Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Saved Silica Gel Packs

I've been saving silica gel packs for years.  You know what I'm talking about...the pesky little packets that you find in every bottle of vitamins, box of shoes or at the bottom of a new purse.  Those little things are everywhere and I knew that there had to be a way to reuse them.

Silica gel is actually a naturally occurring mineral.  The silica gel's high surface area allows it to absorb moisture easily making it useful as a drying agent. 
I wasn't sure how I was going to reuse the packets until I  read a tip from a reader in a crafting magazine.  She saved her packs and used them to dry flower petals for potpourri and sachets.  It was an "ah ha" moment.  I knew I had kept them for a reason.   
Last year I decided my Christmas gifts would be from the heart and hand (and 100% recycled) and one of the gifts were rose and lavender sachets.  Over the summer I picked my most fragrant roses just as they reached full bloom and placed the petals in the covered box of silica gel.  The petals dried quickly without any mildew and the petals retained their fragrance.
I mixed the petals with dried lavender buds and a couple drops of rose sachet oil that I had on hand. 

My sachet holders were circles cut from a old piece of lace saved after my wedding, and the ribbons are reused.

Continuing my quest to be ecofriendly I included a few thoughts on how to reuse/recycle this gift.
The tag reads:
Rose and Lavender Potpourri
Prepared from fresh and dried
Rose petals and Lavender buds
Rose sachet oil
Once the scent has faded this sachet can
be recycled by composting
the petals and buds, or by scattering
them in your yard where they
will decompose

 Be well and happy garden gift giving!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Leftover Laundry Jugs Water Thirsty Plants

One of the best ways I know to keep my carbon footprint low is to find 2nd uses for everyday items.  This can be a bit of a challenge at times but keeping things out of the landfill, and even the recycling plant is one of my goals in life. 
I purchase laundry detergent in the large size (less packaging) and the bottle has a great afterlife as a watering can.
All you need is an empty, rinsed out laundry detergent bottle and a drill.

Place the cap upside down on a flat surface.  Don't do this on your dining room table.  You'll be drilling through the lid and that won't be good for your table.  I use a heavy piece of wood on top of my planting table when I'm using a drill.
I like to put lots of holes in the lid, about 15 or so.  This doesn't take much time but you may have to run your drill in reverse to get the drill bit out of the lid. 

Thats it, just fill with water and carry out to your thirsty plants.
I keep containers by my kitchen door and fill them when I'm warming water before running the dishwasher or shower. 
Give a quick tip of the jug for a gentle splash of water or squeeze the sizes to get a steady stream going. 
Be well and happy gardening!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Eraser Easily Sows Seeds

I got this tip out of a garden magazine years ago.  I don't know how this clever gardener came up with the idea, but it's a great one and I'm happy I can pass it along.
To make sowing seeds quick and easy, use a pencil with an eraser.

Pour some seeds out of your packet.
Dip the eraser in water. 
Touch the eraser to one of the seeds.  The seed will latch on to the eraser like they were magnets.

Place the eraser on the soil, pressing down to the desired depth.  Give the pencil a twist and the seed will come off in the soil. 

Press the soil over your seed.  Give it some water and it's ready to grow.
Using this method I can finish my seed sowing in record time.  I don't even have to moisten the eraser again.  The moisture from the soil is enough to keep the seeds sticking to the eraser.
Be well and happy gardening.