Compost Gardening With Your Greenhouse

When I was a child, my parents had a greenhouse. They used it for sowing and germinating seeds, and also grew lots of plants in it, including tomatoes, cucumbers and various exotics, but all in pots and grow bags. So I grew up thinking that greenhouse gardening was all about pots.

Then I discovered the joys of planting direct into soil under glass. This has huge advantages over growing in pots, not least that your plants don’t dry out quite so quickly if you forget to water them for a day or so. They also have much greater reserves of nutrients to draw on, because the roots can go deeper.

But there are still difficulties. The old systems of crop rotation were designed to ensure that each field had a chance to recover from each crop. Crop rotation also minimises the risks of diseases, as most won’t last the four years or so of the rotation. But you can’t rotate crops in a greenhouse, or not much. Assuming that you want to grow more or less the same things each year – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers – the space soon runs out. What’s more, pests and diseases do tend to thrive in the warmth and moisture of the average greenhouse. And if, like me, you overwinter your greenhouse above freezing to protect tender plants, diseases won’t be killed off by winter cold, either.

So you have got several problems: the risk of disease that won’t be killed off in the winter, potential pests, and soil that may get a bit bare of nutrients, especially after a year or two of growing the same type of plants. But don’t despair, there are solutions to all of these.

Pests and diseases

One way to manage the pest and disease problem is to make sure that you wash and sterilise your greenhouse each year. It’s a good idea to apply a summer shade wash anyway, and you will need to wash this off for the winter, so that s a good excuse to wash inside and out with disinfectant. Light a sulphur candle to disinfect thoroughly. You will need to stay out for 12 hours, and it is best not to leave any plants in there, so pick a time when your tender plants can safely be left outside, or under cover somewhere else, and before you have started sowing seeds.

You can also minimise the risk of pests during the growing season by covering the door with a net curtain or similar to keep out butterflies (and hence caterpillars). Damping down, spraying water around in there during hot periods, will deter red spider mites. Also make sure that your greenhouse is well-ventilated to avoid problems with mould.

Spent soil

Spent soil is not an issue when growing in pots: you just empty them out at the end of the growing season and start again with new soil the next year. But you can’t do that with a greenhouse.

One way is to use grow bags to supplement the soil, either with holes cut in the bags for roots to go through, or just as they are. But somehow, for me that defeats the point of growing direct in the greenhouse soil. Instead, I buy compost or soil improver, and add it to the soil in the greenhouse. If you are worried about the level getting too high, you can dig out the top layer of soil and discard it, replacing with the compost. Suitable composts for this purpose include mushroom compost and mushroom and manure compost, both of which improve the structure of soils, and also add nutrients. Because both contain plenty of organic matter, they will also improve water retention if you keep forgetting to water. You can buy either of these from compost suppliers.

The Benefits of Using a Greenhouse

The point at which a greenhouse plant becomes a houseplant is difficult to define – much depends on the conditions that can be offered in the home, and for how long the plant is expected to last indoors. The decision of what to grow in a greenhouse is less difficult, for almost all plants grown in the home will grow equally well – often better – in a greenhouse, given sufficient warmth.

So the benefits of using a greenhouse will reveal themselves as you spend your time nurturing and cultivating your new plants from seed or cuttings and see how they grow and develop prolifically.

A houseplant should ideally be able to spend the whole of its existence in the home, growing actively and healthily. Many other plants can be used in the home, however, if they are treated as expendable after providing a useful period of decoration, or can be exchanged for other plants in a greenhouse where they can recover sufficiently they can be used another day.

Generally speaking, plants for growing in the home are suitable for growing in the greenhouse too and they will usually benefit from a period in the more natural environment of a greenhouse.

Although most greenhouse plants benefit from good light, many of the green-leaved plants grown in the home are naturally adapted to shady conditions, and every effort should be made to provide the correct light intensity.

The temperatures that can be provided in a greenhouse are obviously higher than outdoor winter temperatures, making them ideal for houseplant growth success. Some plants will survive lower temperatures than others however, but may suffer a severe check to growth. There is no precise temperature at which a tender plant will cease to remain healthy – much depends on other factors such as draughts, humidity and above all soil moisture. Many plants will survive surprisingly low temperatures if the soil is barely moist: it is a combination of wet roots and low temperature that frequently proves fatal.

Equally unsatisfactory for many plants is an excessively warm temperature in winter. Balanced, healthy growth is not produced by warmth alone, and without the accompanying light some houseplants will soon become sickly. Many cacti only flower well if subjected to a cold spell during the winter.

Lack of humidity is also a problem in most homes, and unless it can be provided by regular misting, by humidifiers, or by other means, it is best to avoid such plants requiring high humidity unless you can provide them with a comfortable home in a greenhouse during the winter months.

Few houseplants require special composts, and most of them will grow happily in either a proprietary peat-based compost, or one based on loam, such as John Innes.

Always bear in mind that plants in pots only have a limited root-run and the nutrients in the compost can soon become exhausted. For that reason most houseplants will benefit from regular feeding during the growing period.

Tips on How to Lay Sod in Your Yard

Laying sod is the way to get an instant lawn. Whether you have just a few bad patches or you want to completely re-do your whole yard, there are a few things you should consider before taking on this labor-intensive task.

Should I Remove the Old Grass First?

There are a couple of ways you can go about laying sod. You can remove the old grass first and lay sod on the bare ground. Or, you can lay it over the existing grass. I would recommend the former. Yes, I know it’s easier to just put sod over the existing grass, but if you were going to go through all the trouble and expense of installing sod, why not give it the best chance to grow into a lush lawn?

Why is Removing the Old Grass First Better?

1. Well, if you feel your lawn and soil are having problems in the first place, laying the sod over them is just masking the problem, not correcting it. Before long, it will rear its ugly head again, after you’ve already spent a lot of time, money and effort into it. Just bite the bullet and do it right the first time.

2. If you are only sodding a portion of your lawn, laying it down over existing grass will make your lawn uneven.

3. In order for your sod to properly integrate into the ground, you don’t want a layer of old grass getting between the sod and the nutrient-rich soil.

4. Covered by a layer of new sod, the old grass underneath will not get enough sunlight and start to die. If it decomposes slowly, you’ll be left with a slimy layer of grass that can affect how your expensive new sod will grow.

5. If you are doing the whole lawn with a new species of grass, you don’t want weeds or the old grass specie cropping up through your new sod.

For a few hours of hard work, you can transform your lawn by laying down sod. It is much more expensive, but for those of us who want instant gratification, nothing beats sod. Just remember to protect your investment by maintaining it properly. Keep the new sod well-watered and spread some fertilizer to help it grow.

Vapor Steam Cleaning

Having a germ free house is a must have for all homeowners. If you’re phobic about germs then vapor steam cleaning is a subject you may want to learn about. Once you start vapor cleaning your home you will be surprised by the drastic change in not only cleanliness but also air quality. If any member of your family suffers from allergies, this will be a godsend.

One key fact to note is that when you sweep, mop, dust and vacuum your home, half of the dirt, germs and bacteria are simply swept aside! Germs live anywhere and everywhere and if you’re not careful they could be living with you.

So what’s your best defense? You guessed right, you should invest in a good vapor steam cleaner, for example VaporClean, Ladybug, Bissell etc.

Today you will find that many of the advertisements focus on portable and handheld steamers. Steamers are able to do a wide variety of jobs: they can clean carpets, grills, bathrooms, kitchen appliances, toys, vehicle interiors, drains, sinks and so much more.

Vapor cleaners work by heating water in the boiler to temperatures of 150 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The great thing with steam cleaners is that all you need is plain tap water, no need for harsh chemicals. Vapor steam cleaners basically emit two types of steam- dry steam or moist steam. The dry steam usually only contains about 6% of water and is extremely hot. This is used to kill mold, dust mites, allergens and bacteria. The steam evaporates almost immediately which ensures that the surface that you’re cleaning dries rapidly.

If you are vapor steam cleaning your carpet, make sure that the steamer you use emits dry steam. You certainly don’t want to get your carpet wet! Another option when steam cleaning your carpet is to vacuum it right after. The steam allows all the dirt from within the fibers to become loosened which will make vacuuming a thousand times more effective.

A vapor cleaner can be bought for as cheap as $30 and as expensive as $2,000 US. The wide range of price tells of the variety of vapor steam cleaners on the market that are made to fit specific needs. Once you know what purpose you want one for, simply research and you will find the best steamer that will fit your budget.

Laying Sod

Whether you think your lawn could use a face lift, you want to add more grass space in your yard, or your new house needs grass fast, laying sod is the perfect solution. You can use grass seed to get similar and less expensive results, but seed won’t grown in as fast as you can lay sod!

Before laying sod, you will need to remove the old lawn first. If you are covering an area that is just soil, you can skip this step. There are a couple ways to remove your current lawn. The first is to dig out the grass with a shovel, exposing the soil. This option is inexpensive, but is time consuming and difficult work. Another option is to use a sod cutter to remove grass and roots quickly and easily. You can strip a large area of grass much faster than using a shovel and cleanup is easier because sod cutter creates sheets (or at least large chunks), that can be rolled and picked up quickly. Sod cutters are available for rent from any local rental center. I do a large number of lawn/sod projects for which a sod cutter is key so I recently purchased one from iShop Landscaping.

Once you remove your old lawn and reveal the soil, be sure that all roots have been removed and the soil is clear of debris. Use a rototiller to break up the soil and provide the best possible base for your new lawn. Rototillers are also available at your local rental center. This is a perfect time to lay fertilizer because the tilling will mix the fertilizer with the soil.

After the lawn has been tilled and fertilizer has been added, you will want to rake the soil to level it out. As you rake, make sure all rocks and other debris are eliminated to provide the most level surface possible. For most lawns, this will be sufficient to begin laying sod, however, lawns that are difficult to level out by raking may need to be rolled flat with a rolling drum.

Now that your lawn is level, you can begin laying sod. Start by laying sod on the outer most edges of your lawn. As you move inward, be sure to lay rolls as close as possible without overlap. Also, rows of sod should not have seams that line up; stagger your sod rolls for optimal irrigation and grass fill-in. As you are laying, you may notice strips that seem lower than the rest. Just remove the strip and lay a bit of top soil to level the lawn out. When you get to the middle of the lawn, you will probably need to trim some strips with a sharp knife to get them to fit. It is best that trimmed strips are not on the outside of the lawn because they may dry out easier there.

When the sod is laid, use the roller (if you had one for soil leveling) to press the sod into the soil and level the area out. Otherwise, you can begin watering and watching your grass grow! Remember, it is very important that the new sod is watered thoroughly everyday for 10-14 days after it is laid. It is best to wait until you are sure the sod is rooted before attempting to mow. You can check by pulling lightly on the grass around your lawn, if the sod strip stays put, you will probably be safe to mow. Now that you’ve spent the time and money to create or rejuvenate your lawn, be sure to take care of the grass by fertilizing and watering frequently. This will ensure the grass is always greener on your side of the fence!

Cleaning Capabilities of Vapor Steam Cleaners

Nowadays, different types of steam cleaners are just coming out the market and one of them is vapor steam cleaner. These are versatile cleaning machines that heat water to very high temperatures resulting in a low-pressure and low moisture vapor use to clean and sanitize domestic, commercial or industrial surfaces.

Vapor steam cleaners are:

Capable of sanitizing any surface.

One feature of this steam cleaning machine that top the other steamers is that they are innovated with strong anti-bacterial properties known as ATIS. It is a unique technology equipped to these cleaning machines for killing bacteria and fungi that have proven of killing 99.9 percent of E. coli, listeria, and various kinds of fungi.

Capable of chemical-free cleaning.

Vapor steam machines offer the benefit of chemical-free cleaning by using only water converted into a dry steam that penetrates porous materials; cracks and crevices of surfaces being cleaned. This makes it very effective in destroying bacteria, molds and mildew, dust mites, bed bugs and other unwanted microorganisms on tile, bathroom fixtures, refrigerators, countertops, rugs, upholstered furniture, drapes and mattresses. All these are achieved without the use of harmful chemicals. It works well without the need for soap or other cleaning solution.

Capable of creating a healthy environment.

Another feature of this kind of steam machines are the HEPA filters that allow these cleaning machines to extract even the tiniest dust particles and deposit them in water, thus purifying the air. This HEPA high filtration system makes it perfect for aged care, hospitals, schools and hotels where dust filtration is important.

Vapor steam cleaners are capable of cleaning and disinfecting almost any surface with the use of vapor steam, a powerful cleaning tool better than chemicals or mop and bucket. Optimizing vapor steam cleaner gives an exceptional and outstanding cleaning result without optimizing toxic chemicals thus creates a healthy environment.

Carpet Cleaning Tips

Leather is among the ideal upholstery components. You should keep in mind buying a Carpet Cleaning simply since:

  • Leather has superb aesthetic worth
  • Cleaning is significantly less difficult than cleaning sofas created of other parts
  • Leather is a whole lot a lot more durable than most other supplies
  • The material goes effectively with any decor you might have

You should on the other hand, be cautious when undertaking cleaning services as a result of the fact improper cleaning could lead to damage to the material. Leather is rather large priced and you never want this. There are a number of recommendations that you simply just ought to take a look at in situation you want to effectively clean your Carpet Cleaning.

1) You must very first ascertain the type of leather you’ve ahead of the cleaning. The type of leather will determine the sofa cleaning strategy to make use of. The written materials you get when you obtain the furnishings or the tag within the furnishings will provide you with this particulars. You may also contact the producer or the retailer.

2) You could get recommendations on the way you can clean the materials within the written materials and tags that contain the sofa. Some retailers provide you with leather cleaning answers and you have to examine employing these items and obtaining the precise same options anytime you run out.

3) If the leather inside your sofa is topcoat protected, the sofa cleaning technique is rather straightforward. You could need distilled water, a mild liquid facial (or entire body soap), soft rags, a water-based leather conditioner/protector, plus a vacuum cleaner that has a soft brush attachment. Distilled water is greatest because the chlorine inside the tap water could harm the leather. Commence with vacuuming, mix the soap along with the distilled water, make use of the rags to wring out the leather entirely, wipe away the soap residue with clean water, utilize the 3rd rug to dry extensively as well as the 4th just one to restore the luster from the leather. It is very best to check a small location preliminary to produce sure the cleaning just isn’t planning to harm the leather.

4) If you’ve received an ink stain, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol/Isopropyl. Dry the leather using a blower. Ensure that it really is set within the lowest setting. To eradicate a dark stain such as a blood or maybe a foods stain, you may use 1 portion lemon juice and 1 portion cream of tartar after which get rid of the paste with moisturizing soap as well as a rag. To obtain a grease stain, wiping the leather having a dry cloth will do. To get a newsprint stain, spraying the stain with aerosol hair spray and wiping off the stain using a soft cloth will do.

Other essential Carpet Cleaning Tips are:

  1. Spillage must be cleaned promptly because of the fact natural leather is porous together with the stain will be tough to clean after it settles.
  2. Do not use harsh or abrasive cleaners offered that these could harm the surface.
  3. Never use furnishings polishes, any oil like mink oil, and products which have silicone or waxes to the duration of Carpet Cleaning.
  4. Do not place the leather out in direct sunlight for drying considering that this can carry about fading and cracking
  5. Alkaline cleaners truly should by no indicates be utilized given that they could injury the leather
  6. Consider calling inside a skilled considering that he/she may have the important experience, instruction, supplies, and resources to the job.