Things You Need To Know If You Are Taking Up Organic Gardening

Organic gardening is very popular these days but many people are afraid to dip their toes into it. The thought of starting a garden can be intimidating for many people, due to the fact that it is not something a lot of people are familiar with, and it does seem complicated. Read through this article and you can gain better insight on what it takes to start and grow your own organic garden; it’s not as hard as it may seem.

Avoid rose mildew. This fungus affects many types of roses, especially in wet weather, when days are warm and nights are cold. Small gray or white spots will appear on the plant, forming a felt-like down. Shoot tips are killed and buds fail to open. Don’t plant roses close together – they need good air circulation to avoid mildew. Spray any affected plants with fungicidal soap.

Key to any garden activity is using the right tools. While having a shovel is essential, so are other tools that work best with your garden size. For smaller gardens, short handled tools work best, for larger gardens longer handled hoes and spades work better. Make sure you keep a sharp edge on your tools for easier work.

You can test the viability of your seeds by soaking them overnight. Drop them into a container of water and keep them in a dark place for a day. Check the location of the seeds. If they sank to the bottom, they are usable. If they float the top, they may be dead.

Add some earthworms into your garden soil. Earthworms are great in tunneling and loosening up the soil, giving the roots of your plants plenty of air space. They help make soil that is rich in nutrients by breaking down dead plant materials. Earthworms are a much better solution for your garden than commercial fertilizers.

There are several all-natural ways to keep pests out of your garden, including certain plants. Slugs who want to enter a vegetable garden, for example, can be repelled by a simple border of marigolds and onions. Wood ash used as mulch helps repel pests as well when around shrubs and trees. These methods are environmentally-friendly and mean you do not have to resort to harsh chemicals.

Once you understand and begin utilizing the tips you have read, the thought of working on your own organic garden should not seem intimidating at all. It is relatively easy to have an organic garden, that you can show off with pride. Soon you can have fresh, environmentally-friendly fruits and vegetables on your table.…

Unique Kitchen Decor with Mosaic Medallions

Looking for something unusual for your new kitchen or renovation? Consider the practical beauty of handcrafted mosaics for a unique touch. Mosaic medallions set in your backsplash, walls, tabletops or floors offer the beauty of one-of-kind handcrafted works of art, and the practicality of wipe-clean surfaces.

Mosaic medallions come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, patterns and motifs, suitable for almost every kitchen design from sleek ultra-modern to warm classic designs. Mosaics can be made from a variety of material, including marble, slate, glass or combinations of materials. By nature, mosaics are composed of many, many pieces of these material fashioned into unlimited patterns and designs.

Dean Avey of Artisan Mosaics in Toronto points out that, "Our mosaics are created from thousands of tiny hand-cut pieces of marble.

Mosaic medallions or marble carpets offer unique flooring alternatives for kitchens and eating areas. Set in ceramic tile or hardwood flooring, mosaics create the feeling of area rugs in these high traffic areas. As opposed to rugs and mats, mosaics afford homeowners easy clean-up and eliminate tripping hazards. Like an area rug, flooring mosaics can help to delimit space in open concept environments.

Mosaic medallions can also be set in table-tops or breakfast bars, on walls and in frames as practical, unique forms of art for your kitchen and many other areas in the home as well. Whatever the application, mosaics will add a touch of distinction to your decor. …

Following A Plant Based Diet Is Easy With Home Gardens

Many people today are turning to a plant-based diet as an alternative to diets too rich in saturated meat products, junk food, and highly processed foods. In some cases, it involves spending more time in the produce section of your local grocery store, looking for fruits and vegetables that are grown organically and spending extra money on them.

You can follow a great plant-based diet in an even better way while growing your fruits and vegetables in your own home garden. If you live in an apartment, you can start a container garden in front of a sunny window. If you have a plot of land to turn into a garden you can go big with a garden filled with healthy fruits and vegetables. You can grow almost anything in a small garden so you have the spring, summer and fall to eat off your own land.

Vegetables Easily Grown At Home

Tomatoes lend themselves well to container gardening and can grow like wild in the good earth of your back yard. They grow and ripen all season long so you can pick what you need for sandwiches, salads, snacks, fresh sauces and even for juicing.

You can grow your own peas or beans in a container or in your backyard garden. They are rich in phytonutrients that have their maximum potency if you simply pick what you need and eat them as soon as possible; you have the greatest amount of healthy phytonutrients and antioxidants in the food shortly after picking them.

Peppers, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and greens like Kale are great options for a home garden and allow you to reach for healthy and super fresh produce all summer long and into the fall.

Your Home Garden

If you decide to have a back yard home garden, you need to decide if you want to grow organic foods or not. Organic gardening is the best possible choice because the food is grown without pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. This means no harmful chemicals exist with the food you pick and you can even eat them straight out of the garden without having to wash them extensively.

Grow a wide variety of foods that become ripe at different times of the season:

Radishes, for example, take only a few weeks to become edible and, after pulling them up, you have room to grow a row of something else. Most people grow tomatoes and some people grow carrots, lettuce, and potatoes.

Both potatoes and squash need the entire summer to become available for eating so all you need to do is to keep them weed-free and watch them grow. In the early autumn or late summer, you can dig up the potatoes and harvest the squash. These types of produce can be kept at room temperature or in a cool place for many months so you have instant winter eating from vegetables you grew in the summer.

Lettuce and other greens can be grown and harvested all summer long for the …

Maintaining The Exterior Of The Home

Before working on the exterior of the home, you should create a checklist of what you need to do and the materials that you need so that you’re prepared. There might be some jobs outside the home that are too difficult to complete on your own, so you could ask family members or friends for help or hire an outside company. It’s usually best to work outside in the spring and fall because it’s not as warm, allowing you to get more done for the following seasons.

Monthly Inspecting
You want to perform a few monthly maintenance tasks that will keep everything on track and working properly through the rest of the year. Clean the filters in the furnace or air conditioner, whichever you’re using at the time. If the filters are beyond cleaning, you should replace them. Clean the faucets, check for water leaks, and make sure the drains in the sinks and tub are in proper working condition. When you’re working outside, you should remove unwanted clutter and trim the shrubs and limbs that you can reach. Companies like Renew Crew of Castle Rock can clean and restore wood surfaces outside, such as the deck and patio. Companies can also clean sidewalks and steps that are made of concrete.

Fall Maintenance
There are a few seasonal projects that you can take on as well outside the home. Clean the gutters in the fall and spring. Make sure the gutter system is free of debris so that water will flow properly. Aerate the lawn in the fall and spread fertilizer and grass seed. Walk around the home to see if there are any cracks or leaks around the windows and doors. The fall season is a good time of the year to repair these issues so that you don’t lose heat in the winter. Your fireplace or furnace should be inspected to ensure that they are working properly. You should inspect the air conditioner in the spring for the summer season.

Spring Details
Examine the roof to see if there are any shingles missing or if there are any weak spots. When you performing home maintenance in the spring, clean the windows and examine the window screens. If there are any tears in the screens, try to replace them to save money, but if the tears are large and are close to the edges of the window, then it’s best to go ahead and replace them while you can.…

5 Great Health Tips to Give You More Energy

Fitness Levels

During the winter months we tend to get out of the habit of exercising. Spring time is a great excuse to renew that exercise time and get back into shape. This will also help to increase your energy levels. The key is to begin slowly and gradually. All you need is 15 to 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day. You do not even have to leave the house to do this as simple household chores or running up and down the stairs can give you a good workout.

Energy levels

We tend to cover ourselves up and hide in doors during the winter months. We also tend to use coffee and other caffeine drinks to give us a boost of energy. However, with the brighter and warmer days it is a great opportunity to get outdoors and catch a natural energy booster through the sun's rays. You can combine this with simple deep breathing exercises to re-energize you and get your blood flowing through the body. Begin by breathing in slowly for a count of six and then hold for a second and release slowly for a count of six. Ensure you breathe right down to the pit of your stomach.

Your Mental Well Being

As well as your body your mind plays an important role in regulating your energy levels. Therefore, it is important to keep it active and stimulated. If you are in the habit of crashing on the sofa and watching TV in your spare time this will lower your energy levels as most TV is not very stimulating. Break the habit by getting involved with activities that are going to use more brain cells. This can involve playing card or board games with family or friends.

Your Free Time

During the warmer and brighter days it is wise to make the most of outdoor activities. If you are to live by or close to the sea use a warm sunny day as an excuse to take you and the family to the beach for a picnic. The combination of being outdoors and breathing in that refreshing sea breeze will do wonders for your energy levels. You may also find that a day at the sea seems to make you sleep hardly at night.

The Food You Eat

What you eat plays an important role in how you feel and the energy levels you have. The foods to eat that will boost your energy levels are plenty of fruit, vegetables including salads, lean meats and plenty of water. …

Spring on the Cheap

Many of us are still grabbing jackets before we head outside, but there’s no doubt about it-spring is here! Whether you live in a high rise apartment or a cottage in the country, these tips will help you and your kids make the most of this beautiful season.

Instead of expensive plants, try this-

There’s no need to spend a ton of money at the nursery when you can just grab several packs of seeds for a few bucks. I remember when I was putting in my seed order from a catalog. I let each of my kids pick out a pack of seeds. My oldest daughter decided to try her hand at Curly-Q Cucumbers, seedless cucumbers that grow spirally. I didn’t think they would be able to grow, but I had to keep my promise and I ordered them just the same. Believe it or not, that summer, we had more Curly-Q Cucumbers than we knew what to do with. You never know what will happen with seeds-they are full of so much potential (just like kids). Go ahead and turn it into a family project and pick out seeds for everyone.

Instead of pricey greenhouses, try this-

When you are planting seeds, there is no need to buy expensive grow lights or portable greenhouses. I love saving the clear plastic covered containers from bakeries. These are the perfect little containers to start your garden because they are clear to enable the light to come in, but they are covered to protect them from the cold. If you have a sunny window, then you will have plenty of light for seeds to sprout.

Instead of peat pots or sprouting pellets, try this-

They may look inexpensive, but buying lots of them really adds up. Try my little trick of using cardboard paper towel or toilet paper tubes. Simply cut them up to lengths that are around two inches and fill them with potting soil. Rest them upright in a tray and use these babies to sprout seeds. Because they are open at the bottom, you can just plant them, tube and all, directly into the ground. The roots will grow out of the bottom and the cardboard is biodegradable. Wow! Cheap and eco-friendly-you can’t beat that!

Instead of an outdoor gardening plot, try this-

Okay, so not all of us have acres to grow our cutting flowers or organic veggies. If you have some spare containers, then that’s all you need. But don’t go purchase a bunch of pots at the nursery. You probably already have plenty around you. Perhaps you can put some drainage holes in an old wagon and grow some flowers or maybe you can find an old plastic bucket to grow some fresh tomatoes. Remember to rethink everything and get creative.

Instead of bottles of chemicals, try this-

No doubt about it, organic is the way to go! When you plant your little sprouts side by side, do some research on companion planting. When you …

Just The Other Day, I Was Called to the ER

Late one night (about 3:00 am), I was on patrol in West Germany, a year before the wall came down. I was making my checks of the local businesses like the Imbiss and kellerbar at the edge of town, when I was asked to respond to the Emergency Room. I was supposed to meet with the charge nurse about a "Request for Assistance". Upon arrival I discovered that the ER was almost empty. There were no patients in the waiting room and no hospital staff around, the place seemed to be deserted. I walked past the reception area and down the hall. As I passed one empty exam room after another, I began to get nervous. My pace slowed down, I started takingberate breaths, I became aware of my noisy foot steps, and I found myself reaching for the gun on my hip. Just then I heard voices from the bathroom back in the waiting room. I quickly turned around and shuffled down the hallway to the bathroom adjacent to the door that I had entered into minutes before. I stepped inside the room only to find the Charge Nurse, LPN, Janitor, Physician's Assistant, a male patient, and the Ambulance Driver, all hovering over a small cat on the floor.

The cat had been run over by a car and was brought to the ER by the patient who had found it on the side of the road. I was not sure what to do, but I knew that the poor thing was suffering. The Doctor came in and looked at the cat and examined it in the best way he knew how. He said that he could feel internal bleeding and that the cat would probably die in the next few hours. It was having trouble breathing and it was obviously in a lot of pain. We all talked about what needed to be done, nobody wanted it to suffer, but there was nothing else to be done. The patient was almost hysterical as he continued to watch the cat work harder and harder to breathe. By the end of the night we were all pretty sure that he was the one who hit the cat in the first place, but none of us had the heart to mention it out loud.

After about 30 minutes the Nurse suggested that we "put it to sleep". The doctor agreed, and said that he could inject the cat with enough Morphine to euthanize it, but how he would explain the missing narcotics. There were inventories, prescription logs, and protocols that had to be followed. We looked around the room at each other for several minutes and watched in silence as the cat continued to suffer. Then the doctor looked at the Charge Nurse and said "I'm sorry. I can not prescribe Narcotics to a Cat … I just can not." Then the Nurse looked up and said "What about to one of us …"?

Five minutes later the cat was at …

How to File a Nail Without a Nail File

Don’t you hate it when you break or snag a finger nail? It’s annoying and dangerous. Anyone that has cut their nose with a rough nail knows this. Don’t even go near your eye – ouch! No file – no problem. I learned years ago how to take care of a rough nail without a nail file. Call me cheap or call me ingenious – I don’t care. My methods work.

It is easiest if you are staying in a hotel to find an alternative to a nail file. And isn’t this when you need a file the most – away from home? It’s hiding in that nice big bathroom that you don’t have to clean. It comes in many colors and many sizes. It always works and will not only cure the rough edges but can help reshape the nail. Shower tiles, or more specifically, the grout between the tiles are nail-wonderful. All you need to do is rub your nail along the grout line and viola – smooth again. You can take the drive-by approach or attend to that snag in the shower – whatever fits your time line. Best of all – you know the shower is cleaned daily. Of course, this works in your own shower if you can’t find a file.

The other no-file approach I find helpful is the underside of desks or stone counter tops. One is wood one is stone. Either will work in a pinch. Usually the tops of both are as smooth as glass. But the bottoms are a goldmine. File away. This will keep you from hurting yourself until you find a file.

Just pick clean places to file your nails. Don’t try these tricks in the subway or in the airplane bathroom. You never know what will work. Remember, you don’t need a nail file to file that nail.…

Decorate Roll Up Shades to Add Beauty to Rooms

Homeowners often install roll up shades when they first move in because they're an easy, affordable way to cover windows. However, just because they're inexpensive and convenient does not mean that roll up shades have to be dull.

Since most roll up shades are made of vinyl or cloth, they can be easily decorated using fabric markers, acrylic craft paint, ribbons, stencils or fabric cut-outs. Most roll up shades are white or some light neutral such as ivory, cream or beige. Think of this kind of shade as a blank canvas for your creativity. Even if you've installed colored shades, there's still plenty of opportunity to turn that open space into a work of art.

When choosing paint, spend some time planning the look you want. Whatever colors you might choose, it's important to complement the room's décor – unless you've given your teen-ager free rein to decorate his or her roll up shades as desired. Then be ready for some glaring colors and outlandish effects. (You might even want to set some ground rules about potentially offensive designs before your start).

For decorating purposes, the shade should be unrolled and held down using some type of clean, heavy weights. Without you plan to work in abstract, it's a good idea to pencil in the design before using paint or markers. The choice of design is up to you, so do not be shy; let your imagination roam freely.

Stencils can be a big help if you're not good at drawing. You could try a plant motif for a living room, fish or seashells for the bathroom, or blocks and teddy bears for a baby's room. Children especially like the chance to choose stencils for the shades in their rooms.

Put a finishing touch on your decorated roll up shade by attaching ribbons or fabric to the edges using fabric glue on cloth or spray adhesive on vinyl. Once the design is dry, you can hang your new creation with pride. …

My House and Garden

A Fondue Party is ideal for an informal evening with friends. This popular dish comes from Switzerland where villagers in the mountains had to rely on local produce, like cheese, wine and home baked bread during the long winter month. The name fondue comes from the French word "fondre", which means to melt or blend. Fondue meaning melted cheese in wine. You will need a chafing dish over a spirit stove and long fondue forks. Place the heated fondue dish on the spirit stove in the center of your table and hand out a fork to all your guests. Everyone spears a piece of bread onto the long fork, dips it into the fondue, turns it once or twice before eating it. In no time the ice will be broken and the party in full swing with everyone trying not to drop the bread form the fork. The custom is that anyone who looses a piece of bread in the dish must supply a bottle of wine. Even the experts find it hard, especially after a few glasses of Kirsch. Fondue Parties in Switzerland are a lot of fun with its warm atmosphere.

Lots of other delicious variations exist now, eg Fondue Bourgignonne made with Fillet Steak accompanied with Mustard, Tatar, Bearnaise, Tomato or Curry sauce and so on.

Swiss Cheese Fondue:

Ideally a rustic wine and small glasses of Kirsch and a crispy salad are served with this. Suitable for Vegetarians.

350g (12oz) Emmenthal Cheese, grated

350g (12oz) Gruyère Cheese, grated

45cl (3/4 pint) dry white wine

3 tablespoons of Kirsch

3-4 flat teaspoons of corn starch

grated nutmeg to taste

1 clove of garlic

pepper to taste

crusty firm bread, like French bread, cut into bite size pieces

rub the fondue pan with garlic

pour in the wine and heat very gently over the cooker

when hot add a small amount of cheese at a time, stirring continuously

bring it gently to bubbling point

add the kirsch mixed with the corn starch

let it simmer for another 3 minutes, stirring continuously

now place it on your fondue stand with a lit flame and serve

Tip: corn starch is a white type thickening flour and not the yellow maize variety …