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Sustainable Ways to Control Weeds

August 10th, 2014
 DandelionID: 93749 © Patricia Betts | Dreamstime Stock Photos

DandelionID: 93749 © Patricia Betts | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Regardless of how much time you spend gardening, there will always be the odd weed that creeps up and attempts to take over your entire garden. And while gardening is a typically relaxing activity, the appearance of weeds can at times sour the experience. While you may stress over whether your plants will successfully grow this season, weeds almost certainly spoil your gardening fun.

Weeds are all-pervading, with a report titled Principles of Sustainable Weed Management in Organic Cropping Systems stating that, “Weeds are the most costly category of agricultural pests, causing more yield losses and added labor costs than either insect pests or crop disease.”[1] And farmers are not alone in their weed-based frustrations. In fact, a paper authored by the WSSA (Weed Science Society of America) entitled Scientists Pursue New Sustainable Alternatives for Weed Control in Organic Production Systems stated that weeds are “the most critical problem facing today’s organic grower… They rob fields of moisture, compete with crops for nutrients, reduce yields and drive up costs.”[2]

But what does this mean for the humble gardener who doesn’t have the financial backing required to research and manufacture their own scientific remedies? How can you combat the dreaded weeds that slink into your garden without resorting to chemical products? For gardeners who are interested in learning sustainable techniques to eradicate the weeds, here are a few methods that do not include the use of chemical herbicide products.


Timing – As with most things in life, timing is everything. Whenever possible, inspect your garden and ensure that new weeds have not sprouted up. Early prevention is the key, and removing smaller “infant” weeds that have only just sprouted is much easier than trying to eradicate a whole garden’s worth of waist-height weeds!


Pouring – If you want to curb the increase of weeds but without using harmful chemicals, one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways is to simply pour certain things over infected weedy areas. For example, a well-known technique is to repeatedly pour boiling water until the weeds decide to retreat. Another idea is to pour a soapy brew made from five tablespoons of mild dish-washing liquid with two cups of water over the weeds. An additional homemade concoction involves adding an ounce of alcohol to some water and pouring it over Mr. and Mrs. Weed, or instead dispensing everyday household white vinegar on them.


Pulling – Obviously, a solid yank to uproot weeds from the root is an easy method, but remember to wear thick gardening gloves. If they are particularly defiant or unintentionally break off in your hand, a quick fix is to rapidly jab a screwdriver into the ground around the roots, so you can loosen up the surrounding soil and fast-track each weed’s removal. You can also relax the soil with a diamond hoe, or pour a smattering of water on the soil before wiggling the weeds and wrenching them out.


Sprinkling – Rock salt is a natural barrier for weeds, which means that sprinkling a little of it around your lawn borders will prevent new weeds from emerging (although bear in mind that it will also stop any other plants from growing too). Corn gluten is also an effective weed suppressant, and is available in numerous different forms, including powder, pellets and granules. Commercially available organic herbicide products that feature natural fatty acid and citric acid ingredients are also a helpful resource.


 Suffocating – Since weeds require sunshine to flourish, wipe out existing weeds (as well as stopping new ones from growing) by taking away their natural source of sunlight. Add a three-inch thick layer of mulch to keep pesky weeds from sprouting. You can also smother persistent weedy areas with heavy carpet off-cut remnants or large scraps of old newspapers.


Folks, how do you keep weeds from ruining your gardening spaces?


About the Author:

This great content was provided by which provides expert residential and commercial landscape pest treatment services. If you would like more information, please visit them online at Pestmaster Services today!


About Humble Seed:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed. We’re also proud to say we have taken the Safe Seed Pledge!!

Does starting your first garden seem too overwhelming or you simply don’t have the space? The Tower Garden may be the answer for you!  Passionate about gardening and healthy living, or looking to expand your current health-based business? Consider becoming a Tower Garden distributor! Email info@humbleseed for more information or message us on Facebook.




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10 eco-friendly tips for keeping your garden pest free

July 20th, 2014


Growing your own food is rewarding, beneficial to the environment and cost effective. If pests take over your garden it doesn’t take long until your efforts go to waste. In the event of a serious outbreak professional exterminators, such as North London Pest Control, could pest-proof the area to prevent further damage. However, for minor pest problems, these tips may help.

Sacrificial Crops

Slugs are definitely a garden’s worst enemy. Sadly, there’s no easy fix. Kill them and eventually more will turn up in their place. If you’re growing lettuce, plant a few sacrificial crops around them. Growing loose leaf varieties on the edges should stop them venturing into the inner rows.

Vaseline and Rock Salt

Even if you have fruit and vegetables in containers, slugs will find their way inside. To prevent them from touching the pots in the first place, mix together equal amounts of Vaseline and rock salt and smear it over your pots. While the salt will prevent slugs getting inside, the Vaseline will keep it securely in place, even in wet weather.

Enviromesh (garden netting)

To keep away carrot flies, enclose your carrot patch in a 3 foot high cage of enviromesh. Carrot flies can’t get any higher than this; therefore, they won’t be able to gain access to your vegetables.

Peppermint Oil

If you can’t get hold of any garden netting, add a few drops of peppermint oil in your watering can when you next water your carrots. The strong smell is enough to keep carrot flies and bay and won’t affect the taste of your vegetables.

Ultrasonic Repellents

Ultrasonic repellents are often used in gardens to ward off cats and dogs; however, most of them also work against rabbits and like-minded creatures. The high-pitched frequency is inaudible to most humans, but will scare away larger pests when they come within a certain proximity of your area.

Squirrel Traps

Squirrels will dig up bulbs, steal fruit and gnaw bark off trees. Luckily, they’re fairly easy to entice. Set up some humane squirrel traps using fruit as bait. Once caught, let them loose in a nearby wooded area.

Wire Mesh

If you truly want to rabbit and bird proof your garden, encase the whole area in wire mesh. While it’s not particularly pleasing on the eyes, it’s the only sure-fire way to prevent larger pests from eating your food.

Coffee Granules

One of the best things about spreading coffee granules over your compost is that slugs hate them. In addition, they are pH neutral, contain nitrogen and are a great fertilizer! When you start to see the results you’ll never chuck them in the trash again.

Water Sprinklers

Water sprinklers are great at scaring away large pests. Like ultrasonic sound devices they will deter cats, dogs, rabbits and birss, and will only activate when they detect movement within a certain radius.

Egg Shells

Caterpillars are perhaps one of the most annoying garden pests and consume a surprisingly large amount of food. If you regularly find caterpillars on leaves, crush up egg shells and place them at the base of the plant. Most caterpillars hate treading on them.


Not all pest control techniques are harmful. There are plenty of eco-friendly ways to stop pests from ruining your garden. Before you start taking drastic measures try out these simple tips.


Folks, how do you keep pests from feasting on your garden goodies?


About the Author:

This great content was provided by Aaron Hopkins. Aaron is a freelance web designer, his passion is in all things creative. Also a keen gardener who prides himself on growing the best carrots in Hertfordshire and has even won local awards!


About Humble Seed:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed. We’re also proud to say we have taken the Safe Seed Pledge!!

Does starting your first garden seem too overwhelming or you simply don’t have the space? The Tower Garden may be the answer for you!  Passionate about gardening and healthy living, or looking to expand your current health-based business? Consider becoming a Tower Garden distributor! Email info@humbleseed for more information or message us on Facebook.


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3 Ways to Make Your Garden a Paradise For Wildlife

April 21st, 2014

One of the greatest gifts of our planet is the abundance of life that surrounds us, from the smallest insect to the mighty blue whale. While you’re unlikely to see the latter in your back garden, there are lots of things you can do to make your yard more attractive to our feathered, furry and many-legged friends. Here are the essentials that every nature lover should offer in their garden!

Gimme shelter

Firstly, if you want to attract animals to your garden, you should really offer them somewhere to stay. If you put up a birdhouse in springtime you may see it inhabited by the summer months, and bee houses are a great way to encourage our stripy friends to give your garden some loving. Feeling crafty? Check out this tutorial on how to build your own birdhouse.


Bird Houses; Image Credit – See-ming Lee


However, there are animal shelters that require even less effort. Simply letting a patch of your lawn grow long, and laying some logs in a corner of your yard will attract insects and provide them with a suitable habitat. We can’t think of a better excuse not to rake up those leaves…


Dining companions


Bird Feeding; Image Credit – Marcus Ward


As well as a roof over their heads, your feathered and furry friends are going to need some sustenance, so offering a bite to eat will work wonders in attracting them to your garden. Here are a few types of food that will go down a treat in attracting certain birds and animals:

  • Mealworms – house sparrow and shrews
  • Peanuts – great spotted woodpecker and badger
  • Fat balls – blue tit and great tit
  • Niger seed – siskin and goldfinch
  • Sunflower hearts – bullfinch
  • Dog food – hedgehog
  • Root vegetables – deer

Check out some more ideas on suitable foods here.

Bath time!

Installing a pond will wildly expand the range of wildlife you’ll attract. As well as the amphibians and insects who will find the perfect home in its watery depths, and of course the fish you may want to introduce, birds will be able to drink the water and use it to bathe. This is a great tutorial on how to install your own pond.


Garden Waterfall Pond; image credit- Andrew Rollinger

However, honeybees will also need your help in getting a drink, as bird baths and ponds are too deep for them. A saucer of water with some rocks that the bees can use as a drinking platform should do the trick. Find out more about how to help bees here.


About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. Today’s post was contributed by Nick Seaby from the Millrace Garden Centre. Check them out for more garden supplies and advice.

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Gardening with Your Children- 5 Reasons why it’s Important

March 31st, 2014

Organic gardening

Gardening can be a great way to relax while creating a method to provide healthy snacks or decorate your landscape with beautiful plant life. As a parent, it is up to you to share this experience with the children. It may be more important than you may realize as it can have a great deal of benefits to their development. In what ways is maintaining a garden with your children important?

1. Healthier Eating - Unless you use toxic chemicals or pesticides in your garden, you can’t get more organic than eating foods from your own garden. Some may even attest to how much better these foods taste whether it is psychological or not. This provides you with an opportunity to teach the children that food can be grown instead of purchased from the grocery store.

2. Money Saving - Although there may be some foods that you’ll have to buy, a large portion of the food bill can be eliminated by growing your own edibles. Of course this is dependent on the size of your garden, but there are many people across the country that grow their own fruits and vegetables in the backyard. This can teach children how to reduce spending on foods they can grow themselves. If you’re able to develop a large enough green house or an indoor garden, you can provide this food year round.

3. Important to Survival - Plants do more for humans than simply provide food. They can reduce the damage from floods, improve the air quality of a home and provide heavier rainfalls in extremely large circumstances such as a rain forest. While you are maintaining the garden, you have a great opportunity to teach children this important symbiotic relationship humans have with the environment. Essentially, you are planting your own seeds in their minds of a more sustainable future.

4. Bonding - Finding a common interest is a great way to strengthen a bond with your child. By working together to achieve a common goal, you can create that instance in the garden. Most young children love the idea of eating foods they personally had a hand in growing. The interest is so high that many manufacturers have developed miniaturized version of tools and clothing for young gardeners. In many cases, the children may be more excited to work with you in the garden than you could imagine.

5. Teaching a Skill - It is the responsibility of parents to expose children to experiences that may turn out to be marketable skills when they become adults. The interest a child shows today may impact his or her future greatly – as long as you support the opportunity. Teaching your children how to maintain a garden provides them with a skill that could develop into anything from a relaxation method to owning an organic farm of their own.

While gardening may not be for everyone, you’ll never know how your children will respond unless you try. Encourage the children to maintain the project with you using magnificent flowers or tasty fruits that they would enjoy. Gardening can be so much more than merely planting flowers next to your porch. It can be a peaceful and constructive way to add more life to your existence. Allow the children to decide for themselves if gardening is something they would be interested in.


About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was written by Ken Myers. Ken is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter.

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Black Rice and Grape Detox Salad

March 22nd, 2014

grape walnut salad


As it gets warmer out and the leaves begin to turn green, I’ve been getting the urge to add some more greens to my diet as well. Spring is a good reminder of how beautiful it is when the world is refreshed- I think this goes for our lives and bodies as well. That’s why I love detox diets.

This isn’t about eliminating all foods until you’re as thin as possible- that isn’t healthy and I’m all about eating to keep you WELL. This type of detox is about eliminating the foods and others toxins from your life that are weighing you down and holding you back, while filling your body and life with sources of wholesome nourishment. This includes toxins like pollutants or alcohol as well as toxins like a bad relationship or a job that’s causing your more stress than it’s worth. When we detox, we replace these sources of toxicity with positive, healthy foods and choices.

It’s always good to reflect on our lives and our happiness. Food can’t solve everything, but sometimes when you focus on making healthy changes in what you eat, it inspires a domino effect of healthy changes throughout your life. I eat healthy most of the time, but I still think it’s sometimes good to take moment and reset our bodies. When you take a moment to take care of yourself by eating well, you are reminded that taking care of yourself makes you feel better and helps you form a better relationship with yourself.

This detoxing salad is packed with tons of my favorite healthy super foods. I love including fruits in my salads so I can make sure to get enough fruits and veggies in my diet. This salad includes various spices that help clear our your digestive system and fight inflammation so your body can recover from damage it suffered from the toxins that are always around us. I find with myself and with my clients that after eating clean for a little while, it becomes the natural and desirable thing to do. We don’t always have to restrict ourselves like we do when we’re detoxing, but we can make sure to fill ourselves with nutritious food that will make our minds and body run smoothly. This is all about getting our bodies to work with us, not against us.

For full recipe, click here.
About the Author: 

Amie Valpone

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was submitted by Amie Valpone. Amie is a Manhattan-based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer and Writer specializing in simple Gluten-free, ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook. Check out The Healthy Apple for more great recipes.

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How to Grow Peppers Using Simple Hydroponics

March 18th, 2014

Antohi Romanian


For those who aren’t familiar with hydroponics, the method has been around for centuries and the word actually comes from the Greeks and Romans.  Roughly translated it means “working water” but a more practical/modern way to describe hydroponics is gardening without soil. The soil is replaced with an inert medium such as coconut fibers and the plant’s roots are fed directly with a nutrient rich solution.

There are dozens of benefits to hydroponics, but the simple reasons I use hydroponics can be summarized in one sentence.  Hydroponics plants grow faster, in less space, with greater yields all year long.  That’s a pretty great reason, right?

Hydroponics is a very flexible gardening method which can be used inside or outside. As an introduction, I wanted to share a brief guide to growing hot peppers with an indoor hydroponics system.

What you’ll need to get started:

  • Storage tote
  • 2 inch hole saw
  • 2” net pots
  • Clay pellets
  • Rapid Rooter plugs
  • pH Control Kit
  • Hydroponic nutrients
  • Hot pepper seeds – Humble Seed’s Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles will give you a nice variety to work with
  • Air stone
  • Air pump
  • Air Tubing
  • Air tube clips

Feel free to improvise your supplies as you can steal a lot of these things from an old fish tank setup!

Step 1: Prepare the grow tray

Arrange the net pots upside down on the lid of the tote.  Leave about 4” between the pots to allow enough growing space for the pepper plants to grow. Draw a line around each pot. Using a 2” hole saw and drill, cut out each circle.  If you don’t have a drill you can use a box cutter and some elbow grease.

Step 2: Prep the reservoir

Fill the storage tote with water.  Leave about 3 inches of headroom at the top.  This will allow the peppers’ roots to touch the water without being flooded.  Add the hydroponic liquid nutrition and pH adjuster. Note: Nutrition and pH kit directions vary by brand but all are very straight forward. 

Step 3: Setting up aeration system

  • Drill a small hole above the water line and thread the air tubing through.
  • Attach the air stone and use the clips to hold the system at the bottom of the reservoir.
  • Attach the check valve and air pump to the other end.

Step 4: Sewing the pepper seeds

  • Soak Rapid Rooter plugs for 30 seconds
  • Place one Rapid Rooter in each pot and place the pots in the pre-drilled holes
  • Put 3 seeds into each plug so you are assured that at least 1 germinates
  • Fill any extra space in the pots with clay pellets but make sure you do not block the hole on the rooter plugs


Once you have completed these steps, it’s time to wait and complete some simple weekly maintenance.  You should see the seeds start to sprout in about 7 to 10 days.  Each week you should check water pH, inspect the leaves for healthy growth, and add nutrition supplements as directed. As the pepper plants start producing peppers you will likely need to provide simple trellis support.

I hope this hydroponic introduction and pepper growing tutorial has peaked your interest so you will be incorporating this technique into your gardening this year. 

Readers, have you had success with growing hydroponic peppers? What varieties are your favorites?


About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was written by Chris Wimmer. Chris maximizes his 400 square foot downtown Chicago backyard with hydroponics. You can find more hydroponic tips at his hobby blog:

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Coconut Herbal Tea- it Does a Body Good!

February 23rd, 2014


Foul weather have you down? Coconut Herbal Tea may be just what you need to bring you up…

It seems like everyone is always sick this time of year. The freezing temperatures mean everyone is stuck inside and it’s easy for germs to jump from one person to another. Being cold isn’t fun, but having a cold makes it even worse. I don’t know about you, but when I’m under the weather I just want to stay in bed all day- and this is rarely an option.

For me, a better bet is always to see how I can use food and healthy choices to help myself get better as quickly as possible. I make sure to eat enough veggies, protein, and healthy fats so my body has all the nutrients it needs for a speedy recovery. It’s amazing how your diet affects your health and your body’s ability to cope with sickness. When you eat healthfully on a regular basis, you keep your immune system strong, so you’re not only less likely to get sick, but you also bounce back much more quickly after coming down with something. Sleeping enough and exercising when you can also help our bodies stay strong enough to deal with obstacles like sickness.

It’s so interesting to me how much we can actually control what’s going on with our bodies through something as simple as food- it just takes the knowledge of what to do, and the commitment to do what we know is best.

In addition to eating well, I always find that a warm cup of tea is a great way to make myself feel better when I’m ill. The warmth is great for soothing a sore throat and for breaking up mucous in your nose or chest. It’s also nice to drink something warm if you have a fever and are suffering from chills. Lots of teas also contain antioxidants and other powerful nutrients that work with our bodies to keep us healthy. Aside from physical benefits, a cup of tea is so cozy and comforting and always reminds me that it’s important to take care of myself. One of my favorites is my Hot Coconut Herbal Tea. The coconut adds such a unique flavor to the tea, and you can use this recipe with any of your favorite tea varieties.

Whether you’re feeling sick or are just looking for a warm and cozy pick-me-up, this Coconut  Herbal Tea is exactly what you need. Click here for the complete Coconut Herbal Tea recipe.


About the Author:

Amie Valpone

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was submitted by Amie Valpone. Amie is a Manhattan-based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer and Writer specializing in simple Gluten-free, ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook. Check out The Healthy Apple for more great recipes.



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Indoor Garden- Essentials for Year-Round Edibles

February 2nd, 2014



Maintaining a steady stream of vegetables throughout the year can be difficult in some places. Let’s face it, most plants were never built to produce edibles while covered in snow. Although the weather outside may be frightful, your indoor garden can still be delightful. As long as you can provide what they need…let ‘em grow, let ‘em grow, let ‘em grow. Setting all fun aside, you can maintain a good indoor garden that can produce year round edibles. What are the essentials for creating an indoor garden?
1. Temperature Variance - It is important to provide a stable temperature that can allow fruits and vegetables to grow. For most edibles, a temperature between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. This can be harder to maintain in the winter than you may realize, however. Drafts, windows, gaps in the doors and other instances could drop the temperature too low for a plant to flourish. Keep your indoor garden as warm as possible throughout the winter months.

2. Light - While many people believe that only heat lamps and sunlight can be used to grow an effective indoor garden, you should never underestimate the power of a $20 fluorescent ballast and bulb. Although sunlight allows for the production of vitamin D, plants utilize photosynthesis to exist – meaning virtually any light source will do. There have been many gardeners who saved money while providing fruits and vegetables by providing a regular balance of light through CFL and long fluorescent tubes.

3. Containment - You need an area that is not going to be trafficked by people and pets that could ruin a plant or a crop. This is especially difficult if you have cats and dogs. However, you can keep your furry friends out of these indoor gardens by using a cheap roll of screen that you would use on windows and doors. As long as you’re not growing anything of consequential interest such as mint or catnip, your pets are easily deterred by the screen mesh.


Putting it All Together

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a shelving unit with built in lighting, you could spend less than half of the cost and build a unit yourself. It doesn’t take a great deal of engineering skill or electronic nuances to build an effective edible producing garden. Must have indoor gardening supplies, include:

-A shelving unit: These can be as high as $60 or more for large plastic shelves from your local hardware store.

-Fluorescent lights: The long tube ones are better for mounting on the shelves lengthwise. Just make sure the ballasts are shorter than the width of the shelving unit.

-Roll of screen mesh: These rolls are usually quite inexpensive at hardware stores. You’ll want to wrap the screen around the openings, but leave a place where you can enter and water your plants.

-Pots and containers for your plants: These are usually inexpensive, too – especially if you pick them up at yard sales throughout the summer.

-Power strip: You’ll need one of these if you plan on using more than two florescent ballasts.

Of course the screen is not necessary if you don’t have pets or children that can mangle the plants. The creation of this garden unit is simple enough and can provide an endless stream of edibles if you time the plantings correctly. As long as you can simulate the ideal growing environment, any plant can flourish indoors. 


Folks, what successes have you had with indoor gardening?


About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great article was contributed by Elizabeth Reed. Elizabeth is a freelance writer and a resident blogger at Live in Nanny. She particularly enjoys writing about parenting, childcare, health and wellness. In addition, she is an expert consultant on issues related to household management and kids.


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Lemon Detox Tea – The Perfect Home Remedy

January 26th, 2014

Detox-Tea_0026 There are so many things I love about winter- snow, bundling up in warm clothes, sitting by the fire and watching the snow fall – but getting sick isn’t one of them.  The cold weather means everyone is forced to stay inside with the windows and doors shut. All our time trapped indoors with everyone else makes it much easier for germs to make their way around.

When I was young and suffering from a scratchy throat, my mom would boil water and pour it into a mug of freshly squeezed lemon juice. She’d squeeze in some honey and pass the steaming cup to me across the counter. I’d lean over the citrusy vapor and inhale deeply, its aroma clearing my nasal passages as the hot contents cooled. I’d sip slowly and let the piping hot brew drip down my throat, working it’s magic by soothing my swollen glands. The instant relief was much appreciated by me and my aching throat.

Today, I’m a self-proclaimed tea fanatic. I drink a ton of tea; I think it cures all ails from an upset stomach to a headache to a sore throat (or, at the very least, makes them a lot more bearable). In the past few years when I came down with a cold, I decided my body needed some TLC in the form of an adult version of the soothing tea my mom made for me as a child. Made with the “healing” powers of organic white tea and apple cider vinegar, this lemon detox tea is a great recipe when you’re trying to cleanse, but is just as good when you simply want something extra refreshing on which to sip.

I used this tea to clean out my system when I was doing a detox to rid my body of heavy metals, but it’s also great for relieving cold and flu symptoms.  The lemon in the tea contains Vitamin C and antioxidants that combat the effects of free radicals. Apple cider vinegar is a great natural food that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments including diabetes and indigestion. Apple cider vinegar is also wonderful for a cold or allergies because it helps break up mucus and clear out your lymphatic system.  It can also help balance your body’s pH levels, which detoxes our body and leaves us feeling more energized.

Lemon detox tea is great for staying healthy and warm this winter, but also makes a delicious, refreshing summer drink. Make a big ol’ batch of this delicious tea and store it in a sealed glass pitcher in the fridge. You’ll be happy you did- it’s a little treat every time you open the refrigerator door!  Enjoy.


About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was submitted by Amie Valpone. Amie is a Manhattan-based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer and Writer specializing in simple Gluten-free, ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook. For this Detox Tea RECIPE, visit Amie’s website HERE:


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Ways to Weather the Winter: Outdoor Edition

January 5th, 2014


No matter where you are in the country, the chances are pretty good that you have experienced at least one cold day so far this winter. Even if your days have been relatively warm, it’s a different story as soon as the sun goes down.

It’s easy for us humans when the chilly night air creeps in because we simply retire to the warmth and shelter of our homes. But what about the lives that remain outside in the backyard – what options do our plants, trees and flowers have in terms of weathering the winter weather?

Fortunately, their source of survival is you! By addressing their most basic needs, you can ensure a safer winter for all of your green backyard residents. So here are a few tips to help you take stock of what you need to accomplish for the good of your backyard growth.

Mulch Ado about Nothing

Mulch is the mighty warrior of winter when it comes to keeping your plants and trees nice and toasty. Begin your winter work by removing all of the old mulch from around your trees and plants to remove insect eggs or disease spores which may have accumulated after the dead leaves fell off the trees.

After the first frost, apply a generous layer of new mulch around all of your trees and plants to help your greenery maintain a consistent under-the-surface temperature throughout the harsh winter season.

Flowery Advice

For the flowers and plants that are settling in for a long winter’s nap, simply snip away the dead leaves and diseased stems as soon as they become dormant. Avoid doing this before they drift off, otherwise you risk stimulating them into new growth.

From here, you’re free to select your next order of flower seeds and plan what you’re going to plant when the ground thaws!

Bushy Burlap and Tree Toppers

When you have invested time and money (not to mention the emotional energy you’ve expended in rooting on those little roots to establish themselves) in planting and growing tree roses and evergreen bushes, for example, the last thing you want to do is abandon them when they need you the most.

To protect your beauties, build a burlap snow fence and wind guard by driving four wooden stakes (the same height as the bush or tree) around the bushes and trees just outside the perimeter of mulch. Wrap burlap around the stakes to encircle the tree or bush and pull it taut. Secure it with string to keep the snow and wind out while letting the sunshine in for evergreens. For roses also fill in the enclosed area with mulch.

Leaf Patrol

Although you have put away your lawnmower, don’t stow your rake in the garage or garden shed just yet. Wait until you have complete yard coverage or until the trees have given all they have to give and then rake up the leaves rather than leaving them where they are until the spring.

When leaves are left on the ground, the sun has no way to penetrate through to the grass underneath. Plus, if you wait until the spring thaw, all of those leaves become a wet mess and are much harder to remove than if you get them while they are dry.

Other Backyard Winter Basics

In general, don’t forget about these items during the colder winter months.

  • Protect the ‘Over’ – Regularly replenish bird feeders so that they stay stocked and keep the birds from having to root around in your yard for leftover grass seed that may still be present.
  • Protect the ‘Under’ – To prevent rodents from digging up your garden and nesting in the soil, wait until the ground freezes and add a 6-inch layer of organic material to serve as your winter mulch around the base of your trees and plant beds.
  • Protect the ‘Around’ – Wrap strips of burlap diagonally around the base of young tree trunks (securing with twine) and encircle them with wire or a tree-guard product to protect their tender bark from cracking in the cold and from the teeth of critters looking to gnaw on something!

What are some of the ways you have cold-proofed your backyard to help your greens weather the winter months?


About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was created by Chris Long. Chris has been working as an associate in various departments at The Home Depot for over 10 years. He is a regular contributor to the company blogs and likes to give advice on a plethora of topics ranging from lawn care to Holiday decor.

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