Monday, April 2, 2018

Natural pain relievers: using common herbs and spices

Unfortunately living on a farm in the woods can be quite painful! There's a lot of manual labor and I often end up with aches and pains, especially when I have to chop wood or shovel snow in the winter. Ugh! Luckily I have a bunch of herbal remedies to turn to help alleviate pain. 

However, there does come a time...often in the dead of winter...when I run out of last summer's dried medicinal herbs from the garden. At that point I often turn to the herbs and spices in my kitchen cabinet instead of OTC or prescription remedies for natural pain relief. 

common herbs and spices in jars for use in natural pain relief
I know I'm not the only one who prefers to use natural remedies. A number of pain sufferers are turning to a more natural approach by using the methods of the past to treat the ailments of the present...and some of these herbs have been used for centuries!

Many common spices like cloves or ginger have been used for years to alleviate pain. Others like capsaicin are available widely as pain relievers right now. Here's the list of 7 common herbs and spices that I use for pain relief that should all be available in your grocery store (if you don't already have them in your spice rack!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Growing 4 O'clock flowers

Have you ever heard of 4 o'clock flowers? A few years back I was struggling with growing moonflowers and decided to try growing 4 o'clocks instead. They grew perfectly and my love affair with the marbled, multi colored flowers was born!

The 4 O'clock flower, Mirabilis jalapa earned its name because the flowers open around late afternoon each day, and the blooms close and die come morning. Also called Marvel of Peru, these plants were originally cultivated by the Aztecs for medicinal and ornamental uses. 

Growing 4 O'clock, Marvel Of Peru flowers in your garden

One of the most unique aspects of this plant, is that different colored flowers can grow on the same plant! Flowers can be solid colored or have a combination of two colors in various patterns. The plant can also change colors as it matures. You could plant a yellow flowered Marvel of Peru and months later it can start blooming pink.

While it's often assumed the flowers of the 4 O'clock open in response to daylight, they actually open in response to the daily drop in temperature that happens around 4pm each day.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Remove cat urine smell permanently

We currently have one rescue kitten left at our house and the Bengal is not very happy about it! First she peed in the kittens bed. Then she 'marked' the cardboard box the kitten had been playing in. Finally she graduated to spraying anywhere she could smell the kitten. I absolutely can't stand the smell of cat urine so I did my best to clean up all these messes. I literally tried everything to get rid of the cat odor in my house.

I first started cleaning it up with the rug scrubber filled with pet stain & odor remover. That wasn't strong enough so I bought enzymatic pet odor sprays from the pet store. I also tried white vinegar and I tried essential oils. No matter what I used, it only removed the cat pee smell for a few days and then I could smell the cat pee again. I spent way too much money on this stuff! I was completely convinced that nothing but the strongest, most potent, specially made formulas would work. 

I was wrong. 
homemade cat odor remover

I soon found out, I had the solution in my cabinet the whole time....and it wasn't chemical laden crap from the pet store! 

Peroxide, baking soda and dish soap. Sound familiar? These are the 3 ingredients in my Best Skunk Spray Remover EVER! recipe. The proportions are a little different, but it works just as well to remove cat urine smell as it does for skunk spray! It's a lot more natural then all the artificial chemicals I was spraying in my house, plus it works better than all the other sprays and cleaners I had bought!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

13 uses for peroxide in the garden

Hydrogen peroxide has long been a bathroom staple, known for its cleansing and disinfecting properties. Those same  properties though, are the reason why peroxide has so many amazing uses in the garden. Not only can hydrogen peroxide be used to clean and disinfect tools, but it can also destroy fungus and even pests like aphids.

Hydrogen peroxide is very similar to water except it has one more oxygen atom. So while the H20 we drink has 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen, hydrogen peroxide is H2O2 which is 2 hydrogen 2 peroxide. (I promise this ends the science lesson for today!) When you add that extra oxygen atom to the plant, it can do a lot of really great things....and one horrible one!

peroxide uses in the garden

Hydrogen peroxide comes in various concentrations but the most common one is 3%. That's the one in the brown bottle at the grocery or drug store. It'll say on the back  of the bottle though, so flip it around just to make sure. 3% hydrogen peroxide is the strength I use, and I wanted to point this out because that is what I have experimented with and when I mention how I mix the peroxide to use it, it's with the 3% strength. If you happen to have a different strength, then you'll have to adjust for the difference or the solution will be too strong and can cause problems.

How to use peroxide in the garden

1) Faster seed germination: soaking seeds in a solution of 1 tsp of 3% hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup of water for about 30 minutes before planting can help the seed coating to soften and germinate faster. Rinse before planting.

2) Sanitizing seeds: Soaking seeds before planting also destroys any bacteria that might be on the seed surface. Especially helpful if you received seeds through an exchange or are at all unsure what kind of conditions they came from. Rinse the seeds well before planting.

3) Mold and mildew: By applying the hydrogen peroxide solution to soils with bacteria, mold or spraying on powdery mildew it can combat these common garden ailments. When dealing with a particularly stubborn case I had to mix it twice as strong, but it worked without harming the plants. Reapply after rain.