Monthly Archives: June 2018

DIY Hydroponics and Strawberries

Hydroponic gardening is becoming more and more popular as a way of growing plants at home and there are many reasons why one would follow this path. Hydroponics is proving to be a very popular method to grow strawberries ans the results are very encouraging for the growers. The plants produce abundant numbers of fruit and they are much larger and more tasty than their soil grown counterparts.

A lot of people have now set up their own DIY hydroponics and produce a lot of their own strawberries and other family favorite vegetables.

DIY Hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil, usually by suspending the roots in a water nutrient system or having the roots sprayed by a water nutrient solution.

There are several systems that can be used and the Ebb and Flow method and the Aeroponics method have proven to be two of the most favored.

DIY Hydroponic Gardening

Strawberries do not like ‘wet feet’ and one may initially think that for that reason Hydroponics would not suit this type of plant but the ebb and flow system and the aeroponics system both suit strawberry growing.

What does need to be realized with hydroponic strawberries is that plants do require nutrients and with hydroponics they are delivered to the plants in water infused with nutrients.

Usually strawberry plants are grown with their root systems suspended and this is when the nutrient infused water is passed over them. In essence the water is just a replacement for soil which in soil growing is what holds the nutrients that the plants needs. It is not actually the soil itself that feeds the plants and so too with hydroponics, it is the nutrients infused into the water that is giving the plants the required nutrient mix.

Ebb and Flow System

Growing strawberries in a hydroponic ebb and flow system requires the soil-less plant to be housed in a small tube and that tube is pushed through an opening in a larger tube allowing the roots to dangle in a larger tube and it is in the larger tube that the water is passed over the roots on a periodic basis.

Aeroponics Hydroponics

With this Hydroponics system the roots dangle in a container and are sprayed with the nutrient rich solution, keeping the roots receiving moisture but not waterlogged.

Control in the Home and Garden

Wasps in gardens, picnic areas, pub gardens and communal areas in the summer months can quickly become a major nuisance. Wasps are a social insect, forming colonies containing anywhere from 5000 – 10000 wasps per season. The hibernating and fertilized queen will emerge around mid April time (or sooner, depending on temperatures) and search for a suitable nesting site.

The nest starts of as a golf ball sized nest made from chewed bark, dried timber mixed with saliva, within this starter nest she lays between 10 and 20 eggs, the first brood of adult workers (sterile females) will take over the development of the nest and providing food for the next lot of eggs being laid by the queen. At the start of the season wasp pose little or no threat (this can be a different matter if the nest is interfered with) and it is only towards the end of the wasp season that they become a nuisance towards humans.

During the latter part of the summer the queen will mate and then leave the nest site to find a suitable over-wintering location. The remaining workers and few remaining males become sluggish, and their feeding on over-ripe fruit will produce a “tipsy” behavior, leading towards aggression towards anyone interfering with them. The on-coming winter will kill off the workers and the remaining males, with only the fertilized queens surviving by hibernating. During this nuisance time, the wasps will be bothering the general public in places like pub gardens and parks etc, they tend to feed off the sweeter food stuffs such as children’s lolly-pops, soft drinks alcoholic drinks, and pretty much anything containing sugar.

Obviously the nest (if near by) can be treated, but this could mean the area being out of bounds for up to 24 hours, this could in turn lead to loss of business and loss of profits. However other methods for dealing with wasps are available. New wasp treatment systems such as the waspbane are easily available to obtain from online pest control shops.

The wasbane is a wasp trap, the wasps are attracted and lured in to the trap with specially developed attractants, the wasps enter the chamber of the trap to get to the attractant, once the wasps have entered the trap they cannot escape. The trap can be placed at the bottom of the beer garden, around parks, or hanging from trees. In a recent study at a well known theme park, it was recorded that after installing the waspbane trap in various locations around the park, reports of wasp sting went down as much as 95% in 1 year.

Need the Best Tools For the Job

Purchasing power tools is fast becoming a great pastime for DIY kings and queens around the country. However, not all power tools are created equal. Any serious DIY enthusiast should have some basic know-how regarding power tools before he goes out to shell good money to buy a piece or two.

Power tools are meant to be used incessantly. According to Donny Sheridan, a DIY expert and syndicated columnist:

“And don’t buy gear just because it is on offer or you think you might use it in the future – it will just end up gathering dust.”

Combi drill

The combi drill is a wonderful combination of a hammering action, drilling and driver. Most combi drills have alternating settings so you can drill through both wooden material and non-wooden material such as concrete and brick.

Combi drills are used to make the installation of screws easier. Since most wooden planks are too hard to simply drive a nail into, drills are used to speed up the process. The combi drill uses an 18 volt battery and good quality drills literally last decades.

On batteries and corded tools

If you’re looking for replacement or substitute batteries for your power tools, make sure that you get lithium ion batteries that have overload protection. This ensures that your power tool and your batteries will not explode or fizzle out in your hand.

Also, lithium ion batteries can rest in your garden shed for months and remain charged as these batteries tend to retain power even after intense use.

Now as for the use of corded or cordless tools, you have a choice. Cordless tools have generally been weaker than corded tools because of the power source. But with the advent of higher battery voltages (36 volts and above) the landscape of power tools has literally changed.

According to Harry Blackwell, a home contractor in the UK:

“The monopoly of the corded tools has ended. Large companies are investing heavily in R&D to make newer tools saleable to a large public.”

Saws

Saber saws or reciprocating saws are basically identical with jigsaws. The disparity, according to Sheridan is:

“The main difference is the blade sticks out at the front instead of downwards – as is the case with jigsaws. The beauty of a reciprocating saw is you can cut through wood, stone or metal by simply changing the blade. It also copes with curved or angular cutting.”

Circular saws on the other hand, are used to deal with raw timber- which is hard to cut with regular power saws. Circular saws are used also to adequately cut and shape plywood and joists.

Safety Tips for the DIY Home Owner

Before you start any renovation project you need to have a plan and the right tools; however you also need to have the right safety gear. I’m going to give you a few tips on what you may need for that do it yourself project.

1. Glasses

The first piece of safety gear is a good pair of safety glasses. You can get them in several different styles depending on the type of work you are doing. If you are cutting tiles or using a grinder I recommend the style that wraps around the side of your eye in case small pieces fly up. You will have to go to your local hardware store to find them.

2. Ear Plugs

If you are using, or are around, loud power tools like jack hammers, you will need to get some ear plugs. For most situations the soft foam type will work fine and you can find them at the drug store or local hardware store.

3. Dust mask or Respirator

These might not be the sexiest accessory however they are very important to protect your lungs. The quality you need will depend on what you are doing. Plain household dust from demolition or basic construction should only require a basic paper mask. However, if there are any traces of mold or old style insulation (which could have traces of asbestos) you will need a proper respirator. Also, if you are working with harsh chemicals or paints you may need a respirator as well. Go to your local hardware store and tell them what you are doing; they can tell you the proper respirator to get.

4. Proper Clothes

Renovations are not the time to worry about fashion. Wear clothes that you are OK with getting ruined. Avoid loose sleeves that can get caught by power tools or get into paint or glue. Don’t wear open toed shoes and try to wear shoes with a thicker sole – especially if there are nails and debris around. You don’t want a nail in your foot!

You are also going to need a good pair of work gloves. Find tight fitting gloves so you can pick up small screws and nails with them. Ladies you can try gardening gloves since most gloves sold in hardware stores are too large for women.

Renovating can be dangerous so you need to make sure you are protected. By making sure you have these basic safety items you can enjoy the renovation and be safe at the same time.

Easy DIY Home Decor Tips

It’s a new year, and with it came the call for a little shake up in your home decor. I am personally big on DIY home design projects, and I have compiled a few of my favorites for 2017.

1. Floating Leaves

If you want a little piece of nature into your home, how about going for floating leaves?

This easy DIY home design project involves making use of old clear jars. Fill them up with water and lay the leaves in the jars to create unique displays of art.

2. Plant Drapes

Want something different as a window treatment choice? Go for ‘plant drapes.’

Creating ‘plant drapes’ involves getting rid of your good old drapes and filling up your window space with assortments of plants. Not only does this open up the room to natural light, but it is a creative way to purify rooms as well as dress up your windows.

3. Reclaimed Crate Furniture

Now you can make your furniture using items you already have at home. If you have old crates lying around, you can transform them into exquisitely tasteful pieces of furniture.

You have probably seen some home design furniture pieces made out of crates including coffee tables, seats, and beds as well. Create your furniture using crates depending on your particular needs.

4. Smart Clever Cover-Up Board

Who doesn’t have dishes piled up in the sink now and then? Worse still is trying to hide the mess in your oven when company drops by. You can creatively hide up the mess using a smart cover-up board.

Creating the board involves making use of an old cutting board or any sizeable plastic board that you no longer use. Personalize it as you please, and make sure it fits over your sink to offer timely rescue when needed.

5. Jungle in your Bathroom

Love the forest; then why not take it to your bathroom?

Most of us don’t often know how to dress up our bathrooms. If you love everything to do with plants like I am, you can create a jungle in your bathroom.