Updated: Feb 5
I have been getting into my houseplants and to keep them fit and healthy they often require you to use filter water. Additionally, filtered water can often be a much-needed item in your household depending on your local water supply. However, something that has always bothered me about most conventional water filters is the wasteful ‘cartridges’ that constantly need to be changed, often going to landfill and contribute to one of the worst pollutants in our modern day, plastic. Now I know some of these companies may detail some recycle scheme, however, I feel these are often ineffective, as to recycle them you have to go through the onerous task of returning it to the company you brought them from. This is often difficult to do and takes more actions of you, which I believe often leads to the majority of people not doing so. Additionally, you are still going through hundreds of plastic cartridges and the harmful plastic they are encased in.
Therefore, I went to search for an eco-friendly way to filter water. This is where I
found Phox Water, who market themselves as ‘The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Water Filter’. This defiantly peaked my interest and with some research, they defiantly seem a lot better than conventional water filters I could find. So I quickly ordered one with a 12-month supply of the clean refill filter media (they also offer an alkaline filter media, which offer other benefits) and waited. It arrived shortly and I have been using mine for several months, so here is my review of the Phox V2 Glass Water Jug and clean filter media.
Look & Size:
All their packaging seemed to be compact and professional, which was a good initial sign. My order came in a single large box (about the size of two show boxes with some extra depth) with the jug and the 12-month supply. The filter media comes in a very small box with the carbon filter and the media in a vacuum packed tight paper PLA composite that is compostable, keeping it all condensed and easy to store. I assume this can be delivered through your letterbox if you only ordered a 3–month supply. The box has all the instructions on how to insert the filter material and prep the jug for use. This made the installation and replacing of the filter elements simple and easy.
The Glass Water Filter and Jug:
The jug itself was larger than I thought it would be. I have seen a couple of Brita filters in the past and they are quite thin and can often fit in the side of your fridge door. Well for sure the Phox Water Jug certainly cannot do this. It is a large cylindrical shape that can hold about 2.2L. For me this is not so much a problem, as I have not kept it in my fridge and just stored it near my houseplants. However, if you are thinking about having this in the fridge, I hope you have a large amount of free space. For your reference, here are some of the filter dimensions:
- Height: 30.5cm
- Diameter: 14.5cm
(the diameter was taken from the spout to the lip section to take the lid off [widest section])
As for the look, you can see the picture for yourself and make your own judgment, for me it looks fine, nothing spectacular but then again I am not that bothered, as it is not really an item you have on display in the house.
Now, I have to say this filter is still not perfect but then I do not think there one that is. The reason it is not perfect is due to the filter media. Unfortunately, even though the media is derived from natural sources it contents are not recyclable or compostable. I believe this is because there aren't components that can be used to ensure the water is properly filtered, which are also compostable or recyclable. Now, this is still a negative and I wish there was a solution, having said this, in order to get filtered water I would much rather only have to replace the filter media than the whole plastic cartridge.
To replace the filter media you take the jug apart and twist out the cartridge and clean the parts. The cartridge has its own lid, which has a carbon filter flattened between it and is where the first point the water runs through. You then fill the top container with the media, which filters the water to the holes at the bottom, which lead into the large 2.2l reservoir jug.
Now, I do not have any tests or knowledge to check the water quality before and afterwards. Additionally, I have not had much experience with previous water filters. However, in my opinion the water to me taste cleaner after it has been filtered, which must mean it works, right !? Further to this, I have been using it on my plants for the last few months and they have not shown any negative signed and are continuing to grow.
To summarise the overall positives of the Phox Water system here are my key points:
Its more Eco – You do not have to bin large cartridges with all its additional plastic. They have made a filter system, which you can easily replace the filter media only,
Packaging is small and completely recyclable, reducing your waste impact.
The water tastes cleaner and fresher, so it does its job as a water filter.
The instructions are clear and concise and makes it easy to reuse.
Now for some negatives. These are some I have noted and others I have seen people mention online but thought as this is a review I should put these into this article. I should note though that I always like to be a bit pessimistic, as I do not know your personal circumstances and if you want to buy this I want to be as open and honest. Although there might be more negatives than positives, this is not to say that the filter is poor. It does what it is meant to do; I just wanted to share everything with you:
The jug is a bit heavy, which is not a problem for me at all but if you think it will be for you, it is something to consider.
It has a wide spout, again this is not much of an issue, as long as you are filling something bigger than it is you shouldn’t have a problem. However, if you are filling anything too small like a typical bottleneck you might get your hands wet.
Some people have noted the filer is a bit slow but again, I would not have thought this is much of an issue. Most people fill theirs up and leave it (often in the fridge) until they want a drink. For me as I mainly use it for my plant it is much the same. I fill it up and let it sit until I want to use it for my plants.
As mentions, the filter media is neither recyclable nor compostable.
In my opinion, considering these negatives do not affect me, these are nit-picky and very small compromises to make for the benefit of reducing your waste. I would much rather use a heavier, wide spout and wait for the filter to do its job than contribute to the plastic pollution destroying this world that our typical filters cause. I will admit it is not perfect, as the media still has to be wasted but it is a step forward and drastically reduced the amount of waste you would typically produce.
Well I have decided to share this on my sustainable blog, so I do believe it works and overall a far more sustainable option than conventional water filters. I find the filter works fine and replacing the filter media simple and easy. Most of all I am happy more and more companies are working towards producing a more sustainable, eco-friendly and less harmful product of everyday items. Having said all this, if there is a more sustainable, eco-friendly option out there I would love to know what it is, as I haven’t been able to find one. I will conclude with, if you need one right now that filters the water to a level of non-eco-friendly water filters does and is better for the environment, why not try Phox Water?
Updated: Dec 12, 2021
This was my second year in my own house allowing me to grow anything I want in the space I have, which is quite limited. I wanted to start of easy due to still sorting out bits, moving into the house and getting everything set up that has taken a long time. However, I still grew a fair bit for my little garden. I have always wanted to grow a number of unique plants, as well as my own fruit and veg to eat. However, I still have much to learn, so I am trying out new thing and love sharing my progress with you. So here is all the fruit, veg, herbs and other plants I grew, ate and enjoyed caring for in 2020.
One of my main goals throughout the year was to grow as much edible food, as possible. I have always loved the idea of being somewhat self-sufficient and although I will not be anywhere near that with the size of my garden I still hope to grow some delicious fruit and vegetable to eat and learn what works for the future, so this is what I have decided to grow:
This is a sweet summer favourite of nearly anyone in the UK. I thought I would start with a few of these sweet treats in one of my hanging baskets. I have three different types of strawberries two British and one French to see how they grown and if there is much difference. They all did well but the British variety defiantly faired better, I assume due to the fact it climatises better to our weather.
Although I did not have a full sized planter, I did manage to get my hands on three small troughs that I planted two rows of carrots. I created a mix of soil and sand, so the carrots could grow easier and watered regularly. As they sprouted and gotten larger I have thinned them out by repotting them into the third planter. We got a decent number of carrots from this but I believe the planters were too small to allow the carrots to properly grow.
Tomatoes are the quintessential gardener food of choice and the first point of call for anyone wanting to grow some veg.. They are easy to grow, incredibly rewarding and can produce a huge amount of food, I have three tomato plants in a single grow bag with a bamboo support frame, with garden twine between them to support the heavy fruitful tomato growths. One thing I have learnt was not to forget watering them, seeing these plant droop so low like a sulking child is saddening, so it is a every evening job and sometimes in the morning too.
I wanted to grow potatoes, as I believe they would give the highest return in nutritious value and volume. It is also one of the most versatile vegetables that can be used for a number of things on your dinner plate. I have a small garden but still wanted to get as much out of it as I can, so seeing these grow bags in my local garden centre and quickly berried a sprouting potato. The amount of foliage this plant sprawls out is outstanding and really indicates a large return.
Additionally, I am growing a number of herbs that can be added to loads of dishes and be used to feed my rabbits. I have some outside permanently and the others growing in the windowsill. They are useful and provide a great aroma whenever I walk by them. I don’t do much to upkeep them, just keep them watered and occasionally pull out any weeds that manage to join my herbs. Here are the herbs I am growing this year
Indoors I am growing:
Outdoors I am growing:
My main goal, whilst trying to make my garden look nice and colourful was to help the bees and other pollinators, so I tried to ensure the plants I picked benefited them and their efforts to collect nectar and pollen. I won’t mention all the flowers growing in my garden, you can look at some of these through scowering my social media. However, some of the key flowers I grew are:
Clematis – It came with the garden when we brought it and it comes up beautifully with more than three dozen flowers each year. All I have to do is provide a little wire for it to climb up and keep it well watered.
Dahlia – After seeing these in a number of gardens I was keen to have them in mine. I have been told these are difficult to grow, especially in pots, so I decided to give them a try, although I did get it to grow unfortunately it wasn’t the grand Dahlia I was hoping for.
Senetti – Me and my partner saw a beautiful bunch of purple Senetti at the garden centre and could not leave it there. After picking it up we put it in a larger pot and left it to its own devises. It was clearly a good choice as the bees seemed to love them.
Roses – We have a couple of rose bushes at the back of my garden, again, I don’t have to do much other than water them regularly and ensure my rabbits don’t try to eat them. However, each year they flower nicely for the local insects to enjoy.
As mentioned above this is my first year in my own house and I am trying to grow as many things as possible. This is because I enjoy the site of them and think they are incredibly beneficial for the environment and my household. They provide tremendous benefits mentally, cleaning the air and a tool to learn from in one of my bid to grow a nice collections of plants. I won't be able to name them all but some of the ones I got this year:
· Pilea Peperomioides
· Snake Plant
· Fairy Washboard (Haworthiopsis Limifolia)
· Dracena Fragrans
· A couple of cactuses & succulents (sorry, I don’t know their names)
Further to the above, I also thought it would be a bit of fun to have a little competition between myself ad my partner. So on top of everything we decided to grow some sunflowers. We picked up a giant variety to see how well we could do and who would come on top. We had a lot of fun watering our own plant, carefully putting them into larger pots to see who would get the largest one. It is also a great flower for the wildlife, we saw tons of bees on them and when they had finished growing you can either use the seeds for yourself or leave the heads out for the birds.
My garden is quite small and I am still learning a lot about growing both indoors and out. However, I am still managing to grow a lot and having a lot of fun doing so. I hope to continue to grow more and learn about how best to grow them and when. I already feel like I have become more akin to gardening and growing food, which I hope to develop to increase my return in the food I grow year on year. I also hope to grow more flowers and other plants in my garden to make it look nice but to also help the hopefully growing wildlife in my backyard. I am just starting my journey into gardening and growing my own food but I hope to learn plenty and develop my skills for the future. I would love to hear what you are growing this year, so let me know in the comments or by tagging me in your pictures on Instagram, twitter or Facebook.
Updated: Feb 6
I am sure as kids most of you would have grown sunflowers, usually amongst your friends or siblings to see who gets the biggest or tallest one in a fun, friendly and environmental competition. Sunflowers are easy to grow plants that can easily dwarf most people by growing on average 6 to 10 feet. Here I will go into facts about sunflower, how to grow them, why you should grow them and my experience with growing them. So whether you want an interesting and unique plant to grow, an environment friendly hobby or just a healthy competition, then please read on.
What is a Sunflower?
Sunflowers botanical name is Helianthus, which has nearly 70 species within it, the most common of which is called Helianthus Annuus that is grown for edible oil and seeds. However, for the back garden as you are probably growing them for their enormous size you might want to pick up sunflowers with the names ‘American Giant’ or ‘Skyscraper’. Getting your hands on sunflower seed is easy and you can obtain some at most garden centre and many other stores also sell them in the spring. As I mentioned above there is a variety of different types, so get one that you like the look of.
Reason to grow sunflowers:
There are many reason why you should grow sunflowers but if you need a little inspiration, here are the most common reasons:
Bees – Sunflowers are a hot spot of nectar and pollen, both crucial in helping the bees.
Ease of growing – They are incredibly easy to get them to sprout and grow making you feel like a successful gardener.
Looks – I think everyone agrees that sunflowers look magnificent & spectacular.
Seeds – Sunflower seeds are a healthy tasty snack, very nutritious and many of your local animals and wildlife will eat them too.
Environmental – Alongside all other plants, sunflower help to reduce the carbon dioxide we omit.
Competition – It can be an incredibly fun competition!
How to grow sunflowers?
Here are the key things you need to know to grow your sunflowers:
When should you plant sunflowers? You should always check your sunflower packet but most are often sown mid-April to end of May. However, this can be started earlier in a green house.
How often should you water your sunflower? These are watered more often than other plants. The soil should be constantly moist. In the height of summer they should be watered daily. However, you may be able to get away with less than this if it rains and remains cool.
How long do sunflowers take to sprout? Usually, they will sprout in 7 to 10 days.
When do you plant sunflowers in the ground? You should plant your sunflower when the first true leaves appear (these are the second set of leaves).
How long do sunflowers take to reach maturity? They can reach maturity in 80 to 120 days.
What conditions do sunflowers need? They need to be put in full sun and well-draining soil, which can be Improved through manure and compost to ensure good growth. As mentioned above ensure they are watered regularly.
Here is my sunflower experience!
I decided to plant some sunflower for a bit of healthy competition with my partner and to see how easy it is to grow them (spoiler: It is incredibly easy) by following the key guide above. Here is my timeline from planting the seeds to a whopping 7 foot sunflower.
25th May: I planted the seeds into small pots with a small amount of stones at the bottom to help with drainage and your standard multi-purpose compost.
1st June: In just 7 days they had already begun to Sprout.
17th June: Even though they are small the sunflower true leaves (Second set) had emerged. This meant they could be repotted but I decided to wait until they were slightly bigger and better established.
23rd June: The sunflowers continued to grow at a rapid rate and their true leaves had fully come in. I then re-potted them into individual larger pots.
2nd July: I dug a large trench at the back of my garden, which was in full sun and put the sunflowers in. Whilst digging up the soil I got rid of as many foreign object as I could and mixed in a bit of multi-purpose compose. Although it is recommended to plant them two feet apart I was a little short of this, due to space and only separated them about a foot apart (Don’t worry they still grew). I then staked them in place with bamboo and twine.
20th July: As the sunflower continued to grow and summer fully came in I de-weeded the area and twined higher up the sunflower and bamboo to ensure they would not collapse.
28th July: The spectacular heads of the sunflowers had started to emerge with one completely flowering. I also continued to de-weeded the area to ensure maximum growth.
10th August: All the sunflowers were flowering.
20th August: All the sunflowers had completely flowered and seemed to reach the end of their life. I decided to leave them for another week to let the bees collect the pollen and nectar.
28th August: The beautiful sunflowers lasted for a little bit longer but today I harvested their heads. I picked of the seed and laid them on the bird table for the birds of course. However, I have seen many people just leave out the whole sunflowers heads or pin it to a wall or post for the birds to peck at. Alternatively, you can dry them out to make a snack for yourself.
Overall, as you can see the sunflowers from seed to harvest was around 90 days, which isn’t that long at all. The reasons you should grow sunflowers are to help the environment, because it is a beautiful plant and provides a fun competition. They grow at considerable speed for plants making growing them visually exciting. The benefits to the bees are tremendous and the seeds are an added bonus for a healthy snack or to feed your local birds. I hope my recommendation and method for growing my sunflowers worked for you and you decide to grow a few of your own. Anyway, I would love to see how tall your sunflowers got, so make sure to send me a picture on my social medias with #growthesun or #sunflowercompetition and tag me in it.