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How to keep cats from using garden as litter box?

To someone, nothing is more rewarding and relaxing than working in a garden. They really enjoy the time when eating their own fresh produce or cutting vases full of fresh flowers from their own garden. So it can be very annoying, unpleasant and even potentially harmful to our health when your cat or a neighbor’s cat decides that one’s garden makes the perfect outdoor litter box as cat poop can contain dangerous parasites and bacteria.

 

Cats, especially outdoor cats, through their feces, can cause toxoplasmosis, a disease-bearing pathogen causes muscle pain and flu-like symptoms. In the worst cases, toxoplasmosis is likely to damage the brain, eyes and other organs and is particularly serious for pregnant women because of its effect to their unborn baby too. Even by touching the soil where cat has toileted, you can be exposed to the nasty bug. New researches have even revealed that cat poop is related to schizophrenia and other types of mental illness.

And to be honest, cat poop stinks. Nothing can put a damper on outdoor activities and ruin your whole enjoyable day like stepping on cat poop. Want to keep cats away from your garden humanly and safely? Some methods listed below can be helpful for you:

  1. Ultrasonic Pest Repellant:

An ultrasonic device can be used to deter cats as it emits a high-frequency sound that cats detest, but humans do not feel annoying because we don’t hear a thing. These devices are motion-activated and some have a flashing blue light so that when a cat walks by, it is startled and scared by the high-frequency sound and the light and should leave the area. You can easily and purchase ultrasonic devices at a pet supply store for about $40 bucks a pop. Most of these devices can work well within a 40-square foot area so an ultrasonic device is really ideal for a small garden. But if you have a large garden, there will be a problem as you will need several of them, it turns out to be not a cheap option.

  1. Motion-activated sprinkle

By using infrared technology, motion-activated sprinkles sense the heat and movement up to about 35 feet away. When a cat steps in range, the motion triggers the sprinkle to release a burst of water, along with a loud noise, that will scare away cats, dogs and probably even burglars. These sprinklers can work 24/7, even if it’s raining or shining. However, the only drawback is that the noise can be very annoying at night. And if you forget to shut it off before you walk by, you might find out just how effectively this device can drench you!

  1. Offend cat’s sense of smell

Some evidence has shown that cats dislike certain smells and they will avoid areas that have smell offensive to them. When it comes to strong smelling substances that cats don’t like, choose some organic materials are often recommended such as citrus rinds (lemon, orange, grapefruit,..), garlic, onion, anise oil or eucalyptus oil, tea leaves, coffee grinds, pepper,…and then sprinkle them throughout your garden to discourage cats from using it as their litter box. However, these usually need to be replenished every few days, especially after rain. Do not use options such as mothballs or poisons because they are toxic to your furry friends and even your children…

  1. Lay chicken wire above the soil

If you find out a particular area that cats usually use in your garden, you can deter them by covering that area with standard chicken wire which is soft enough not to hurt the cats, but strong enough to discourage them from digging. Plastic garden fencing is also another ideal alternative because it won’t rust, splinter and fade. You can cut it to fit around your existing plants so that when kitty comes to dig, she will find this barrier and quickly goes somewhere else to do his business.

  1. Automatic self-cleaning litter box

These mentioned above method can work well under certain circumstances but they will have some drawbacks. Instead, we can simply province the cats to do their business somewhere else. And what I mean here is in an automatic self-cleaning litter box.

Self-cleaning litter boxes are becoming more popular among cat owners because of their benefits. You can save your time by having this unit automate the entire litter scooping routine to free up time for more important activities. Also, an automatic litter box provides a clean-smelling environment for your pets because your cats are very sensitive to smelling. And the most important thing is it will be safer and cleaner for both you and the cat.

You might get confused, though, when there are so many litter boxes are available on the market and you wonder which one is best for your pet. There are many factors that you should take into account when choosing one. You should have in your mind your cat’s size, hoods on litter boxes, cat’s litter, the number of cats in your house and the location of the cat litter box…

While the market offers you a wide range of choices, the real challenge is finding the best quality and most widely discussed automatic litter boxes. To help you with your purchasing, we will be showing you the five best automatic self-cleaning litter boxes based on feedback and ratings in the reviews written by the cat owners themselves. We have narrowed the list down to the top 5 best litter boxes, all received the greatest number of positive reviews and highest rating, each with its own pros and cons. .

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What Is A Sun Dial

 

The definition of a Sun Dial is simple, it measures time according to the position of the sun.

Standard sun dials cast a shadow on to a flat surface marked with each hour of the day. When the sun changes position, the shadow covers up more of the dial. Although that is the most widely seen sun dial, you can have a sun dial designed for any surface that can cast a predictable shadow.

Sun dials have been dated as far back as 3500BC, where they were said to be used by the Ancient Egyptians. The Romans hold the record for having the biggest sun dial built. Around 100BC it is said the first universal sun dial was built by a mathematician.

When thinking about how a sun dial is designed you have to know a few things first. The most common sun dial is a disk mounted on a bar. With this method the bar must be parallel with the earth’s axis. The disk has to be marked so that one you can tell the time from one end of the bar as the Earth rotates. During winter months one half of the disk will be hard to read because of the shading, and during the summer months the opposite half of the disk is usually hard to read.

As with all things new technology has taken over sun dials. Now there are many different styles of designs including the following.

  • Ring Sun Dials
  • Precision Sun Dials
  • Reflection Sun Dials
  • Analog Calculating Sun Dials
  • Optical Sundials
  • Digital Sun Dials

Let’s take a little time here to talk about digital sun dials, since this is what we are probably most familiar with. There are two basic types of digital sun dials.

The first one is an optical fibre sun dial the way it works is sunlight enters through a slit in the device and as the sun advances the light moves. The light shines on sockets causing digits to come up on the display screen, revealing the time.

The second of the two digital sun dials are fractal dials. These are a lot more complex, but the basis of constructions comes from fractal geometry. Hence the name fractal sun dial.

I feel since sun dials have been such a widely used tool for so long, that it’s important for you to understand what they can do. Although you may think it isn’t very practical to know right now, you may very well need to use it someday.

A lot of research is done with the use of modern sun dials, these modern sun dials are created by some of the world’s smartest people. If you want to see the worlds largest sun dial still built you can go to India. It is called the Samrat Yantra and the stone structure stands a massive 27 metres high. They have said it can tell time with a margin of a fraction of a second. I would love to see this in person someday, but it will have to wait for now.

How To Calibrate A Sun Dial

First thing you will want to also make sure of when purchasing or building a sun dial is this. Ensure the leading edge of the pointer has been placed between the 6am and 6pm markings on the sun dial. This is the only way your dial will be able to come close to telling accurate time. There are a lot more factors when calibrating your sun dial, this guide will fill you in on what you need you need to know. This way you will be able to set-up and calibrate your own sun dials.

Depending on where you live you will be living in different time zones from me, to try and find noon on the dial, find what latitude your time zone is in. For every seven degrees east or west you are you need to add/subtract four minutes to your sun dial. Once you have done these two steps you should have a sun dial that can tell the time pretty accurately. There are more factors to make-up for the irregularities you will notice when checking the time on the dials. It will be impossible to get your dials to be perfectly accurate. Even the biggest sun dial is still off by a fraction of a second. You can indeed have it telling time within minutes of the correct time though, pending you have an impeccable set-up and calibration.

With the factors involved in calibrating your sun dial it can be very difficult trying to do this. You need all your measurements to be exact, you will need to know how to tell longitude and latitude. This I think is what the hardest part of getting an accurate time is, it’s fairly hard to do this if you don’t have any experience with it. It may be easier to buy a digital sun dial which has been already calibrated by a professional, it will also come with instructions and a manual for your use. This is a lot easier and will give a lot more accurate time, if you feel you have the knowledge to take on calibrating your own then by all means go for it. I think calibrating it yourself will bring a lot more joy in having a sun dial. After all what is the point in having a sun dial that is just digitalized like everything else we see in today’s world. There are a ton of pictures you can look at online for finding out how your sun dials should look. You will also find lots of manuals and instructions for building your own sun dial.

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Things To Consider When Buying Wild Bird Feeders

The Beauty Of Decorative And Unique Bird Feeders

Bird feeders seem to come a dime a dozen nowadays. Looking through any pet supply web site or even your local pet supply store, you will come across many different sizes and types of bird feeders. It is a far cry from only a few years ago when virtually all bird feeders were of the homemade variety, pieced together out of a few odds and ends that the creator just happened to have lying around in the garage or attic.

That was then and this is now however, and as spoiled as we are for choices when it comes to bird feeders, this abundance only serves to make this hobby more enjoyable, more fulfilling and ultimately more rewarding.

Today you can take your pick from any of the more utilitarian bird feeders around…or you can opt for one of the more decorative and unique bird feeders.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with the simpler bird feeder designs available–like the classic and ever-popular platform bird feeder for example–a decorative bird feeder will greatly increase the beauty and charm of whatever location you place it in. Even a garden or yard that is already a study in landscaping perfection will benefit immensely from a more striking bird feeder design.

Bird feeders that are slightly off the beaten path come in various designs–some of them classic and elegant and some of them whimsical and charming. Depending on how far you are willing to go, you may also consider bird feeders that are almost borderline outlandish! All of these are only indications of the rich imagination of bird lovers and serve to announce their uniqueness and individuality to the world.

Some of the more popular decorative bird feeders base their designs on actual houses. They may be as simple as a log cabin or they can be as ornate as Greco-roman architecture. One of the more striking ones we’ve seen is built out of wrought iron in the form of a gazebo.

Other decorative bird feeders are almost comparable to art pieces in their intricacy and style. In fact, there are those that can actually stand as sculptures in their own right, making them functional art in the truest sense of the word.

With the wealth of decorative bird feeders to be had out there, there is simply no reason why you shouldn’t have one that is as practical as it is beautiful to behold!

Wild bird feeders come in a wide array of sizes, shapes, colors and designs and you can hardly go wrong with choosing any of the commonly available models. So how do you choose which particular type of wild bird feeder to go for?

One of the most important considerations for any beginning bird feeder owner is the type of bird that you wish to attract. Seed feeders–which are by far the most familiar type of wild bird feeder around–will attract the common songbirds such as cardinals, chickadees and finches. These types of feeders can vary in design from the simplest feeding tray type setups to more elaborate ones with latching feeding mechanisms.

Naturally if you want to attract a specific type of bird–such as a hummingbird or an oriole for example–you will want to purchase a wild bird feeder that is designed specifically with their needs in mind.

Another important consideration when purchasing a wild bird feeder is the material. Feeders made of plastic have been increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason: they are extremely durable and they are generally very inexpensive. Be aware though that they tend to discolor when exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods, and they are harder to keep sanitary.

Glass models would be an ideal alternative given those considerations, but they are not without their own disadvantages. They are prone to breakage for one thing, and if they fall from a height–which is where wild bird feeders are typically installed–there is a risk of glass shards flying around when it shatters.

In any event, most commonly available wild bird feeders present very good value for the money and you will surely enjoy the color and life that they will bring to your yard!

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Types of Bird Feeders

Bird feeders–also sometimes called bird tables–are structures or devices designed to provide food for birds. They are typically installed outside the house in the yard, although they may also be installed in a porch or a tree.

The effectiveness of a particular bird feeder in attracting large numbers of birds is due to a number of different factors, among them: the location, the actual presence of birds in the area and the type of feed that they provide. This last factor is particularly important, given that different species of birds will have different preferences when it comes to food.

Bird feeders can be an effective enticement for birds of many types, and the presence of one in the home provides owners with an ideal opportunity for bird watching that they would not normally be able to enjoy otherwise. A fairly recent trend today is the installation of webcams focused on bird feeders, which broadcast 24 hours a day and allow bird enthusiasts all over the world a glimpse into their activities.

As simple as the design of bird feeders may seem, there are actually a few different types commonly used. The most popular of these by far is the seed feeder, which can vary in complexity from the simplest trays to the more complicated hoppers and feeding tubes. The most common types of seeds used in these designs are sunflower seeds, with some owners favoring mixed varieties. These feeds tend to attract songbirds such as finches, cardinals, and chickadees.

Hummingbird feeders, as you may have guessed from the name, are designed primarily to attract hummingbirds. It does this by providing hummingbirds with a sugar solution through a feeding tube. Some bird feeder owners have taken to infusing some red dye in the sugar solution in an attempt to entice hummingbirds. This practice is totally unnecessary however, as many hummingbirds will typically find the feeder if you leave it out long enough. Furthermore, the dye can actually be harmful to hummingbirds, so if you must resort to color, it would be better to choose a colored feeder in the first place.

Oriole feeders are another type of bird feeder designed to attract a specific type of bird. These are most often colored orange and are designed to attract New World orioles with either an artificial nectar solution or bits of fruit…or even grape jelly!

Finally a suet feeder is designed to provide insect eating birds such as woodpeckers, nuthatches and flickers with a block of suet from a metal cage like structure.

The Elegant Simplicity Of Platform Bird Feeders

Bird feeders come in a wide array of shapes and sizes, from the simple to the complex, from the strictly functional to the somewhat whimsical. One type that has stood the test of time however, is the platform bird feeder. This particular design is a marvel in simplicity, and in truth not many people really need any more than that. It is a design that has worked–very well, we might add–for a countless number of years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

One of the reasons why platform bird feeders are so effective is that they provide an ideal feeding set up for the greatest variety of birds. Large birds will obviously not be comfortable in feeders with perches designed for smaller birds, and many other birds will have very specific preferences when it comes to feeders. A platform bird feeder however, by virtue of its simple design, provides a wide open and flat feeding surface that virtually all types of birds will be comfortable in. From small perching birds to bigger birds that are accustomed to feeding off the ground, you can say that one size of platform bird feeder fits all!

Platform bird feeders can also be used to serve up a greater variety of food than other bird feeder designs. From birdseeds to fruit, from nuts to suet–even bakery goods–there is nothing that a platform bird feeder can’t handle.

So you see, it is not only the ability to handle a wide variety of foods but the ability to accommodate a wide range of birds that makes platform bird feeders the most versatile type of bird feeder around.

As simple as the basic design of a platform bird feeder is, there are actually slightly different versions available. There is the basic platform bird feeder, which is simply a platform suspended off a hanging cord, then there is the fly through platform bird feeder, which follows the same design as the basic platform bird feeder but incorporates a roof on top. This design provides any visiting birds some temporary respite from the sun or slight rain showers.

As your interest in feeding birds grows, so too will your needs when it comes to bird feeders. You may eventually find yourself exploring more complex types of bird feeders in the future. One thing is certain though, no matter where this hobby takes you, you will always have a place for a platform bird feeder in your yard.

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Everything you need to know a bout Bird Feeders

A Look At Wooden Bird Feeders

 

As you read this article, you may already be the proud owner of a bird feeder that is regularly drawing a crowd of playful, feathered creatures in your yard. That would not at all be surprising as bird feeders are one of the best ways to liven up any property. Even a garden or yard that has been landscaped to perfection by a professional can be improved immeasurably by the addition of a tasteful and elegant bird feeder.

If you are still in the planning stage of purchasing one however, or if you are looking for one or two more–one cannot have too many bird feeders after all! You may want to consider purchasing a wooden bird feeder.

Why should you go for a wooden bird feeder though instead of the popular ones that are typically made of plastic, glass or various types of metal? Well for one thing, unless you are willing to spend a lot of money on your next bird feeder, you will in all likelihood have to make do with one that is…er, less than stellar in the looks department. You will notice quickly that the offerings in the lower range of the price scale will not be as attractive, as well-constructed and simply not as appealing as other more expensive models. It is simply the nature of consumer products, and going for one that is more eye-catching will cost a lot more obviously.

Wooden bird feeders then provide an alternative that is not only quite affordable but looks good as well. In fact, looking through a listing of many different types of wooden bird feeders, you would be surprised at just how low-priced they are. This is all the more amazing when you realize that even the lowest-priced wooden bird feeders are a lot more visually attractive than even higher-priced commercial models.

If you are concerned about the durability of wooden bird feeders–as you well should be, considering that they will practically be spending the rest of their lives outdoors exposed to the elements–you need not worry yourself on that score. Virtually all the wooden bird feeders available today are constructed out of wood that has been treated to withstand the constant exposure. This will help ensure that any wooden bird feeder that you purchase will continue to provide your feathery friends with service–and you with viewing pleasure–for a good long time.

The Idea Behind Ground Bird Feeders

Ground bird feeders…at first it seems like a bad idea all around, doesn’t it? After all, who in his or her right mind would place a bird feeder right in harm’s way, within easy reach of cats, dogs and a host of other predators and dangerous elements? It defeats the very purpose of birds being able to fly up and out of danger. It is downright inhumane and all that. But is it really?

As it turns out there are a number of good reasons for using a ground bird feeders, and the most important one is that they allow a greater number of birds access to the food that you provide.

Because of their intended location, ground bird feeders admittedly put the birds at a slight disadvantage when it comes to predators and rodents who compete with them for food. For this reason, theses types of bird feeders are more suited to areas where there are no cats present and where you are reasonably sure that there is no large squirrel population around either.

One of the advantages of ground bird feeders is that they allow ground-feeding birds to feed in a setting that is more natural to them. Of course smaller perch feeding birds will be slightly out of their element, but given a safe enough environment that is free from predators, virtually any type of bird will soon learn to be comfortable around your feeder.

Being on the ground, it is also much easier for you to replenish the food stores of your ground bird feeders. This may not seem like such a big deal, but in today’s fast paced world where every minute counts, it is good to know that you do not have to spend any more time than is necessary in making sure that your bird feeder is able to keep your feathered friends happy.

This ground location also makes it easier for you to clean your bird feeder. Hygiene is always a primary concern when it comes to keeping birds healthy, and even if they are not really your pets (more like favored guests) you would like to make sure that they remain as healthy as they can possibly be wouldn’t you?

So you see, there are some distinct advantages that ground bird feeders can provide. With a little careful thought and planning as to where exactly you will put it, you’ll see that the benefits of ground bird feeders aren’t just for the birds!

How To Make Bird Feeders

The widespread availability of many types of bird feeders on the market has largely made it unnecessary for many people to even consider building their own. After all, why should you bother with all the work and effort involved in creating one from scratch, when you can simply drive to your local pet supply store or click on your mouse a few times and almost instantly have one sitting in your yard?

Well as it turns out, there are quite a few good reasons for learning how to make bird feeders, not the least of which is the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that you and your kids can gain from undertaking such a project. This will also help kids learn more about birds and their habits as well as provide you with an opportunity to teach them about responsibility and caring for the surroundings.

Those should be enough reasons to convince you to take on this task, so let’s get started building a simple bird feeder!

What you will need:
birdseed
a dowel or small wooden rod
a pair of scissors
thin wires about 2 feet long
nails for punching holes
a gallon milk jug

Here is the procedure:

Wash the milk jug thoroughly to ensure that any traces of milk are gone completely.

Put the cap back on and place the jug on a solid working surface

With a sharp knife, cut two large holes on the front and back sides of the jug. Make the holes about 3 to 4 inches in diameter and cut them about 2 or 3 inches from the bottom. This is where your birds will be feeding. It is important to make sure that any birdseed you place in the feeder will not spill out of these holes.

Using the nail, punch two smaller holes, one under each larger hole. Push the dowel through one of these smaller holes and out the other, so that they provide a perch for the birds.

Again using the nail, punch two holes in the neck of the milk jug and run the wire through them making a sort of loop. This is where you will be hanging the feeder from a suitable branch.

Fill the feeder with birdseed–black oil sunflower seeds work the best

Sit back and wait for the birds to drop by!

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Why You Should Consider Homemade Bird Feeders

With the wide range of bird feeders out on the market today, you probably have not given any thought at all to making your own homemade bird feeder. After all, with the sheer variety of different sizes, makes and models out there, there is no doubt that you can find one that will suffice for your needs.

However, there are many reasons why you and any other bird-watching aficionado for that matter, should seriously consider building a homemade bird feeder instead of going with any of the commercially available models.

For one thing, almost everyone has very specific size and space requirements for the various furniture and appliances that they have in their houses, and bird feeders are no exception. The wrong type of bird feeder or an oddly sized one can be enough to throw the most carefully designed garden or yard out of whack. If you have spent a considerable amount of money getting a professional to landscape your yard, it is all the more imperative that you have a bird feeder that enhances and accentuates the other elements. In this particular case, only a specially designed bird feeder will do.

One of the first decisions you will have to make is deciding what particular design of bird feeder you like. Some of the more popular ones are the Post Bird Feeder, which is ideal if you don’t have a tree to put your feeder on, the Hanging Bird Feeder, which is great for keeping any cats at bay, the Running Line Bird Feeder, which is a good choice if you want to avoid having to continually replenish the food supply, and the Ground Level Bird Feeder, which you should only consider if you are sure that you can provide a safe environment for any birds that will come to visit.

There are many plans for making homemade bird feeders all over the Web and if you are so inclined you would do well to check them out. Even if you are not confident enough in your woodworking skills to attempt the project on your own, they will at least give you a few ideas on the design that you want to go for and provide a starting point for whoever you will hire to construct the bird feeder for you. Remember: it’s your yard so don’t be afraid to let your imagination run free. As long as the birds have easy access to the food and it provides them a safe environment in which to frolic, your homemade bird feeder will surely be a smashing success!

Do you have any pictures of homemade birdfeeders to share?

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Compost

Healthy compost is essential for any garden whether you’re growing vegetables or flowers. Compost is essentially organic decaying matter. Aerobic organisms such as insects, bacteria, fungi, and worms break down materials such as grass, leaves, and some kitchen scraps to create compost. Compost is extremely rich in nutrients and comparable, if not better, than commercial fertilizers for your garden. Many gardeners use compost since it is free, environmentally friendly, and wonderful for your plants. If you’re able to save your kitchen scraps (not mear) you might want to take advantage of producing your own compost.

There is almost no limit to the many benefits of compost. Rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium compost is sure to help any garden become abundant. Compost improves soil and encourages root development. Any gardener who has used compost is sure to never go back to commercial fertilizer. After just a short time of using home made compost you’ll start to notice the difference in the way your plants are thriving.

If you are interested in composting you do need a compost bin. Some people still have a traditional compost bin, which is an open bin of any sort, typically wood, which they throw compost materials into. The composting process can however take some time and the new and improved compost bins take advantage of what we know about heat and moisture conditions. Anyone can have a compost bin, even if you have a very small yard or live in an apartment with a large balcony.

Compost materials are the matter that you place inside your compost bin and will eventually become your compost for gardening. Almost any organic matter will do and they typically fall into two groups: brown and green materials. Matter rich in carbon are considered browns and include dried leaves and straw. Matter rich in nitrogen are considered greens and include certain kitchen scraps such as vegetables and fruits and grass. As you can see compost materials are very easy to come by since any home owner has an abundance of these materials.

Other than your garden, one of the biggest benefits to composting is the environment. In this day and age where everything is disposable and our landfills are growing by the second, it is important we do what we can to help reduce and reuse. Composting is a wonderful way to do your part by reducing the amount of garbage we throw away and reusing certain materials. Composting is essentially recycling waste and turning it into something our gardens will love.

Composting

Composting is the newest “ green” method of taking biodegradable matter and producing compost. What happens during this process is that the bacteria, yeasts and fungus that is present in things like food are broken down and erased so to speak. Then the compost can be used for gardens or farming.

There are many different forms of composting. When composting started to become popular it would be used mostly in agriculture. But today there is home composting and even industrial composting such as office composting. You may be thinking how could composting take place in an office. But it can be done. Let’s start with home composting.

You can take some organic soil, straw or hay and then mix with home composting ingredients such as left over meat, dairy products, eggs, cooking oil and even vegetables. In order to perform composting correctly, you need a composting bin. This can be a plastic container with a lid, or a barrel with a lid. As weird as this may sound even human waste can be turned in compost.

When you choose a method such as home composting, there are many different ways in which you can go about it. Some people use the method with the lid; if you want to use extreme methods then you can just throw your waste in a pile with organic soil and then wait a year or so for it to break down into compost. This method as natural as it seems, can get a bit smelly after a bit. So the container method may be good if you are composting in your own backyard.

Once the compost is completely broken down, you can use the natural compost and use it for garden compost for flowers and for vegetable gardens. You will have organic vegetables by the summer and they will taste great, the compost will be free of chemicals and everything is environmentally friendly.

This method of composting may sound strange but even offices are trying to go green by composting office waste as well. Left over food, coffee grinds not the paper and even plants that die in the office can all be added to the composting pile. Buy a container of any size and start with soil, straw, and hay and then little by little add to your compost. In a year’s time you will have all natural soil that can be used for repotting the office plants.

On a large scale, composting is done on farms. They are called composting piles. There are composting farms just for composting all over the country. Then the compost is packaged and sold in stores and to other local farms. This process does take a long time but when the compost is ready you are doing your part to save the earth’s environment.

Read more about composting online and see if you can start home composting, garden composting, coffee composting and office composting. It really is an interesting project and it is 100 percent safe for the environment.

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Preparing Healthy Soil

If you’re getting ready to go on a new garden venture, you need to prepare your soil to ideally house your plants. The best thing you can do in the soil preparation process is to reach the perfect mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Preferably there would be 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt, and 20 percent clay. There are several tests used by experienced gardeners to tell whether the soil has a good composition. First you can compress it in your hand. If it doesn’t hold its shape and crumbles without any outside force, your sand ratio is probably a little high. If you poke the compressed ball with your finger and it doesn’t fall apart easily, your soil contains too much clay.

If you’re still not sure about the content of your soil, you can separate each ingredient by using this simple method. Put a cup or two of dirt into a jar of water. Shake the water up until the soil is suspended, then let it set until you see it separate into 3 separate layers. The top layer is clay, the next is silt, and on the bottom is sand. You should be able to judge the presence of each component within your dirt, and act accordingly.

After you’ve analyzed the content of your soil, if you decide that it is low on a certain ingredient then you should definitely do something to fix it. If dealing with too much silt or sand, it’s best to add some peat moss or compost. If you’ve got too much clay, add a mixture of peat moss and sand. The peat moss, when moistens, helps for the new ingredient to infiltrate the mixture better. If you can’t seem to manage to attain a proper mixture, just head down to your local gardening store. You should be able to find some kind of product to aid you.

The water content of the soil is another important thing to consider when preparing for your garden. If your garden is at the bottom of an incline, it is most likely going to absorb too much water and drown out the plants. If this is the case, you should probably elevate your garden a few inches (4 or 5) over the rest of the ground. This will allow for more drainage and less saturation.

Adding nutrients to your soil is also a vital part of the process, as most urban soils have little to no nutrients already in them naturally. One to two weeks prior to planting, you should add a good amount of fertilizer to your garden. Mix it in really well and let it sit for a while. Once you have done this, your soil will be completely ready for whatever seeds you may plant in it.

Once your seeds are planted, you still want to pay attention to the soil. The first few weeks, the seeds are desperately using up all the nutrients around them to sprout into a real plant. If they run out of food, how are they supposed to grow? About a week after planting, you should add the same amount of fertilizer that you added before. After this you should continue to use fertilizer, but not as often. If you add a tiny bit every couple of weeks, that should be plenty to keep your garden thriving.

Basically, the entire process of soil care can be compressed into just several steps… ensure the makeup of the soil is satisfactory, make sure you have proper drainage in your garden, add fertilizer before and after planting, then add fertilizer regularly after that. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a plethora of healthy plants in no time. And if you need any more details on an individual step, just go to your local nursery and inquire there. Most of the employees will be more than happy to give you advice.

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Container Gardening – Flowers

The world would be a much different place, without the beauty of flowers. Children can contribute to the beauty of nature, while learning at the same time, by planting their own container garden of flowers.

There are many, many kinds of container gardens. They can be as unique as each child who creates them. Large planting areas are not necessary. In fact, a container garden can consist of just one container. They are not expensive to create.

There are several interesting variations of container gardens besides planting in an ordinary container, which sits on the ground. Allow children to use their imagination and come up with their own ideas. They can use hanging baskets, trellises or other types of vertical support (along with the actual container) and window boxes.

Vertical container gardening is a wonderful option for children living in urban areas or apartments. They can grow their gardens ‘up’ instead of ‘out’, in a very small space. This works best for vining flowers, such as passion flowers, morning glories and star jasmine.

There are many edible flowers, which are well suited for container gardens. They include: violas, pansies, carnations and nasturtium. Consult your library or local bookstore, for an extensive list of other edible flowers. There are many wonderful books, on the market, in regard to this subject. Most include colorful pictures, which makes edible flower identification very easy.

Flower petals are wonderful as part of a salad or when used as a cake decoration. . Obviously, no pesticides of any kind should be used on flowers, which will later be eaten.

Some children might enjoy planting a container garden, which includes their favorite color combinations. Whether they choose colors that complement each other or colors that are very different, it’s sure to be an eye pleasing display.

To make their gardening experience even more enjoyable children may want to plant a container garden, which attracts butterflies or hummingbirds. This way, not only will they learn about gardening they will learn about insects or birds, as well.

Hummingbirds are truly amazing to watch. Because they consume more food than their weight, each day, they must visit many gardens. Hanging baskets are an excellent container for this type of garden because they can be place near a window, making it much easier for these tiny birds to be observed.

Hummingbirds are attracted to bright flowers, especially reds, bright pinks and oranges. Other colors can be added in once the hummingbird has become accustomed to visiting its garden. It is recommended that flowers with an extended blooming period, be used.

The prefer tube shaped or trumpet like blossoms. Wonderful choices for a hummingbird garden include: day lilies, fuchsia, geraniums, honeysuckle and zinnias.

Almost any type of container can be used, for a container garden. Everything from ceramic pots, small barrels, old wagons, tire stacks, terrariums, baskets, wooden crates, old shoes and toy dump trucks have been used for this purpose.

Some creative gardeners have even gone as far as using an old bath tub or even the kitchen sink.

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Is a Raised Summer Garden Right for You?

Raised gardens are becoming quite popular as more and more people are renting property or find themselves in high rise apartment buildings with little to no lawn space and even less access to actual soil in which to plant the flowers and vegetables they desire to have with them. There are actually quite a few pros for using raised gardens as opposed to tilling the soil for those who wish to have smaller gardens and are limited on space in which to do so. At the same time, those who desire bigger yields are often dissatisfied with the limits of raised gardens. The choice is ultimately yours but I will try to point out some of the pros and cons of this type of garden so that you may decide for yourself.

Soil compaction. Pants love to breath and that is often difficult when placed in garden rows as we have quite a bit of difficulty avoiding all together the possibility of stepping onto the tilled rows in which we have planted our fruits, vegetables, or plants in a traditional garden situation. By using a raised garden, which is designed to be worked from without rather than within, there is little fear of compacting the soil around the plants. At the same time many lifelong gardeners feel the inability to walk around in their gardens is a disadvantage in itself and prefer to be able to do so. This is often a matter of preference rather than practicality but a valid opposition just the same.

Numbers. You can actually plant more plants in the same amount of square footage in a raised bed because there is no need for rows. You should also be aware that plants in raised beds often tend to grow larger than plants in traditional garden rows. That being said you should resist the urge to over plant within the raised garden bed, as this will eliminate that slight benefit. Many traditional gardeners have seen the results of overcrowding in these beds and feel that their way of doing this is much butter.

One huge benefit to raised beds for summer gardens in areas that are nearly saturated with excess moisture is that raised beds allow much better drainage than traditional row gardening. This is one thing that the average gardener will not argue with unless he lives in an area in which this isn’t much of a problem. Most gardeners in the south though, where there is a great deal of humidity and moisture will agree that proper drainage is a problem.

Raised beds are less back breaking. This is a huge benefit to those of us who are feeling the years creeping into our bones. By being above ground, raised gardens offer easier access for planting, weeding, planting, and investigating for signs of pests. Another great thing about raised gardens is that they are not as quick to cool as the earth, which renders them more productive and with longer growing seasons that most gardens that are placed in the ground.

For those who have unusually shaped yards or growing areas, raised gardens allow the opportunity to have a beautiful summer garden in almost any shape you can build the box for. This means you are not limited to rows, as many gardens tend to be and that you have a few more options for aesthetics when planning and growing your summer garden.

The downside to raised summer gardens is that they are difficult to dismantle and nearly impossible to till. This means you must do all the working of the soil by hand and many gardeners do not fully appreciate the beauty of that process. The most important thing however, is that you choose a summer garden system that works for you. You may find that combining the two provides the best results and is a great use of your time or that you prefer one over the other. There really is no wrong answer only the one that is wrong for you.