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Women's PROBUS Club of Vancouver

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GARDENER'S CORNER  We welcome contributions to this corner please contact  our Webmaster Estelle:     

RATS (eating your vegies) Rats’ high sense of smells means they can't stand hot pepper or anything very spicy so it will deter them forever.

“You can make your own homemade natural rat repellent spray with cayenne pepper or chilli flakes.” To make this repellent spray mix cayenne pepper or chilli flakes with water and heat the mixture vigorously to infuse the chilli.

Then allow it to cool - the longer you leave it, the more potent the chilli will be. If gardeners have used chilli flakes, sieve them out. After, add a little castile soap and pour into a spray bottle. The solution can then be applied liberally to areas where there is evidence of rats.

Alternatively Peppermint oil, citronella and eucalyptus essential oils in their pure form are all smells that rats will dislike. “

A few drops of these oils in their pure form around the areas you know the rats have been should do the trick.
Alternatively, soak cotton wool in essential oil and place in rat traffic areas. 

Works well indoors or outdoors. Use chopped up fresh orange peels only near your plants. (Do not use flesh.) Alternatively, you can chop up or grind your orange peels into small pieces.  Spread these near the base of plants.  The smell can help deter some pests and rodents away from the plants. Replace once dried out.  ALTERNATIVELY, boil a few orange peels in a cup of water for ten minutes, then strain the liquid into a spray bottle once cool.

SLUGS - Crush egg shells and sprinkle along edges of flower beds and around plants.  the sharp edges will deter slubs 7 snails.  I prefer to dry the shells in the oven first.


Dig and drop composting couldn't be simpler:

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How to Keep Your Flowers Fresh (We Tested ALL the Methods!)
  1. Dig a hole, approximately 10 to 12 inches deep and as wide as you want or need it to be.
    Drop food scraps or other organic matter into the hole.
    Replace the soil, and you're done.

Dig and Drop composting is a good solution for the busy gardener because you don't have to worry about harvesting the compost. The organic matter breaks down right in the garden, and the resulting compost enriches the soil and provides nutrients to nearby plants.

You might find that the easiest way to do this is to collect the food scraps from your kitchen into a bowl or bucket, then go out at the end of the day (or every few days) and bury them in your garden. This way, you don't have to worry about digging large holes; a small hole will accommodate all of the food scraps produced by an average household over a day or more.

ROSES If you’re among the lucky ones with a rose bush or two growing on your patio or balcony, you might know that this forsythia in bloom has a message for you: Prune your roses. Now. 

The jury is still out on this but many recommend applying Epsom salts to existing rose bushes. Either mix 1/2 cup of Epsom salts into the soil around the rose bush and water well or dissolve 1/2 cup of the salts in water and use to water the soil around rose bush. Do this in the spring, just as the buds are beginning to open. You can also spray the plants with the same solution to discourage pests, or scratch half a cup of the granules around the base of roses to encourage flowering canes. 

TOMATO - To prevent blight and powdery mildew:

To create a solution that prevents and treats disease, add a heaping tablespoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of vegetable oil, and a small amount of mild soap to a gallon of water and spray the tomato plants with this solution. This needs to be reapplied regularly to maintain its efficiency. Garden clean-up is another preventative key, as the diseases’ spores can overwinter on plants left in the garden from the previous year.


  1.  Dry Egg shells at 175 F in oven for 30 min
  2.  Crush finely with Blender or Coffee Grinder (will not do any harm if they get into the coffee grinds later on)
  3.  Take 1 Tablespoon ground egg shells
  4.   Add 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  5.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes, mix well.  It may bubble until fully integrated
  6.  Add to a jug of water (use a large plastic water or milk jug for this)
  7.  For a 5 gallon pot containing your plant add the mixture until it dribbles through the bottom. 

         Don’t drown your plant.


  1. 3-4 large Rhubarb leaves (no stalks),   Chop leaves roughly
  2. 4 Cups Water in a pot,    Bring to a boil
  3. Add 2 Cups coarsely cut Rhubarb to boiling water,  turn down heat and simmer 30 minutes
  4. Remove from Stove and allow to cool
  5. Strain into a bowl pressing the leaves in the strainer to extract all the compounds
  6. Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap with 2 1/2 cups of cold water in a container.

  7. Blend the rhubarb leaf infusion with the soapy water. Pour the resulting rhubarb solution into a clean spray bottle. Reserve leftover solution in a tightly capped jar.

DO  NOT  USE  ON  VEGETABLES  NOR  FRUIT If you wish you could do a trial spray to see if there is any adverse effect on the plant.


    Contains 25% Phosphorous and 42% Potassium & small amounts of calcium, manganese, magnesium, sodium & sulfur.

    1. Remove labels from Banana skins and pack in water to cover (this prevents mould)
    2. Leave out of direct sunshine for two days.  It will start to ferment.
    3. Keep an eye on the water level.
    4. TO USE  - 1 part banana  fluid to 5 parts water. Then just water your plants as you would normally.

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