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Gardener's Grapevine 2015.05.13

By JO ERBSKORN

Was Mother’s Day a bonus for your garden? It always is for mine. Not only do our kids give me plants, I take my mother-in-law to the nursery of her choice and get her plants for her porch planters. Of course, when we are there I can’t resist the pull of plants and I usually have to go home with a few of my own. I can’t begin to tell you why flowers pull me in—or many women, for that matter.

The greenhouse itself is a major sensory overload for me—colors, textures, smell and accessories. The greenhouse is one word to a gardener: heaven; but it’s another word to my husband: money.

This year Mother wanted to go to Bean Creek Nursery on 127 by Hudson. That was fine with me as the owner, Janet, is a lovely lady and I enjoy visiting with her. She has added a great deal of new things both in the gift shop and out in the greenhouses.

One new addition is a cute little fairy village with a great selection of unusual accessories for sale including buildings that light up.

There are so many doo-dads available to make your garden unique. Google garden pots and you’ll get hundreds of types and websites. The same thing with the phrases garden lighting or fairy gardening. So many products are available for gardening it is staggering. I’m sure the garden industry gets its largest financial windfall on Mother’s Day.

I read about a new weed killer that is spot on this past weekend. It’s  made for very little money. The recipe is one gallon of white vinegar, one cup of table salt and a few drops of liquid blue Dawn dish soap. Stir all of it together, pour it into a garden pump sprayer, and spray the plants you want to die. The Dawn holds the liquid to the plant and keeps the rain and dew from washing it away. Vinegar is an acid that, when mixed with salt will prevent the plant from breathing and from taking up nutrients and water.

I use vinegar for many things around the house and garden. One of my favorite recipes is a kitchen and bath sanitizer made of one-half cup baking soda and two cups of vinegar mixed together and put in a spray bottle. It works very well, but I must warn you to mix it in a much bigger bowl than the ingredients would call for, because the vinegar and baking soda have a short lived chemical reaction that makes it bubble and expand. Like I said, it’s temporary and takes only a few seconds to settle down so it can be poured into a spray bottle.

There is a lot of information about using simple household products to create what you need for various jobs. Google "uses for blue Dawn dish soap" and you will be amazed. We bathe our dog in it and her coat is shiny, white, and she never gets fleas. It’s pretty amazing in my book and is only one of the many uses noted. I don’t know why it has to be blue Dawn, but it always calls for the blue one. I keep it in the house as a staple, right along with vinegar and baking soda.

I will give you a couple more things white vinegar is good for: pour a glug into every load in the dishwasher and you won’t need Jet Dry. It makes glassware sparkle, helps clean the dishes due to its acidic properties, and it keeps the dishwasher and plumbing pipes free of calcium build-up.

The other use is to sanitize sink drains. Pour baking soda into the drain and put a glug of vinegar on top of it. Let it "boil" until soda is gone, then rinse the drain with straight hot water. It will take away odors and keep drains fresh. I try to do this monthly.

For more ideas, consult the internet or look for a books on the uses of baking soda and household staples such as vinegar.