Chemical-free Cleaning with The Rhi Rebellion

On May 7th 2016 Rhiannon Simmonds hosted a fully-booked-out Chemical-free cleaning workshop. (We cap the numbers on some of our workshops, to ensure they are intimate enough for everyone to have a the best possible learning experience!) This is another blast-from-the-past, but one we thought definitely worth sharing with the wider community.

The workshop was a hit, with many attendees reporting going home and successfully using some of their freshly made cleaning products on some stubborn old grime.

All attendees took home a little recipe booklet, and Rhiannon has kindly agreed to share some of her recipes here.

Stove Top Cleaner

  • 1 Part olive oil
  • 2 parts baking soda

Mix all ingredients into a paste, apply to burnt /grease stains on stove top and allow to set overnight. Wipe away with “all purpose cleaner” (see below)

All purpose cleaner

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 10 drops of tea tree oil
  • water

Add all ingredients to spray bottle. Use on surfaces as a cleaner!


Toilet Cleaner

  • I cup white vinegar
  • 1-2 drops lavender oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

Mix all ingredients together, apply to toilet bowl. Leave for 15 minutes, scrub and flush.

image source: http://www.lemonslavenderandlaundry.com/cleaning-tip-tuesday-diy-toilet-bombs/

image source: http://www.lemonslavenderandlaundry.com/cleaning-tip-tuesday-diy-toilet-bombs/

Toilet BOMBS!

  • 1 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 citric acid
  • 1 tsp water
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 30 drops lemon essential oil

Mix baking soda and critic acid together to create “Dry Mix”. Add water and essential oils to spray bottle (this will help prevent premature “fizzing”) spray small amounts of wet mixture to dry mixture, stirring in between.

Test mixture by squeezing a small about in your hand, if the mixture comes together easily its ready, but if it is still a little crumbly add some more water to your spray bottle.

Once mixture is ready place into silicone ice try and press down firmly.

Leave Bombs to dry for 2-3 hours, once dry pop out gently. These are great for a quick clean or to add to the cistern.


Scrubber!

  • Citrus cut in half
  • Salt to cover

Place salt on a plate, cover opening of citrus and use to scrub tiles, kitchen sink, bath tub, shower, tiles and grease!

Grout Cleaner

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part baking soda

Mix into paste, using a brush apply paste to affected areas, brush in circular motion to remove any mould or stains then rinse off with water!

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DIY (Borax-Free) Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar (have some extra on hand in case you need it)
  • 1 teaspoon castile soap
  • 20 drops Lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops Orange essential oil
  • 15 drops Purification essential oil
  • 2 ice cube trays (I recommend ice cube trays that are flexible or have bottoms that pop up – makes it MUCH easier to remove the tabs)!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the DRY ingredients. DO NOT PUT THE VINEGAR IN YET!!
  2. Add in the castile soap and the lemon, orange, and Purification essential oils. Mix well.
  3. Next, SLOWLY add in the vinegar a little bit at a time and mix well. It will start to fizz and it will start to clump... this is what’s supposed to happen, but you want to act fast. You may not need to use the whole 1/2 cup of vinegar, so go slowly and work a little at a time. I used the whole 1/2 cup. If it looks too dry, add in a little more vinegar a splash at a time.
  4. Once it is mixed well, pack well into two ice cube trays (take your time doing this and make sure they are well compacted – they should feel “wet” but not solid yet.
  5. Set ice cube trays out to dry for at least 24 hours in a sunny spot (I put mine in a window sill)
  6. After 24 hours, remove the tabs and store in an air-tight container. I highly recommend ice cube trays that are flexible on the bottom... my trays were NOT and it was TOUGH to get the tabs out. I save ALL of the crumbs and crumbles so that I can use all of those at the end for a cycle.
  7. When it’s time to wash your dishes, put your dishwasher tab in the detergent container and start your cycle! If you REALLY wanna boost your wash cycle, put a 1/2 cup of white vinegar on the top rack.

Rhiannon Simmonds

Rhiannon Simmonds

About Rhiannon

Rhiannon is a Creative Workshop Host, Upcycler, Recycler, Wood-worker, Artist and Crafter. She hosts all sorts of workshops, including sewing workshops for kids, with her aim being to up-skill people of all ages, in areas where skills are (sadly) being lost. For more information about Rhi, or to find out what workshops she has coming up next, follow the links below:

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/rhirebellion/

https://www.facebook.com/notes/the-rhi-rebellion/rhi-rebllion-april-workshops/1225024507618846 (list of April 2017 workshops)

https://www.instagram.com/rhirebellion/

rhirebellion@gmail.com

 

Building a Productive Food Garden

8 GREAT LESSONS from the

"BUILDING A PRODUCITVE FOOD GARDEN" workshop.

at the Port Macquarie Community Gardens on Saturday 2nd April 2016

Hosted By Green Dean.

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1. BIOMIMICRY - copy nature!

Nature has been gardening pretty well for a long, long time, and we can learn many of its secrets to success if we learn to observe and listen to nature.
Nature is organic – only natural inputs!
In your garden, commit to ‘keeping it organic’ – use only natural, organic inputs. Avoid synthetic inputs and toxic chemicals at all times.
IF IN DOUBT – KEEP IT OUT!
Always ask yourself: what does and would nature do?

2. STRONG FOUNDATIONS!

It all starts in and with the soil.
WE ARE ‘DIRT FARMERS’ – our sole purpose and focus is on our soil. Keep soil care in mind at all times. A good philosophy should be: If you wouldn’t give it to your children to eat, don’t put it in your soil.
Focus on ‘build it and they will come’ – encourage and care for all your ‘soil life’: worms, fungi, bacteria, countless microbes and insects and much more!
Lifeless or mediocre soil = lifeless, mediocre food. Living, great soil = nutrient dense food.
ALWAYS RETURN TO THE SOIL!

3. Remember the organic gardener’s mantra: COMPOST, COMPOST, COMPOST! MULCH, MULCH, MULCH!

Keep adding good quality organic material to your soil – compost, mulch, composted manures, worm castings and more.
Work on always building and maintaining HUMUS! Humus is the lifeblood of soil for gardeners. Humus adds soil structure, retains water and nutrients, repels ‘baddies’, stores carbon and is a magnet for good soil life.
Humus is the goal … food growing is a bonus!

4. THE PAST IS NOT THE FUTURE!

Explore many things outside our current model of the 4 seasons and climate zones. You don’t have to grow strictly according to the 4 seasons and climate zones. Some of it is important and functional, but we need to break free from the old European legacy of gardening rules.
We need to stop cutting the ends off the roast meat to fit in the baking tray!

5. WATER IS AN ART!

Watering is a skill, but we can practise and experiment with it until it becomes intuitive. Nature will always give us feedback whether we are watering too much or too little. Again, observe and listen to nature!
Soil needs a certain amount of water to provide nutrients to plants and trees, and soil life needs water not only to thrive, but survive.
WATER IS LIFE!

6. A SHIFT IN ATTITUDE!

Every week or fortnight, commit to trying a new veg or fruit, or try new ways to cook and eat various produce. Variety is the spice of life!
Then commit to growing new produce – break free from the European legacy of edible gardening. We live in a different country, with different seasons, climates, soils and plants. Try new ways of growing things – organic, biodynamic, urban farming, permaculture, intensive, bio-intensive, verticle gardens, wicking beds and other growing methods.
Focus on perennials … and focus more on SE Asian food plants for our climate zone and hot, humid Spring and Summer.

7. GROW FOR LIFE!

Experiment and practise growing food year round!
Celebrate and embrace the energy and change that each season brings, plus the fresh seasonal produce that each season and sub-season, and climate zone, offers.
Remember that seasonal = fresh, nutrient and climate appropriate food.
Seasonal = taste! Seasonal = reconnection to nature and our gardens in a fresh new way as each season rolls around. Yay!

8. FOCUS ON AND CELEBRATE THE ‘TOTAL SUM OF YIELDS’ from your garden, not just the obvious ones like the produce we eat.

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A single 1m x 1m raised garden bed yields fruit, vegetables, herbs, soil and other fertility, biodiversity, water, shade, fibre, exercise and recreation, entertainment, satisfaction, love, food, sustenance, nutrition, community, family, learning, spiritual connection to nature, seeds, animal food, mulch, compost, sustainability, self-sufficiency and self-reliance, intimate personal food, stimulation, a legacy and so many more things.
A single small garden bed, or even a few herbs in pots on a balcony, can be a wonderful gateway into the awesome world of edible gardening and urban farming.
ALL of these things are the TOTAL YIELD from your garden – not just the obvious food we grow. How exciting is that?

I wish you all the best in your food gardening and pursuit of a more ethical and green lifestyle. Thanks to everyone who attended the workshop on Saturday. For those who couldn’t make it, I hope to meet you in the future.
— Green Dean

The No-Dig Garden Bed Workshop

As Part of our Spring Fair on the first weekend of Spring, 2016, The Lost Plot President, Ali Bigg presented an interactive No-Dig Garden Bed Workshop. It was a hit for young and old, and one of the most fun workshops in the garden so far. Below we will outline the basic steps involved, so that you too can make one in your own backyard.

Step 1: damp newspaper as a 1st layer to stop the weeds coming through.

Step 1: damp newspaper as a 1st layer to stop the weeds coming through.

Step 2&3: Palettes down to create an 'air-pocket' which will prevent the roots of a nearby eucalyptus from impacting on the garden bed. (This step is only necessary if there is a eucalyptus nearby!) Then, a layer of shade-cloth to prevent the soil falling through.

Step 2&3: Palettes down to create an 'air-pocket' which will prevent the roots of a nearby eucalyptus from impacting on the garden bed. (This step is only necessary if there is a eucalyptus nearby!) Then, a layer of shade-cloth to prevent the soil falling through.

Step 4: Lucerne hay (rich in nitrogen) in a nice thick layer.

Step 4: Lucerne hay (rich in nitrogen) in a nice thick layer.

Step 5: The kids did a fabulous job watering in the lucerne. We wanted to make it nice and wet. We also added a few watering cans full of weed-tea (a fertiliser we make at the garden from all of our non-compostable weeds), and a watering can of worm-wee (from a worm farm). These would both have to be well diluted if applied directly to plants, but in this case we could just pour it in, nice and strong!

Step 5: The kids did a fabulous job watering in the lucerne. We wanted to make it nice and wet. We also added a few watering cans full of weed-tea (a fertiliser we make at the garden from all of our non-compostable weeds), and a watering can of worm-wee (from a worm farm). These would both have to be well diluted if applied directly to plants, but in this case we could just pour it in, nice and strong!

Step 6: Next up, layers of horse manure, lawn-clippings, shredded paper (No shiny stuff!), worm-rich matter from the worm-farm and finally a layer of good quality compost/garden soil. We kept the hose running the whole time to get plenty of moisture in there

Step 6: Next up, layers of horse manure, lawn-clippings, shredded paper (No shiny stuff!), worm-rich matter from the worm-farm and finally a layer of good quality compost/garden soil. We kept the hose running the whole time to get plenty of moisture in there

The finished No-dig garden, complete with a groovy sign post! This final layer can be planted into in at least 3 weeks time. It's best that we let the garden bed sit for a while, especially to give the horse manure some time to settle in. It will be creating a lot of heat as it breaks down, and that could be too much for some young plants to handle! Many thanks to Ali for running the workshop, Adrian for building the frame from some recycled fence posts, and to all of our enthusiastic participants and helpers. Fabulous effort!!

The finished No-dig garden, complete with a groovy sign post! This final layer can be planted into in at least 3 weeks time. It's best that we let the garden bed sit for a while, especially to give the horse manure some time to settle in. It will be creating a lot of heat as it breaks down, and that could be too much for some young plants to handle!
Many thanks to Ali for running the workshop, Adrian for building the frame from some recycled fence posts, and to all of our enthusiastic participants and helpers. Fabulous effort!!