Showing posts from May, 2016

How to Make Your Own Vinegars

How to Make Your Own Vinegars Homemade vinegar is one of the easiest things to make and you can do it for pennies, or less. You can use any type of fruit, fl ower, and herb combination you wish and what is really great, you can use leftover scraps after preparing fruits for canning, baking, et cetera. When I make peach, I use the peels and pits I have removed when I am canning. I use cores and peels from apples and pears when making butters or pies.  I have even made a lot of pineapple vinegar from rinds and cores.  Other types I have made are raisin (one of my very favorites for flavor and aroma), rose petal, rosemary-lavender (mostly to use as a hair wash/rinse), mint, citrus from orange and lemon peels, just to name a few.  You can be creative and come up with whatever combination sounds good to you. Here is how you do it: *Add your choice of fruit or flowers to a half gallon canning jar until full but not packed. When I am making flower and herb vinegars,

Why I Grow Mints

I have to chuckle a bit to myself when people say "You must grow mints in pots or they will take over the garden" like it is a bad thing. However, I do realize that in our modern gardening culture where people believe everything MUST be in perfect rows planted only among other plants of the same species, the conventional gardener has lost touch with how things actually grow in nature. In fact, it is a result of growing gardens in this modern way that has created the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. When plants are allowed to grow the way they would in nature, they actually benefit each other through feeding proper nutrients into the soil that the other plants need and deterring, rather than drawing in, the kind of pests that can annihilate whole crops. Besides, gardens grown the "permaculture" or "companion planting" way, in my opinion, are so much more lovely than those grown in perfect rows of all the same plants. Now

How to Make Your Own Fire Starters

Though I line dry my laundry year round, there are those times I need to use the dryer so when I do, I save up all the dryer lint into a zip lock bag. When I get enough, I pack the sections of an egg carton with the lint. I then take old broken candles or those cheap ones that do not burn right (I am sure you know the kind I mean) that I have saved up, or those I have picked up from garage sales for ultra cheap, melt them down and pour them over the lint. Note: Every garage sale will have candles so do not pass them up when you see them! Once cooled, I separate each section and store in a basket for using with the wood stove and others I have placed in zip lock bags to take camping.    They are not pretty but they are cheap and effective.

Tips For the New Gardener

Create a gardening journal. You will find this to be invaluable in the following years. In this journal, draw a map each year of what you planted and where. Keep track in weekly or even daily notes of exactly what day you started each item from seed and your method of doing so, of when you transplanted them (or store bought starts) into the ground or bigger pots, if you planted outdoors or in a greenhouse. Also keep track of when you see your seedlings first pop up and of any troubles you have along the way (leggy plants, birds pulling up the new shoots, slugs, et cetera). It is a good idea when you are a new gardener to plant seeds at different times through the season and in different areas of your property to find out what time works best for your area. You will also find some plants, though many will tell you "full sun", may like mostly shade better and vice-versa. Example: I have a rhubarb plant that does NOT like full sun at all and actually thrives b