by primary elections and presidential campaigns, some folks talk of moving to Canada. If such dreams/ threats are realized, here’s the good news: they have Glee Gum up there!
Yup, Glee Gum is sold throughout Canada. As evidence, we present Jacob T. of Owen Sound, Ontario, holding a pack of his preferred flavor, purchased from Well.ca. Jacob likes Sugar-Free Wild Watermelon Glee because it “tastes good, has no aspartame or sorbitol, and makes my breath fresher.”
In addition to having terrific taste in gum, this tenth grade student happens to be a competitive hockey player and a talented jazz musician. He also mows lawns, which should come in handy for anyone planning to move to Canada around oh, say, November 9th. See you soon, Jacob!