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Todd Lewys 
June 3

Renovation & Design

How to win a war against cutworms

Question: It’s that time of year, the cutworms are back (at least I think they are cutworms)! Help, how can I get rid of those nasty creatures? — Emanuel

Answer: The first step is to identify the culprits. Are your unwelcome visitors: five centimetres or less, brown, pink, green or black and spotted or solid in appearance? Do they curl up when not in motion? If so, you are likely the recipient of cutworm visitors.

Cutworms can be a challenge even to experienced gardeners because they cut off plants, above, at, or below the soil surface.

To reduce cutworms in your garden; handpick them from plants and squash them or drop them in a bucket of soapy water. This is best done at night when cutworms are most active.

Also, prevent cutworms from becoming a problem in the first place by making collars for your plants using stiff plastic, cardboard or metal. Leave a gap of approximately one centimetre around stems and make sure the collar extends 2.5 cm below to five cm above the soil surface.

You can use plastic drink straws or toilet paper rolls or sprinkle broken egg shells around plants.

Also, sprinkle cornmeal around plants, because cutworms are incapable of digesting this tasty little treat.

Lastly, Bacillus Thuringiensis, or BT, is a well-known biological control for all types of caterpillars.

 

Question: I made a pot of homemade macaroni and cheese and day one it was nice and saucy, but the second day the sauce was absorbed by the pasta.

Is there any way to prevent this? Also, how do you stop the noodles in homemade chicken noodle soup from turning to mush? — Cathy

Answer: Here are a few suggestions for solving your pasta conundrums, beginning with the mac and cheese dish. Undercook the pasta slightly so that it does not absorb all the sauce. When making the sauce, opt for a thinner consistency. If possible, add a little milk or water to the pasta before reheating.

Secondly, homemade chicken noodle soup is yummy when freshly made, but soggy on day two, three, four, etc.

Since soggy noodles are not delicious, here is what I do to prevent this fresh pasta plight. Cook the soup as normal. Cook the noodles in a separate pot. Rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent them from sticking together. Add the noodles into the individual soup bowls instead of into the soup pot.

Use only what you require for that meal and save the remainder separately in the fridge. The next day, heat up the soup and add more noodles from the extra storage in the fridge. No more soggy noodles.

 

Question: I dropped a piece of fish that had been cooked in grapeseed oil, on my pants. How can I get the oil stain out?  — Will

Answer: If you can get a hold of one of the following, you will have a great chance of removing that mark.

Onto the stain sprinkle either: cornstarch, baby powder or baking soda until all the grease is absorbed.

Dawn dish soap is also effective, but test on an inconspicuous area first.

Wash the pants as usual and air dry because the heat of the dryer will set the stain if it remains. Repeat if necessary.

 

Simple discoveries

I have heard it said that "natural" peanut butter is better for you than many of the popular branded peanut butter options. Therefore, I decided to purchase natural peanut butter, made only from peanuts but what I didn’t like is that the oil kept separating and sitting on the top of the jar. It looked disgusting and kind of grossed me out. Now I store my peanut butter upside down and it no longer separates. —The Nut Genius

My least favourite chore is cleaning the bathroom. I decided to purchase a fillable dish wand from my local dollar store. I filled it with 50/50 vinegar and dish soap. Now scrubbing the bathroom is fast and less gross. — Breanne

 

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: reena.ca. Ask a question or share a tip at reena.ca

 

Reena NerbasSolutions 
June 3

Renovation & Design

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