Hot Tips and Gardening Tricks

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Home And Garden Cures For This And That

I recently had a sizzling experience with a red hot pepper. Happily, it’ happened before and I knew just what to do. The first time I got chili burn, it took over a painful hour to figure out what to do about it. I had no idea back then, since for many years, I had harvested, canned, sliced, diced, and seeded chili peppers without a problem. Ironically, I always told readers of my various columns to use gloves when they handle chilies, though I almost never did that myself. I bet you can guess where I am headed here.

A friend recently gave us some lovely fresh chilies which I happily used in a stir fry and a salad dressing. Then I made a bean dish with yet another chile which tasted hotter than usual. As we ate, I noticed that my hand felt like it was burning. I assumed I had picked up a hot dish without paying attention. As the evening wore on, my hand felt worse. I tried every burn remedy in the house without relief. I stuck my hand in ice water. I bathed it in milk. I rubbed it with aloes. Nada. Finally I noticed that my hand was not tender, as it would have been with a real burn. Oh. Right. Hmm. I had handled that chili pepper without gloves. Shame on me.


In the mean time, the burning sensation was making me crazy. In desperation, I went online and found a chat thread called “How Can I Stop My Hand From Burning?’ Clearly, many people do this same dumb thing. Some folks were in pain for 8-12 hours or more. Many offered pain-stopping suggestions, but most sounded silly or even unsafe.

However, one gal had called poison control and learned that the intense pain of chili “burn” is an allergic reaction. Sure enough, the over-the-counter allergy remedy I often use took the burning feeling away quickly and it did not return. Ahhhh. Just the same, I bought a box of non-latex gloves. Even thought I now know how to handle the pain of chili burn, I never want to go through that experience again and hope you don’t ever have to!

Pollen Free Lilies Bloom Longer

I recently had a question about lily pollen, which stains indelibly if it gets wet. To avoid stains, remove lily stamens as soon as each blossom opens. With cut flowers for indoor use, do this as soon as possible to keep everybody’s skin and clothing clean. If you cut off the stamens while the blossoms are still on the living stem, the flowers will last a lot longer, since they will never get pollinated. That’s because as soon as they are fully pollinated (which takes a few visits from a bee or whatever), flowers begin to work on forming seeds and their bright petals fade as the hormones shift.

If you have ever gotten lily pollen on clothing, you know it is very hard to get the stain out. Silk and other natural fibers can be ruined because lily pollen stains are so intractable. After making a beautiful arrangement of autumn lilies and hydrangeas, a friend found lily pollen on the sleeve of her favorite shirt. Happily, I was able to get rid of the pollen without a trace.

Got It Taped

The trick? Plain, ordinary cellophane tape removes pollen with ease. The trick is to use the tape quickly. Don’t wet the stain with any thing at all (even water sets lily pollen stains permanently). Instead, take a piece of tape and gently press it lightly to the stain. Pull off the tape and the pollen lifts off completely. It may take a few pieces of tape, but keep at it until the stain is gone. For ground-in but still dry pollen, press down on the tape and rub it gently before removing. Keep using fresh pieces of tape until they come off clean before washing the garment.

And here’s another cool trick; you can remove slug slime with rose foliage. I recently got slug slime on the knee of my jeans (never mind how) and even a hot water wash cycle couldn’t remove it. I hate that slime-crusted feel and remembered with the rose leaf trick with relief. Just rub hands, clothing, or tools with crushed fresh rose leaves and slug slime comes right off.

In For A Penny  

Want one more? If you get stung by a bee or wasp, tape a penny to each sting site. Within about 15 minutes, the copper counteracts the sting venom and the pain and swelling will disappear. Wouldn’t it be lovely if all problems were so easily solved?

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2 Responses to Hot Tips and Gardening Tricks

  1. Lauren s says:

    Here’s another wonderful use of plants when there’s an emergency: Plantago lanceolata or P. ovatum…a very common weed in most everyone’s yard or on the edge of the wild places. Goes by the common name of Plantain…but it’s not a relative of banana. It’s a beautiful little weed with long, narrow leaves (lanceolata), or oval leaves (ovatum) with parallel veins.
    I got stung by yellow jackets…about five stings all around my eye! Luckily I was working with a bunch of herbalists and they all ran out and gathered plantain leaves, chopped them up into a poultice (minced…so the juice from the leaves is starting to be available) or…if it’s an emergency, just chew the leaves somewhat. Either way, put the macerated leaves on the sting(s). I have used Plantain on stings previously with great success, but this was so amazing. After leaving the poultice on for some time…probably an hour…when I took it off, the only place that there was any sign of swelling, was in the little tiny places where the plant had not been touching my skin. It was absolutely remarkable. No swelling at all! One of my first herbal teachers named Plantain the “Ow-ee Boo-boo” plant and taught grade school children how to use it when they got stung by a bee when running around in the grass at recess.

  2. Sandra Hanson says:

    When it comes to lily pollen, the best solution is to put the garment out in the hot sun. The sun usually bleaches out the stain in a couple of hours.

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