Heat up your backyard with the addition of a stone fire pit.
Soil texture—the relative amount of sand, silt, and clay particles—is one factor in soil’s ability to provide a healthy environment for roots. Soils that contain more than 40 percent clay, the smallest mineral particles, are easily compacted and often lack pore spaces. Here’s a simple way to gauge the texture of garden soil.
Dig a representative illustration from the top 8 inches of soil. You might wish to dig soil from several spots in your garden and mix them in a bucket. Remove stones, roots, mulch, and other chunks of organic matter. Break up clods.
Put about 2 inches of soil in a straight-sided, flat-bottomed quart jar. Add 1 teaspoon of powdered dishwasher detergent to help disperse the soil particles. Add water to within 2 inches of the top. Screw on the lid tightly and shake the jar for 5 minutes or until the soil is thoroughly liquefied.
Place the jar in a spot where it can remain uninterrupted for several days. After 1 minute, use a wax pencil to mark the level of sediment in the jar; this represents the sand in the soil sample. Make a second mark after 1 hour; the sediment between the two lines is silt. Clay particles will settle to the bottom last, taking up to a week. Some organic material may remain floating after all the mineral particles have settled out.
Use a ruler to measure the depth of sand, silt, and clay, as well as the total soil depth in the jar. (If the silt layer has become more compressed as the clay settles, measure by observing the slight variations in colour instead of the wax pencil marks.) Use the measurements to calculate the percentage of each soil component.
For example, the jar above shows 1/2 (0.5) inch of sand, 5/8 (0.625) inch of silt, and 3/8 (0.375) inch of clay, for a total of 11/2 (1.5) inches. Break up each particle depth by the total soil depth to get the percentages:
0.5 ˜ 1.5 = 0.333, or about 33 percent sand;
0.625 ˜ 1.5 = 0.417, or about 42 percent silt;
0.375 ˜ 1.5 = 0.25, or 25 percent clay.
Gardening is proved to be a good way to lose those calories you got these. But gardening can cause injuries too if not properly prevented. CedarRepublican.com posted an article on tips to avoid injuries while gardening which you will surely love to follow.
First off protect yourself from sun and other injuries by being prepared. Be sure to do stretching to get ready those muscles. Wear clothes to protect your from the sun and be sure to put some sunblock. Drink water to rehydrate yourself and be sure to use lightweight tools.
Surely you have heard of hydroponics one time or two but do you know what is it? Hydroponics originates from the Greek words “hydros” and “ponos” which mean water and work respectively. Taking the definition from Wikipedia, Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Although as intimidating as it sounds, hydroponics is in fact as very simple concept which is using water added with nutrients to grow healthy plants. Really simple isn’t it? In fact, you may have tried hydroponics sometime in your life. If you tried to placing a plant clipping in a glass with water hoping that it will grow roots then there it is. You certainly have practiced hydroponics.
Brief History of Hydroponics
It may sound new but hydroponics and soilless gardening has been practiced hundred years before. It was believed that Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the floating gardens of Aztecs used the principles of hydroponics. In 13th century, There were also found records of floating gardens in Marco Polo’s writings. It was only in 17th century that formal researched and publications on hydroponics take place with Sir Francis Bacon and John Woodward. On 1938, William Gericke promoted the use of hydroponics in agriculture. In fact, he coined the term “hydroponics”. Later that years, two scientist, Dennis Hoagland and Daniel Arnon, expanded the researched made by Gericke and published “The Water Culture Method for Growing Plants without Soil”.
Pros and Cons of Hydroponics
What made these people crazy about hydroponics? Here are the advantages of this gardening system:
- Hydroponics people to grow crops in place where traditional farming is not possible. In urban area where land is at a premium, traditional farming might be too expensive for gardeners. With hydroponics urban gardener can grow their crops indoors, in their sheds and in rooftop.
- This gardening system allows people to grow crops in areas that don’t receive sunlight and areas where space available for planting is too small like remote island.
- With this system, requires low water than traditional farming which saves the water and help environmentally. It also allows recycling and reuse of water.
- Hydroponics also ensure a stable and high yields unlike traditional farming.
Although the benefits of this farming system is really great, some people are still not using this system due to the following reasons:
- The capital requirement is really high compared to traditional one.
- Power interruption might cause to stop the pumps thus ruin the crops.
Vegetable and fruit smoothies pave its ways to our for the health benefit it will gives us. Surely, you made your own smoothie and enjoyed it. This featured smoothie by Camille Styles will definitely give you nutrients and energy to start your day.
Mint leaves is really good your body. In fact, it soothes the digestive tracts and other stomach pains. It also relieves irritated bowel syndromes and can be a strong diuretic. Another good thing about mint is that it helps in curing asthma and other allergic. It can also be a good cleanser of blood.
“Crushed mint leaves helps in whitening teeth and combat bad breath.”
Lean Green Smoothies
12 pineapple (peeled, cored and chopped)
12 english cucumber (peeled and chopped)
12 pear (ripe, peeled, cored and chopped)
1 cup baby spinach leaves
10 mint leaves (chopped)
1 tsp agave nectar
- Purée ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Pour into 2 glasses, garnish with a cucumber spear and serve.
- Makes 2 servings
All gardeners will agree that spending time in the garden is indeed a complete work out. Imagine all the tilling and weeding you spend in you garden to maintain its natural beauty. But just like any other human being, we have our lazy days which lead me to this amazing gardening method called lasagna garden. Also known as sheet composting, this gardening method involves building layers and layers of organic matter, waiting for it to become compost and then using this soil to grow plants. What is more amazing in this method is that it requires no tilling and weeding and environmental-friendly too. Michael Ravensthorpe shared on his article the basic of lasagna gardening on his post at NaturalNews.com.
So are you wondering how to make this lasagna gardening in your garden? Here goes, begin by choosing your location and then make your first layer. The first layer is compose of layers of newspaper or cardboards. Then start the process of decomposition by watering them. After it is composted, you can now add layers of compost on it. You can also add coffee grounds, leaves, manure, grass clipping and garden matter. Be sure not to just dump them in your first layer. It is best to alternate the brown layers (ex. peat, manure) and green layers (ex. grass and garden cutting) so you can distinguisged the layers in your garden. Just keep on doing these layers until your garden reaches about two feet and wait until the help shrinks for you to start planting.
Still not convinced on trying out this method? Then you better read Michael’s full post here.
Lots of people are into vegetable and fruit smoothies and juices as way of weight loss or just to promote a healthy lifestyle. So if you are looking for recipes of these juices ans smoothie, this recipe is really a must try.
Health Benefits of Carrots and Dates
Carrots are known to be rich in Vitamin A and good for eyes. So prevent eye diseases by trying this shake. It is also rich in potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. Carrots are also rich in antioxidants which slows down cancer, cleanse your cells of toxins and lowers your risk of cancer. Not only that it also good for your skins, bones and cleanses your liver as well.
Dates, on the other hands, is rich in vitamins and minerals too. It it known to relieve constipation and promotes digestive health. It also boost heart health and has anti inflammatory properties that will reduced your risk of having cardiovascular diseases and inflammation related ailments. Dates also boosts your brain health and helps increase one’s sexual stamina.
“If carrots have become limp or dehydrated, re-crisp them in a bowl of ice water for about half an hour. Firm up limp carrots by cutting off one of the ends and sticking the carrots in ice water, cut side down. The coarse core of older carrots should be removed.”
Carrot and Sesame Date Shake
1 medium carrot (about 3 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
3 fresh dates, preferably medjool, pitted
1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 or 3 ice cubes
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender along with a few ice cubes if desired and blend until smooth.
- Yield: One serving.
- Advance preparation: Best if served right away.
Recipe and photo credits to The New York Times
Indeed, gardeners takes pride of their beautiful garden and we just can’t help but me amazed on the colours they add in our garden. On trying to beautify our garden, we tend to get stressed on picking the plants to obtain the colours we wanted for our garden. Did you know the colour wheel can be a very useful too for gardeners in solving such problem? With that in mind, gardening author Sydney Eddison created a wheel for gardeners that contains 252 colours.
On Eddison’s book, The Gardener’s Pallete, she explains the relations of color and what color contrast and complements. She explains how each color can play a green role in your garden. Green and gray harmonizes all the color and blend colors. But above all remember that still the nature
Read more about Eddison’s color wheel and some advice from Jani Webber, a landscape architect advice on color scheme for your garden on Jennifer Forker‘s article here.
Nothing beats a refreshing drink after working in the garden or even in an outdoor adventure. A refreshing drink like lemonade will definitely quench your thirst in the summer heat. An additional twist in an ordinary drink will lighten up your mood. Adding some cucumber and basil into it is something to look forward to.
Health Benefits of Cucumber and Basil
Cucumber is known for its gifts among women. It can be your quick fix for cellulite, a stress buster, lightens your dark circles, facial mask and freshens your breath as well. Not only that is can work magic among women, these are very good to eat as well. It re-hydrates your body, help control blood pressure, and a good source of antioxidant vitamins content as well.
Basil, on the other hand is known to add flavor in our food has lots of health benefits. This herb contains carotenoids and magnesium that improves cardiovascular health. It also has a powerful antioxidant properties that will protect you from cancer. Not only that it improves your immune system and digestive tract health. Basil also contains anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties that makes this herb a perfect addition in the garden. Just plant in a pot or any container. You can also try it vertical, a south faced wall of your garden shed is indeed a perfect spot.
Have you seen some gardens in an abandoned lot, in a hydrant, in mailboxes and even in a pothole in you city? Then that is maybe the works of some guerrilla gardeners. Guerrilla gardening is gardening on land that you don’t have a right to utilize. Dated back in 1970s, it is often used as a means of protest, cultivate food, build a community and also to beautify the neighbourhood. Guerrilla gardening is usually done by using vacant lots for food production, planting seed bombs, and appropriating government-owned lots. Nowadays, you can see lots of guerrilla gardens growing around the world.
Learn more and view photos of guerrilla garden in Jen Wallace’s post : http://indiefixx.com/2013/04/15/when-a-garden-is-more-than-a-garden/