Summer Activity! Start an Indoor Garden!

If you’re worried about your kids losing academic skills over the summer, you might be searching for activities to keep them mentally stimulated. You might have already signed up for a summer reading program or researched some fun math activities. However, throwing in some hands-on science activities can also be fun and educational for kids!

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Kids learn best when they’re actively engaged in an activity. If you’re looking for a fun hands-on science activity that you can start this summer and continue into the school year, consider growing your own indoor garden!

Benefits

Aside from providing a fun activity, there are additional benefits to starting an indoor garden.

  • Having plants around your house improves your air quality because they aid in air filtration.
  • If you opt for herbs, veggies, or fruits, you can use what you grow in your cooking
  • Plants are aesthetically pleasing
  • A garden will attract birds, bees, butterflies etc.
  • Taking care of plants can provide your child with a sense of responsibility

Gardening options

An indoor garden doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can make it as large or as little as you would like.

A small garden can be as simple as getting a few small pots and placing them in your windowsill. Even watching a single seed grow can provide some good educational talking points. If you opt for this option, you’ll want to make sure you choose a window that gets a good amount of sunlight.

If you want to take your indoor level to the next level, you can invest in an indoor garden box to put near your windows. These are raised boxes specifically designed for indoor gardening. Most gardening stores sell them, or you can build your own. A bonus of building your own is that you can build it at the perfect height for your tiny gardener!

If you have older children who already have a good understanding of gardening basics or if you’re living in a small space, you might want to consider a hydroponic system. Hydroponics involves growing plants using a nutrient-rich solution instead of soil. You can find a number of hydroponic kits to get started available online, or you can build your own system.

For hydroponic systems, the kind of water you use is very important. If your home gets hard water or water mixed with many additives, it may be worthwhile to filter the water through reverse osmosis(https://ro-systemreviews.com) before using it for your plants.

What you’ll need

Plants

Decide if you want to grow flowers, fruits, vegetables, or herbs. After you pick what you want to grow, decide if you want seeds or cuttings. Starting with seeds is a great option if you have kids because they’ll get to see the entire life cycle of a plant. Seeds also tend to be less expensive, which can be useful if some of your plants end up not making it.

Containers

You can use almost anything for a container as long as there is proper drainage. You can buy plastic or clay pots meant for gardening. These pots will have drainage holes at the bottom.

For a less expensive option, you can dig through your recycling bin for old milk cartons, butter containers, or egg cartons. Just make sure to punch holes in the bottom of your recycled container for drainage!

Grow lights

If you live in a house or apartment that doesn’t receive a lot of natural sunlight, you’ll either need to invest in plants that don’t need a lot of sunlight or invest in grow lights. Grow lights are a great option because they are specifically designed to provide indoor plants with the light they need. Even if you live in the darkest of homes, a grow light will have you saying “Look at our new indoor garden”!

Growing medium

You’ll, of course, need something for your plants to grow in. If you’re going with the traditional container or the garden box approach, you’ll want to invest in a quality potting mix. If going for the hydroponic approach, you’ll want to choose a medium that works well with your chosen system.

Child-size gardening tools

Your child will enjoy having their own tools to garden with! Invest in shovels, trowels, and watering cans that are the right size for your child.

Connecting it to learning

The best way to connect your new garden to learning is by taking your child’s lead. Children are naturally curious, so wait for your child to ask questions. You and your child can then research the questions together, either on the computer or at the library.

Possible topics you’ll explore together include why do plants need sunlight, what the life cycle of a plant is, and how can you tell if a plant is healthy.

Remember — keep it fun! The whole point of your new indoor garden is to allow your child to explore the world around them. A great indoor learning environment creates happy and healthy kids.

An Introduction to Composting

The composting process is a complex interaction between organic waste and microorganisms. The microorganisms that carry out this process fall into three groups: bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetesActinomycetes are a form of fungi-like bacteria that break down organic matter. The first stage of the biological activity is the consumption of easily available sugars by bacteria, which causes a fast rise in temperature. The second stage involves bacteria and actinomycetes that cause cellulose breakdown. The last stage is concerned with the breakdown of the tougher lignins by fungi.

Composting_Process

Central solutions are exemplified by low-cost composting without forced aeration, and technologically more advanced systems with forced aeration and temperature feedback. Central composting plants are capable of handling more than 100,000 tons of biodegradable waste per year, but typically the plant size is about 10,000 to 30,000 tons per year. Biodegradable wastes must be separated prior to composting: Only pure food waste, garden waste, wood chips, and to some extent paper are suitable for producing good-quality compost.

Composting Equipment

The composting plants consist of some or all of the following technical units: bag openers, magnetic and/or ballistic separators, screeners (sieves), shredders, mixing and homogenization equipment, turning equipment, irrigation systems, aeration systems, draining systems, bio-filters, scrubbers, control systems, and steering systems. The composting process occurs when biodegradable waste is piled together with a structure allowing for oxygen diffusion and with a dry matter content suiting microbial growth.

Biodegradable wastes must be separated prior to composting: Only pure food waste, garden waste, wood chips, and to some extent paper are suitable for producing good-quality compost.The temperature of the biomass increases due to the microbial activity and the insulation properties of the piled material. The temperature often reaches 65 to 75 degrees C within few days and then declines slowly. This high temperature hastens the elimination of pathogens and weed seeds.

Composting Methodologies

The methodology of composting can be categorized into three major segments—anaerobic composting, aerobic composting, and vermicomposting. In anaerobic composting, the organic matter is decomposed in the absence of air. Organic matter may be collected in pits and covered with a thick layer of soil and left undisturbed six to eight months. The compost so formed may not be completely converted and may include aggregated masses.

Aerobic composting is the process by which organic wastes are converted into compost or manure in presence of air and can be of different types. The most common is the Heap Method, where organic matter needs to be divided into three different types and to be placed in a heap one over the other, covered by a thin layer of soil or dry leaves. This heap needs to be mixed every week, and it takes about three weeks for conversion to take place. The process is same in the Pit Method, but carried out specially constructed pits. Mixing has to be done every 15 days, and there is no fixed time in which the compost may be ready.

Berkley Method uses a labor-intensive technique and has precise requirements of the material to be composted. Easily biodegradable materials, such as grass, vegetable matter, etc., are mixed with animal matter in the ratio of 2:1. Compost is usually ready in 15 days.

Vermicomposting involves use of earthworms as natural and versatile bioreactors for the process of conversion. It is carried out in specially designed pits where earthworm culture also needs to be done. Vermicomposting is a precision-based option and requires overseeing of work by an expert. It is also a more expensive option (O&M costs especially are high).

Bring New Life to Your Garden by Making it Bee-friendly

It is remarkable how resistant humankind has become to working with nature, all too often preferring to dominate and exploit the world around us – a trait which is detrimental to human and non-human life in the long run. Thankfully, more and more people are waking up to the idea that it is the processes and lessons of the natural world, rather than its exploitable properties, which are our most valuable assets.

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As the renewable energy movement becomes truly mainstream, everyday people are beginning to turn their backs on the excesses of 19th and 20th century consumption and to instead look forwards and embrace an ecosystem of which we are not the master – but rather just another essential component.

One way in which you can do so is to take a stand against the decimation of bee populations in a constructive manner – by creating a bee-friendly garden. Patterns and techniques of crop farming have left the insects in increasingly hostile territory, with bee numbers falling dramatically enough to hit the headlines. But it’s possible even for individuals to make a difference just by the flowers and plants they choose to put in their garden.

Bees are crazy for the kinds of wildflowers that have been torn up by industrial-level farming, and a good variety of local, colorful blooms can brighten your days while providing a delicious stopping point for the stripy critters. Even just allowing your garden to grow naturally – without clamping down on weeds and dandelions – can make it a more inviting environment for the right kinds of insects.

Bees are crazy for wildflowers

Bees are crazy for wildflowers

While it’s okay to use a smattering of non-native plants in your garden, this should always be done in sensitivity to the surrounding area, as unwelcome plant-life can create environmental imbalances. If in doubt, stay local – and consult this new chart from Budget Direct, which lists some of the best choices you can make for the bees in your garden, wherever you are in the world.

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5 Sustainable Gardening Practices for a Greener Garden

There’s no question that there is quite a bit of buzz around organic and sustainable gardening along with permaculture. Everyone wants access to safe veggies, fruits and even eggs, which means that many of the older “Victorian” style practices of gardening and keeping animals and poultry are really making a comeback. There are more and more people practicing urban agriculture in backyards and vacant lots across the country.

If you are interested in joining this group of eco-conscious individuals, then be sure to implement the top sustainable gardening ideas found here.

1. Reduce the Size of Your Lawn

Rather than having your entire property covered in grass and plants, consider adding more hardscape fixtures as time passes. As you do this, you can minimize the upkeep, water, and other maintenance that your lawn needs. It will also minimize the tools that you need to care for your garden and make the use of smaller, more green hand tools, like the ones at Easy Digging, a viable option when it comes to caring for your lawn.

2. Gather Water On-Site

In the past, people would say that “rainwater does magic on plants.” This is a phrase that has some truth to it. There is nothing quite as effective as rainwater when it comes to encouraging your garden to grow. Rather than letting the water runoff your property before it can soak in, why not gather some and use it for your plants. This is a great way to reduce the amount of water that you have to use from public or drilled sources, thus helping with water conservation.

3. Create a Compost Pile

You can create your own compost pile by using non-meat kitchen scraps and other plant materials. When done properly, you can create rich black soil. Rather than putting grass clippings and leaves in your garbage, add them to your compost, too. If you don’t want to start this from scratch, you can purchase a “starter” compost pile and then add to it.

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4. Mulch with the Materials You Have Available

You can mulch with the materials that are readily available to you, such as wood chips, pine needles, and leaves. These are going to help keep the soil moist while enriching it and minimizing the presence of weeds. Avoid using cypress much because this is usually made from grinding and harvesting younger trees which is not a sustainable gardening method.

5. Use Native Plants

Only use the plants that are native to your area. This is going to help ensure they can grow with little intervention from you.

Are You Using Sustainable Gardening Practices?

As you can see, there are several ways you can make your gardening efforts more sustainable and more eco-friendly. Consider implementing the tips here and see how your property can flourish while you are still doing something good for the planet. It’s a win-win situation that will help you save time, money, and effort while still having a beautiful lawn.

Growing Cannabis In An Energy Efficient Way

The medical and recreational cannabis industries are continuously growing and with more and more countries deciding to legalise, many are turning to growing their own cannabis.

However, one downside can be the energy it takes to power the lighting, heating, pumps and ventilation needed to successfully grow a cannabis plant. In fact, did you know that on average, producing one pound of cannabis requires about 2,000 kWh; the same amount of which the average household will use in two and a half months!

Luckily, in the article below, we have put together a range of methods you can use to save energy, money while growing cannabis. This has been written in collaboration with 2 Fast 4 Buds, leading providers of autoflowering cannabis seeds.

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Use LED Lights

LED lights are a much more energy efficient option, compared to other types of lighting. Therefore, if you are looking to cut down on your energy usage and therefore costs, they’re a great choice to make!

They won’t produce as much heat as other lights and will also cool down much quicker, which goes even further in reducing your energy costs. What’s more, more often than not LEDs will have a light spectrum which is perfect for your plants needs.

Overall, choosing LED grow lights means higher efficiency because less power is converted into heat and into a light spectrum of which your plant doesn’t fully appreciate.

Adjust the Size of your Grow to Your Needs

By adjusting how many cannabis plants you are growing to how much you actually need, you can make a big impact on your energy costs. In fact, this is by far one of the most effective ways to reduce your energy consumption.

For example, if you are using around 30g of cannabis a month, one single autoflower plant can produce this amount in its life cycle of 8 weeks. Therefore, by having four plants, you can ensure that you’re well stocked.

Try to perfectly match how much energy you use on your plants with the amount you need. You can also adjust lighting without having to move plants by looking for light movers. This allows you to setup lighting that can be adjusted without having to adjust the plants making lighting more portable.

Improve Your Insulation

If the space in which you are growing your cannabis isn’t properly insulated, then you will be wasting a huge amount of energy. This especially applies if you are using a heater or an air conditioner to help keep the space at the right temperature.

To ensure that your space is properly insulated, you want to use styrofoam wall panelling to insulate doors and windows and ensure that any piping in the room is properly insulated. This will help to ensure that you aren’t unnecessarily running your air conditioner or heater.

Optimise Your Climate Control

It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to constantly run your heaters, coolers and (de)humidifiers on full blast. In fact, many professional greenhouse growers will choose to measure a value known vapour pressure deficit or VPD. VPD will indicate the difference between the amount of moisture in the air and how much moisture the air can hold when it is saturated. This will then allow you to achieve the optimal climate for your plants, benefiting their health and also your energy usage.

You could also consider an integrated climate control system. Whilst this involves much more than just having a heater or air conditioner, an ICCS will intelligently control all of your growing equipment. For example, the system could temporarily switch off your exhausts to ensure that you aren’t wasting CO2 unnecessarily.

Sometimes, however simple methods prevail when optimising the climate for your plants. You could just run an ordinary standing fan or open a window or door to let fresh air in, and this could be enough for you to save on additional cooling methods.

Monitor Your Energy Consumption

If you are looking to cut down on the amount of energy you are using to grow cannabis, it is important to keep track of exactly how much energy you are using. From this you will be able to formulate a plan to control consumption and actually make adequate changes.

Establishing energy-spending targets of which you plan to achieve are a great starting point. However before you do this, make sure you know how much your energy costs per KW/h and how much energy each individual piece of equipment uses. Not knowing this will mean that the whole process will essentially be a guessing game, making saving energy much more difficult.

Take a look at your energy consumption in previous months and see whether you can improve on this. Even if you are making small changes, these can go a long way.

Once you understand how much energy you are using and how much is essentially going to waste, then you can make appropriate changes. This can include switching your grow lights for LEDs, reducing your light hours, installing climate control and so on.

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After making these changes, make sure to check as to whether you’re actually hitting your previously set goals and therefore whether your energy-saving tactics are actually working. IF you find that improvements are small, think of it as an opportunity to make more changes, whether that’s making more tweaks or consulting an expert.

Saving More Water

Being energy efficient isn’t just about cutting down how much electricity you use, it’s also about lowering your overall environmental footprint. Another great way to do this is by saving water.

Make sure to water your plants only when they need it. Lifting up your pots can help you to determine how much water is in there. Make sure to only water the plants when the pots are light. Even better, set up specialised sensors to do this for you!

Whilst hand watering may not seem hard, overwatering is an incredibly easy mistake to make. Using an irrigation system can ensure that water waste is greatly reduced and benefit the overall health of your cannabis plants.

Another great way to save water is by stopping ‘drain-to-water’ watering and choosing to grow your plants hydroponically. Hydroponic systems use tanks to recirculate water and therefore nutrients, resulting in significant water savings. These systems are also much more environmentally friendly as they don’t waste large quantities of water and nutrients.

Regular Maintenance

When growing cannabis, you want to ensure that all of your equipment is working at its best and the only way to ensure this is by performing regular maintenance.

If you own either an irrigation or hydroponic system, you want to ensure that you are cleaning it and replacing filters and valves regularly. Your system will also require a cleaning ‘flush’ once in a while.

Likewise, you will want to keep a grow room as clean as possible, to reduce the likelihood of equipment failures.

Grow Outside

If it is available to you, moving your plants outdoors could effectively remove the costs of operating an indoor growing system.

If you want to go a step further, investing in a greenhouse could be well worth it. A greenhouse will provide both you and your plants with all of the benefits of growing indoors, along with those of growing outdoors!

No matter how you do it, it is actually fairly easy to make your cannabis growing system more energy efficient. By no means will you have to sacrifice on the quality of your plant and you’ll benefit from a lower energy bill at the end of the day!

A Handy Guide to Ecotherapy

Ecotherapy is an emerging therapeutic treatment method aimed toward treating both physical health and psychological issues by detoxifying the body. The essential idea behind ecotherapy is that the human being is connected to the natural environment and is impacted by the changes happening in the external environment on account of environmental toxins. Detoxification of the body through outdoor activities is the fundamental basis of environmental therapy.

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Why Do We Need Ecotherapy?

In the past few decades, environmental degradation has not only destroyed natural ecosystems but has also led to significant increase in diseases related to environmental toxins, allergens and microorganisms. The outcome of this environmental crisis has been widespread prevalence of different types of cancers, chronic allergies, asthma, anxiety, depression and other ailments.

Ecotherapy, also known as environmental therapy, endeavours to unravel environment-related health issues by strengthening the linkage between the Nature and human being. The self-balancing mechanism of Nature can help in improving both physical and mental health by creating harmony between the natural elements and mankind.

Studies have shown that Nature can provide the healing touch and enhance physical health, psychological state and life satisfaction. For instance, the presence of houseplants in the workplace can positively affect creativity and productivity among employees.

The Different Types of Ecotherapy

Ecotherapy consists of an array of nature-based healing approaches which can be carried out individually or in groups under the guidance of trained therapists. Therapist notes, usually taken during a session, can provide a good understanding about the nature of ecotherapy services required for a particular health problem.

To obtain the best results, ecotherapy is usually conducted in natural settings to get the simplest results. The popular types of ecotherapy techniques include nature meditation, horticultural therapy, animal-assisted therapy and conservation-related activities.

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Nature replenishes our souls and has the power to boost our spirits. Meditating in nature activates our senses which assists in mindfulness training and propels the meditator to contemplate how a specific aspect of nature relates him to and what he can learn from it. Nature-based mediation is usually done in groups in a natural setting, like a park or forest. For instance, an old person can regain self-respect after realizing how old trees provide shelter for birds and shade for younger plants and passers-by.

The therapeutic benefits of gardening have been known for centuries. Horticulture-based therapy involves involvement in gardening and plant-based activities to realize specific therapeutic goals. Soil digging, planting trees, maintaining garden beds, trimming leaves and mowing grass are some of the common horticultural activities. Social isolation, depression, post-traumatic stress and drug abuse are the main mental disorders where horticultural therapy can act as a therapeutic modality. The major benefits of horticultural therapy include improvement in memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation and socialization.

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Animal-assisted therapy is the use of animals in the mental healing process. Grounded in the human-animal bond, the main goal of this therapy is to assist people deal with physical and mental ailments through pets. Traditionally, dogs have been used as therapy animals but cats are being used more and more, usually dogs and cats. For example, a therapy cat can be a loyal companion for a senior who is feeling lonely in an old age home. Similarly, pet therapy may help a kid who has recently his mother to overcome emotional trauma.

Physical activities, like walking, jogging, cycling or doing yoga, can rejuvenate the human-nature bond and can reduce stress, anxiety and anger. Likewise, conservation-based activities can inculcate a sense of belonging and connectedness with the natural elements .

Bottom Line

Ecotherapy is an effective therapeutic technique to treat physical and mental illnesses. It is also an effective way to strengthen the human-nature and human-animal bonds, thus helping in the conservation of natural ecosystems and wildlife.

Sustainable Agriculture with Organic Liquid Fertilizers

Agricultural practices are increasingly leaning towards committing to a sustainable environment. In light of this, organic farming has become acceptable to many farmers. Many are practicing environmental- friendly practices such as using organic liquid fertilizer instead of the synthetic alternative.

The misuse and abuse of synthetic fertilizers is responsible for many of the health problems that humans experience today. It has also contributed to a large extent to the deterioration of the environment.

Organic agriculture has experienced fast growth globally. Organic systems involve the natural management of soil through the following practices:

These nourish the soil by steadily releasing nutrients to the crops as the organic matter that has been added to the soil breaks down. The chemical and physical properties of the soil are improved by the exogenous organic matter applied to the soil. This also improves the biological functions of the soil which results in a healthy and wholesome crop free of dangerous disease causing chemicals.

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Why Organic Liquid Fertilizer is Sustainable?

Organic liquid fertilizer is derived from naturally existing products such as plants and animal manure. This makes it a sustainable product. Waste from animals such as cows, rabbits, fish and chicken is used to make organic fertilizer that provides much-needed nutrition to plants and soil as well.

Naturally occurring vegetation and waste will always be available as it renews itself. Besides, plants can be reused to make fertilizer for the next batch once harvesting is done. Since organic farming takes care of the environment, it is safe to say that vegetation is safe for the long run. Organic liquid fertilizer is also made from human waste such as urine and that is definitely sustainable.

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Organic gardeners love to have a bottle of organic fish fertilizer on hand for feed young seedlings. This fertilizer also works well on plants in containers and any crop that may be suffering from ‘malnutrition’.

Why and When to Use Liquid Fertilizers

Seeing as liquid manures act faster than solid organic ones, they are the best option in the following circumstance:

  • For seedlings that have exhausted the nutrients provided by newly sprouted seed. It is especially crucial if the fertilizer you are using is a soil-free seed starting mix. While it helps in damping off, it fails to provide adequate nutrients.
  • When seedlings show signs of not having had enough nutrients. If the color fails to darken after a fertilizer has been added, it is an indication that they have not had a fair share of nutrients.
  • If you have container-grown plants, liquid fertilizers are what your plants yearn for. Container-grown plants depend entirely on the grower for nutrients and moisture. They need to be fed frequently with an organic liquid fertilizer in order to thrive.
  • When you are growing cold-tolerant crops which begin their journey of growth in low soil temperatures. Liquid fertilizers are great for boosting nutrients for such plants since it is difficult to absorb nutrients such as nitrogen in wintry temperatures.

Organic liquid fertilizers are short-acting. Consequently, they are easier to regulate that dry organic ones which are longer-acting. The ease with which liquid fertilizers can be used makes them quite popular and therefore sustainable.

Important Tip

Do not mix too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer into the soil. This is not reversible. The release of nitrogen into the soil increases as the temperature rises. You may consequently end up with huge plants but no production. The best time to apply a short-acting fertilizer is just when it is needed by the crop. Then you have less chances of overdoing the application.

When your plants are well into the season, you can feed them an organic liquid fertilizer to rejuvenate crops such as tomatoes which live long in the ground. Tomatoes are known to awaken with gusto once you give them two feeds of a good organic liquid fertilizer.

How To Choose Solar Landscape Lighting?

When you take a good look around your garden, you may find that there’s so much you can do to make it look better. Among all others, you could consider landscaping your garden. This is a project that’ll make your garden instantly look lovelier. And then, going even further beyond that is landscape lighting. That way, even at night, the beauty of your landscape will still be visible. It’s a great way to make your garden look elegant and homey.

However, as much as this is nice to have, maintaining and switching on solar lights the whole night could be costly. Apart from sprucing up your home, you’ll also want your household to be eco-friendly. Thankfully, solar lights now exist to make this endeavor of yours achievable.

But with the wide range of options out in the market today, how do you choose the right solar landscape lighting for your garden? This article has you covered.

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1. Match The Light With Its Purpose

First of all, your chosen solar landscape lights should serve the purpose that you intend for it to do. You can choose from three of the most common categories of solar lights, according to use, in the garden. They are:

a. Decorative Accent Lights

These lights are meant to highlight certain features of your garden that you want to illuminate at night. These are usually made of multi-crystalline solar cells that enable them to charge even on a cloudy day. These are also great for sections in your garden with shaded areas such as trees, as these kinds of lights can stay lit for long.

b. Spot Lights

This kind of light has more of a safety feature beyond the decorative vibe it gives. More than anything, the best outdoor solar spot lights are used to mark landscape hazards, including steps on your garden or any rock formation that could potentially be a hazard.

c. Path Lights

These are used for lighting up driveways, walkways, and pathways.

2. Consider The Look You’re After

Another factor to consider when you’re thinking about some of the most popular options is the look you want for your garden or landscape. If you aspire to create a unique landscape that’s not seen often, you will probably want to select some of the more elaborate options available. Technology has also brought forth new designs of these solar lights, so you only need to take your pick according to your preference.

3. Inspect The Manner Of Mounting

Another thing to think about when it comes to some of these popular choices is how they can be mounted. For example, some lights can be mounted right onto your plants, while others require you to mount them directly onto the ground.

If you’re thinking about landscape lights that can be installed directly onto the ground, you’ll need to consider the plants or trees that they will illuminate. Take a good look around your garden to see if you have the appropriate plants around for specific light mounts.

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Some plants also prefer being on the ground rather than hung on the air, so they may require a completely different type of lighting design than you originally intended. Try to find options that would fit this exterior plan of your home.

4. Read Through Reviews Online

Before you even head out to shop, it’s better if you’ve already done prior research online. You might be confused about many options if you don’t know what you want. When window-shopping online, you’ll immediately acquire valuable information like the following:

  • Pictures of how these lights are used in actual gardens
  • Price range
  • Customer reviews
  • Quality

It’s a great idea to shop around and get as much information as possible on the lights you’re considering. If you do your homework, you’ll be able to choose the best solar lights for your backyard.

5. Check Basic Feature Must-haves

Regardless of the type of solar landscape lighting you’ll purchase and the purpose it serves in your garden, there are certain features you should also take extra care to notice among all your options. These features should be present for you to know that you’re bringing home a good quality item:

  • It comes with high-grade glass panels, so they won’t crack and turn cloudy;
  • It has advanced circuitry, so it can store light and charge even when the sky is dark;
  • It uses top-of-the-line batteries or ‘next-generation batteries’ to ensure that it has more charges than ordinary solar landscape lights.

Conclusion

With the vast number of options available today for solar landscape lighting, choosing the best one might prove challenging. But remember that one of the most important aspects of having a beautiful landscape garden is the light system you choose to install. So, you’ll want to make sure that you choose wisely. These are just some of the tips you can take with you when searching for a system that’ll work for your landscape.

Composting with Worms

Vermicomposting is a type of composting in which certain species of earthworms are used to enhance the process of organic waste conversion and produce a better end-product. It is a mesophilic process utilizing microorganisms and earthworms. Earthworms feeds the organic waste materials and passes it through their digestive system and gives out in a granular form (cocoons) which is known as vermicompost.

Worm

Simply speaking, vermicompost is earthworm excrement, called castings, which can improve biological, chemical, and physical properties of the soil. The chemical secretions in the earthworm’s digestive tract help break down soil and organic matter, so the castings contain more nutrients that are immediately available to plants.

Production of Vermicompost

A wide range of agricultural residues, such as straw, husk, leaves, stalks, weeds etc can be converted into vermicompost. Other potential feedstock for vermicompost production are livestock wastes, poultry litter, dairy wastes, food processing wastes, organic fraction of MSW, bagasse, digestate from biogas plants etc.

Earthworms consume organic wastes and reduce the volume by 40–60 percent. Each earthworm weighs about 0.5 to 0.6 gram, eats waste equivalent to its body weight and produces cast equivalent to about 50 percent of the waste it consumes in a day. The moisture content of castings ranges between 32 and 66 percent and the pH is around 7. The level of nutrients in compost depends upon the source of the raw material and the species of earthworm.

Types of Earthworms

There are nearly 3600 types of earthworms which are divided into burrowing and non-burrowing types. Red earthworm species, like Eisenia foetida, and are most efficient in compost making. The non-burrowing earthworms eat 10 percent soil and 90 percent organic waste materials; these convert the organic waste into vermicompost faster than the burrowing earthworms.

They can tolerate temperatures ranging from 0 to 40°C but the regeneration capacity is more at 25 to 30°C and 40–45 percent moisture level in the pile. The burrowing types of earthworms come onto the soil surface only at night. These make holes in the soil up to a depth of 3.5 m and produce 5.6 kg casts by ingesting 90 percent soil and 10 percent organic waste.

Types of Vermicomposting

The types of vermicomposting depend upon the amount of production and composting structures. Small-scale vermicomposting is done to meet personal requirements and farmers/gardeners can harvest 5-10 tons of vermicompost annually.

On the other hand, large-scale vermicomposting is done at commercial scale by recycling large quantities of organic waste in modern facilities with the production of more than hundreds of tons annually.

Benefits of Vermicompost

The worm castings contain higher percentage of both macro and micronutrients than the garden compost. Apart from other nutrients, a fine worm cast is rich in NPK which are in readily available form and are released within a month of application. Vermicompost enhances plant growth, suppresses disease in plants, increases porosity and microbial activity in soil, and improves water retention and aeration.

Vermicompost also benefits the environment by reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and decreasing the amount of waste going to landfills. Vermicompost production is trending up worldwide and it is finding increasing use especially in Western countries, Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Vermicompost Tea

A relatively new product from vermicomposting is vermicompost tea which is a liquid fertilizer produced by extracting organic matter, microorganisms, and nutrients from vermicompost. Unlike vermicompost and compost, this tea may be applied directly to plant foliage, reportedly to enhance disease suppression. Vermicompost tea also may be applied to the soil as a supplement between compost applications to increase biological activity.

Potential Market

Vermicompost may be sold in bulk or bagged with a variety of compost and soil blends. Markets include home improvement centers, nurseries, landscape contractors, greenhouses, garden supply stores, grocery chains, flower shops, discount houses, indoor gardens, and the general public.

How To Design Grow Rooms For Your Plants?

So, you’ve decided to set up a grow room for your plants. Despite being such a great idea, not many people get to make it a reality, perhaps due to its seemingly intimidating nature. All plants require specific levels of nutrients, humidity, air circulation, and lighting. As such, it may appear quite complicated, especially for the beginners.

However, recent innovations in the construction industry and other technologies have made it simpler to build a grow room. All you need is to find enough space that’ll serve the purpose and you’ll be ready to roll. Wondering how to go about your next project? Read on for some tips on designing indoor grow facilities.

grow-room

Deciding On The Space

The best thing about this project is that you can use just about any space. For instance, if you have spare bedrooms, sheds, walk-in closets, or garages, then you have a place to start. The next step will be to decide how much space you actually need to avoid congestion while also preserving parts of your home for other purposes.

However, don’t stress yourself too much on this as any space you have can work fine. Anything upwards of 2x2x4 should be adequate for your plants. You just need to plan it well to not only sustain the plants but also accommodate the equipment that will be used in creating the right environment.

Creating A Controlled Environment

To have a successful grow room, you’ll need to control the environment to favor the growth of plants. This entails the use of various techniques and tools such as dehumidifiers, LED lights, and an air circulation system. Of course, some of these things will depend on your geographical location and the room itself.

1. Lighting

One of the biggest investments you’ll need for your grow room is proper lighting. The best option when it comes to this area is the LED grow lights which will not only provide sufficient light, but also help in the temperature department. In addition, you may need to buy a few cables if the room doesn’t have a power supply.

Keep in mind though that these bulbs are high-wattage and will consume a significant amount of power. As such, make sure to make a few adjustments in your utility bill budget as it will most definitely increase with time.

2. Irrigation

Of course, a grow room isn’t complete without a water source as this is one of the basic needs in the growth of plants. You’ll need to design an irrigation system, which will require a set of pipes and a tank or a connection to your home’s main water supply. While still working on plumbing, install a floor drain to avoid stagnation and ensure that you use waterproof walls for durability.

grow-room-plants

3. Air Circulation

A good grow room is one that supports sufficient air circulation to ensure proper growth of plants. Therefore, your HVAC system must be able to accomplish this need. If your geographical location hinders the quality of air, you can use a filter to ensure that the air within the room is of a higher quality. The reverse can also be done if the air from the room emits a distinct odor.

4. Temperature Control

There’s a need for consistent temperature and humidity control as this is crucial in the success of your project. If the temperatures are too low, plants will grow slowly and might not reach their desired level. Hot environments, on the other hand, will lead to damaged crops. Most people with indoor grow rooms use air conditioners for this purpose and fans to get rid of the hot air. The fans also prevent the lights from searing your plants. To enhance the operation of all these instruments, it would be a good idea to insulate the room, especially if the temperatures in your region are not favorable.

Conclusion

Although it might seem quite straightforward, coming up with a well-designed grow room is a demanding adventure for many people. However, you’ll find it a lot simpler if you follow the tips discussed in this article. Decide on the room that you’ll want to redesign for this project. Apart from the size and other basic features, make sure that it’s at a safe distance from your main home, especially if you expect a lot of noise from fans and other machines.

Among the most important factors that will need a little investment on your part include lighting, plumbing, flooring, walls, water supply, and air conditioning system. Remember that bringing new components like bulbs and fans into the mix will have a significant impact on your utility bills. Therefore, be ready to make the necessary adjustments going forward.