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by Kim Wong Shing

There’s something inherently satisfying about spending some time at home, relaxing while you wait for your face mask to dry. Face masks rejuvenate your skin and restore your glow, but store-bought face masks can be steep in price. Luckily, there are many common kitchen ingredients that can be whipped into a quick mask.

Masks for the summer should focus on cleansing, hydrating and brightening the skin. Heavy moisture isn’t needed. Instead, aim for some light hydration and exfoliation.

These 5 DIY face mask recipes use easy-to-find ingredients, many of which you probably have around your kitchen. They’re a cinch to make, and they’re a great summer treat for your skin.

Hydrating Oatmeal & Honey Face Mask

Honey gently nourishes and hydrates the skin, while oatmeal soothes the skin and provides some gentle exfoliation.

1/2 cup raw ground oatmeal
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk or yogurt
1 tbsp honey

You can substitute the milk for a non-dairy milk if you prefer. Combine the ingredients in a pan, heat for 5 minutes, and let cool. Apply to a clean face for 15 minutes for best results.

Brightening Strawberry & Lemon Face Mask

Strawberries are rich in salicylic acid, which is commonly found in acne-targeting skin products. Lemon juice cleanses and tightens pores.

1/4 cup mashed strawberries
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp honey

Mash ingredients together until the consistency is creamy. Apply for 8-10 minutes.

Antioxidant-rich Papaya & Honey Face Mask

If you’ve got sun spots, an uneven skin tone, or signs of aging, papaya is a lovely antioxidant-rich fruit to add to your masks.

2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup mashed ripe papaya
1/4 cup lemon/lime juice (optional)

Blend the ingredients together by hand until smooth. Apply for 15-20 minutes.

Soothing Green Tea & Coconut Oil

Green tea is just as powerful on your skin as it is inside of your body. Rich in antioxidants, it reduces redness and adds a subtle glow to the skin. Coconut oil adds moisture and is an antiseptic.

1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1/2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp water

Combine ingredients and mix until smooth. Apply for 15 minutes.

Exfoliating Banana, Egg & Avocado Face Mask

Both banana and avocado are super gentle exfoliants, while egg tightens the skin. Avocado also adds a burst of hydration.

1 egg
1/2 avocado
1 banana

Mash the avocado and banana together, then add the egg. Mix until smooth. Apply for 15 minutes.

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Common Problems of Your Vegetable Garden and How to Fix Them

Even though I’ve described the process of farming and tending to a vegetable garden to be rewarding, I never said that it would be easy, or free from problems. It’s probable that you came across a lot of problems while growing your crops and I’ll be discussing a few common ones for which a solution will also be provided.

No Seedlings

A very common problem faced by first-time farmers is that seedlings don’t emerge after they sow seeds. Here’s why this is happening:

  • It’s likely that they still need some time, so you should wait it out.
  • The weather’s cold: wait for it to get warmer and if they still don’t sprout, then replant
  • Your soil isn’t moist Water it.
  • If you can’t find seeds at all, it’s possible that insects or birds ate Replant them but keep them protected with netting.
  • The last possible reason could be that you’re using an old seed that won’t sprout Try purchasing fresh ones.
Lifeless Seedlings and Dead Plants

A frequent complaint I hear from home farmers is that their seedlings and young plants die very soon after they’ve sprouted. If not that, they appeared wilted.

  • Not enough moisture: water your soil evenly.
  • Too much moisture: overwatering your seedlings causes damping. Sow your new seeds in a clean seed-starting mix and give your soil a dose of fungicide before planting.
  • The roots or stems rotted: this can happen due to overwatering so add some healthy organic matter i.e. compost to your soil before replanting.
  • They appear burned due to fertilizer. If you intend to use a fertilizer with seedlings, then mix it well into the soil before planting.
  • Otherwise, it’s due to pests. You can keep them away by using row covers or keeping your garden clean and free from weeds and plant debris.

Plants are Wilting
  • Your soil is either too dry or waterlogged. Water if dry, drain out in case of excess water.
  • Your plants may be affected by a disease, so replant varieties that are disease-resistant and keep your beds free from weeds and plant waste.
  • The plant may be suffering from a type of vascular wilt. Fix this by re-growing disease-resistant varieties, practice crop rotation or soil solarization before you plant.
Weak Plants
  • They’re not getting enough sunlight: relocate your plants in an area that gets plenty of sunshine.
  • You’ve overwatered the soil. Practice better drainage.
  • It’s probable that you’re growing all your plants in close proximity to each other. Make sure to give them enough room when you replant.
  • You’ve added too much fertilizer. Excess nitrogen can weaken a plant so quit it with the extra fertilizing.

These are just a few of the problems that you’ll come across in your garden, that I’ve given solutions for. I know there are plenty more; I’ll tell you how to fix those issues too. Till then, happy farming!

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