Monday, November 22, 2010

The power of bi-carb soda

Now, I just want to let those of you that don't already know, into the secret . . . . commercial cleaning products are a farce and a complete waste of money. I don't mean that they are just expensive and full of all sorts of things that I don't want to wipe all over my house, but they also don't work anywhere near as good as what you can make at home.
I first became converted not through environmental or financial issues but because I was desperately trying to clean something that no amount of expensive products could clean and in a last attempt I reached for the bi-carb soda and it came right off. I was trying to get rid of that sticky grease that gets on the tops of your kitchen cabinets that you don't realise is there until you get up an have a look and by that time it's been there so long that it is really hard to clean. Boiling hot water and soap doesn't work, any cleaning product didn't work and I spent ages rubbing and rubbing. I then sprinkled a spoon of bi-carb soda on a damp cloth and without any pressure it wiped clean off! I couldn't believe I didn't know about this before and why wasn't everyone using it?
Since then I use bi-carb (baking soda) and vinegar to clean everything in my house. Nothing beats bi-carb on a damp rag to clean porcelin, tiles, toilets, etc. If you want to kill germs like on your toilet then just wipe over with vinegar. This will clean just as good as those stinky, dangerous products that people feel they need to use.
The other day my love of bi-carb was again strengthened when I was trying to polish my stainless steel splashback and oven canopy. I had some special "stainless steel cleaner" that I had bought in a previous life and was using that. It ended up so streaky and sticking to any grease that was there that I had my husband rubbing it with all his muscle power to get it shiny like I wanted it. The result wasn't great. The next day after I was sick of looking at how bad it looked I got out the bi-carb and rubbed it on. Without any force it cleaned and polished at the same time. I just buffed it a bit afterwards with a clean dry rag and it was perfect.
Now why aren't we all using it? It's so cheap , it's an all round cleaner, and it is by far the easiest and best to use. I guess that marketing tells us we need these certain products to get the best clean. Advertisements scare us into thinking that if we aren't using hospital grade cleaners then we are putting our families at risk of being attacked by germs. But, it turns out that disinfecting too much is actually harmful to our health. Children especially need to be exposed to certain germs to be able to build an immune system to fight off nasties. Putting them in a bubble places them at risk of being susceptible to anything that comes their way outside of the home. Besides, these awful harmful products are not something you want to be wiping around on surfaces where your children are. You might kill the germs but the product itself is probably more harmful. My rule is that if my son can't eat it then it isn't safe to spread around where he will be.

I use vinegar and bi-carb soda for all cleaning in my house and I make my own soap and laundry powder which you can read about here. I do have products for the making of soap and laundry powder in the house that are not safe for children so I am careful to keep them locked up, and other than my dishwasher's detergent (if anyone knows of a homemade alternative let me know) that is all that is used that I would consider dangerous in my home.

Don't be fooled by marketing, those companies are money making industries that invest millions of dollars to try to get you to believe that you need to use their products. Well, you don't need them so keep your money for yourself!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Into Production

It has been hard to be motivated to go out into the garden of late due to all of this rain that we have been having. It has meant, however, that my vegetable garden has just about been able to look after itself and seems to be growing super fast.
I feel like I am very close to being able to cross any vegetables off my shopping list. Today I was able to go out and pick all of the vegetables for our stir fry tonight and there are plenty more varieties that are close to being ready. At the moment I am able to pick;
snowpeas, yukina savoy (an asian green), baby heirloom carrots, Tuscan black kale, baby heirloom beetroot and silverbeet. Not to mention all of the herbs that are powering along.

I am trying really hard to be always planting so that I will always have something new coming on and be without any lean times. I know that once I stop buying vegetables I won't want to go back and so need to make sure I am keeping up with the planting. My onions and garlic are going really well along with the potatoes. Once these are all ready I am going to have a go at storing them so they will last as long as possible. Hopefully it will be enough to get us through but if not I will take note to make sure that I plant enough next time. This is all trial and error and I don't expect to get things right the first time. As long as I can figure out where I have gone wrong then I am sure that I can continue to solve problems so that over the next few years I am able to maximize my yields and my garden's potential.

We are still having to buy in compost to fill the raised garden beds, but the difference that it has made to just filling with our soil is substantial, and we know that this is just a one time investment having to only need to top it up every now and again in the future. I am finding having raised garden beds so much easier to look after than just regular beds. It's easy on your back, my son can easily be involved without doing too much damage and you are starting with the best soil possible without any weeds.