Oily Rag: Steal a march on snails

By Frank, Murial Newman

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Get the better of slimy pests before they make a meal of your veges.
Get the better of slimy pests before they make a meal of your veges.

Spring means oily raggers go gardening. Marion, from Auckland, has a good, cheap method for making a natural weedkiller.

Mix 4 litres of white vinegar, half a cup of salt, and 10 drops of dishwash and use a spray bottle to apply it.

Marion says it will kill weeds in two or three days.

Emma, from Auckland, has this tip for waging war on snails. "I decided to start tidying my small vege garden today ready for spring planting. In the centre of it there was an old square recycle bin lying upside down. As I lifted it up I just about fainted - the inside was covered with snails.

"Now, what to do with them all? I half-filled a bucket with water and added a liberal amount of salt. Within two minutes they were crawling their way up to the top. So much for salt.

"It took more than an hour before they finally gave up the ghost. I then remembered an old trick: strong, freshly brewed coffee is the thing and will soon kill them."

Eru, from Whangarei, has this tip about rubbish. He puts food scraps in bread bags and stores them in the freezer until rubbish day. This avoids unpleasant smells and means he doesn't have to pay for rubbish bags that are only partially full.

PW, from Christchurch, has this tip about dishwasher powder. "Dishwasher powder is really expensive and this works just as well if not better: equal parts borax and baking soda. I bought both in bulk."

Liz, from Auckland, has sent in this silver beet soup recipe. "Every child I know loves this soup. You need 750g of cubed potatoes, one bunch of silver beet , 5 cups chicken stock (vege stock works just as well), 1 cup of cheese, 3/4 cup sour cream. Boil potatoes in stock then add chopped silverbeet.

"When cooked, remove from heat and blend. Add cheese and sour cream. Season to taste.

She suggests removing and slicing silverbeet stems for later use in mince, stews or stirfries.

Tina, from Christchurch, has this washing liquid recipe. "I make my own which has saved our family of seven a fortune over the years.

"Use 1 cup of soap flakes (you can grate a bar of soap but I like to use the flakes), 1/2 cup washing soda (do not confuse this with baking soda).

"Bring 2 litres of water to the boil, drop in 1 cup of flakes and stir gently till melted. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup washing soda and stir until melted. Use a large lidded bucket that easily contains 10 litres and fill with 8 litres of hot tap water. Pour the soap mixture into the bucket and stir.

"You can add drops of essential fragrant oil of your choice to this mixture.

"The mixture will thicken on cooling. I use a very long soup paddle and mix it up several times and use 1/2 cup for a normal load. Keep it locked up and well away from children."

Aliza, from Dunedin, suggests this for a toilet cleaner: "Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into the bowl and leave for a few hours or overnight. Scrub the bowl with a brush and rinse."

Aliza also has this playdough recipe for children. "You will need: 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 4 teaspoons cream of tartar, 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, and food colouring.

"Mix dry ingredients together. Add water, oil and colouring. Blend until smooth. Stir over heat until mixture comes away from the sides and forms a ball. Tip on to a board and knead well, then store in an airtight container."

Miriam, from Christchurch, has the cleanest windows in the world because she reckons she has the world's best glass cleaner: "equal parts of water, meths and kerosene."

Do you have a favourite winter tip you would like to share? Send it to us at www.oilyrag.co.nz or write to Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

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