Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Garden Tips: Storing Your Bulbs

I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel. ~Florence Nightingale

If you are in a cold climate with frost you'll need to store your non-hardy bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas or cannas. There are many ways gardeners store bulbs until they can be planted out in the spring. The main things they need are: dry, cool and dark. One easy method is to wrap each bulb, tuber or rhizome in newspaper and then store them in a cardboard box. Shoe boxes work great for this. Label the box, place the bulbs inside, packing loosely and put the lid back on. Store them in a dark closet or area in the basement where it remains cool.

Last winter some of my shrubs received horrible damage from chewing rabbits, where the years before they didn't. If you are in doubt wrap the young trees and the bottom of the shrubs with hardware cloth, chicken wire etc. this fall before the snow sets in.

Deer can also cause damage, and if you want to protect a tree or shrubs you will need to surround the trees and shrubs with a sturdy cage or wire fence--chicken wire won't be tough enough. Those bucks are very strong, and they can easily damage a small shrub or tree with their antlers. I've seen the damage to a few smaller pines my parents had in their yard.

If you are in Zone 5 or colder be cautious planting new perennials now. They should be planted and mulched heavily no later than 6 weeks before the hard frosts start.

Lastly, take a look at your landscape and gardens. Make notes of what you liked, didn't like, what did well, and what failed or didn't do as well as you liked. Consider if you want to add a new bed in the spring and start getting it ready now instead of waiting. The head start makes a big difference.

Growing and Caring for Grape Hyacinths:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Caring for Copper

Caring for Copper

You can buy commercial cleaners that will work on copper pans or bowls, but many people still love the old fashioned methods using household items to clean their cookware.

You should never use scrubbers, steel wool, or any other harsh method of scraping on copper. Use only cooking utensils made out of wood, plastic or nylon when cooking and keep the heat at lower levels.

Always soak the pan immediately after cooking. Wash with a sponge or cloth, rinse and dry as usual. You can leave it soaking overnight if need be, rather than scrubbing too harshly. For extra cleaning try one of these methods, afterwards washing, rinsing and drying as usual.

-Pour some salt or baking soda on lemon halves and gently clean the pan or bowl.

-Dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste. Coat the pan with the paste and let sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour, then clean.

-Mix together a paste of lemon juice and salt, and rub with a soft cloth, rinse with water, and dry.

-Pour vinegar over the surface of the pan or bowl and sprinkle it with salt-rub in the mixture gently.

-Make a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Coat the copper and leave it on for 5 minutes, and then wash in warm water.

-If copper is very tarnished, boil your item in a pot of water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar for several hours. Wash, rinse and dry as usual.

MORE TIDBITS: If you have copper collectibles that have a patina verde finish they should only be cleaned with a very soft cloth such as flannel. Use a gentle detergent such as Ivory and warm water, rinsing afterwards. Never use ammonia based products or any type of degreaser.

More you might like:
Caring for Crystal
Cast iron Cookware