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 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. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

How to pre-germinate seeds

It's that frustrating time of year for gardeners. It's almost time to get started with the yearly planting...but not quite! Luckily there are a few seeds I can start indoors and that's exactly what I'm doing now. I like to pre-germinate many of my seeds before planting. While you should start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before you plant on transplanting them to the garden, I'm impatient (and don't mind if my house resembles a jungle for a month or two!)

pre-sprouting seeds

Pre-germinating seeds is a good idea especially if you're using older seeds. As seeds age they lose their viability. Many gardeners compensate for this by sowing extra seeds which then requires thinning. Thinning often causes seedling loss, since extra seedlings need removed and trying to untangle their delicate roots often leads to damage in one or both seedlings. Many gardeners just snip off the extra seedling for this reason, instead of trying to save it. 

This break my little garden loving heart! I prefer to only plant what I can actually grow, and by pre-sprouting seeds I know within a few days how many seedlings I have of each variety and can then pre-germinate more seeds if needed. If I sow the seeds directly into potting soil I might need to wait a week or more till seedlings emerge to see how many are going to grow....and I'm impatient, remember? 😉

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The years best homesteading posts

2017 was a really fun year for me, both on the blog and in the garden. I wrote a lot more and grew a bunch of new and interesting plants in the garden. I spent the last 2 weeks going over old posts and tracking which ones were read and shared the most over the year. I'm always surprised to see what did and didn't make the top 10.

Interestingly enough, only 3 of the most read posts last year were actually written last year. Guess I need to step up my game for this year! 😉 The other interesting thing was that I had been under the impression that most people came to this blog to read about gardening (not actually sure where I got that idea now that I think about it!) Only half of last years top posts were actually garden related. 


I'll definitely be keeping that in mind when deciding what to write about this year! So without any more chit-chat...here's my top 10 posts of last year!

8 Reasons why plants love cinnamon: This has been my most read post every year since it was written in 2014! I have found 8 different ways to use cinnamon in the garden. From fungus prevention to rooting hormone, every possible way to use cinnamon in gardening is in this post.

Feed your garden: Coffee grounds, eggshells & wood ash: How to use 3 things you normally throw away, to fertilize your garden and amend the soil instead. 

8 Tips to keep rabbits out of your garden: There's nothing worse than a rabbit that takes a bite out of all your homegrown produce! Here's how I get rid of rabbits in the garden.

How I got rid of toenail fungus quickly & naturally: Foot fungus can be found anywhere barefoot humans dwell. Pools, beaches, gyms....when I came down with a fungus under my toenail, I found the most effective treatment was a natural one.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Easy sew sinus headache pillow

I 'may have' mentioned a time or two that I get headaches. I have tried lots of different methods to get rid of them and it seems like anything that works, doesn't work all the time. I have had great results using essential oils for headaches and often take turmeric or drink basil tea to help alleviate the pain. The headaches I had last week though were a real doozy!

During this last bout of headaches, I reasoned that due to an accompanying stuffy nose they were most likely sinus headaches. Thankfully I have a lavender eye mask. It's a silk pillow filled with flaxseed and lavender. Simply heat it up in the microwave and lay across the eye/forehead area for about 10 minutes. Instant relief! Except, as soon as the headache started to subside I needed to warm it back up. Not a big deal during the day, but when awakened by head pain at night I didn't want to run back and forth to the kitchen a bunch of times. I wanted to heat it once, place it on my head and fall back to sleep as it worked. 

Lavender eye mask | sew | hand warmers

Clearly I needed a different eye mask. I remembered the hand warmers I made a few years back and decided to use them instead. Next time the headache hit, I warmed them up and popped them on my eyes. The heat lasted at least twice as long! I'm not sure if it was the rice filling, or the cotton fabric or maybe the combination of the two, but this worked much better! I just needed to make one in the right shape and add some lavender for it's amazing aromatherapy qualities!