Renovation & Design

Keep garden pests at bay with chives, other herbs

Dean Fosdick / The Associated Press

Chives growing in a kitchen garden near Langley, Washington.

Question: Although it is winter, I am thinking ahead to spring, and I need help getting rid of chive plants. They overtake my rock garden! I cut them down as far as I can but it seems they come back twofold and twice as fast! Also, how would you dry or freeze them for future use? Thanks so much!

— Brenda

Answer: Control chives by dividing them every three years to keep clumps vigorous. If you find that they are out of control, dig them out using a trowel; make sure you get the bulb out. If you just pull off the tops, they will come back. If you can’t dig out the plant and you are not planning to eat them, spray them with organic weed kill. Instead of planting chives in the yard you can put them in a pot; this will keep them from overtaking the other plants. On the bright side, chives not only help make dishes delicious, they also repel aphids. Plant them in areas where aphids convene, such as near roses. Similarly, mice don’t like mint and basil gets rid of mosquitoes, so go wild with those herbs to get rid of pests.

To freeze chives, wash and pat dry. Spread onto a cookie sheet. Put the sheet into the freezer. When frozen solid, place in airtight containers and return to the freezer. Store fresh chives in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a week. Do not wash until ready to use, as excessive moisture will promote decay. One more thing: consider harvesting and using the purple flower in salads — or float them on soups for a dramatic effect.


Question: My husband purchased a pair of Dockers (100 per cent cotton slacks). On the side of one leg was a six-inch strip of tape with the size printed on it. After peeling off the tape, there was an adhesive residue left on the pants. Against my better judgment, I washed the pants, but the residue is still there. I am not sure what to try that won’t take the colour out of the navy pants. We have Goo Gone plus other cleaning products you would normally find in a household. Any suggestions? Thanks for your assistance.

— Maureen

Answer: Heat the area with a hair dryer and then pull off any remaining sticker. Another option is to smear the area with either rubbing alcohol or something greasy like peanut butter or WD-40, leave it for 10 minutes and then remove the sticker. Next, pour dish soap onto the area and dab with water, do this so that you are not left with a grease mark. Wash as usual and check success before putting the pants into the dryer.


Question: Have you got any suggestions for removing spruce gum from items such as wood or plastic outdoor furniture? Thanks.

— Glen

Answer: The easiest and most effective way to remove spruce gum from plastic, fabric, skin and wood is with the use of mayonnaise. Smear mayonnaise onto the area and leave for about 10 minutes. Wipe off. Then apply dish soap and water onto area and wash off.



Re: Freezing Perogies

I read your advice regarding how best to freeze perogies. My mother has been making perogies for 60 years, starting with pinching as a little person. When she is making a large batch for freezing, she lays a tea towel onto a cooking sheet and lays the perogies on the tea towel. When the cookie sheet is full, it goes into the freezer. When the perogies are frozen, she bags them. With this step, she doesn’t have squished or oozing perogies (because of the single layer), she reuses her tea towel(s) over and over so it is environmentally conscious; and she does not have to worry about trying to find room in an already-full freezer (with all those perogies, you know!). The cookie sheet is placed on top of what is already in the freezer. Works like a charm.

— Carol


A hint your readers might want to consider when storing butter. Whip one pound of butter with 1 1/4 cup of light olive oil then keep in the fridge. Advantages: 1) your butter is ready to use as soon as you take it out of the fridge, and 2) it is healthier than any margarine because you are halving your butter intake and adding health-promoting olive oil. (Naturopathic Doctor’s advice)

— Pam


Tips of the Week

Fabulous tips for peeling hard-boiled Eggs:

• Add a small amount of vegetable oil to the pot while boiling eggs. The shells absorb just enough of the oil so that it slides right off!

• After boiling eggs, empty all of the hot water and fill the pan with cold water. Add two bowls of ice and let the eggs sit in the ice water for 10 minutes.

• Take an egg in your hand, smash on the table and then roll back and forth like a rolling pin. This makes the shell peel right off very easily!

• Using a spoon, hit the egg all over and it will crack everywhere. Then turn the spoon around and slip the tip under a piece of the shell, sliding it around the entire egg. Rinse off any remaining shell.


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: Ask a question or share a tip at



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