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Monthly Archives: March 2018

Info of Landscape Lighting

Currently the landscape lighting industry is in throes of escalating growth. With the paucity of contractors with proper training in landscape lighting, landscape professionals never had it so good to cash in on the success. Each complete project should mean exponential growth of a contractor’s success. The dynamic nature of landscape lighting makes new lighting jobs attractive to just about everyone.

An intention to incorporate landscape lighting in your house requires you to make sure of the capabilities the lighting professional for doing justice to your project. Careful consideration is essential. It is crucial that you have confidence in the designer’s ability of taking on the challenge of a lighting plan that adapts to the uniqueness of your home and the landscaping.

It need not be as expensive as you fear to avail the services of a landscape contractor or a professional architect designer for your home. A minor job of lighting a patio and pathways may ideally require a consultation for two or three hours of a tour through your property. Ask the designer to mark spots for fixtures with flags or markers, describe the intensity and direction of the light at each point and advise you on electrical contractors for the job.

The average rate charged by a landscape lighting designer may be between $80 and 120 an hour and if a blueprint or drawings are required, the charges will increase. The primary objective of your professional designer should be to provide you with multiple options for your house. When you decide on a rough plan, solicit quotes from a number of landscape lighting contractors for low voltage lighting and ordinary line voltage lighting. Make comparisons between each price quote of all the contractors to pick out the one most suitable for you.

On finalizing your decision of the landscape lighting contractor, make it a point to mention that there should be provision for adequate movement of the fixture locations. Extra cable for every fixture will make it possible to conduct changes after installation as well as several years later. Try and achieve a combination of energy-efficient light bulbs with motion sensors that illuminate only in the presence of people. This will not only result in convenience and security but also significant reduction in energy use.

Indoor Gardening

1. Plants will “reach” toward a light source, so rotate your plant occasionally to promote straight growth.

2. Pay attention to the lighting requirements for your indoor plants. If your plant isn’t getting enough light it will appear “thin and leggy” looking. You can alleviate this problem by only buying plants appropriate for the light already in your home, or by providing an additional light source(artificial lighting). Buying plants that need medium to low light are a “safe bet” for most homes. Think before you buy!

Helpful Hint: Indoor plants can be placed outside during the warm summer months.

3. Use room temperature water when watering your indoor plants. Soak thoroughly but make sure plants aren’t allowed to sit in water as this can cause the roots to rot, proper drainage will alleviate this. Different plants have different watering needs but you can use this jingle to help you remember the basics…..

~Too dry, plant will die
Water fills pot, roots will rot!

~Candee Stark

4. Give your plants a bath! Just like children, plants need to be hosed down to rid them of dirt, dust, and grime. It is highly recommended to bath your kids daily but your plants only need it occasionally! Place your plant in your kitchen sink or bathtub and use the spray attachment to gently rinse it off. Use lukewarm water and allow your plant to air dry before returning it to its regular location.

5. Plants improve the quality of household air but remember plants can suffer if kept in air that is always smoky, stagnate or overly dry. Do yourself and your plants a favor by opening the windows and allowing fresh air to come into the house at least several times a week.

6. As with humans, most house plants do well in a daytime temperature range of 65-75 and ten degrees lower at night. Pay attention to your plant, if it isn’t looking well a change in temperature might be all it needs to get back on the right track.

Helpful Hint: Don’t overheat your house~your plants will thank you!

7. Keep the care tag for each plant you buy. This way you will remember the name of the plant and what type of individual care it needs to stay healthy. I have made this mistake many, many times thinking I would remember how to take care of the plant and after a few months I couldn’t even remember the name of the plant!

Helpful Hint: Buy yourself a small spiral notebook and tape your care tags inside. Also include: purchase date, fertilizer dates, and the dates that you have repotted. Your plants will thrive because of it!

8. Your indoor plants need to be “fed” often because vital nutrients are flushed out of the soil each time you water. You can opt to use a slow release fertilizer that is added to the soil or you can use a liquid fertilizer that is added in small amounts when you water your plant. Don’t fertilize in winter, instead, fertilize regularly during growing and flowering stages. (March-October)

Helpful Hint: If you find it hard to remember when you last fertilized, write yourself a quick reminder on your calendar for when to do it next. This isn’t an exact science but your plants will tell you if you are fertilizing too much by having burned or dried leaves….fertilize less frequently if you notice this.

9. When growing plants indoors in containers, do not use soil from the garden as it does not yield good results. Outdoor soil can contain insects, weeds, and disease-causing organisms that can actually harm other healthy plants already living indoors. Additionally, outdoor soils become compacted when put into small containers. This will lead to problems with the plant’s roots and might also impede drainage.

10. We all need room to grow and plants do too! When you notice that roots are coming out of the drainage hole or seem thick and/ or matted, it is time to repot your plant.

Info about Natural Garden Pest Control

To discourage animals and some insects from eating your plants, combine one cup of water, 5 garlic cloves and 6 large hot peppers. Blend thoroughly in a blender, then strain into a spray bottle. Add another cup of water and spray away.

For red spider mites, mix 4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in one gallon of water. Spray plants weekly until mites are gone, then monthly to stop them from returning.

Encourage native birds into you garden with bird houses, water baths and native flowering vegetation. They will eat many times their own weight in insects.

Cucumber peels on an ant route will make them go away.

For hardshell scale insects, mix 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 tablespoon mild liquid soap in two gallons of water. Spray or wipe on plants once a week for 3 weeks or until gone.

Put beer in a shallow pan in the garden to trap snails and slugs overnight. Vinegar in a shallow pan will do the same thing.

Salt sprinkled on snails and slugs will kill them instantly. Go out in the evening with a flashlight and salt shaker and protect your plants!

Orange or grapefruit halves hollowed and turned upside down placed around the garden will also attract snails and slugs. Go out in the morning to shake salt on those hiding under the peel.

Put a whole garlic bulb through a garlic press and let it sit in a glass jar with several ounces of mineral oil. Mix a few spoonfuls with dishwashing liquid, hot pepper sauce and water in a spray bottle. This will discourage rabbits, gophers and woodchucks from entering your garden. It will also keep beetles off most vegetable plants.

Gardening During Hard Times

Let’s compare it to your food supply. What would you do about your store-purchased food? Many wise people buy more than they need of food items that store well, and create a “year’s supply” of the essentials in their basement or other cool, dry place. This is the biblical answer. As you may remember, Joseph in Egypt saved grain for 7 years and then fed the whole Egyptian nation, as well as his own family and others, during the next 7 years of famine.

The same approach will work even better for gardening – with both seeds and fertilizers. For about $25 you can buy the triple-sealed Garden In A Can from Mountain Valley Seeds, with enough non-hybrid seeds to grow a 1/2-acre garden! If these are stored in a cool dry place they will remain viable for a very long time.

And if natural mineral fertilizers are kept dry, they will store indefinitely while still maintaining their potency. Therefore I suggest you also buy and store enough Pre-Plant Mix and Weekly Feed to grow at least one year’s garden.

A rule of thumb for how much fertilizer you would need to store, in order to have your year’s supply, is 6# of Pre-Plant and 12# of Weekly Feed per 30′ soil-bed. Even though you will only feed some crops 4 or 5 times, remember that if you are really living out of your garden, you will be growing two or three crops, and doing it from March or April, right up until frost in October. Therefore, see the following chart for suggestions on how much to store, depending on the size of your garden.

GARDEN SIZE PRE-PLANT MIX WEEKLY FEED

20′ X 30′ (4 soil-beds) 25# 50#

40′ X 65′ (16 soil-beds) 100# 200#

50′ X 100′ (30 soil-beds) 200# 400#

Now, what can you do if the emergency goes beyond a year, and you’ve used up all your fertilizer? First off, don’t expect the same quantity of production as you obtained with balanced mineral nutrients, but you can grow a healthy garden using manure tea. Here’s how.

Get a large burlap bag and a 55-gallon barrel. Find cow or horse manure (chicken or turkey is twice as hot, so less will be needed), and fill the bag 2/3’s full. Place the bag in the barrel and fill it with water. Let the manure soak or “steep” for 24 hours, then use the “tea” to water your vegetable plants. Replace the bag of manure in the barrel and let steep for 48 hours. Again, water with the tea, then dump the spent manure out and till into an unused portion of the garden. It has very little nutrient value, but can improve your soil tilth. Remember to plant a little further apart when doing this, because plants will be competing for less available nutrition. And every watering should be with the manure tea for your plants to thrive. You should expect to grow a smaller garden, and spend some time finding manure and hand-watering.

If manure just isn’t available, save your kitchen scraps and human waste. Many countries do it all the time, so it’s not the end of the world. And all clean, healthy plant residue should be saved and properly composted for re-use in the garden – again preferably as manure tea.

By the way, even 4 soil-beds, when properly worked and cared for, especially if combined with good seedling production, could produce a large amount of food. As an example, if only one crop was grown, you could produce 2,000# or more of tomatoes, or even cabbage – if you grew 3 crops. So is this approach cost effective? You do the math. Suppose you invest $50 in your year’s supply of seeds and fertilizers. What will 2,000 pounds of vegetables be worth to your family during hard times? Think of Joseph in Egypt!