Did you know that you can ‘recycle’ store bought veggies and start growing them yourself?

This isn’t true of every vegetable you put in your shopping basket but there is a decent list of leafy greens, root vegetables and herbs that you can cook and use the parts that you would normally discard to start your own vegetable patch.

25 easy-to-regrow veggies include cabbage, celery, carrots, turnips, radishes, parsnips, beets, lettuce, Bok Choy, fennel, scallions (green onions), onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, potatoes, sweet potatoes, ginger, mint, basil, cilantro (coriander), rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme.

Most of the vegetables can simply be planted straight into a container or a plant bed with good soil. So long as they are in a sunny location and watered so that the soil is kept moist, you will see them start to grow.

Plants such as leeks, scallions, shallots and onions with intact root bases can be placed straight into the soil with the earth just covering the roots. New shoots will soon begin to grow and you can either snip off the regrowth for use in your cooking or leave them to mature into a full-sized plant. The same is true of celery which is one of the quickest and easiest vegetables to regrow – however this is a plant that needs cool weather so may not respond well in our hot climate.

Planting a clove of garlic with its root base down and planting an off cut of ginger (once you have allowed it to ‘heal’ where you have cut it) straight into the soil will soon produce shoots. It will take about 8 months for bulbs to develop.

Organic potatoes and sweet potatoes are also relatively easy to regrow by planting them in the soil with the eyes pointing up (as that’s were the shoots grow).

Veggies such as carrots, turnips, radishes, parsnips and beets should be planted with the stem side up. It will take about 1 week for the leaves to grow. Once the leaves have grown to a decent height, you can harvest them for use in salads or any other dish or you can leave them to allow the roots to fully develop.

By planting the root base of lettuce and Bok Choy in earth and leaving the leaves exposed, you will be rewarded with a regrowth of leaves which you can cut off for your dish whilst the plant remains in the soil and continues to produce more leaves. You can do the same with a fennel bulb and cabbage but you must first cut a cross in the base of the cabbage before planting and leave it in the ground so that it produces a new head.

For herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro (coriander), rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme, you can remove the lower leaves from the stems and place in a filtered water and place in a sunny location until roots start to grow after which you can transfer them into soil. Some of the herbs like oregano, sage and thyme need to be cut at a 45 degree angle before immersing in water. It is strongly advised that mint is grown in its own container as it can take over a bed very quickly and grow like a weed.

Drakes Traders stocks all the materials you need to help you grow your own vegetables. Our non-exhaustive inventory includes potting soils, containers, fertilisers, watering cans and hoses as well as gardening tools such as gardening forks, trowels, spades and gloves.

Watch the easy-to-follow steps in this video produced by Daisy Creek Farms with Jag Singh and you’ll be on your way to enjoying some of your own freshly harvested vegetables!

You can also look at this video by Misilla of Learn to Grow which will guarantee you’ll want to give this a go!

We are fortunate to live in a climate that is conducive to growing plants and vegetables. More and more individuals are turning their hand to planting their own favourite vegetables and fruits because the yield behind a little bit of effort is very rewarding. We just need to look at the roadside mango, banana, avocado, guinep and tamarind trees that hang heavy with fruit when in season to know that conditions are right for growing edible plants.

Of course, there are steps that you need to take to ensure that the soil you plant in will nourish whatever it is you’re trying to grow. Fortunately, the nutrients that are found in compost – the material gardeners call “black gold” – is easy to create yourself using your everyday cooking by products..

Compost is decayed organic material. It is the material that is the produced through the natural process of decomposition of scraps of vegetables, . gardeners call “black gold. Compost works as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer and as a natural pesticide for soil.

Things to include in your collection of organic scraps are fruit & vegetable remnants, plants, grass clippings, egg & nut shells,rice, bread, & wheats.

The following useful tips will help you manage your kitchen scraps, reduce your waste and help you prepare a plot in your yard to grow your own veg!

  1. In a bag or container, collect your kitchen scraps such as banana peel, produce cuttings, as well as some paper towel or dry material to provide carbon.
  2. Bury the kitchen scraps directly in a section of your yard. This is the most straight forward and easiest way to make compost.
  3. Do not plant anything until the organic matter has fully decomposed – this takes approximately a month. Keep the area moist to provide perfect conditions for earth worms which are a critical part of the composting process.

Tools you will need include a gardening fork, a garden trowel, a watering can or a hose pipe, all of which are available at Drakes Traders.

Learn about this straightforward method of composting from the instructions in the video by Daisy Creek Farms and Jag Singh:

With the new coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic affecting every facet of our lives, we are all required to exercise enhanced measures to protect against the possible spread of the infection.

The recurring message from professional medics and the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that the most important basic step that we can take to protect ourselves and others is to wash our hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol rub because this will kill viruses that may be on our hands . It may sound like a simple act but the following video produced by the WHO provides the effective method for hand hygiene.

We carry a range of hand soaps in store including brands such as Mrs. Meyer’s made with essential oils, aloe vera, olive oil and other natural ingredients and Seventh Generation made with plant based ingredients.

The WHO also advise that you should keep a distance of 1 meter (3 ft) from anyone coughing or sneezing to avoid breathing in the droplets from their nose or mouth.

Protect those around you by coughing or sneezing into your bent elbow or tissue and dispose of the tissue immediately.

Refrain from touching your hands, nose and mouth because hands pick up viruses from surfaces they have touched and which then can be transferred to the hands, nose or mouth and enter the body.

Clean & Disinfect

Clean and disinfect items touched frequently on a daily basis (switches, handles, work surfaces, keyboards, wash basins, faucets, toilets etc.).
Use detergent or soap and water to clean dirty surfaces prior to disinfecting.
Apply diluted household bleach or BVI Environmental Health Department-approved & EPA listed disinfectant in accordance with the label instructions.

You can check the list of disinfectants approved by the Environmental Health Department and the list of registered products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

Please stay safe and protect yourself and our community.

“An earthquake is a sudden and rapid shaking of the ground caused by the shifting of rocks deep underneath the earth’s surface. Earthquakes can happen without warning and result in injuries and damage to property and roads. Earthquakes can cause fires, tsunamis, landslides, or avalanches.” – https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

Much the same as we prepare for Hurricane Season, recent seismic activity in the neighboring region strongly indicates that we should prepare for potential impact in the Virgin Islands. Authorities have also issued notices on monitoring activity and to get information and stay updated through the Department of Disaster Management.

If an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away. BVI DDM advises you to:

  • Protect your head, face (and neck)
  • If inside a building get under a strong desk or table
  • Do not try to run outside as you can be injured by falling debris.
  • Move away from outer walls, windows, glass doors, heavy mirrors, pictures, bookcases, hanging plants and heavy objects.
  • Watch for falling plaster, bricks, lighting fixtures and other objects.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If you are outside, stay there. Stand away from buildings, trees, and electrical lines.
  • If you are driving, you should safely park the vehicle away from electrical poles and overhead wires. Do not stop on a bridge or close to buildings from which debris may fall. Remain in the vehicle.
  • If you are in a store or shop, move away from display shelves containing bottles, cans, or other objects that may fall.

You can also check DoHS website which suggests that you
Drop: Drop wherever you are on to your hands and knees.

Cover: Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.

Hold on: If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If you can’t find a table or desk, cover your head and neck with both arms and hands. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms, and hold on to your neck with both hands.

You should also take time to check your home and prepare ahead of the disaster by securing heavy items on your property like shelving, wardrobes, refrigerators, and other objects hanging on your walls.

If an earthquake has just happened, there can be serious hazards such as damage to the building, leaking gas and water lines, or downed power lines.

Expect aftershocks to follow the main shock of an earthquake. Do not enter damaged buildings. If you are trapped, protect your mouth, nose, and eyes from dust.

We have compiled a list of recommended Emergency Supplies gathered from external sources including DDM and FEMA to help you be prepared.

Emergency Supplies to last at least 3 days should include a first aid kit, survival kits and emergency water and food at home and the workplace. You should also make sure that you store important documents in a fire-proof container.

You may consider having a grab bag at work under your desk and in your car to include:
1 liter water
Flashlight
Whistle
First aid kit
Power snack/energy bars

CHECK LIST

We have marked items available at Drakes Traders with a * First Aid Kit* which also should include scissors, tweezers, instant cold packs for sprains and splinting materials
Flashlight and extra batteries*
Whistle for signaling
Axe*
Shovel*
Broom*
Screwdriver*
Pliers*
Hammer*
Adjustable wrench*
Rope for towing or rescue*
Plastic sheeting / Tarp*
Duct tape*
Heavy duty gloves*
Dust mask*
Heavy duty garbage bags*
Sturdy shoes (for safety and protection from walking on broken glass and debris)
Candles*
Lighter*
Portable radio and extra batteries*
Water (1 gallon of water per person/pet per day for 3 days)
Food (non-perishable to last at least 3 days)
Power snack/energy bars*
Baby formula and baby supplies
Pet food*
Manual can opener*
Sets of cutlery and plastic plates*
Toilet tissue*
Paper towels*
Moist towelettes
Change of clothes for each person
Bed sheet for each person
Cell phone (fully charged)
Cash
Prescription glasses
Prescription medications
Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
Feminine supplies
Fire extinguisher
Paper and pencil*

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Passports
Birth certificates
Ownership certificates (vehicles, boats, etc.)
NHI cards
Driver’s License
Insurance policies
Wills
Household inventory
Photographs of contents of every room and high value items

Store items in airtight waterproof bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers or weather proof bags. Keep the containers in an area that is easy to access in an emergency.

Click to download the DDM’s Earthquake Awareness Guide.

Drakes Traders donates KN95 masks to Adina Donovan Home
Nurse Tracia Smart, a Registered Nurse at the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly with Mrs. Michelle Rymer, Assistant Manager, Drakes Traders at the formal presentation of the hardware store’s donation of 500 KN96 masks valued at $2,000

With COVID-19 remaining a concern both globally and locally, Drakes Traders Ltd made a donation of 500 KN95 masks to the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly. The protective face masks, valued at over $2,000, were recently delivered to the Home on Tortola.

Nurse Tracia Smart, a Registered Nurse who provides supervision of Geriatric Aides and leadership to achieve residents’ and organizational goals, joined Mrs. Michelle Rymer, Assistant Manager for Drakes Traders, at the store for the presentation of the masks on Friday, July 17.

Thanking Drakes Traders on behalf of the Adina Donovan Home, Nurse Smart explained that the masks are a timely and welcome gift which will help with safeguarding the residents as well as the caregivers against the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“While for now visitors and volunteers are not permitted to come to the Adina Donovan Home, we still have to remain vigilant, wear the appropriate PPE and ensure that we minimise possible contagion risks for our residents and our staff,” she said. “As far as masks are concerned, we presently are using approved, healthcare disposable masks which are discarded after every shift and we have placed the KN95 masks on reserve in the event that there is an outbreak. This decision stems from the difficulties experienced when sourcing KN95 masks; we want to ensure that, if we do have an outbreak, we would have a supply to rely on.”

KN95 masks protect both the wearer and the person with whom there is close, direct contact by blocking airborne particles from entering or leaving the wearer’s mouth and nose.

The donation of masks to the Adina Donovan Home was made in addition to the recent donation of 4,500 KN95 masks to the Ministry of Health. The masks have been described by users as light, soft and comfortable to wear.

It’s very easy to overlook a single broken tile on the basis that it’s too complicated or costly to replace.

Ace’s Home Expert, Lou Manfredini takes you through the simple step-by-step process on how to remove and replace the damaged tile:

Helpful Tips

  1. Once you have removed the grout, use a piece of cloth to manage the impact of the hammer when breaking up the old tile to remove it from the floor surface.
  2. Pre-mixed grout and adhesive all-in-one is a time saver when making this type of small repair. Use grout sealant to prevent stains and water damage.
  3. Use Thin Set in an area with a lot of moisture or pressure – it works like mortar or cement, but only takes a thin layer to bind surfaces. Pre-mixed thin set is convenient for small repairs.
  4. Tile shards are sharp so be sure to protect your eyes and hands when removing the broken tile.
  5. Follow the instruction and recommended drying time for the adhesive and grout you use.

You’ll find all the tools and materials you need at Drakes Traders.

As we become more health aware and more conscious of what we eat, it’s always a pleasant surprise to find a a product that allows us to indulge in our favourite comfort foods with out the unwanted extra calories.

The NuWave Brio Digital Air Fryer does just that. Now you can enjoy everything from fried chicken to mozzarella sticks to onion rings and everything in between with little or no oil. You can bake, roast, grill, broil, toast and air fry pretty much any food and serve up dishes that deliver on taste without the greasiness.

The Brio has a large 3-quart capacity with a fry pan basket that has a non-stick coating, with no PFOA, and is easy to remove.

The advanced digital display includes a digital timer with a built-in automatic shutoff function. The advanced LCD display that tells you the exact temperature that your meals are being cooked at. Its precise temperature control and even heat distribution is what delivers the crispy flavoursome dishes.

The Brio has an enclosed cooking chamber which keeps the heat inside, and includes a built-in safety feature which ensures it automatically shuts off when the basket is removed. It won’t start cooking again until the basket is securely replaced. The Brio also has an additional safety lock on the handle.

All material information and images sourced from nuwavenow.com

Recipes

Making property and personal preparations is key to successfully surviving the impact of a hurricane.

Hurricane winds can reach a constant speed of 74 miles per hour or more, according to FEMA. As a  hurricane nears land, it can bring torrential rains, high winds and storm surges. The hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30 with August and September being peak months.

The length of time available to prepare for a storm depends on the development and path of a weather system. By monitoring the tropical weather reports on a daily basis, it should be possible to track the development of a system coming off the coast of Africa and take precautions in accordance with its progress.

In the event of a hurricane watch or warning, prepare your home and vehicles.

  • Take the necessary steps to guard windows, doors and any weak points in your home’s construction.
  • Fuel up your vehicles.
  • Pre-program your emergency contact list into your cell phone.
  • Secure important documents (insurance policies, birth certificates, etc.) in a safe and readily accessible place.
  • Be ready to turn off the gas, water, and electricity supply to your home.
  • Identify the location of your nearest hurricane shelters.
  • Ensure safe housing of your pets during the storm.
  • Confirm the communication plan in case family members are not together and share this with a main family contact living abroad.
  • Replenish your stock of non-perishable foods including pet food.
  • Get 2 gallons of water per person per day for drinking and personal hygiene (calculate enough for 14 days). Water for your pets.
  • Fill any prescription medicines you will need for the next 14 days.
  • Keep your cell phone fully charged while you have access to electricity. Get a car charger for use should you lose mains or generator power.

Check your hurricane supply list.
Make sure that you have stocked up on the recommended items for your hurricane supply kit:

  • First aid kit
  • Generator
  • Batteries (AA, C, D, and 9V)
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Heavy duty, outdoor extension cords
  • Flashlights
  • Hurricane lanterns
  • Propane stove burner or outdoor propane grill (with or without burner rings).
  • Matches / gas lighter (keep in water tight container)
  • Insect repellent
  • Manual can opener and bottle opener
  • Masking / duct tape
  • Utility knife
  • Watertight, fire-safe container
  • Waterproof tarpaulin (tarp) and drop cloths
  • Soap or anti-bacterial hand wash
  • Toilet paper and kitchen paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Pet supplies
  • Ceiling or standard fans
  • Hose pipes
  • Trash bags
  • Coolers (pre-fill with ice to help preserve perishables should you lose mains or generator power)

Hurricane clean up supplies
Don’t wait until after the storm to attempt to get what you need to clean up. The stores may be out of stock, shut or otherwise inaccessible depending on the severity of the storm.

  • Brooms and mops
  • Buckets
  • Axes, hand saws and pruners
  • Household chlorine bleach, cleaning supplies and rags
  • Masking/duct tape
  • Trash bags
  • Shovels and rakes
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Chain saw
  • Cordless drill and other cordless power tools
  • Generator
  • Hammer
  • Nails and screws
  • Rope and/or bungee cords
  • Screw driver
  • Wrench
  • Tarps and drop cloths
  • Work boots or heavy shoes
  • Life vests

All items in the hurricane supply and clean up list are available at Drakes Traders.

Download your Hurricane Check List.

Useful Links:

Department of Disaster Management
Weather updates
BVI Red Cross

Pools can be affected by heavy rainfall and storms but fortunately the adverse side effects can be counteracted using the right combination of HTH® Pool Care products.

Test your water
Heavy rains can dilute the chemicals you’ve added to your pool water. After a storm or lengthy rain, it’s always smart to double-check your water balance, stabilizer and sanitizer levels with an HTH® 6-Way Test Kit or box of HTH® 6-Way Test Strips to be sure your pool water is still adequately balanced, stabilized and sanitized.
Water Balance and Chemistry

Check the water balance and chemistry
Even rainwater has its own water chemistry, so a significant rain event could raise or lower your pool water’s pH and Total Alkalinity levels. To adjust your water balance parameters, don’t forget to check your stabilizer, pH and Total Alkalinity levels. You may need HTH® pH Minus, HTH® Alkalinity Plus, or HTH® pH-Plus® balancer to get your pool water back to its pristine, clear blue state.
Clean and Treat

Clean and Treat
Rainwater that washes or falls straight into the pool water or that falls off of tree branches can introduce algae and other contaminants into your pool. These contaminants can quickly use up your sanitizer. Adding an HTH® shock treatment after the rain has passed will break down the contaminants and keep your pool water clear for the next sunny day.

Source: hth blog

Living in a hurricane zone requires property owners to pay particular attention to the type of windows and doors installed in their buildings.

While hurricane force winds do cause damage to property, it’s wind-borne debris (such as tree limbs, signs, roof tiles, etc.) and not the wind itself that causes the largest amount of damage . When flying debris breaks through windows and doors, the wind enters the property and creates forces that the structure of the building is not designed to withstand, often lifting the roof or pushing out the walls and causing them to fail.

Even if the roof and walls remain intact, the rain and water damage from a broken window can be severe, leaving a home uninhabitable and resulting in a total loss of its contents.

Installing impact resistant windows and doors will help to minimize the risk of penetration by flying debris.

The most common way to achieve impact resistance in windows and doors is to select a product that uses laminated glass. Laminated glass is comprised of two panes of glass bonded together with a strong, clear interlayer.

Laminated insulating glass is constructed as two panes of glass bonded together with a strong, clear interlayer, then includes an airspace followed by a third pane of glass for added insulation. The airspace between the 2nd and 3rd piece of glass is filled with air or other gas to reduce heat transfer. Once sealed, the glass “sandwich” behaves as a single unit and is transparent, like ordinary glass. A special silicone glazing process helps keep the glass from breaking away from the frame.

PGT windows and doors that feature impact-resistant laminated glass or laminated insulating glass are designed to withstand repeated impact from a nine-pound 2’ x 4’ beam traveling at 34 miles per hour. Even if the glass is damaged, the interlayer will hold the glass pieces secure in the frame and continue to keep unwanted elements outside.

These glass choices combined with PGT’s heavy-duty frames allow the brand’s impact-resistant products to meet or exceed the most stringent code requirements for hurricane-force winds and flying debris. In addition, PGT’s impact-resistant windows and doors exceed the 2010 Florida building code standards for impact-resistant, and many products offer additional testing and certification including those of Miami-Dade and AAMA.

The strength of these tested and proven glass choices provides peace of mind for homeowners living in even the fiercest hurricane-prone regions or those seeking continuous, effortless protection.

Source: PGT