It’s always … And Stuff.
From time to time, various companies with natural products, or products that appeal to me (coffee makers, anyone?), invite me to test out their Stuff. So I do, you know, because … Stuff.
The folks at New York Biology have sent me a bunch of different things to try; essential oils, skin oils and creams, and now this anti-cellulite massage oil. You know, there are no miracles in a bottle for me. I’m a short, pudgy Sicilian chick, with big hair and big boobs. I’m never going to be Cindy Crawford. But you know what? I used this stuff, and while I did NOT become tall and thin and blonde, my skin really does look a lot better. If you decide to try it, be sure you use it right out of the tub or shower, as it works better on wet skin. I’d spend money on this product. You can read more about it here.
Next, was a bag of tea from Cuppa Magic. Insomnia is literally the scourge of my existence. I love sleep when I can get it, but most of the time … Insomnia. Ugh. Now, everyone in my house has sleep disturbance issues, and we’ve tried everything. Supplements, herbs, all of it. I can’t do Benedryl like lots of folks can, melatonin doesn’t work, the valerian blends make me feel like I was hit by a car. So, it’s a struggle. We’ve tried lots and lots of sleepy teas. And lots of them taste like drek. Frequently too much licorice. Or other things that taste like dirty socks. But not this tea. It’s actually quite nice. The formula that works for me is this: shut off all of my technology, soak in a hot Epsom salt and lavender bath, and have a cup of this tea with some local honey. It’s like a long, slow, warm, fuzzy slide into dreamland. Check it out here.
Oh, I almost forgot … New York Biology again. (Thanks for reminding me!) Peppermint essential oil. Great mixed in with vinegar and lavender in a spray to take the bite out of a sunburn. Awesome if your belly is giving you grief for eating the wrong stuff. Add it to a bowl or sink full of steaming hot water when you’ve got a cold, allergies or even sinusitis, duck under a towel and steam yourself to clear breathing. This is going to sound nutty, but if you’ve got mice, put out cotton balls with peppermint oil in the areas where you think the little darlings are congregating, and they’ll beat feet out of your house. Seriously. Amazon has the New York Biology peppermint oil right here.
And finally, another coffee gadget. People who know me in real life, know that I’m a little off when it comes to coffee. And I love gadgets. The folks at Vislep sent me their new coffee dripper to try. I like coffee drippers, and we own a few. This one is a little different in some pretty cool ways. It’s got a silicone grip on the handle so you won’t burn the crap out of your fingers. The dripper cone is separate from the holder. The base of the holder also has a silicone grip around it to keep it stable, which is nice if you’re setting it into the mouth of a larger mug. Like the ones I usually use. It’s easy to clean, and I just like all the features it offers. You can get one of your own here.
So enough with the Stuff … Let’s get on with the real reason we’re here …
Quite a few gardeners from more temperate climates view the fall and winter as the end of the season; a time to kick back with a cuppa and some seed catalogs. Especially when many of you live in places that have WINTER. Others in other areas know there are plenty of things to be done through the fall and winter months that will allow us to continue enjoying the pleasures of gardening. It’s now the beginning of September in Oregon. Some of us already have that last wave of bush beans and peas going, daily inspections of pumpkins and the continuing glory that is the tomato bed.
Even though fall is approaching and later, when winter is in full swing, compost is continuing to decompose, preparing itself for use in spring. Fall and winter are perfect for growing cover crops which to help improve soil for next season. Look into possibly building some cold frames. You can find building materials and old windows for very little on Craigslist, and those are stellar for building cold frames.
There are plenty of other things that you can grow during the fall and winter, both indoors and out. Plant a winter garden so you can enjoy color and attractive plants all year long.
Maintenance and Clean Up
- Dampwood termites begin flying late this month. Make sure your home is free of places where wood and soil are in contact.
- Recycle disease-free plant material and kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps into compost. Don’t compost diseased plants, or meat and dairy products from your home.
- Harvest winter squash when the “ground spot” changes from white to a cream or gold color.
- Pick and store winter squash. Later in the month, mulch carrot, parsnip and beets for winter harvesting.
- Protect tomatoes and/or pick green tomatoes and ripen indoors if frost threatens.
- Harvest potatoes when the tops die down. Store them in a dark location.
- Optimal time for establishing a new lawn is August through Mid-September.
- Aerate lawns.
- Divide peonies and iris.
- Plant or transplant woody ornamentals and mature perennials. Fall planting of trees, shrubs and perennials can encourage healthy root growth over the winter.
- Plant daffodils, tulips, and crocus for spring bloom. Work calcium and phosphorus into the soil below the bulbs at planting time.
- Plant a winter cover of annual rye or winter peas in your vegetable garden areas.
Pest Monitoring and Management
- Apply parasitic nematodes to moist soil beneath rhododendrons and azaleas that show root weevil damage (notched leaves).
- Control slugs as necessary. Least toxic management options for slugs include barriers and traps. Baits are also available for slug control; iron phosphate baits are safe to use around pets. We still like the “cheap beer in a pie-plate” method of slug and snail control.
- Monitor trailing berries for leaf and cane spot. Treat if necessary.
- Identify problems before acting, and opt for the least toxic approach. Physical and biological controls are the cornerstones of a sustainable pest management program. Use chemical controls only after you identify a pest problem and have determined that no natural or biological control will alleviate the problem. Carefully read the pesticide label. Least-toxic choices are insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, botanical insecticides and organic and synthetic pesticides. Having a hard time sourcing a solution? The folks at the extension office and the Master Gardeners are awesome.
Houseplants and Indoor Gardening
- Clean houseplants, check for insects, and repot and fertilize if necessary.
I always encourage gardeners to seek assistance from the extension offices. They’re super helpful, and just awesome people. If you happen to be in Southern Oregon, like me, you can find them either in Central Point at 541.776.7371 or in Grants Pass at 541.476.6613.