Friday, July 10, 2009

10 uses for orange peels

10 Unique Uses for Orange Peel

Orange is a delicious fruit. Not only the inner part of orange (fruit) but also the outer part (peel) is useful in many ways. Here are the ten unique uses for orange peels.

As A Bathing Powder Dry some orange peels and make them as a powder. Use this powder
regularly for bathing to make your skin glow.

Mosquito Repellent Apply orange peels over your exposed skin on nights to repel the mosquitoes.

Get Rid of Ants Take few orange peels in a cup of warm water. Make it as puree in a blender. Pour this solution into the anthills to prevent ants.

As a Scent Boil orange peels on the stove with a few cloves to make your home filled with scent.
Keeps Brown Sugar Soft If you place a piece of orange peel in your bag of brown sugar the sugar will stay soft.

As Bath Oil Dried orange peels can be used as homemade bath oils. Orange peels can be used in dried flower arrangements.

Household Cleaner Limonene, a carbon-based compound that makes up around 95% of the oil found in orange peel is often used to give household cleaners a citrus smell.

For Kindling in Winter Dried orange peels can be used as kindling at fire places. The flammable oils found inside the peels enable them to burn much longer than paper.

Protects Leaves of Household Plants From Cats Rub the leaves of your house plants with orange peel once a month and put some orange peels on the surface of the soil in potted plants which prevents them destroyed from cats.

Make Delicious Oil You can make delicious homemade oil with orange peels. Place some orange peels and cranberries in olive oil and close it with a cork. You can observe a wonderful flavor to the oil after some weeks.

Orange peels can help us lower environmental pollution: Scientists are researching to make plastic from orange peel (orange peels have a carbon compound limonene) which is eco-friendly.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Seed Tape

It's difficult to space tiny seeds, such as carrots, in the garden. The best way to solve this problem is to make homemade seed tape. Here's how to do it:

1. Unroll a strip of toilet paper on a table (double ply works best), mist it with a sprayer, and place the seeds along the center of the strip. Be sure to space the seeds based on the seed packet's recommendation. Tip: Alternate carrot seeds with radish seeds because when the radishes sprout, they help to mark the row and break the ground.

2. Starting along the strip's long edge, fold a third of the paper over the seeds, then fold the other third over to cover the seeds completely. Lightly tamp the paper, misting it again to secure the seeds. Make as many of these strips as you need. Then carefully carry them to the garden.

3. Make shallow furrows in the prepared soil, lay the strips down, and cover them. In a jiffy, your small seeds will be planted and perfectly spaced.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sweet Mace or Mexican Mint (Tagetes lucida) Enjoy this late-blooming marigold in teas, drinks; a great flavoring for many dishes. This old Hispanic heirloom is hard to find nowadays, but is still a great garden plant that is easy to grow and quite flavorful.

The plus to this flower is that it repels pest.

Other uses have included treat-ment for colds, fevers, coughs, wounds, infections, rashes, and wasp and bee stings.

Marigolds are very easy to grow from seed. The seed is fairly large and easy to handle. It germinates quickly and the resulting seedlings are large and easy to identify. Transplanting marigolds grown from seed is a pleasant garden task, as the seedlings have well developed root systems, strong stems and tough leaves.

Marigold seed may also be sown directly in the flower garden. Wait until all risk of frost is past, sow the seed, cover lightly and water in well. Germination outside in the garden will be slower than in the seed flat, and expect a lower germination rate. The marigold seedlings may come in closer together than you wish. The seedlings may be transplanted to other areas of the garden

They are also the wedding flower in India.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

gladiodias a must grow flower

For the gardener with little time to spend in the yard, gladiolus are a colorful, easy care plant, perfect for borders and large containers. They make great cut flowers, too! Selecting a variety of glads and staggering their planting dates will produce a succession of height and bloom from spring through fall.

Most garden soils that will produce a good crop of vegetables or weeds
will also grow good glads with little or no added fertilizer. Glads prefer
good air circulation and full sunlight but will do reasonably well with a
little high shade in early morning or late afternoon. Choose an area
with good drainage. Glads don't like wet feet! Raised beds are an
ideal solution.
Plant only clean, plump gladiolus corms (also known as bulbs).
Here in the valley, foothills, and Bay Area, plant a few glad corms
every week or two, from late January through early April. That way,
there will always be a gladiolus in bloom throughout the warm weather months.
Plant gladiolus corms three to five inches deep and from four to six inches apart, with the tip side facing upwards.

Water regularly while they are growing or blooming, perhaps once a week.
Water twice a week during heat waves. Weed by shallow cultivation
and hand weeding. A three inch layer of mulch of bark, straw, leaves,
grass clippings, etc., between rows will discourage weeds and help conserve moisture.
To get the most enjoyment of glads as a cut flower indoors, cut off the flowering
stalk when the lowest buds begin to open. Be sure to keep at least four leaves
on the plant to allow the corm to renew itself for the following year.
At the end of the season, cut off the stem just below the lowest flower buds.
This keeps the energy from the leaves flowing towards the corm, not to seed production.

Thrips are one of the most damaging insects to glads, especially in the summer.
Look for silvery flecks on the foliage and silver or brown blemishes on the flowers
and buds. You may also see their black droppings on the leaves.
These tiny (less than 1/20th of an inch long) creatures scrape away the plant tissue,
suck the juice and lay their eggs inside. Control thrips with a blast of water from
the hose or insecticidal soap. Healthy plants can outgrow thrip damage.

Here, where the ground doesn't freeze in the winter, you may choose
not to dig up your corms. However, disease brought on by too much
rain and too cool of a soil, as well as eventual crowding, may reduce
the amount and quality of next year's bloom.
It is suggested that you dig and divide your corms every couple of years
in the fall, being sure to discard any damaged or diseased corms.
The plant should be separated from the corm as close to the corm
as possible, either by hand breaking or cutting with pruning shears.
Store any lifted corms in a cool, dry place, in single layers in a flat or
ventilated tray. Then, replant those corms the following February or March.

The Scoop On Poop

In the 1960's, when the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) secret gadget-makers invented a listening device for the Asian jungles, they disguised it so the enemy wouldn't be tempted to pick it up and examine it: The device looked like tiger droppings.The guise worked. Who would touch such a thing? The fist-sized transmitter detected troop movements along the trails in Vietnam.While most people would find tiger droppings offensive, there are millions of gardeners who look at look at manure as money in the bank. Many zoos, for example, are marketing giraffe even hippopotamus droppings. Can you guess what the best zoo doo is? (You'll find the answer at the end of this article).In the days when most families kept a milk cow and a flock of chickens, manure was a primary garden fertilizer. But with changes in food production practices and the advent of synthetic fertilizer in the 1930's, many gardeners stopped using manure. Today, organic gardeners have rediscovered the benefits of manure as a fertilizer, soil conditioner and

compost ingredient.
Where to find manure
Remember the story of the little boy who was digging through the pile of manure? "There has to be a pony in here somewhere," he told his father.
The hopeful lad probably lived on a farm, the best place for home gardeners to get manure. Or any place where domestic animals are raised, for that matter. Just listen for moos and clucking! Farm manure is often sold as bagged manure and is available at garden centers and hardware stores. Manures and composted plant materials add organic matter, which helps soil retain moisture and structure which prevents compaction, and helps prevent nutrients from leaching away. They also balance extremes in soil pH.
"The fairest thing in nature, a flower,still has its roots in earth and manure."—D.H. Lawrence, English novelist, poet (1885-1930)
Good poop, bad poop
What is good for the goose, is not always good for the gander. There are a few manures that should not be used, primarily those of meat eaters. According to Cornell University, "Homeowners should not use any manure from dogs, cats, or other meat-eating animals, since there is risk of parasites or disease organisms that can be transmitted to humans."
The most common sources of manure are horses, cattle, goats, sheep, rabbits and poultry. Below is a guide showing how manures measure up, nutrient-wise. While all animal manures are good sources of organic matter and nutrients, it's impossible to make a precise analysis, mostly because bedding materials vary so much. For example, manure with straw or sawdust will have a different nitrogen composition than pure manure. But it's useful to know whether the manure you're using is rich or poor in a particular nutrient such as nitrogen.
As you review the list, don't be misled by the N-P-K numbers that suggest manure is less powerful than chemicals. It is actually far better because it contains large amounts of organic matter, so it feeds and builds the soil while it nourishes the plants. This is one of the primary ways that organic fertilizers have a leg-up on chemical ones.
Still, many gardeners can't resist comparing the numerical amounts listed below with what they read on packages of synthetic fertilizers. Unfortunately, the values of manure and organic fertilizers in general, are often based on the relative amount of nitrogen (N), phosphoric acid (P) and potash (K) they contain. While these are important elements, "it is misleading to make a direct comparison between farm manures and chemical fertilizers on the basis of the relative amounts of N-P-K," says Jerry Minnich, author of Rodale's Guide to Composting.
Just like we need to eat to maintain our health, soil needs continual replenishment of its organic matter to decompose into humus. Humus helps create a rich, moisture-retaining soil and makes nutrients available to plants.( For more organic gardening tips, read the current issue of my UpBeet Gardener newsletter.)

How common manures measure up
Diary cow
1.1 .80 .50
.25 .15 .25
.70 .30 .60
.70 .30 .40
2.4 1.4 .60
.70.30 .90
Sources: Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, An Illustrated Guide toOrganic Gardening, by Sunset Publishing, and the Rodale Guide to Composting.
Note: Nutrient values of manures vary greatly, depending on the diet andage of the animals, and the nature and quantiy of bedding in the mix.
Chicken manurePoultry manure (chicken in particular) is the richest animal manure in N-P-K. Chicken manure is considered "hot" and must be composted before adding it to the garden. Otherwise, it will burn any plants it comes in contact with.Dairy (cow) manure"Dairy Manure may be the single most useful soil-builder around," says Ann Lovejoy, lifetime organic gardener and writer in Seattle, Washington. "Washed dairy manure from healthy cows is just about perfect for garden use; it can be used as a topdressing and for soil improvement," she adds. Dairy manure is preferable to steer manure, which has a higher salt and weed seed content. Though cow manure has low nutrient numbers, that's what makes ist safe to use in unlimited quantities.Horse manureHorse manure is about half as rich as chicken manure, but richer in nitrogen than cow manure. And, like chicken droppings, it's considered "hot". Horse manure often contains a lot of weed seeds, which means it's a good idea to compost it using a hot composting method.Steer manureSteer manure is one of the old standbys, but it's not the most beloved because it often contains unwanted salts and weed seeds.
Rabbit manureRabbit manure is even higher in nitrogen than some poultry manures and it also contains a large amount of phosphorus--important for flower and fruit formation. Sheep manureSheep manure is another "hot" manure. It is somewhat dry and very rich. Manure from sheep fed hay and grain will be more potent than manure from animals that live on pasture.
How to use manure

No matter what kind of manure you use, use it as a soil amendment, not a mulch. In other words, don't put raw manure directly on garden soils. Raw manure generally releases nitrogen compounds and ammonia which can burn plant roots, young plants and interfere with seed germination. In fact, it's recommended that all animal manure should be aged for at least 6 months. Many gardeners spread fresh manure in the fall and turn it in to the top 6 inches of soil a month before spring planting.A better treatment is to hot-compost manure before applying it to the garden. Hot composting, where the pile reaches at least 150 degrees F) helps to reduce the probability of passing dangerous pathogens on to people who handle the manure or eat food grown with manure compost. (For more information about compost, read my Compost Happens! article.)While the chance of contamination is slim, severe sickness and even death may occur if contaminated produce is eaten. To be safe, either compost your manure or apply it in the fall after harvest. Wash up after handling manure and don't forget to rinse the vegetables and fruit well before you eat them--always a good idea whether your use manure or not.
The bottom line

Anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of the plant nutrients fed to animals are excreted in their manure, so it should be no surprise that the stuff is an excellent fertilizer. E.B. White, author of Charlotte's Web, agrees. "There is no doubt about it, the basic satisfaction in farming is manure."
The best zoo doo? Elephant dung!
So there you have it: The scoop on poop!