A mixed bag of tips

Spring has sprung which means its time to clean! Here are some cheap and easy cleaning tips from readers.

Sue from Kaitaia recommends sugar soap. “I use it for cleaning walls, ceilings, floors and to wash the car. It is really good at getting road grime off the car and does not leave waxy marks on the windows. I also use it in the window washers of the car. It is cheaper than car wash products and does a better job. It is also great in the house and you don’t need several different products. It removes mould and grease from walls and ceilings with ease and leaves everything looking nice. Sugar Soap is not too expensive and is available at supermarkets.”

J.H. from Auckland makes her own low-cost cleaner for paths and exterior surfaces. “Simply save a bucket of washing water on wash days. Add a couple of handfuls of baking soda [bought at a bulk bin store] and a good slurp of bleach. Gently scrub the mixture onto the surface and rinse. The result is great and long-lasting.”

T.B. from Blenheim has a tip to remove unsightly stains around the base of taps. “The stains are caused by calcium deposits in the water. An easy way to get the stain off is to wrap a piece of cloth soaked in vinegar around the tap, after a day or so the stain will wipe off. It’s the acetic acid in the vinegar that does the trick!”

And now to the garden – Canny Scot from Christchurch has some inspiration for those with small sections. “Make use of your fences. I have a 392m2 section which includes a 60 metre drive but I have managed to grow 56 varieties of edibles in a year. Get plastic trellis and attach it to your fences and grow beans, peas, boysenberries, blackberries, cucumbers, snow peas, etc. They don’t all need full sun just warm ground temperature.”

A reader from Masterton uses wooden pallets for climbers. “I collect wooden pallets – they are free! I have managed to fence of the back third of the section for my chickens, and my vegetable patch is fenced to keep out the dogs and chickens. These fences now provide lots of vertical areas for me to grow climbers. I tie them together with old stockings or plastic bindings which make them easy to move. To keep them upright I place spacer pallets at right angles which gives stability as well as creates ‘rooms’/spaces in which to grow produce.”

Cole from Auckland has a tip about growing broccoli. “Once you have cut the head off your broccoli plant instead of pulling it out and starting again, leave it in the ground. Smaller heads grow out just above where the leaves join the stem. You can keep eating broccoli for months.”

This same principle works for spring onions – when you harvest them, leave the base and roots in the ground and they will sprout again – but does it works for any other veges?

Laura from Otago likes ricotta but does not want to pay the super expensive price. She says it’s cheap and easy to make. “Heat 2ltr of blue top milk to 90 degrees, take off the heat and pour in 1-2 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. You will see the milk separate into curds and whey. Strain off the curds (ricotta) and refrigerate. The whey is great for the garden.”

Sande has a Xmas tip. “Being a bit strapped for cash this Christmas I looked at what my grandchildren like to do when they come to my house. Knowing I had a printer full of ink I decided to print off all different paper dolls and clothes for my 10 year old granddaughter. Weren’t they fun when we were children? For my 6 year old granddaughter I printed all sorts of paper boxes, bags, toys, and for my 13 year old grandson, paper airplanes of all designs and folds. I put them into bright cheerful clear-view files. Added to the other small things bought during the year, it should keep them entertained for a while!”

With Christmas fast approaching, if you have some thrifty tips to share, please let us know so we can help others who would like to have a frugal Xmas!