Gardening

WD-40: Product with a Fan Club

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Product Information | 63 comments

WD-40: Product with a Fan Club

WD-40 is another great multi-use product that started out as a rust preventative solvent and de-greaser for the aerospace program. Through the ingenuity of its users, it now lists more than 2,000 uses. It even has its own Fan Club. According to the Duct Tape guys “You only need two tools in life, Duct Tape and WD-40.  If it’s not stuck and it’s supposed to be, Duct Tape it.  If it’s stuck and it’s not supposed to be, WD-40 it.” Here you will find only 50 of what I considered the most practical uses. Remember, these uses have been sent in by users of the product. Though I can testify to some of the uses myself – stopping squeaks, loosening wheels, lubricating things, removing gunk when replacing faucets – obviously I haven’t tried them all so can’t testify to their effectiveness. 25 WD-40 Uses for the Home: Removes tea stains from counter-tops Removes gunk when replacing faucets Cleans mildew from refrigerator gasket Lubricates spray arm in dishwasher Spray down drain throat to remove scum Keeps garbage disposal from rusting Removes coffee stains from floor tiles Cleans and protects underside of cast iron skillets Removes rust from cookie tins Cleans silver serving trays Lubricates folding parts of ironing board Removes starch residue from sole plate on iron Cleans metal bed frame Helps remove caked on dirt and grime from furniture rails Lubricates springs on garbage can foot pedal Spray on trash can lids to keep messes from sticking Removes calcium deposits from dehumidifier Lubricates heat register vent levers Unsticks painted radiator valves Lubricates and protects air conditioner blades Stops squeaks everywhere Spray on glass objects that are stuck together without breaking Cleans remote control Makes deadbolt locks work better Prevents kitty-doo from sticking to electric cat box rakes. 25 WD-40 Uses for the Yard: Loosens rusted wheels on lawnmowers Frees locking nut on lawnmower blades Spray on lawnmower pull cord when stuck Lubricates external pivots on lawnmowers Protects outside of cast iron brake drum on riding lawnmowers Lubricates zippers on lawnmower grass catcher bags Drives out moisture on electrical contacts on weed-eater Keeps line from binding on string trimmer spools Spray on rototiller blades to prevent rust during off season Protects exposed metal parts of snow blower Cleans and protects pruning shears Protects hand trowels from corrosion Prevent rakes from rusting Helps keep wooden handles on garden tools from splintering Cleans and protects bed of wheelbarrow Keeps snow from sticking to snow shovels Penetrates frozen mailbox doors Prevents corrosion of outdoor light fixtures  Prevents rust on metal patio chairs Lubricates runners on porch glider Helps remove road salt from car locks Lubricates hydraulic rams on slideout of 5th wheel Removes tar from automobile tires, bumpers and chrome Spray top of bird feeder to make squirrels slide off Cleans doggie-doo from tennis shoes Some other interesting facts about WD-40: Lady Liberty owes her continued good looks to WD-40 A bus driver in Asia used WD-40 to remove a python, which had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus Police officers used WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent It was fun going through the many WD-40 uses to find the ones that I felt would be most practical and helpful. But check out the WD-40 site yourself – it’s a fun read. Anyone wanting to check out all 2,000 can click on the link  http://wd40.com/uses-tips http://wd40.com/cool-stuff/myths-legends-fun-facts Talk to you again next week, Lenie Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with WD-40 in any way and will receive no compensation of any kind for this...

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Bring Back the Pollinators

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health, Herbs | 64 comments

Bring Back the Pollinators

Winter has settled in, making this a perfect time to browse through seed catalogs to dream and plan the Spring garden. While browsing through the William Dam catalog I came across some important information that I want to share. The following is taken straight from that catalog: www.damseeds.com  “The Humble Bee.                               Such a small creature in this vast world, but such an important part of our lives. In the last year every paper, blog, and social media site has made comments on the humble bee. From our local 4H clubs to our churches, even to the great office of the White House, people are waking up to how we impact creation. As a seed company the bee is vital to our survival: without some form of pollination there would be no seed, and natural pollinators always work best. There is great debate into what has caused the decrease in the bees and other pollinators. While seed treatments have taken a lot of the blame for bee population decline, ecologists all agree it is a combination of causes. So what can we do as growers and gardeners? University studies have shown that increasing habitat and providing a wide range of flower pollen and food will make for healthier bees. Healthier bees will be able to withstand virus, predators, and chemical contamination. We believe increasing diversity of habitat is very important to the bees – growing food and providing pollen plants is at the top of the list. This summer we dedicated half of our flower trials to studying which flowers and plants benefit bees and other pollinators. It was amazing to see the results, and actively feeding bees did not sting us. A simple thing like allowing broccoli to flower gave the bees a month of food. As stewards of this Creation we live in, simple things can make a difference. Grow a flower, save the bees.” For the first time ever, they have devoted two pages in their catalog to plants that benefit pollinators. This really helps in choosing the right plants. We have a quarter acre of wasteland that needs to be planted which we will now do by spreading their Bee Feed Mix. Our yard has been a bird and butterfly friendly habitat for years – to attract even more varieties we’ll also spread their Bird and Butterfly Mix. Their Beneficial Insect Mix and Northeast American Wildflower Mix are two mixes that will have to wait till next year. Won’t the flowers in the picture below pretty up an area that is now waste land? There are a number of individual plants which can be tucked into any flower bed, vegetable/herb garden or even window boxes. Besides attracting pollinators, any of these will add beauty to the yard. They include: Achillea, Agastache, Alyssum, Asclepias, Aster, Basils, Borage, Buddleja, Catnip, Centaura, Clover, Coreopsis, Dill, Dracocephaleum, Echinacea, Flax, Gaillardia, Gaura, Helianthus-garden types, Helenium, Heliotrope, Latavera, Lavender, Malope, Marigolds, Monarda, Mustards, Oregano, Orlaya, Parsley, Phacelia, Prickly Poppy, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Thyme, Tithonia, Tomato, Verbena, Zinnias. A few other facts  about pollinators: Monarch Caterpillars eat only Asclepias (Milkweed) during their life, however, the adult butterflies have a more varied diet that includes: Aster, Buddleja, Echinacea, Verbena and Zinnia; Butterflies like flowers that give them a platform to hold onto while they sip the nectar, so include flowers like Achillea, Rudbeckia, Tithonia, and Zinnias; Bees love broccoli. Leave some of your broccoli, arugula and other mustards to bolt to provide a month of food for bees. Since herbs play a...

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MICROGREENS: Superfoods You Grow Indoors

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Herbs, Recipes | 39 comments

MICROGREENS: Superfoods You Grow Indoors

It was a great day when I discovered MICROGREENS, superfoods you grow indoors the year round. Microgreens are baby herbs and vegies, very easy to grow on windowsill or counter-top. They are fast producers, harvested within two to three weeks of germination, when the plants are only one to three inches tall. I had been thinking about the produce that would be available come Fall, really just a choice between expensive organic or less expensive chemical-laced. Not exactly great choices, that is, until microgreens came along giving us another option, one that is both super healthy and inexpensive. Microgreens are nutritional powerhouses because all the nutrients the plant needs to grow to maturity are stored in the tiny plants, waiting to be distributed as the plant grows. But as microgreens aren’t grown to maturity, it means all those extra stored nutrients – protein, antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamins C, E, and K – are available for consumption when the plants are cut. Growing Microgreens: Remembering chia pets, I decided growing chia would be good place to start. I found an old berry clam shell which would work for a little greenhouse. Since it already had drainage holes in the bottom, it just required soil, watering and seeding. It only took a few days for green shoots to appear and a few more days after that I was cutting chia microgreens to add to salads, sandwiches and hamburgers. That was easy and fun, enough so that expansion was the next step. Knowing plants germinate and grow at different speeds it seemed smart to give each type of plant its own growing container.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but at the same time wanted to set up a continuous use system. That actually turned out to be easier and less expensive than expected. Preparing the Microgreens Containers: Shown above: Cook’n’Carry aluminum trays make perfect drainage trays. Plastic containers of the right size were found so that two could fit into each tray. The plastic cover that comes with the tray serves as a mini-greenhouse cover during the germination stage. I started by drilling six quarter-inch drainage holes into the bottom of each of the the plastic containers; Next two inches of organic, nutrient-rich growing mix was added, watered well and tamped down, enough to smooth out the soil, but not pack it; A moisture meter was used to keep a check on the moisture content. Once the meter read 5, the seeds were liberally sprinkled on top of the soil, lightly tamped down to ensure good soil contact and covered with vermiculite. (It doesn’t have to be vermiculite, it can be a light layer of soil – I just happened to have leftover vermiculite); The containers were then placed into the drainage tray and covered with the plastic lid. The lid actually sits on top of the plastic containers, leaving almost an inch of space underneath which, as it turned out, provides good air circulation. Germination, Growing and Harvesting the Microgreens: During the germination period, the seeds do not want light. Since I use the large window in my dining-room for my ‘indoor farming’, it was easiest just to leave the trays on the dining table, away from the light, until the green shoots appeared. Once that happened, the plastic cover was removed and placed under the aluminum tray, and the entire unit moved to the windowsill; When the plants are growing, they need a minimum of 6 hours – more is better – of light each day. If a window sill isn’t available, a table in front...

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Sharing Rhubarb Know-How and…..a Great Jam Recipe

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Recipes | 38 comments

Sharing Rhubarb Know-How and…..a Great Jam Recipe

This past week I noticed rhubarb in the store and as I had also just cut my rhubarb for the second time, thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of my rhubarb know-how, along with a great jam recipe. My first experience with rhubarb…….wasn’t. I was newly married and, rather to my surprise, found myself living on a farm and actually expected to do all the farm-wifey things, like keep a garden, preserve food, make pies and stuff like that. Come summer and here’s this great big rhubarb patch just waiting to be turned into pie. Grabbing a basket, I went out, cut a big bunch of stalks, brought them in, washed them and cut them into one inch pieces, all the while feeling pretty proud of myself. Then my husband walked in and asked what I was doing. That was one of those times you want to say ‘DUH’, because to me it was pretty obvious – preparing rhubarb for pie. Imagine my astonishment when he thought that was hilarious and between great big laughs told me we didn’t have a rhubarb patch and what I had so lovingly prepared was actually a weed called burdock. I’ve learned a bit since then. I’m now very good at telling the difference between rhubarb and burdock and I even know some useful rhubarb facts to pass on, such as: Only the stalks are edible – the leaves are toxic; Rhubarb is low in calories, contains no cholesterol, is high in fibre and calcium, rich in B-complex vitamins, contains Vitamin A ( a powerful anti-oxidant) and Vitamin K (believed to help with treatment of Alzheimer’s disease); 1 pound (450g) of fresh rhubarb equals 3 cups chopped or 2 cups cooked; Two and a half pounds are required for one 9-inch pie; Freezing rhubarb is easy – wash the stalks, cut them into 1-inch pieces, spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags in whatever amount your recipes call for, seal, label and date the bags, return to freezer; Rhubarb is acidic, which means aluminum pans should not be used to cook rhubarb. I know different ways to use rhubarb: Add some rhubarb to the apples next time you make applesauce. Gives it extra flavour and adds a nice colour. Use your Apple Crisp recipe to make Rhubarb Crisp. You may want to increase sugar somewhat; Stewed Rhubarb: Simmer together 4 cups chopped rhubarb, 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup water until rhubarb is soft. Strain, reserving the juice. Mix the cooled, softened fruit into yogurt, oatmeal, ice-cream, or stir into whipped cream for instant dessert; blend with equal parts yogurt and pour into popsicle molds to make yogurt pops; both the fruit and the juice can be frozen in ice-cube trays for smoothies or the juice can be added to lemonade, punch or gingerale. The Dutch use stewed rhubarb (with much less sweetener than above along with a dash of cinnamon) –  as a side dish when serving pork or beef roasts. You can make Rhubarb Orange Jam – recipe below. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RHUBARB ORANGE JAM: Makes about seven 8oz. jars or three pint jars with a bit leftover. Excerpted from Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry & Lauren Divine © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Before starting, cover the oranges with hot water for 15 minutes to make them juicier. I like to add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water just to give the peel an extra clean. PREPARE THE JARS: Wash the jars and screw-bands in hot...

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Kitchen Gardening – Raising Sprouts.

Posted by on Jun 17, 2014 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living | 34 comments

Kitchen Gardening – Raising Sprouts.

Raising sprouts in a kitchen garden is an interesting alternative to traditional gardening. Sprouting is easy to do, requires no special equipment, and offers a high-quality product in no time at all. Since its not dependent on the weather, sprouting can be carried out year-round, making it possible to always have fresh, organic produce available. Sprouts are definitely the most economical of foods, costing very little, yet having outstanding nutritional value. They can be made fresh in a couple of days and, in the winter-time, make great substitutions for many store-bought vegetables. As seeds sprout, their protein availability increases by 30-35% and their mineral and vitamin values also increase significantly. On the other hand, their calorie and carbohydrate content decreases, making this a valuable food for diabetics. Not only that, the sprouting process improves digestibility, a great benefit for the sick and elderly.   General Information: Always start with organic seed purchased from health food stores. The end result is only as good as what you start with. Never use the seeds sold in packages in stores as those are often treated with chemicals. Seeds can be stored in airtight containers in a dark, cool place for about a year. Seeds that are too old will not sprout properly. Use bottled water, not treated tap water, to soak and rinse. Do not allow the seeds to soak longer than the time specified or they may become mushy and rot. Seeds sprout best at normal kitchen temperatures – between 70 and 80 degrees F. Only sprout small amounts at a time, they really expand. Sprouts are at their best when used within a couple of days as they lose texture, taste and nutritional value if kept too long. While the seeds are soaking and sprouting, place them in an out of the way, yet convenient spot and cover with a kitchen towel to keep them in the dark. Once sprouted, spread them out on a paper towel, cover with a second towel, and let dry (don’t over-dry). Once dried, they can be stored in a covered jar in the refrigerator. They can be frozen, but since they will lose their crispness, some of their nutritional value and can’t be eaten fresh, why bother. Just make batches small enough to use up in a few days and have another batch sprouting. Preparing the Sprouting Jars. Start with clean, sterilized jars = this prevents any unwanted bacteria from contaminating the seeds.. Sprouting five different type of seeds is not a normal procedure for me, (I normally only do the mung bean and alfalfa sprouts, although the quinoa sprouts are quite good) so I only have three permanent filters, made from aluminum netting cut to fit inside canning rings.If more are needed, like for this post, I use cheesecloth.  General How-To’s: Pre-soak the seeds for the time stipulated. Put a small quantity of seeds in a wide-mouth canning jar – fill the jar with water – close with the filter lid, and cover with a kitchen towel. Set aside for the appropriate soaking time (refer to specific seeds below). After soaking, remove the water, fill the jar with fresh water, rinse seeds really well, drain, and start timing the sprouting. Rinse and drain as per seed instructions. Shake the jars around so the seeds aren’t all clumped together while draining and angle the jars in another container to allow for continuous draining. Cover the jars with a kitchen towel while sprouting.            Alfalfa: Soak seeds for 8 hours. Sprout time: One day for 1/8”, the length at which protein availability is highest; Three to...

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HERB GARDEN COMBO FOR UNIQUE WINDOW-BOX UPGRADES

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Gardening, Herbs | 14 comments

HERB GARDEN COMBO FOR UNIQUE WINDOW-BOX UPGRADES

  Planning an Herb Garden Combo for the window-box is fun. A few years ago my husband and I had a joint venture supplying windowsill herb gardens to a local specialty store. He built the planters and I took care of the herbs. However, the store didn’t survive, putting an end to our little enterprise.   The part that made our planters popular, and which set them apart, was that we had arranged them to specific tastes, such as our Poultry Lover’s Herb Garden Combo which contained Chives, Parsley, Sage, and Thyme. Similar planters were available for beef, pork, seafood, Italian, Bouquet Garni and Fines Herbs, using only those plants that grew well inside. I decided to take that idea outside to promote growing specific-use herbs with flowers in window boxes and patio planters. This would have a dual benefit – first, it would provide a constant supply of no-cost, fresh herbs for culinary use; and second, this would benefit nearby plants since herbs are known to help many other plants grow stronger. Herb Garden Combo suggestions include:      Poultry Lover’s Herb Garden – Chives, Parsley, Sage, and Thyme     The Lamb Lover’s Herb Garden – Chives, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Savory, Thyme     The Beef Lover’s Herb Garden – Chives, Parsley, Rosemary, Savory, Orange Thyme     The Pork Lover’s Herb Garden – Chives, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme     The Seafood Lover’s Herb Garden – Lemon Basil, Dill, Parsley, Savory, Tarragon     The Italian Herb Garden – Basil, Italian Parsley, Oregano, Thyme      Bouquet Garni Garden – Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme      Fines Herbes Garden – Chervil, Chives, Parsley, Thyme     1. This pretty Globette Basil is only 4-6 inches high and an excellent plant for south-facing window boxes, or to add to patio planters to keep mosquitoes away. There are many basil varieties with the purple-leaved and variegated types providing great contrast. Much loved by butterflies, it also helps other plants grow stronger.   2. Chervil (no picture available) is another attractive plant with leaves somewhat like parsley. It grows 12-24 inches high and in mid-summer will produce white flower clusters on taller stalks. It’s a great companion plant as it repels aphids and increases growth of nearby plants. It’s a tender, shade-loving annual.       3. Chives, a hardy perennial, is a rose’s best friend, protecting the plant against aphids and Japanese beetles. Chives have attractive ‘lollypop’ purple flowers; garlic chives have white starry-shaped ones. It attract bees, repels other pests. grows best in full sun/part shade and moist soil.  4. Dill, a hardy annual, likes a sunny spot to grow in. It attracts butterflies and repels aphids and spider mites. The ‘Monia Dill’ shown is ideally suited for pots and window boxes. It has attractive, fern-type foliage and large yellow flower clusters in summer.   5. The candied fruit mint shown is only one of many attractive varieties of mint. All mint plants spread like crazy and its best to plant them in high-rimmed planters placed in the window-box. Parsley really dislikes mint, but other plants love it as it repels ants and aphids. The pink or purple flowers attract bees and butterflies.6. Oregano or Marjoram, an attractive perennial in zone 5-9, likes a sunny location. The trailing types are perfect plants for the window box. Leaves vary from golden to dark purple to silver – flowers range from white to red, as shown.  As this plant repels all kinds of pests it makes a great companion to other plants. ‘  7. Parsley is a well-known plant that works well with most flowers. It repels harmful insects and attracts butterflies. It’s...

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