The Dandelian, a boon to some bust for others!

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The Dandelian, a boon to some bust for others!

The Dandelion a boon to some bust for others!
Lynna “A Preppers Path ” Audio player below!

Now really how does one not smile at the brilliant yellow blossoms dotting the country side or perhaps your lawn each spring and summer! Ok Ok I know dandelions are one of the most common and despised weeds of those keepers of pristine lawns. But really the dandelion is just as useful as it is prolific.

Continue reading The Dandelian, a boon to some bust for others! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Creeping Phlox, Mounding Phlox: Easy To Grow Perennial Plants

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The post Creeping Phlox, Mounding Phlox: Easy To Grow Perennial Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

In shades of white, pink, red, purple and blue, phlox is an incredibly popular, brilliantly-flowered ornamental plant. Whether it’s creeping phlox spreading out to become a beautiful ground cover, or a mounding phlox plant in the garden, these delicate flowers are definitely a sight to behold. The term “phlox” originates with the Greek word for … Read more

The post Creeping Phlox, Mounding Phlox: Easy To Grow Perennial Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Dianthus Dreams: Caring For Carnations, Sweet Williams, and Pinks

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The post Dianthus Dreams: Caring For Carnations, Sweet Williams, and Pinks is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Carnations, sweet william, pinks! There’s such a wide diversity of dianthus plants out there, all of which are beloved by gardeners for their frilly flowers and their green foliage. But with all this variety, how do you take care of them? Are there diseases or pests that are likely to prey on your plants, and … Read more

The post Dianthus Dreams: Caring For Carnations, Sweet Williams, and Pinks is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Black Eyed Susan: How To Grow And Care For Rudbeckia Plants

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The post Black Eyed Susan: How To Grow And Care For Rudbeckia Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Black eyed susan or brown-eyed susan, coneflower or Gloriosa daisy. These names describe the Rudbeckia species of plants. This relative of the sunflower grows both wild and in garden settings, and it’s a beautiful addition to your yard! But what really is the difference between a black-eyed susan or a browneyed one? Is a coneflower … Read more

The post Black Eyed Susan: How To Grow And Care For Rudbeckia Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Bee Balm: How To Grow And Care For Monarda

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The post Bee Balm: How To Grow And Care For Monarda is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

We all want to encourage pollinators to populate our gardens. After all, without those pollinating insects, we don’t have flowers or produce! And so, to draw beneficial insects to our yards, we tend to use plants like bee balm. But what is bee balm, exactly? It’s a part of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and an … Read more

The post Bee Balm: How To Grow And Care For Monarda is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Bleeding Heart Flower: How to Care For Dicentra Spectabilis

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The post Bleeding Heart Flower: How to Care For Dicentra Spectabilis is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Ever wondered if there was a heart-shaped flower that you could give to your loved one? Well, look no further, because here’s a type of plant that produces strings of up to twenty of them at a time! Dicentra spectabilis, now known officially as Lamprocapnos spectabilis, is known more popularly by its original taxonomical name. … Read more

The post Bleeding Heart Flower: How to Care For Dicentra Spectabilis is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

7 Famous Types of Orchids You Can Grow

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The post 7 Famous Types of Orchids You Can Grow is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

In previous centuries, orchids were a real rarity. Orchid hunters would head off on perilous voyages to tropical areas and bring these delicate flowers back home for wealthy households. Orchids were associated with class, elegance and extraordinary beauty fit for royalty. This particular flower is reported to have first come about during the time of […]

The post 7 Famous Types of Orchids You Can Grow is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Purple Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata) Care and Benefits

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The post Purple Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata) Care and Benefits is by
hp4u and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

There are hundreds of different species in the passionflower family, all of them absolutely gorgeous. Aside from their beauty, they have a whole host of medicinal benefits that make them a double-whammy in your garden.Read on to learn exactly how to grow, care for, and use the purple passion flower.​ Quick Navigation Passiflora Incarnata OverviewTypes of […]

The post Purple Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata) Care and Benefits is by
hp4u and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

8 Common-But-Deadly Plants Lurking In Your Backyard (Yeah, No. 4 Surprised Us, Too)

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8 Common-But-Deadly Plants Lurking In Your Backyard

Oleander. Image source: Pixabay.com

It’s alarming to learn that some of the prettiest flowering plants are also the most toxic. Some are poisonous if ingested or eaten, and others can cause serious problems simply by being touched or smelled. This is of particular concern with small children, who often love to pick, smell and sometimes taste a flower.

Here are the top eight that we’ve found (beginning with the worst).

1. Water hemlock or spotted parsley(Cicuta maculata)

Water hemlock. Image source: Pixabay.com

Water hemlock. Image source: Pixabay.com

According to the USDA, the water hemlock is the most toxic plant growing in North America. It has small white flowers that grow like umbrellas in a cluster. It’s unlikely that you or anyone else would ever intentionally plant this flower. In fact, reputable nurseries and garden centers won’t sell it.

It commonly occurs in our gardens as a seed, carried by the wind from a field or prairie, and we admire its flower and delicate display. It can kill you in 15 minutes with severe seizures and convulsions if you eat it, resulting in cardiovascular collapse and asphyxia. If you find it in your garden, kill it! Get rid of it!

2. Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum)

Rhododendron. Image source: Pixabay.com

Rhododendron. Image source: Pixabay.com

A very common plant that we often put in our gardens. But if you eat any part of this plant, the response is immediate, beginning with drooling, tearing, vomiting uncontrollably and a gradual decrease in pulse rate and dangerously low blood pressure.  A coma can follow, leading to violent seizures and potential death.

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On the bright side, they’re very pretty flowers.

3. Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Hydrangea. Image source: Pixabay.com

Hydrangea. Image source: Pixabay.com

This is a beautiful vine that grows great in shade and offers large flowers in blue, white and pink. Unfortunately, every part of it is poisonous. It has a poison called “hydragin,” which is a cyanogenic glycoside, and can be more poisonous than cyanide. If you or a child eats any part of this plant you can expect shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, rapid pulse, a drop in blood pressure and convulsions.

4. Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the valley. Image source: Pixabay.com

Lily of the valley. Image source: Pixabay.com

My mother’s not going to like this one. She has Lily of the Valley all over her yard and loves it. I grew up picking these flowers and putting them in a small glass on the kitchen table, and Mom thought that was great. It’s not great. It’s toxic. Sorry, Mom. All parts are deadly, including the water that I used to place them into. Even the smallest bite can result in heart contractions, hot flashes, low pulse rates, red blotches and could cause coma and death. Yikes!

5. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Foxglove. Image source: Pixabay.com

Foxglove. Image source: Pixabay.com

Foxglove is a biannual plant. That means it only blooms in its second year after planting. It’s a tall plant with pretty, purple cup-like blooms. I planted this when I was very young and had no idea it could cause an instant heart attack.

The Latin prefix, “digitalis,” tells the story. An extract from this plant is actually used to treat ventricular fibrillation. Just sucking or nibbling on the plant can lead to an instant heart attack, especially with children. It’s grown clinically as a heart medicine. That’s okay because they know what they’re doing.  The rest of us should not have this in our gardens.

6. Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna)

My granddaughter and I were picking black raspberries. Next to the raspberry patch was a small plant with beautiful purple berries. My granddaughter said, “Wow, look at these!” I shouted and pulled her away. She started to cry. I hugged her and then explained to her how poisonous these berries actually were.

Deadly nightshade

Deadly nightshade

In fact, the nightlock berries at the end of the first Hunger Games movie were inspired by deadly nightshade or “belladonna.” Every part of the plant is absolutely poisonous. If you eat a few berries, you could lose the ability to speak due to paralysis in your throat. Respiratory distress soon follows, in addition to violent convulsions and eventual death.

No one plants these in their backyard, but they are common everywhere and can easily find their way to your yard and garden. Don’t waste a second admiring their pretty and delicate purple flowers and iridescent purple berries. Dig them out by the roots and burn them!

7. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Oleander. Image source: Pixabay.com

Oleander. Image source: Pixabay.com

Many of us plant this with abandon due to its fragrant white buds and its dark green leaves. It’s a very popular ornamental shrub. It also has enough toxins on a leaf to kill an infant or toddler. In fact, even a sniff of the flower can induce serious symptoms.

The entire plant is poisonous, and ingesting any part of it leads to vomiting, diarrhea, circulatory problems, seizures, failure of the central nervous system, and tremors leading to coma and death. For my money, the pretty flowers aren’t worth the risk.

8. Mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens)

Mistletoe. Image source: Pixabay.com

Mistletoe. Image source: Pixabay.com

No one plants mistletoe. It’s a parasitic plant that shows up in various trees and uses the tree to nourish its growth. It’s popular at Christmas. It has sticky, white berries. They’re absolutely poisonous. In fact, the entire plant is poisonous.

Symptoms of mistletoe poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, gastroenteritis — which is an inflammation of the stomach and small intestines — and cardiovascular collapse. Pets are especially at risk around this plant, especially if it has emerged from the base of a tree.

If you need an excuse to exchange a kiss at Christmas, skip the mistletoe.

What would you add to this list? Share your knowledge in the section below:

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7 Garden Plants That (Really Do) Repel Squirrels

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7 Garden Plants That (Really Do) Repel Squirrels

Image source: Pixabay.com

I remember being devastated one spring when, as a new homeowner and a new gardener, I found all my carefully planted tulip bulbs unearthed and eaten. Squirrels were the culprits. Those furry, chattering creatures were not content with the plentiful supply of acorns from nearby trees, and they went after my new bulbs instead.

Squirrels certainly can be a nuisance to the gardener. They are avid foragers. In fact, they spend most of their time gathering food and either eating it or storing it for the future.

Squirrels are also quite persistent and will dig holes and chew through almost anything that gets in the way of their pursuit of a tasty meal. Instead of nibbling on flowers or shoots as deer and rabbits do, squirrels will dig down to pull up and devour bulbs.

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However, there are some bulb plants and other plants that squirrels usually avoid. Here are seven garden plants that repel squirrels.

1. Daffodils

Daffodils and other members of the Narcissi family can deter not only squirrels but also deer and rabbits. Squirrels do not like their taste or their smell.

Although I am a fan of the bright sunny yellow daffodil, these blooms come in orange, white and combinations of bright colors as well. Daffodils are hardy in a range of climates. They are lovely border plants and can provide an early spring burst of color between your shrubs or around your trees.

2. Alliums

7 Garden Plants That (Really Do) Repel Squirrels

Image source: Pixabay.com

Squirrels also are not fond of alliums, which are relatives of the onion family. The ornamental varieties of these plants have large, round flowers that come in white, purple, pink, yellow and blue. Edible alliums include garlic, scallions and onions. These varieties produce a strong odor that repels squirrels. Alliums are hardy perennials in many climates.

3. Fritillaries

In addition to the interesting colors and patterns of their blooms, fritillaries, which are part of the Liliaceae family, have a strong scent that squirrels avoid. Fritillaries are hardy in zones 5 through 9.

These plants do well in rock gardens or as border plantings. Look for Fritillaria meleagris, which has single or double blooms in a checkboard maroon and or a red-purple or red-white pattern.

4. Galanthus

The strong scent from Galanthus bulbs may keep squirrels from foraging in your garden. There are many species of Galanthus, including perennial bulb varieties that bloom from spring well into fall.

The giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) variety has large statement flowers that add drama to your garden.

5. Hyacinth

Although I love the deep blue hyacinths best, these plants come in many shades of reds, purples and whites, too. These spring-flowering bulbs look impressive when planted in groups of 10 or more plants.

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Hyacinths have fragrant flowers that bloom in dense clusters, and squirrels do not like them.

6. Lily-of-the-Valley

What’s great about these pretty plants is that they can thrive in shady areas of your garden. The plant stems are covered with dainty bell-shaped flowers that have a strong scent that squirrels dislike, as well as bright green, sword-shaped leaves.

These plants are easy to grow and they thrive as perennials in many zones.

7. Geraniums

I know I can count on geraniums to withstand cool temperatures of spring and fall as well as plenty of hot sun in the summer. In addition, these workhorses of the flower garden have a scent that repels squirrels.

Geraniums like moist, well-drained soil. Pinch spent blooms for more color.

In conclusion, it’s a good idea to think with your nose when trying to keep squirrels away from your garden. You also might want to try sprinkling hot spices, such as chili powder or cayenne pepper, around areas they frequent in your flower or vegetable beds.

Peppermint is another natural squirrel repellent. You can plant peppermint plants or spray a mist of water with a few drops of pure peppermint oil added to it.

Good luck!

How do you keep squirrels out of your garden? Share your tips in the section below:

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3 Off-Grid Ways To Make Dandelion Wine (Yes, Wine)

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3 Off-Grid Ways To Make Dandelion Wine (Yes, Wine)

Image source: Pixabay.com

You’ve heard the motivational phrase about making lemonade from lemons. Well, what about making wine out of weeds? Literally.

The next time you see a fresh crop of dandelions spreading across your lawn, don’t think about how you are going to kill them. Instead, think about the great wine you are going to make out of them.

If this sounds a little crazy, let me assure you it is not. Dandelion wine is a time-tested, well-loved beverage that is made from those pervasive weeds. And, what’s more, it is pretty easy to make.

Thought to be of Celtic origin, dandelion wine is regarded as a European country wine. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, when it was considered improper for ladies to drink alcohol, dandelion wine was recommended as an acceptable medicinal wine for the kidneys and digestive system.

If you need more convincing, dandelion is high in calcium, vitamin A and protein.

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The Internet is rife with dandelion wine recipes – some of which have been passed down through the generations — clearly showing that there is no one true way to make the stuff. Some use the whole flower heads only (no petals), some use flower heads and greenery but no stalks, some use flower heads, greenery and stalks, and still others only use the flower petals. However, they all have dandelions — lots of dandelions — and some form of sweetener.

Wine made from dandelion petals (rather than the whole head) has a gentler taste and is more aromatic than wine made from the whole heads. Wine made from the whole heads has a heavier taste because of a higher concentration of tannin. The choice, then, is a taste preference and a timesaving preference. Plucking the petals is time-intensive, after all.

Dandelion wine is light tasting and lacks body for some wine drinkers. Therefore, many recipes call for bodybuilding ingredients, such as raisins, dates, figs or even rhubarb. How much sugar you add in the wine-making process determines whether the end product is dry, semi-sweet or sweet.

How to Harvest Dandelions

Dandelions tend to close up at night, so your best bet is to choose a hot, dry sunny afternoon to pick your dandelions. Avoid flowers that are damp or wet.

Arm yourself with a bucket, because you need about a gallon of flower heads to make a gallon of wine. If you are just using flower heads, pluck off the heads and gently place them in the bucket. If necessary, you can pick your dandelions over the course of a few days, but store them in the freezer until you have enough flowers for the amount of wine you want to make.

3 Off-Grid Ways To Make Dandelion Wine (Yes, Wine)

Image source: Pixabay.com

If you have small children, you can enlist their help. Kids enjoy picking dandelions, and they can help cut down on the bending you would have to do if you tackle the project alone.

Here are three recipes for making your own homemade dandelion wine:

1. Recipe one

Ingredients

  • 3 qt dandelion blossoms
  • 1 gal water
  • 2 oranges, with peel
  • 1 lemon, with peel
  • 3 pounds sugar
  • 1 package wine yeast
  • 1 lb raisins
  • Sterilized bottles and corks

Directions

1) Collect the blossoms when they are fully open on a sunny day.

2) Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the flowers in a large pot. Cover pot and let steep for three days.

3)  Slice fruit and make zest from peels.

4) Add orange and lemon zest to the flower-water mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, strain out solids, then add the sugar, stirring until it is dissolved. Let cool.

5) Add orange and lemon slices, yeast and raisins to the liquid. Cover mixture with a loose lid to ferment.

6)  When the mixture has stopped bubbling, which can take up to a week, the fermentation process is complete. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth and then transfer to sterilized bottles.  Place a deflated balloon over the top of each bottle to monitor fermentation. If the balloon remains deflated for 24 hours, the fermentation process is complete.

7) Cork the bottles and store them in a cool, dark place for six months or more before drinking.

2. Recipe two

Ingredients

  • Half-gallon dandelion flowers
  • 2 oranges, juice and thinly sliced peels
  • 1 lemon, juice and thinly sliced peels
  • Small piece of ginger root
  • 1-1/2 lbs sugar
  • 1/2 oz yeast

Directions

1) Place flowers in a large pot or crock and pour a half gallon of boiling water over them, making sure they are completely covered with water.

2) Cover pot and steep for three days.

3) After three days, strain the flowers from the liquid and then squeeze flowers to get all their juice.

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4) Pour mixture into a cooking pot. Add ginger root, lemon and orange juice and zest.

5) Add sugar and gradually boil mixture for 20 minutes.

6) Pour liquid back into the rock and let cool. Add the yeast.

7) Pour mixture into a fermenting jug that is fitted with an airlock. Wine will ferment in six days to three weeks.

8) When the fermentation process is complete, transfer liquid to sterilized bottles with caps or corks. Let bottles stand for six months.

Story continues below video

 

3. Recipe Three

Ingredients

  • 1 qt dandelion petals
  • ¾ lb chopped golden raisins
  • 2 lbs granulated sugar
  • 3 lemons, both juice and zest
  • 3 oranges, both juice and zest
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 7½ pts water
  • Activated wine yeast

Directions

1) Pluck petals from dandelions.

2) Pour boiling water over dandelion petals into a sterile glass jug or food grade bucket.

3) After 2 hours, strain and discard petals.

4) Return water to heat and bring to low boil.

5) Add juice and sugar, stirring well to dissolve.

6) Add zest and chopped raisins.

7) Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

8) When mixture reaches room temperature, stir in yeast nutrient and activated yeast. Cover pot.

9) Stir three times per day for about 10 days to two weeks.

10) Strain mixture into secondary fermenter with a snug airlock.

11) After three weeks, transfer the liquid part (leaving the sediment) into another sanitized fermenter. Fill to top with sterile water and reattach the airlock device.

12) When the wine clears, wait 30 days and then top up and refit airlock device. Age wine at least six to 12 months.

If you would like to read more about how to make dandelion wine, here are a few good resources:

  • Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines by Helen S. Wright, published by Press Holdings International, 2001.
  • The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz, published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012
  • Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest, published by Storey Publishing, 2014

Have you ever made dandelion wine? What tips would you add? Share your advice in the section below:

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Deer Hate These 7 Plants (So Plant Them Around Your Garden)

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Deer Hate These 7 Plants (So Plant Them Around Your Garden)

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Deer are lovely, gentle animals that are a pleasant sight to see – when they are on someone else’s property, that is. As anyone who has had hungry deer visit their garden knows, deer cease to be appealing when they devour your flowers and vegetables.

Deer are crafty and agile creatures that can jump fences and find their way around many obstacles in pursuit of a tasty meal. So what are some natural ways to deter deer from your garden?

Deer tend to avoid plants with strong odors, with unusual textures — such as fuzzy leaves or spiny stems — or with bitter tastes. Therefore, you may find success in protecting your tender greens and flowers from deer by building a border around them of plants that the animals dislike.

Here are seven garden plants that repel deer:

1. Bee balm

A native wildflower that has been hybridized for gardens, bee balm can make a striking addition to your garden with dramatic summer blooms.

Deer Hate These 7 Plants (So Plant Them Around Your Garden)

Bee balm. Image source: Pixabay.com

The fragrant flower attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, but deer do not care for the aroma. You can harvest the leaves for use in salad, or you can dry them for a delicious tea.

If you have room in a sunny spot, you can let bee balm plants spread for large splashes of color. Picking the flowers or deadheading them encourages a second round of blooms. To repel deer, use it as a border plant or in containers around your garden area.

2. Chives

Deer tend to steer clear of chives because of their strong odor and flavor. Chives are easy to grow and once they are established, they self-sow. In addition, chives boast pretty white or purple flowers in summer.

To deter deer, you can plant chives throughout your landscaping and alongside your veggies. They also grow well in containers.

3. Cosmos

Available in a wide variety of color, cosmos is an easy-maintenance flowering plant that deer dislike. Cosmos tolerate a wide range of soil types and can handle dry conditions.

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Cosmos plants can range from one to five feet, so they can add height and color to your beds. Pinching off flowers will increase blooming. Fast-growing cosmos can be used as a hedge around the plants deer find tasty.

4. Garlic

Home-grown garlic adds flavor and nutrition to many pasta dishes, and guess what? Deer don’t like the smell or taste of garlic. Thus, by planting some garlic bulbs among your vegetables, you can deter deer from munching on your other plants.

Other than needing well-draining soil, garlic requires little maintenance.

5. Oleander

Deer Hate These 7 Plants (So Plant Them Around Your Garden)

Image source: Pixabay.com

If you’re looking for something larger to deter deer from your garden beds, consider oleander. An evergreen shrub that can grow up to 20 feet tall, oleander has attractive white, red, pink or yellow blossoms in spring and early summer.

The plant is poisonous to deer, and deer instinctively avoid it.

6. Rosemary

A hardy herb with needle-like leaves that are a favorite of many cooks, rosemary has a strong aroma that deer dislike.

The woody-stemmed plant can commonly reach three feet in height, and in mild climates, it makes an attractive evergreen hedge that displays white, pink, purple or blue flowers in the spring. Rosemary likes full sun and well-drained soil.

7. Russian sage

If you are looking for an attractive easy-to-grow herb that deer dislike, look no further than Russian sage. This hardy perennial will grow up to five feet tall, boasting fragrant and lovely lavender-blue flowers in the spring.

Russian sage can provide a pretty border to deter hungry deer from your veggies and plants.

Keep in mind that deer are persistent creatures, and many gardeners report that what deterred deer one season will have seemingly no effect the following season.

What plants do you use that repel deer? Share your tips in the section below:

Sources:

http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/deerdef/bridgen_list.pdf

http://store.msuextension.org/publications/YardandGarden/MT199521AG.pdf

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/deschutes/sites/default/files/deer_resistant_plants_ec.pdf

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/2302.html

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Bugs Eating Your Vegetables? These 7 Beneficial Flowers Will Chase Them Away

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Gone are the days when vegetable gardens were planted in neat, perfectly measured rows that would please the toughest drill sergeant. Flowers, which don’t take well to precision planting, were relegated to their own beds.

These days, organic gardeners understand that vegetables and flowers can be the best of friends. Like true friendships, one complements the other, and life is better for both, which means increased yield for you.

Careful companion planting uses space more efficiently. For example, tall plants provide shade for tender, low-growing plants, while vining or low-growing plants serve as living mulch.

Certain blooming plants possess various qualities that tend to repel pests. Some, known as trap plants, are brave souls that sacrifice their own wellbeing by drawing pests away from susceptible vegetables. Others help organic gardeners by attracting beneficial insects that feast on veggie-destroying marauders.

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One of the best things about planting a few flowers in the vegetable garden, apart from their obvious color and beauty, is their ability to attract fleets of bees and other critical pollinators.

Companion Planting Flowers and Vegetables

Companion planting is one part science and two parts pure experimentation. Some flower-veggie partnerships may work for you, and others may not. To find out, rely on combinations that make sense for your gardening plan. Include a few flowers that bring you pleasure, and you can’t go wrong.

1. Nasturtiums.

With their happy-go-lucky nature and bright yellow, orange and gold flowers, nasturtiums are one of the most effective trap plants in the garden. The plants excrete an oil that aphids and other pests adore, which means they quickly lose interest in your beans, corn, cucumbers and tomatoes.

2. Petunias.

Like nasturtiums, petunias are a trap crop that draws aphids, leafhoppers and beetles away from plants like squash, asparagus and cucumbers.

3. Sunflowers.

Sunflowers take up a lot of space, but they’re fantastic if you have a sunny spot where their shade won’t be a problem. Birds love sunflower seeds, and they also like to perch on the tall plants. While they’re in the neighborhood, they’re likely to swoop down and scoop up a few beetles, grasshoppers and cabbageworms. As an added benefit, many gardeners believe sunflowers draw thrips away from veggies, especially peppers.

4. Marigolds.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

If you plant only one type of companion flower in your garden, make it marigolds. Marigolds are easy to get along with, and the bright spot of color is irresistible to hoverflies and bees. More importantly, the roots excrete a powerful natural chemical that is fatal to nematodes and other underground pests.

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Marigolds are beneficial for nearly any veggie in the garden, especially onions, garlic, melons, corn, tomatoes, squash and radishes. If rabbits are munching on your veggies, a row of the strong-scented flowers may be enough to keep them at bay.

5. Dianthus. 

Some gardeners swear that dianthus, also known as pinks, help draw slugs from your tender vegetable plants. If slugs are a problem in your garden, dianthus is definitely worth a try.

6. Calendula.

The bright color of calendula attracts ladybugs, lacewings and other aphid-eating insects, and some gardeners say calendula draw earwigs away from corn and other veggies. Calendula is especially beneficial when planted in the vicinity of kale.

7. Zinnias.

Zinnias draw pollinators and predatory insects like ladybugs to the vegetable garden. Additionally, they attract hummingbirds, which aren’t only fun to watch, but reduce the numbers of many flying pests, especially pesky mosquitoes.

What companion flowers would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

hydrogen peroxide report

Spring fever yet?

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Spring fever yet?
DJ Cooper “Surviving Dystopia

Spring fever yet?If you’re like me spring fever is in full swing about now. Every time I look out the window at the pitiful lonely garden space, I just want to go throw some seeds at it or something. The yearning for the spring time air for even the hardiest of winter lovers is setting in. I hear the birds chirping their spring come quickly songs and even seen a couple of the mice outside the house too.

Listen in this week or better yet come chat with us LIVE!
Let’s talk about spring and all the wonderful and work related things that comes with this season of rebirth.

2-24-16 potsFrom frost dates to which seeds should be sown outside and which should be started inside, and for that matter how many weeks ahead, there is indeed a whole lot of planning going on around the homestead.

2-24-16 spring_chick_and_daffodilsSpeaking of planning, I am planning to add some baby chicks here in a few weeks and it is certainly still a little cold for these little cuties to be outside yet, so plans must be made for them as well.

Anyone who gardens knows that gardening starts long before we actually put plants into the garden and this week is a good time to start thinking about some of the things to get a head start on our garden and springtime homestead chores. With some planning one might find in the future, an abundance of perennials that pop up all by themselves. Even these need a little spring time sprucing and feeding.

2-24-16 photo-originalConsidering bees? Now might be a good time to do some study on the subject because they are still sleeping. Come spring you will need to be ready for the hungry hoard buzzing about looking for some tasty flowers to start gathering nectar from. Late spring is when you can often times find a swarm in need of a home.

There are many things besides your garden waking up in the spring. We can both stave off the winter blues and be one step ahead in time for the spring plant. Our show this week will examine some of the wisdom, DIY and homestead hacks I found while lurking about in my spring feverish state.
Next week: Off Grid Money Making.
Surviving Dystopia Blog:www.survivingdystopia.com

Join us for Surviving Dystopia “LIVE SHOW” every Wednesday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Spring fever yet?” in player below!

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The Simple Way To Dye Fabric Naturally With Plants

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The Simple Way To Dye Fabric Naturally With Food

Image source: Pixabay.com

As you explore different ways of creating and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle, you may want to experiment with the art of natural dyeing. Native peoples for millennia have used plants to create colorful dyes for decorating their clothing, their homes and even their bodies.

The great news is that you can find what you need for dyes right in your own backyard. You can use roots, nuts, berries and flowers to create a wide variety of colors and color combinations for dyeing your clothing items. As you get the hang of the dyeing process, you will enjoy experimenting with many different shades.

For best results, blossoms should be in full bloom. Berries should be ripe, and nuts should be mature. In order not to threaten the health of a plant, do not gather or harvest more than two-thirds of a stand of a plant.

Here are some common plants and the colors they produce:

  • Blackberries, iris root, walnut hulls – purple, dark purple, gray.
  • The Simple Way To Dye Fabric Naturally With Food

    Elderberries. Image source: Pixabay.com

    Raspberries, cherries, strawberries, beetroot, plum skin, red and pink roses — red/pink.

  • Pomegranates, beets, bamboo, reddish hibiscus, bloodroot – red/brown.
  • Red sumac berries, basil leaves, day lilies, pokeweed berries, huckleberries — red-purple.
  • Blueberries, red cabbage, purple grapes, elderberries, red mulberries – blue.
  • Onion skin – yellow/brown.
  • Turmeric — yellow/orange.
  • Carrots, gold lichen – orange.
  • Bay leaves, sunflower petals, marigolds, St John’s Wort, paprika, turmeric, dandelion flowers, celery leaves, Queen Anne’s lace roots, lilac twigs, barberry roots, mahonia roots, yellow dock roots – yellow.
  • Dandelion roots, oak bark, walnut hulls, tea, coffee, acorns, coffee, tea – brown.
  • Spinach, artichokes, Savoy cabbage, peppermint leaves, sorrel roots, snapdragons, grass, plantain, lilacs, nettles, peach leaves – green.

After you have gathered your plant material, it is time to consider your fabric. As you might expect, natural fabrics, such as cotton, silk, linen and wool, will absorb the natural dyes with the best results.

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You may dye synthetic fabrics with plants, but the colors will be less vibrant.

It is a good idea to use a scrap of fabric to test the color and to gauge the color saturation before you begin the dyeing process.

Your next step is to prepare the fabric for dyeing by soaking it in a color fixative. This step helps the fabric absorb the color more readily.

For berries, you will use salt as the fixative, and for other plants, you will use vinegar. Dissolve a half cup of salt in eight cups of cold water, or combine one part white vinegar with four parts cold water.

Next, place your damp fabric in the correct fixative solution for about an hour. Rinse with cool water and then wring out extra water.

The Simple Way To Dye Fabric Naturally With Food

Image source: Pixabay.com.

Now you are ready to make your dye solution. Chop your desired plant material into small pieces and place them in a large non-reactive pot (glass or stainless steel work well). Cover with twice as much water as plant material. Bring solution to a boil, and then let it simmer for about an hour.

Next, strain out the plant material and add your fabric to the solution. Depending on the plant you are using, you could get the desired shade in as little as 15 minutes. The longer the fabric stays in the dye, the deeper the color. For a very strong shade, you can allow your fabric to soak in the dye overnight.

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Rinse the fabric well until the water runs clear. Then hang it up to dry. Continue to wash dyed items separately from other items in your laundry, as the color many run until all excess dye is removed.

How does the dyeing process work?

Fruit and vegetables contain colorful chemicals called polyphenols. These polyphenols are the reason your clothing, tablecloth or carpet gets stained when you spill certain food or drink. They attach to fabric and dye it.

Salt and vinegar help the polyphenols stay attached to the fabric. Without them, the dye would fade each time you wash the fabric.

The best part about using natural dyes is the satisfying aspect of it. As you experiment with different colors and color combinations, you will marvel at the beauty of natural fabric enhanced with natural dyes.

Here’s a final tip: Make sure you dye only what you want to dye. Cover your counter top and the clothes you are wearing while you work. And wear rubber gloves to keep the dye from staining your hands.

Do you use natural dyes? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

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