Author Archives: glenice whitting

November Event: Sip and Savour Panel Discussion

Sip and Savour Historical Flavour evening with the HNSA (Historical Novel Society Australasia)

 

Nov 8, 6:30 PM · Mail Exchange Hotel · Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
HNSA Melbourne Chapter presents Glenice Whitting, Lynne Leonhardt & Alli Sinclair in conversation with Robert Gott.

The featured authors will discuss stories of immigration – of migration to Australia and connections to the old country.

Central to memories of the old country is feasting – sharing of food and drink evocative of the old country. In that vein, the panel discussion will be accompanied by beverage pairings – from Australia, Germany and Italy.

Tickets ($25.00) can be purchased from Trybooking: https://www.trybooking.com/VRJZ

Ticket price includes wine/beverage sample and cocktail supper. Venue: Mail Exchange Hotel: Function Rooms 688 Bourke St, Melbourne. (corner of Bourke Street and Spencer Street, opposite Southern Cross Station). Enter via the Bourke Street entrance, down the escalators, through the Bistro. Function rooms face onto Bourke Street.

Come and join us and other writers at this event.

I’m taking the train to Southern Cross Station so I can enjoy tasting the wines from such different countries

Bios

Glenice Whitting is an Australian author and playwright and has published two novels. She was a hairdresser for many years before she became a mature age student and was awarded entry into the Golden Key International Honour Society for academic excellence. Her Australian/German novel, Pickle to Pie, was short -listed for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. It co-won the Ilura Press International Fiction Quest and was launched during The Age Melbourne Writers’ Festival. The old German scripture cake recipe is in the back of  Pickle to Pie

Lynne Leonhardt grew up on an orchard in Donnybrook, Western Australia. As a young adult, she worked in London and travelled extensively. She studied music and English literature at the University of Western Australia while bringing up four children, and later completed a PhD in Creative Writing at Edith Cowan University. Her first novel, Finding Jasper (Margaret River Press, 2012) was longlisted for the 2013 Dobbie Award. Her second novel, is scheduled for publication early 2019 .

Alli Sinclair is Australian born but spent her early adult years travelling the globe: scaling mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafting the Ganges, and riding a camel in the Sahara. Alli’s books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers. She captures the romance and thrill of discovering old and new worlds, and loves taking readers on a journey of discovery. Alli now lives in Geelong, Victoria.

Robert Gott was born in the small Queensland town of Maryborough in 1957, and lives in Melbourne. He has published many books for children, and is also the creator of the newspaper cartoon The Adventures of Naked Man. He is also the author of the William Power series of crime-caper novels set in 1940s Australia: Good Murder, A Thing of Blood, and Amongst the Dead.

About HNSA

HNSA Melbourne Chapter is a local chapter of the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA).

The Melbourne chapter meets for monthly lunches and supports an annual panel event series. HNSA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HNSAustralasia/ HNSA Melbourne Chapter Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/242775092782782/?ref=br_rs

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28: A Memorable Book By Christopher Lappas

A good book entertains. A great book makes you thinks about life and all its complexities. 28 by Christopher Lappas is a great book.

I took this book into hospital and read it after my knee replacement. I found myself totally involved with the characters.

It’s not an easy book to read, however, you become totally involved with the different relationships between 28, Scribe, his son, Andre and Scribe’s ex wife. However, I became so involved that time past quickly. Reading 28 meant that I wasn’t worrying about anything. I had lost myself in the story. As the story progressed, very little was as it first seemed and I found myself asking challenging questions as Scribe and 28  both struggle with demons in their past. I questioning again and again all the uncertainty of life and living, of destiny, motivation, and consequence.

The principle setting for the novel is in a hospital. The narrator is given the name Scribe by 28. She is a woman with a number for a name and their first meeting leaves him in confusion and disillusioned.

28 is the central character and Scribe is drawn into her stories (are they about herself or someone else)? She is an enigma to herself, to Scribe and to the reader. We want to know more about her. Why is she in a room on the lowest level of the hospital and Andre is lying in a coma in a higher room. Why is Scribe so fascinated by her stories? This book is definitely a multilayered work of art.

I was fascinated by the reoccurring theme of 28. It is everywhere in and around the book. The title, the number of chapters, the floors of the building, beads, almonds and 28 herself. Is it a coincidence that Ilura Press have the paperback selling for $28?

On the publishers website www.ilurapress.com, Christopher Lappas talks about the process of writing this book. I found his comments relevant and insightful.

This courageous, and memorable novel entertains with  a story of relationships and allows us to experience the characters personal growth and their final belief in themselves. I was left with a sense that 28’s life goes on past the last chapter . I found the end both surprising and elegantly clever.

I can’t wait to read Christopher Lappas’ next book and hopefully I will not be in hospital but home to enjoy it to the full.

2017: 28 by Christopher Lappas ilura Press

ISBN: 9781 9213 25304 

Aus$28.00

 

And the Winner is…

Helen Luxton has won a copy of Something Missing and Pickle to Pie. Her name was drawn after my workshop last week on Life/Memoir Writing at the Hastings Library.

Over twenty writers attended, all with fascinating projects. On a table, near the books for sale, was a list. It stated that if you subscribe to my website http://www.glenicewhitting.com you had a chance of winning a copy of my latest novel, Something Missing. I felt that a copy of Pickle to Pie would also be helpful to Helen.

Life Writing

Life writing is considered an all-encompassing term. This genre involves the recording of personal memories and experiences. Life writing includes not just biography and autobiography but also Memoir

Autobiography is ‘I’ writing (writing the self)_It is ‘mystory

Memoir (from the Latin, meaning memory) is a subclass of autobiography. It is an autobiographical account of someone’s life. However, the focus is on the events a person remembers rather than the self. (The writer remembers passages of dialogue from the past)_it is ‘ourstory’

Biography is writing her/his story_it is ‘theirstory‘.

Below is an outline about what we managed to cover in a brief time. 

Life Writing/Memoir Workshop 31/7/2018

Hastings library

Every family has fascinating stories and even secrets. The stories of ordinary family life must be told. Finding the best way to tell these stories can be a fascinating journey and the chance to create a valuable resource for your descendants. However we all want to write an account that is memorable, engaging and not boring.

What about the family’s murky secrets? Don’t shy away from these stories. They can be healing to you  and helpful to the reader as they provide the opportunity of insights: such as a marriage taking its last breaths, the death of a child etc

How can we do justice to intriguing ancestors?

Should my story turn into fiction? How much dramatising is acceptable?

Who is my reader? What kind of publication is appropriate?

 Self publishing where I pay for everything myself?

Self publishing: using Busybird or Lou Lou.  (you still pay)

 Small press publisher. They pay, but what about Marketing?

 Traditional Big Publisher: such a Pan McMillan etc. Pitch it to them on Fridays and Mondays.

Do I need a professional editor? —Yes, Yes, Yes:

I had an American editor to check for any mistakes for the American section of Something Missing. She said a campervan was called a pullalong camper. An English editor provided by MadeGlobal Publishing asked What is a Doona? I changed it to continental quilt.

Structure: Make a W.A.I.N  (Where Am I Now?  —

Write the first draft without any thought. Knock that writing citic off your shoulder: lose control. Forget about grammar, spelling and being nice and polite.

Take Risks 

 Free writing:  Don’t stop writing for at least 15 mins. Write anything that comes into your head. Get messy, and leave it for the adult writer to clean up later when revising your book.

Join a Writer’s Group & the Victorian Writers in the Wheelers Centre in Melbourne

Read everything you can lay your hands on. Hazel Edward’s has written a very good book titled ‘Non Boring’ Family History’. This is a practical guide for those wanting to shape their family research into a readable family history.

Happy Writing and have FUN

A Knee Replacement and Procrastination

So you book yourself in for a total knee replacement. How wonderful to be able to say. ‘I’ll have a 70,000 k service and a new shock absorber, thanks.’

Because I’ve already had a 50,000 k service and a new front suspension (two hips) with a new knee I guess I’ve earnt the title of Robo Mum. At least I won’t limp and have that dreadful nagging pain once the offending knee joint has been replaced. Nothing could go wrong. Right?

I love the quote by Robbie Burns,
The best laid plans of mice and men oft times goes astray

All went well. The surgeon and anesthetist did a fabulous job, I was sent to rehabilitation as planned, staples were removed and after intensive physio I was discharged. My son took the day off to bring me home.

One week later I went to my local GP to take off the last plastic cover. To my shock he said he couldn’t do it because the knee was obviously infected. It had been hot and tight but I’d put it down to the knitting, healing process.

I hurriedly saw my surgeon who found that a staple had been left in. He removed it. But…I am a very allergy prone person who is allergic to sulfur, penicillin and, as we now know, most antibiotics.    From then on it was weeks of nausea and vomiting, trying one antibiotic after the other. I couldn’t keep any food down and was living on oranges and lemonade. At least it is one way to lose weight…although I wouldn’t recommend it as a way to lose six kilos

Carol-Anne Croker kept me supplied with a freezer full of nourishing soups and yummy treats until the last antibiotic, plus a daily dose of youcault and yogurt is actually working. How wonderful to feel you are finally on the way up instead of down. I can’t wait to resume my life again. Many thanks must go to so many wonderful friends who supported, encouraged and sustained me during this difficult time

But what about writing that third book? It ground to a halt with all this going on and I just don’t seem to be able to pick up the threads again. It will happen. The passion is still there but I am definitely  procrastinating. And it’s not the first time.

2018 on the Canals

It is January 2018 and life is slowly coming back to a more normal pace after the excitement of a hectic 2017 Christmas and the New Year

   

Christmas on the canals can be chaotic. Most houses decorate with laser showers, flashing trees, reindeer and motifs, plus inflatable giant Father Christmases. The reflections in the water add to the display.

Every year, before Christmas, after dark we have a steady stream of boats of all shapes and sizes, all crowded, some decorated with lights, others unlit, filing past to view the reflected lights. We refer to it as the evacuation of Dunkirk.   This year, to add to the confusion, we had unlit jet-skis darting in and out amongst the pleasure craft.  I had my fingers crossed that all the children were wearing life jackets.

I love sitting in the dark on the deck, coffee cup in hand, watching luxurious pleasure craft complete with gorgeous girls sipping champagne and older nautical men juggle for position with overloaded wooden runabouts packed with Mums, kids and beer drinking Dads. I hope for the best as I watch in disbelief at the risks people take in the name of ‘entertainment’.

I decided to wait until now to go take my kayak to see the lights reflected in the water. I added flashing port and starboard lights, an LED back light and donned my bright yellow reflective jacket before paddling out onto the canal. There was not a boat in sight and I reveled in the peace of being out on the water, listening to the gentle breeze rustling the palms. A cormorant watched me quietly coast past before diving for his supper. Circles appeared on the water’s surface. At first I thought they were made by bugs but when I floated gently past I realized they were made by fish coming to the surface to feed.

I had the canals to myself and delighted in drifting , paddling and admiring the fabulous decorations. I know how long it takes us, with Paul and Marian’s help, to decorate our home.  Paddling past many unlit jetties, especially when the moon hid behind the clouds I realized why Paul had insisted on taping four canes to the end of our jetty . The unlit jetties were difficult to see in the shadows and loomed  dark and menacing.

The grand-dogs Ambar & Tashi, on holidays with us, greeted me on my arrival, but it was with regret that I dragged my kayak up the beach and onto the lawn.

Over the summer months I will definitely go again. I know there won’t be any decorations and the house will have returned to normal but…Oh! …the serenity.

And next time I’ll put my port and starboard lights further up so I won’t keep hitting them with my paddle.

Happy 2018

I love starting a fresh, clean New Year. I always have a brand new completely empty notebook ready to add my hopes, dreams and New Year resolutions.

This year I’m going to exercise more, eat less, watch my weight doesn’t get out of control and finish that third book. Fingers crossed etc etc.

Looking back at last year’s journal I find that what I’ve written is a more realistic jotting down of what actually happens. It can be nothing like what I’d hoped and dreamed but on the first day of this amazing brand new year I am totally optimistic and everything seems possible.

I’m teaching Memoir Writing again this year and will thoroughly enjoy being with a group focused on writing their stories.

I’d like to thank everyone that has touched my life in a positive way last year for all your kindness and support. You mean the world to me.

May 2018 be filled with happiness, good health, good will and love for you and your loved ones

Magical Moments: Part Two

Another Magical moment was our last meeting of the Memoir Writing Group at Godfrey Street Community House. Most of us are writing life stories but some are using the Memoir genre to tell their tales. I’m delighted to say that we have bonded into a group that welcomes others and give excellent feedback on the writing in progress. Most of us continue our stories during our 15 mins splurge (or stream of consciousness writing). I can’t wait to start 2018 but we all have a list of inspirational quotes and exercises to keep us writing over the holidays.

Last but not least was the Swinburne University Alumni Christmas afternoon tea. Beautifully presented with a Charleston Theme glitz and glitter. I had a great time catching up with Wendy and Peter Dunn, Breda and Alfred. We sat around a small table decorated with tall feathers and were waited on hand and foot. The afternoon tea was superb consisting of ribbon sandwiches, beautiful cheeses and tiny fancy cakes plus an unlimited supply of wine, soft drink, tea and coffee.

Christmas is a magical time of catching up with family and friends.                   May your Christmas be filled with happiness, peace and love.  

  

Magical Moments: Part One

It was a Magical Moment when I heard that Pickle to Pie is being republishing by Ilura Press on Amazon.com and they will have it as a print on demand book. It will be available in this form from their website and at bookdepository.com

My second book Something Missing is available at Fishpond.com.au with free delivery

                               

It was indeed a Magical Moment when Chloe Trindall from the Godfrey street Memoir Writing Group had a short story published in the Women Who Write Melbourne anthology A New Beginning

Women Who Write, Melbourne is a supportive networking group for Melbourne women writers. They are open to writers of all ages, levels of experience and all genres.
The Facebook page is for members to engage with one another, keep up to date with what’s happening in the group and the writing community.
Every month they hold meetings in the Melbourne CBD and post details on their  Facebook page as well as any additional events they organise.

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I loved reading the excellent short stories by very talented authors. There is something for everyone in this anthology

The day of the book launch was portrayed as having the worst, most violent weather ever imagined and as I donned my ski jacket and armed myself with a scarf and brolly I wondered if I was crazy to catch the train and tram to Lu Lu’s cafe and gallery in North Melbourne for this book launch. But I was determined to go come hell or high water.

  

We had a wonderful time listening to extracts of prose and poetry. Unfortunately, because of the weather we all had to cram into the cafe section instead of being outside in one of the best courtyards in Melbourne

Why don’t you join this amazing group of writers on Facebook?

Twitter/Instagram @womenwritemelb

On Sunday it was the Christmas gathering of the Hysterical Melbourne Historical Writers

We met at the Vic restaurant under the spire of the Arts Centre. It was great to be able to swap stories and publishing experiences. Many thanks must go to Celia for organising these get-togethers.

Walking over the bridge near the Hamer Hall I was delighted to see the Christmas Tree in Federation Square.

Hamer Hall was also decorated in festive attire.

Godfrey Street Community House also had a Christmas get-together to thank Carol for years of tireless service. We will miss her so much but know it is time for her to be able to do the many things she wants to do. Many thanks Carol for all your kindness and support

Christmas is always a busy time spent catching up with family and friends and I love every minute of this silly season.

The many uses of baking soda.

Like so many householders I had heard about the many uses of baking soda and had even tried a couple of times…until I put it back in the cupboard unsure of what I was doing. It definitely went into the ‘too hard’ basket. That was until I read this comprehensive article at plantcaretoday.com.

After reading about the many ways to use baking soda it is definitely back on my list. Tomorrow I’ll clean the outdoor furniture, deodorize my garbage bins and have the best tomato crop in Victoria (I hesitate to say Australia :>) This simple, useful, natural product has so many uses in health, personal care and household chores that it’s really a “must have” for just about everyone. Another aspect that makes Baking soda so appealing to me is that it plays a vital role in green cleaning.

In this article, are some great ideas to help you get even more use from versatile, affordable baking soda in your yard and garden. Read on to learn more.

What Is Baking Soda?

This simple, natural product is made up entirely of sodium bicarbonate, a highly alkaline substance.

When it comes in contact with acidic substances it bubbles. The bubbles give off carbon dioxide gas. This is the property of bicarb soda that makes it a good leavening agent for bread baking.

This property also makes it a good choice for settling upset stomachs. Its cleansing and mildly abrasive properties make it a good cleaning agent. It also possesses the ability to absorb and neutralize odors.

10 Ways to Clean Up Around Your Yard and Garden With Baking Soda

Bicarbonate of soda is a very safe cleaning product to use in the garden. It is non-toxic and will not harm birds and other desirable wildlife. Use it as a non-abrasive scouring powder or mix it up with other gentle ingredients to create custom cleaning products.

#1 – Deodorize your compost pile or bin. Add a tablespoonful of baking soda to a gallon of water to pour over your compost and/or simply sprinkle the dry powder over the pile and turn it in to help eliminate unpleasant odors. Don’t overdo it, though. Excessive amounts will slow down composting.

#2 – Deodorize your garbage cans. Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda in the bottom of the can to absorb odors.

#3 – Make a simple baking soda and water cleaning spray consisting of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of water to use when wiping down lawn furniture, gardening equipment and the like.

#4 – Make a baking soda and liquid soap paste for use when scrubbing up flowerpots, birdbaths and feeders and more. Allow these items to air dry thoroughly before storing.

#5 – Make an abrasive scrubbing paste with equal parts salt, baking soda and warm water.

#6 – Use plain baking soda as a soft scrub powder to clean just about anything safely.

#7 – Clean your garden furniture. You can make resin garden furniture almost as good as new with a thorough cleaning using a simple solution consisting of half a cup of baking soda, a tablespoonful of dish-washing liquid and a gallon of very warm water.

Use a gentle scrubbing sponge to scrub the items and then rinse with the garden hose. For stubborn stains, make a scrubbing paste as described above. Use a soft scrub brush or soft scrubbing sponge. Don’t use a wire brush or steel wool (naturally) as this will damage the surface.

To clean outdoor furniture made of webbing material, rinse the item and then sprinkle baking soda over it. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then scrub it off

#8 – Clean your walkways and patios. Mix up a mild solution of baking soda and water (2 tablespoons/1 quart respectively) to wash down your sidewalks, driveway, patios and other paved surfaces. Tackle tough stains with a baking soda and dishwashing detergent paste. Once you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse the whole area clean with copious amounts of water from the hose. This dilution will help prevent plant damage in the surrounding area.

Although some baking soda can be beneficial to soil and plants, don’t overdo this cleaning routine. Excessive buildup of bicarbonate of soda around your walks and patio could result in plant death in these areas.

#9 – Soak up oil stains with dry baking soda. Just sprinkle on a thick layer and allow it to sit for 15 minutes or so. Sweep it up and finish cleaning up the oil stain with a baking soda, salt and dish soap paste.

But what about the garden.

a collection of uses for baking soda in the garden

Use natural baking soda for sweeter tomatoes, control powdery mildew on roses, battle slugs, weeds and more!

 

How Can Baking Soda Be Helpful In Your Garden?

When it comes to using baking soda for:

  • Natural Cleaning
  • Soil Amendment
  • Plant Care
  • Weed And Pest Control
  • Fungal Diseases
  • And More

The humble sodium bicarbonate can be a powerful ally.

6 Ways To Use Baking Soda To Care For Your Plants

#1 – Clean Plant Leaves

Plants need photosynthesis to survive and thrive. To help your houseplants make the most of the sunshine they receive, keep their leaves clean by wiping them gently with a damp sponge or soft cloth dampened with a very dilute solution of baking soda and water. Add about half a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda to a liter of pure, filtered water to make this gentle cleaning solution.

#2 – Give Your Plants A Boost

If your plants are looking listless, try watering with a combination of:

  • 1 gallon of pure, filtered water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp Epsom salts
  • ½ tsp ammonia

Do this on a monthly basis to perk up all plants. Roses are especially appreciative of this treatment.

#3 – Stimulate Blooming

Geraniums, Begonia and Hydrangeas all like alkaline soil, and baking soda is an alkaline product. Make these plants a special monthly tonic consisting of one tablespoonful of baking soda and two quarts of water. You’ll soon see enthusiastic blossom production.

#4 – Keep Cut Flowers Fresh Longer

Two quarts of water and a tablespoonful of bicarbonate of soda is also an excellent solution for keeping cut flowers fresh. Be sure to change the solution every couple of days for best results.

#5 – Grow Sweeter Tomatoes

Use baking soda to make the soil in your tomato patch less acidic for sweeter tomatoes. Just sprinkle baking soda lightly over the surface of the soil surrounding your tomato plants and then water as usual. Less acidity in the soil adds up to less acidity in your tomatoes.

#6 – Use Baking Soda For Soil Testing and Amendment

Perform informal pH testing on your garden soil. Your garden plants absorb minerals from the soil through their roots. If your soil is too alkaline or too acidic, this process could be hampered. To get an idea of your soil’s pH, use baking soda and white vinegar to perform a home experiment.

Begin by collecting a couple of soil samples in small cups from your yard or garden. Pour half a cup of vinegar into one sample. If you see the soil bubbling, you know that it is alkaline and has had a reaction with the acid in vinegar. This typically means that it has a pH level of 7 or more.

If there are no bubbles, try testing your other sample with about half a cup of water and a tablespoonful of baking soda. If this causes bubbling, you will know that soil sample has a pH level of 7 or below. This soil is acidic and has had a reaction with an alkaline substance.

If your testing reveals acidic soil, you can amend it with baking soda by sprinkling the powder over the surface of the soil just before watering (as you would when sweetening tomatoes).

This should gradually reduce the acidity of the soil.

 4 Baking Soda Recipes to Cure and Prevent Plant Diseases

#1 – Prevent Fungal Disease Growth

Baking soda does not kill fungus, but it does create pH conditions that are hostile to its growth. [source]

As a preventative, mix a liter of water with a few drops of dishwashing soap and a teaspoonful of baking soda. Mix well and decant the mixture into a spray bottle.

Spray both the top sides and undersides of leaves in the cool of the morning so that the leaves will have plenty of time to dry during the day. This is a good treatment for all manner of garden plants.

f mildew or fungus have already set in, make a stronger mixture consisting of:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 tablespoonful of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoonful of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoonful of dishwashing liquid

Spray affected plants once a week on cooler, overcast days. Spraying this mixture in the heat of the day or when the sun is very strong can cause plants to burn. This is an especially effective mixture for use on zinnias, squash, cucumbers and lilacs.

#3 – Treat Tomato Diseases

Make a spray with an aspirin and baking soda solution to prevent and treat fungal infections and other diseases in tomato plants. Use this formula weekly.

  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 2 aspirin

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. You’ll need to let the soda solution sit for a few minutes to allow the aspirin to dissolve. Shake and spray.

An all-natural recipe is very effective and very popular for treating and controlling a wide variety of plant ills, including aphidsspider mitespowdery mildew and black spot.

You’ll need:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 3-5 drops of Superthrive
  • 1 heaping tablespoonful of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoonful of seaweed emulsion or fish oil
  • 1 tablespoonful of dishwashing liquid as an emulsifier
  • 2 tablespoons of ultra-fine horticultural oil (e.g. Sunspray)

Mix all ingredients together and decant into a spray bottle or pump sprayer.

Spray plants monthly, late in the evening for best results. It’s a good idea to give your plants a good spraying with the water hose first to knock off beneficial insects as this mixture will kill them. Spray the entire plant, thoroughly to deal with fungal disease problems such as black spot.

Be sure to follow this recipe exactly, and don’t add vinegar (even cider vinegar) or any substance containing sulfur. If the Sunspray product you purchase lists “emulsifier” on the ingredients label, leave out the dish soap.

8 Ways to Use Baking Soda to Discourage and Eliminate Pests Naturally

When used regularly, carefully prepared, homemade baking soda concoctions provide safe and effective defense against a wide variety of pests, such as spider mites, aphids, silverfish, cockroaches, slugs, snails and more.

  1. For a very gentle deterrent that will effectively combat spider mites and aphids but will not harm beneficial insects combine:
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoonful of baking soda

Spray this mixture carefully onto the affected areas of plants every few days until aphids and spider mites are gone. This concentrated mixture is also effective against black spot fungus on roses and grape vines.

  1. Eradicate harmful insect infestations. If your plants are swarming with harmful bugs try this combination:
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • A dozen drops of dishwashing liquid

Spray once every three days until the insects have been eradicated. Follow up with weekly sprays using one of the lighter formulations to prevent reinfestation.

  1. Eliminate ant hills. Use baking soda and powdered sugar to create a fatal bait. Just mix the two ingredients 50/50 and sprinkle the mixture over the offending ant hill. The ants will eat the mixture and carry it into their nest where others will eat it.

They will be attracted by the sugar, but the baking soda will kill them. Be sure to use powdered sugar (not granulated) so that the two ingredients are thoroughly blended. If you use granulated sugar, the ants will pick it out and leave the baking soda behind.

It may take a while to kill ants this way, but it will eventually kill them all because they will continue to carry the mixture into the nest to be consumed by one and all.

  1. Kill gnats in leaf piles or the smelly compost pile. Mix four teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda with a gallon of water and a teaspoonful of biodegradable soap (e.g. Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap). Pour or spray this mixture over your compost heap or leaf pile to kill off gnats lurking within.
  1. Repel a wide variety of insects. Mix up a concentrate consisting of:
  • 1 teaspoonful of baking soda
  • 1/3 cup of mustard oil

Store this in a plastic or glass container with a tightly fitting lid at room temperature. When you want to make an insect repellent spray, measure two teaspoons of this concentrate into one cup of warm water. Stir and decant into a small spray bottle to disperse around areas where you do not want bugs!

  1. Prevent ground dwelling pests. Sprinkle baking soda lightly on the soil around your crops to deter slugs, roaches and silverfish. Leave it dry and reapply after rain.
  1. You can also kill slugs on the spot by sprinkling them with baking soda, but don’t sprinkle straight baking soda onto your plants as it will burn the leaves.
  1. Get rid of cabbage worms. These hungry caterpillars love to eat brassicas such as cabbage, broccoli and kale. To kill them off, mix white flour and baking soda 50/50. Put this mixture into a shaker container or a powder dispenser and dust your brassicas.

Because the baking soda is buffered by the flour and because brassicas are rather rugged, this mixture will not damage their leaves. Apply the dust every day for three or four days. The caterpillars will ingest it when they eat your plants and will soon die off.

2 Ways to Use Baking Soda to Combat Weeds

Weeds and crabgrass growing along the edges of your walkways and patios and in cracks between pavers can be dealt with easily with a generous application of baking soda. It burns back foliage and feeder roots to eliminate current weeds and prevent future weed growth.

  1. Kill crabgrass and weeds in your lawn. Begin by wetting down the weeds or crabgrass. Follow up by applying a thick coat of baking soda directly to the plant’s leaves and around its root base.

Be careful to apply it only to the plants you want to kill. Don’t sprinkle it around randomly. Avoid applying on a windy day. Apply it thickly in a focused manner.

  1. Get rid of weeds along walkways and patios and in cracks and crevices. To eliminate weeds growing around paved surfaces, pour baking soda heavily on and around the weeds. Use a whisk broom to sweep the powder into sidewalk cracks or the space between pavers.

Check back and reapply as needed. Although a heavy application of baking soda will have some residual weed killing effect, be advised that rain and watering will dilute these effects fairly quickly. This natural powder works by desiccating foliage. It may not kill deep roots.

 

#10. Wash and beautify your hands. Baking soda makes an excellent, gentle scrub for grimy garden hands. At its simplest, just pour a bit of the powder into the palm of your hand and scrub away. Use a nail brush to get dirt out from under and around your nails.

For a little more “oomph!” add a few drops of liquid soap. If you have sticky sap on your hands, mix baking soda and a few drops of olive oil (or cooking oil, mineral oil, baby oil or petroleum jelly) in the palm of your hand and scrub your hands. Rinse with very warm water.

As an added advantage, the mild abrasive properties of baking soda will help exfoliate the skin on your hands leaving them nice and smooth. Be sure to follow up with a good moisturizer or the skin will feel quite dry very soon.

Precautions When Using Baking Soda In The Garden

  • Use baking soda concoctions carefully. Don’t spray them around willy-nilly or use them excessively because buildup can cause damage to your plants.
  • Do a patch test before spraying any solution over your entire garden. Just apply the mixture to a couple of leaves and wait 24 hours before treating your entire crop. If the solution seems to burn the leaves, dilute it and try another patch test. Keep adjusting until you hit the right strength.
  • Protect heating elements, electrical wiring and metal items from exposure to baking soda as it can cause corrosion.

What Are The Drawbacks of Using Baking Soda In The Garden?

Although baking soda can be a very effective tool in your collection of natural gardening techniques, you should not rely upon it entirely. If overused, its efficacy will dwindle with the passage of time. You will soon find yourself using more and more of it with less and less effect.

This is why it’s always a good idea to establish a schedule of sound garden management.

Be sure to plant your seeds, seedlings and grown plant specimens properly with the right kind of soil, drainage and sun exposure.

Keep your plants properly pruned for good air circulation. All of these steps will keep your plants strong and help prevent problems with pests and fungus.

Use baking soda in combination with other natural methods of deterring pests and weeds, such as heavy mulching with coarse organic matter to prevent weed growth and keep your plants’ roots well protected. Rotate natural garden spray recipes to prevent having pests and fungus build up a resistance to any single product.

Remember that an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Baking soda and other natural garden remedies all work best as preventatives.

If you do not practice good garden management and your plants become heavily infested with pests and fungus, these types of solutions will probably not be of much use to you. Consistent care is key to success with all natural plant care products.

If you would like to see some helpful videos just visit plantcaretoday.com

   

Writing Awards: Fingers Crossed

MadeGlobal Publishing entered Something Missing into the Nita B Kibble Award and I’ve entered the novel into the International Book Award. Now if only all the planets would align…Fingers crossed.

According to A Dictionary of Superstitions by Oxford University Press, to cross my fingers will prevent bad luck and I may therefore get what my heart desires.

A Dictionary of Superstitions

Nita B Kibble Literary Award

Since the inception of the Kibble Literary Awards many Australian women writers have received prizes, each benefiting from Nita Dobbie’s foresight and vision. Perpetual Trustees have the responsibility to maintain the Trust into perpetuity. To ensure female authors continue to benefit from the prize, the awards are now offered on a biennial basis, and the next to be awarded in 2018. Works published after 4th December 2015 are eligible to apply. Something Missing was launched at Swinburne University on the 11th December 2015.

MadeGlobal sent four books and I had to supply proof of citizenship (birth certificate/passport) with the two cover letters and the completed application form.  I feel very positive about this one. I’m definitely an Australian author and this book is about two countries (Australia and America) two women and a life altering pen-friendship.

The International Book Awards

Sponsored by American Book Fest

Now celebrating the 9th annual award’s program, winning a 2018 International Book Award will, according to the blurb, give my book added “prestige, honor and tells prospective book buyers, librarians and media professionals to take the book seriously!”

If only :>).  File:Hands-Fingers-Crossed.jpg

For this award I needed to send a copy of Something Missing, an entry fee (larger than expected because of the exchange rate ), a completed entry form, Promotional material (photos of myself and the cover of Something Missing, blurb, book tour questions and replies and a cover letter) With a bit of luck, this  story about two women and the similarities between the Australian Outback and the Arizona Desert, many Australian and American readers will enjoy reading about Maggie and Diane’s drama and friendship.

All I have to do now is sit back and wait, with my fingers crossed until the short lists are announced next year.

I’ve told everyone I have to wear black opal for good luck till then (p 294)

 

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