Last Updated: October 10, 1998

Toni's Favorite House & Garden Tips:

1. Easy To Make Plant Pots

  • 2 parts peat moss
  • 1 part cement
  • 1 part coarse sand

Mix dry ingredients together (in a wheel barrel or like container). Add 1 to 1.5 parts water. Enough to wet the mixture. You may want to add cement colouring (optional). Line the container you want to use as a mold (e.g., stainless steal bowl, plastic basin, square container) with a plastic garbage bag. Scoop the wet mixture in the container and pack around to cover the total area and up to the edge to about one inch in thickness. Put in drainage holes at the bottom (use your fingers). Let sit at room temperature for 3 days and then take out of the mold and use a wire brush to give the outside of the new container texture!

Great gift for anyone or for your own plants! For more tips see the Canadian Gardener web site at: www.tv.cbc.ca/canadiangardener Let me know if you try it and if you liked it!

2. Ant Repellant & Fairy Ring Remover

To 5 gal. of warm water mix:
  • 1 c. dormant oil (or vegetable oil but not as effective) and
  • 1 c. no name brand liquid dish soap.

Laden on ant hills and they will leave. The combined soap and oil suffocate the ants and the birds are not poisoned if they eat the ants. For the fairy rings. Laden the solution on the stools and all along the ring. Then soak by watering the total ring. The solution will choke the mycelium (fungus growth).

3. Cat & Dog Repellant

In one quart of water blend:
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Put in places you do not want them. Or for a short term solution put cayenne pepper in the places. You will have to replace this each time it rains. For cats in flower beds, use chicken wire or spruce cones. They do not like to walk on rough materials.

4. Wasp Traps

To 5 c. of hot water (or less depending on the strength you want) add:
  • 1/3 c. blackstrap molasses
  • 5 tblsp. white sugar
  • 2 tblsp. cooking or dormant oil
  • tsp. liquid dish soap

Put the mixture into a 2 l milk jug or 4 l jug with a handle; cut a hole at the shoulder of the jug and tie the jug by the handle into a tree or beam of the deck. Or, set in brightly coloured bowls in the yard/around the deck. Wasps crawl in to drink the mixture and cannot get out. They like sticky, sweet, dark mixture. This mixture gets thicker as the water evaporates. Replace the mixture as it fills with wasps (about one week).

5. Glass Cleaner

Mix 125 ml (1/5 c.) white vinegar with 4.5 l (1 gal.) of water. Keep in a spray bottle. Very good for cutting grease on windows and mirrors. Or 1 part ammonia to 3 parts water. Put in a spray bottle and label poisonous. Spray the solution directly on the glass surface, leave a few seconds and wipe with soft rag.

6. Clean & Dust Appliances

Spray ammonia solution onto a line-free cloth and wipe the surfaces. NEVER spray the ammonia solution directly onto electrical equipment like TVs, microwaves or stoves.

7. Oven Cleaner

Ammonia is excellent. Place a small container of full strength ammonia in the oven, overnight. The fumes will penetrate the grease and soften it for easier removal the next day when you wipe it clean. Use the ammonia to complete the cleaning.

8. Countertops & Bath Fixtures

Vinegar or bleach cleans moldy tile grout and chopping boards. Vinegar is milder so you can use it full strength to clean counters, bath fixtures and no-wax linoleum, it even shines on these surfaces.

9. Best Solution For Walls, Sinks & Tiles

Mix 50 ml (1/4 c.) washing soda, 125 ml (1/2 c.) ammonia, 50 ml (1/4 c.) vinegar and 4 l (1 gal.) warm water. Note: Never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia together. When combined they form a deadly gas. Does not require rinsing and cuts through grease and marks without damaging the paint on walls.

More to follow . . . . . . . . . . . . . .