Allspice Chronicles

Entertain like a Queen, Think Lean and Live Green! A personal collection of recipes,anecdotes,and good old fashioned advice…

The Great Vinegar Experiment: Part 4 (In The Garden)

by Danica Waters

I have to admit it feels a little weird to have enough material to write yet another blog entry on a single subject like vinegar.  But yes, folks, we’re on to The Great Vinegar Experiment:  Part 4 (In The Garden)!  Now that I’ve tackled everything in the house and reduced my cleaning arsenal down to a gallon of vinegar, some baking soda, a small bottle of all-natural laundry detergent, and some wood cleaner, I figure it’s time to take the Great Vinegar Experiment outside.

Along with the myriad little birds and the frisky pair of squirrels who love to scamper back and forth across my rooftop, I have four wonderful fat little brown doves who live right outside my home.  At precisely 5:45 every morning, they start cooing their little dove-coo’s.  I suppose having birds right outside your window making noise that early could be considered annoying by some, but the way I see it is they’re so darn nice about it, there’s no way I can be mad at them.  So I feed them. And I have a birdbath for them.  Yep, I’m a complete sucker when it comes to animals.  I do like to spoil them.  But all these critter conveniences get a bit on the “Yick” side – quickly.  Here’s some tried – and – true vinegar tips for maintaining all your wild-animal amenities, and more:

Hummingbird feeders must NEVER be cleaned with any type of dishsoap or detergent, as these will leave a film that is toxic to hummingbirds.  A simple solution of equal parts white vinegar and water will naturally clean your feeder and keep your little critters healthy.  (Be sure to rinse thoroughly after cleaning the feeder!)

No More Funky Green Patina! You know that funky green slime that develops on your birdbaths and fountains? Heaven knows I wouldn’t want to take a bath in one when it looks like that.  But a full-strength solution of vinegar and a nice stiff scrub brush will safely and thoroughly clean and de-scale even your slimiest outdoor water features. Rinse thoroughly and re-fill it with nice clean water. Your bathing birdies will love you for it.


Reroute the Summer Ant Parade!

I personally prefer to keep all my summer parade action on the standard 4th of July parade route, which happens to be downtown, away from my house.  Want to forego the ant parade through your house this summer?  Take your nifty full-strength white vinegar spray bottle and spray generously around windowsills, foundation cracks, door jambs, etc.  Ants hate vinegar. (Which makes me like it even more.)  And in the event they decide to move into your yard, simply pour a whole gallon of vinegar on top of the hill, concentrating especially on their front door.  I know it sounds mean, but after having seen ants attack fledgling baby birds – some who had fallen from their nest (many of whom we saved, and some we didn’t get to in time) and others who were still in their nest (that was the worst), I don’t care if I’m mean or not.  It’s my yard, and birds are welcome; ants are not.

Resolve to Get Rid of Pesky Weeds NATURALLY.

I know. There’s nothing more unsightly than grass and weeds poking through your sidewalk / driveway / patio.  But you don’t have to resort to toxic sprays to eliminate them.  Pour full-strength white vinegar on to the affected areas, and treat them regularly throughout the summer.  I should note that this should be limited to weeds poking through concrete surfaces.  If you spray this on weeds growing in your lawn, it will kill the weeds – and your lawn, too.  Just sayin’.

Bless Your Acid-Loving Bloomers!

Rhododendrons, Hydrangeas, Gardenias and Azaleas are among several plant varieties that prefer higher acidity.  Give them a little boost by occasionally watering them with a solution made with 1 C white distilled vinegar and 1 gallon water.

Preserve Your Cut Flowers (and wake up droopy ones!)

There’s nothing better than coming in with armfuls of blooms cut from your own garden.  Or blooms from anywhere, for that matter.  Don’t panic if you’re out of those little packets of flower preservative.  Make your own!  Just mix together:

2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar + 1 tsp sugar + 1 quart water

If you’re trying to refresh droopy stems, be sure to re-trim the stalks for maximum absorption.

Make Your Own Fruit and Veggie Wash

Heaven only knows how many times I’ve told my kids to wash their fruit before eating it. I say the same thing every time:  “Kids, you don’t have a foggy clue about how many people have touched that before you got to it, and I can tell you right now you don’t EVEN want to know where their hands have been.” So what do they do?  Rinse it off with water.  Like that’s going to do a lot.

But kids are kids.  They like things easy and glamorous.  Look for a small, pretty colored spray bottle and keep it at the sink, filled with a simple mild solution of 1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar in 1-1/2 quarts of water.  Chances are your kids will use it just like mine do.  And it’s the perfect way to sanitize your fruits and vegetables.  (Just remind them to rinse after they spray.  They’re kids.  They forget these things.)

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During my research, I came across several tips that I think might work really well, but alas!  I am unable to try them personally because I’m now an urbanite.  If you try them out, please share your experience by leaving a comment below.

Keep the Cats Out of the Kids’ Sandbox

It’s suggested that regularly spraying the sandbox with distilled white vinegar will discourage kitties from using it as a litter box.  A very useful tip, indeed.

Discourage Bunnies and Other Nibblers from Eating Your Plants:

This tip suggests putting a cotton ball soaked in distilled white vinegar in film containers (or other small containers), punching holes in the lids, and placing them around the garden.  If it works, this is another very useful tip!

Kill Slugs Naturally

Spray them with a mixture of 1 part distilled white vinegar and 1 part water.  Eeeewwww.

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Posted in Allspice Chronicles and Danica Waters and Green Living and Natural Ant Killer and Natural Cleaner for Hummingbird Feeders and Natural Flower Preservative and Natural Housekeeping and Home Remedies and Natural Vegetable Wash and Natural Weed Killer and vinegar by danica on June 6th, 2011 at 3:46 pm.

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