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Office gardens with artificial grass in Sussex

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The nature of office work is changing the offices of years past with rows of desks is changing as is the way we work. No longer is it about processing waste amount of paperwork and rows of figures manually as these processes are quickly becoming automated by advanced online software using artificial intelligence. 

Work is no longer about carrying out the set daily tasks from 9 to 5 it’s more about imaging and thinking how you can use the data to extend your services or products to existing and new customers. This type of modern work is almost impossible to carry out for 7 to 8 hours a day, and as the largest corporations are discovering offices now have to be designed with areas that encourage employees to take breaks and naturally network to refresh the creative processes. 

Although not immediately obvious an office garden can foster networking between employees with the subject of the garden plants break the ice in the early stages of the networking process by fostering conservations. In addition an office garden adds a different dynamic to a workplace providing a place to relax and have a change of pace.

 

Creating an office garden  

Most office buildings have an area that can be turned into an office garden sometimes it’s a space around the back of the office building but more often than not a roof top that can be converted into a garden.  Some of the keys to creating a successful office garden are 

    • A lawn is a good place to start, it’s almost certainly to be an artificial lawn as they require low levels of maintenance compared to natural lawns and with rooftop gardens are easy to install onto most surfaces and with no additional soil being required this reduces the gardens weight on a roof. Expert advice on installing artificial lawns is essential such as artificial grass in Sussex is a good place to start. 
    • Plants often you are best to use hardy plants again especially with rooftop gardens as they can be very exposed to winter winds and weather. Some suitable plants are Skimmia japonica, Griselinia littoralis and Choisya sundance
    • Containers and raised beds – with containers, pots and raised beds often the larger the better as they are easier to water and keep moist. With compost its best to use a soil based compost called John Innes compost number 2 or 3 
    • Screening and trees – Creating screened areas and screening off windows and overlooking views can often be important. Often this can be instantly achieved by using trees in pots such as Birch trees which provide a light screening effect.
    • Watering  systems – Although often overlooked watering you office garden should be one of the first items to consider. Watering your plants with a watering can will become a task no one wishes to carry out so simply automatic irrigation system is a good solution. 

 

 

Artificial grass in Worthing

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Artificial grass and lawns solve a number of problems in a gardens with particular problems such as

  • Shady garden areas – although you can buy special grass seed mixtures that have been created to grow grass in shady areas these are not often too successful. This is  because a grass that will grow in shady areas will only stand occasional cutting plus it’s not very hard wearing. In shady areas artificial grass can be the ideal solution providing a surface that looks good all year around and is easy to maintain.

 

  • Young children – If you have a small garden especially an inner city garden and small children then often a natural lawn is not suitable to withstand the wear and tear young children will impose on a lawn especially in the autumn and winter months. Using artificial grass to create a lawn that can be played on all year around is a good solution as they are clean and easy to maintain with an occasional brushing and washing with a garden hose. When creating an artificial lawn for use by children its important to select a grade of artificial grass that is not abrasive on young knees and arms, inevitably youngster will fall over. A professional artificial lawn supplier and installer such as artificial grass in Worthing will be able to advise you on the grade of artificial grass required. 

 

  • Wet and badly drained areas – if you garden has drainage problem caused by shade or a clay soil for example an artificial grass and lawns is a good option. In such badly drained areas a natural lawn from grass or clover can be difficult to maintain especially if the winter is wet and warm in which case by the time you come to cut the lawn in the spring it’s grown in length well beyond the capacity of your lawn mower making the first few cuts very hard work indeed.  

 

 

 

 

4 Simple Tips For A Successful Vertical Garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Gardening can provide several benefits. Regularly spending time in your garden can improve your heart health and reduce stress. Gardening can also improve your hand strength and quality of your sleep. If you choose to grow vegetables in your garden, you can incorporate healthier meals to your diet while earning at the same time.

However, if you recently moved to a smaller location with the help of the best moving company NYC, it might be challenging for you to pursue your passion for gardening. This is especially true if you used to live in a home with a large lawn and moved to an apartment.

Fortunately, all is not lost. You can still care for your plants through a vertical garden. Unlike planting in the ground, a vertical garden is a unique growing technique as you’ll place all of your plants on a vertically suspended panel. These plants can thrive either by freestanding or being attached to a wall.

If you’re still new to a vertical garden, use these tips to warrant success in your efforts:

 

  1. Determine if you want a permanent or stationary vertical garden

Even if a vertical garden doesn’t require you to plant on the ground, starting one can also be time-consuming and stressful. You need to water your plants and trim off any dead leaves to ensure that your plants grow healthily.

To ensure that all of your efforts aren’t wasted, determine how long you are going to stay in your current location. If you’re only staying in an apartment for a short period and will likely hire piano movers in the next month, make sure that your vertical garden is portable. There are now suppliers who provide tools to allow vertical gardens to be moved around.

If you’re going to stay in your current location permanently, investing in bulky and heavier tools for your vertical garden can be appropriate. You won’t have to transfer any of these tools, so you don’t need to worry about carrying any of these.

 

 

  1. Place plants based on the shade and sun

Regardless if you’re a new or expert gardener, you’ll know that all plants require shade and sun to thrive. These two are basically the plants’ foods, and without these, plants won’t survive.

Vertical gardens require careful planning since the plants will grow vertically. Over time, the plants on top of your garden can block the shade and sun, preventing the plants from the bottom to get any supply of these foods. This problem can result in the death of your plants placed at the bottom.

Steer away from this direction by carefully planning what plant goes where. For plants that require more shade for their growth, place them in the lower levels of your vertical garden. Plants that love the sun should be placed near the top.

 

  1. Pick the right vines

Vines are excellent choices for vertical gardens because these can improve the appearance of any space and increase privacy and shade, as well. Vines that produce flowers at certain times of the year can make your outdoors look more pleasing and bright.

Before planting any vines in your vertical garden, assess if you can handle its required maintenance. Planting a vine simply because it looks good, but not paying attention to its pruning requirements will put your investment into waste.

There are several vines available today, so make sure that you take the time to research. Aside from the frequency, you should also know if these vines require certain tools during its pruning.

 

  1. Vertical gardens require more water

Unlike when they are planted in soil, plants in vertical gardens need more water as they are exposed to more sun and wind. These elements can easily strip off moisture from the soil, making the plants thirstier.

Regularly check your soil to assess if your plants need water. Avoid over-soaking your plants as this will only flush out nutrients and expose the root of the plants. If possible, invest in more mulch to provide more bedding for your plants.

 

Consistency Matters

For you to attain success in your vertical garden, long-term commitment is required. You need to regularly exert time and effort to care for your plants and come up with remedies once your plants show symptoms of sickness.

The more consistent you are with your efforts, the sooner you can enjoy a successful and thriving vertical garden!

 

 

 

Why Get Composite Doors in Gateshead

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

In the past years, composite doors are gaining a new kind of popularity among homeowners in the UK. Many have realized that they can achieve better security if they install these kinds of doors. Aside from the safety features, there are others such as durability that made them the perfect choice for homes.

Composite doors are made up of unique materials. The outer frame is mostly consisting of PVCu, and the composite is made up of PVC sub-frame. The inner frame is made up of hardwood. This means that the outer casing is protected in any weather. The sub-frames will ensure the structure’s stability, and the inner part is protected from the twisting stress of torsion.

The composite side of the door is made up of polyurethane foam that is free of chlorofluorocarbons. When it comes to the bands at the sides, it is usually made up of ash grains that match the lock face and the hinges. The composite doors in Gateshead that are made up of glass-reinforced plastic will make sure that the door’s exterior will not easily twist, crack, or need repainting. 

As mentioned above, the composite variety is made up of different materials that result in an impregnable structure. These are the other reasons why homeowners prefer these kinds of doors. 

Why You Need One for your Home

  1. Give Great Thermal Insulation

Thermal insulation can benefit homeowners during the winter season. The foam core of the door is highly dense, and heat can’t escape easily outside. At the same time, the cold can’t quickly enter the house. The composite ones are more efficient than the timbers. You can save a lot when it comes to your energy bills because you can retain a lot of heat inside your home. 

  1. Resilient to the Weather

Whether it is raining hard, the wind blowing strong gales, or snowing hard, you can feel secure while inside of your home. The wood is protected by polyvinyl chloride, which is one of the most widely used synthetic plastic polymer in the world. With a waterproof seal that coats all of the door’s exterior, you will be safe from draughts and termites. You will have a warm, comfortable, and well-insulated house, no matter what the weather is outside.

  1. Easy Maintenance

When the door is installed, it will be easier to maintain. You have to wipe it with a clean damp cloth, and it’s good to go. You won’t need to do occasional repainting either as the paint can last up to thirty years. The long-lasting nature and easy maintenance will serve as an excellent investment for you and your whole family. With the ease of maintenance, you will always have a welcoming entrance door that won’t take too much time when it comes to cleaning and repairing.

  1. They are Durable

Most of the exterior are resistant to fading, corrosion, and impact. They are built with long-lasting materials that won’t easily get damaged with time. The lasting and durable qualities are suitable investments, especially if the homeowner is planning to sell the house in the future. The life expectancy of these doors can range from twenty to thirty years with minimum care and maintenance.

  1. Insulation Qualities

The thermal qualities of the door are superb. Read more about thermal efficiency in this site here. It can retain heat inside the house during a cold season in your area. If you are a homeowner, you and your family can enjoy the peace while inside. You can talk about everything because the composite types are more soundproof. They can reduce sounds that come from the outside as well, so you can enjoy the peace and quiet even if you are living in a busy neighborhood. The unwanted noise and colder temperatures inside the house can be a thing of the past with these entryways.

 

  1. Looks Good with Any Home

Whether you have a classical or a modern-styled house, a composite variety will suit you just fine. You can request for timber outward appearance, which can be the right choice for heritage houses. The colors and presentation can make a great impression on any classic designs. Some manufacturers can make custom doorways for owners who are into contemporary styles.

  1. Gives the Home an Aesthetic Factor

Most homeowners purchase these kinds of doors because they provide the home a wow factor. The first impression always lasts, and if you are the kind of person who holds many parties, then this is the right choice for you. Your friends, families, and guests will be impressed with the variety of styles and colors that the composite ones offer. It can boost your home’s appeal, and you can even order a custom-made one if you want. The stunning aesthetics and fantastic longevity can translate to better first impressions and a more appealing home.

 

4 Simple Tips to Maintaining a Healthy & Beautiful Garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The great essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, is known to have said ‘the Earth laughs in flowers.’ Flowers have long been cherished for their scent, beauty, and medicinal properties. No one can better understand flowers the way gardeners can. They watch a flower grow from the time the seed is sowed into the earth till it’s grown fully. They then carefully tend after each flower like a child of their own.

In today’s article, we’ve provided you with 4 tips by which you can look after your garden. 

 

  1. Keep Your Plants Trimmed

A beautiful garden is one that is clean; with no overgrown bushes and hedges, you’re able to take in all the beauty the garden has to dispose. In order to maintain a clean garden, make sure to cut the overgrown hedges and bushes, try out some of these recommendations on which tool to use to cut them here. Always chop overgrown grass. Moreover, make sure you prune damaged leaves and roots of plants. Furthermore, be sure to trim overgrown trees as well. By carrying out such activities regularly you are sure to have a healthy and beautiful garden. 

 

  1. Look Out for Bugs 

Pests are a major problem when it comes to maintaining healthy plants. In order to tackle pests, we need to use pesticides. Pesticides can be purchased from the market or made right at home. However, one needs to make sure that they take several precautions when using pesticides. For one, they should be applied to soil that is dry in the absence of wind. Second, because pesticides are used to kill, they should be handled with care, you should always wear gloves when spraying pesticides and avoid getting it on your clothes or any bare part of your body.

 

  1. Water Your Plants Properly

Without water, there is no life. Water is very important for plants just as much it is for us humans. Water is needed by plants to help transport important materials throughout it. Moreover, water serves as the medium in which important minerals and ions are dissolved. The nutrients are absorbed by the roots of the plants from the soil. In the absence of water the plant would be pendulous and not stand straight. Eventually if water is not provided, nutrients won’t travel through a plant resulting in death. 

 

  1. Apply Fertilizer

The three major nutrients that a plant needs are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. To apply the right type and the right amount of fertilizer we first recommend that you get your soil tested from an agency. This is important because you would get to know what nutrients your soil lacks and which nutrient it doesn’t. This way, you can provide your plants with the nutrients they require because too much of one nutrient can burn the roots of a plant resulting in less water intake, and too little of a nutrient can reduce the plant immunity.

 

 

Hydroponic Grow Tent Kits In Canada – find Wholesale Hydroponics Tips

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Whether you’re just wanting a supply of fresh strawberries and tomatoes all year round, or are wanting to grow your own strain of medical marijuana, investing in a hydroponic grow tent can take unused space in your home or garage and repurpose it to allow you to have year round produce. 

 

What Is A Hydroponic Tent Kit?

Usually made out of a strong canvas material with a reflective interior they are almost like small portable buildings and come in such a range of sizes that some will actually take up the entire space in your double garage. While most people only get a smaller setup that can be installed in a cupboard, wardrobe or under stair space to get the maximum use out of an otherwise unused area – and if you’re growing something with the view of selling it, then getting a hydroponic tent kit in Canada makes quite a tidy little side hustle.

Like the name suggests they really are a tent like structure, that you will assemble with a series of interconnecting poles and then fit the shell in tightly over the pole skeleton. You will find that some come with built in shelving and easy to set up electrical sockets that allow you to power lighting rigs and hydroponic units, while others are really just a blank canvas with a medallic internal coating. These are great if you already have a set up and need to replace the cover, or if you have desire to grow without hydroponics, but otherwise they won’t be much use to you, so check to see what is contained in the product you are buying – if it’s super cheap, it probably isn’t a complete kit. 

What Is Hydroponic Gardening?

If you’re completely new to this idea, it can seem a little confusing – but being able to grow plants all year round in any space is a pretty amazing reason to start learning. With hydroponics you are not using any soil at all, so while traditional gardening sees gardeners having to watch the nutrients, make sure the soil is hydrated just enough, worry about birds eating their produce before it’s ripe enough to harvest, and so many other concerns, hydroponics makes gardening a lot simpler. That’s not to say that this method isn’t without its issues, but overall it does make for a more secure result. 

As the name suggests, there is no soil in this method, with the roots of plants being placed directly into a water solution that has proper nutrients dissolved in it.  Your stockist, or any one of the thousands of pages and Facebook groups out there, will be able to advise you what the best nutrients you need for whatever it is that you are growing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5091364/ 

Because you’re growing inside, you will absolutely need to include a lighting source, however what sort you need will also vary largely on what you are growing. You will also need to make sure that you do have enough air able to circulate, however as grow tents are not generally air tight, for many people the bigger concern is a way to control the odour that is produced by plants growing. 

 

Benefits of Going Hydroponic

Although originally restricted to inside gardening, you can now see a similar set up with vertical gardening that is installed on the outside of buildings, and even ideas like introducing fish into the water channels which consume parasites while at the same time producing nutrients which give the plants a boost. Because hydroponic gardening uses a system of recycling water, and there are some amazing innovations that improve efficiency and production (like these), there are an increasing diversity in the methods and the ways that this type of gardening can be used.

On a global scale, using less water, less energy and producing more food is certainly not a bad thing. However, on a personal scale it is often more about reducing your weekly food bill, being certain that you know what chemicals are actually going into your family’s meals, as well as creating food security. There is, of course, a growth industry with people using this method for cannabis production, however as the plant becomes legalised throughout the world there is less risk and therefore less monetary incentive to grow… flavoursome out of seasons strawberries on the other hand…

 

Grilling In The Open – The Ultimate How To Guide

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Grilling is an excellent pastime with friends and family out in your yard. There is a wide range of grills available to make your grilling fun – from modest charcoal grills that will cost you a few dollars to the built-in gas grills that will cost more than $10,000. However, once you learn the art of grilling, the grill you are using will not matter.

Once you have an easy to assemble grill, you need to follow the basic rules of grilling to grill like a professional. These rules include: 

  • The grill grate needs to stay clean, so the food will not stick
  • Ensure the grill heats up to the right temperature before you start grilling
  • Keep a close eye on the food you are grilling
  • Trim excess fat before grilling to prevent flare-ups
  • Get the best grill tools for the grilling
  • Do not oil the grill grate, instead, oil the food
  • Avoid adding marinades or sugary sauces to your food to prevent burning
  • Grill away from flammable fences, lighter fluids, or anything else that might catch fire
  • Spice your food an hour before grilling for the spices to sink in

Start Grilling = Get the Temperature Right

The first step in grilling like a pro is to assess the temperature of the grill. When a grill is hit enough, it cooks food fast. Foods such as cuts of meat, steaks, kebabs, burgers, and chops will cook quickly on a very hot grill. However, when the temperature of the grill is very high, it means you have to keep a close eye on the food you are grilling.

While the high temperature will help you cook food fast, not all foods need a hot and fast grill. Vegetables, fruits, fish, and chicken need lower temperature to grill well. If you are using a charcoal grill, build a smaller fire for these foods. If you are using an electric or gas grill, control the temperature to medium heat using the dials on the grill. When you are grilling in the open using a charcoal grill, you need to hold out your hand above the grill grate and feel how long it takes to start feeling the heat. If it takes five seconds before your hand starts feeling the heat you cannot tolerate, that grill is right for chicken, fish, and vegetables.

Turning Grilled Food

You obviously need your grilled food to cook evenly. As such, you need to turn the food frequently. Some people believe that when grilling food you need not turn it a lot. However, you can take advantage of the grill grate space to avoid flare-ups. Even when you turn your food frequently, expect flare-ups if you are grilling high-fat steak. 

Learn Indirect Grilling

Sometime when you are grilling large cuts of meat, the meat might burn on the outside but remain undercooked inside. In indirect cooking, the fire is on one side of the grill and the food on the opposite side. This way, the protein in the middle of large cuts will cook slowly before the outside burns. If you have a large gas grill, you can place your food in the middle of the grill grate and light the sides of the grill. If you have small charcoal, gas or electric grill, place your food on one side and light the other. You need to keep rotating your food for even cooking.

When grilling, keep the lid down to generate enough heat to cook the food evenly. 

Know When Food is Cooked

Knowing when grilled food is ready is as important as knowing the temperature to use for different foods. On medium heat, most meat cuts take between 10 and 14 minutes to cook. Fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables take less time, about 7 minutes. If you are experienced in grilling, you will instinctively know when food is ready. You will need a meat thermometer to test the readiness of grilled meat.

How To Grill Common Food

Beef and Mutton

Beef and mutton need to be cooked briefly over high heat (searing) to produce the tantalizing outer crust with grill marks. Again, to ensure that the interior of the meat is cooked well without charring the outer layer, cook the meat under low heat. Searing needs to be done for two minutes for one-inch-thick cuts of meat and four minutes for thicker cuts. The cooking time for beef and mutton should include searing time. The cooking time for beef and mutton should be between 10 and 14 minutes with the letter being well done and the former being medium done for 1-inch strips.

Grilling Pork

Pork steaks and chops are better cooked over direct heat. However, large chops and cuts can be cooked over indirect heat to allow the middle to cook well. For roasts, cook them over indirect heat with the fat side up. Cook roasts to medium for great results. If you are grilling tenderloin, cook as you would steak starting with searing. 

Grilling Poultry

Poultry cooks fast. All poultry parts should be cooked over direct heat. For whole birds, cook over indirect heat and keep rotating for even cooking. Before grilling, ensure the whole bird is defrosted fully. If you need to add sauce, add it the last ten minutes of cooking for whole birds. Grilling parts of poultry such as breasts should take not more than 12 minutes. 

Grilling Seafood

Seafood needs more attention than other foods since fish will dry within a few minutes and shellfish turn from tender to chewy in a few minutes. For fish and shellfish, especially if you are grilling parts, use medium hot grills. For whole fish, use a low temperature and keep rotating. Shrimps, calamari, and scallops need to cook fast on hot grills. Treat tuna steaks as you would beef steaks; sear the steaks first and then grill over medium heat.

Other Foods

Hamburgers, kebabs, fruits, vegetables, sausages, and other foods that come already cooked, should be cooked for a short period. Turn them frequently to give them the char and flavor they need without burning. Most of these foods will be ready in seven minutes or less. 

Top five Water Softeners for Backyard Wells

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

A backyard well is an excellent investment, but you soon realize the challenges that come with hard water. Hard water contains 60mg dissolved magnesium and calcium content, which causes scaling. It can also damage your plumbing fixtures and appliances such as washing machine, water heater, and dishwasher. You can do away with the challenges of hard water by installing a water softener. Water softeners have various designs, capacities, and working mechanisms. All you need it find one that is easy to use and maintain to enjoy the water from your backyard well. Here are top five water softeners you can consider.

  1. Fleck 9100SXT Dual Tank Water Softener

The flex 9100SXT is a heavy-duty water softener with enormous capacity that can serve a home, office, and industrial setup.It has two tanks, each having a size of 9600 grains. The system alternates the load between each tank to ensure continuous supply of water.The system will use the full capacity of one tank before turning on standby tank.The system works by ion-exchange mechanism using sodium salts to soften hard water. The system boasts efficiency, a flow rate of 20GPM and easy installation. The digital LCD has an inbuilt memory that saves your settings.You get a 10-year warranty and resin to last at least five years and save up to 25% on salt and water usage.

  1. Fleck 5600SXT 64000 Grain Water Softener

The Fleck 5600 64000 grains water softener is a bit costly but worthy due to its convenience and effectiveness. Fleck 5600STX is an ion-exchange type of water softener that comes with LCD displays for checking errors and status of the system. It has a digital meter so you can monitor your water usage. The assembly includes the tank, brine tank with safety control, control, head, bypass valve, and resin. You can choose a resin capacity ranging from 16000 to 64000-grain size. The system comes with a five-year warranty, and the brine tank has a ten-year warranty. It comes with the installation kit for easy installation and an LCD control panel that is easy to use. The installation can consume your time if you lack some plumbing experience.

  1. Spring Well Future soft Salt-free Water Softener

This water softener boasts a high rating in the industry. The system does not use salt to soften water. Instead, it uses the template-assisted crystallization (TAC) to remove the minerals that cause water hardness. TAC, a physical process, converts the minerals that cause hardening of water to hardness crystals. This prevents scaling by up to 99.6%. The conditioning process is ecofriendly because it neither wastes water nor discharges salt brine to the environment. The softener combines a whole house water filter that leverages on the catalytic properties of coconut shell carbon to sieve contaminants to provide you with clean water. The system is maintenance-free except for an annual filter change and comes with a lifetime warranty.

  1. Tier1 Digital Water softener

Tier1 water softener has a basic appearance yet effective and affordable. It requires a small space for installation, and you can install it outdoor provided temperatures do not reach freezing point. This water softener comes in two colors, black and blue. The system will remove calcium and magnesium content from water but will retain the useful minerals.The assembly includes a brine tank, mineral tank, and a bypass valve. The design features quick connections that allow easy and quick installation and ease of use. It has a grain capacity of 48000, which is ideal for water softening. The user-friendly LCD gives you security and control over cycles and the system. You can expect a two-hour disruption period during regeneration. To avert disruption, schedule the regeneration to late hours.

  1. Eddy Water Descaler

The eddy water descaler is an electronic water softener and an affordable alternative to regular water softeners. Conventional water softeners alter the chemical composition of your water by removing iron content. The eddy water descaler does not eradicate these minerals meaning your water retains all the healthy minerals. The electronic descaler produces electromagnetic waves that reduce the scaling effects of minerals in hard water.

Consequently, these minerals will not stick to your plumbing features. The descaler does not require addition of salt to your water, which makes it affordable to run. The product allows a maximum pipe diameter of 1.5”. The eddy water descaler comes with a lifetime repair and replacement warranty from the manufacturer. You will also receive a full refund within the initial twelve months if the product does not satisfy you. The water descaler is easy to install, and you do not need a plumber.  The Eddy water descaler is however not effective with iron and galvanized pipe materials. The product is not waterproof and therefore limited to indoor installation.

How To Protect Your Garden From Vandalism 2019 Guide

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

You must have spent countless hours to make your garden beautiful enough to suit your lifestyle. As such, the last thing you need is for someone to vandalize your garden and your equipment maliciously. Gardeners spend billions of dollars every year to maintain the greenery in their gardens. So, if someone vandalizes your garden, it is not the flowers and plants that will suffer, but your bank and your time will also experience a blow.

What do you need to protect?

Exotic and specialists flowers, trees, and plants need more protection. If you specialize in exotic flowers, a vandal might want to destroy the plants out of sheer jealousy. Pots, planters, hanging baskets, and plush garden furniture also need protection from vandals and thieves. Again, you need to protect fountains, water features, fish (especially Koi Carp), mowers, and other garden tools and equipment.

To keep your garden protected from vandals and thieves, consider:

Beefing Up Security around Your Perimeter

Without a secure perimeter, anyone passing by your home can vandalize your garden. Your boundary walls and your fences need beefing up to keep vandals and burglars away. 

Anti-Climb Products 

For starters, choose anti-climb products and fit them on walls, gates, and fences. This will ensure that vandals (who can be people or animals) cannot climb into your garden. You can consider wall and fence spikes, anti-climb paint, and roller barriers. However, it is essential to note that some locations do not allow some anti-climb products to be used. Talk to your local planning department to know which products to use.

Good Locks on Gates

You need a quality padlock or a chain hasp set to keep the gate locked. To ensure that your gate’s cross braces do not aid the vandal to climb, use a solid panel on the outside of your gate. This will ensure vandals do not get a foothold. 

Defensive Plants

Thorny shrubs will keep intruders away from your garden. If a vandal climbs over your garden, thorny shrubs such as Berberis and Pyracantha will ensure an uncomfortable landing for intruders. These plants need to be planted all round your perimeter. Talk to your local garden center to find out which plants are ideal for garden protection. 

Keep Your Home Lit and Install Cameras

It is not easy for vandals to come to your home at night if your home is well lit. Most animals that might vandalize your garden are nocturnal and they will stay away from a well-lit yard. Again, people will stay away from a well-lit garden in fear that they will be seen. There is no place for vandals to hide in your garden if every area is lit. Garden lights do not have to stay on all night. Instead of lighting up your garden all night long, buy lights that go on when motion is detected and position them strategically in different parts of your garden. This way, an intruder gets into your garden, and the lights go on.

Security cameras can be monitored whether in person or online. When you install cameras, you can monitor what happens in your garden when you are not around. If you note animals are the ones vandalizing your garden, you will find a way to exterminate them. People will fear any home that has security cameras in fear that they will be spotted and reported to the authorities.

Besides cameras, you need to have a sound alarm system for your garden. The alarm system in your home keeps valuables inside your house protected. However, if you feel your plants are worth a small fortune, you need to keep them protected too, by installing an alarm system.

Bring Down Hiding Places

Are there bushes around your garden where animal vandals can hide? If there are, you need to clear these bushes. Again, if there are structures in your garden that serve no purpose but can hide vandals, you need to remove them or keep them lit enough to scare away vandals. 

Protecting Your Equipment, Planters, and Ornaments

You need to keep your garden tools and equipment securely locked away. Your garden statuary and ornaments need to be secured to a land anchor. A land anchor is a chain or barbed device hammered into the ground and where a steel cable is attached to secure your planters and ornaments. 

If you have a store for your garden equipment, keep the windows obscured so intruders cannot see what is inside. Even better, you need to mark your property with a UV marker pen or identifiable color. Vandals who may decide to steal your property will be deterred by the presence of recognizable color or marking.

Conclusion

If your garden is vandalized more than once, you need to report to the police. To do that, you need to photograph your garden often to have photos of before and after vandalism. Again, you also need to join the neighborhood watch scheme – which exists in some neighborhood – where you watch out for each other’s property. When you are growing expensive exotic and specialist plants, you need to ensure that your home insurance can cover the loss of these plants to vandalism. Most insurance policies will not cover garden structures and plants, but you can find a plan that does.

 

Cultivating Coffee Beans By Yourself? Yes, It’s Actually Possible

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Growing coffee is a fascinating experience. Although coffee thrives well in the tropical climate, it is possible to cultivate coffee indoors in cold climates. You can grow few trees in your backyard or indoor pots and enjoy the aroma and chemistry of your coffee beans. The coffee plant is easy to grow and maintain. You can grow it as an ornamental plant because it stays green throughout the year. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow coffee from beans to harvesting.

  1. Pick the right cherries

The process begins by harvesting cherries for seed. It is best if you pick your beans to ascertain the viability of the seeds. Take only the ripe cherries from high producing coffee trees. Do not pick diseased or bruised cherries and pick cherries from disease-free plants. 

  1. Prepare the cherries for planting 

Once you have your cherries, pulp them using your hands, and wash them. Ferment the cherries under room temperature in a sizeable container until the pulp falls off. Wash the beans in fresh water and discard any seeds that float during the washing process. Dry the clean beans on a clean mesh in open dry air under shade. Do not dry them in direct sunlight. Bite into the seed to determine the appropriate moisture content – the outside should be dry while the inside should be somewhat soft and moist. Do not keep the cherries for long because they lose viability with time. If you cannot access fresh cherries from the trees, you can purchase green coffee beans. Ensure the beans are from a recent harvest.

  1. Germinate your coffee beans

Pre-germinate your seeds. Once you have your dry seeds, soak them in warm water for about 24 hours and drain the water. Plant the seeds in moist vermiculite or sand. Ensure you drain excess water off the germinating medium. You can also opt to germinate the coffee beans between damp coffee sacks. Keep the seeds moist by watering each day, but ensure you drain excess water. Coffee seeds can start germinating anywhere between two to six months depending on the age of the beans. Fresh beans start sprouting in two and a half months, while older seeds can take up to six months. Seeds that do not grow after six months are not viable seeds.

  1. Move the seedlings

Once the coffee seeds germinate, carefully transfer them from the germinating medium (vermiculite, sand, or coffee sacks) to a larger pot. Sow each seedling in a hole of size 2.5 cm deep in loamy soil with high humus content. You can add well decompose manure, bone meal, or dried blood to improve the nutrient status of the ground. Alternatively, you can use lightweight porous soil. Place the seeds in the hole with the flat side facing up and cover the seeds lightly with soil. Keep the soil loose, and mulch it with about half-inch layer of grass to conserve moisture. Remove the mulch when the seeds germinate fully. 

  1. Transplant to a permanent location

Once the seedling develops to resemble a coffee plant (about nine months), then transplant it in the yard or a permanent container. Plant your coffee seedlings outdoor if you live in a hot and humid climate. Select a relatively shaded planting site with deep, well-drained soil. You want the roots to grow efficiently. Coffee plants are delicate, and the growing site should provide shelter from strong winds. 

  1. Know what to do if you live in a cold area 

If you live in a cold region, then you cannot grow your coffee plant outdoors. You can only get a good crop by growing the coffee plants indoors in a large pot. Use a deep gallon, one with a capacity of about 70 to 95 liters. Select a site close to the window where the plant can receive maximum sunlight. You can also consider artificial lighting. Maintain an indoor temperature of between 15 and 27 Celsius degrees. Night temperatures should not fall below 7 Celsius degrees.

  1. Clear the site and improve the soil

If planting outdoors, clear all the weeds around the planting site. You can add organic well-decomposed manure. You can also mix the soil with basalt gravel dust. Coffee like slightly acidic (PH 6) soils with high nitrogen content.

  1. Plant the seedling

Make a hole, one that is big enough to accommodate the rooting system of the coffee plant. Carefully move the plant from the pot and gently place it in the new hole. Place some soil around the rooting area of the plant and make it firm. For indoor plants, plant one plant per container. Maintain a spacing of three meters between plants when planting outdoors. 

  1. Mulch the soil

Cover the soil with a layer of mulch to conserve soil moister and nutrients. A layer of grass or rotting leaves will do the job. You can also mulch outdoor plants. Alternatively, you can plant cover crops around the base of the tree. Leguminous cover crops are the best because they enrich the soil with nitrogen.

  1. Take care of your plants

Basic care for a coffee plant will entail watering. Water indoor plants twice a week but do not saturate the soil. You can reduce the amount of watering to once a week when the tree is established, and cropping becomes steady. Water your outdoor trees during the dry periods and do not water during the rainy period. Another care is fertilizer application. Apply citrus fertilizer six weeks after you plant the tree and do this after every six months. The warmer periods present the best time to add fertilizer. Although not necessary, pruning is essential if you wish to keep the coffee plant small. Start pruning when the coffee plant grows to a height of 20 inches. Cut off the growing tip to encourage lateral growth.

  1. Harvest the beans

It takes an average of nine years for the coffee plant to produce substantial fruits. However, your plant may begin flowering within three years and produce few coffee cherries. If the cherries grow to maturity and ripen, you can harvest them. However, if they fall off prematurely, the tree is not mature enough to produce.