Category Archives: For the home

Organic Gardening: 7 Things You Can Repurpose to Use in Your Garden

It makes both good sense, and good cents, to grow your own vegetables at home in an organic garden. No matter how much or how little space and/or time you have, you can still plant a container garden and harvest some home grown tomatoes and peppers. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or trying out your green thumb for the first time in organic gardening, try these ideas for 7 things you can recycle to use in your garden.

Food Scraps

Any food items other than meat scraps or grease can be recycled into compost and used to enrich your soil, which in turn feeds plants and enables them to yield a bigger harvest. Used coffee grounds and crumbled egg shells are two of the best soil amendments and can be placed directly on top of the soil (in-ground or container gardens) to nourish plants. Create a small compost pile to toss other food scraps until they decompose into ‘black gold’ then work into garden soil for free and chemical-free compost.

Tin Cans

Large tin cans, like those that spaghetti sauce or juice come in, can be recycled and used as feeding and watering tubes for garden plants. Wash the tin cans and cut both ends. Dig a hole the size of the tin can in the garden soil and place the can in the soil, then plant a few vegetables around the can. Use the open-ended tin can to deliver water directly to plant roots throughout the growing season. Make compost tea to pour in the cans to provide organic food to plants.

Recycled Mulch

Grass clippings and tree leaves (raked during the fall) provide free, organic mulch for vegetable plants. Mulch helps keep the soil cool, retain moisture and discourage weed growth.

Plastic Milk Jugs

Get a head start on the growing season by using clean plastic milk jugs as mini greenhouses. Cut the bottom fourth off a gallon milk jug and place over tiny vegetable seedlings to provide them with protection from the elements and create a greenhouse environment. Remove lid on warm days and replace during cold nights.

Plastic Buckets

Food grade plastic buckets that are used in the deli and restaurant industry are perfect for recycling into harvesting buckets. The size, handles and lids make these buckets perfect for carrying to the garden to harvest fresh produce and for transporting vegetables.

Pantyhose

Many vegetable plants, like tomatoes and cucumbers, need to be staked and tied to keep them off the ground during the growing season. Nothing beats strips of used pantyhose for tying vegetable plants to their support system. Pantyhose stretch and will not cut into tender vines like rope or twine will and the nylon fabric is strong enough to last all summer.

Recycled Support

Tree limbs that have been pruned can be fashioned into a tee-pee for supporting climbing veggies, like cucumbers and sugar snap peas. Old iron headboards, fence posts or shovel handles or other tall, portable items can be given new life in an organic garden as vegetable stakes and trellises to keep produce off the ground.

Jeremy Aarons writes about home improvement, parenting and all things related to being a stay at home dad. Recently, he’s explored his journey earning a sociology degree online while spearheading a communal garden for his neighborhood.

 

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Simple Outdoor Home Security Projects

Protecting your home is easier than you think. More often than not, people choose not to protect their home because they think the cost is astronomical or that nothing will ever happen to them. However, there are a lot of security projects that you can implement around your home for little to no cost, but that can actually boost your security portfolio as much as larger projects would.

This post is designed to share these outdoor security tips in the hope that someone will jump on these projects to protect themselves before anything happens. While these tips will not stop all burglars, it can help deter most criminals to keep you and your family safe.

Security Sign

Here are some simple home security tips and projects:

–          Mind your landscaping. Your landscaping can say a lot about you, but one thing you don’t want it to say is, “rob me!” However, it is very common to find an overgrown lawn or an unattended row of bushes. To a burglar, this means that you might be away on vacation. Regularly trim your lawn and the rest of your landscaping. When it comes to bushes around your home, keep them three feet or shorter in height. Taller bushes provide a hiding place for burglars so they can work without being noticed.

–          Trim the trees that come within 7-9 feet of your home. Burglars can climb these trees and make a jump for a second story window. You may think it sounds impossible, but it does happen. Trimming these trees is also beneficial for neighborhood support. More often than not, your neighbors are the ones spotting something out of place so having trimmed trees where passersby can see your lawn will ward off burglars.

–          Put gravel around the immediate perimeter of your home. This acts like a security alarm for any burglars prowling around your windows. Burglars will try to avoid making any possible noise. Stepping on a large trail of pebbles will easily give them away so a potential burglar might move on.

–          Put home security signs around your home. Four out of 5 burglars said that they are deterred by a home security sign outside. Burglars don’t want to risk any chance of being caught so if it comes down to your home with a sign and your neighbor’s without, they would be more likely to go next door.

–          An additional security measure you could take is adding a surveillance system to your home. If you think it is overly expensive, there are other options such as a fake security camera. These look like the real thing and even have a battery operated “recording light.” This can help ward off many burglars who avoid wearing masks or disguises to better blend in like a person who should be there. They don’t want to be caught on camera and a surveillance system, real or fake, can help protect your home.

These are just some of the simple steps that you can take to protect your home. These projects are designed to increase the security of your home without breaking the bank.

About the Author: Dan Miller is a writer and home security expert for http://www.homesecuritydeals.com. He seeks to provide low cost security solutions for those looking to protect themselves. When he is not working on a DIY project, he is watching football with his lovely wife.

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Treating for bedbugs

Bedbugs have been a rising concern for the last two decades. You can read more about the biology of these pesky house bugs here. In this post we will investigate several methods that might help you deal with them.

The first thing to do is to confirm that you have an infestation, and this can be tricky. Bedbugs can live in large numbers near their food source (you), but they are masters at avoiding detection. Since they generally feed at night, they congregate near beds and sleeping areas. Often they hide in headboards, mattresses, baseboards and carpet crevasses, and bedside furniture. Adults are easily identified when seen as they are about 1/8 of an inch long, dark brown in color, and have dark bands across their backs.

Bedbug nymph

Bedbug

Other telltale signs of bedbugs are blood spots in the bedding, fecal spots in the mattress and box springs, shed skins of the bugs, and of course bites on people. The bites of the bedbugs are on exposed skin, often on the extremities, and the can welt up and itch. You may find that some of the welts line up as the bugs might bite several times while going in a straight line.

Once an infestation has been confirmed action is called for. These pesky bugs can be very hard to eradicate. And for many, they cause great stress and anxiety. When you know that you are being fed upon at night you may hate to crawl into bed and sleep. After all, your bed is your place of refuge, and if you are not safe there, nights can become a nightmare.

The process for getting rid of these little suckers (literally) can be a lot of physical work. Start by physically cleaning all the areas around the bed. Wash all bedding in hot water. The heat will kill any bugs and eggs. Take clutter from around the bed, places where the bugs could hide, and heat treat it as well. You cannot simply tie up the stuff in plastic bags as the bugs and their eggs can live for a very long time between feedings. However, I have found it to be effective to place the bags in your car in the hot sun. Repeated heating in a hot car is enough to kill the bugs and eggs.

Pull drawers out of bedside tables and look behind them, cleaning everything in the drawer and behind the drawer meticulously. A vacuum can help. Clean the crevasses around the baseboards and any cracks. Check the box springs carefully, and clean any debris so at least you can see later if there is new activity.

Bugs can also hide in clothing, so you may need to re-wash your entire wardrobe, and then store it in sealed plastic bags to protect from re-infestation. Clothing should be washed and dried in a hot dryer. You may wish to use the commercial machines at a Laundromat. Vacuum your carpets thoroughly. If you have furniture that is infested you may just wish to throw it away. If you do however, be sure to either destroy it or mark it clearly that it is infested so someone else does not carry it home.

Even all this meticulous cleaning will likely not be enough. There are a number of non-chemical treatments that have been suggested. I offer them there for those who would like to avoid the chemicals, but realistically I am not sure how effective they really are.

There are commercially made bed bug traps. Mattress covers might be a good idea. They are designed to trap any bugs inside so they cannot get to you. You would need to also cover the box springs. And while they may trap those already inside, that is likely not the only population you have. Bed post dishes have been suggested. This is where you place the bed legs into a container and put oil or something similar that the bugs cannot cross. The idea is it keeps the bugs from climbing up into the bed in the first place. The problem with this is you have to keep the containers full, and it would only take one time of a blanket falling to the floor, or of you having a bug on a bed slipper and unknowingly giving it a lift to the bed.

Diatomaceous earth has been suggested. The idea here is that the clay will desiccate the bugs, dry them out, and kill them. But direct contact with the bugs is required, and if they are not adequately covered it will have no effect.

Heat does kill the bugs, so steam can be effective. The problem with it is the heat has to be applied very close to the bug itself, and if you cannot get the steam deep into every surface where the bugs might hide, they simply will retreat to a safe place and reemerge.

As much as we all shy away from chemicals, this may be a time to bring out the big guns. I highly recommend a professional exterminator as they are trained in the use and application of the insecticides, and since you will be spraying surfaces that you will come into contact with it is best to get professional help.

I have read (but an not endorsing) that you can effectively spray for the bugs yourself by using a combination of 2 oz of Cy-Kicks-CS (with 6% cyfluthrin) and 1 oz of Martins IGR (1.3% of 2-{1methyl2(4phenoxyphenoxy)ethoxy}pyridine) per gallon of water. These chemicals should be available at a local do-it-yourself store. You will have to repeat the spraying and thorough cleaning of all areas 5 to 7 days after the first treatment as the bugs are not killed instantly but the chemicals inhibits growth and breeding.

Bedbug infestations can be a nightmare. It is best to catch them early. Also, be aware that if you live in a multi-unit dwelling, you cannot just treat one apartment—all of them must be thoroughly dealt with or the bugs will simply move from unit to unit.

So, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite—ever again!

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Buying Good Wireless TV Headphones

When it comes to TV headphones, wireless is the way to go. Sennheiser cordless headphones are one of the best brands of stereo and game headphones. They reduce the amount of background noise you hear while using them. Wireless TV headphones also make the quality of the TV program you are watching and listening to a lot better than normal. These days the world is filled with the many sounds. With all the electronic sounds, cars, crowds and other various noises, these noises make it hard to watch your favorite television show. It would be wonderful not to be interrupted with all the noise of other TV’s in the house and children’s video games. That’s what TV headphones do; they reduce the background sound of the world around us.

Wireless Headphones allow you to still be able to listen into your favorite show that is on while still being able to do chores around the house. They allow you to roam freely around the house with no problem. There are times when two spouses get into arguments over the TV being too loud. Sometimes it’s a problem if the husband has the TV up to loud and it is bothering the wife while she is trying to read. With wireless TV headphones that no longer is a problem. Now all the husband has to do is slip on his wireless TV headphones and turn on his favorite show. The wife will not be disturbed by the husband’s TV show and she can read in peace.

TV headphones have made things so much easier for many people. Wireless TV headphones have made life more civil between spouses when it comes to competing for the sounds surrounding us.

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How to Protect Your Wicker Furniture

Many people love to enjoy their outdoor wicker furniture sets. There really is not anything nicer than going and lounging around outside in a great comfortable chair with a good book. Well there is one thing that is extremely important that you can do to make sure that your wicker stays perfect for you to enjoy and relax in for years to come.

The first thing you need to do is to  protect your wicker furniture’s exterior. It is very important that you have the wicker sealed. Some manufactures already do this for you but most of the time they do not put enough on or they do not use the right kind of sealer so it is best his way you know its protected and will last a long time. The first thing that you need to do is to run down to your local hardware store or Walmart even. You need to pick up a couple of cans of Rustoleum clear coat. This product seals great. It is meant for sealing paint but if you have exposed wicker furniture it will seal in that perfect look.

Even if your furniture is already painted or sealed, the clear coat will give it a perfect look. Just make sure you clean the furniture really well and make sure that it is dry before trying to apply the clear coat. You just need to follow the instructions on the can and you are good to go. To do three chairs and a sofa it took me four cans of clear coat and an hour of my time.

To make sure that your furniture stays protected for years to come one thing that you can do is to redo the process in six months to ensure that the clear coat takes. The wicker chair is a great comfortable piece of furniture and needs to be protected. You  should makes sure that all furniture in your house is protected so that you can enjoy them for years to come.

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