Instead of buying organic produce at your local supermarket, why not grow your own? Organic gardening is easier than you may think. You don’t even need much space for your new organic garden – a raised bed or even a container garden can provide a surprising amount of delicious, healthy produce. Of course, you can also grow a traditional long row garden organically.Photo Creditdbreen / Pixabay What Makes an Organic Garden?
It’s a garden “growing in harmony with nature” rather than in conflict with the world around it. Applying chemical agents like herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers create chaos in your tiny section of the ecosystem.
By improving your soil naturally, and relying on non-chemical means of removing weeds and preventing pests in your garden, you’re doing your part in keeping the ecosystem healthy and well balanced. According to Horticulture Agent Charlotte Glen, the goal of an organic gardener is “cultivating an ecosystem that sustains and nourishes plants, soil microbes, and beneficial insects rather than simply making plants grow.”Choose Your Garden Spot
Whether it’s a few pots on your balcony or a more traditional garden space, your organic garden needs plenty of sunshine (at least 6 hours a day), access to water, and good drainage. Good soil helps, too.
You’ll enjoy it more (and notice any potential problems sooner) if it’s close by rather than somewhere ‘outback’. This is especially important for an organic garden, where you’re not depending on chemicals to repel invaders.Photo CreditCounselling / Pixabay Decide on a Garden Type
A traditional garden consists of long rows of vegetables. It requires a lot of hard work and compost to get this kind of garden in shape for growing things organically. This type of garden also requires the most work throughout the growing season – thinning, weeding, and watering. It’s also probably best suited to large families or those dedicated to ‘putting food by’ through canning, freezing, or dehydrating.
A raised garden bed provides perfect growing conditions for your organic vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers. Like a container garden, it allows you to control the quality of the soil. It also lets you grow quite a variety of produce for such a small space. If you’re sure you need more space, just add another raised bed.Create The Perfect Soil
Healthy soil produces healthy plants, which are better able to fend off pests and diseases. Many native soils are low in organic matter (humus or compost) and lack the perfect drainage most garden plants crave. So, what can you do to help? Add compost! Unlike chemical fertilizers, compost not only improves drainage and water retention, but it provides plenty of the macro and micro-nutrients healthy plants need to thrive, as well as beneficial nematodes and microbes. It’s also easy to make using kitchen scraps and yard waste.
If you need to purchase compost while your homemade pile is ‘cooking’, choose as wide a variety as you can find. The more different composted materials you add to your garden, the wider the variety of nutrients they’ll provide. A turkey’s diet is much different from a cow’s or earthworm’s and so is the output. Then there are things like composted corn cobs, cocoa shells, cottonseed meal… Kelp and seaweed are great because they provide additional nutrients not found in land-based sources.Photo Creditmayurankushe / Pixabay Plant a ‘Patchwork’ Garden
Planting a patchwork of different plants close together has several benefits in an organic garden. It’ll crowd out weeds and confuse pests. It’s hard for a bean beetle to find a few bean plants when they’re surrounded by carrots, onions, parsley, and even marigolds. What’s a poor pest to do? He’ll go bother someone else’s garden!
This patchwork technique works especially well in raised beds. It lets you harvest a smaller amount of a larger variety of crops and it looks pretty, too! Planting in raised beds also lets you save water. All the water goes directly to your plants instead of to muddy pathways or (shudder!) weeds.
A thick layer of grass clippings or wood shavings around your plants also saves water and keeps your garden looking neat. This organic mulch will also deter those pesky weeds and keep the soil cooler and moister in the heat of summer.Don’t Go Overboard
It’s easy to overplant your new organic garden, especially if it’s your very first garden. If you plant that entire packet of carrot seeds, you could end up with a truckload of carrots! Even Bugs Bunny might be a little intimidated by that harvest! Instead, plant what you think your family will enjoy fresh this year and save the rest of the seeds for next year. Properly stored seeds will last through several growing seasons.
And remember, you don’t have to plant every kind of vegetable or herb the first year. Let everyone in the family pick one or two favorites (as long as they’ll grow in your area) and enjoy your first organic harvest. You can always try a few more varieties next year.Photo CreditThorstenF / Pixabay Avoid Over-Watering Your Organic Garden
Now that you have your garden in full-bloom, the last thing you want to do is over-water it. You want to make sure that your garden is getting enough sun throughout the day, but there are certain times where your garden should be getting water – typically early in the morning or in the evening. Adding a drip irrigation system is a great way to ensure that your organic garden is getting exactly what it needs. If you use a hose sprinkler, pick up a timer that will hook up between your hose and your water spout. With some smart irrigation systems are controlled by your phone and will automatically disperse water at your request.Use Only Organic Pesticides
One of the greatest advantages of growing your own vegetables organically is that they won’t have any of the nasty pesticide residues that plague the ‘dirty dozen’. Not only is this better for your health, but it’s also better for beneficial insects, essential pollinators, and the environment in general. Plus your vegetables and herbs will just naturally taste better without the tinge of chemicals!
For more interesting garden tips, read this article and then get outside and start your very own organic garden! You’ll reap a harvest of fresh air, healthy exercise, and delicious vegetables.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
LESLIE: Jan in Texas wants to know if she can swap toilet, shower locations. How can we help you today?
JAN: We have a – it’s a very small bathroom and they had built a tile shower in this – like the middle of the room. And I want to know if you can change the places where the shower and the toilet are: if you can just reverse them and use the existing drains.
TOM: No, because the shower drain is about half of the size of the toilet’s drain waste/vent pipe.
LESLIE: And it’s a gray-water line, too.
TOM: Yeah. It’s not – well, they’re going to drain to the same place but you would have to reconfigure the plumbing. So it’s not quite that easy to swap toilet, shower locations but not impossible. What is this bathroom built on? Is it over a crawlspace or a basement, by any chance, or is it over a slab?
JAN: It’s on a slab.
TOM: Very expensive project to swap toilet, shower locations. I would think of something – other way to redecorate that bathroom and make it pleasant for you. Because switching those is a big job; you’re going to have to tear up the floor to do the plumbing.
JAN: Oh, wow. OK. Well, I guess we’ll just leave it the way it is.
TOM: Looking better all the time, isn’t it, Jan?
JAN: Well, no. But I mean it is what it is.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
Whether your dog needs a safe place to play, or you’d like some extra privacy, a panel fence is a great addition to your home. Save yourself the expense of hiring a pro by building one yourself. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a satisfying one, and it should only take a weekend.
TOOLS & MATERIALSTape Measure 100-ft. Tape Measure Carpenter’s Level Posthole Digger or Power Auger Nylon Line & Line Level Utility Knife Hammer Quick Square® Tool Circular Saw Cordless Drill/Driver or Impact Driver 8-ft. 4″ x 4″ Posts Stakes Prefab 5′ x 8′ Fence Panels Gravel 8-ft. 1″ x 4″ (two for each post) 50-lb. Bags Quick-Setting Concrete #10 4″ Exterior Screws 2″ General-Purpose Screws 3″ General-Purpose Screws Bucket (optional)
When taking on this DIY task be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear.
SAFTETY GEAREye Protection Ear Protection Mask Gloves
Plan. There’s no way to sugar coat it: building a fence is hard work. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead. Start by researching local building codes so your fence won’t have to be modified — or, worse yet, taken down later. You’ll also need to find out if you’ll need a permit to build it. Once you’ve figured everything out, choose a location for your fence. Measure and mark exactly where you want to begin and end, as well as the location of the first post. Keep in mind that end panels will cover the first and last post, and inside panels will meet halfway at each post.
Set first post. Dig the hole for your post, then add four to six inches of gravel to the bottom of the posthole. Measure and mark your first post two feet from the bottom, extending the mark with a Quick Square®. Set your post in place, then add or remove gravel until it’s exactly where you want it. Using a 4‑foot or a 6‑foot level to make sure it’s straight, secure with 8‑foot one-by-fours and stakes.
Stake a line. Stake a line for your first post to where your last post will be located. For our project, we attached our fence to an already existing one, so we tied our line to the connecting post.
Mark and dig postholes. Mark each posthole with a stake. Remove the line, and start digging your holes with a posthole digger or a power auger. To keep your fence steady, a good rule of thumb is to bury about a third of each post — but, if you live in a windy area, we recommend burying up to half of it. For our project, which features 8‑foot posts, we’re digging post holes about three feet deep, with room for gravel at the bottom of each for drainage.
Install last end post. Add some extra gravel, and set the last post in place. Once the post is at the right height, measure or use your guide board so the outside edge aligns with the mark you made in Step Two. Mark the center of the post to make sure your panels will be properly aligned, then brace into place.
Brace last end post. Use 8-foot one-by-fours to brace each post in two directions. Check for plumb with a level on two adjacent sides, then attach each with 2″ screws. — Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. You may have to back your screws out a couple times before it’s perfect.
Level and brace remaining posts. Add gravel to each posthole and set the other posts into place. Adjusting gravel is necessary. Measure so the eight-foot wide panels meet in the middle of each post, then brace, double-checking to make sure your posts are exactly where you want them. Finish by adding dry concrete and water to each hole, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove braces and backfill. Once your concrete is set, add dirt back around the post and remove temporary supports.
Add temporary panel supports. Working one panel section at a time, mark each post where the line is stretched. Detach your lines and, re‑using your stakes, attach temporary panel supports to your marks with 2″ screws.
Cut panels. Mark the top points of the panel on each post, then, transferring the measurements, make any necessary cuts so the panel follows the natural grade of the ground while remaining level at the top.
Attach panels and gate. Make it easy on yourself by pre‑drilling and starting a 4″ construction screw into the top rail of each panel. Set the panel into place on its temporary support and fasten the screw where your rails intersect the post. Drill pilot holes and fasten six screws per panel, removing temporary supports as you work your way down the fence line. If you’re installing a gate as well, have a friend level it between posts and align it with adjacent panels. Leave a ¾” gap between the gate and post on each side, and screw the hinges to the post and gate. After fastening a couple bolts, check the swing before installing your remaining hardware to ensure a good fit.
Your project is done. Step back and admire your new fence.
From Source Article: moneypit.com