Saturday, 30 November 2013

What to put in your worm farm

A worm farm is a fantastic way to turn your organic waste into nutrient-rich fertiliser for your plants and soils. I love worm farms and have two running at our house (one with two working trays and 1 with one working tray). Worms eat organic waste and turn it into liquid fertiliser and worm castings. Both of these products can be used on your garden and on your pot plants to keep them thriving. You can use worm liquid to replace fertiliser. The liquid needs to be diluted until it is the colour of weak tea. This mixture won't burn your plants. You could bottle your excess liquid and give it as a gift with instructions on how to use it.
Do add:
  • Once established, the worm farm will consume approximately 500 grams of scraps each day.
  • Fruit peelings
  • veggie scraps
  • shredded and soaked paper, newspaper or cardboard
  • crushed egg shells
  • sawdust (not from treated wood)
  • coffee grounds and tea bags (this also helps to keep the farm moist)
  • seaweed
  • bread, cake, biscuits in small amounts
  • hair clippings and vacuum cleaner dust
  • Leaf litter
  • Leftover breakfast cereals
Don’t add:
  • Oil, fats or bones
  • Citrus peel, onion or garlic.
  • Dairy (yoghurt, butter and cheese)
  • Fish
  • Magazine paper
  • Meat
  • Citrus - orange peels, lemons, limes, mandarins and pineapples.
  • Too much manure
Worm tea: Every 2-3 weeks, empty the liquid fertiliser from the bottom tray, dilute it 1:10 and use on potted plants, gardens and lawns.  Once the worms have moved into the top working tray, castings from the lower tray can be harvested and added to garden beds or potted plants.
Problem solvers:
  • Sprinkle a little wood ash, garden lime, or dolomite and blood and bone on the top layer from time to time. 
  • Cover new food with a light cover of their bedding material or a handful of soil or compost.
  • Only feed your worms when they have almost finished their last meal or it will start to rot.
  • Chop up their food as small as possible so the worms will get through it faster.
  • A handful of garden lime every couple of weeks or dry material like paper will help balance the effect of acidic food.
  • If you notice pests like slugs and vinegar flies once your farm is up and running, dust the top with lime and check you haven’t added too much food.
Now I'm  off to clean our worm farms with some water (no soap).

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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Backyard Improvements: Concreting finished

Here are the before, during and after photos of our concreted outdoor area.
We got our outdoor area, behind the back of the house and the other side of the house/ driveway concreted.
 
Before Outdoor area


 


 

 
 
 


After Outdoor area:

 
 

 
Before & After Side driveway:
 
Before Back of house:

 After Back of house:
  
 
  
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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

TV cabinet into nursery wardrobe

  
 
At my mum and dad’s house, they had an old TV cabinet that they were going to sell or get rid of, as they recently got a new flat line wall mounted TV. However we had the idea to turn it into a wardrobe for the nursery at their house.
 
 
Before transformation:
  • Baltic pine TV cabinet on wheels
  • Retractable doors that can be hidden into cabinet
  • TV stand inside cabinet, with a DVD player shelf
  • 2 drawers full of movies
After transformation:
  • Grandpa (my dad) removed the TV stand and installed a wardrobe rail to hang clothes on. The retractable doors are not affected by the wardrobe hanging rail
  • 2 drawers full of clothes, shoes and bedding.
  • Room for photos and toys on display on top.
  • Once wardrobe doors are shut, it looks very neat and is child friendly.
 
The bedroom wardrobe that is in the nursery at the grandparents’ house is already full of storage. So this is the perfect size to hold spare clothes and bedding for the occasional stay. It also is very neat and compact for when it is not in use. 
 
Look out for my post and photos of the new shelves being installed in this nursery.
 
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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Clean naturally with lemons

If the price of natural cleaning products makes you wince, do your natural home cleaning with lemon juice instead. Lemons are full of natural acid, this zingy fruit is a powerful antibacterial sanitiser and antiseptic that can be used as a cleaning agent all around your home. Here's 17 ways to clean with lemons.

Kitchen
Chopping boards: Diluted lemon juice not only cleans stains from cutting boards, but helps kill germs as well. Spruce up the cutting board by squeezing a lemon half over the top and letting the juice absorb for 10 minutes. It soaks into wood especially well, but this also works on plastic cutting boards. This will loosen stains. Next, kill bacteria by using the fruit to scrub the board. Rub the juice full strength onto the stain and let sit until the stain fades. Can be left overnight, then rinsed well and dried.

Plastic containers: Soak plastic food storage containers in dilute lemon juice to remove stains and odours. Add baking soda and scrub, rinse and dry. Great for tomato sauce stains in the containers.

Stove top spills: make a paste of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply it to the stove top spill and let the mix sit for a bit. Come back after 15 minutes and wipe off the paste with a wet sponge.

Laminate counter tops: Put a dilute solution of lemon juice in a spray bottle to clean laminate counter tops. Rinse with water and dry afterward.

Nice smelling fridge: Remove doors from your refrigerator with a half lemon on a saucer. Change once a week.

Sanitize and deodorise the microwave: The best way to get rid of smells in the microwave and give it an antibacterial clean out, is to slice a lemon thinly and place the pieces in water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for one minute (heat to boiling) and let the lemon's antibacterial properties kill the bacteria lurking in your microwave. The heat also acts as a humidifier to loosen any icky, caked-on food. Afterwards wipe the oven down with a damp cloth and you're done. 
 
Bathroom
Toilets: Cleaning with lemon juice and baking soda allows you to create your home cleaning scrub. Leave for 20 minutes. Brush the inside of the bowl when your return.

Tile grout: Use lemon juice and an old toothbrush to scrub grout.

Unclog your drains: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup or more of hot lemon juice. After a few minutes, rinse with hot water.

Laundry
Deodorize the Laundry: It doesn’t take much to combat the odours of the laundry. Adding just one teaspoon of lemon juice to the laundry along with detergent will provide a fresh clean scent to clothing. Works best if laundry is then dried in the sun. Lemon juice should not be used on silks or other delicate fabrics. If you are uncertain, test a tiny area first.

Rust stains on clothes: Remove rust stains from cotton and polyesters. Make a paste with lemon juice and cream of tarter and rub the mixture into the stain. Let the item sit for about a half hour and then wash as normal. Test on a rag or inside panel of the garment before use.

Grease stains on clothes: Remove grease stains from clothing. Rub lemon juice into the spot and let sit overnight and then wash as normal.

Remove mildew from clothes: pour lemon juice onto the mildew spots and then rub it with salt. Put it out in the sun for a couple of hours then wash it as normal in the washing machine.
Furniture
Brass: This natural home cleaning method returns the pots' shine. Use a half lemon and salt to clean even the most heavily discoloured brass (real brass, not brass plated). Be careful with antiques. Always test a small spot before scrubbing away.

Put a Shine on Metal: Want to polish your copper, brass and chrome the natural way. Put some elbow grease behind half a lemon and allow the acidic power to cut through grease and loosen mineral deposits, making them easier to wipe away. For extra strength before scrubbing, dip the fruit half in salt, as it will help exfoliate the surface for added shine.

Rust spots: Mix lemon juice and salt. Leave the paste on rust spots for a bit and then wash off. Depending on the severity of the rust, repeat if required.

House
Windows: Pour about 25mls of lemon juice into a litre of water. For a stronger mix, add half a cup of white vinegar to the mix. The powerful citric acid dissolves dirt, grime and water stains, leaving your windows sparkling. 
 
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