How To Grow Ginger

How To Grow A Ginger PlantGrowing ginger in your garden is really quite easy.  Purchase a fresh piece of ginger from your grocery or farmers market.  Look for a large piece with plenty of “nubs” and soak the root overnight in warm water before planting.

If you are in a northern climate where frost is a possibility, you will need to plant the ginger root in a pot that can be transferred indoors in the winter.  Either drill a hole in the bottom of the pot, or place rocks at the base for drainage.

Fill the pot with well draining soil almost to the rim.  Place the ginger root on top of the soil and cover with a thin (1/2″ to 1″) layer of dirt.  Water well and place the pot in a place that gets plenty of sunlight.

Ginger plants like to be watered regularly, but they do best in well drained soil.  When I did this experiment in our garden I tried to grow ginger in two pots, the one that received less water did much better than the one that received too much (that root rotted, an extremely stinky experience preparing that pot for the next planting).

After your ginger plant has matured, you can carefully harvest small portions of the root as needed without killing the plant.  If you are anything like us, we always end up buying much more ginger than we could use and it either rots in the refrigerator or ends up forgotten in the freezer, so having a ginger plant we can harvest from is a much more sustainable option.  If you try this let me know how the ginger does in your own garden!

How To Make An Olive Oil Candle

Ball Jar CandleOlive oil lamps are a beautiful alternative to a candle and can be quite easy to make.

While you can buy premade olive oil candle wicks, they can be somewhat expensive and it is really quite easy to make them yourself with materials you might already have on hand.

olive oil lamp
Materials:
Thick glass container, such as a ball jar
Long piece of wire
Wick (can be made of string or any thin piece of cloth)
Olive Oil
Pliers

Shape the wire into a circle with the pliers, bend one end upward toward the center and form a loop to hold the wick.

Olive oil candle tutorial
Slide the wick through the loop and wrap downward around the wire. The thicker the wick, the larger the flame you will have.

Place the wire and wick assembly into the jar and fill with olive oil until just below the bottom of the loop. Soak the wick completely with the oil and allow the oil to absorb into the fabric before lighting it.

Oil candles are a great alternative in an emergency if you don’t have any wax candles available.  They are also great for everyday use if you love candles, but want a more eco-friendly source of ambience.  Using a high quality olive oil burns with no noticeable scent or smoke and can last for quite a long time.

Remember to always use candles with caution and never leave burning unattended.

Ball Jar Soap Dispenser Tutorial

DIY Ball Jar Soap Pump What you will need:

Ball Jar
Soap Pump (I bought a dollar store soap dispenser and just used the pump)
Glue (Some people use heavy duty dishwasher safe glue, I hot-glued mine)
Scissors, drill or xacto knife

 

 

 

 

 

Take the flat ball jar lid and draw a circle in the center where you want the pump to go through the diameter of the pump (you can eye-ball this). You have a choice now as to how you wish to cut the hole. I started mine with an xacto knife (really watch your fingers if you choose this option) and finished it off with scissors. Others have had success drilling a hole through the lid. Whichever way you choose to go about this, just use caution.

Once the hole has been cut, slide the soap pump through and center it on the lid in the direction you want it to face. Hold everything together with one hand while you glue around the base with the other. If you want things to be extra secure, you could place some glue around the top of the pump before sliding it through the hole as well. I found it easier to put a few dabs of glue around the base to help hold things in place so I could seal it all the way around with glue using both hands.

Ball Jar Soap Dispenser Tutorial Once your glue is dry, just add your favorite soap to the jar, place the lid on top and twist on the band. Done!

I was able to get a pack of 12 Ball Jars for just 8.59 (with tax!) and the soap dispenser at the dollar store, so total cost was right around $1.81 for this cutie.  Not too bad considering these can cost upwards of $20 if you buy them premade.

Happy DIY!

Dishwasher Detergent Tutorial

How To Make Your Own Dishwasher DetergentI’ve been on a mission lately to figure out how to make things myself using only natural ingredients. Commercial dishwashing detergent can be pretty expensive and honestly it hasn’t been working that well for me. I’m pretty sure that I am not the only one tired of having to re-wash things like stained tea mugs by hand after they come out of the dishwasher. Not to mention the chemicals that might stick behind and end up in our food. No thank you!

I was able to find many homemade dishwashing detergents using borax, but I wanted to make something gentler using only natural ingredients. After a little bit of experimentation, here is what I came up with. I made this recipe for a small batch, it makes approx 8 tablets so you can try it out. Once you have tried it and want to make larger batches, just increase the amounts in the same proportions.

Ingredients:
30g (1/8 cup) of Citric Acid
1/2 cup Baking Soda
30g (1/8 cup) of Kosher Salt
Water in spray bottle
White Vinegar per directions

First put on some vinyl gloves to protect your hands, measure and mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Dishwasher Detergent RecipePut some water in a spray bottle (makes this easier) and do a few sprays of the water into the bowl. Mix quickly to incorporate.

 

 

 

DIY Dishwasher DetergentContinue to spray and mix until the mixture reaches the consistency of ever so slightly damp sand and holds together as shown. Don’t over water or you risk losing some of the chemical reaction.

 

 

 

Homemade all natural dishwasher detergentQuickly pack mixture into whatever molds you have. Ice cube trays will work just fine if you don’t have any decorative molds to use. I am a craft-dork, so of course I have to use the pretty ones. It is important that you only fill the molds about 1/2 – 3/4 full in case you added too much water (they will expand if this happens).

 

Let the mixture sit undisturbed for a few hours so it can dry and harden. You can then unmold them and they are ready for use right away.

I usually put these dishwasher tablets in the cutlery compartment and add about 1/2 cup of white vinegar to a measuring cup placed in the center of the top rack. I also ditched the jet dry and put white vinegar into the rinse compartment as well.

If your dishes turn out cloudy (with an almost powdery substance on them) you probably have hard water. Try increasing the amount of citric acid to twice the original amount. If you have already made up your dishwashing tablets, instead of throwing them away and starting over just add the extra citric acid to the detergent compartment when starting the cycle. This is why I made up a small amount of tablets at first – gives us a chance to figure things out and get them perfect. Once perfected, they can be made in bulk! You can also add more vinegar for a spot-free rinse.

Store tablets in a dry place – ball jars and swingtop containers work great for this and look cute too!