BeyondFountains (the blog)

10.02.2016
Jennifer Khal
No comments
FOOD FOR THOUGHT or Thinking About Your FoodGrowing FOOD and Ornamentals OrganicallyWhen I host Girl Scout troops in The Secret Garden for badge work, I almost always ask the question "would you drink or eat anything that had the skull and cross bones symbol for poison on it?" Of course the answer is always a resounding "no". So I ask them, why then would we think it's ok to spray our gardens with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that contain known poisons? As an adult we might make the decision that it's ok to eat foods sprayed with chemicals because the government has deemed it safe (in a certain use and in a certain amount). However no one can really know the effects of ingesting poisons daily over the long run.I understand wanting a greener lawn, less bugs, rosier, blemish free apples. But at what cost? Are you old enough to remember the song "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell? "Farmer, farmer put away your DDT. I don't care about spots on my apples, leave me the birds and the bees please!" That song first came out in the early '70's and not long after the EPA issued a cancellation order for DDT. Yet other pesticides for commercial agriculture have taken its place and we are currently still trying to save the bee population from its continual decline, in evidence since the 1990's. What's killing our bees? According to Green Peace, one of the main reasons for the global bee decline is linked to the wide-spread use of bee-killing pesticides.What about the health of not just the bee population, but of our own? It is no secret that the increase in cancer is wide spread. I don't think it's far fetched to say it's linked to the chemicals we are consuming? Do you?So what can you do? If you grow your own food, adopt a more ecological gardening practice and stop using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in your garden. If you buy most of your family's food, then buy regional organic food. And in your food and ornamental gardens, plant bee-friendly organic flowers and use organic fertilizers and safe integrated pest management practices.At The Secret Garden we are proud to be growing almost half of the plant stock we sell. We grow our plants without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or growth regulators. This might be why our plants aren't as picture perfect as some found in other nurseries. There may even be an ant or two, the odd slug or worm in the soil. Gasp. When we do buy plants in from other nurseries, we make a point to first support commercial growers that follow this same philosophy. Look for the pink pots from Blooms with every tag proudly stating that no Neonicitinoids were used. They are one of our preferred plant providers.Why is this important? Do we really need to go so far as planting flowers and vegetables that are organic? Well, consider that the beautiful flowering plants you put in your garden may have been sprayed with Neonicitinoids and killing bees.  Or the non-organic vegetable seeds you planted may have been coated in Neonicitinoids. This chemical concoction is known to stay in a plant for up to 10 years - all parts of the plant. Do you want your beautiful home grown herbs and tomatoes laced with pesticides? I know I don't.If you need help adopting a more ecological gardening practice, visit The Secret Garden and just ask. We're happy to help. Just food for thought...Jennifer KhalThe Secret Gardenwww.secretgarden-online.com
18.01.2016
Jennifer Khal
No comments
During these shorter days of winter there is nothing better than to have a few houseplants around to remind us that summer and warmer temperatures are indeed just around the corner. Here's a little info to help you choose the right plants for your home. Houseplants serve multiple purposes, not only do they hold us over until we can get outside and enjoy the lush green of our backyards once again, but they also help to de-toxify the air. House plants are the ultimate in functional decorating. Some well-placed greenery can not only brighten a space, but also purify the air -- and they're also helpful in creating a more relaxing, restful ambiance in any room. Top 10 most beautiful houseplants that are easy to take care of and effective at increasing oxygen and clearing out toxins for cleaner breathing air: 1. Aloe Plant 2. Ivy 3. Rubber Tree 4. Peace Lily 5. Mother-in-law tongue (Snake Plant) 6. Bamboo Palm 7. Philodendron 8. Spider Plant 9. Red-Edged Dracaena 10. Golden Pothos Now if taking care of houseplants has never been your "thing" maybe you just haven't found the ones that can practically survive in a closet. I have several friends (I won't name any names) that have trouble with houseplants because their homes are quite dark. If this is also your issue, then here are a few plants that can survive a darker room and still offer you the benefits mentioned above: 1. Ferns 2. Mother-in-Law tongue (sansevaria) 3. Rex begonia4. Pothos 5. ZZ plant (zamioculous Zamiifolia)  A few words of Garden Shop wisdom...there is no such thing as having a "Black Thumb"!  You just haven't found the plants that will work in your environment yet. So stop in to The Secret Garden and we'll help you find the one that will work for you! Jennifer, The Secret Garden
In our home we do our best to use as few chemicals as possible. I'm not perfect by any means, but we really try. I was put to the test just before Christmas when I saw a few ants in the bathroom. Of course the next day they were in the kitchen, the pantry, the other bathroom! We were no longer talking about just a few! Wow, their timing was perfect! The holidays, loads of extra food prep happening, guests, all of it, and I was dealing with ants!It had been a while since I'd had to deal with ants so I did a Google search and looked for DIY ant killer. There are lots of recipes for homemade all natural ant spray so I settled in to try a few. The first one I made was a combination of apple cider vinegar, baking soda and dish soap. I got the recipe here http://thesoccermomblog.com/2015/05/16/diy-natural-ant-repellent-sprayIt killed the ants I sprayed, but more just kept coming!Next I tried a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, mouthwash and dish soap that I found here http://frugalandthrifty4.blogspot.ca/2013/01/ant-killer-spray.htmlIt also killed the ants on contact and smelled great, but more ants just keep coming!So I honed my search for a recipe that would work on killing the queen not just the workers you see in your pantry. That's when I came across a recipe that called for just 3 ingredients, two of which I readily had and one I had to go looking for, Sugar, Water and Borax. I found the recipe here http://www.listotic.com/everyday-products-you-can-easily-make-from-home-homemade-products/18/Borax is a natural mineral found within the ground that has been used for years as a natural laundry booster, multipurpose cleaner, insecticide, disinfectant and more. Its chemical name is sodium borate, or sodium tetraborate and while I wouldn't be feeding it to babies, I feel better about using a mineral from the earth than I do about using a chemical compound created in a lab somewhere.The process for using this recipe is simple. Mix sugar and warm water and borax and then soak a few cotton balls with the stuff. Leave the wet cotton balls where the ants will find it. The sugar and water will bait the ants into thinking they've hit the mother loads of free snacks, and the borax will deliver the punch, just not immediately. Here's where you have to have a little faith that the Google Guys won't steer you wrong,So I did as I was told and soaked a few cotton balls. One in the pantry where they were thick as thieves on a bag of unsweetened coconut of all things. One in the downstairs shower where they had developed  a taste for my daughter's shampoo. And one on a window sill in the family room where I had seen a few ants.Within 20 minutes the one in the pantry and the one in the shower where covered in ants. The message was out that dinner was served and hundreds, no thousands, had answered the call. Here's where my aforementioned faith was being tested. Was I just feeding them or would this work?Well, here's what happened. The two that had drawn a crowd were rock hard in about 6 hours. I guess the ants were sucking it dry. So I replaced it with another treated cotton ball and they sucked that one dry. This went on for three days. By day two though I noticed a few dead ants near the cotton ball. And by day three there were a lot of dead ants. Dead ants in the kitchen too even though I didn't leave any baited cotton balls in the kitchen. Finally by day 6 the baited cotton balls weren't drawing any ants at all and I couldn't find any ants moving around anywhere. I'm calling this a success. It took a week to be completely rid of the little pests, but I did it without laying down toxins in my house or spraying toxins that we could all be breathing in. And I think if borax came from the earth, then our landfill won't mind a few cotton balls laced with the stuff when they finally get there.So that's my story. How are you making changes to live cleaner, greener and safer?JenniferThe Secret Garden

The Secret Garden
8450 West Stockton Blvd
Elk Grove, CA 95758

Phone: 916-682-6839

 

Hours: 

10a-5p Sunday & Monday

10a-6p Tues thru Sat

 

Current Sale!

Our Factory Direct Pottery is  discounted up to 35% EVERYDAY!

Our fountains are currently discounted 18% and pricing includes the pump.

We ❤️ Being Social!

Visit Secret Garden's profile on Pinterest.

Recommend this page on:

Print Print | Sitemap
© The Secret Garden