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4 Easy Raised Beds You Can Make In Under Two Hours By Susan Patterson

Gardening is much easier with raised beds. They make many traditional gardening chores like deep tilling, weeding and amending the soil redundant. If you have poor soil, if it is too acidic or clayey, if the ground is rocky or uneven, raised beds can come to your rescue.

You can fill the raised beds with good quality compost and soil so the plants get to live in the best of soil conditions. Filled-in beds ensure good soil aeration and drainage. Plants can have excellent root run and they will escape competition from tree roots in the ground.

pH of the soil can be easily adjusted to suit the plants you’re growing. Adjacent beds can have ericaceous plants growing in one and have sweet soil in the next. Troublesome creepy crawlies are less likely to find their way into your raised beds. It is easier to fix protective hoops and supportive structures. When you top dress the beds occasionally, the rains won’t carry it away. You can grow more food in less space because closer planting is possible. Also, crawling plants can hang over the sides of a bed, leaving the space inside for other crops.

Well, the benefits of raised bed gardening are numerous. But what is even more heartening is that it is quite easy to make raised beds. You can make simple structures using locally available materials. The whole family can pitch in and get it done in just an hour or two.

Here are some quick and easy DIY raised beds to get you started.

1. Raised bed with sandbag for sides

To start with the easiest, this raised bed requires just sandbags. Ready-to-use sandbags could be available in many disaster management centers. Sand is usually available from many nurseries and building supply companies in case you want to make your own, but it might be illegal to collect sand from beaches. Garden soil does not work as an alternative.

To make a 4ft x 8ft raised bed, you may need 20 sandbags measuring 1ft x 3ft. A width of 4 ft is ideal for beds since you will be able to plant and harvest crops without stepping into bed. Walking on the bed results in soil compaction, which is something you want to avoid.

Mark the outline of a 4ft x 8ft rectangle on the ground. Place sandbags in a single file on all sides, making sure that the corners have a snug fit. Now, build a second layer and tamp it down.

Line the interior of the bed with cardboard or several layers of newspaper to make a barrier against weeds in the ground. Fill the bed with several layers using high-quality garden soil, grass clippings, crushed leaves, and compost.

If you have recently cut down some trees in the property or have old logs lying around, you can build a raised bed in no time. Sourcing straight logs of 1 ft diameter from a local lumberyard is not a bad idea either. Three 8 ft long logs would be sufficient if you have a chainsaw to cut one of them into two 4 ft long pieces for the shorter sides. You can easily get it done in lumberyards.

Mark 4ft x 8ft rectangle on the ground and place the two long logs 4 ft apart and parallel to each other. Place the shorter logs on the remaining two sides. Move the logs slightly towards one another to complete the bed. Wedge a few rocks in the space between the logs and the ground to keep the logs from shifting as you fill the beds. Alternatively, you can use 2 ft long sections of rebar to give strong support to the logs. Hammer them down close to the logs, 2-3 each to every side, until they are flush with the top of the logs.

3. Raised beds with

 

READ MORE:  https://www.naturallivingideas.com/4-easy-raised-beds-anyone-can-make-two-hours/

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The 8 Best Greenhouses of 2019 By: Erica Puisis

Garden year-round with these smart sheds

If you have a green thumb, or just want to try your hand at horticulture, a greenhouse can be a great choice for protecting plants during chilly weather, starting new plants or raising high-humidity plants like cactus. Gardeners love the ability of a greenhouse to trap heat and humidity, and it can help your vegetation to weather unseasonable temperatures or adjust to life outdoors after being raised from seeds in an indoor climate. There are greenhouses of all sizes — ranging from small pop-up units or simple shelving covered with greenhouse PVC to larger and more elaborate polycarbonate and aluminum or cedar structures. When you choose the best greenhouse to buy, consider your gardening needs, whether you want a freestanding ‘shed-style’ greenhouse or a lean-to, and if features such as built-in gutters and self-opening vents are important to you. Once you purchase a greenhouse, you can look forward to enjoying a ‘greener’ getaway right in your own backyard! Here, the best greenhouses for you and your garden.

  • If you are looking for a greenhouse that will keep your plants humid and happy through almost any type of weather, the Ohuhu Large Walk-in Plant Greenhouse is our top overall pick.

    This greenhouse offers plenty of space, but also has a small enough footprint that it won’t take over your entire backyard. The greenhouse measures a little over four feet long and four feet wide but offers over six feet of headroom inside — making it easy to tend to your plants without having to bend over or feel cramped. Inside, you’ll also have 12 shelves, with six on each side positioned in three rows.

    Our top pick for a greenhouse is also easy to put together. Most people agree that the design is relatively simple and can be completed in about an hour. A few users added additional tie-downs to stabilize the structure in the event of high winds. People comment on the fact that the greenhouse accomplishes its purpose of keeping plants in a warm, humid environment – even when outside temperatures begin to dip. If you’re looking for an easy-to-assemble greenhouse with plenty of space for your plants and room to move around inside, order the Ohuhu Large Walk-in Plant Greenhouse.

  • This portable greenhouse is easily assembled in a matter of minutes and comes in a few different sizes depending on your needs. The PlantHouse 3 is 3.5″ x  3″ x  3″ so it can easily be positioned over existing shrubs, or place your containers inside of the greenhouse to protect from cooler temperatures. Another nice feature that sets this budget greenhouse apart is the fact that

     

    READ MORE:  https://www.thespruce.com/best-greenhouses-4157678

 

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10 All-Natural DIY Fertilizers for Your Garden and Yard By Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

You’ve probably heard that you can use a banana peel and other compost to fertilize your garden, but did you know some items—like gelatin, coffee grounds, and even a matchbook—can have specific benefits for your plants?

gardening

Hydrogen Peroxide for Plant Roots

Help strengthen your plant’s root system with hydrogen peroxide—the extra pump of oxygen from the peroxide prevents root rot and over-watering. Just mix a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups water, and water your plant with the solution. Its disinfectant properties will fend off bacteria, mold, fungus, and other nasty soil-borne diseases.

Cereal Crumb Fertilizer

Did you know that cereal crumbs are great for plants? They supply much-needed nutrients to the soil, which makes sense given that they’re grains that came from the soil in the first place! Instead of shaking the box over the trash before ripping it up for recycling, dump the remains of the flakes into your houseplants or garden for a treat they’ll love.

Make Your Own Bonemeal

As you may know, bonemeal is an excellent source of nutrients for your plants. But instead of spending $8–$10 on a bag at your local gardening store, make your own! Bonemeal is just bones, after all. Save bones from chicken, turkey, steaks, and stews, then dry them out by roasting them in a 425ºF oven for a half an hour or microwaving them on high for 1–6 minutes (depending on how many bones you have). Then place them in a plastic or paper bag and grind them up by hitting them with a hammer, then rolling them with a rolling pin. Mix the resulting powder into your soil for a life-producing treat for your plants. And you didn’t spend a cent!

A Must-Have for Growing Carrots and Tomatoes

The best thing you can give your carrot and tomato plant seeds is also what keeps you going during the day—coffee! Carrots and tomatoes both need extra nitrogen, which coffee has in spades. Mix the seeds with coffee grounds (used is fine) before you plant them. The coffee will provide your growing plants with the nitrogen they need, while having some extra bulk to plant will ensure they don’t end up all lumped together.

Slow-Release Nitrogen

For plants other than carrots and tomatoes, extra nitrogen can give them a boost, but too much can harm them. So use this nitrogen-rich DIY fertilizer that releases the nitrogen slowly into the ground. Dissolve a packet of unflavored gelatin in 3 cups warm water. Then use it to water plants in need of a little TLC. You’ll get all the benefits of an expensive fertilizer without the price tag!

Epsom Salt Lawn Fertilizer

Did you know Epsom salts are one of the best natural lawn fertilizers around? They’re composed of magnesium and sulfur, both of which are highly beneficial to grass. Magnesium kick-starts seed germination and is also a player in manufacturing chlorophyll, the substance that plants create from sunlight in order to feed themselves. Sulfur, meanwhile, also helps with

READ MORE:  https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/house-home/housekeeping/gardening/10-all-natural-diy-fertilizers-for-your-garden-and-yard

 

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More Than 90 Percent of Americans Have Pesticides or Their Byproducts in Their Bodies By Liza Gross

The real risks from chemicals in our food—for farmworkers and children, in particular—are being ignored.

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Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.This story was produced by the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent nonprofit news organization.

very year US farmers use about a billion pounds of chemicals on crops, including the fruits, nuts, and vegetables many parents beg their kids to eat. The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are charged with ensuring that these chemicals don’t endanger consumers, and both agencies test the food supply for pesticide residues each year. They focus on foods eaten by babies and children, whose developing bodies are particularly sensitive to toxic chemicals, and typically report that pesticide residues in these products rarely exceed safety standards.

Yet, experts say, the agencies’ pesticide-monitoring approach suffers from several limitations that make it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions about pesticide risks to the nation’s food supply. What’s more, government agencies don’t monitor risks to farmworkers who labor among those chemicals, or to pregnant women and children who live near agricultural fields.

Since pesticide monitoring began about three decades ago, scientists have learned that even low doses of pesticides and other synthetic chemicals can harm children and that exposure to chemical mixtures, particularly during critical windows of neurodevelopment, may carry serious health risks that take years to emerge. And though crops are often sprayed with multiple chemicals over the growing season, both agencies track pesticide residues one chemical at a time, to determine whether a specific chemical exceeds safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

READ MORE:  https://www.thenation.com/article/pesticides-farmworkers-agriculture/

 

 

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What is Sustainable Living? 15 Easy Ways to Practice Sustainable Living

Sustainable living is the practice of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability. Sometimes that can mean not choosing to consume a product that is made using practices that don’t promote sustainability; and sometimes it means changing how you do things so that you start becoming more of an active part of the cycle of life.

We all know that climate change, global warming, depletion of ozone layer and resource depletion are real and their impact on human and animal lives can be devastating. It is an opportunity for people to adopt actions for sustainable living that can help them to reduce their carbon footprint or environmental impact by altering their lifestyle. Simple measures like using public transportation more often, reducing energy consumption, becoming more eco-friendly can go a long way in reducing your environmental impactand making this planet a clean and safe place.

Cycling

Wikipedia defines ‘Sustainable Living‘ as,

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet. Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity’s symbiotic relationship with the Earth’s natural ecology and cycles. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development.

15 Easy Ways to Practice Sustainable Living

Want to start practicing sustainable living? It is easier than you think. Although there are various ways to live and practice sustainable living, here are 15 quick and easy suggestions to live a sustainable life.

1. Become a member of a community garden: It isn’t just about growing your own food, being a member of a community garden helps to promote sustainable living in your area. Gardens create green spaces and the garden waste can be mulched and returned to support healthy soil. Green spaces aren’t just important for your state of mind; in urban areas they can play an important role in offsetting carbon emissions.

2. Practice minimalism: Minimalism doesn’t mean living without anything, it means that you are making sure that everything you own and use is put to its maximum purpose. This means waste materials as well. With a minimalist lifestyle, you will recycle more, and be more mindful of the items you support being produced so that sustainability is emphasized.

3. Change the lights in your house: By changing the lighting in your home from traditional light bulbs to CFL, using skylights and more natural light you will reduce your demand on energy resources significantly. Using longer lasting, energy efficient light sources also reduces the amount of waste going into landfills significantly.

4. Become more efficient with your errands: You don’t have to buy a hybrid to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. By choosing to become

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