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Baking Soda and Vinegar: In the Home and Garden


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Baking Soda and Vinegar: In the Home and Garden

Like many of us, I like to keep a clean house. Cleaning my kitchen and bathroom sinks, counter tops and vanities once presented a challenge. How so? I refuse to use harsh chemicals, mainly because of my children's allergies and asthma. I also prefer an environmentally-friendly cleaning solution. I've found all this and more, by cleaning with a homemade paste I make from baking soda and vinegar. This all-natural cleaning solution removes most of my everyday stains and grime with ease. I just scour the surface with a scrubby-type sponge and it's a breeze. In addition to kitchen and bathroom surfaces, I use baking soda and vinegar cleaning paste on my parrot's cage. There are no harsh chemicals or fumes, so it's also perfect for cleaning the toddler's room. Try the same solution diluted with a bit of water to kill your garden weeds. You'll be amazed!

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Crop Rotation For Flowers

Crop rotation is an important part of garden plotting. Crop rotation is the yearly changing of where plants are planted to relieve various issues when growing. This is very important for vegetables, because if you do not rotate the crops that are in your garden, the soil will lose all of its nourishment and not allow for good growth.

Not only is this true for vegetables, it is also true of your annual flower plants!

Some plants, such as tulips, have a tendency to suck nitrogen out of the soil. Nitrogen is used by most plants to help with growth and function, so without it in the soil your flowers will not grow as well and might be more subject to disease and pests. By planting something like chamomile, which is a nitrogen fixing flower, the year after you plant tulips, it will rejuvenate the soil and make the following years flowers brighter, bolder and healthier than ever.

Another benefit of crop rotation with flowers is that it doesn't allow pests to set in.

Most pests have a decent memory. They are able to pass on where the best tasting plants are down to the offspring. This means that often if your flowers are attacked one year, they are likely to be attacked more severely the following year. By switching out where certain flowers are planted every year, you can avoid the frustration of having pests attack your flowers every year. This will also help to keep your flowers pristine and beautiful.

Another benefit of rotation is that it will help with weed control.

Plants with heavier foliage (such as hostas) will actually help to reduce the level of weeds in your garden. This is due to the fact that the foliage actually shields the soil underneath from the sun light, which helps to prevent the weeds that have sprouted from getting sunlight and continuing to grow. By growing plants with heavy foliage every few years, you will effectively kill off any latent sprouts. This will not only keep your flower beds clear of weeds this year, but by killing off the sprouts this year you make sure they are unable to reproduce for next year. It will save you some weeding time too!

So to sum up these tips, here is a suggestion for setting up a 3 flower bed system. In year 1, plant a bed of hostas, a bed of tulips, and a bed of chamomile. In year 2, plant the tulips in the hosta bed, the chamomile in the tulip bed, and the hostas in the chamomile bed. In the third year rotate it again, so that the beds have chamomile, hostas, and then tulips. This will create a good cycle that will keep your plants healthy and happy. When you invest in high quality flower bulbs, you want them to live as long as possible, so keep tips like this in mind!