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How to care for succulents and keep them alive

Here’s how to care for succulents, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve got a green thumb.

Everyone should know how to care for succulents. After all, these small, sweet plants can make a huge difference to your indoors. Whether they’re scattered around your home office, or dotted around your bedroom, succulents can improve your mood and give your decor a more natural finish. And while some can be very hardy, they still need some regular TLC; otherwise, you’ll end up looking for tips to save a dying plant.

That’s why we’ve pulled together this guide on how to care for succulents. We will look at what you should be doing, as well as what you need to avoid. So whether you’re new to the succulent-world or you’re a regular aficionado, there’s something here for everyone. Here’s how to care for your succulents and keep them thriving.

How to care for succulents

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1. Give them enough light — It might sound like common sense, but plants do need light to survive. So if you shut your succulents in an enclosed bathroom, they will inevitably die. Ideally, established succulents should get about six hours of full sun first thing in the morning, followed by partial shade for the remainder of the day.

If your succulent is more of a sapling though, too much sun can do some damage, so reduce the exposure as necessary. It’s also worth flagging that some succulents do require more light than others, especially those from the southern regions, such as cacti and yuccas. On the other hand, low light succulents also exist, such as snake plants and aloe vera.

2. Keep them watered and fed — An obvious point again, but many succulents are killed by either over or under-watering. And with so many being such a small size, this can be very easy to do. Succulents will naturally need more water in the summer, and less during the winter months. For general guidance, watering in the summer once a week is good practice, while as little as once a month may suffice in the winter.

You can always check how dry the soil feels using your finger — if the top inch feels dry, then it’s time to water. If you’re new to succulents, it’s also a good idea to use pots with drainage holes. This prevents you from over-watering, and you can re-use any excess in the tray on other succulents. You can also add a small amount of fertilizer during the spring or summer months to help with growth. We recommend Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food ($8.40, Amazon).

3. Watch the temperature — While succulents are pretty hardy, few will survive temperatures which drop below freezing, so keep them tucked up indoors during the colder months. Likewise, if the temperature is too high, say above 90°F, this too will kill most succulents.

Ideally, you want the temperature to range from 40-80°F for your plants to stay happy. But, remember, the higher the temperature, the more often they will need watering.

4. Rotate your pots — Wherever you’ve placed your succulents, odds are one side is not getting as much light as the other. Over time, this can result in your succulent growing in the direction of the sun and “leaning.”

Preventing this is easy: Simply rotate your plant every so often to give the other side some sun. This makes them look better and gives their growth better support.

5. Keep pests at bay — While you might think indoor succulents will be free from pests, think again. Gnats and mealybugs are attracted to damp soil and fertilizer, which can make them an unwelcome guest on your succulents.

First, you need to isolate any plants which show signs of infestation and clean the area to prevent it from spreading to others. Next, mix up a solution of one part 70 percent isopropyl alcohol and one part water. Then spray the soil as well as any pests you can see on the leaves to kill them. Make sure the succulent is free of pests before putting it back with the others.

6. Use the right soil — Soil does matter and you might be using the wrong stuff. You need a soil which isn’t too dense and allows for fast-draining, which means everyday compost won’t work. Instead, buy a dedicated succulent soil, such as The Succulent Cult Store’s Organic Potting Soil ($9.89, Amazon).

You should look to repot your succulents every two years; you should do this during its growing season. Just be careful with the roots, as these can easily be damaged.

7. Give the leaves a once over — It’s always annoying when you notice dust building up on the leaves. Some of us won’t do anything about it for fear of damaging the plant, but this myth needs to be busted.

Excessive dust can actually slow the growth of your succulent, so you’re better off getting rid of it. Plus, the colors will look much better without it. All you need to do is wipe the leaves down every so often with a damp microfiber cloth. You can also use a brush to reach any tight spaces.

For more planting tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out- Gardening


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What are the Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

5 warning signs of magnesium deficiency

When it comes to magnesium it plays such an important role on our bodies overall. Many around the world do not understand the importance of magnesium in the same way they understand calcium or iron, for instance. Nonetheless, in my research and it’s proven that adequate magnesium levels are crucial for brain, cardiac and muscle function and it is needed, along with silica and Vitamins D and K to promote bone health. Magnesium deficiency is more common than many people suspect, and it is so worth knowing this inforation for anyone, There is a LOT more than just 5. below are just a few warning signs that could indicate a deficiency in this important mineral.

1. Ringing in the Ears or Hearing Loss


Tinnitus, or a constant, high-pitched ringing in the ears is common symtom of magnesium deficiency, as is hearing loss. There are have been a number of studies done on the relationship between ear health and sufficient magnesium levels. In one Chinese study, it was found that magnesium in sufficient quantities will prevent the formation of the free radicals that can lead to hearing loss. In a study at the Mayo Clinic, it was found that treating patients who had experienced hearing loss with magnesium supplementation often helped restore that loss within three months.

2. Muscle Cramps or Tremors


Magnesium is crucial to optimim muscle function. Without it, the body would be in a state of convulsion, because it is this mineral that allows the muscles to relax. That is why, for instance, a magnesium oxide drip is used to ease women in labor and why magnesium is found in so many sleep-inducing supplements. A lack of sufficient magnesium, therefore, can lead to facial tics, muscle cramping and twitching or cramping of the feet while trying to sleep.

3. Depression


The link between low magnesium levels and depression was understood over a century ago, when doctors would use it to treat this mental health disorder. Modern science has backed this up, with a study at a psychiatric hospital in Croatia finding that many attempted suicide patients had severely low levels of this important mineral. One advantage of magnesium over traditional antidepressants is the lack of side effects sometimes associated with these medications.

4. Abnormal Heart Function


As previously discussed, low magnesium levels can have an effect on muscles throughout the body and this includes the heart muscles. Insufficient magnesium can induce a condition known as a cardiac arrhythmia, in which the heart fails to beat regularly and this, in turn, can cause a greater risk for complications like heart attacks and strokes. That is why, for instance, doctors at the Henry Low Heart Center in Connecticut treat their arrhythmia patients with a medication which contains magnesium.

5. Kidney Stones


Many people believe that kidney stones are caused by an excess of calcium, but in fact it is a lack of magnesium that is the culprit. Magnesium prevents the formation of these stones by inhibiting the binding of calcium with oxalate, the two compounds which make up these stones. Kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful, so it is good to know that something as simple as magnesium supplementation can prevent them!

If experiecing any of these symptoms, consulting with a healthcare practitioner who truly understands these imbalances is a good idea.

Another reason we are so lacking in magnesium levels is that our vegetables are lacking magnesium due to over-pesticide use on our farmlands. 

Try to consume organic and non gmos foods as much as possible.

A great sorce of mg is 1 raw cacao bean contains 9 mg. ground powder with about 15-20 and mix with organic or no antibiotics milk of choice. It’s a little chunky but good sorce of mg boost of around 150-200 mg of magnesium, about 1/3 daily supply. headaches are also a big sign as well. That could technically be the muscle cramp symptom. Magnesium can be used as organic supplement forms. it’s great to drink several glasses of water with organic lemon juice. Avoiding sodas, sugary drinks ect as much as possible.

It is also wise to follow a diet which includes foods like okra, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, almonds, soy or black beans, cashews and spinach as these are all natural magnesium sources.

Blessings to all. Maria🌿` The Naturally Blooming

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GARDENING TIPS: 10 WAYS TO IMPROVE SOIL FERTILITY

Gardening tips: 10 Ways to improve soil fertility

Starting your own garden is exciting, but it can be disappointing when soil quality becomes a problem and you can’t grow anything. If you’re having issues with your home garden, check your soil quality and try some of the suggestions below to improve soil fertility.

Understanding soil fertility

Like people, plants need nutrients to grow healthy. Fertile soil has all of the nutrients plants need to grow, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Fertile soil also contains other nutrients like calcium, copper and magnesium.

Soil fertility is influenced by organic matter, pH levels, moisture and nutrient retention. Fertile soil also contains beneficial microorganisms, minerals and helpful insects like earthworms that aerate the soil.

The soil on the forest floor is a good example of fertile soil. It is usually dark, brown or black. It is also loose, rich and has an earthy smell.

Infertile soil, on the other hand, is usually hard, dry and difficult to dig. It might be pale, barren and causes water to run off instead of sink in.

Compaction, erosion and pesticide use can affect soil’s natural fertility. Growing the same crop in the same space over time can also reduce fertility and increase the presence of disease.

Soil type can also affect soil fertility. Your garden may have either clay soil, sandy soil, loam soil or silt soil.

If your garden soil does not have a well-balanced texture, you’ll have trouble with soil fertility. To ensure success in your garden, you need to determine what type of soil you have.

If your soil is unfertile, make amendments to its texture to improve soil fertility. The best kind of garden soil contains a mix of clay, silt and sand, which makes up loam. Use this jar test to determine your soil texture.

Factors like density, moisture content, organic matter and pH may affect soil fertility. If your garden soil is too compacted, water and air will not be distributed evenly throughout the soil. This is bad because it will hamper the growth of microbes and restrict the movement of nutrients in the soil.

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Testing for soil fertility


You can test your soil fertility through your local agricultural extension office. The soil test will help you understand how to address issues with your garden soil.

Try the earthworm test to check organic matter in your garden soil. It’s best to do this test in spring when the soil’s temperature has reached 50 F and its surface is moist.

Use a shovel to dig up about one cubic foot of soil. Put the soil on a piece of cardboard then break it apart to look for earthworms.

If you find at least 10 earthworms, your soil is healthy. If your soil has fewer than 10 worms, add more organic matter like aged manure, compost and leaf mold. Organic matter improves structure, slowly releases nutrients and increases beneficial microbial activity in garden soil.


10 Ways to improve soil fertility


Try these 10 suggestions to increase soil fertility in your home garden.

1. Amend soil texture

Once you confirm your soil texture, try the following amendments.

Clay soil

If you have hard clay soil, rainwater might run off. Amend clay soil by adding plenty of organic matter. Continue to add compost or mulch every year to build soil texture and fertility.

Sandy soil

Amend sandy soil by working several inches of organic matter into the soil. Continue to mulch throughout the year. Use cover crops like oats, rye, or sweet clover to build soil and soil fertility.

Silty soil

Amend silty soil by turning over the top layer of soil regularly. Add compost or aged sawdust and don’t overwater silty soils.

2. Plant deep-rooted plants

If your soil fertility is low, growing certain plants can help. Plants with deep tap roots can draw up minerals and nutrients from below the soil’s surface.

Once these plants die, the minerals and nutrients are returned to the soil near the surface where smaller plants can access them. The deep taproots also add aeration and channels in the soil that will provide water and oxygen to the plants you will grow.

Beneficial deep-rooted plants to grow in your garden include borage, comfrey, dandelion and yellow dock. Both borage and dandelion are edible and all four plants can bring up nutrients and minerals from the soil into the plant. Eventually, the plants will be composted or turned under to fertilize the soil.

3. Avoid tilling

Tilling breaks up the soil in your garden. It’s useful if you need to break up hard clay, turn the soil over and mix weeds and grass down into the soil.

However, tilling has its disadvantages. Tilling the soil can disrupt the natural processes of soil systems and reduce soil fertility.

The tiller will disrupt the natural bacteria in the soil by disrupting the air pockets and porosity of the soil, making it impossible for soil bacteria to survive.

Tilling also stirs up dormant weed seeds. Once this happens, weed seeds will reach the surface, grow and steal the nutrients that your crops need.

4. Liquid compost (compost tea)

Compost tea helps add plenty of nutrients and beneficial microorganisms to your soil. Either buy liquid compost or make your own compost tea.

5. Use a broadfork

If you need to break up garden soil, use a broadfork. This tool opens the soil up and is more friendly to natural bacteria and insects than a tiller.

A broadfork creates more aeration in the soil while a tiller creates less.

6. Mulch with hay

Note that commercially grown hay is treated with herbicides and pesticides that are bad for your garden soil. When mulching with hay, use organically grown hay.

7. Add sources of phosphate

Add phosphate to garden soil by using mineral sources like soft rock phosphate, hard rock phosphate and colloidal phosphate. These sources work best when added to manure and allowed to compost.

8. Add sources of calcium

Use lime to add calcium to the soil and moderate soil pH. Alternatively, you can use gypsum if your soil needs calcium and sulfur.

9. Add sources of potassium

Granite dust is a source of potash, but it doesn’t break down completely in garden soil. Instead, use glauconite, a slow-release mineral that allows potash to slowly break down into the soil. Note that glauconite can be rather expensive.

10. Use sources of nitrogen

Improve soil fertility by adding kelp meal directly to your soil. This option is expensive, but seaweed contains magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potash and sulfur.

Blood meal is also expensive, but it has a high nitrogen content. Use blood meal sparingly to avoid burning your plants.

Fish meal or fish emulsion is also high in nitrogen, but some gardeners don’t consider it organic because it contains additives.

Before you start a home garden, test soil quality and boost soil fertility by using amendments and growing deep-rooted plants.

Do you have any more tips and tricks for gardening? Feel free to leave a reply I would love to know!

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HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE ORGANIC ELDERBERRY SYRUP!

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE ORGANIC ELDERBERRY SYRUP!

  • Prep Time: 7 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 52 mins
  • Category: natural homemade recipes

This homemade elderberry syrup recipe is really deliciously easy and if you love cooking and finding new creative things to make like I do it is worth the effort! 😋

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon dried cloves or 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 cup raw honey
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Instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring the elderberries, water, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 40-45 minutes.
  3. Allow the liquid to cool, and then drain the liquid using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
  4. Press all liquid out of the berries using the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the raw honey and mix well.
  6. Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to two months.

What an amazing way to use Elderberries by making a delicious homemade syrup you can make for your family all year round! 💜

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