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Great Plants That Will Help You Sleep Better

Good quality of sleep is something that many people want but, unfortunately, do not get. Plants can improve your rest so that you can sleep well and wake up refreshed the next day.

One reason you might not be able to sleep well is that the air quality in your bedroom is poor. Adding plants to your room will allow the air inside and provide more oxygen, which improves sleep patterns. At the same time, plants are usually mostly green-colored, which is good for calming frazzled nerves.

Sleep hacks like putting plants indoors will allow you to get the rest you need. Thus, if you have trouble sleeping at night, try caring for some of these plants that can promote good sleep for you:

Plants You Need for Restful Sleep

1.      Snake Plant

You can place this plant in a large pot in a corner of the room. This plant is good for your air quality because it can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for you even while you sleep (most plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen only in the daytime).

The other good part about this plant is that you only need to water it occasionally—once a week. Just be sure it’s placed in a corner where it’ll get sunlight because this plant is originally exposed to the sun in desert conditions. NASA puts this plant in outer space vehicles to help astronauts get access to oxygen, too.

2.      Spider Plant

This plant can be hung from your bedroom ceiling in a hanging planter. This plant can absorb harmful chemicals including xylene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and benzene. These chemicals are known to deter humans from a sound sleep. The Spider Plant is considered a low-maintenance plant, too.

3.      A Gerberia Daisy

This is another plant that works on improving your air quality, thus leading to improved rest. It has colorful flowers as well that’s great for the color scheme of some bedrooms.

4.      Dracaena Colorama Plant

If you’re worried about toxic chemicals in your bedroom, you may add a Dracaena Colorama Plant near your bed. This plant was described by NASA as being able to remove toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, and benzene—all of which are considered toxic to humans.

5.      Peace Lilies

If you don’t like the look of the Dracaena Colorama Plant, you can resort to Peace Lilies. This plant also absorbs toxic chemicals from the air. It has the distinction of being chosen by NASA as one of the best indoor plants for eliminating pollutants. It’s especially great at removing carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and benzene.

6.      Lavender

You can put a Lavender plant on your side table so that its aroma can soothe you to sleep. Lavender is said to be good as a relaxant, plus its colorful blooms are nice to look at.

7.      English Ivy Plant

If you’re concerned mostly about formaldehyde in the air, then you must buy a hanging English Ivy plant. English Ivy is also great at removing airborne mold, which some people are allergic to.

8.      Heart Leaf

Another plant that removes formaldehyde from the surrounding air is the Heart Leaf Philodendron vine. Although not everyone has room for this trailing vine, you might hang it from your bathroom ceiling and let its leaves climb window bars. When you open the bathroom door, the bathroom air enters the bedroom to refresh the air.

9.      Aloe Plant

If you live in an industrial area where chemical factories do production, you probably need an Aloe Plant. The leaves of this kind of plant will become brown if there is a lot of toxic chemicals in the air. Just make sure you don’t overwater this because it’s a low-maintenance plant.

10.    Golden Pothos

This plant is another workhorse when it comes to removing pollutants from indoor air, especially formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. This plant survives even in low-light conditions as long as it has enough water to grow with.

11.    Chinese Evergreen

This is ideal for cleaning out air pollutants indoors, too. Grows best in partial shade with temperature not surpassing 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand harsher growth conditions, such as low humidity, no sunlight, and no watering for a time, though.

12.    Areca Palm

It is effective in removing air pollutants and is very easy to grow indoors. It is a tall plant so it’s advisable to put in bedrooms that have high ceilings. It needs plenty of water during spring and summer, but hold back on the watering during the fall and winter seasons.

13.    Jasmine

It has a very nice scent that is pleasant to fall asleep to. You can expect to have a more relaxing rest when you use Jasmine in your bedroom. One study claims that it is even better than Lavender. It does need a lot of sunlight so put it by the window where it can catch some rays in the daytime. It also needs a modest volume of water.

14.    Bamboo Plant

The Bamboo Plant is great at eliminating benzene and trichloroethylene from indoor air. Is a bit on the tall side so place it in bedrooms with sufficient headroom. It needs moist soil to survive but avoid overwatering it. Put it near windows to allow it to get sufficient sunlight.

Final Thoughts: Loving Plants Is Rewarding

Getting adequate rest can be challenging for you. If you find it hard to sleep, putting plants in your bedroom (and in the bathroom beside your bedroom) will help you relax and get into the mood for rest.

Watering your plants, talking to them, and playing music that you think helps them grow are all good ways to motivate you to keep plants in the bedroom. If you find it hard to find space, you can hang plants from your window bars.

If this is your maiden attempt at caring for plants, it can become a nice habit. Taking care of plants is really rewarding and will boost your health. Once you start taking care of plants, you may find that your sleep patterns will normalize at night and it’ll be easier to fall asleep and stay asleep until morning.

Don’t Have A Garden? DIY Garden In A Mint Tin

Thinking Outside The Planter


There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding horticulture. For one, you don’t have to have a plot of land to grow a garden. You can even regularly harvest from a humble crop grown inside an apartment. Even if you’re pursuing the van-dwelling lifestyle, you can grow a tiny little garden in your domain, and gradually reap a harvest from it. How? A mint tin.

Do you like Altoids, or other mints that come in a similarly-sized tin? Do you have a few tins lying around? Most people do, and size doesn’t really matter. Many plants only grow to the level of their surroundings—they’re strongly influenced by their environment.

Still, in a mint tin you can grow quite a variety of flowers, grasses, vines, and even Bonsai trees. Over the course of this brief writing, we’ll go over what you’ll need to grow your perfect garden in a mint tin.

A Fairly Straightforward Process

A Fairly Straightforward Process

It’s not terribly complicated to husband your own mint tin garden. First, find your mint tin. There are a few different types of tins out there. Some have a lid that just pops off, while others have a hinge on the lid that will need to be removed. Next, you’ll want to put some holes in the bottom of it.

The holes are for drainage. You can make them a number of ways. A small drill is ideal, but some hole-punch devices have the strength to push through some mint tins. Not all, though; you can really cramp your hand if you’re not careful. If you’ve got push pins or nails and a hammer, these also can work.

Once you’ve got the holes done, put the lid on the bottom of the tin. Pace the tin in the lid kind of like you’d put a plate under a planter to catch the water. The next step is just what you’re thinking: you’ve to fill the tin with soil. There are a few schools of thought here. You can use soil configured to be fertile, or options like miracle grow. Alternatively, you can use soil you find nearby.

It’s also considerable that some plants come with roots wrapped in plastic, or inside a moist paper towel. You might put some paper at the bottom of the tin, and put your soil atop that before planting seeds. Alternatively, if you’ve purchased a seedling that’s already sprouting, it may have a wrap of some kind as alluded to. You can just put it in the tin and add the soil around it.

Why It’s Better To Grow Your Own Plants From Seeds

Cultivating A Micro-Garden

Still, though you can certainly add plants to your new mint tin garden that have already been grown, there are advantages to sprouting your own seeds. There are certain small plants that may require preparation before transplant, and though they can be rather fantastic, they can also be temperamental.

Meanwhile, if you husband your mint tin garden from seedlings, you’ll have a better chance of seeing the results you seek, and you’ll also likely spend more time caring for the garden incidentally.

It can be exciting to see green shoots push through the soil, and begin to mature. Also, if you do your own planting, you can choose from a greater variety of plant life. There are resources that have practically anything and everything under the sun, such as Seed Needs.

Cultivating A Micro-Garden


Grass, bonsai trees, flowers, vines—there are a lot of different possibilities with a mint tin garden. Additionally, you can husband one incredibly cost-effectively. While there aren’t a lot of plants which can give a decent bloom from such a small plot of soil, there are certainly some. You might even be able to grow some berries if you’re very diligent and skilled.

Additionally, you can begin multiple little gardens that are easy to move, look downright darling, and act as an exceptionally profound mode of décor. A tiny apartment with a few mint tin gardens has a certain character to it that’s all-around pleasing.

 Finally, with a mint tin garden of the DIY variety, you’re simultaneously learning a new skill and recycling what otherwise may just end up being a piece of garbage in a dump somewhere. So you’re actually doing something that’s good for you and the environment.

Wondering How to Grow Kratom? – A Guide to Growing This Plant

Kratom plants typically grow in warm and tropical climates, but with the right plant care, they can also grow in non-tropical climates. You can grow them either indoors or outdoors. Kratom plants for sale are popular in many parts of the world because of Kratom’s pain-relieving, mood-enhancing, and stimulating benefits. Are you wondering how to grow Kratom? It is understandable that you are looking for the answer to this common question.

How to grow Kratom from seeds or cuttings

You can grow Kratom plants from seeds or cuttings. However, their propagation process is demanding, and few seeds or cuttings grow to become mature trees, particularly in non-tropical regions. If you want your Kratom plants to reproduce and reach their full potential, you need to emulate their natural habitat. These plants are used to growing in a high-humidity environment and in soil that does not flood. To ensure that the seeds germinate, sow them after a few days after picking them from the mother plant. Besides, you need to plant the seeds in large quantities to increase the chances of getting some germinated seeds.

You can also opt to cut clippings from live Kratom trees and plant the clippings. Propagating cuttings is equally challenging. You need to choose a high-quality Kratom plant when using clippings to boost its chances of growing and reaching its full potential. Cuttings usually fall prey to fungus and plant diseases and may not get to grow meaningful roots.

To get a Kratom cutting to grow, it is advisable to place it in a moistened container that is filled with a growing medium. You can also place the cutting in a moistened pot and use a plastic bag to seal the pot to prevent direct sunlight from reaching the cutting until the roots form. Open the plastic bag sometimes to allow the plant to adapt to lower humidity. Once the plant starts to grow, you may remove the bag and expose it to direct sunlight.

How to grow a Kratom plant from seedlings

If you do not prefer to grow Kratom from seeds or cuttings, you can find high-quality Kratom plants for sale. You can easily buy the plants online. Once your plant has arrived, you need to help it adapt to its new environment. Since this plant is used to growing in humid areas, dry air can make it lose its leaves. Try placing it in something like a dome to help maintain high humidity levels. As the days go by, gradually take off the dome to let more air inside until the Kratom plant gets used to its new environment.

If the plant came in a plastic bag, do not take it off immediately. Poke holes on the plastic bag so that the plant can get used to its new environment. You also need soil to plant your Kratom tree. Ensure that the soil is of good quality, preferably soil rich in perlite or pumice for easy drainage. You can consider getting a pot to plant your Kratom. This is ideal if you plan to plant Kratom indoors. Pick a location that is favorable because Kratom plants can grow up to a height of 10 feet. Ensure that the plant has enough space for developing. You should also consider lighting because it is crucial for the plant. The plant needs enough hours of light per day.

How to grow Kratom outdoors

If you plant Kratom outside, it is better to do so in a greenhouse. A dome or greenhouse effect can protect the plant from harsh weather and maintain high humidity levels, making it grow properly. A greenhouse is necessary if the climate of the area where you want to plant Kratom is cold. The plant will become dormant when the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder temperatures can endanger the plant. In contrast, heat is not an issue for Kratom plants, and they can grow well even when the temperature is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to grow Kratom indoors

If you opt to plant Kratom indoors, it is wise to imitate a tropical climate all year round. You need to provide it with light, and you can consider using artificial lighting like high-intensity discharge light bulbs (HID). Ensure that the lamp is at a safe distance from the plant because this light can be too strong if it is very near it. For instance, you should keep a 400W bulb at a distance of four feet away from the plant. Another essential thing to do is ensuring that there is adequate ventilation. The plant needs fresh air for its growth.

Taking care of Kratom plants

Growing Kratom plants is relatively involving since they are big feeders. They need rich and fertile soil with a lot of nitrogen. The soil should also have a high level of humus, and its pH should range between 5.5 and 6.5. You should also water the plants occasionally because they are sensitive to extreme conditions like drought. However, drainage is unnecessary. Do not keep the soil wet all the time because insects and fungi can take over the plant. You also need to fertilize the soil regularly to ensure good yields. You can fertilize the soil every four weeks to keep it nutritious. Choose natural fertilizers as they boost vegetative growth. You also need to use pesticides to keep away pests. Do not let your plants get attacked by pests as the yield will be reduced. Spray pesticides twice a week to avoid pest infestation.

By following these tips on how to grow Kratom, you can cultivate the plants either indoors or outdoors successfully. The process may seem tedious, but it is rewarding. Cultivating Kratom plants is an excellent way to ensure that you have a steady and personal supply of Kratom powder and related products that promote health and wellness.

Things You Need To Consider When Building A Greenhouse

Gardening has become a popular hobby nowadays since it is affordable as well as a relaxing activity to do. Gardening has become a joyful hobby because of the sense of responsibility it gives to its owners. Since it’s easy to maintain, gardening inside a greenhouse has become more popular in recent times. Building a greenhouse for your personal use can benefit you in many ways but you can’t become successful without proper planning. You must consider a few factors before building a greenhouse garden of your own.

Here are some things you should take into consideration before starting to build this project:

Size

When planning to build a greenhouse for your garden, you must consider the size that you want to have. The size of a greenhouse will depend on several factors, but the most important one to consider is the kind of plants or vegetables you plan to grow inside of it. If it is your first time building one, it is recommended to build a smaller greenhouse. However, the small ones tend to be more difficult to manage when it comes to regulating its temperature.

Temperature

The regulation of a greenhouse’s temperature is as easy as opening its windows to let the heat out. During the summer season, heat builds up which leaves the plants in an unhealthy habitat. Consider putting fans or enough windows to regulate the temperature and lessen heat buildup. During winter, make adjustments for chilly days. For smaller greenhouses, a small electric heater can be all you need to prevent the temperature from going down to hazardous levels. You can also use alternative heat collection systems such as drums of water or blocks of thick concrete that will warm when sunlight hits them. During the night, these will slowly let out the retained heat back into the greenhouse.

Roofing

If your area snows during the winter, your greenhouse will need a peaked roofing system to prevent snow from collecting and collapsing the greenhouse. If you choose a dome-type roof, guarantee that it has enough pitch so that rain and snow doesn’t collect in one spot. Roof drainage becomes a huge factor when owning large greenhouses where there are a lot of areas where water can be accumulated. Gutters, drain pipes and downspouts can be installed to manage excess water on the roof. For larger installations, City Seamless Roofing recommends getting a catch basin for both ends of the greenhouse.

Location

If you are looking for optimal growing conditions, the best orientation for your greenhouse should be south or southeast. Exposing the greenhouse all day helps the plants undergo photosynthesis. If it is not possible to have a southern orientation, the next viable option is the east orientation. The end walls of the greenhouse should face the direction of east to west so that sunrise and sunset can provide sufficient sunlight for your plants.

Functionality

How do you plan to use the greenhouse? You have to know exactly why you want to have a greenhouse. Do you want to grow exotic plants or cultivate a collection of eclectic plants? Perhaps you want it to jumpstart seedling procedures? Will the greenhouse be for your personal use or could it double as an entertainment section so that family and friends can see your plant collection? These are just a few questions that can help determine your greenhouse’s functionality.

Flooring

Gravel flooring has been the choice of many greenhouse owners since it is simple, low maintenance and provides easy drainage. However, others prefer the traditional concrete tiles to make it look good.

Having a greenhouse that can provide sustainable gardening can require upfront investments but it will provide you with outstanding advantages in the long run. You will have the opportunity to raise different varieties of plants which cannot grow in a traditional garden.

Maintain and Save this Fall with these Great Garden Tips

Fall is great when it comes to gardening because you have the chance of looking at successes and disappointments, but you will still have some time to do some garden maintenance.

Fall gardening will provide you with cooler temperatures and you will be dealing with fewer insects, and you will have an easier time gardening during the fall compared to doing it during the spring meaning it is easy to put some autumn color in your landscaping.

Different Fall Garden Money Saving Tips

Pick Up Plants Without Spending As Much

A lot of the nurseries you will find end up putting their remaining stock on deep discounts during the Fall season in order to avoid having to set it aside for storage in the winter. Therefore, you will be able to save around 40 to 50 percent of the list price for various plants, seeds, and tools.

What would be even better, completely avoid the nursery entirely and acquire plants without paying anything at all. Fall is a great time to split and divide spring-flowering perennials including both peonies and day-lilies. To do this, you can cut a piece off of your favorite specimens in various gardens in your surrounding area and plant them in your yard. This is not only beneficial for the original plant that you are splitting, but it will also save you a lot of money in the process. You can visit burpee.com for direct instructions on this process.

You just have to ensure that you are able to get everything planted and in the ground a minimum of 6 weeks prior to your average first time the ground freezes. To get this date in your area, ask a knowledgeable nursery in your area.

Grow A Much Healthier Lawn

Because weed seeds don't germinate in the fall, you will get a grace period to get your lawn started without much competition according to Wilmette, Ill., landscape architect Steve Kooyenga. Because the fall is traditionally much cooler and due to the increased rainfall during this season, the turf will be both thick and strong enough in order to beat out a lot of the weeds that grow in the spring. Therefore, if you wait and seed until the spring, you will likely have to repeat the treatment which can get very costly in a hurry.

Fertilize Beds

Feed your garden now and you will be able to reduce the total cost and amount of time that you end up having to spend fertilizing and watering it over the next year. This is primarily due to the fact that the air temperatures will drop and the ground will remain warm which can encourage plants to focus their energy on root growth. Having healthy roots means having much more drought-resistant plants that can survive a lack of rainfall. Thus, you should aim to use a fertilizer that is high in potassium for the best root growth potential.

Save On Your Spring Blooms

Fall is just about the only time when you can plant spring-blooming bulbs including tulips and lilies. A good way to save money on this is by buying and sharing a bulk order with your surrounding neighbors. Doing this will allow you to reduce the total cost and it can help you enjoy colorful flowers in your garden for years to come.

Below are some tasks you need to do to make next year’s garden great.

Enriching garden beds using compost and manure. Take the compost and manure then spread it on exposed soil. The soil will be rich because of the freezing and thawing of winter, and also earthworms.

Collecting dried seed from veggies and open-pollinated flowers. There is a good chance you are going to sow next year, and it is a good idea to save some seeds you are going to use. You can even decide to give winter sowing a try.

Cleaning bird feeders and getting them ready to use. The birds have helped you in getting rid of garden pests and chirping all summer, and you can pay them back and try to get them to stay for the next year.

Gathering herbs, flowers, and seed heads for drying. Try leaving some flowers for the birds, but you should start cleaning-up by cutting plants such as yarrow and hydrangea, and the good part is you can bring them indoors.

Cleaning out cold frames for winter use. The worst time to do this is when the temperatures are very low. When you clean it out during fall, it increases the likelihood of you using it during the spring.

Winterizing your water garden. You need to be prepared to switch the pump for the ice breaker. Covering the water garden using a netting is a good idea because it keeps the falling leaves out.

Water the trees and shrubs till the ground freezes. They will be alive, even though they might look dormant. If the winter is dry, then you should continue watering throughout the season. This is even more important for trees planted this year.

Cutting back most perennials. If there are any diseased perennials in your garden, cut them back and dispose of them somewhere. You should not compost them.

Cleaning, sanding and oiling your garden tools before you store them. You should do this because you are going to store them for winter. This process is not as hard as it might seem.

Taking cuttings now, before the frost starts turning the plants to mush. You will have an easier time bringing a small cutting of plants to over-winter, instead of large pots of mature plants. They will also transplant better outdoors the coming spring.

DIY Hydroponics Kit Basics

Making a garden is one of the fulfilling hobbies you can do while at home. It does not only gives you a possible bountiful harvest but also can be a form of relaxation. However, making one proves to be difficult if you’re living in an apartment with a small area. Fortunately, hydroponics is now a trend in gardening, which enables people to create small patches of gardens in their balcony, terrace, rooftop, or even in a sunny window.

How does Hydrophonic Works and Why Have One?

Hydroponics is derived from Greek words, which means “ working with water.” As the name suggests, its a method of planting that relies on a nutrient-saturated liquid, usually working in a closed system. It means that the system should be able to sustain the growth of the plant without sourcing its nutrients from the soil. Here are advantages of having a hydroponic system:

Hydroponic does not require a large area for planting and can be done indoors.

You don’t need to prepare or look for sources of soil.

Your plants can grow faster since you can control the availability of nutrients.

You don’t need to be wary about pests and parasites from the soil. Thus, limiting your use of pesticide.

If you’re interested in making your very own hydroponic garden, but you don’t know where to start. This article will be listing down the basics and tips to achieve your garden goals DIY. Read on.

Plan Your Location

Although the hydroponic system does not require a large area for growing plants. It’s still crucial to look for a suitable place for it. Your set-up should be exposed to sunlight for your plants to grow. It should also be placed on a leveled surface to make sure that water will flow sufficiently. You have to make sure that your system will be safe against strong winds, rain, or overexposure to sunlight.

Plant Chamber Or Growing Tray

 Your plant chamber is an essential part of your hydroponics as it houses the root of your plant. The chamber makes sure that the plant’s root zone is safe against physical deterrent and exposed to the nutrient-rich liquid of your system. You can use different materials in building your plant chamber. Some of which can be found in your home. Here are some tips on how to choose suitable materials for your DIY plant chamber.

Stay Away from Metallic Materials- Since your system is exposed to water, any metallic material may corrode and reacts with the nutrients present in the liquid.

Look For Old or Unused PVC- Most DIY designs for hydroponic found online utilizes PVC as a plant chamber. You can make holes where the plants are inserted and where water can pass along. You may also use plastic bottles, containers or tray as long as you can easily put holes in it.

Make Sure Your Plant Chamber Can Fit Your Plant- The shape and size of your plant chamber must accommodate the type of plant that you will be using for your garden. Bigger plants will entail a larger chamber since it will have a bigger root system.

System`s Reservoir

Your reservoir holds the nutrient solution for your garden. It is vital as the nutrient solution brings life to your hydroponic system. Once this is compromised, your plant can stop growing, or it can die. Although the needed material for building your reservoir is easily found at home, there are some essential things you have to consider before making or buying a reservoir for your garden.

Your reservoir should be capable of holding enough water for your plant. Make sure that there is no leak in your tank since your plant depends on the nutrient solution for survival.

It’s important that your container should be light proof. It ensures that algae or fungus will not grow on your nutrient solution, which can be a source of competition or contamination for your plant.

Put a lid on your reservoir. The cover is crucial to prevent dust, algae, and fungus from entering your system.

Submersible Pump

A submersible pump is responsible for the transfer of the nutrient solution from the reservoir to the plant chamber. It’s essential for those hydroponic designs with elevated plant chamber. You can easily buy a submersible pump from garden supplies stores or hydroponic supply shops, and they are usually very affordable.

Air Pump

 An air pump supplies additional oxygen to the water and root of the plants. It also helps in circulating and mixing the nutrient along with the system. It keeps your plant from suffocating since they are soaked in the water for an extended period. However, installing an air pump for your garden is optional, and you can still make one without it.

Conducting System

The conducting system of your hydroponic is responsible for delivering and the continuous flow of your nutrient solution. It is crucial if you have several plants in your hydroponic system. Your conducting system can be customized according to the design of your garden by using PVC tubings and connectors. Its also advised that you prepare spare pipes and connectors since these conduit systems are prone to clogging.

 

Plants

Your hydroponic garden will not be complete without your plants. Although hydroponic cannot sustain all plants compared to a soil garden, there are still a lot of options for you to choose from vegetables to herbs. Its also advised that you steer away from deep-rooted plants and those that need large spaces. If you’re not sure what to use, Here are some example you can try:

Vegetables- lettuce, kale, spinach, beans, tomatoes, pepper, and cucumbers.

House Plant- Chinese evergreen, Devil’s Ivy, spider plant and money plant

Herbs- Chives, basil, and mints

How to Grow Plants for Oil

In this article, we’ll discuss three different plant crops to grow in your garden and how to produce your own oil. You might think it’s not worth growing your own oil, or that you’d need to harvest too much fruit to make it worth it. Fact is, however, that most oil crops have an oil content of 6-30%. Just imagine a bucket full of sunflower seeds. A third of that bucket is oil!

The first plant is the Olive, probably the most well-known oil crop. The humble Olive is surprisingly easy to grow and making your own olive oil is not particularly difficult, although it can be time-intensive.

Olives for Oil

Olives are incredibly versatile. You will be able to extract your own olive oil from them, as well as make pickled olives or preserved olives. They are a great self-sufficiency crop as the resulting product is healthy and can be preserved for years.

How to Grow Olives (Olea europea)

Did you know the ‘Olea’ is the ancient Roman word for oil?

Olives are Mediterranean natives. They are incredibly hardy and will grow in places where other plants don’t grow. They need a hot, dry climate (similar to a mediterranean climate) and, although they will grow on any rocky, dry hillside, they will grow faster in good, deep soil, with adequate water.

Olives love sun, so plant them 7-8m apart. You don’t have to prune olives, but if you see fruit production start to slow down, give them a light prune to encourage wood growth, which will, in turn, give you more fruit.

Fruiting will start after 3-7 years, but full production is not reached until they are at least 15, sometimes 50, years old. They’re incredibly long-lived; possibly as much as 2000 years old! Every Olive tree in full production will yield around 50kg of fruit.

Olives are picked at varying stages of ripeness, for a variety of processes. For olive oil, select ripe (black) or nearly ripe olives, including the ones fallen on the ground. You don’t need to pick the fruit by hand; just shake the tree and the ripe fruit will fall on the ground. If you place a tarpaulin underneath, you can easily gather the fruit.

You can read more about growing olives as a staple crop for self-sufficient gardens here: https://www.outdoorhappens.com/5-best-staple-vegetables-for-edible-self-sufficient-gardens/

Making Olive Oil

Olives will need to be crushed before you can press them for oil. You can use a coffee grinder for this purpose, a blender, a meat mill, or even a hammer (gets messy!). If you are going to produce oil regularly, invest in a small crusher (like a rock or bone crusher), it’ll be worth it.

Once thoroughly crushed, put them in a canvas sack or strong pillowcase. Only half-fill it, so you have room to close the bag and it doesn’t all spill out. Put your sack in a press. You can make your own with a barrel and a screw-down mechanism or buy one fairly cheaply. You can also press it the traditional way by covering a small table or with a plastic cloth, making sure that you prop the cloth up along the sides, so you don’t lose your oil.

Put the sack of olive pulp on the plastic and cover it with a piece of solid wood or metal. Put a very heavy stone, or something similar, on top and leave it overnight. You can also try pressing the top down with levers or jacks.

A black juice will be pressed out. Once the juice stops running, pour boiling water onto the sack, just enough to make it wet. Press it again. Repeat this process three or four times, until the juice comes out clear.

Transfer all the liquid to jars, and the oil will float to the top overnight. Separate the oil from the juice as soon as possible, strain it through very fine cheesecloth or tea towel, and seal it into clean jars.

2. Sunflowers for Oil

Sunflowers’ Latin name, Helianthus, literally means "sun (helios) flower (anthos)”. They are fast-growing annuals with huge, beautiful flowers.

How to Grow Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

Sunflowers are annuals, so you’ll need to re-sow them every year. They will grow up to 3m tall and will need adequate sunshine to make sure they don’t grow leggy and fall over. Even still, some may need support to keep them upright.

Grow sunflowers from seed. They germinate easily, as long as they are kept moist and are protected from birds and other animals; there are many that love eating sunflower seed! Seed can be sown straight into the garden. Plant them 20-40cm apart, in full sun. They will grow fine in poor soil, but again, they will grow better in rich soil with regular watering.

Once the flowers start fading, the round center will fill with black or black and white striped seeds. You can harvest when the seeds have completely filled out and the flowers start to go from yellow to brown. You can also wait for the seed heads to dry on the stalk. It is very easy to shake the seeds out that way, but some seed may fall on the ground and if you have a lot of birds around, they’ll happily clean them up for you.

Making Sunflower Oil

Thirty-five percent of sunflower seed is edible oil, which makes it a very productive crop. As with olives, sunflower seeds will need to be crushed first. You can do this in a blender or coffee grinder.

Put the crushed seed in cheesecloth and hang it over a jar. Gently squeeze until all the oil is removed. When the oil stops coming out, pour some boiling water over the seeds, leave overnight, and strain the oil off in the morning.

You can of course use presses for sunflower oil too, as described above.

 

3. Sesame for Oil

Sesame oil is very high in vitamin C, an anti-oxidant, so it doesn’t go rancid as quickly as other oils. It’s also low in cholesterol. If you aren’t inclined to make your own oil, you can use sesame seeds as garnish, instead of breadcrumbs, sprinkle over stir-fries, and for many other purposes.

How to Grow Sesame Seeds

Sesame (Sesamum orientale) is another tall, fast-growing annual. It grows to 1.5m tall and prefers a warm, frost-free growing season with rich, deep soil. You can grow sesame from brown, unhulled seed (not white seed).

It has white, trumpet-shaped flowers, followed by seed capsules. The seed capsules burst when they are ripe, shooting sesame seed all over the place, unless you can find a commercial variety that was specifically developed NOT to burst and scatter. Try to harvest when the seed is ripe, but just before it bursts open. A trick is to cover the capsules with plastic bags, to catch the seed when it disperses.

Making Sesame Oil

Seeds will need to be ground first, in a blender or coffee grinder. Empty the pulp onto cheesecloth, and hang it over a jar. Press gently with your hands to help it along, and leave it suspended over the jar overnight to catch every little drip.

Warning - rancid oils are bad for you. If you think your oil has gone bad, do NOT consume it!

What are the Best Vegetables to Plant and Grow in Cold Frame – Fall, Winter, and Spring?

In this blog post, you will find which the best cold frame vegetables plant during the Fall, Winter, and Spring is. You’ll also learn which plant is best sowed/harvested when, along with a dash of interesting facts, historical and scientific, to accompany each of the two lists:

The best cold frame vegetables to sow in Fall

The cold frame vegetables for all winter long

The veggies suitable for cold frame gardening in Spring

What is a Cold Frame for Plants?

“A cold frame is а short-heightened greenhouse meant to keep greenery safe from severe weather, moisture, and low temperatures during fall, winter and spring.” commented the London-based Fantastic Gardening Services, “Basically, cold frames allow you to greatly expand what you plant and produce.” the gardening experts added.

Learn What Is The Average Time For The Seeds To Sprout.

So what to grow in a cold frame?
Here are the best vegetables for a cold frame:

The 10 Best Cold Frame Vegetables to Sow in Fall

The 10 Best Cold Frame Vegetables to Sow in Fall

Fall, being the warmest of the other off-seasons is a great time for growing larger sized veggies. Longer days lead to better solar ray absorption and higher growing temperatures within the cold frames. For most areas, the Fall growing season is between late August and mid-December.

Thus let’s look at some examples of plants suitable for cold box gardening during that season:

  • Carrots - There are many types of carrots that are great to plant during fall, for a spring harvest. Sow these in September. Carrots are the richest sources of beta-carotene, meaning that they turn into vitamin A when digested. Beta-carotene, not only helps improve eyesight but also boosts our immune system. Carrots will also last for a while when outside the fridge.
  • Leeks - Plant leeks in early fall(around the beginning of September) for a spring harvest. Leeks were very popular amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans because of their extremely beneficial effect on the throat. Even Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, credited his clear and healthy voice to a diet of leeks.
  • Radishes - Sow your radish seeds 4-6 weeks before the first fall frost, for a winter harvest. Radishes were amongst the veggies offered as wages to the Ancient Egyptian labourers. This was because of their ability to relieve stomach aches, regulate blood pressure, and grow almost anywhere.
  • Turnips - Turnip greens are fairly easy to grow in almost any well-drained soil. They can be sown in late August to early October for a fall harvest. Turnips were mass-produced and eaten in Germany during WWI when meat and other veggies were scarce. Since their leaves are rich in iron and copper, they were a perfect substitute for the meat they lacked
  • Beets - When planting beets in early fall, use slightly heavier soil to protect the plants from any unexpected early frosts. Scientific studies have shown that beets posses can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer. This is due to the vegetable’s high levels of unique antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Parsnips - This veggie can be sown in mid to late autumn. However, when early spring comes and it’s time for harvest, it’s important to be quick and swift, and not wait for the temperatures to rise. Parsnips originally come from Europe, but can now be found throughout the whole world. Because of their hardy nature, they now grow wild in many uncultivated areas.
  • Onions - This strong crop can withstand low temperatures with ease, making it perfect for a cold frame. When planted in autumn, this pungent vegetable can be harvested by early summer. Onions are one of the first vegetables to ever be cultivated by mankind, dating back to before 5,000 B.C. Thanks to its amazing dietary value and incredible medicinal properties, it has helped humans survive throughout the ages.
  • Swiss Chard - This green leafy vegetable is usually sown in August or in some cases in early spring(for summer harvest). Although Swiss Chard is a type of beet, it differentiates from the rest because of its inedible root.
  • Claytonia - The seeds of this vegetable are usually sown between August and early September. When kept in a cold frame, the plant needs to be kept moist until the raining season comes. Claytonia is famous for being used during the California Gold Rush by miners to prevent scurvy.

Cold Frame for Vegetables all Winter Long

Cold Frame for Vegetables all Winter Long

Without a doubt, winter is the season most-difficult for growing anything, but difficult does not mean impossible, as long as done right!

Winter cold frame vegetables:

  • Arugula - Being a cool-season leafy crop, Arugula can be sown as early as January in a cold frame. Harvest can be done at any time once the leaves are of a suitable height. The Arugula was a very popular plant amongst the ancient Romans, because of its aphrodisiac properties.
  • Spinach - Seeds should be sown in early winter, as early as a week before the first frost. During the great depression, in the 1930s, spinach sales saw a huge spike, with an astonishing 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption. This was all thanks to the fictional character of Popeye the Sailor. As you can see, home-grown spinach is health and budget-friendly, too!
  • Mache - Mache are best sown in late winter and harvested in mid-spring. This vegetable’s nickname “corn salad” stems from the fact that it grows as a common weed in wheat fields.
  • Lettuce - Lettuce can be sown as earlier as 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost (as long as it’s in a cold frame). Although lettuce has been consumed for more than six thousand years, it originally started out as a weed around the Mediterranean basin.
 Ten Veggies Suitable for Cold Frame Gardening in Spring
Ten Veggies Suitable for Cold Frame Gardening in Spring

Spring is the best time of the year to sow salad greens or sprouting plants for your summer garden. Here, it’s good to note that most seeds intended for a summer garden, should be sown around 5 weeks before the last frost.

And here are:

  • Endive - Sow this plant in your cold frames, between the beginning of April and mid-May. Never let the temperature fall beneath 68°F as that would bolt the plant. According to studies, the endive plant is quite beneficial for humans as it can prevent cataract, anaemia and the development of certain types of cancer.
  • Kale - Kale growing season is between April and early May. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables there is and it can grow on compost. Eating it can drastically increase the nutrient content of anyone’s diet.
  • Brussels sprouts - Early varieties of brussels sprouts are sown in early spring, around mid-March and bear fruit around October. Brussels sprouts are so popular in fact that there are more than 9000 ways to cook them (balsamic-roasted, cherry-glazed,dijon-braised and many more).
  • Asparagus - When sowing asparagus in cold frames, wait until the soil is around 60°F to do so. Unlike most other veggies, this perennial takes great patience to grow, as it will take three years before you’ll be able to harvest it. When the harvesting time does come (in spring), however, cut the spears at ground level and continue harvesting for another few weeks, but no later than the beginning of July. It’s really no surprise that a sort of asparagus(white asparagus) is one of the most labour-intensive vegetables to grow as once clipped it must be placed immediately in a dark box so that it stays white.
  • Peas - What makes peas the ideal veggies to sow in cold frames is the fact that they need soil that isn’t too cold and also an abundance of sunlight. Sow these in early spring, around the end of March, beginning of April to get a good summer harvest (between June and October). Peas are very dense on vitamin C and one portion of these little green wonders is like eating two big apples. Keep an eye out for spider eggs, tho!
  • Rhubarb - Rhubarb is best planted in early spring for a mid-summer harvest. Although this herbaceous perennial is oftentimes consumed as a fruit, botanically speaking it belongs to the group of vegetables.
  • Potatoes - Potatoes can be sown as early as two weeks after the last spring frost. Depending on the sort of potatoes you have planted, harvesting time may vary - between June and October. Potatoes are so popular in fact that they were the first vegetable grown in space (aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia)

Final Words,

Sowing the right seeds in a cold frame is crucial for a fruitful crop. That’s why choosing the appropriate vegetables for a cold box is a must for any agriculture and gardening enthusiast!

Things to Consider Before Using Laundry Water for Plants

Recycling household water is a common practice that almost every household does. There are different types of household water, and one of them is laundry water. Laundry water, also known as greywater, is the water you get after you have finished washing your clothes. There are very many ways you can upcycle this water. You can flush the toilet, mop the house, and even water the plants in your garden. When you speak of watering your plants using greywater, there are things you need to consider before doing so. Below is a list that explains some of the things you should review before using water obtained from washing clothes for plants;

The Cycle in Which the Water was Used

When washing, there are two primary cycles namely;

Wash Cycle

The wash cycle is where you add detergents and carry out the washing. The water from this cycle is said to have a pH value of about 9 to 10, meaning it is very alkaline. Too much alkalinity is known to affect the soil and growth of plants negatively. Therefore if you intend on using this water, make sure you have passed it through a treatment unit. However, when you use this water in minimal quantities, it can help in keeping away insects that would otherwise damage your plants.

Rinse Cycle

Watering your plants in the garden using washing water from the rinse cycle is probably a better option because the water in this cycle contains fewer detergents. In essence, using rinse cycle water is safer for your plants as compared to wash cycle water.

When handling water either from the wash cycle or rinse cycle, be cautious, accidents do happen. You may end up damaging your whole house by flooding it with detergent water. If this happens and you are in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you do not have to worry. Experts from Water Resto USA do Fort Lauderdale water damage restoration effectively and efficiently.

Rinse Cycle

The Detergents used

Greywater disposal in your garden is suitable. However, make sure you take note of the type of detergents you use when washing if you plan on upcycling the water. The case is more dangerous when you are planning to reuse the water on your plants. The reason for this is because some detergents contain hazardous chemicals like;

 

Boron

Many soaps contain boron, which is a very harmful chemical to plants. Its defects will depict themselves on the leaves of the plant. When gardening using water obtained from washing clothes that have boron, you will see a “burning-like” occurrence on the leaf. Always make sure you use a laundry detergent that is safe for your plants.

Boron

Chlorine

Most of the time, greywater contains high levels of chlorine. One of the vital contributors to this phenomenon is the use of bleach when washing clothes. You will see the damage of this on the plant’s leaves as they will appear as if they are bleached.

Chlorine

The Type of Plant

The Type of Plant

Some plants have no problem at all with taking in laundry water to sustain and keep themselves healthy. Other plants are not ok with this type of water, for instance, household plants. The reason is simple. These plants do not have enough soil to disperse the toxic elements that may be present in the water.

Conclusion

Can you use water obtained after washing clothes to water your plants? Definitely, yes. Before doing so, there are a few things that you need to consider. The cycle in which the water was used is one of these things. You should try and go for the water used in the rinsing cycle as it contains fewer chemicals as compared to the water used in the wash cycle. You should also be keen on the type of plants you are watering using laundry water as some plants do not like it.

5 Signs to Spot If Your Tree Is Going to fall

Trees have numerous benefits to the environment. One massive tree can increase your property value in addition to air conditioning. However, Falling trees can cause injuries, property damage, and even deaths.

Some of the main reason why tress falls includes insect infestation, poor soil condition, malnutrition, and improper planting condition.

While we can’t predict accurately when a tree will fall, you can spot some warning signs and act before it is too late. Luckily we have compiled some telltale signs you should know. Let’s get started.

1. A cavity in the trunk

A cavity inside the trunk usually forms as a result of shedding branches. Secondly, self-pruning does open wounds that can cause decay inside the tree. However, if there is enough solid wood around the wound, then you should not worry about the tree tipping over. It is shrewd to consult a professional to be on the safe side.

2. Deep Cracks or missing cracks in the Tree trunk

Missing barks on the tree trunk are enough causes for concern. First, you should have it examined by an arborist. The presence of cankers signifies that the tree is dying while deep cracks could make your tree considerably weak and unable to support its branches. As the tree becomes weak, there is a higher likelihood of falling.

3. Weak or decaying Roots

It is somehow tricky to spot weak or rotten trees since roots are covered in soil. However, it is an excellent method to determine if the tree is rotting from the inside. Fungi and mushroom growth is an indication of rooting wood. A tree with decaying roots is unstable and may fall anytime, especially if strong winds blow. If you notice your tree has weak or rotten roots, then you should consult a professional arborist. In case you leave around Atlanta and you feel something is amess with your trees, check out this affordable tree service in Atlanta.

4. Dead or falling branches

Although dead branches do not necessarily mean that your tree will fall, it is a signifying the current tree condition. This means that if you spot falling dead branches, then something is not right with your tree. Shedding is a way for the tree to make it smaller. It is also a self-pruning method.  Typically, this means that the tree is not getting enough nourishment or its suffering from insect infestation.

5. V-shaped branch growth

Tree branches should grow at an ideal distance to provide a perfect space for development.  U shape is proof of this strong union. However, if the branches grow tightly together, they often have a v shape. You can spot the v growth during winter or after falls when the tree sheds the leaves. The point is that tight branch growth is a bad sign.

6. Missing inside leaves

Trees should lose leaves from outside. If your tree loss leaves close to the trunk, then you should be concerned. This is because the root zone may have a problem. Remember that trees get water and nutrients from the root zone. With an unhealthy roots system, your tree may fall easily, and the first signs to see will be loss of leaves from the inside.

7. Leaning trunk

Is your tree leaning more than 15 degrees? If the answer is yes, then you should have it removed. If your tree is leaning too much due to roots problems or winds, then it is a telltale sign that it is going to fall. However, a tree that tilts naturally as it grows is not always a risk.

Conclusion

If you notice the signs above do on wait until it is too late. Seek professional help to determine the best course of action. A certified arborist will inspect and decide whether or not it is safe to keep the tree. They can also help with pruning if need be. Lastly, you may have to bring the tree down before it causes property destruction or hurt people.

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