Archive for Feel Good Gardening

Effortless watering

I’m all for time-saving, eco-friend, low cost, diy, etc.  So with us moving towards using less and reusing what we have used, I found a really nice idea to help me water our gardens.

These little bottles will also help me teach my boys to save water and water plants wisely.

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Herbs, Herbs, Herbs

I found this really great, fun site http://www.phuthu.co.za  It is a local SA site with some really awesome pics and interesting stories.  If my browser wasn’t so slow, I would look through the whole site just to see the rest of it.  There are some really useful tips on herbs.  I know we can get most of them at nurseries in SA, I’m not sure about the rest of the world.  When in doubt, ask at your local nursery…

Herbs – Culinary uses and more…

Basil
Basil is one of the most versatile herbs with sweet basil being the most commonly grown. It needs average soil, sun and semi-shade and is frost sensitive.

Culinary uses: Pasta sauces, stews, soups, salads, pizzas or blend basil with pine nuts to make pesto. It goes very well with tomatoes.

Medicinal uses: It is quite useful for exhaustion and digestive upsets such as stomach cramps, constipation and diarrhoea. Drink basil tea to relieve tension and migraines or rub the fresh leaves on your temples for headaches. Crushed basil leaves can be used to take the sting out of insect bites.

Cosmetic uses: Crushed basil leaves will stimulate hair growth. Use in bath oils.

Other uses: Bunches of fresh basil hung in the kitchen will keep flies away. Dried basil stalks burnt on a fire can keep the mozzies away.

Lemon Grass
Lemon grass can grow in any soil and doesn’t need a lot of water. It is inactive during the winter months and sensitive to frost. Parts used: The stems, leaves and essential oils.

Culinary uses: Soups, marinades, stir-fries, curries, salads, coconut milk, rice and as an alternative for lemon rind and to flavour tea’s and drinks. The stems can be kept in the fridge for 2 – 3 weeks if wrapped in a paper bag or wax wrapped.

Medicinal uses: Used in a tea it has a calming effect and can soothe the digestive system and relieve stress.

Cosmetic uses: Makes a good facial steam for teenage skin. Great for treating an oily skin or oily hair: one cup of fresh lemon grass and two cups of boiling water.

Other uses: Insect repellent.

Rosemary
Rosemary will grow in most types of soil but prefers light, sandy soil with good drainage and a sunny spot. It can tolerate cold temperatures. Rosemary has more fragrance if you pick it and leave it for a few days. Rosemary and sage are good friends and will grow well together.

Culinary uses: Meat (especially lamb), bean and tomato dishes (use sparingly as it’s a strong herb). Use the twigs for kebab skewers.

Medicinal uses: Drink as a tea for migraines and cramps. Also treats blood pressure problems, jaundice, vertigo, gout, aching joints, obesity and toothache. Use the oil externally as an antiseptic for sores and wounds.

Cosmetic uses: Good rinse for dark hair, can reduce falling hair and treat eczema on the scalp. Use as a mouthwash and facial steam. Known to remove freckles and wrinkles: Boil 50g flowering rosemary tips in 500ml white wine for 2 minutes. Leave to stand for 1 hour, strain and apply to your face with cotton wool twice a day.

Other uses: Fish moth repellent in cupboards/drawers. The stems will keep your linen smelling fresh or keep mozzies away when tossed in a fire.

Chilli
Chillies are easy to grow and varies from very hot to mild. It requires full sun and rich well drained soil. Water frequently, especially when in flower. Feed with a liquid fertiliser once a week; sensitive to frost. Parts used: Fruit.

Culinary uses: Add to chutneys, pickles, Indian, Mexican and Thai dishes and of course on pizzas!

Medicinal uses: eases digestive problems, chronic pain and cluster headaches.

Rocket
A herb you either love or hate. It likes loose, rich, composted, well-drained soil. Water it well in dry weather, although the roots must not be saturated. Withstands frost, summer storms and cold winds. Parts used: Leaves, seedpods and flowers. Can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Culinary uses: Soups and stews, salads, sandwiches, sauces, marinades, garnish. Particularly good with tomatoes.

 Medicinal uses: It’s a great tonic, can be used as a cough remedy when boiled in honey, prevents colds and treats fluid retention, anaemia, digestive upsets and bladder ailments.

Other uses: Treat skin blemishes and makes a refreshing foot bath. Can be used as plant food. Add to compost heap or plant around your compost heap.

Mint
Don’t let it loose in your herb garden, it takes over, rather plant it in a pot, not too small. It should be repotted yearly, preferably in spring and watered daily. It needs sun / partial shade, moderate temperatures and rich, well drained alkaline soil. Keep different types of mint apart; prevent interbreeding by keeping the flowering heads cut. Peppermint and spearmint are the two most widely used mints.

Culinary uses: Sauces, jellies, vinegar, green peas, potatoes, garnish or use as a refreshing tea (avoid jewel mint or pennyroyal as they are bitter). Goes well with lamb dishes.

Medicinal uses: Pennyroyal should not be used by anyone suffering from kidney problems or by pregnant women, use other mints instead. Colds and congestion: Pour a litre of boiling water over a cup of fresh mint springs, cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale. Make a peppermint tea to help digestion, colds and influenza. Crush the leaves in oil and massage the affected areas for migraines, rheumatism and muscular aches. Use peppermint oil on bruises and scratches.

Cosmetic uses: As a hair conditioner for oily hair, and it can heal rough/dry hands and feet. Add to bathwater to easy tiredness and aches and pains.

Other: Pennyroyal in cupboards and beds as an insect repellent for ants and fleas. Bunches of mint in your kitchen will keep flies away. Peppermint can be rubbed into the skin to keep mozzies away (test on the wrist first).

Parsley
Parsley needs a sunny spot and rich, moist soil. Parts used: leaves and stalks. Don’t grow parsley close to tomatoes or roses to keep them free of insects.

Culinary uses: Soups, stews, sauces, garnishing.

Medicinal uses: Parsley tea treats kidney and bladder infections and can be used as a slimming aid. Don’t take more than one cup a day and don’t use for more than 5 days. Parsley juice can have a soothing effect on eye inflammation and conjunctivitis. It has oestrogenic factors: control menstruation and help menopause. Crushed, warmed leaves will treat insect bites.

 Other uses: Breath freshener after eating onions or garlic.

Herbs: Medicinal uses and more

Aloe Vera
Sunny spot with poor, well drained soil. Grows best in frost free areas. Aloe can be grown in a pot and only the herbs older than 2 years should be used for its properties.

Medicinal uses: Healing of wounds: burns, blisters, sunburn, heat rash. Aloe is known to stimulate the immune system, treats constipation, indigestion, eczema and fungal infections like ringworm and thrush. It should not be used by anyone suffering from piles.

 Cosmetic uses: Can be used in a moisturising cream, shampoos (for dry and itchy scalp) and in suntan lotion.

Chamomile
These pretty flowers makes for powerful medicine. Camomile is easy to grow and likes partial shade and light as well as well drained soil. Pick the flowers often to lengthen its spring life. A great companion for most plants.

Culinary uses: Add chamomile tea to granadilla juice for a relaxing drink, can be served as an after-dinner drink to ease indigestion.

Medicinal uses: Relieves stress, anxiety and digestive problems, improves immunity, treat inflammations of the skin and other skin disorders (surgical wounds), diarrhoea, insomnia, headaches and in babies: colic, vomiting, teething problems, restlessness.

Cosmetic uses: Can makes hair lighter and promotes hair growth. Use in a facial steam or a soak to soften hands. Add to your bath for a relaxing treat or to soothe sunburn.

Lemon Balm
Needs filtered shade and rich, moist soil. Dies down in winter and needs to be cut back hard to encourage new spring growth.

Culinary uses: Teas, soup, milk, custard, sauces, fruit salads, refreshing drinks, puddings, poultry, fish and cheese dishes. It compliments cucumber, celery and asparagus. Freeze in ice cubes to decorate drinks.

 Medicinal uses: Treats insomnia, herpes and digestive problems, cold sores, eczema, depression, anxiety, fear and improves concentration. Soothes insect bites.

 Cosmetic uses: Use in a facial steam (it apparently slows down the aging process!) and improves oily hair. Mix with aqueous cream to soothe aching feet.

 Other uses: Bunches of lemon balm will deter moths. Use green leaves to polish wooden furniture.

Southernwood
This herb needs full sun and grow in any soil although it prefers it dry. Parts to use: leaves and sprigs. If planted near fruit trees it will repel fruit flies and fruit moths.

Medicinal uses: It treats menstrual disorders and has antiseptic properties (rashes, scratches and grazes). Use as a bitter tonic: coughs, bronchitis, mucus, congestion. Eases pain and swelling.

Cosmetic: Use as a rinse for greasy hair, when combed through hair it can stimulate hair growth.

Other: Potent flea and moth repellent. Very effective in potpourris. Sprinkle dried, powdered Southernwood around ant holes to combat ants.

Feverfew
Easy to grow and needs full sun. Parts to use: Whole plant and leaves.

Medicinal uses: A powerful migraine preventive, treats digestive problems, relaxes spasms, reduces fever, has laxative effects, deals with menstrual problems and relieves period pain. Take Southernwood after childbirth to encourage the cleansing of the uterus.

Other uses: Mouth rinse, household disinfectant, moth / insect repellent.

Lavender
Plant lavender in containers (small batches) as it has the tendency of taking over. It likes a sunny spot and dry, well drained soil. Can be badly affected by frost; cover the lavender with grass.

Culinary uses: Flavour jams and vinegar. Great addition to marinades for game. Use crystallised flowers for garnish.

Medicinal uses: In oil as antiseptic for insect bites and stings. A lavender-stuffed pillow aids sleep and will calm a restless child. Lavender tea will treat headaches and relieve anxiety. Lavender water makes a great mouthwash.

Cosmetic: Treats acne. Use oil for massaging muscular aches and cellulite.

Other: Insect repellent: it will repel fish moths and draw butterflies. The leaves and flowers can be used in little netting sachets to keep your linen smelling fresh. Dried lavender leaves and flowers can be used for potpourri. Place on fires in winter for a lovely scent. Spread your washing over your lavender bushes for a lasting fresh smell.

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How to Make Caterpillar Repellent

How to Make Caterpillar Repellent

Theses nasty little buggers have eaten my plants to tatters – not even my succulents are safe!  I found this very easy recipe on eHow, take a look…

Caterpillars dislike the smell of orange. Public DomainButterflies are beautiful but long before they turn into those lighter than air nectar eaters, they are caterpillars. In order for those lovely butterflies to come around come spring time, they need to eat and more often than not it’s your vegetable garden they want to dine on. Just follow this quick easy guideline to make an organic caterpillar repellent that not only repels little squirmers but has a pleasant orange smell.

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of chopped orange peels
  • ¼ cup of boiling water
  • Cheesecloth
  • Mist sprayer

    How to Make Caterpillar Repellent

  1. Put the orange peels in a blender or food processor. Actually any citrus fruit will work because the caterpillar is repelled by the scent and it has the add advantage of having a pleasant aroma for humans
  2. Pour the boiling water over the Orange peels. The boiling water will help to extract the important citrus oils.
  3. Liquefy the entire mixture and allow it to sit overnight at room temperature. Cover the mixture to help control evaporation.
  4. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth and pour the liquid into a hand held mist sprayer.
  5. Fill the remaining space in the sprayer with warm water.
  6. Spray your plants. Start at the bottom and enjoy the scent.


Read more: How to Make Caterpillar Repellent | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2304735_make-caterpillar-repellent.html#ixzz1ChB1k5ww

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Our First Visit to Lukhanyiso School

We visited – our first visit to Lukhanysio School in Amalinda Forest, East London was an eye opener.  This is the school where we will be piloting our school veggie garden project.

We found a school in need of so much, yet the children smiled and played as if they didn’t have a care in the world.  We will put the final touches on the plan this week to hopeful break ground the second week in August.

After seeing the school, we not only want to help establish a veggie garden, we want to help to get the school into a better learning and teaching environment.

Items that were noted that needed attention:

  • broken windows
  • broken tables and chairs
  • serious lack of tables and chairs
  • shelving for library
  • security gates and bars of all classrooms
  • container needed for a computer lab for teachers and students
  • proper kitchen facilities
  • proper school hall / dining hall
  • proper grass and playground equipment
  • desks for teachers
  • proper staff room
  • high volume photocopiers and printer
  • fax machine
  • computers for teachers adminstration
  • water tanks to provide drinking water
  • signage for the school
  • paint for the buildings
  • educational materials for teachers and classrooms
  • plastic plates for lunches
  • metal spoons for lunches
  • plastic cups with handles for soups and drinking

We would also want to provide each child at the school with a hygiene bag consisting of:

  • 1 x face cloth
  • 1 x toothbrush
  • 1 x toothpaste
  • 1 x soap
  • 1 x draw string material bag with child’s name on

We want cleaning and hygiene to become a habit for these children to help prevent disease and spreading of colds and flu. 

If anyone would like to help us with donations of equipment or you want to get down and dirty with us – your are most welcome!

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Word of the Day – Alcohol Denat

Alcohol Denat – Produced by the fermentation of starch or other carbohydrate sources, this ingredient is used as a solvent for extracts and various ingredients. It has a refreshing, astringent effect that promotes clarity in skin care products, including aftershaves and perfumes. It also is used medicinally as a topical antiseptic, astringent and anti-bacterial.

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Weekly Water Saving Tips

Limit your household water consumption to a set amount per day – try 20 kilolitres a month of 600 litres a day


Indigenous grasses like buffalo and kweek need half the amount of water that kikuyu requires.

Fit a length of 19mm hose to your washing machine waste outlet and use the water on your garden.

Playing under a sprinkler or with a hose is fun for the kids in summer but it wastes up to 1 000 litres of water an hour.

Don’t cut your lawn shorter than 3cm to 4cm, so the blades of grass can shade each other, reducing water loss.

Water plants sparingly. Water plants only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.

Soaking saves. Soak pots and pans rather than let them sit under running water while you scrape them clean.

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Weekly Water Saving Tip – Grouping Plants

Try to group plants together according to their water needs.  This will help prevent over watering of plants and aid better growth.  Mulching is a wonderful way to help conserve water in your garden – an added bonus is the mulching deters weed growth!

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