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Tips to Make a Kid-friendly Yard

Start with the setting – depending on the age of children, you probably want to ensure the property is fenced. Put in some vegetation, but be sure to check at the garden center that your greenery doesn’t involve any poisonous parts. Also be aware of thorny or sharp shrubbery. Other safety concerns include sharp tools and harmful chemicals, including many fertilizers. These should be kept out of reach of children.

Fruits and vegetables are a safe and healthy choice for backyard plants. Encourage children to snack fresh from the garden. Kid-sized garden tools can be a great addition: allow children to plant their own little box or plot of garden. Children love watching their handiwork grow.

Next, consider designating a soft area for children to play in. Grass is good, but gets worn out in areas of high traffic, so mulch is a better option. Gravel is also used, but depending on the age of your children it can become a throwing hazard and may be messy to clean up.

Once you’ve established the setting, you can add the accessories. There is no end to possible backyard accessories. Your only real limits are the age and interest level of your children, your space and your budget. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

# A sandbox : find one with a lid to keep the neighborhood cats from using it as a litter box.

# Sports equipment : there are so many options to choose from. Volleyball, badminton, tether ball (set the pole in a cement casing) = lots of fun for the whole family, especially if you have older children.

# A trampoline with safety netting : these should only be used with supervision when parents are home, but are a huge hit with kids.

# A pool : pools require extra diligence as children can drown in just a few inches of water. The safest pools incorporate a good fence into the design.

# A swing set or adventure playground : Check for any exposed bolts that could catch a child’s skin. Any set should be anchored firmly to the ground. Before purchasing pressure treated wood, check that it was treated with non-toxic chemicals. Although they are more expensive, wooden swing sets will last longer because they can accommodate larger children and are sturdier. Choose wrapped chain link hangers – they last longer than rope, and are safer than rope or unwrapped chain. Leave a safe space around play equipment so that children have room to drop off without hitting any other equipment.

Involving your children in the design will ensure that you’re meeting their needs and planning a space they’ll actually use. And when it’s finished you’ll be able to send your children outside without worrying about their whereabouts. Just don’t be surprised if your backyard becomes the local hot spot for the neighborhood kids – at least you’ll know where to find yours!

How do I Make Compost?

Composting at home, is basically a means of Recycling the organic waste that a household produces. Kitchen and garden waste, makes up about 30% of all land-fill; this is where the smell from rubbish dumps comes from – organic material rotting. Unlike a compost, which is, organic material decomposing, with the help of microbial and worm action breaking it down.
A well balanced compost heap – does not smell!

If you could pile up all the discarded kitchen and garden waste, coming out of an average suburban home in a year – you would not be able to see over it. Does it not make more sense to return all of this back into your garden, rather than adding to the urban over-abundance of garbage tragedy? Some local councils are now supplying garden-waste-bins, collected just the same way as ordinary garbage, but then dumped at enormous compost-farms; and ultimately sold off as bagged compost and potting-mix.

When you add in the environmental costs, of adding new landfill sites, road transport emissions from ferrying all this waste around; and potential incineration, with the fumes that release into the environment – advantages of composting are clear, whether done on an individual basis, or commercially.

So! All your garden-waste, this is : lawn-clippings, any soft prunings (nothing too woody, nothing diseased); all leaves- from the roof-gutters, raked up leaves, swept up leaves; most weeds; and all spent annuals from last season.
Household waste : from the kitchen; all vegetable scraps; left-over meals (no meat, fish or dairy products – this will only stink and attract unwanted pests and vermin);egg-shells, egg-cartons; coffee-grounds and tea-bags; hair – from the brush, from the dog, from cutting hair; all floor sweepings; ash from the fire-place; whatever is in the vaccum bag; shopping dockets and paper-bags – pretty much, anything organic. Any large cardboard boxes, or large quantities of news-papers, worn out sheets and blankets – do not burn them, use them as mulch.


Helpful Tips to Growing Raspberries

The land that you select for growing raspberries should be rich in organic compounds and sandy in nature. It should also be an area where the plants will get plenty of sun light. A well drained soil also is an essential requirement to grow raspberries the way you like them to be. It is always better to avoid low areas to plant raspberries in order to avoid water clogging inside the plantation during spring. But it should be a place where you have easy access for water supply. Do not attempt to plant raspberries on the crest of a hill. This is to avoid plants from being affected by the wind. You should also avoid sites where you have planted potatoes, egg plants and tomatoes within the last three to four years to avoid the plants from getting infected from the virus that are common in these plants.

Depending on the condition of the land it may take one to two years to complete soil preparation for growing raspberries. It is always good to test the soil quality to see whether the land is adaptable for raspberry plantation or not. Normally raspberries require soil with a pH of 5.6 to 6.2. The acidity of the soil should be reduced by adding ground lime stone. If you want o improve the organic content of the soil you can apply materials like barnyard manure or compost into the land.

Make sure that the site that you have selected to plant the raspberry is free from weeds and other infectious matters. It should have good sun light, air and adequate moisture. It should be planted early in the spring to get the best out of your plantation. You should prune the cans properly at the time of planting. It has to be pruned within six inches from the ground level. The individual plants of raspberries should be placed at a distance of twenty four to thirty inches from each plant. The rows where the plants are planted should be kept at a distance of six to ten feet from each other.

Raspberry plants require regular watering to allow them to grow healthy. Take necessary steps to keep weeds out of the garden during the first year of plantation. Mulching with straws or sawdust will help to keep down the weed growth inside the cultivation.


The Best Advice on Filters I’ve found

How To Clean Your Cooker Hood Filter It can be quite difficult to clean cooker hood filters. Because of the buildup of fat and grease this is a spot that’s difficult to clean. You should not procrastinate as the situation is likely to worsen if there’s no action taken. Cleaning your cooker hood filter is something you simply have to do. You ought to clean your cooker hood filter so as to maintain its ability to filter. If you don’t clean your cooker filter more often, then you might be unable to stop fire breakouts or grease vapor from getting into the system. This is the reason why it is critical to ensure that your cooker filter is cleaned more often. If you are smart person, then you don’t want to assume things and be in danger. Deep cleaning your Cooker Hood filter If you have not done any cleaning for sometime, then the accumulation of fat and grease can be quite difficult. But cleaning your cooker hood filter should not be a big issue if you’ve got the know how and the right tools.
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It should generally not be a hard task to clean your cooker filters. You can use a variety of methods to ensure that your kitchen is safe and free from fire hazards. In addition, without cleaning you are likely to pay more man on utility bills. Without further ado, here are some of the ways that you can clean your filters. Washing With Hands Even though cleaning cooker heads is a simpler task, plenty of people put their kitchen in danger. Leaving fat and grease to accumulate is something most people do because of busy lifestyles. Though, if people aren’t careful fires can become destructive since the filters wont work. The first method that’s quite easy is to clean your cooker hood by hand. You should use water and soap then clean then dry it immediately. It can also be effective to do power washing. Employ The Dishwasher Other that cleaning the filters by hand, you can also wash your filters using the dish wash. To do this, you must make sure that you use enough soap and water. But never make mistake of using bleach during the cleaning process. To say the least, bleach is going to corrode and damage your filter. Kitchen experts advice that you should stay away from most cleaning chemicals. At the end of day, soap and water are quite effective in cleaning your filter. Use Soap Tank One can decide to clean their cooker hood filter manually as mentioned above. But that’s no the only way to clean them. In any case, cleaning the filter manually can be tedious. it is highly recommended that you buy a soap tank if you don’t want to clean filters manually.Cleaning your cooker hood filter using your soap tank is simple.

Caring Fresh Cut Flowers Tips

First, remove the flowers from the packaging, hold the stems underwater, and cut the stem at a 45-degree angle using a sharp knife. Cutting the flower stem at this angle allows the stem to have a greater surface area for water consumption. Do not use scissors to cut the stems and do not crush the stems either; this will damage the tips and block the flower’s water intake.
Next, prepare the vase and the water. Kill any bacteria or algae that formed in the vase by cleaning the inside with bleach. If your florist does not include preservatives with the flower delivery, fill the vase with lukewarm water and add a floral preservative. You can either buy preservatives from your florist or make on your own. To make your own preservatives, mix lemon with a very small amount of bleach, or a teaspoon of sugar with a few drops of bleach. Take note that using homemade concoctions might not be as effective as professional cut flower food because they don’t contain the complex mixture of preservatives and nutrients flowers need to survive.

Before putting the flowers in the vase, remove all the leaves that might be submerged in the water. Leaves have the tendency to decay when submerged underwater and when these leaves rot, they poison the water and shorten the vase life of your flowers. Arrange the flowers in any way you desire, but make sure you do not overcrowd the vase. If the bouquet is too large or the arrangement seems too tight, divide them into two and place them in separate vases.

Once you’re satisfied with your floral arrangement, keep the vase in a cool spot away from direct sunlight to avoid rapid respiration. Respiration is the process wherein living organisms age. It is helpful to note that flowers generally have a higher respiration rate than most agricultural crop. The lower the temperature of the room they are placed in, the longer the flowers will last. However, if the flowers are subjected to temperatures below four degrees, their internal cells can get easily damaged and dry out the flowers. If you want your bouquet to decorate an air-conditioned room, make sure the temperature is not too cold.

Finally, take care of your flowers every day and remove wilted flowers so they do not contaminate the rest. It is recommended that you change the water daily but if you are too busy to do so, replacing the water every two or three days is fine. Make sure you add the preservative each time you change the water. You can also re-cut the stem for improved water absorption.

Taking care of cut flowers is not very difficult as long as you take the steps mentioned above. It does not take much time but you will see the benefits for many days to come.


Indoor Garden Pest Control

Powder sulfur

Powder sulfur is one of the indoor gardening supplies that will best control thrips. Thrips will puncture the cells of your plants and suck out the contents of the cells, resulting in cosmetic damage to crops. Sulfur can be used in a vaporizer unit, which sends out sulfur vapors into your indoor gardening area. Sulfur will change the pH level on the plant’s leaves and stems, which will cause damage to pest reproduction cycles. Changing the pH level also has the added advantage of reducing the common plant disease of powdery mildew, which can be a problem in damp greenhouse settings.

Spider Mite Control

Indoor pest control can also include a program for reducing spider mites. Indoor gardening supplies used to control spider mites include beneficial insects.

This form of controlling spider mites can be used as an initial means of implementing integrated pest management, also called IPM. This is a method whereby you initialize your pest management by using the least toxic means of controlling the problem, and move up the chain to more powerful and toxic solutions only if necessary.

Beneficial insects are an organic gardening solution for controlling spider mites. Although they are very tiny insects, when amassed in large groups they can decimate a greenhouse crop very quickly. They, like thrips, suck the contents out of plant cells, leaving a scar on the leaves and stems of the plants. If a plant has too many of these scars, it suffers a reduction in photosynthetic ability, causing it to not be able to take in enough nutrients. This can eventually kill the plant.

There are beneficial insects that will kill spider mites. Although its name is not easy to pronounce, Phytoseiulus persimilis is nevertheless one of the indoor gardener’s best friends when it comes to spider mite control.

When using a beneficial insect as a method of controlling another harmful insect, you will want to release the beneficials as soon as you detect a pest problem, because the sooner they get to work, the sooner they will eliminate the problematic greenhouse insect guest. These are one form of indoor gardening supplies that work best indoors, because they keep their feeding focused in one small area to get rid of the pests efficiently.

Indoor gardening supplies including pest control systems can be found to meet your specific indoor gardening needs, suitable for the particular types of plants you grow.


Gardeners Spring Time Tips


Without healthy soil, it is unlikely that you will be able to get the best out of the seeds that you plant. There is the inevitable digging which needs to be done in order to loosen the soil so that the roots of the plants you plant can penetrate further. Organic matter for soil is increasingly becoming the “talk of the town” as a way to improve soil quality, and after all, a healthy lawn is dependent on healthy soil. So make sure to mix in some of the magical nutrients into the soil when digging and turning.

Pick “n” Mix

The next step is to choose the plants that you want to grow. Obviously, this choice is personal, and depends entirely on the look and feel you want in your garden. The key to this part of the process is to make sure that that the plants you pick appeal to you and that they will be suitable for the environment and conditions in which you will plant them.

Time to Sew

Once you have chosen the plants that you want, the real fun part comes. Planting should be done on a mild day, so that the conditions aren’t too harsh for your budding plants. You should dig a relatively deep and wide hole and place the plant in its new location. You should make sure that the top of the root is level with the surrounding soil before refilling the hole, half with soil before filling the rest with water. The water should seep into the soil at which point you should fill the rest of the hole with the leftover soil. Then, garnish with a little more water and voila!

Almost there…

You all know that the process doesn’t end there. Your little plants will need dedicated care and attention in order to grow properly. Regular watering, generally in the early morning is best. If you use a hose, make sure that you don’t drown the plants in too much water. Instead, make sure that the water seeps in slowly. Add a couple of inches of mulch for a double whammy of helping to stop weeds from growing and helping the soil retain water. Over the next few weeks, keep watering and you can even add some fertilizer (around mid-season) to give your plants a boost. By following these tips you should soon be reaping the rewards of a beautiful garden.

Top Gardeners Equipment

1. Trowel – A trowel is a shovel-like piece of equipment which is used to dig up dirt and set small plants. There are many styles to choose from and type of handle on your trowel will determine how well it works. Easy grip, non-slide and non-slip grips are the best form of handle to choose. These will be easier to use and will require less work than any other form of trowel. A trowel with no grip will be difficult to use and could end up ruining your garden. Try one out in your hand first to ensure it feels comfortable. There’s nothing like having your hand cramp or the trowel slip while using it to dig in a beautiful, new plant.

2. Pitchfork – A pitchfork is a gardening tool which has 2-6 prongs and a long handle. The sizes of pitchforks vary, depending on what they are being used for. The space between each prong varies as well. Pitchforks are used to separate, lift and throw loose pieces of material such as dirt and leaves.

3. Spade – A gardening spade has a long, thick handle and a heavy flat blade. This tool is used to dig up and move pieces of dirt from one place to another. It can also be used to pack down dirt once the flower has been planted.

4. Pruning Shears – Pruning shears are tools which have a long handles and blades. This type of gardening equipment is used to allow gardeners to precisely prune rose bushes and other plants and unruly vines, etc. It can also be used to cut the grass at the edges of walkways and garden beds, in those hard to reach places. It is also used to trim the edges and remove dead leaves or wood on flowers. There is no other piece of gardening equipment which can do the same job as pruning shears. Without the use of this piece of equipment, your garden will end up looking messy and disorganized. Always, always, always invest in good quality pruning shears. Good ones have a lifetime guarantee and low-end ones will make shrapnel of your heritage rose.

5. Wheelbarrow – A wheelbarrow is one of the larger pieces of garden equipment. It is a cart with a handle and at least one wheel which is designed for easy transportation of materials from one place to another. Purchasing a wheelbarrow will save you a lot of time and effort, especially if you are off to the compost heap, and will make for a pleasant gardening experience. Another option is the 4-wheeled gardening cart.

Types of Climbers


Tendrils are tiny, spring-like growths that extend out from a plant’s stem. In fact, tendrils are almost like small stems of their own, expect that they are much finer and more pliable than the plant’s main stem. A tendril reaches out and grabs on to the supporting structure by curling and winding around it. Peas are a climber that utilizes tendrils in its upward growth. Climbing vines with tendrils will do best when they are given a narrow support to climb, preferably a diameter no greater than 1/4″. Simple trellises made of narrow strips of bamboo or other thin branches work quite well. Or, consider making your own trellis by constructing a frame and then using large mesh or netting inside it.


Twining climbers such as morning glory and clematis use their own leaves and stems to reach out and “grab” onto a supporting structure. Twining plants, depending on the species, will consistently twine in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Some twiners will wrap around their supporting structures loosely; others wrap very tightly. Beware of tightly twining plants, as they can literally choke the life out of any other living plants around them. Also keep in mind that some twiners can grow quite large and heavy, and it’s important to provide them with sufficient support. Wisteria, for example, is a twining climber than is known for collapsing structures like porches and decks.


Scrambling climbers are actually unable to grow up a structure on their own. They often times have stiff branches or thorns that they may use to prop themselves up on another plant or structure. Roses and raspberries are examples of scrambling plants. If you want a scrambler to climb a trellis or pergola, you will probably have to assist the plant by tacking or tying it to the structure. Take care, though, that you don’t tie the branches too tightly, or you could choke the plant to death. Look for a trellis or pergola that has special training clips designed for this purpose.

Adhesive Pads

Adhesive pad climbers can be both pervasive and invasive. Have you ever wondered how Boston ivy can climb up the face of a brick wall? Well, Boston ivy is an example of an adhesive pad climber that uses small, sticky tendrils to adhere onto almost any surface. When an adhesive pad climber comes up to an obstacle, they can just as easily climb sideways. Be careful about planting an adhesive pad climber near a building, as these plants have been known to cause damage to brick mortar and other siding materials.

Clinging Stem Roots

Climbers that use clinging stem roots to grow include climbing hydrangea and English ivy. These climbers actually produce small sticky roots that grow directly out from the stem. These sticky roots will cling to virtually any surface, smooth or porous. Clinging stems can be just as damaging to buildings as adhesive pads, so be careful where you plant these vines. Clinging stem root climbers should also be trimmed back regularly. They will rapidly grow out of control when left unchecked!


Landscaping in Inexpensive Way


Identify what you want to do with and what you need for your outdoor space. Landscaping construction need not be a detailed blueprint, but one must have at least an idea, a rough draft of what will be installed, planted and severed. This is a must whether you’re going to hire a contractor or DIY. Within the planning stage, there exists a handful of topics. One would be the budget. This is one of the factors that will set the perimeters of your project. Actually, the whole budget would likely depend on the size of your budget. Make sure you note the figure that you’re willing to part with. Hundreds? Thousands? May be a couple hundred less or a couple thousand more. Be faithful and stick to your budget. Another would be choosing the right flora for the right area. I advise that you scour your local library for gardening topics and ‘how to’ books regarding landscaping plants or landscaping trees. I’m certain you’ll find the ideal landscaping, be it an herb garden, a rock garden, a vegetable or flower garden. Take note that each possesses different growing patterns. Others grow well in a specific season, while some strive on shade instead of full sunlight. Accessories. Would you need to rejuvenate your patio? Then visit your nearest hardware store and purchase the high-quality latex sealer. Believe me, though this is a little expensive, it will serve its purpose in the long run. Not only will your patio look good, it will be protected as well. A slide and swing for the kids? A few seats beneath the shade? Some water works, perhaps? How about a couple of lightings? But before going overboard, remember, stick within you budget. Start with those under the priority column. If you still have some spare cash, then go crazy by adding a little something-something.

Use what you have

This I got from my granma. She uses blocks and tiles (excess from when she had new flooring installed) to elevate some of the plants to create a dimensional feel. The usual plastic containers transformed into flower pots are ever present in her backyard. Crocked gardening materials, keep it. It’s not broken, right? The rule with my granma is that when something is shattered beyond repair, then that’s the only time it’ll take a trip to the trash bin. Speaking of trash bin, I think she turned a pail (with broken handle) into a makeshift trash bin. Trust me, these items don’t seem damaged when arranged properly and showcasing Nature’s beauty.

Start small

If you’re really tightening your belt, start purchasing small plants. This doesn’t cost as much as buying huge ones. Plus you can buy a lot of small ones, preferably perennials like asters, iris, phlox and day lilies; or annual plants like sunflowers, blue poppy, geranium, African and Signet marigold. I prefer the latter for you can change the look of your garden every year. These small plants may be used to fill the gaps in between shrubs and trees that have yet to reach maturity. Remember, your yard will fill in all through the next season, don’t overdo it during the first season.

Swap (or just ask)

What’s a little swap between friends? You can even ask them for cuttings and seedlings. Again, my grandma is a pro with swapping, well, actually in giving. Whether small or otherwise, she gives them to friends and neighbors alike. A couple of times I saw her giving birds of paradise as a gift, sometimes it’s orchids. Probably, she gives whatever plant is in season.

The effort you put into the initial planning will pay you back big time in the end. And knowing that you did everything with a limited budget makes it more rewarding. Imagine being able to stretch the value of a dollar. Give yourself a pat on the back, good job!