How to Clean That White Residue From Your Terracotta Pots

When deciding what type of container is best for growing your plants, you’ve probably at least considered traditional unglazed terracotta pots. They’ve long been a staple of at-home gardening, and for good reason: They’re relatively inexpensive, can be reused, and are porous, allowing for an exchange of air and water.

But they also have a tendency to develop white stains on the outsides of the pot. And while some people consider that part of their rustic charm, others find the film unsightly and want to get rid of it. Either way, here are a few ways to remove the white residue from the insides and outsides of terracotta pots.

© Photo: jax10289 (Shutterstock)

What is the white residue on the outside of terracotta pots?

The white film or crust that forms on the outside (or inside) of clay terracotta pots is soluble salts. Hard water (which includes most tap water) contains salts and minerals. When you use it to water your plants and it eventually evaporates, it leaves behind these salts and minerals as a white residue—kind of like what happens on shower heads.

Meanwhile, if you have softened tap water, you can still see that white stuff on the outside of your terracotta pots. But in this case, it’s likely caused by your soil fertilizer, which contains minerals. Because these clay pots are porous, the minerals from the soil seep through the pot and can appear as residue.

How to clean the white reside from terracotta pots

If you really want to thoroughly clean the pot, your best bet is to do it when the pot is empty. Otherwise, depending on the condition of the plant, you may want to consider removing it from the pot for the cleaning process—especially since there are probably also soluble salts on the inside, too.

Here are three common methods:

Vinegar

Make a solution of one part vinegar to 20 parts water. Soak the pots in the solution for about 30 minutes, then scrub any white spots and residue. Rinse thoroughly with plain water, then allow the pot to dry.

Bleach

Make a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, and use it to scrub the inside and outside of the pot. Rinse thoroughly with plain water, then allow the pot to dry.

Baking soda

Make a paste of baking soda and water and use that as a spot treatment to scrub off the white residue.

Is it OK to leave the white residue on the pot?

While it’s always a good idea to remove the white film that forms on the inside of a terracotta pot (to prevent the soluble salts from getting into the soil), leaving the residue on the outside of the pot is generally fine. According to an article in Horticulture Magazine, “salts on the outside of the pot will not harm the plant.”

Article by Elizabeth Yuko for Lifehacker©

Source: How to Clean That White Residue From Your Terracotta Pots (msn.com)

What’s On Amazon Prime Video in April 2022

Amazon Prime Video has plenty of new and library titles coming to their platform this April. For the originals, check out The Outlaws, a new TV series starring Christopher Walken, about a group of strangers who are doing court-appointed community service, and get themselves into trouble; Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newtown star as ex-lovers and current CIA agents in All the Old KnivesOuter Range is a new TV series that seems to combine Yellowstone with The X-Files; and A Very British Scandal stars Claire Foy and Paul Bettany as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and the very nasty, very public divorce they went through.

Some of the highlights of the library titles include the Reese Witherspoon rom-com Sweet Home Alabama; the M. Night Shyamalan classic thrillers The Sixth Sense and Signs; Mel Brooks’ classic satire of monster movies Young Frankenstein; and the 4/20 favorite, Pineapple Express.

Check out the complete list of offerings below.

Available April 1

The Outlaws Season 1

Luxe Listings Sydney Season 2

Cast Away (2000)

Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Shanghai Noon (2000)

Con Air (1997)

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Bringing Down the House (2003)

Unbreakable (2000)

Date Night (2010)

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

The Watch (2012)

Rushmore (1999)

Armageddon (1998)

The Hot Chick (2002)

Signs (2002)

Brown Sugar (2002)

Garden State (2004)

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

The Recruit (2003)

Cedar Rapids (2011)

The Joy Luck Club (1993)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

The Color of Money (1986)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Knowing (2009)

The Spy Next Door (2021)

The Bank Job (2008)

Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine (2015)

The Bodyguard (2008)

Deadfall (2013)

Compliance (2012)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Ong Bak – The Thai Warrior (2005)

Benny and Joon (1993)

Fargo (1996)

Saved! (2004)

Jeepers Creepers 2 (2002)

Mystic Pizza (1988)

Lions for Lambs (2007)

Carrie (1976)

The Woman in Red (1984)

Raging Bull (1980)

Bull Durham (1988)

Blow Out (1981)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Be Cool (2005)

The Idolmaker (1980)

Jet Li’s Fearless (2006)

Braveheart (1995)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Revolutionary Road (2008)

Shrek Forever After (2010)

Pineapple Express (2008)

District 9 (2009)

Available April 7

Laura Pausini – Pleased to Meet You (2022)

Available April 8

Do, Re & Mi – Birdie Bowl Concert Part 5

All the Old Knives (2022)

Available April 15

Outer Range Season 1

Verdict Season 1

Available April 22

A Very British Scandal Season 2

Available April 28

Bang Bang Baby Season 1

Available April 29

Undone

I Love America (2022)

Happy Streaming to you!

BY ALYSE WAX for Collider©

Source: What’s on Amazon Prime Video in April 2022 (collider.com)

Make Your Own Epic Easter Appetizer or Dessert Board

With Easter around the corner, Instagram is filled with tons of gorgeous, abundant appetizer and dessert boards, perfect for entertaining. You may be thinking that all these stunning spreads are only attainable by the professional food stylist. Well, your viral post prayers have been answered by food stylist, Meg Quinn (@ainttooproudtomeg). She is sharing her best secrets and tips for making an Epic Easter Board at home.

Meg has divided the boards into three main groups:

  1. Vegetables and Hummus
  2. Meats and Cheeses
  3. Dessert

Let’s start with Vegetables and Hummus.

Meg color-blocks the hummus and vegetables on the board to create a rainbow effect. She starts each board by placing the bowls of hummus down. This helps to visualize where to position the vegetables. For the hummus, Meg uses store-bought plain hummus, a store-bought beet hummus, and, for green hummus, she blends some spinach with plain hummus.

Now it’s time to start filling in the board. Start at one end and work your way across from color to color. Below are a list of veggies Meg uses:

Multi-colored carrots, radishes, red and yellow endive, snap peas, broccolini, green and white cauliflower, orange and yellow cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Make sure that all stems for vegetables like the broccolini face inward to give the board a heartier appearance.

If you’re assembling now and serving later, wrap the produce with damp paper towels to prevent them from drying out and wilting.

For a finishing touch, stud the beet hummus with pomegranate seeds and black sesame seeds, sprinkle the spinach hummus with fresh cilantro and dried basil, and top the plain hummus with pine nuts and olive oil. And for a gorgeous nod to spring, sprinkle the entire board with a few food-safe chamomile flowers.

On to the second board… the Meats and Cheeses.

Here, Meg uses the same prepping technique and places all of the bowls and jars down first. She includes a bowl of cornichons, a bowl of green olives and a jar of honey. Next, she adds the big-ticket items like large wedges and rounds of cheese.

Meg uses:

Pesto gouda, Mimolette (a French hard cow’s-milk cheese), aged Gouda, aged goat cheese and a small wheel of Brie.

Begin filling out the board around the bowls and cheeses by fanning out the crackers and sliced fruits along its perimeter. This adds visual flare and makes the board really look like a pro put it together. Slice fruits like apples and pears very thin. Here are the fruits Meg uses on this board:

Clementines, green grapes, candied orange slices, dried persimmons, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, green pears and Fuji apples.

You can find an array of artisanal crackers at your local grocery or health food store that would be perfect for this spread. Marcona almonds and walnuts can fill in the bald spots and give it a fuller look.

For the meat, Meg adds a trifecta of Calabrese salami, Italian dry salami and salami secchi. To really take this board to the next level, fold the slices of salami into quarters and stand them vertically, edge-side up, to give the appearance of a bouquet of flowers.

For the finishing touches, spring herbs like lavender and thyme give the board a seasonal splash. Sprinkle with chamomile flowers to create continuity among all three boards.

Finally, we have the Dessert Board!

Meg places the bowl of candy-coated chocolates down first and builds out around it. Here is a list of the candy she uses:

Chocolate tear drops, waffle cookies, marshmallow bunnies, marshmallow ducks, creme-filled eggs, chocolate bunnies, green and yellow rock candy, gummy eggs, yogurt covered pretzels, Belgian chocolate flowers, sour fruit leather ribbons, marshmallow carrots, marshmallow chicks, white peanut butter-chocolate cups, chocolate-covered matzo and sugar cookies.

Finish the board with an Easter egg nest made of green grass candy and fill with candy and chocolate eggs. (The trick to unifying this board is to make sure that all the candies have bright pastel colors to match the color scheme of the holiday.) Again, garnish with chamomile flowers.

Take inspiration from Meg, but remember, there are no rules when it comes to building boards. Get creative and have fun with it.

And that, my friends, is how you build an Epic Easter Board!

Thanks to Meg Quinn for putting these boards together!

Source: Make Your Own Epic Easter Appetizer or Dessert Board | The Kitchen: Food Network | Food Network

Most Favorite Succulents Pt 1

Yucca ‘Variegata’

In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents, are plants with parts that are thickened, fleshy, and engorged, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word succulent comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning ‘juice’, or ‘sap’. Succulent plants may store water in various structures, such as leaves and stems. The water content of some succulent organs can get up to 90–95%. Succulents are often grown as ornamental plants because of their striking and unusual appearance, as well as their ability to thrive with relatively minimal care.

Source: Wikipedia

2 years ago, BHG© did a spread on 26 of the most popular succulents. Knowing how well-loved some are, I decided to copy and paste what I could of the article. I have to post it in 2 parts given its size. I hope you can add some of these plants to your garden.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens©

End of Part1

Apple pushes emergency update for iPhone, Macs and other products amid fears of dangerous bug

The updates are numbered 15.4.1 for the iPhone and iPad, and 12.3.1 for the Mac.

They bring some small changes, including a fix for a battery bug that meant that iPhones and iPads lost charge more quickly than they should after a recent update. While it is not clear how widespread that bug was, affected users said their devices had been losing charge more quickly since iOS 15.4 was released.

© PA Wire

OS 15.4 was made available by Apple in mid-March, and included a range of features, including the ability to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask.

But as well as that battery fix, the new updates also fix a critical security bug that Apple warned could already have been used by hackers.

It did not give detailed information about those bugs, how exactly they could be exploited or how many people are likely to have been hacked. The company often withholds informations about such security flaws so that attackers are not able to exploit them.

Installing the latest updates should however secure devices against anyone trying to make use of the attack.

That is done by opening up the Settings app, clicking through to software updates, and pressing the option to install the new version of the operating system. Macs, iPhones and iPads should also prompt users to update too.

Apple has pushed out a number of security updates over the year, aimed at fixing similarly dangerous bugs.

By Andrew Griffin for The Independent©

Source: Apple pushes emergency update for iPhone, Macs and other products amid fears of dangerous bug (msn.com)

KEEP BUSY WITH OUR LIST OF APRIL GARDENING JOBS

April gardening jobs come thick and fast as it is the prime month for getting your plot ready for the rest of the year.

The soil will be warming up and dampened by showers, making it perfect for planting and sowing, and plants are growing well, filling beds, borders and containers with that luscious fresh green that is the calling card of spring.

The most important April gardening jobs include some of the best ways of keeping plants healthy and flowering, as well as preparing your plot for the longer days and plentiful sunshine ahead. 

SHOW YOUR POTTED SHRUBS SOME LOVE

(Image credit: Alamy/Britain Gardens and Flowers)

Shrubs grown as part of your container gardening ideas will need some extra love now as they return to growth. Whether they are ornamental plants or one of the many fruit bushes that thrive in a confined space, they need some extra goodness to start them off.

Because they only have a finite amount of food in their pots, you need to topdress them – remove the top couple of inches of old compost, add a granular fertilizer, then replenish with fresh compost and water well.

While you do so, check for creamy vine weevil grubs that eat the roots of many container plants. They are often curled into a C-shape and have brown heads and can be killed off with a solution of Vine Weevil Killer, available from Amazon.

Top tip: If you are growing rhododendrons, azaleas or blueberries in pots, make sure you use ericaceous compost and fertilizer.

POT UP SUMMER CUTTINGS

(Image credit: Future/Ruth Hayes)

Any softwood or semi-ripe cuttings taken from perennials last autumn should have rooted and grown through winter and will be ready to pot up individually now.

Hardwood cuttings taken from shrubs should be left alone until the coming fall, as they take a lot longer to produce roots than their more flexible cuttings cousins.

Once you’ve learned how to take cuttings from plants, you’ll be able to spot if the cuttings have rooted, or ‘taken’ successfully because they will have grown since they were potted up.

Start the potting-up process by standing the cuttings’ pot or pots in water for around 30 minutes to soak the compost, then gently tap them out. If you have more than one cutting per pot, carefully separate the roots so the young plants can be potted up individually.

Inspect the roots to make sure they are robust and healthy (if they aren’t strong, repot them in cuttings compost, water them in and leave them for a few more weeks) then pot each plantlet in its own 3in (7cm) pot of multipurpose or John Innes No 2 compost.

Set them somewhere light and frost-free for a few more weeks, keeping their compost damp and the plants pest-free. They can be hardened off and planted out to flower this summer.

Top tip: If the cuttings starts to produce flower buds while they are still in the greenhouse, pinch them out so all energy is directed towards growing rather than flowering.

CUT BACK FROST-TENDER PERENNIALS

(Image credit: Future)

Now the weather should be getting reliably warmer, you can cut back the more tender perennials you have growing in your garden.

Penstemons and salvias are not a big fan of our grey wet winters, and it is not unusual for both plants to turn up their toes in sodden, freezing soils during the coldest months. One of the best ways to help them survive winter is to leave last year’s stems attached in fall, as they help insulate the crown. 

Penstemon shoots appearing at the base of healthy plants now is the signal to remove the old stems. Cut them down to just above the lowest new shoots, then feed with blood, fish and bone or another granular fertilizer and water it in. They should soon start to grow well.

Click the link below for more April gardening tips.

Article by Ruth Hayes for Gardeningetc.com©

Source: April gardening jobs: our top 10 tasks to do this month | GardeningEtc

30 Creative Writing Prompts For National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve curated a number of creative writing prompts to help you cultivate your own poetic ritual. Try one prompt each day for the month of April in service of building a new routine, or skip around to the poetry prompts that inspire you most. I’m committed to following my own advice and will also be writing one poem a day using the thought starters below for creative fuel. 

Creative Writing Prompts To Spark Your New Writing Practice

  1. Describe your ideal day, from morning to night. Where are you, what will you do, and who will you spend your time with (if anyone at all)?
  2. Write a poem about your favorite food using all the senses.
  3. Write a ghost poem inspired by a song lyric or line from a book you love. That is, take the original sentence and use it as the first line of your writing. Then begin adding to it until you come back to the beginning and erase the first line that inspired all the subsequent lines — effectively making the inspiration a ghost.
  4. Describe your favorite color without naming it. Or, imagine your color aura and describe that.
  5. Come up with your six-word memoir. (Fun fact: did you know that a one-line poem is called a monostitch?)
  6. Walk the reader through a place you can’t wait to visit again, sharing all of the sensory details that make it like paradise to you.
  7. Write about your life if you lived in a different period in history. For example, you wake up and it’s 1970, what’s the first thing you’d do?
  8. Confront your fears and write about what scares you most.
  9. Select a piece of art and write an ekphrastic poem about it — that is, a poem that describes the work of art (sculpture, painting, drawing, performance, film, or photograph) in effusive detail.
  10. If you were to host a dinner party, who would you invite, dead or alive? What meal would be served, how would the table be set, and what conversations do you imagine would take place?
  11. Think of a trip or commute you’ve taken many times. Jot down your observations and memory of said journey and recreate it for the reader. Then decide what’s more important to you, the journey or the destination?
  12. Find an object in your home that brings you joy and tap into why it’s so meaningful in a descriptive poem.
  13. Think of someone you had a miscommunication with and explore what would happen if you said everything you wanted to say.
  14. What’s your favorite month and why? Orient it in the season as part of your description.
  15. Write about the emotion you experience the most and list out what situations, people, or things make you feel that way.
  16. Where do you come from? Start a poem by exploring and defining your origin story.
  17. Describe a recent dream of yours in vivid, fantastical detail.
  18. Explore what you’d say to your 13-year-old self, or another pivotal age from when you were younger.
  19. Write about what it’d be like to encounter a long-lost love, years later.
  20. Manifest future you with a poem describing who you’ll be in 5 or 10 years.
  21. Think of the happiest day of your life and write about what made it so magical. Can you capture that feeling in poem form?
  22. What lessons have you learned from your elders and ancestors? Write about the ones that still show up for you today.
  23. Think about all the cities you’ve lived in. Pick one to write about that’s had a lasting impact on your identity.
  24. What’s a youthful memory of a time you were reckless or misbehaved? Write about that experience and what you may have learned.
  25. Identify your alter ego, or someone totally opposite of you and write a poem from that point of view. What would they do that you would never dare?
  26. What is one of life’s biggest mysteries you wish you had the answer to? See if you can come up with an answer in your poem.
  27. Write a poem about a beloved character in a book, movie, or show that you adore.
  28. Personify an inanimate object (such as a crystal, a postcard, or vintage scarf) and tell its story. Where all has it gone before it made its way to you?
  29. Turn something mundane, like a grocery list, into a poetic writing exploration. How can a few creative adjectives and alliterative details make it shine?
  30. Pick someone you’re drawn to, even a stranger on the street or in a coffee shop, and write what you imagine they’re like in real life.

Article by Alison Ives for Brit+Co©

Source: Creative Writing Prompts For National Poetry Month Brit + Co – Brit + Co

The Surprisingly Genius Reason You Should Add Water To Scrambled Eggs

Of the many ways to prepare eggs, scrambled is one I’ve yet to perfect. I can make a mean over-easy egg, perfectly hard boiling and making deviled eggs are my specialty, and my eggs in a blanket are *chef’s kiss*. But, when it comes to scrambled, I have much to learn.

© Suggest

I don’t make them often, but when I do, they’re not the fluffy, moist, light scrambled eggs I know are possible. They tend to be rubbery, unevenly cooked, and have a brownish tinge. Yum? 

So what’s the secret to the perfect scramble?

The Secret Ingredient You’ve Been Missing

Lots of people like to add a liquid to their scrambled eggs, most often whole milk or cream. This is the way I was taught, but since I’m lactose intolerant, I stopped using milk a long time ago. Adding milk tends to make eggs creamier, softer, and heavy, and they typically have a richer flavor. If you’re looking for a fluffy egg, this isn’t it.

On the other hand, adding water will steam the eggs while cooking, leaving a lighter, fluffier scramble. However, it’s a delicate balance. Adding too much water will dilute the “eggy” flavor, leaving you with a fluffy but tasteless meal. So, adding in just enough water is essential. Typically, about one teaspoon of water for every large egg is the appropriate amount to make a light and delicious scrambled egg.

Other Things To Consider

Before you cook your eggs, make sure to whisk them well. Whisking them vigorously will also contribute to a fluffy scramble. Add butter or oil to the pan to keep the eggs from sticking, and remember that it’s easy to burn your eggs if you cook them at too high a temperature. Medium to low heat is a better option for scrambled eggs.

While they’re cooking, use a rubber spatula to pull them into the middle from the edges. Turn off the heat when the eggs are almost completely cooked and continue to break up the eggs to finish cooking the underdone pieces. Then, finish with salt and pepper, and add herbs to your scrambled eggs for color and flavor, if desired. Chives, rosemary, parsley, and tarragon are many people’s go-to herbs.

So, next time I make scrambled eggs, I’ll know what to do to ensure my eggs come out perfectly. Wish me luck!

(Have you tried this water thing?)

Article by Dana Hopkins for Suggest©

Source: The Surprisingly Genius Reason You Should Add Water To Scrambled Eggs (msn.com)