Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to choose the best herbs to grow

July 18, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to choose the best herbs to grow

Grow chives, dill, peppermint, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm, cilantro and lavender in containers! (Credit: Jennifer Higgs)

My container garden varies year-to-year. But it always includes plants to help bees. Some are just for eating. And most are staples in my DIY cosmetics recipes!

Plants for DIY recipes:

I quizzed Tara, herbalist with the Rocky Mountain Soap Company (@RockyMtnSoap), for her tips and tricks:

If you could grow only one herb, what would it be?

Peppermint! It aids digestion and treats nausea and headaches. You can use it in teas, tinctures, compresses, poultices, salves, syrups and in water.
For example, combine peppermint with elder and yarrow to treat fevers. Or use as a cold tea for a compress to relive puffy or swollen eyes. (Lindsay: I've used it to treat sunburn!)

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How to make laundry soap

July 12, 2016 | 4 comments
Photo: How to make laundry soap

Bring costs and waste down: Buy ingredients for this recipe in bulk! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

I've been making laundry soap for a decade. It's cheaper than store-bought eco-friendly options and works just as well. I make this recipe once a month:

Liquid laundry soap recipe

Preparation time: 10 minutes or less
Yield: seven litres
Shelf life: six months

Ingredients:

7 L (28 cups) hot water
250 ml (1 cup) baking soda
250 ml (1 cup) liquid castile soap
80 ml (1/3 cup) salt

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How to treat a mosquito bite

July 6, 2016 | 7 comments
Photo: How to treat a mosquito bite

Get quick itch relief from a few familiar ingredients you have in your pantry: baking soda, vinegar and Epsom salts. (Photo credit: Nicole Bridger)

To prevent being "treeprived," you grab yourself some Vitamin "N" and end up with a mosquito bite. (Living in Canada, we're fortunate an annoying itch is likely all we'll get...)

This shows:

  1. You need to brush up on mosquito bite prevention techniques.
  2. You taste better. (One study shows skeeters find blood type O more enticing than A.)
  3. You're an animal.

I brush up on mosquito bite remedies every spring or summer I travel to Alberta to visit family and friends. (In Vancouver many people don't even have screens on windows!)

Get quick itch relief from a few familiar ingredients you have in your pantry:

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How to fend off mosquitoes

June 27, 2016 | 8 comments
Photo: How to fend off mosquitoes

Attract mosquito-eating chickadees, house wrens, bluebirds, swallows and martins with birdhouses and bird baths. (Credit: James Andruchow)

As an Alberta girl, I know mosquitoes.

I also spent five summers working in the boreal forest counting critters — and inadvertently feeding skeeters, no-see-ums and deer and horse flies.

Bug spray ingredients often don't break down. Some linger and can cause harm to plants and animals other than their targets. Avoid DEET and you'll never rinse it into our oceans, lakes or rivers.

Before you reach for a DEET bug repellent, try these non-toxic tips to make you and your home less attractive to mosquitoes:

  • Remove standing water (mosquito breeding grounds). Refresh bird and bee baths daily.
  • Fill, cover or remove backyard items that collect water — empty planters, kids' toys, wheelbarrows, etc.
  • Keep gutters clean to help rainwater flow freely.
  • Repair screens on doors and windows.
  • Keep grass to about three inches. Trim shrubs.
  • Attract mosquito-eating chickadees, house wrens, bluebirds, swallows and martins with birdhouses and bird baths.
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Who tests consumer goods for safety?

June 22, 2016 | 3 comments
Photo: Who tests consumer goods for safety?

Substances used in some consumer products pose risks to human health. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

A recent audit found Health Canada isn't doing enough to protect Canadians from hazardous chemicals in everyday products.

This is not breaking news to you. And maybe it's the main reason you:

Federal environmental watchdog report findings:

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