Best Way to Water Orchids

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Monday, February 28th, 2011

Orchids have become one of the most popular houseplants due in no small part to their gorgeous flowers of many colors, shapes and smells. Like most plants, orchids need to be provided with the correct growing conditions in order to be at their best. One crucial element of giving your orchid the right growing conditions is providing it with the correct amount of water.  Since the amount of water for your orchid can vary between the many different orchid types, it is important to research your particular plant. It will be helpful to understand orchids and where they come from this will help when watering orchids.

Orchids are normally from tropical areas of the world. These areas tend to receive a tremendous amount of rain and usually have very high humidity. Orchids like high humidity – the ideal humidity level for most orchid plants is around 80%.  An easy way to keep the humidity high is to provide the plants with a constant supply of water. By doing this you will be able to set up an artificial high-humidity micro climate around your orchid.

Care must be taken as a major mistake people make when caring for orchids is over watering their plants. The general rule is to water your orchid about once a week or once every other week, depending on how quickly it appears to be drying out. When trying to work out a water schedule in your home, you should let the potting compost dry out completely before watering again. The natural environment the orchid comes from can help explain how this works. Many orchids grow on the trunks and branches of trees not in the soil and so in their natural habitats it is normal for their roots to dry out before being given water again.

Orchids can be grown successfully in the home environment if they are given the proper care including the right amount of water, light and fertilizer.

Flower Tips: The Basics On The Beautiful Violet

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Friday, February 25th, 2011

Violets are a kind of perennial plant and belongs to the family of Gesneriaceae. This flower receives other common names, such as African violet, Saintpaulia, and Usambara violet, as well as its scientific name is Saintpaulia sp.

Violets are native to eastern Africa, more precisely they are found most commonly in the mountains of Usumbara and Burundi. Violets were introduced to Europe in 1893, thanks to the Baron Walter von Saint Paul. At present, the distribution of violets occurs throughout the moderately temperate regions of North America, Asia and Europe, but can also be found in much colder areas such as Canada and Iceland.

Violets are distributed in more than 500 different species, to which must be added the large number of hybrids, which is close to 2000 varieties. Among this large group can be found: single flowers, semi-double or double, and miniature varieties that can barely reach up to 5 centimeters.

The flowers of violets can be presented in purple or violet, white, yellow, pink, red, crimson red, blue, mauve, and lilac. These flowers may also display a single color or two different colors within the same plant. Violet flowers are composed of 5 petals, each with a rounded shape, accompanied by anthers and yellow stamens. The purple foliage is accompanied by rounded leaves, and are fleshy and velvety to the touch, and have flexible stalks.

If you want to have one of these beautiful floral displays in your home, should take into account issues such as:

  • Violets should be planted in a soil with good moisture, but should not be over watered. Over watering can cause the roots to decompose and the plant will die.
  • With the arrival of summer weather the plant should be monitored to maintain proper humidity, especially in the growing season.
  • During colder weather the plant should be carefully protected from strong wind drafts to reduce the risk of frost or freezing.
  • Violets are sensitive to many different types of pollution. Do not expose your plant to smoke or other pollutants.
  • Violets should be positioned in a place with semi-shade or bright light, but must never be exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

If you have more questions about the beautiful Saintpaulia sp, contact a Beaverton florists or a Ft Worth florist.

Pick Envirocycle composter

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Friday, February 18th, 2011

Composting has certainly come a long way over the last few years, we started off with a basic plastic drum that we could put our kitchen waste in, and no doubt this worked much better than the compost heap in the garden that use to be the only way to compost. Now we have all sorts of solutions to our composting needs, my personal favourite is the Envirocycle composter for me this is undoubtedly the way to compost. This drum is of a horizontal design which is by far the easiest system to spin; laying on a base fitted with rollers this drum could not be any easier. With its large hatch for filling and emptying, the hatch is also lockable so there is no danger of vermin getting inside. The base of this composter is hollow, this is to allow compost tea to be collected, compost tea is a nutrient rich liquid that drains off the compost as it breaks down and collects in the base until you are ready to drain it off through a spigot. Once you have collected your compost tea you can dilute it down and either use it as a foliar spray, lawn feed or to water your pots and plants around the garden.

Most people know how to compost it just depends on whether they want to, maybe they remember there parents composting the old way and that put them off, or perhaps you don’t think you accumulate enough organic waste. But when it comes down to whether to compost or send your waste off to landfill composting really should be the only option. When you consider that as the plants in your garden are growing they are taking out all the goodness in the soil, and this goodness needs to be replaced otherwise when you plant in your garden you will have very poor results.

Making Your Own Tiki Torches

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Friday, February 18th, 2011

Tiki torches can easily be made at home! This craft project will allow you to use materials you already have on hand and save some money. When a friend compliments your unique tiki torch, you will be able to reply excitedly “I made that!” and decide if you want to share the details.

With these easy to follow directions, you will soon be able to make your own collection of tiki torches for your next outdoor luau.  You might have to make a trip to the nearest hardware store for some of the supplies, but the wine bottle you can look for from a neighbor, friend or even out of your own recycling bin. You will need at least one clean, empty wine or beer bottle in the color and size of your choice.  At the hardware store, pick up a tiki replacement wick, nylon thread seal tape, and ½” x 3/8” copper coupling. You will also need some torch fuel. If you are planning on using this torch during bug – filled months, you can opt for some citronella fuel.

First you will need to wrap the pipe wrap around the copper reducer many times. This will need to fit inside the neck of the bottle. After making sure the copper reducer is wrapped securely and will fit into the top of the bottle, insert the wick into the reducer. Fill the bottle with the fuel and insert the wick. Let the oil absorb into the wick before lighting.  Safely light the wick with the torch sitting on the surface you plan to have it on while it is burning.  These directions are an easy way to inspire you to use up the beer and wine bottles you would otherwise recycle. You could create a whole rainbow of tiki torches!

Don’t forget that these torches are only safe for outdoor use as patio lights. Be sure to keep pets and children away from the open flame.  Place these torches on sturdy tabletops away from other flames and out of direct contact with people and food.  Start collecting bottles now for next season’s tiki torches. Your neighbors and friends are sure to want a few!

Different Types of Irrigation Systems

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

From the annual flooding of the Nile to the many water conservation techniques which are being developed in order to optimize the use of this natural resource, there are many factors which influence the dispersal of water. Though the Roman aqueducts are one of the monumental structures which highlights the importance which access to clean water has had on civilizations, the modern construction of water mains and pipelines has made the dispersal of water much more widespread and less dependent upon access to a consistent water supply.

As such, many different irrigation systems have been developed to optimize watering processes used in different climates and settings. In many regions of the world, there are rainy and dry seasons which alternate throughout the year. Though excess amounts of rainwater may be present during certain times of the year, it is necessary to construct storage and dispersal systems in order to have access to sufficient water until the rainy seasons begin again. Because of this, techniques which optimize the use of water through climate specific irrigation systems allows for cities and towns to adapt to growth and better handle any other unexpected factors.

One of the most well known methods for irrigation systems is the use of ditches. In this technique, large ditches are dug and act as miniature water causeways which run parallel to fields where food crops are grown. Traditionally, these crops will have furrows which run perpendicular to the ditch and continue right up until the edge of it. During the dry season, water is sent through the network of ditches and hoses are placed in the ditch which lead to certain rows of the crop. The hoses slowly siphon off water and feed it down the rows of plants in order to increase growth and crop rates. Of all the different irrigation systems, terraced irrigation is the most dependent on landscape design.

Building the terraced design needed for this type of irrigation can be very labor intensive and the land is literally cut to resemble steps on a stairway. Each of the steps is reinforced by retaining walls in order to prevent erosion that could ruin crops if soil gave way. The flat surface atop the steps is used for planting and the staircase design allows the water to flow down and reach all of the crops within the area under the influence of gravity. For desert areas, drip irrigation is considered one of the most effective irrigation systems to install.

It is considered the most water efficient method and consists of drip houses which careful surround the root systems of plants. Water lost through evaporation and runoff is a concern in most systems where this natural resource is considered a highly valuable commodity. When a drip irrigation system is installed well, it greatly reduces the amount of water lost. Drip houses release water at a steady slow rate which permeates the ground without having excess water flow away from the root systems of the plants. Since they are close to the ground, the water has very little time from when it leaves the hose till it is absorbed into the ground, which minimizes evaporation processes.

In many areas, sprinkler systems are used instead of drip systems because large areas need to be watered and maintaining sprinkler heads that are spaced further apart is generally easier than keeping up long stretches of drip hoses. Since these sprinkler heads spray water into the air before it falls to the ground to be absorbed, there is a much higher rate of evaporation loss in these irrigation systems. Rotary systems are similar to sprinkler heads, but instead of a tall spray of water being emitted, smaller streams are sprayed like the rays of the sun. Instead of water being shot high into the air, it is also kept closer to ground level. This causes it to use less water while still being able to reach larger areas.

Growing Begonia Plants Indoors And Outdoors

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Begonia plants are understandably among the most popular plants to grow – they are colorful, attractive and versatile and can be cultivated and enjoyed both indoors or outdoors. They come in over 1,000 varieties and are easy to find at your local garden center.
If you are growing begonias indoors, rhizomatous and fibrous types tend to be easiest to grow and should be located somewhere with plenty of humidity, as well as indirect but bright sunlight. If your house is dry, place your plants on a shallow container filled with water and pebbles; this will allow the plants to get humidity, along with minimizing the possibility of too much moisture causing disease. Begonias grown indoors are naturally resistant to pests although they are prone to root rot. It’s also important to not over water your plants, a condition which can cause them to die. You should also be sure to only water below the plant’s leaves.
Of course, begonias can be grown outdoors as well and a bed of colorful plants can help to brighten up even the dullest garden. They should be planted in areas that receive partial or full sunlight; and in soil that drains well, ideally a porous loam. When planting outside, dig holes that are around 12 inches apart and deep enough for the root ball – the plant can die if planted too deeply. You should also water your plants as soon as you have planted them, taking care not to water the leaves or over water. Begonias don’t require too much constant care; you should fertilize them periodically and also watch for signs of pests. Begonias generally bloom from around June until the first sign of frost; they don’t like cold weather and should be brought indoors before the nights start to turn too cold.
And if you don’t have much of a yard, but still want to enjoy these beautiful plants outdoors, begonias are ideal for hanging baskets.

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Choose The Best Patio Furniture Covers To Protect Your Outdoor Teak Furniture

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

When it comes to enjoying your outdoor patio, the furniture and accessories you place on it can play a big part. Not only will your furniture add to the entire look and feel of this area, but it should provide a comfortable place to relax and visit with friends and family. However, this furniture will need to be properly taken care of if you want it to remain looking nice and last for many years. Finding the best patio furniture covers can help protect your furniture from the effects of harsh weather as well as dirt and debris.

There are many different types of patio furniture from which to choose and some of the most beautiful is the outdoor teak furniture. While this furniture is very nice looking, it is always a good idea to use one of the best patio furniture covers to protect it from the elements. You want to ensure that your investment remains looking great and is functional for a long time.

You can find teak patio furniture as well as furniture covers in many home and garden centers as well as home improvement stores and large discount shopping centers. There are even many online retailers who offer discount teak patio furniture that can be conveniently delivered right to your home. Choosing the pieces and style that best suits your outdoor patio will help enhance the look of this area and of your entire home.

If you want to find the best value for you money, it is important to do some comparison shopping. Simply look around and see what the various retailers are offering and you will be able to find a style that suits you and a price that fits your budget. If you shop online be sure to factor in any shipping and handling charges the retailer may charge because these fees will add to your overall price.

Advancements through Patio Covers and Patio Cushions

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Another great addition to the otherwise wide variety of outdoor furniture accessories is the patio cushions and patio covers. Comparable to the handy and practical foldable chairs and flexible outdoor patio furniture that you can choose at outdoor patio furniture outlets, this two advancements are designed to improve ease and comfort to the hard outside furniture and fixtures and can certainly enhance that relaxing experience.

Patio cushions are typically made of soft pillows fitted to the durable and stiff outdoor patio furniture to add soft, warmth and comfort to sit and rest your back into and take a nap when you want to unwind and relax. The extra paddings can be just another luxury you can indulge upon but like relaxing; it will balance the comfort and warmth experience in a laid back afternoon by the pool with the family. The patio covers are very convenient and practical.

A good alternative instead of going out to and stressing of gathering the outdoor furniture inside the storage and stacking, you can simply, easily and instantly cover them. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry yourself of spring-cleaning the outdoor patio furniture nor bother about having them scratched or damaged.

The outdoor patio accessories such as the cushions and covers can be quite expensive and costly at times but there are outdoor furniture stores that give huge discounts and big bargains, some have clearance sales. You can also check the outdoor furniture sites in the internet for more discounts items like these. Mixing and matching your outdoor furniture to add flair of trend and style to your outdoor patio furniture.

Time well spent at home in a pool with the family, is good time for comforting relaxation and if the additional outdoor patio furniture accessories shall improve that relaxing experience. Best advice is to relax, sit back, and embrace that soft comfy patio cushions and coddle to your pleasure.

Things To Know About Outdoor Kitchen Plans

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

You can’t compare the sight of a spectacular sights and enduring aroma of pizzas and pastas on cold and summer evening. It is a feeling that everybody wants to enjoy and experience, and luckily all of us has the change, but some let it slip in their palm. And one place where you can enjoy the aroma of pizzas and pastas in cold summer evening is in the outdoor kitchen.

An outdoor kitchen nowadays has become a common sight in every home. It has different styles, design and purpose. But one thing is for sure, it is there to entertain the whole family, friends and relatives. It is one enough reason why people should be particular in constructing and making their outdoor kitchen. And the key to a successful outdoor kitchen is the planning stage.

You should plan your outdoor kitchen well, and here are some essential things to know in planning it.

•    Stick to the budget

Money matters. In thinking about your outdoor kitchen plans, you must stick to the amount of money you want to allot for it. Because if ever you will have over spending, what will suffer are the other budgets for the house and you might end up getting some problem in meeting the ends.

•    Size depend on Space

Of course, human as we are, we are dreaming that out outdoor kitchen is spacious enough to accommodate all the guest and visitors. But if your space is very limited, then you can’t do anything about it. Just maximize the space because after all, it’s not the space that matters, it’s the entire kitchen.

•    Constructed close to indoor kitchen

Make sure that your outdoor kitchen is constructed near the indoor kitchen because during some events, the two kitchens are use at the same time. There are things that are present in the indoor but are not needed in the outdoor so better try to choose and assign things well.

•    Brilliant lighting

Lighting creates the atmosphere of the place so in choosing the lightings for your outdoor kitchen, better try to choose the color you like most and create the atmosphere you dream of.

•    True Reflection of You

Designs must be a manifestation of your desire, needs and limitations. Let it mirror what you feels and reflect your inner personality.

Adding value to your home with an outdoor entertaining area

Mickey | Patio and Garden | Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

An outdoor entertaining area can be fantastic for your parties, your kids to play on, and for when you are spending time with your family. Many new houses are now being built with a decks or patios, but many older places don’t have this luxury. Although there is a booming industry in the patio and deck building area, many people really should be able to undertake this construction themselves. Building on outdoor areas is not very difficult, and you do not need to be a master builder to achieve good results. Although you still need to work to high standards, it is easy to get away with small mistakes when working outdoors.

The best way to build a raised deck is to sink treated wooden posts into the ground at regular intervals, then top these with strong beams (usually 2 x 4″ or larger) and then to top these with treated floorboards. Treated timber is by far the best option to use, as it will not rot for many years. If you can’t afford treated wood, then use whatever you can get, and oil it or varnish it sometime later to prevent it from rotting.

It is important to remember that you may need to incorporate a railing or similar safety feature into your deck if it is raised a long way off the ground. This is especially important if you have small children, or plan to host parties where guests may be in danger of falling down – this could result in legal action which you definitely don’t want!

Tables and chairs are obviously a necessary feature for an outdoor entertaining area, and you may also want to consider some deck lighting to brighten up your evenings. String lights and fairy lights look magical, and are both available in solar and mains power options. If you have shade umbrellas, patio umbrella lights can to look fantastic at night and create a really intimate and warm atmosphere.

How far you want to go with your deck design is limited only by your budget and imagination, and some people may want to go so far as to add out for fridges for drinks, hi-fi units, or even an outdoor bar.

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