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Substitute and Solve - Toxic-free defences for weeds in rocks

Dear Reena,

I have two questions: How can I stop weeds and little plants from growing in between river rock? I do pull out as much as I can. Secondly,moss grows on the aggregate sidewalks and I would like to use something non-toxic to get this clean. Thanking you, Adelon

Dear Adelon,

Without using toxic chemicals, here are the best defence methods against weeds growing through areas covered by river rock. Remove rocks and lay one of the following: landscape fabric, a thick sheet of plastic or newspaper underneath rocks. Here is a wonderful weed killer formula suitable for river rock and cleaning sidewalk areas. Pour boiling water or acetic acid (pickling vinegar) onto weeds. Regular white vinegar (the kind we eat with french fries is not strong enough). Or in a pot combine and stir together one gallon pickling vinegar, onepound salt and one tablespoon dish soap. Pour over weeds. Repeat as needed. (Caution: These methods will kill all treated plants).

Did you know? Newspaper is biodegradable and when composted it turns into mineral rich top-soil, packed with nutrients.

Hi Reena,

I have a fabric shower curtain that becomes pink and discoloured along the bottom soon after I wash it. I always pull it closed after showering so it dries, but is there anything I can do to stop this from happening? Thanks. Irmgard

Dear Irmgard,

This often occurs either due to hard water or when moisture sits on shower curtains and accumulates bacteria. Wipe the curtain dry after use and make sure that no dripping faucets soak the curtain. Leave the bathroom exhaust fan on for a few minutes to reduce humidity in the bathroom. Wash the curtain with colour-safe bleach or purchase a curtain liner or a curtain made from another material.

Hi Reena,

I am wondering if you have a special cleaning solution for getting bird droppings off of lawn furniture. Ron

Dear Ron,

I have a budgie named Garry, and the best defence against bird dropping stains is to scrub the area with heavy duty detergent, water and a stiff brush. Rinse and blot all areas with water. If stains are noticeable, spray with WD-40, blot and rinse with dish soap and water (test on inconspicuous area first).

Dear Reena,

I love the taste of restaurant caesar salad. When I make it at home, I never know how much salad dressing to add to the lettuce. If I add too much, the croutons become soggy. If I add too little, it lacks flavour. Any suggestions? Marcus

Dear Marcus,

While there is no set standard measurement of dressing-to-lettuce ratio, the general guideline is one-half cup dressing for a single size head of romaine lettuce. Each leaf should have some dressing but too much dressing will leave you with soggy croutons and lots of fat. When it comes to croutons, make sure that you add them just prior to serving. Another chef’s trick is to serve caesar salad in a wooden bowl. Remove the skin from a clove of garlic and rub the clove along the inside of the bowl. This adds flavour to the salad.

Dear Reena,

My husband and I enjoy reading and discussing your weekly articles.Any idea how long I can preserve homemade barbecue sauce in the fridge? Michelle

Dear Michelle,

Since most barbecue-sauce recipes contain vinegar, which is a preservative; homemade sauce lasts at least one week. After barbecue sauce is cooked, it should be stored in a clean, sterile container in the fridge. If you make barbecue sauce that is cooked and use the method of preserving, the sauce lasts for several weeks sealed and unopened at room temperature.

Weird Uses for Everyday Items:

• Erase ballpoint pen ink from hands by wiping them with the inside of a banana peel. Submitted by Helene

• Use duct tape to remove warts. Cover the wart with duct tape and leave for one week. Doing this has proven more successful than freezing them off. Submitted by Derek

• I find that adding salt to ice water actually cools drinks in a hurry. Fill a four-gallon bucket three quarter of the way with ice water and one cup salt. Place sealed bottles or cans into the bucket — they cool in a flash. Submitted by Lorisa

Keep deck cushions looking new:

• Flip and move outdoor furniture cushions from one chair to the next, during summer months. The sun will have less chance of fading one area because every cushion receives equal UV.

• Store cushions in a large crate when not in use.

• Vacuum and wipe cushions periodically to remove dust.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can’t remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my website Reena.ca.

Reena Nerbas is a rural Manitoba home economist is a lab coat - and she’s not afraid to use it. Keep your questions coming:

» householdsolutions@mts.net

(204) 320-2757

reena.ca

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 12, 2014

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Dear Reena,

I have two questions: How can I stop weeds and little plants from growing in between river rock? I do pull out as much as I can. Secondly,moss grows on the aggregate sidewalks and I would like to use something non-toxic to get this clean. Thanking you, Adelon

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Dear Reena,

I have two questions: How can I stop weeds and little plants from growing in between river rock? I do pull out as much as I can. Secondly,moss grows on the aggregate sidewalks and I would like to use something non-toxic to get this clean. Thanking you, Adelon

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