11 June 2014

Bug Protection For Newly Sprouted Seedlings

Today I want to show you what I came up with for keeping the bugs -- whatever they may be; I haven't actually caught them at it -- from chewing up newly emerging seedlings.  I had this trouble last year, and never did get any cucumber plants to grow because of it.  I think I planted four different times with the same results, no cucumber plants!  The thing is, once the plant gets past that first critical stage of getting the second to third set of true leaves the bugs usually leave them alone for some reason, and if there are a few bites taken out the plant seems to survive and continue to grow.  I play it safe and leave these contraptions on until the plant grows enough to reach the opening at the top. 

What You Will Need:

  • Institution-size food cans.  In our area the local pizza parlor leaves them at their back door and are free for the taking
  • Milk jugs, one gallon size
  • Pair of old scissors  (I think the plastic would ruin a good pair, but use your own judgement)
What You Will Do:

Remove the bottom of the can.  The top will already have been removed from whoever you got it from, of course, and it will most likely be clean.  You end up with a short fat tube, open on both ends.  Place this tube around your newly planted seed, and push it down into the soil an inch or two. .  OR plant the seed let it sprout, then plan on covering it.  Either way works.

Next take a milk jug and poke holes in it around the top and sides (a screwdriver heated over the flame on your kitchen stove works great). Remove the bottom of the milk jug so you are left with the top, straight sides, and no bottom. Now, using those old scissors again, cut a slit at two or more of the corners of the jug so it will fit over the outside of the can.  It needs to be snug enough so the wind or watering will not knock it off, so don't cut too deep at first go.  Take your time and keep checking the fit until you get it just right.

Do NOT leave the cap on. You want to give your seedlings protection, but they will need good air flow, too. If you leave the cap on you will cook your little plants when they sprout.  Take the milk jug portion back off and water your newly planted seed thoroughly.  Check on it every few days to make sure it doesn't dry out. 

Leave this contraption on your plants until the seed has sprouted and grown large enough that the can/jug combo becomes too small, and you see the plant will soon be growing out of the top. By the time the plants are filling up your can/jug they should be past that tasty stage the bugs like so well and they can be removed. 

It isn't pretty, but it works very well. 

The plant on the right grew up in the can/jug contraption.  You will need to look closely, but there's a plant on the left that was on its own.  Quite a difference!!!   Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs.

04 June 2014

Laundry Soap II

Hello there!  I know I have posted a recipe for laundry detergent, and it was good.  Saved money and did the job.  BUT..... to me it was kind of labor intensive and I only made it once.  Being a woman I can change my mind, right?  Well, I am changing my mind.  This recipe is SO much easier and I think does the job just as well.  And I have to tell you I LOVE THE SMELL OF MY CLOTHES after using this stuff.  There is NO laundry soap smell, just wonderful, clean, fresh smelling fabric.  I didn't even want to use fabric softener (I have a recipe for that I will share at a later time) on subsequent loads.  I actually stood by my air dried sheets and comforter breathing in the freshness.  I kid you not. To any of you who do not suffer from allergies and/or sinus problems this may not be a big deal to you, but it's huge to me.  I swear I have actually been sleeping better!

So here's the recipe:

3 Tablespoons Borax
3 Tablespoons Washing Soda (washing soda, not baking soda)
2 Tablespoons Dawn Ultra Dish Detergent

Add ingredients to a 1 gallon jug.  Pour in 4 cups of very hot water and swish around to mix.  Once it is mixed up, top off the jug with cold water.  Tighten the cap and shake it up.  How easy is that?  No grating, no cooking, no mess.  I love it!

Now keep in mind this stuff is THIN, it is not going to be like the store bought laundry soap. It's going to be like water.  And you most likely will need to use 1 cup of it, but hey, at 20 CENTS a GALLON to make, who cares. 

Use it like you would store bought:  If you pretreat stains, pretreat, if you need to use a laundry booster for a really dirty load, use a laundry booster with this, if you use Oxiclean (that's another recipe coming up), use Oxiclean with this. I had one blouse that I had to pretreat before washing and the stain came right out.  Most of our clothing isn't dirty, it's been worn and is mildly smelly or just needs freshening.  If I don't have to, I don't want to use anything with this laundry soap ---- I don't want to ruin that fresh, clean, sans artificial scent smell! 

I put my ingredients in empty coffee containers because once the weather warms up and the swamp cooler comes on I don't want the stuff to take up moisture and get hard.  I also cut a small square with the product name from the chipboard containers the Borax and Washing Soda came in to add to the INSIDE of the container.  Believe me, you won't be sorry you have done this.  If you are anything like me and open both containers at once to begin mixing, you may not remember which is which.  Not that it would make any difference in this recipe because you use the same amount of each, but laundry soap won't be the only thing you use this stuff for.... stay tuned.   So don't say I didn't warn ya!  *SMILE*

The milk jug is only temporary; I intend to save an old laundry detergent container to use for mixing and storing.  But wait..... that means I have to finish using it up.  Well, considering how frugal I am, I simply can't throw it out, and I do need the jug.  Shoot.  I will just have to endure until I can use my good stuff exclusively.  :-)  
Thank you so much for stopping by Two Dogs.  Hope you enjoy the rest of your week. 
           Hugs, Shawna