Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Hot Tea!

Tea is tasty, nutritious, medicinal and “hot” right now.  So is compost tea for your lawn, trees, gardens and shrubs!

What is compost tea?

Compost tea is a natural organic fertilizer made from compost, or more specifically a water extract of compost that is brewed to give the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes a chance to increase in number and activity using the nutrients present in the water.   It is also a highly effective natural insect and disease inhibitor.  Compost tea is inexpensive and often an easier method of applying compost, especially to your trees and shrubs.

How is compost tea made?

Aerobic water steeps the biology off of the compost through an extraction process. Food-grade molasses, garlic, kelp, and fish emulsion are then added to the mix. The foods activate and cause the biology to multiply, creating a powerful, nutritious food for your plants.

How do you apply compost tea?

Compost tea can either be applied as a foliar spray or as a soil drench. As a foliar spray, nutritious compost tea deposits beneficial organisms to plant surfaces so disease-causing organisms cannot find infection sites or food resources. As a soil drench, compost tea develops a biological barrier around roots to prevent root disease-causing organisms from being able to find the roots. The tea introduces organic matter, which provides nutrients for the roots to improve plant growth and moisture retention.

Where can you get compost tea?

If you are in the Boston area, our tree care company, Boston Tree Preservation, offers compost tea treatments and serves as a tea center where homeowners can purchase the tea to apply themselves.  As the organic movement grows, many tree care and landscape companies understand the value of compost tea and are starting to offer compost tea treatments.  You can also find recipes on-line to make it yourself if you have access to healthy, rich compost.

Click on the video below for a demonstration on how to make compost tea.

Compost tea is vibrant, alive and wakes up your soil!  This spring, give your garden a treat with compost tea.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Information compiled from bostontreepreservation.com.

Clever Uses for Spent Spices

I have many more spices in my spice cabinet than I actually use, and most have been there for years. Ground spices lose their volatile oils after a time and shouldn’t be kept longer than a year or two.   I’ve even heard 6 months.  Many of mine are way past their potency and won’t add much flavoring to food; yet, I can’t just throw them away.   I recently read an article with some clever uses for old spices, a few of which I want to share with you.

To freshen your carpet (and your vacuum), you can sprinkle old spices like cinnamon, thyme, cloves or nutmeg directly on your carpet and then vacuum up.  What a perfect alternative to a toxic room freshener!  Try a small area first to make sure the spice colors won’t stain your carpet before applying to the entire rug.

Strong-smelling spices are often used in insect repellents, and the same theory holds true in the garden.  Sprinkle your old pepper, oregano, sage, peppermint, cayenne, chili powder, etc. around your rows of plants to keep insect pests away.  It won’t hurt your plant and is definitely worth a try.  Gardening is often a battle between mother nature and man, like on our farm where we have at least 25 geese and goslings, as well as rabbits, hedgehogs and even a fox who all seem to eat the vegetables as quickly as they come up.  Chili powder, red pepper and cayenne apparently keep squirrels, rabbits and other animals away as well.  I just spread old pepper flakes around our corn – I’ll keep you posted about its effectiveness.

English: Pepper yet to be ripened, taken by me...

Here’s an unlikely tip. According to Organic Authority, adding a few teaspoons of black pepper to your laundry load will keep colors bright and prevent fading.  Why not?  It’s certainly not toxic and may prolong the life of your clothes.

Enhance your summer cookouts by adding your old spices to the charcoal.  Cooking them helps to release the remaining volatile oils. You’ll love the extra boost of flavor and the aroma.  You can also toss freshly picked herbs right into the charcoal.  I especially like rosemary.

The pigment from nutmeg, paprika, cinnamon and turmeric make safe, natural paints when mixed with water.  Or place old spices in a sachet to freshen your dresser drawers.

English: spices: (Turkey, travel, Istanbul, sp...

Specialty tea and spice stores selling small jars of spices or spices in bulk are gaining popularity.  Farmers’ markets sometimes sell spices too.  I prefer to buy them in smaller containers so I know that I can use them up before they lose their potency.   But if not, I really like the idea of reusing old spices in fun ways.

Information compiled from Earth911.com, Kathryn Sukalich, 10 Ways to Use Up Old Spices.