Thursday, March 21, 2013

5 Ways to Still Garden in Small Living Quarters-Guest Post

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By: Jenner Watson

  Many people think that just because they have a small yard or live in an apartment, that they cannot garden. This is not true - with a little creativity and work, anyone can have a beautiful garden. It will be more difficult without loads of open space, but it can be done. This can be very rewarding on a personal level, garner tons of tips from friend and also save money on food and gifts!!

Flowerpot This may be obvious for the likes of flowers, but flowerpots can be used for many kinds of fruits and veggies. This may seem like an odd choice, but don't rule it out just yet. Make sure the pot has a hole for drainage on the bottom. Remember to use good soil and put it in the right place and it should do well.

This would be perfect for corn, since it grows up, not out. A flowerpot is great because you can put them in spaces whether otherwise nothing could grow. For example on a corner of another garden plot.

 Growing Inside Don't be afraid to grow plants for food inside either. It won't work for everything, but for some, it works great - for instance garnishes and herbs. Anything that won't take up tons of room should be fine, so long as there's adequate sunlight (get your fingers to work on Google) and you do your due diligence by watering often (but not too much!) If you're not much for guests, you could even squeeze every last inch out of window space to get a great variety in your garden. Or, reserve one room to plants and save your other room for social events.

Plants on Railings

Putting a plant on a hangar, and hanging it from a railing is great not only for aesthetics, but practicality, as it is a smart way to maximize space in a small yard. You can even buy hanging baskets for sale, ready to go. This is great for things like sweet potato vines. Surely it won't really add beauty to your house and yard, but this is very practical.



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This might not be viable for everyone. But if you have a roof that is safe to access, you could easily plant a garden up there. This is usually not too common, especially in very large buildings. Even if you're not sure whether it's allowed, simply ask whoever is in charge - you might be surprised how generous they are if you're generous in return (be sure that they can share in the sustenance, beauty, profits, or whatever else it is that you're growing). This is especially efficient when it comes to watering, assuming you live somewhere with decent precipitation.


Companion Planting

If you can combine two or more plants that compliment each other, you can take advantage of the space, while helping both plants. For example, planting basil next to tomatoes is a very good idea. Since basil does not like the hot sun, it can get shade from the tomatoes. Or you can plant lettuce under taller growing plants to give it shade. This is also a great way to cut down on pest infestations in your garden (Google which combinations are best for this). It also can be fun, and a thing of beauty if done right.

It is pretty simple to garden in a small area. Being creative and squeezing space out of every available inch is important. One thing to keep in mind though - when trying to save space, never plant things in the wrong spot. For example, placing a plant that requires sunlight in
the shade or vice-versa. Remember all these tips, and even if your place is on the small side, it'll be green with beauty in no time.

Jenner Watson writes about green living and all things related to the great outdoors. His best work is called How Do I become an Environmental Scientist?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guest Post: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Home Decor Trends

By: Eva Stephen

 When we think about renovating our home, we rather think about how the new space will look than how healthy it will be to live in it. Eco movements and “green” home décor experts are creating awareness about the importance of living in a healthy home, so we are on the right path to change the way we approach working on our home.
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Identifying the sources of danger

 You might ask what can be so unhealthy inside a house. Aren’t we safer inside than outside where cars and buses pass by all the time, polluting the air? Believe it or not, one of the most problematic things in our house is any kind of fabric. So, the danger of unhealthy particles that we breathe in comes from our rugs, curtains, upholstered furniture, bed covers, etc.

Safe and responsible shopping 

Whether you’re the kind of person who likes shopping for furniture online, on the reliable, or in real off-line stores, you have to look out for the same type of things: the kind of materials the furniture is made of. If you are shopping for wooden chairs and tables, make sure it’s solid wood and not particleboard or plywood.

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 Solid wood emits the lowest levels of formaldehyde that can cause all kinds of illnesses. When shopping for upholstered furniture, go for natural and chemical-free fabrics like cotton and wool, not only because they are your safest healthy choice, but also because they are more durable than synthetic, unhealthy materials. Be well informed about the type of fabric you are buying and the potential dangers it hides.

 Rethink the type of flooring 

 If you have a wall-to-wall carpet or a synthetic rug, you might want to rethink your flooring choice. These kinds of flooring are the most common source of unhealthy, toxic substances. You should instead choose a carpet-less wooden floor or ceramic tiles for the kitchen and bathroom. Not only is this a healthier solution, but it’s also easier to clean. If you still want some warmer flooring during the winter, you can alternate between bare floors during summer and small organic wool rugs during winter.

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  Mold is a serious enemy

It is recommended that we repaint our walls once a year. Many people do not have the time or money to do it this often, but in that case you should examine your walls carefully and look for the slightest sign of mold. If you find it, repainting the walls won’t exactly solve your problem, but it help you avoid inhaling the toxic particles in the short run, while you search for a permanent solution.

 Spine is as important as the lungs 
We are not only in danger of what we breathe in, but also where we sit and sleep in. Our spine is susceptible to damage if we sleep on uncomfortable beds or sit in an irregular position for too long. That is why choosing the right kind of bed and mattress is of utmost importance for our health.

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  Spend time outside 
 If you have a balcony or a back yard, you should be spending as much time outside as you can. In order to make that time enjoyable, you should put some nice chairs and a table outside, where you can have a pleasant breakfast or supper surrounded by all that nice, fresh greenery.
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 These pieces of advice are not here to make you panic, but to help you organize yourself the next time you decide to renovate.