Say ‘see ya’ to worrying about how to stash your pot lids with this hack using inexpensive sticky hooks.30 genius dollar-store hacks (msn.com)
People are starting vegetable gardens big and small, including a plethora of backyard plots and windowsill herbs.
Some plant lovers are engaged in community gardens where they work in timed shifts, maintaining proper distance while wearing masks and cleansing tools for the next use.
As people sheltering in place take up hobbies and start projects to fill the time during the coronavirus pandemic, gardening is blooming.
Caring for a garden can be a respite from the horrors of the pandemic, as it serves several natural desires related to accomplishment, community and belonging and staying connected with nature.
It can get partners and the whole family outside, happily bonding while doing an activity together.
It can also help to alleviate food insecurity as some incomes dwindle and concerns about the food supply grow.
“There’s just a greater cohesiveness within the family unit that occurs outside with your hands in the dirt,” said Charlie Hall, professor and Ellison Chair of the department of horticultural sciences at Texas A&M University.
“There’s not as much eye-rolling when teenagers are told to do something, not as much fighting between siblings. There’s fewer harsh words between spouses.”
Fulfilling human needs
Getting your hands in the dirt keeps you connected to nature while we’re staying indoors more these days. The orderliness gardening requires, with its rules and rows, can carry over into the manageability of other life tasks, Hall said. And the calmness of the activity may relieve some pent-up frustrations.
“Your cortisol levels go down dramatically when you’re in the midst of gardening,” Hall said. “And cortisol is the stress hormone in your body, so you’re less stressed.”
There’s a risk-reward ratio inherent in gardening. You have to learn to balance weather that may thwart your efforts. But that experience bears sweet tomatoes or refreshing cucumbers — offering a tangible sense of accomplishment when we’re floundering around, looking for something to focus our minds.
“You’re able to see the fruit of that effort,” Hall said. “That’s a teachable moment in people’s lives.”
And gardening may have a fitting philosophical lesson for us during this time.
“Sometimes pruning occurs,” Hall said. “That’s where the [correction in times of stress comes from]. You prune a plant so that it’s even healthier when it comes out from its pruning.”
As plants need water, fertilizer and sunlight to grow, we’re nurtured by challenge and engagement with things we enjoy, Hall added. And when plants grow so well they outgrow the space in which they’re needed, gardeners must replant them in a different space where they have the room to thrive.
“People move up into bigger areas of responsibility during their careers. There’s all kinds of metaphors that come out of gardening and how it applies to everyday life,” Hall said. “Sometimes you have to be transplanted into areas where you could grow even further.”
Good for your overall health
Gardening can be a coping mechanism during this unsettling stage of life, but it also comes with benefits for your physical and mental health.
One study found gardening, among other leisurely activities, may prevent brain shrinkage in older adults. Our cognitive abilities, including learning and memory, largely depend on the size of our brains.
Gardening has also been connected with mindfulness and alleviation of depressive symptoms. It’s a mild form of activity offering respite from staring at your screen all day. And it can improve hand-eye coordination and finger flexion — the ability to bend your joints — that carries over to everyday life.
How to start a home garden
May is not too late to start a garden. Here’s how to begin a vegetable garden for beginners, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a print and online periodical providing planting charts for gardeners, sky schedules, weather forecasts and recipes since 1792.
Pick the right spot. Choosing a suitable location is important because it affects the quality of the vegetables, the guide says. Most vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight daily, so pick a sunny location.
If you’re not buying soil, you should have the soil in your yard tested for lead. Lead contamination is common in urban areas due to years of industrial development and pollution from manmade toxins, according to Garden Collage Magazine. If your vegetables are contaminated from the soil, that could mean lead poisoning for you or any pets roaming around. You can have your soil assessed by sending several samples to a testing site for a low cost.
Plant the vegetables in damp, not totally saturated, soil. If you have soil that doesn’t drain well, plant vegetables in a pot that’s raised from the ground. You should also garden in a place where your plants can remain stable — exposure to strong winds, floods or constant foot traffic could damage your plants.
Choose a plot size. Beginners should start small, considering what they can handle and what they’ll actually eat, the guide suggests. The size it recommends is 11 rows wide, each 10 feet long. But this guideline is to feed a family of four through an entire summer, so feel free to downsize if it’s just you.
Make sure there’s enough space between each row to be able to easily walk through to weed and harvest your plants. The rows shouldn’t be more than 4 feet wide, as you probably won’t be able to reach over a bigger width to care for the vegetables.
Select your vegetables (or any other produce). There are several vegetables that are common and easy to grow: tomatoes, radishes, chard, zucchini squash, peppers, cabbage, lettuce and carrots. Also consider what you like to eat, and again, how much you’re likely to consume. Here’s a guide to figuring out which vegetables grow best in your state.
You could buy individual starter plants or opt to start from scratch with seeds. But the seeds should be high quality, the guide says, so your money isn’t wasted if the seeds don’t germinate. The almanac recommends buying seeds from a plant nursery; you can order them online, too.
Decide where and when to plant. Planting one or two vegetables doesn’t require much strategic planning. But if you’re growing a whole garden, you’ll have to think about where each vegetable will go and when it needs to be planted.
Some vegetables, such as lettuce and root vegetables, grow in the spring. Others, including tomatoes and peppers, should be planted in the warmer months.
Plant taller vegetables on the north side of your garden so they don’t shade shorter plants. Check to see whether the information along with your plant says it needs a permanent bed.
Lastly, stagger your plantings. Don’t plant all your seeds at one time, or you’ll have a vegetable bounty that needs to be harvested and consumed in a tight time window. If you stagger your plantings, you’ll have a steady supply of food coming in.
- Since the dirt rings in collars are oil stains, shampoo for oily hair will remove them. Rub it into the fabric before washing the garment.
- Remove ink spots from clothing by squeezing toothpaste on the spot. Scrub and rinse thoroughly.
- Remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers using a piece of tin foil dipped in Coca-Cola.
- A thick paste made from baking soda and water will remove perspiration stains from clothing. It will also remove urine stains from car seats.
- Lemon juice and salt rubbed into a paste, will remove rust stains from clothing.
- Cotton dipped in alcohol will clean dirty photographs.
- Salad oil will remove tar from your feet.
- Keep old toothbrushes – they are extremely handy for cleaning nooks and crannies other cleaning equipment cannot get into.
- Insert yogurt into the vagina to cure a yeast infection.(See a doctor if there is no improvement within 24 hours).
- Eat fresh parsley to reduce the acidity of urine and relieve symptoms of bladder infections.
- Toothpaste dabbed onto a pimple will dry it out.
- Dolomite tablets will relieve the symptoms of heartburn.
- In an emergency shampoo can be used in the place of shaving cream.
Believe it or not, lemon juice can be used to scrub stains out of just about anything, including hard to clean plastic.
Have a scratch in your hardwood floor? It only takes some buffing with a walnut to make the mark practically vanish. The oils in the nut help to smooth out the streak and fill the crack.
If you have a pet, then you know the annoyance of finding hair or fur everywhere. A rubber glove is just what you need to keep everything clean. Rub one along the surface of your couch, and the hair will adhere to the sticky surface.
Soap scum shaver
If you have a glass shower, keeping it clean and free from soap scum can be a challenge. The trick? Use some shaving cream to buff out stains. All you need is a bottle of the foamy stuff and a damp cloth.
Giving your car a new paint job to fix a couple scratches or chips can be super expensive. To prevent rusting until you can afford the repair, dab the areas with clear nail polish to seal the paint. (Note: this hack won’t work if rusting has already started.) You can also use coloured nail polish to touch the spot up.
Blenders are a beast to clean thanks to their sharp blades. The solution? Pour some soap and water into the appliance, then blend on high. Allow it to run for 30 seconds, then rinse with fresh water.
Water stains are loathed by coaster lovers everywhere, but the good news is they’re generally easy to get rid of. You just have to wipe a bit of mayo along the surface with a damp cloth. Olive oil and salt also works.
Baked-on gunk is a menace to dirty pans and baking sheets. To clean with minimal elbow grease, soak the dish with water and a nontoxic, biodegradable dryer sheet. The sheet will help loosen the grime.
Get streak-free windows by buffing them with a coffee filter or newspaper. Simply spray a solution of water and vinegar on the surface then shine away.
Raise your hand if you hate scrubbing gross, baked-on goo from your microwave? To get the appliance glistening, warm a bowl of lemon and water for five minutes, then let stand for another five. You’ll be able to wipe dirt away with a paper towel.
If you have some dirty hand marks or fingerprints on your walls, removing them is as simple as rubbing them with an old piece of white bread.
Kid mess cleaner
Don’t have a piece of bread? Baby oil can perform the same fingerprint-removing or crayon-clearing feat. The substance also works particularly well on stainless steel.
There are a lot of chemicals in air and fabric fresheners, but one substance can perform the same trick in an all-natural way: vodka. Simply mix some of the alcohol with water and a few drops of essential oil. Spray on fabric to give it new life.
Who knew old newspapers could be so handy? Scrunch them up to soak up the oil in a pan before scrubbing it clean with some soap and water.
Remember that science experiment from elementary school in which you used coke to clean pennies? The same trick applies to stains in your toilet. Simply pour some cola into the bowl, let sit for about an hour, and scrub clean. Kool-Aid also works.
Stale smell solver
Towels can grow musty and mouldy after a while. The trick to making them smell as good as new is as simple as a vinegar bath. Pour vinegar and water into your washing machine instead of detergent, rinse, then dry. Your towels will be clean as can be.
A little-known trick to getting stains out of just about anything is to reach for a damp cloth and iron. Set the iron on high heat, lay the damp cloth over the stains, and press the iron on top. The heat will lift the stain, leaving your carpet or couch clean. (Note: do not use a coloured cloth for this task. It could leach colour onto your carpet.)
You could reach for a chemical-filled product to buff out watermarks on your bathroom mirror… or you could use some vodka and baking soda (some people use cornstarch instead). Pour some of each into a bottle, spray on the surface, and watch everything from glass to silverware shine.
Simple slat solution
The little slats of an air vent can be hard to scrub clean. Try wrapping a butter knife in a damp cloth then running it along each slat to get the job done in seconds. To add some disinfection into the mix, soak the cloth in vinegar first.
Nooks and crannies
The worst part of buying fresh flowers is that algae that can form in hard to reach places in the vase. The trick to easily getting it clean? Toss some vinegar with a bit of rice and pour the mixture into the vase. Let it sit, then swish around. The rice will scrub the glass clean.