Granny’s top tips for May

Most people remember listening to their Grandmother and their many words of wisdom, so we recounted some of our Granny’s top tips for all things home and garden related.

  • My Granny on buying lemons: ”If it feels light, don’t buy it. Fresh citrus fruit is meant to feel hefty in your hand!”

lemon

  • My Granny on ripening fruit – “Pop the fruit you want to ripen into a paper bag. It traps the ethylene gas in there and makes it ripen quicker!”
  • My Granny on meat – “Keep meat, poultry and fish in the shop bag it came in and put it in the fridge. Wrapping and rewrapping simply gives bacteria more opportunity to get in and out of the packaging.”
  • My Granny on the sun – “On a sunny day, put a white wash on. The sun will naturally bleach the wash and make them brighter.”
  • My Granny on ironing – “Never iron over buttons, always go around them. Nobody wants melted buttons on their clothes!”
  • My Granny on eggs – “If you drop an egg, don’t panic! Pour some salt on it and leave it to absorb. Then you’ll be able to scoop it up.”
  • This is the time of year that ants like to invite themselves inside. My Granny used to mop the floors with a solution of hot water, lemon and white wine vinegar to discourage them!

mop

  • My Granny on window cleaning – Give windows a sparkle after cleaning by buffing it with some newspaper.
  • My Granny on animal hair – Use a rubber squeegee to get pet hair out of the carpet. Saves on hoovering!
  • My Granny on house plants – Use a banana skin to clean houseplants. The dust clings to the skin and the juice nourishes the leaves.
  • My Granny on sunburn – “Put some aloe vera gel in an ice cube tray and freeze. It’s extra soothing for sunburn!”

aloe vera cubes

  • My Granny on window streaks – When cleaning windows, wipe horizontally inside and vertically outside. An easy way to spot streaks!
  • My Granny on protecting pot plants from animals – simply put some cinnamon sticks in the plant pots. Animals don’t like the smell and won’t come near the plant.
  • My Granny on shirt collar stains – Just before putting your shirts into the washing machine, rub the collars with some white chalk which is renowned for it’s cleaning properties.
  • My Granny on storing bed linen – “Store bed linen sets inside one of their own pillowcases. Saves lots of time and energy!”

bedding

  • My Granny on bathroom smells – Place an opened box of baking soda behind the toilet to absorb nasty odours.
  • My Granny on labels – “To remove a label, simply use some vinegar and rub into it. It’ll vanish in no time!”
  • My Granny on losing ear-rings – “Put a popsock or tights on the hoover nozzle. You’ll find it in no time!”

Each month we have lots of new tips, facts and pictures to put a smile on your face. Keep up to date with our Facebook and Twitter page to see what we’re up to each month! :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Funny pictures for April

This month we decided to have some fun and share gardening pictures which made gave us a chuckle. After all, laughter makes the world go round!

Which ones put a smile on your face?

Posted in Food flowers, Garden, Leisure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peter Donegan runs Inis Mór Temple Street Half Marathon 2013

 

As you know, we are the proud sponsors of the Sodshow, Ireland’s Award Winning Podcast and Garden Radio Show. So you can only imagine how proud we were when the Sodshow host and landscaper, Peter Donegan, completed the Aer Arann half marathon 2013.

Peter ran to raise money for Temple Street Childrens Hospital on the beautiful island of Inis Mór, covering a whopping 13.1 miles!

To read all about how he got on, check out his blog here.

Posted in The SodShow | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘That’s Clever’ gardening tips for March

 

March is an exciting time in any gardener’s calendar so we here at GreenSax thought we would mark that by sharing a clever gardening tip each day on our Facebook and Twitter page.

We’ve even compiled a list of them here so you can keep them safe and all in one place! So let’s get started:

  • Worried about birds snacking on your freshly sown seeds? Make plant markers out of old CDs to deter them.
  • Use pegs as cheap and cheerful plant markers.
  • Birds eating your strawberries? Try painting stones as strawberries and put them around strawberry plants in the spring. This will keep birds from eating your berries when they ripen because the birds will think the ripened berries are stones.
  • Give seedlings a headstart by making a cloche out of old CD cases. The sun can shine through the open top and the clear sides. To protect fragile young plants from the danger of frost, simply close the lid.
  • Use an old salt shaker for planting small seeds, this is a pretty clever way to save time!
  • Cut up a sponge into little pieces and put into a pot when planting. It helps retain moisture which nourishes the plant.
  • Try using newspaper as landscape fabric. The newspaper will prevent any grass and weed seeds from germinating, but unlike fabric, it will decompose after about 18 months.
  • Place one uncracked raw egg in the pot – as it decomposes, it will serve as a natural fertilizer for the plant.
  • Make your own mini greenhouses using plastic boxes, cheap and cheerful!
  • Keep track of how your garden grows by sketching out a rough diagram so you can keep track of what’s planted where.
  • When boiling eggs, save the water for your plants. The water will have calcium in it which your plants love!
  • Put Epsom salts and sugar into each hole with your plant. It makes them grow larger, leafier and greener!
  • Boil vegetable peelings in a pot and allow to steep overnight (up to 2 days). In the morning, the mix will be full of nutrients! Strain and use to water your plants. Remember to use only plant based scraps and not meat or dairy. You can then compost whatever is left. We can recommend some great compostable bags!
  • Keep your tools rust free by storing them in a bucket of sand mixed with a little bit of motor oil.
  • Seed packets make excellent markers for seedlings because they are full of information. Attach packets to wooden stakes and put a jam jar on top to protect them.
  • Deciduous trees should be planted on the south side of your house. This way they can provide shade in the summer and let the winter sun come through.
  • If you finely chop citrus peel and sprinkle them on the mulch in your garden, they help keep neighborhood cats, dogs and other critters away from your veggies!
  • Not a fan of getting dirt under your nails when gardening? Draw your fingernails across a bar of soap, after you’re finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean!
  • When planting trees, remember that Evergreens can be planted on the north side of your house to act as a shield against the cold blustery winter winds.
  • Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus, which often attacks young seedlings quite suddenly. Just add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of seedlings once a week to protect them.
  • Dry out chopped banana pieces in a slow oven and scatter the pieces in the soil when planting and water them in. Each time you water or it rains, they will provide slow release nutrition!
  • Turn a long-handled tool, such as a shovel, into a measuring stick! Lay it on the ground, and next to it place a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks on the handle. It makes planting even easier!
  • If you want to discourage cats, rabbits, bugs and other creatures from your garden, plant marigolds among your vegetables.
  • Try making a sprinkler from a plastic bottle and a hose. Just pop some holes into the bottle and secure the hose with strong tape. Cheap and cheerful!
  • Want a unique plant marker? Use a vegetable peeler to shave a piece off an old twig and write whatever you’ve planted on it.
  • To check if seeds are viable, fold 10 seeds in moist paper towel, place in resealable bag, mark with date and type. Watch to see how many germinate.Multiply that number by 10 to calculate the percent of germinations. More than 70 percent is passing. If between 40 and 60 percent, sow thickly. Below 40 percent, it’s best to buy fresh seed!
  • If you’re finding algae in your bird bath, try putting a few cent coins at the bottom. The copper can help cut down on algae growth.

There you have it, lots of ‘That’s Clever’ tips to integrate into your garden. If you have any of your own to share, head to our Facebook, Twitter or simply comment below.

Happy gardening!

The GreenSax Team

Posted in Composting, Garden, Gardening tips, GreenSax, Home | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DIY Biodegradable Seed Starters

 

Spring is officially here! Here at Powergreen, the garden has well and truly sprung back into action. Now is the time to start planting lots of different things in your garden. If you’re a fan of starting things from seed, today we’re going to show you how to make your very own seed starters from scratch.

It’s not difficult to do, it involves recycling, gives your seeds a headstart and it’s good for the environment too! Here’s what you will need to make your seed starters:

  • Shredded newspaper
  • Water
  • Blender
  • Muffin tin

1. Tear the paper up into small squares.  Ripping the paper up works best, because it exposes the paper’s fibres.

2. Fill your blender with handfuls of shredded paper.

3. Pour a little bit of warm water into the blender.  Don’t pour much in, you can always add more water later if needed.

4. Blend the water and paper together on high for about 30 seconds. Ensure that all the paper is blended by stopping to stir and push any remaining paper carefully to the bottom.

5. By now, the mix should have turned grey. Drain off as much water as possible.

Little tip: Try using a sieve!

6. Now put a heaped tablespoon full of the mix into each of the muffin trays. You should be able to fit one mix into 12 cases.

7. Starting in the center press the pulp down, and work your way out to the sides. Push the pulp up the sides. When you have finished shaping the seed starter cups, carefully use some kitchen towel to soak up the moisture on the bottom.

8. Let the cups sit for at least 24 hours, or until they feel dry to the touch.  It’s best to keep them in a warm, dry place so they have time to dry out completely.

Then you just need to choose what seeds you would like to plant. Once the seeds are ready to be transplanted outside, you don’t need to remove them from the casing as the newspaper will biodegrade naturally in the soil.

Inspired by: http://365daysofdiy.blogspot.ie
 
 
Posted in Biodegradable, Crafts, Garden, Gardening tips, Home, horticulture | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Valentine’s treat for our feathered friends

Today is a day of showing someone that you care about them. Be it a card, flowers, chocolates etc. For the day that’s in it, we’ve decided to treat our feathered friends to a Valentine’s day treat!

These heart shaped bird feeders will be gobbled up in no time, plus they’ll definitely be appreciated! Here’s how to make them:

Ingredients:

  • 380g of birdseed
  • 1 envelope of gelatin
  • Cookie cutters
  • String/twine
  • Tablespoon of oil
  • Tin foil
  • A straw
  1. Sprinkle envelope of gelatin over 125ml cold water. Let it sit a couple of minutes until gelatin has absorbed the water.
  2. Heat 410 ml water in a pan, then add in the gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Stir in birdseed and allow mixture to cool until gelatin is thick and coats all the birdseed.
  4. Wrap a piece of tinfoil along the bottom and up the sides of a cookie cutter. Coat tin foil and cookie cutter with a little oil.
  5.  Pack birdseed mixture inside cookie cutter. (Try not to leave any spaces!) Place a piece of straw in birdseed to leave a hole for hanging the bird feeder.
  6. Allow mixture to harden and then remove from cookie cutter. Alternatively you could put it in the freezer for about and hour to speed things up.
  7. Add a piece of twine for hanging and watch the birds enjoy!

It’s as simple as that! Everyone appreciates a homemade gift, especially on Valentine’s Day. Let us know if the birds in your garden appreciated these on Facebook or Twitter.

Inspired by Alpha Mom

Posted in Crafts, Garden | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Green Cleaning Tips

Last month we were busy compiling a list of all natural and green cleaning tips for around the home. The time for spring cleaning is almost upon us and we were pleasantly surprised by how much can be done with basic things in our kitchen cupboards, and clean in all natural way. Without further ado, presenting our Green Cleaning Tips:

1. To clean sponges, simply put them into your microwave on high for a minute or two to disinfect it.

2. We showed you how to clean your wooden floors with tea!

3. Make your own natural glass cleaner by mixing 4 tablespoons of lemon juice with a litre & a half of water. Squeaky clean and all natural!

4. Use baking soda and water to clean your oven. Mix it into a paste and leave overnight.

5. Make cleaning your microwave a doddle by putting half a lemon into a bowl of water on full power for 2-3 mins. It makes the microwave easier to clean and leaves a nice fresh smell too!

6. To deodorise a fridge, leave half a lemon in the fridge to absorb odours and leave everything smelling fresh.

7. Remove stains from plastic chopping boards by squeezing lemon juice and salt onto them. Use the salt and lemon as a scrub. Let it stand for 20-25 minutes. Rinse and admire!

8. Houseplants can help naturally clean the air in your house. We’ve got our top picks here.

9.  When it comes to decluttering, Use the ‘love it’, ‘Don’t need it’, ‘like it’ system for getting rid of things. Donate all in the ‘Don’t need it’ pile, put away the ‘love it’ pile and sort through the ‘like it’ pile.

10. Up to 80% of the energy used by washing machines goes toward heating the water. Wash your clothes at 30° to save money and help the environment!

11. Cleaning toilets aren’t fun, but if you sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda, it’s a quick and natural way to get the job done!

12. Give old t-shirts a new lease of life re-purposing them as cleaning cloths. This way, if they can’t be donated, they won’t go to waste!

13. Use lemon to remove hard water stains. Just make sure to rinse it clean with water. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

14. Make stainless steel sparkle by wiping with a damp cloth sprinkled with baking soda and then buffing with a dry cloth.

15. Make your own all-purpose cleaner by dissolving four tablespoons baking soda or 120ml vinegar to one litre of warm water. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for fragrance.

16. If your shower head needs a clean, Put some vinegar in a small bag and use a rubber band to secure it. This cleans away any build up.

17. Have narrow-necked bottles or a decanter that need a clean? Put some warm water, vinegar and rice into the container, shake the rice around and rinse. Voila! Sparkling clean and no hassle!

18. Recycling, repurposing, upcycling and freecycling, whatever you prefer to call it. Reusing an item and giving it a new lease of life can really benefit the environment. Here are some of our favourites!

19. If your dishwasher needs a clean, put 500ml of vinegar in a jar on the top shelf and put your dishwasher on a hot wash. Just remember to take out the other plates and glasses first!

20. Remove the lime coating on your kettle by filling it with water and adding a half-cup of vinegar. Let it stand overnight, then rinse with clean water and dry.

21. If your budding artists are using the walls as their canvas, you can make a paste using baking soda and gently rub it in to remove crayon marks.

22. Clean residue off an iron by running the hot iron over plain paper sprinkled with salt. The residue should loosen and attach to the salt, leaving you with a clean iron!

23. To clean burnt pans boil vinegar in the pan, remove from the heat and put 2tbsp of baking soda in with the vinegar. Saves on elbow grease!

24. As any parent knows, children’s toys can get dirty quickly. Clean soft toys & teddies by putting them into a bag (compostable is even better!) with a generous amount of baking soda. Close it up & shake. Brush away any excess baking soda et voila!

Have we missed anything or do you have a top green cleaning tip to share? Head to our Facebook or Twitter page and let us know!

Posted in Cleaning, Garden, General, Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upcycling in the garden

 

Recycled, Repurposed, UpCycled, Freecycled, or whatever you like to call it. Giving old items a new lease of life and using them to decorate your garden has soared in popularity!

Here at Powergreen, we love to see innovation at work. It’s amazing how creative some people can get and create some beautiful feature pieces for their garden. We’ve picked out some of our favourites here.

We hope that these ideas have got you inspired! Or perhaps you already have some of your own upcycled projects to share?

 

Posted in Crafts, Garden, Gardening tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Floor cleaning tea

 

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly way to clean the floors then put the kettle on for a brew. No really! Studies have shown that black tea can be better for you than green tea. Now we have also learned that a black tea solution can be used to clean wooden floors naturally.

Now for the science part, apparently it’s the tannic acid that is present in the tea which helps remove surface scratches on wooden floors.

If you fancy giving it a try, we show you how to make your own floor cleaning solution:

  • Add two tea bags to a litre of boiled water and stir.
  • Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. After it has cooled then you can remove the tea bags.
  • Dip a soft cloth into the tea and wipe down the floors.
  • If required, give the dry floors a buff with a little olive oil.

It’s that simple. Plus while you’re waiting for the tea for your floor to cool down, you may as well make yourself a cup!

Posted in General, Home | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Composting at Christmas

 

Tis the season to be jolly, and to compost! Christmas is one of our favourite times of year. We love catching up with everyone, watching Christmas movies and enjoying a delicious Christmas dinner. We always compost our vegetable peelings, which got us thinking about what else we could compost at Christmas.

We found some top tips, so we’ve got them here to share with you!

  • You can compost all vegetable peelings and other things in the kitchen like teabags, coffee grounds, paper towels and eggshells. Even uneaten carrots that the reindeers didn’t finish can go in!
  • Wrapping paper and gift tags can be scrunched up and added to the compost. If the paper is made from plastic film or heavily decorated with glitter then it is best to leave them out.
  • Paper napkins, Christmas crackers and party hats from your Christmas table are also good compost ingredients.
  • Cardboard packaging from Christmas toys and gifts will add fibre and structure to your bin, leave out the twisty tags though!
  • Decked the halls with sprigs of holly and fresh festive wreaths? They can go into the compost heap.
  • If you’ve got a real tree you can compost that too. Just make sure to take the decorations off first! To speed up the composting process, chop it into pieces.

A white Christmas might not be on the cards this year, but these tips will help your Christmas be green at least! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a fun-filled New Year!

The GreenSax Team.

Posted in Christmas, Garden, Leisure | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment