Gardening

Earth Day Awareness Leads April Sales

Posted by on Mar 28, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living | 30 comments

Earth Day Awareness Leads April Sales

Earth Day, which this year falls on April 22, sets the stage for month-long sales of energy-savers and conservation products. This makes it an excellent time to find great bargains on anything ‘environmental’, including garden and landscape items of all kinds. Look for great savings on: Energy Saver Products: Energy Star Appliances:  Air Conditions, Ceiling Fans, Microwave, Refrigerator, Toaster Oven, Washer/Dryer, Water Heater Energy Saver Devices: Power Bars, Night Lights, Thermostats Other Energy Savers: LED lights, Solar Phone/Tablet Chargers, Solar Yard Lights **** Earth Day Activities – Conservation: Many Conservation Groups will be offering trees and plants for sale to promote Earth Day Activities. You may need to pre-order to get the best deals. If you can’t find any Conservation Groups in your area, call your Municipal Office and they should be able to help out. **** Patio, Lawn and Garden: Clearance of last year’s models which need to go before the new models arrive. This could mean some really great prices for the consumer on: Barbecues and Accessories Lawnmowers and other Garden Equipment Patio Furniture Planters Composters ****     Spring Cleaning Supplies: Vacuum Cleaners Cleaning Supplies – in keeping with Earth Day, look for EcoLogo, Green Seal or EPA Safer Choice or  Make Your Own Paint and Wallpaper, Home Improvement Products Organizing Products   **** To stay with the environmental theme of the month, April Sales will also include Organic Foods and Soybean Products. Other Food Items: Eggs and Olive Oil Produce: Asparagus, Broccoli, Rhubarb, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes. Avocado, Citrus Fruit, Kiwi, Lemons, Pineapples. Earth Day, April 22,  does prompt some really great bargains, but it is also the day when everyone is asked to participate in an ‘Act of Green”.  Let’s celebrate Earth Day – plant a tree, clean a roadside, turn off the lights, or contribute in any other way that matters to you. Make it fun and think of the environmental benefits – totally Win, Win. Talk to you again next week, Lenie If you enjoyed this post – others will too. Please share. Would love to have you follow me on Pinterest  or  Twitter or browse my Etsy Store        ...

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Vegetable Gardens for Small Space Gardeners

Posted by on Feb 14, 2016 in Bookshare, Gardening | 34 comments

Vegetable Gardens for Small Space Gardeners

With small suburban lots and condo living having become the norm, there are many people who feel they don’t have space for vegetable gardens. It’s not that they wouldn’t like to grow some of their own herbs and vegies, they just don’t see how they can. Well, guess what? Vegetable gardens are not only possible in the smallest spaces, done right they can add a lot of visual interest to their surroundings. I recently discovered this DK Book at the Library – Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet. This 255 page book is basically a step-by-step pictorial guide showing in detail how one or more small vegetable gardens can be placed in, on or against all kinds of unusual spots. No doubt you’ve heard it said “A picture’s worth a thousand words”. Looking at the images below, don’t you agree that they show what can be done better than any words could? The only thing I did was add a bit of supporting information and a few helpful suggestions. All Photos below from: Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet – copyright 2016 Dorling Kindersley Ltd – used with permission and with thanks.  Vegetable Gardens for Small Spaces: Anyone having access to a wall will be able to use the wall-mounted planting pockets to grow herbs and salad greens. The one shown is hung from a bamboo pole to avoid drilling a lot of holes in the wall. It’s easy to see that this unit can be placed against any wall – house, garage, garden fence, etc. Consider filling one with herbs and salad greens, then hanging it outside the kitchen door, convenient for picking salad fixin’s when you need them. The unit shown above contains: Thyme, rosemary, sage, viola, chives, strawberries and Microgreens The Microgreens post, which was written for indoor growing, can easily be adapted to outdoors. Just plant the seeds in the pockets and cover with vermiculite. Don’t let them dry out. Instead of harvesting at 2-3 inches, I would let them grow to 4-6 inches, before cutting them.  Companion planting is one of the better things you can do, both for the garden and for the environment. Here’s a very simplified description of how it works. Peas and beans add nitrogen to the soil which helps flowers grow bigger and better. Flowers return the favour by attracting pollinators needed for proper vegetable growth. Chamomile increases the fragrance of aromatic plants attracting even more pollinators. Pollinators plus the fragrance put out by different plants deter pests. No effort required but by using companion planting methods you save work for yourself and do the garden and the environment a world of good. As shown above, companion planting works as well in pots as it does in window-boxes, flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, or combinations. I love the idea of using reclaimed or recycled materials to grow food. Doesn’t that sound just so ‘green’? It wouldn’t be hard to find materials for the above unit at yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, or possibly even in your own garage. It is simple to put together and doesn’t require tools. What I really like about it is that it can be placed anywhere – on the deck, patio, balcony, tucked in a corner of the backyard, placed in full sun, part shade or protected from wind. This is another great idea for growing ‘frequent harvesting’ produce like salad greens and herbs since it can be placed wherever it is handiest.  It’s not only the standard herbs and vegetables that can be grown in small spaces. Apples,...

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Everyday Herbs: Recipes and Remedies

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health, Herbs, Recipes | 49 comments

Everyday Herbs: Recipes and Remedies

This is the time of year when herbs really come into their own and I consider myself fortunate to be able to harvest them straight from my garden. But it’s not necessary to have a backyard garden to benefit from the bounty. Right now you’ll find a great selection of the freshest herbs at the best prices at Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands and even Supermarkets. Herbs are the most useful plants. For the longest time we thought using herbs was to add a basil leaf to tomato soup or to sprinkle chives on a baked potato. We have now become much more aware and accepting of herbs contribution to healthy living. Many of the herbs we use everyday have multiple uses – culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal. In this post I’m sharing just a few of the many ways to use Basil, Chives, Dill and Parsley. If you have no allergic reaction when using herbs in cooking or drinking, you should be fine using them for FIRST AID or cosmetic purposes. Unless you are trained to do so, NEVER use herbs to replace medical diagnosis or treatment. FOUR EVERYDAY HERBS. BASIL. This is one of the herbs that everyone knows and loves. It’s a pretty plant that grows equally well in the flower bed, the window box, the vegetable/herb garden or indoors during the winter. It’s also a must have plant for the pollinator garden. It is one of the most versatile plants with many uses – culinary, beverage, medicinal, cosmetic and even as insect repellant. Culinary Uses: Try basil with beans; pasta; chicken; fish; meatloaf; Italian cooking of all kinds; anything with tomato; and of course, to make pesto or boursin. More Uses: I wrote an earlier post about basil and rather than repeat the information, I’m simply adding the link: http://frugalforeveryone.ca/culinary-cosmetic-antiseptic-and-more-basil-does-it-all/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CHIVES. We grow garlic chives that have the pretty purple flower balls like little lollipops that the bees go crazy about. They are extremely easy to grow, indoors or out, and act as an aphid repellant (unfortunately not as eliminator) for our roses. Chives are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Culinary Uses: Chives are great added to butters, cheese dishes, dips, eggs/omelets, potatoes, salads, sauces, seafood, soups and vegetables. We enjoy the mild taste so much that we have completely replaced green onions with chives. Medicinal Uses: Chives are loaded with vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, Vitamin A and C and a host of other nutrients. Because of the high Vitamin C content, chives give chicken soup an extra boost when dealing with a cold. Added to a broth, soup or stew they are used to ease digestive problems; treat anemia; and as food for sick or convalescing patients. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DILL:  There was a time when we made gallons of pickles and relishes and used lots of dill. We don’t bother with that anymore and also no longer bother growing dill. (The dill shown above is store bought.) But I still know enough about using it to share. Dill is used most often for culinary purposes but it has some excellent medicinal qualities. It contains many important nutrients, vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A and C plus iron and calcium. Culinary Uses: Eggs, poultry, salads, potato salad, and as a sauce (recipe below) for fish, especially salmon. Dill Sauce: 1 cup yogurt 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped 1 Tbsp. lemon juice Dash of Worcestershire sauce Directions: Blend all the ingredients together. Serve with fish, delightful over salmon. Medicinal Uses: Dill is a centuries old herb...

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Lavender: Health Benefits and Uses

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Gardening, Health, Herbs, Lavender | 36 comments

Lavender: Health Benefits and Uses

Lavender is my very favourite herb, which probably doesn’t surprise anyone who’s been following my blog for a while. I’ve used it in all kinds of ways, from sachets tucked inside my pillow case, to lavender vinegar for a hair rinse, to a soothing lavender-oatmeal bath (how-to at the bottom of this post), and more. When I found out about the pollinators declining, I decided to enlarge my lavender garden to attract more bees and butterflies. But is seems that my decisions never fly solo – each one leads to another one. In this case, the decision to learn more about lavender’s many health benefits. It was believed in ancient times that adding lavender to baths added not only a pleasant scent, but also purified the body and spirit. We now know that lavender, when inhaled, produces a calming, sedative effect, which makes it easy to understand why the ancients held those beliefs. Note: Where it refers to lavender essential oil, it means pure essential oil, not the synthetic stuff found in pharmacies and other retail outlets. That oil doesn’t have any healing properties. Lavender oil is very strong and incorrect use can damage the skin. For home use it is recommended that lavender oil be mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, to alleviate risk. Start small – 2 drops of lavender oil to 1/2 tsp. coconut oil. Where below it states lavender oil, before applying it to skin remember to mix it with the carrier oil. Lavender and aromatherapy: The reason lavender promotes relaxation is because it slows the activity of the nervous system.  The more relaxed we are, the better we feel and the more able to fight off headaches, depression, nervous disorders and exhaustion. The right amount of sleep is needed to maintain good physical and mental health. Lavender can often help achieve the relaxation necessary for a good night’s sleep. In one sleep study of the elderly, it was found that putting a few drops of lavender essential oil on their pillows often increased sleep regularity without the need for stronger sleep aids. Placing a lavender sachet inside the pillow case works as well. Lavender and the digestive system: Lavender (a member of the mint family) is of great benefit to the digestive system. Lavender tea can relieve indigestion, nausea, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can also improve the appetite. To make the tea: Pour one cup of freshly boiled water over a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers. Cover and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink. Do not use the essential oil. It is toxic if taken internally. Lavender and skin ailments: Holistic doctors treat skin ailments such as acne, fungal infections, wounds and eczema with lavender essential oil. To do so at home, use the lavender oil mixed with the coconut oil. Lavender and pain: Acupuncturists and chiropractors often use lavender oil when treating patients – a massage with essential oil has been proven to reduce joint pain. (A warm lavender/oatmeal bath can also help – directions below.) Lavender is currently being studied for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is already known that the  essential oil can be used as an effective natural antiseptic to treat minor cuts and scrapes. Never pour essential oil on an open wound. Lavender and circulation: Lavender improves blood circulation which of course has many positive benefits. including: Decreased risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis; Important in diabetes management; Fewer leg cramps. Lavender and other benefits: Massage with essential oil can improve concentration, learning, reduce anxiety and level out mood disturbances....

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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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