Home Improvement Tips to Raise Your Home’s Value

When it comes to home improvements there are various things you can do that will actually increase the overall value of your home. Now, there are rather large projects that you can do like adding another room and major landscaping.

Those will give you a large increase in value, but who has that kind of money to put into a home improvement project just to increase value? Most people want those little tricks and tips that won’t break their bank but will still raise the value.

Some of the small, but unique, things you can do to raise the value of your home is cleaning. When you keep things clean, you are helping to keep them functional and repair free. If you take your bathroom, for example; by keeping the toilet, sinks, and bath or shower clean, you won’t have to worry about replacing them when they break or fall apart.

Instead of going out and purchasing harsh chemical cleaners, you can use white vinegar and citrus juice to get that professional quality shine and clean smell for your bathroom. This also controls germs and bacteria that grow.

Other small renovations can help increase the value of your home; things like new flooring will do a great job of raising the value. You can even throw on a coat of paint, both inside and outside as a value increasing home improvement. If you are going to do major renovations, make sure that you use the appropriate materials, especially if you are looking to try to make it look as the house did when it was first built. With older houses, those built pre 1950, this is a great way to make the value climb to record highs.

No matter what kind of home renovation you decide to do to make the value in your home go up, always make sure that you have all the right papers filed, if you are doing major construction type remodeling. You can also have a contractor come in and give you some ideas as to what it will take to make your remodeling a complete success, even if you are going to do it on your own instead of hiring someone.

Financing Home Repairs and Improvements

Finding funding may be a project itself, depending on the scope of your home improvement plans, For smaller projects, you may be able to save for it from your regular household budget. But for major projects, you will probably need financing. It may be possible to borrow against the cash value of your life insurance policy. Talk to your life insurance agent for information about this option.

Contact your bank, savings and loan, or credit union for information about home improvement loans. Compare interest rates, repayment options, and penalties from a few lending institutions before selecting one of the following options:

Second mortgage: A second mortgage is loan against the equity in your home, in effect, an additional mortgage. Typically, financial institutions let you borrow up to 80% of the appraised value of your home, less the balance on your original mortgage. For example, if your home is appraised at $100,000 and your current mortgage balance is $70,000, you may be able to obtain $10,000 by a second mortgage. You may also have to pay all the fees normally associated with a mortgage, including closing costs, title insurance, and any fees. Your tax advisor can tell you if the interest on a second mortgage is tax-deductible.

Refinancing: This option pays off your current loan and takes out a new mortgage on your home. Generally, you’ll need to have equity in your home, a solid credit rating, and a steady income. Again, you’ll incur all the closing costs that you’d pay on a new mortgage. Unless your remodelling project is extensive and you can get an interest rate at least two points less than you currently pay, refinancing may not be a good choice for you.

Home Equity Line of Credit: A home equity loan-like a second mortgage-lets you tap into up to about 80% percent of the appraised value of your home, minus your current mortgage balance. Since it’s set up as a line of credit, you won’t have any interest charges until you make a withdrawal, but you will pay closing costs. You can make withdrawals as needed when you start paying contractors and suppliers. The interest rate is usually variable and may be based on the outstanding balance.

Make sure you thoroughly understand the terms of the loan. For example, if your loan stipulates that you need to pay interest only for the life of the loan, you’ll have to pay back the full amount borrowed at the end of the loan period or you could lose your home. Ask your tax advisor if the interest on a home equity loan is deductible.

Unsecured Loan: Although the interest rates on unsecured loans are frequently higher and you generally won’t get a tax deduction for the interest you pay, the costs of obtaining an unsecured loan are usually lower. And the relative ease of getting this kind of loan may make it a good choice for small projects of $10,000 or less. The lender will evaluate your application based on your credit history and income.

You’ll be happier with the outcome of your home improvement project if you plan carefully and do your homework. The information in this article and a realistic idea of your needs and budget will help you make your home closer to your dream of perfection.

Lettuce Gardening Tips

Gardeners can select from a large variety of lettuces that are easy to grow, highly productive in limited space, and virtually pest and disease free. Lettuce is definitely one of the more “care-free” crops. Lettuce is a great way to start gardening; it is what I started out with actually. There are a few key principles though that should always be kept in mind.

Lettuce

For maximum lettuce production, it’s wise to select a site where the soil drains well, yet retains some moisture. The soil should also be rich in nitrogen and potassium, The best way to accomplish this is to work in plenty of organic matter (compost, rotted manure, or leaf mold) that will loosen and enrich the soil.

Most lettuce varieties mature in 45 to 55 days, allowing many gardeners to plant two or even three crops. But looseleaf and butterhead leaves can be harvested at just about any time in their development. Heading varieties take longer to mature. Romaine takes 75 to 85 days and crisphead 70 to 100 days.

By choosing the right varieties and with these lettuce gardening tips, it’s possible to have lettuce in your garden throughout the growing season. This lettuce is great for salads throughout the growing season. There really is nothing better than a fresh Caesar salad with fresh romaine from the garden!

Lettuce Gardening Tips

Lettuce History

Lettuce, one of the oldest food plants known to man, is believed to have originated in India and Central Asia. Even Herodotus wrote of lettuce being served in ancient Greece, and it was a most favorite vegetable in ancient Rome. This is where we get “Caesar Salad”! In fact, the word “lettuce” is derived from the Latin root word “lac” meaning “milk,” referring to the milky juice found in mature lettuce stems.

Columbus and other European explorers brought lettuce seeds to the New World. Our early colonists included lettuce in the first gardens planted in American soil. Today, lettuce is a favorite vegetable here and around the world. It has revolutionized all cultures of food, from hamburgers to salads.

More Lettuce Gardening Tips

Lettuce is so easy to grow it can be started indoors for early transplants or sown directly in the garden. In fact, doing both is recommended to get maximum production. Lettuce seeds are extremely tiny, so it is recommended to be generous with them when planting. It is a good idea to

Romaine Lettuce

start some lettuce seeds indoors in peat pots a few weeks before the last frost date in your area. Provide the seedlings with plenty of sunlight or keep them under artificial lighting until ready to move into the garden. Transplant the seedlings as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. If a hard freeze threatens, protect the seedlings with a cloche or row cover. Reserve a number of lettuce seedlings to fill empty spaces in the garden as the season progresses.

To sow lettuce directly in the garden, simply plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep, tamp them down, and water. It’s that simple! Space the sowings according to packet directions that are based on the size of the mature lettuce. For example, a crisphead may require a square foot of garden space. As many as nine plants of a small leaf lettuce variety can grow in the same space.

Keep in mind that lettuce seeds won’t germinate in soil that is 80 degrees F. or warmer, so there’s no sense in sowing directly in the garden in the summer. Resort to starting heat-tolerant varieties indoors and moving the lettuce seedlings into the garden, preferably under partial shade, after they’ve developed a few true leaves.

Lettuce Cultivation

Here are two cultivation tips to keep in mind:

Succession plantings.

Lettuce is ideal for succession planting. Sow seeds every two weeks for production throughout the season, starting with early lettuce varieties, using heat-tolerant varieties as your main crop, and then switching to fall crops late in the summer. Or, if you prefer, use lettuce in successions with other crops. For example, plant lettuce in the spring, followed by bush beans in the summer, followed by lettuce again in the fall.

Watering.

The key to lettuce production is supplying moderate but almost constant water, especially during hot weather. Unless there is regular rainfall, lettuce must be watered deeply at least once a week- more frequently during periods of drought. Mulch with a layer of compost or clean straw to help the soil retain moisture. A drip-irrigation system is ideal.

Lettuce Growing Tips

To improve overall lettuce production, consider using the following four techniques.

Raised beds.

To maximize lettuce production, plant seeds in raised beds. The raised beds warm up faster than the surrounding ground. You should be able to get an earlier start in the spring and a later crop in the fall. Raised bed gardening is, without a doubt, the best way to garden anything out there. Its simplicity, organization, incredible fertility, and results are astounding.

Living mulch.

To make the most of limited garden space, plant lettuce around taller plants like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers, and eggplants. This helps the lettuce grow a lot better; if they are left in the beating sun without moisture, they will not be able to survive. The lettuce helps its neighbor by keeping the surrounding soil moist and cool and keeping weeds shaded out. As the taller plants grow, they provide needed shade for the lettuce as the days get warmer.

‘Tucking.’

You can also start lettuce seedlings indoors for filling vacancies in the garden in late spring and again in early fall as other crops are harvested. Simply ‘tuck’ a seedling in the vacant spot to keep every inch of garden space in constant production.

Ornamental use.

Many varieties of lettuce are welcome additions to ornamental beds. For example, ‘Mighty Red Oak,’ ‘Sweet Red,’and ‘Sierra Blush’ can easily fill gaps in flowerbeds, adding splashes of red where needed.

Insects and Diseases

Lettuce is generally disease and pest free, but you should still be vigilant.

Cutworms and slugs are the most bothersome pests. Use a paper collar around young lettuce seedlings to keep the ravenous caterpillars at bay. Slugs are tougher to control. Sprinkle wood ashes or diatomaceous earth over the soil around the plants to discourage the nasty mollusks. Be sure to reapply after each rainfall.

A major threat is lettuce rot which first attacks the lower leaves in contact with the soil and then spreads throughout the plant.

With these lettuce gardening tips, you can stop this. The best way to prevent fungal and bacterial diseases is to rotate crops. Don’t plant lettuce in the same bed two years in a row.

Raised Bed of Lettuce

Perhaps the greatest threat to lettuce growing are deer. If there is no protection or netting over these lettuce plants, I can assure you that the deer will have a salad bar feast and everything will be gone. I specially recommend the plastic raised beds with pre-made nets from gardeners. These are what I use for my garden. These lettuce gardening tips will save you a ton of time that I had to learn by experience.

Lettuce Harvesting Tips

Lettuce can be harvested any time after true leaves form. For the best quality, better to pick early than late as lettuce allowed to grow too long may be bitter and tough.

To harvest crisphead, Batavia, and romaine varieties, cut the plant right at the soil line when mature, if you prefer to harvest full heads. You can do the same with butterhead and looseleaf lettuce, but I prefer to harvest only the outer leaves as needed. This keeps the plants in production longer. Try to harvest in the morning when the leaves are crisp, sweet, and full of moisture.

When the crown of a lettuce plant elongates, it’s about to bolt to produce seed and the plant has passed its prime. Yank the lettuce plant out, toss it on the compost pile, and replant the space with another crop like bush beans, or with another lettuce seedling.

Recipes and Storage

Primarily water, lettuce does not store well. For the best quality and flavor, use homegrown lettuce soon after harvest. This is particularly true for many of the looseleaf varieties, which wilt readily.

Combine crisp, crunchy lettuce varieties with soft, buttery-smooth types. For example, a blend of ‘Little Caesar,’ ‘Burpee Bibb’, ‘Mighty Red Oak Leaf,’ and ‘Crispy Frills’ makes a fine tossed salad with a variety of colors, shapes, and textures. With the lettuce gardening tips, you will be able to grow and try different blends until you find the ones that most delight your palate.

Top Reasons Why You Need Professional For Pool Service Peoria

Less to doubt, a swimming pool is a worth considering feature for your home. It improves the aesthetic value of your home, it creates extra space for outdoor dinner or lunch, and it keeps you healthy. Even so, have a swimming pool means responsibility to keep the pool clean. Not only to cut down the cost, but also because of such a notion that to clean a swimming pool is an easy task homeowners think about cleaning the pool by themselves. Simply clean the pool, indeed, it is not that daunting. Nevertheless, a little they know, a pool that looks like it has no problem with cleanness contains bacteria and other harmful substances.

That is the reason why you need professional for pool service Peoria. Not to mention, it will save your time as you need only to seat back and enjoy your time reading your favorite books, watching your favorite shows, or many other things that please you. Professionals have everything that is necessary to clean the pool. And you guess, cleaning is not the only thing. A swimming pool is built with additional features and technologies that enhance the homeowners experience while they are swimming. You can rely on them to ensure the whole part of the pool can function properly.

Handle the pool, it somehow looks easy. But the truth, it requires knowledge, experience, and skill. Not to mention, you have to use proper equipment. Continuously swim in dirty water that you have no idea that the water is dirty, it will damage your healthiness. So, why don’t you hand over pool cleanup, maintenance, and repair with those with specialties for a crystal clear swimming pool? Good thing, there are several of options for pool service companies that will make sure that your swimming pool is just fine.

Do you like to travel a lot? Or, do you want to spend some quality time with your family somewhere? Come back from your holiday and see a dirty swimming pool, it will displease you. However, it won’t be a problem at all, when you consider professionals to help you. Get your pool covered with the right service pool company, narrow your options down to those with good reputation. Closely find out how long they stay in the industry? What kind of services which they can handle? How about their reputation within the surrounding communities?

Need a pool service company to serve you in Peoria, Pelican Bay Pools is one to put into account for many good reasons. First, they have years of combined experiences within pool service industry. Second, they provide their surrounding community with huge array of pool services. Algae can make your pool looks green. Surely, it’s not a good thing. Chlorine level that is not adequate, makes algae easily invades your pool. Steer away the green pool because of algae, they apply various methods depend upon how significant the problem is. The chemical balance for pool is very important. If you think that you can’t handle to maintain the chemical balance, more, you dislike the idea about adding chemical stuffs at home .A pool that appears clean sometimes it hides harmful substance that you hardly notice.

Bring their own equipment, they will take care the cleanness of your swimming. The water will be tested and so on, until the time they will mix the pool water with certain amount of chemical level that won’t harm you. Sometimes the problem isn’t coming from the water or the pool, but the integrated equipment like pump motors, heaters (gas/electric), pool filters, plumbing clogs or leaks, and more. Have no skill and knowledge to deal with the repair, don’t force yourself to fix those.  Familiarize yourself with their services. You even can request a free estimate for comparison, thus you know which one among them the best option.

10 Organic Gardening Tips

10 Organic Gardening Tips

1. Test your soil:

If you are looking to have a successful outcome with an organic vegetable garden, you should first test your soil with a do-it-yourself home testing kit before you plant anything. These testing kits can be found at local garden centers and on the Internet at garden speciality stores. The kits use a number scale, 0 to 14, that helps you determine the acidity or alkalinity (also known as pH) levels of your soil. For most vegetables, an ideal number is about 6.5. If the results are too acidic (towards the low end of the scale) or too alkaline (towards the high end of the scale), your plants will not be able reap the benefits of the soil’s nutrients. Once you know the results of your soil, you will be able to adjust the soil accordingly by balancing these levels with the nutrients it is lacking.

2. Make plans ahead of time and decide where and how you will grow your garden:

Before you begin digging up your lawn, take a look at your property and decide where you would like to plant a garden. Location is very important, as you will want to pay attention to the position of the sun throughout the day (your plants will need healthy doses of direct sunlight each day), the rockiness of the ground, the drainage quality of the soil, and the location’s relation to your main water source.

If you have high quality soil in your yard and you have determined a location, you will want to take advantage of the benefits found in it. Healthy soils have upwards of 650 million microorganisms per one gram of soil. These organisms already present, such as earthworms and other forms of soil life are essential to the life of the soil and will help your garden prosper by providing your plants with valuable nutrients and minerals.

What to do if your soil is not healthy or if you do not have space for a garden at home:

    • Build a raised bed
    • By making a raised bed, you will have control over the garden’s soil quality. When building your bed, use untreated wood, stones, or brick as a side border and be sure to make the border at least 16 inches high as the depth is important. The plants’ roots will need room to stretch and grow.

    • Consider container gardening
    • If you are a city dweller, you do not have to miss out on the benefits of growing your own produce. Plant in containers that are large enough to accommodate root growth. Be sure they also have drainage holes. If you are planting organic herbs, pots that are at least 6 inches across are ideal. Another helpful hint is to use plastic pots instead of terra cotta pots. Plastic may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but they will hold moisture longer and will not dry out as quickly as terra cotta pots.

    • Join a local community garden
    • Another option is to join a community garden in your area. This is a great way to reap the benefits of growing your own organic food if you do not have land at home. Community gardens are vacant lots or fields that have been turned into mini-farms so that members of the community can plant small gardens of their own. To find out if there are community gardens near you, contact your local parks and recreation department, visit the website

http://www.communitygarden.org

    , or take a stroll in your neighborhood and see if any gardens exist. If you stumble across one, step inside and ask a member what you need to do to join.

3. Select authentic, high quality organic vegetable seeds to use in your garden:

Organic seeds can be found at local nurseries, garden stores, home centers, online seed stores, seed catalogs, and farm supply stores. Always make sure the seed company is “certified organic” and be sure to stay away from any seeds that are “genetically engineered.” To save money, start growing the seeds indoors and transplant outdoors when ready.

4. Make your own compost:

Compost, also known as “gardeners gold,” is a vital element in organic gardening that improves the soil structure of your garden. Compost provides a great source of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and micro/macronutrients essential for plant growth. It also aids in stabilizing soil moisture and pH which helps keep the soil cooler during the summer months.

Other benefits of organic compost:

  • Great source of food for wildlife because it attracts insects and fungi that eat decaying matter. These small animals support larger animals like songbirds
  • Suppresses plant disease
  • Assists in controlling soil erosion
  • Acts as a mild herbicide
  • Reduces need to apply commercial fertilizers
  • Reduces amount of waste sent to landfills
  • Reduces gas emissions that would result from transporting kitchen waste to a landfill

How to compost:

  • Build or buy a compost bin. These can be found at home centers, garden centers, and online.
  • Place compost material in repeated layers. To give your compost the best result, alternate layers of green matter with brown matter. An example would be alternating kitchen scraps with straw/stalks or dead leaves with grass clippings.
  • Cover compost heap for optimal results. This will avoid moisture loss and keep in heat.
  • Keep the pile moist as a wrung-out sponge.
  • Aerate and turn compost pile over frequently.
  • When ready, pile will look like fresh fine soil.

Some ideas for good compostables:

  • Kitchen waste
  • Aquarium water, plants, and algae
  • Sawdust
  • Tea leaves/coffee grounds
  • Pet rabbit or hamster droppings
  • Eggshells
  • Old spices
  • Lawn clippings (thin layer)

Make leafmould:

Leafmould is a dark brown, rich and crumbly material that is created from naturally decomposed Autumn leaves that have fallen onto the ground. It is an excellent soil conditioner and mulch, a great earthworm meal, and is easy to make.

To make leafmould:

  • Collect fallen leaves (avoid evergreen leaves) and place in a container to rot Leafmould matures best in high moisture, so the best time to collect leaves is just after rain.
  • Wait 9 months to a year for the leafmould to mature.

5. Use water wisely:

Water conservation, harvesting, and recycling are great methods for organic gardening.

  • Recycle/harvest rain water
  • Not only is rainwater is a great way to hydrate your plants, but it is also an excellent way to lower your monthly water bills, reduce storm-water runoff, and prevent flooding and erosion. It is generally clean, free of containments and byproducts such as minerals, fluoride and chlorine and has a low pH which plants and soils like. Rainwater can be collected and stored using gutters, downspouts, rain barrels and/or cisterns and can be used whenever needed, even later in the season during dry weather.

  • Use a soaker hose
  • A soaker hose is a great and easy way to save time and money in your garden. Water seeps out of soaker hoses and delivers water directly to your plants’ roots while keeping the leaves dry, which helps prevent disease. Hand watering is time consuming and tedious, sprinklers can be wasteful due to evaporation and runoff, and drip irrigation is expensive.

  • Avoid grey water
  • When recycling water, avoid use of grey water (household waste water that comes from sources such as sinks, washer machines, and showers) on any plants used for consumption. Grey water may contain phosphates, nitrogen, and pathogens that can be harmful to your health.

Watering tips:

  • Water your garden when the air and soil are cool, typically in the early morning or evening hours. During these times, less water will be lost due to evaporation.
  • Water deeply but less often. Direct the water at the root systems at the base of the plant. This will encourage plants to grow deeper roots, causing them to need less watering. Shallow watering causes the roots to grow close to the surface, making them more vulnerable to drought.
  • Remember that plants and soil in containers will dry out much faster than in the ground and require frequent watering.
  • Avoid watering leaves. Excess water film on a plant makes it more susceptible to disease.
  • Shallow rooted vegetables such as beans and greens need to be watered more often with lighter applications than deep rooted plants like corn and tomatoes. These vegetables require more water but less often.
  • Use a milk jug. For a clever trick, take a 1 gallon milk jug and poke very small holes into the bottom. Bury most of the jug next to your plants when you plant your garden. If you leave it uncapped, you can place your water hose nozzle into the opening to fill. With this method, the water slowly drips into the ground and encourages deep plant roots. This self-irrigation system is great for whenever you need to travel and leave the garden unattended.

7. Weed Control:

Weeds can be a serious threat to gardens because they remove valuable moisture, nutrients, sunlight and growing space needed by crops.

Some ways to control weeds:

  • Select high quality vegetable seeds or transplants By planting high quality seeds, the chances of them containing weed seeds or seedlings is very low.
  • Rotate your vegetable crops As crops differ in their ability to compete with weeds, rotating crops between hardy competitors and weaker plants can reduce weeds.
  • Use ground cover The use of ground cover and organic mulches such as hay, straw, glass clippings, and manure in your garden is one of the most effective ways to control weeds. Spread the ground cover 2-3 inches thick as this will block sunlight and prevent weed germination and growth.
  • Transplant seeds Transplanting seeds instead of sowing them gives plants a healthy head start in defense against weeds.

Methods of removing weeds:

  • By hand This method is most effective after a recent rain because the soil is loosened.
  • Thermal A short blast of heat directly onto the weed causes it to wilt and die. This is most effective on driveways and paths and is not always ideal for gardens.
  • Hoeing This is effective for larger patches of newly cleared ground.

7. Make sure you have earthworms

Earthworms are essential to a successful garden. Vermicompost, the combination of organic matter and earthworms’ castings is a high-octane form of compost that provides the soil with an immediate all-purpose fertilizer loaded with nutrients and nitrogen. By tunneling through the earth, earthworms aerate the soil which improves the soil’s access to air and drainage so that water reaches the deep roots of plants more easily. They also encourage beneficial soil bacteria while discouraging disease and predators such as crop destroying insects.

Don’t have earthworms in your soil? Here is how to get them:

  • Discontinue use of any toxins in your garden.
  • Spread 2-3 inch layers of organic matter on top of the soil each year – this will attract earthworms
  • Use leafmould – this is a great earthworm meal.
  • Order earthworm eggs online. Once you receive them, scatter them onto the ground and in about 3 months they will be adults and ready to reproduce.

8. Keep a gardening journal

By keeping track of your garden’s progress, you will be more prepared next year to tackle issues that came up this year. You will also have a place where you can jot down experiments, experiences: the good and the bad.

9. Protect against predators and pests:

Make your garden friendly to the native wildlife in your region. This will attract and encourage natural wildlife pest controllers to your garden. Ladybugs, birds, frogs, toads, and bats all help to keep pests such as aphids, insects, and snails in check.

Other beneficial garden predators and the pests they feed on:

  • Centipedes: feed on slugs and eggs
  • Preying mantis: feed on all types of insects
  • Spiders: feed on insects and arthropods
  • Lizards: feed on insects/pests
  • Frog/toads: feed on all types
  • Ladybugs: feed on aphids

To protect against pests:

  • Plant nectar producing plants Tiny flowers on plants such as sweet alyssum will attract beneficial insects, such as predatory wasps. The alyssum’s aroma will also scent your garden all summer. Herbs like parsley, dill, and fennel will attract ladybugs which will also eat intruding insects.
  • Choose native plant species over imported varieties whenever possible Native species have better “immune systems” and will be able to fight against insects in your area better than an exotic plant will.
  • Try companion planting Companion planting is growing two or more different types of species of plant together for the benefit of one or both. For example, by pairing a flower with a vegetable plant, many adult insects will visit flowers for pollen and nectar and in return are effective natural controllers of unwanted pests on the vegetable crops.

How does companion planting work?

  • Companions help each other grow: Tall plants provide shade for shorter plants sensitive to sun.
  • Companions use garden space efficiently: Vining plants cover the ground, upright plants grow up. Two plants in one patch.
  • Companions prevent pest problems: Plants like onions repel some pests. Other plants can lure pests away from more desirable plants.
  • Companions attract beneficial insects: Every successful garden needs plants that attract the predators of pests.

Examples of good companion plants:

  • Carrots and onions: Pests attracted to carrots’ sweet smell can be confused by the pungent smell of onions.
  • Corn and beans: The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers and leaf beetles. In addition, the bean vines will climb up the corn stalks.
  • Cucumbers and nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are said to repel cucumber beetles and can create a habitat for insects such as spiders and ground beetles which help defend the garden from destructive pests.
  • Radishes and spinach: Radishes attract leafminers away from the spinach. The leafminers will damage the radish leaves, but since radishes grown underground, no damage is done to the radishes.
  • Cabbage and dill: Cabbage can help support the floppy dill plants, while the dill attracts the tiny beneficial wasps that control cabbageworms and other cabbage pests.
  • Tomatoes and cabbage: Tomatoes are repel diamondback moth larvae (caterpillars that chew large holes in cabbage leaves)
  • Cauliflower and dwarf zinnias: The nectar from the dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs that help protect cauliflower plants.
  • Collards and catnip: Planting catnip alongside collards can reduce flea-beetle damage on the collards.

Other ways to deter pests from your organic garden:

  • Create barriers and deterrents: Try hanging shiny silver objects in your garden. The reflection produced from the sun can confuse insects such as aphids which orient their flight patterns by sunlight.
  • Rotate your crops each year This will aid in keeping pest and disease problems at bay as well as correct nutritional deficiencies.

10. Last few tips on garden and soil care:

  • Avoid compacting soil by walking on it excessively This restricts air movement and makes it hard for roots to penetrate.
  • Do not over dig This will destroy vital soil structure.
  • Cover Keeping plants covered with things like mulch helps protect soil structure.
  • Avoid overfeeding and over or under watering Let the plants performance guide you.

I hope you will be able to share the same satisfaction and gratification I experience when I build, create, and tend to my own vegetable garden. Have patience, be willing to get dirty, and be ready to smile and reap the bountiful benefits of an organically grown vegetable and herb garden.

Consider uPVC Windows if You’re Building or Renovating

If you’re considering whether or not to get uPVC windows, here’s a look at how they can benefit your home.

Low Maintenance

uPVC window frames do not need to be sealed or painted, which can significantly reduce the amount of maintenance required over their lifetime, and they can be quickly and easily cleaned with water and detergent.

Openable Turn and Tilt

uPVC windows can be opened in two directions which means you can take advantage of natural cross ventilation.

Thermal Comfort

Regarding materials, uPVC is non-conductive, which means that when it is used in window frames, it will not transfer heat and thus offers a more reliable internal temperature for your home or building. Double glazing uPVC windows are a highly efficient energy choice.

The material is sensitive to oxidative degradation, but thanks to technological advances, this problem has been addressed by adding anti-oxidants and various other stabilisers. Most uPVC is white to reflect UV rays and reduce the buildup of heat.

Durable and Tough

uPVC has proven to be a highly durable material that is frequently used in sewer pipes. The material will not rot or corrode.

Acoustic Insulation

Double-glazed windows and doors made with uPVC can cut down noise by as much as 70 percent.

Bushfire Performance

These unique windows can be installed in Australian areas where risk is marked as Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) 29kW/m2. Some are able to withstand a BAL of 40 kW/m2.

Resistant to Salt Erosion

uPVC is resistant to corrosion that is caused by salt-laden air, so these doors and windows are the ideal choices for coastal properties.

Recyclable

uPVC can be recycled up to ten times. Most of the doors and windows are recycled at the end of their usefulness and Australian industry programs have committed to keeping the material out of landfills and recycling it into new products.

High Security

uPVC windows tend to incorporate multi-locking systems which provide a great deal of security for homes and businesses. Most locking systems are able to lock at multiple points around the frame and sash.

Aesthetics

Thanks to laminates, colour stabilisers, and the ability to spray the frame of uPVC windows, almost any colour and texture are possible. This is a significant advantage for older houses to which an extension is being added and for people who want the frames to match the rest of the home.

Soundproofing and Water Tightness

uPVC units are typically fuse-welded around it, rendering it rain, wind, and sound sealed, unlike wood and aluminium which are mitre joined around the corners. The mitre joints tend to be areas of weakness as the sections of the frames move to accommodate climate expansion, contraction, and wind loads. Since wood tends to swell and warp over time, reduced energy efficiency and air infiltration occur.

Overall, uPVC windows and doors are more weather-resistant, more cost-effective and require very little upkeep as opposed to other options. They can be designed to match older homes and are a convenient and secure option for your property.

 

Three Great Gardening Tips For Your Flower Gardens

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These gardening tips are a must for anyone who wants a beautiful and healthy garden. If you are not implementing them now, you many want to. You will no longer wonder why others gardens always seem to look better than yours.

Provide Structure for Beauty

Before you think this gardening tip is too structured, read on. The next time you see a garden that makes you stop and look, ask yourself why it attracts your attention so much. If you look closely, you will likely discover that the garden has well-defined structures, borders and outlines.

How can you do this with your garden if you haven’t already? Are there any paths you can line with small stones? Is there some water you can put a bridge over? Is there some place you can build a small wall?

Think of beautiful gardens not so much as just flowers, but rather structures lined with flowers. I drive by a house everyday that has an old rowboat in their front yard they use to surround with flowers. They also put flowers in the boat. It looks great!

Use Structures That Already Exist

What natural structures already exist in your yard? Are there any trees or fences? How about some huge rocks or stones? Before you create manmade structures, first make sure you decorate the ones you have with flowers.

Has your neighbor put up a fence on the border of your property? Use your side of the fence as a structure to build around. Just make sure that you stay on your side of the fence.

How about the foundation of your house? Have you planted it yet? Before you do, just make sure your gutters are up-to-date. During the next rainfall, pay attention to how the water flows. You don’t want to plant something only to have it washed away.

Don’t Use Chemicals

This gardening tip is not only good for your garden’s health, but for yours as well. Are you dealing with pesky bugs eating all your plants and flowers? If so, you may be tempted to use pesticides. Before you do, see what you can do on your own. Many pest species can be washed away with a garden hose.

Do some research on the predators of the bugs that are giving you trouble. If you can, introduce those predators into your garden. They will eat the bugs.

Use compost you make yourself instead of manmade chemical ones. It will be much better for your garden and much cheaper for you. If you are not composting, start right away. There is no better use for your biodegradable waste.

There are more gardening tips where these came from. In the meantime, first look around your yard and ask yourself what existing borders could use some flowers along them. If there are not any, then create some. Finally, ditch the chemicals and go natural.