Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homemade Weedkiller

Yesterday, I made my own homemade weedkiller.  It was so simple, and it works.  I have the pictures to prove it.

Believe it or not, this is all you need.

Now for the recipe and then I'll show you what I did with it.

1 gallon of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of table salt
1 teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid. I didn't have any so I used some earth friendly/all-natural soap I use.

Just mix and pour into a spray.  That's it!  No cooking, muss, or fuss.

Now for my project.
  We are going to lay patio stones under the deck at the walk-out slider. The weeds are out of control there. You can see how the rainwater splashes on the slider glass and makes a complete and ugly mess.
We're not quite ready to do the patio yet but we bought a few of the blocks so we no longer have to walk in the mud. We sprayed the weeds quite heavily and 24 hours later they looked like this.

I'd say that is quite a success story. This new product is going to be my go-to weedkiller from now on. I hope you have the same luck as I did!

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, www.anherbalbedfellow.com & Grabbin' A Bite, www.grabbinabite.com

Monday, July 22, 2013

Make Your Own Rooting Compound

   I've just discovered something that other gardeners have known for centuries.  I thought maybe I wasn't the only one in the dark, and you might want to know about it, too.  A rooting compound that is available for free and might be growing in your own backyard.  Willow!

It turns out that Mother Nature has provided one of the best sources for rooting cuttings in the leaves and branch tips of the willow. It should be pretty obvious when you think of it, because a weeping willow readily roots itself when it's branches touch the ground.  Separating the new growth from the mother plant to get a start for a new tree is also a cinch. That's because the willow contains a powerful hormone compound known as rhizocaline.

   Here's all you have to do.  Take the tenderest twigs and leaves from the newest growth of the tree and cut them into one-inch pieces. Place a few handfuls in a bucket of water and leave it alone for a few weeks. You are now making "willow tea." (not for human consumption.) Then strain the tea water into glass Mason jars and store in the refrigerator until needed. Be sure to mark it well in case someone in the house doesn't know what you are doing!   Need some compound quicker than that?  Steep the twigs and leaves in a pot of boiling water, soak overnight, and then pour into the jars. You'll produce the same magic formula.

   When you are ready to propagate, dip a cutting into the willow water before planting in the your pot, tamp the soil down gently, and then water with remaining willow water.  Your cutting is now off to a good start.
This is one of those times when planning ahead for the winter months when you will be more focused on indoor gardening will pay off big time. If you make more than you can use, give away as gifts to gardening friends in pretty containers of decorated Mason jars.

I used to have a beautiful weeping willow at the back of property at my previous house, but as I look around my neighborhood here I don't seem to find any. The above picture is the tree that was at my previous house in the backyard.  I loved that tree.  Oh well,  now I'm off to find a friendly person who will let me trim their tree   And  maybe I'll make a new friend  who wants to know how to make willow tea rooting compound.

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, www.anherbalbedfellow.com & Grabbin' A Bite, www.grabbinabite.com

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Picture in Picture Daylily

This is Picture in Picture. She's the star of the garden show this year. It was newly planted last summer and this is the first time I've seen it.   I should have placed my hand in the photo so you could see the size of the bloom.  Amazing!!

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, www.anherbalbedfellow.com & Grabbin' A Bite, www.grabbinabite.com

Saturday, July 13, 2013

More First-Timer Blooms in my Garden

These were planted last summer and I am just seeing their blooms for the first time. You can click on the picture to enlarge it. There's nothing like the first days of a new love to make your heart go pitter-patter. Above is Highland Lord.
Below is Without a Doubt.  I did have an earlier photo, but the bloom wasn't not up to par and the photo was not too spectacular.

Usually the first bloom of the year on a daylily is not the best.  They seem to get a little bigger and more colorful as their bloom time goes on.  I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings for Primal Scream.  It about knocked me out this morning.  Again the sun washed some of the color out.  I'll try again when it is overcast.

 I planted Primal Scream next to a red bee balm without thinking.  What do you think?  Should I move the bee balm? I don't think I like it, and it doesn't do either one justice.

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Three New Daylily Pictures

These three daylilies were planted last summer but I was not able to get my own picture of them until today.  It's always a surprise when you compare your colors to another garden's colors.  The area, amount of sun and rain, and type of soil play a big part.  Daylilies can change from year to year even when they have been in the same location for a long time.  That's what I find so fascinating.

Here are my three new blooms today.

                                                                     Bela Lugosi

                                                                        Man of Sorrows

                                                                   Seventy Times Seven

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Making Compost is a Dirty Business

  Have you been thinking of making your own compost?  I thought about it for years before I actually got a start. Of course I was a city dweller and wasn't too sure of the odor and how my neighbors would take it.

  I finally found myself in a rural setting, and even though I still have neighbors, they are not as close, and we all seem to think alike.  Going "natural" is a "natural" idea here.

 So I studied and read and finally decided to buy a composter (now I wish I had just asked my husband to throw one together for me with fencing.)  But I like the one I have and it was not expensive.  It's simple, no turning cranks, so a turn with a rake or pitchfork every now and then is necessary.  I have pulled out the little drawer at the bottom and noticed some real nice looking dirt, so I guess it is working as it should.

  My biggest problem was in not knowing what in the world I was supposed to-- or not supposed to-- put in there. Here are some things I have learned to use and not to use.  But most important is to keep a happy balance.  Don't overdo one item over the other.

Do Use:
1. Dry autumn leaves -- if your mower has a mulcher, then use it instead of a rake and add the finely ground leaves as one layer.
2. Twigs from your tree pruning -- large branches take too long to decompose.  Twigs should be the size of a pencil
3. Vegetable scraps form the kitchen -- do not use cooked and seasoned vegetable leftovers from your table
4. Vacuum Cleaner dust (only if your house is pet free)
5. Coffee grounds and filters( if unbleached), tea leaves and tea bags
6. Eggshells -- but crush and rinse first
7. Pasta (minus sauces) and bread ( minus spreads)
8. Fireplace ashes and sawdust
9.  Grass clippings -- not too many and if possible dry out first or it will produce ammonia
10. Shredded brown paper bags, cardboard, and newspaper ( not colored)
11.  Weeds from the garden --  if they have not gone to flower or seed
12. Dead annuals or perennials (remember seeds may remain alive and re-sprout wherever you use your compost.

You don't want to produce a smelly garbage dump.  Your neighbors won't love you no matter how composting friendly they are. And the wrong type of leftovers will bring in unwanted pests, so be sure to keep out animal products and table scraps.

Do Not Use:
1. Plants with thorns, or aggressive vines and runners
2. Wood  or sawdust from wood that has been treated with a preservative
3. Metals that rust -- your hands will be in this compose at some point - did I say,  tetanus shot?
4. Glass -- your hands will be in this compost at some point -ouch!
5. Plastics -- they do not decompose
6.  Bones, meat  and grease
9.  Any plants that show a sign of disease
10. And of course, no cleaning products

To help your composter along, add some good earth worms or night crawlers. Turn your compost every few weeks.

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Homemade Garden Fertilizer

I just discovered this homemade safe garden fertilizer in an old garden book.  It was developed by a California Master Gardener. She calls it Ethel's Elixir and it is supposed to be safe to use on food crops, completely nontoxic.  I want to give it a try.  I have everything in the house except the ammonia, so as soon as I get near a store I'm buying some.  Here is the recipe:

In a one-gallon jug add:

1/2 cup Epsom salts ( my father-in-law swore by this for his tomatoes)
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol ( not too sure about this one)
1 8-oz can of beer ( my husband's, I don't drink that stinky stuff; I'm a wine lover)
1/4 cup baking powder ( always in the cupboard)
1/4 cup ammonia ( this sounds scary to me)
6 aspirin ( I might get a headache if this doesn't work)

Add water to fill the jug. Stir or Shake to dissolve aspirin. Spray leaves or drench around the base of the plants.

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Friday, July 5, 2013

Daylilies 2013

I started this new daylily garden in the late summer and fall of 2011.  I knew it would take a few years for it to mature. We had some late freezes and icing last year and this year, too,  which took its toll.  But my champions pulled through;  I should have never doubted them.  They look healthy and are much bigger now.  Most are producing scapes and about 6 are blooming at the moment. It's an exciting time for me.  After the big move, I wasn't sure if I would have the strength and energy to start another garden.  But here I am, gardening away; although it is much more difficult than it was when I was in my '40s.
I am going to chronicle their growth during this blooming season each week.

Here is week one as of July 4th 2013.

Even the peonies bordering one edge looked great this year.  I'm a happy girl

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite