Author Archives: Jennifer Featherstone
How To Make An All Purpose Organic Pesticide From 3 Vegetables –
This instructable will show how I made a cheap, all-purpose organic pesticide for my herb & vegetable garden. It can be used on a variety of insects that live in the dirt or on the plants including worms, mites and other parasites.
This entire pesticide will eventually break down and be reduced to nothing, so it is OK to eat any herbs or vegetables that are growing. This is mainly intended for indoor use, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work outdoors as well.
A Florida couple who had cultivated a small garden for nearly two decades at their Miami Shores home was given an ultimatum earlier this year by the city’s zoning code enforcement officer: Dig up your garden or pay $50 a day to the city for violating a new ordinance.
After spending months attempting to obtain an exemption from the city that would have allowed them to continue tending a modest plot of vegetables at their home (just as they’d done for the past 17 years), Tom Carroll and his wife, Hermine Ricketts, dug up their garden.
Miami Shores had instituted a new zoning ordinance in May outlawing vegetables (but not, as watchdog.org notes, fruit, trees or plastic flamingoes) in the front yards of local homes.
That measure was followed by a visit to the couple’s home courtesy of the zoning department, which told the homeowners they would have to comply or pay a never-ending fine.
After Carroll and Ricketts capitulated, the Institute for Justice — a civil liberties nonprofit organization staffed by lawyers — stepped in, filing a lawsuit that seeks to have the discriminatory ordinance declared unConstitutional. The organization alleges the code infringes on the couple’s privacy, and that the ordinance exemplifies a growing nationwide trend that pits government against small-scale food growers.
“For 17 years, Hermine Ricketts and her husband Tom Carroll used their front yard to grow food for their own personal consumption,” IJ said in announcing the lawsuit. “And for 17 years, nobody had a problem with it . . . until now.”
Epsom salts have been used by many different cultures for hundreds of years. They have a number of different beneficial properties and are used in gardening, household cleaning and detoxifying the body. These salts are very inexpensive and can be purchased at bulk discounts in garden centers nearly everywhere. Using Epsom salt baths is an advanced detoxification strategy that has remarkable health benefits.
Epsom salts are named for a bitter saline spring located at Epsom in Surrey, England. Epsom is different than traditional salts in that it is actually a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. These minerals have very powerful health benefits that can enhance the detoxification capabilities of the body.
How an Epsom salt bath works: http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/benefits-of-epsom-salt-baths.html#ixzz2lKbN892w
How to make a “FOUR BLOCK” Rocket Stove! Easy DIY. Four concrete blocks is all it takes to make it!. Cost $5.16. The video shows you how to put it together. The stove funnels all its heat up under the bottom of the pan. It uses very little fuel: fueled by small sticks, twigs and leaves. Cooks great. wind and rain resistant.
Making your own mint oil at home is possible using this simple method. I have tried several methods and this one is the simplest.
- Buy high proof vodka or alcohol made for drinking only.
- Pick fresh mint and wash the leaves well.
- Remove any bruised or dark leaves. You may leave the stems attached.
- Place the herbs in a sealable fruit jar packed as tightly as you wish.
- Pour the alcohol over the herbs, and place in a warm area for several weeks.
- Strain off the liquid
- Freeze. The oil will freeze, and separate from the vodka. The lower phase is the oil and the upper is Vodka. You can remove it at this time, and put it in another container, preferably a dark glass container. Keep refrigerated.
Here is another way to extract oils:
A well-planned butterfly garden becomes a small but representative sample of the surrounding habitat and as such provides a safe haven for butterflies and other wildlife to gather, seek shelter, acquire food and water, and reproduce.
- Major Components of a Successful Butterfly Garden
- Garden Design
- Garden Maintenance
- Benefits of Butterfly Gardening
- Herbs for Butterflies
- Butterflies of North Central Florida & Their Host Plants
- Adult nectar sources: attract and nourish adult butterflies.
- Larval host plants: attract ovipositing female butterflies, serve as a food source for developing larvae.
- Shelter: vegetation that provides protection from temperature extremes, storms/rain, and predators as well as locations for roosting/sleeping.
- Water source with fountain: allows for easy and consistent access to water for drinking and thermoregulation.
- Provide a combination of adult nectar sources and larval host plants: attracts maximum variety of butterfly species; encourages butterflies to remain in your yard, reproduce, and build populations instead of just passing through; allows gardener to appreciate all life stages.
- Incorporate native plants into the landscape whenever possible: most larval host plants are natives. They’re adapted to the region, will produce a small but representative extension of the natural ecosystem, and can attract other wildlife.
- Create horizontal and vertical heterogeneity: choosing plants that have different heights and growth habits creates numerous microclimates which in turn appeal to a greater diversity of butterfly species; provides shelter; creates levels/strata of feeding opportunities.
- Aim for a consistent host plant and floral venue throughout the growing season: choose plants that have different blooming times; ensures that garden remains attractive and productive as long as possible; provides food for butterflies during periods of low natural availability.
- Provide a number of different flower colors: different butterfly species are attracted to different flower colors so include yellow, orange, white, and blue flowers as well as reds, pinks, and purples.
- Provide a mix of flower shapes: the feeding behavior and proboscis length of a butterfly dictate which flowers will be visited: long-tubed flowers, for example are typically more accessible to species with long probosces whereas many composites (daisy-like flowers) provide a feeding platform and easy nectar accessibility for smaller species.
- Plant in shade as well as full sun: appeals to more butterfly species; many forest species prefer shadier locations.
- Plant in groupings: are aesthetically pleasing; provide masses of color; are more apparent in landscape; allow larvae to locate additional food resources in event of shortage.
- Choose appropriate plants for each location: understand each plan’s basic water, light, and soil requirements so it will perform and grow to its maximum potential.
- Give new plants a good start: water and mulch new plantings to insure firm establishment.
- Fertilize: a regular fertilizing regiment will produce maximum growth and flower production.
- Avoid pesticide application when possible: all butterfly life history stages are very sensitive to pesticides; avoid Bacillus thuringiensis; when pest problem arises treat it locally; use beneficial insects/natural enemies.
- Learn to identify the butterfly species in your garden: provides greater enjoyment; allows for gardener to “plant” for particular local species.
- Attract wildlife: bring butterflies and other wildlife into your garden for purposes of enjoyment, observation, study, and photography.
- Ecosystem/habitat conservation: a well-planned butterfly garden becomes a small, but representative sample of the surrounding habitat and as such provides a safe haven for butterflies and other wildlife to gather, seek shelter, acquire food and water, reproduce and build populations; do not underestimate the importance of even a small garden.
- Practical benefits:
- Use of native plants: hardy and drought-tolerant, disease/pest resistant, adapted to region so perform better under local conditions.
- Food for natural enemies: healthy butterfly populations attract and sustain healthy populations of beneficial insects/organisms as well as provide food for birds, lizards, mammals, etc. which in turn help control garden pests; most butterfly nectar sources also attract beneficial insects.
- Plant diversity: less susceptible to pests/individual plants less apparent in landscape; large number of microclimates provide home/shelter for other insects including beneficials.
- Scientific: keeping detailed logs on the butterfly species encountered, times, abundance can provide important and useful information on butterfly population numbers nationwide.
- Therapeutic: provide soothing retreat from every day life
- Herbs: most herbs are also excellent butterfly attractants; useful culinary plants and provide wonderful aromatherapy.
We have chosen to remove fluoride from our family diet. One of the many ways we accomplish this is by making our own toothpaste. You can buy fluoride free toothpaste, but I really like the homemade version much better.
I got my recipe from here if you would like to see the cost breakdowns and step by step instructions.
Its a pretty simple recipe and if you like to experiment with flavors and scents you can try this: Top 6 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Basic Aromatherapy Sampler Essential Oil Gift Set- 6/10 ml (Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, Tea Tree)
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 tsp fine sea salt (optional – direct application of the minerals in sea salt is great for teeth, but can be left out if the taste is too salty)
- 1 – 2 tsp peppermint extract or 10-15 drops peppermint essential oil (or add your favorite flavor – spearmint, orange, etc.)
- filtered water (add to desired consistency)
(Cost Breakdown from DIY Natural) Here is the breakdown in cost analysis for 5.33 oz of homemade toothpaste (same amount as one tube of our old toothpaste):
- baking soda @ 16 oz = $1.00 | 2/3 cup is 5.33 oz which = $0.33
- fine sea salt @ 22 oz = $2.00 | 1 tsp is .17 oz which = $0.02
- peppermint extract @ 1 oz = $3.00 | 2 tsp is .33 oz which = $1.04 | Better yet, use peppermint essential oil @ 1 oz = $13.00 | 15 drops = $0.28!
(**Note** you can use as much or as little peppermint or other flavor as you wish. Add the flavoring little by little until you reach an amount you enjoy.)
Prior to making our own, we were using Tom’s of Maine Spearmint Gel® costing an average of $5.00 for a 5.2 oz tube. Based on the calculations above the same amount of this homemade toothpaste will cost between $0.63 and $1.39 for 5.33 oz, depending on how much flavoring is used.
The cost savings will be between $4.37 – $3.61 per tube!
Aside from cost, there are many other benefits of homemade products. By making this toothpaste not only are we cutting costs by upwards of 300%, we also know the exact ingredients and count time spent as fun, educational, and useful for all involved!
1. All aBuzz: Growing mint will keep your yard and garden buzzing with beneficial insects. Mint is rich in nectar and pollen, and its small flower clusters keep these sweet treats easily accessible for helpful bugs such as honeybees and hoverflies.
2. Bug Off: While it attracts “good bugs,” mint also deters “bad bugs.” Repel ants and flies by growing pennyroyal mint right outside your door, or spray diluted peppermint essential oil (10 parts water to one part oil) around doorways and windows.
3. Flea Free: Keep pets free of bothersome fleas with this homemade repellent: Bundle 2 parts fresh spearmint, 1 part fresh thyme and 1 part fresh wormwood, and tuck it inside a small pillow. Place the pillow near your pet’s bed or another favorite resting place.
4. Room Refresher: Keep your home smelling fresh by adding a few drops of mint essential oil to your favorite homemade or unscented store-bought cleaner. Try this simple floor cleaning solution, good for wood, concrete or tile floors: Dilute a cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water and add 3 to 5 drops of mint essential oil.
5. Beverage Booster: Mint is refreshing in iced beverages. Add sprigs of fresh mint to a pitcher of water or plain iced tea, let it sit for 30 minutes or more, and serve it over ice. If you enjoy cocktails, mix fresh mint into homemade juleps or mojitos.
6. Veggie Revamp: Enjoy an interesting twist on a vegetable medley by adding fresh or dried chopped mint to peas, green beans, carrots or cauliflower during their last two minutes of cooking.
7. Divine Desserts: Mix 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves into chocolate chip cookie dough and bake as usual for wonderfully minty treats.
8. Breath Saver: You don’t have to rely on mint gum or candies to freshen your breath. A sprig of your favorite fresh mint variety will get rid of bad breath just as well. Simply pluck and chew.
9. Tummy Tamer: Peppermint tea is an excellent way to ease an upset stomach. Peppermint helps calm the digestive tract and alleviate indigestion, intestinal gas and abdominal cramping.
10. Hiccup Help: Try this homemade concoction to help soothe the diaphragm irritation that can cause hiccups: Pour a glass of lukewarm water, then add a couple squeezes of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a few mint leaves.
11. Steam Clean: A peppermint steam can help clear sinuses and congestion and fight infection. Bring a pot of water to boil, turn off the heat, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil and lean over the pot, draping a towel over your head. Breathe in the minty steam. Mint steams also act as a cleansing and stimulating facial.
12. Nausea Nix: Peppermint essential oil can boost your mood and reduce feelings of nausea. Simply add a couple drops to a clean handkerchief and breathe in.
13. Headache Healer: Apply a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your temple to relieve migraines, as compounds in peppermint oil are known to calm muscle spasms. You can also make a simple compress to get rid of tension headaches: Pour 3 cups hot water over 3 peppermint tea bags. Steep, covered for 5 to 7 minutes; remove tea bags and add ice. To use, dip wash cloth into cold tea and apply to forehead.
14. Fresh Feet: Mint soothes aching feet thanks to the pain-relieving properties in menthol, a compound in mint. Menthol also triggers a cooling sensation, perfect for foot scrubs. Try this one: Combine 1 cup sea salt, 1⁄3 cup olive oil and 6 drops peppermint essential oil. Scrub feet and rinse.
15. Sunburn Soother: Menthol cools and refreshes the skin, making mint a handy herb to keep around in the summer. Use it to ease sunburn pain by making a strong peppermint tea and refrigerating the mixture for several hours. To use, gently apply to the burned area with cotton pads.
I can’t allow my chickens walk around my property because of various HOA rules. Therefore I keep them confined in a large area.
This limits their ability to graze and find plants to eat, which can become a problem for a home flock. There is a simple way to combat this problem though.
To keep them with fresh grasses to peck at I keep 5 of these tubs going with about a inch soil planted with various grains good for hens. They love it.
When I bring a new one in every other day to their area they act like they won the lotto!
Alfalfa, clover, and flax seeds are all great for sprouting for your chickens. I do use this mix to increase Omega-3s.
Another mix I use includes:
- Adzuki beans are often sprouted for only one day, mixed with other sprouts and called a “Crispy Mix” or “Crunchy Mix.” They are commonly used throughout Asia in a variety of ways. Nutritional info: Vitamins A, B, C and E High in Calcium, Iron, Niacin All Essential Amino Acids except Tryptophan Protein: 25% Health Benefits: A great source of magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, fiber, manganese and B Vitamins, such as niacin, thiamin and
riboflavin, adzuki beans contribute to the overall health of the body. The beans build up a strong metabolism that enables the body to quickly and efficiently metabolize the food eaten. They are low in fat and high in protein. Food to Live ADZUKI BEAN SPROUTING SEEDS – 4 lbs – Organic (To Grow Sprouts or for Cooking)
- Organic Mung beans are the cousin to the Adzuki Bean. Organic Mung Beans Sprouts are rich in protein as well as vitamin A, the vitamin B complex, vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as various minerals and enzymes. Sprouts from Organic Mung beans are Said often to protect against cancer, fatigue and can assist in building the immune system. Organic Sprouting Seeds Mung Bean 5 Pounds – Todd’s Seeds
- Organic Hard Red Wheat is a Good source of dietary fiber, manganese and selenium. It is a full body whole wheat grain. Certified Organic Hard Red Wheat- 10 Lbs- For Growing Wheatgrass to Juice, Sprouting Seed, Grinding to Make Flour & Bread, Food Storage & MoreKeep your birds away from the newly seeded area or they will eat the seed before it hOrganic Mung beans are the cousin to the Adzuki Bean.as a chance to germinate. When the mix is 2-5″ tall turn the chickens loose on the planted area until they have eaten the grasses about half way down.
Keep your hens away from the newly seeded area or they will eat the seed before it has a chance to germinate. If you dont want to use tubs, you can screen a area in and remove the fencing when they are free to devour.
When the mix is 2-5″ tall turn the chickens loose on the planted area until they have eaten the grasses about half way down.
Some other mixes you may want to try:
Tetrelite intermediate ryegrass, Tetraploid perennial ryegrass, Common Flax, Buckwheat, Tetraploid annual ryegrass, Winter ryegrain, Red clover, Strawberry clover, Alfalfa, Ladino clover, Broadleaf Trefoil.
The main reason people sprout their seeds and grains is to make the nutrients in them more available for digestion. Seeds and grains come with a “preservation system” that is designed to protect their stored proteins, fats and minerals over an extended period of time until conditions are right for germination and growth. This “preservation system” consists of items that are “antinutrients” when ingested.
The antinutrients found in grains and seeds include:
Sprouting or fermenting seeds and grains reduces or eliminates the antinutrient properties inherent in grains and increases bioavailability of many nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, fiber, and essential amino acids such as lysine. As the seeds sprout, enzymes that are needed to properly digest the proteins in the grains are produced making them available for our use. (Read more)
1) Choose the seeds you wish to use.
2) Soak seeds overnight in a bowl.
3) Drain water and get seeds ready for planting.
4) Plant seeds in your choice of location.
Here are some pictures of my results: