Sep 10

DIY Greenhouse

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DIY Green House

 

 

There is no better way to save money, help the environment and improve your health than and lifestyle by growing your own organic veggies in your back yard.

 The initial expenses in starting are garden are small in comparison with the savings you can make especially if you are willing to scrounge and recycle.

I love gardening. I have always had a few veggies growing in pots or in containers on windows sills. It’s a wonderful feeling to watch your plants grow and then enjoy the produce they supply. I always boast at family gatherings when the salad or veggies I bring have been home-grown

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A few weeks ago my Dad gave me some old pine boards to make a raised garden bed, so I got to it and screwed them all together. The boards I used were free but you will be surprised what you can find if you scrounge around. I find the rubbish pile at building sites quite useful (make sure you ask permission from the site manager before taking any thing)

I then had to buy soil from a garden center I wanted the best so I ordered an organic veggie soil base with some organic fertilizer mixed through, but this is not essential you can use whatever soil you have available in your back yard just try to make sure the area you are using it from has been kept free from chemicals.

Cost

Screws$ 1.20

Boards free

Soil $70.00

I planted a few veggies but it is still very early spring here and I wanted to get a head start on the summer veggies so I decided to have a go at making the garden bed a removable greenhouse type dome to place over the top.

I decided to make the Greenhouse removable because I will not need it come summer time and I figure if I remove the  plastic I can use the underlying dome structure of the greenhouse to hang bird netting to keep the birds out.

So first thing I did was rummage through the shed and had a look for what i could reuse or recycle in this project. I already had some irrigation pipe that I brought a few years ago when I was going to put in a fish pond, I also had a packet and a half of sprinkler spikes and a few pieces of wood. But if I had to buy these items from a hardware store they wouldn’t be expensive

Cost

Pipe $7.00 per roll

Sprinkler spikes $6.00 per packet

Timber $ 2.50 per length

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Using a saw drill piece I drilled 5 evenly spaced holes on each side of the raised garden bed

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 Using a pair of pliers and wire snips I cut the sprinkler spikes down so they would fit in the holes and then hammered them into place

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I cut the irrigation pipe into 5 equal lengths and pushed them over the spikes this caused a snug fit and held them in place which makes the domed shape of the greenhouse.

I then cut the lengths of timber down to the right size and cut a spike on one end and a drilled a hole in the other end and hammered them in place at either end of the raised garden bed

I had to buy some conduit and cable ties and some good quality all-purpose outdoor tape to put across the top of the dome. I had wanted to use the irrigation pipe to save some money but it was to bendy.

Cost

Conduit 3 lengths $9.85

Cable ties 25pk $3.60

Tape $12.00

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI put the conduit in each end of the poles and taped it in firm Then I used cable ties to tie the conduit to the irrigation pipe making sure that each of the p[ipes were equal distance apart. This made the structure for the greenhouse much more stable.

Next I had to buy the plastic to go over the top. I just used ordinary clear builders plastic

Cost

Plastic $25.00 for 15mx5m

The plastic wasn’t wide enough for what I needed so I had to cut it and tape it together to make it wider I also taped the extra conduit on each of thelengthways sides of the plastic to give it some weight and help it hang and lift easier.

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On each of the ends of the greenhouse dome I cut some plastic in a semi-circle shape  and taped it down using the outdoor tape I also stapled the base to the inside of the garden bed to keep it in place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI pulled the plastic over the top of the greenhouse and I wanted to use some bull dog clips to hold all the plastic down and in place but I couldn’t find any large enough, instead I found these tiny little clamps in the bottom of my tool box so I have used them instead

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And Ta Da…  The finished product my very own DIY Greenhouse.

The final cost was $135.15 if I had paid for every thing in my opinion a small price to pay for year long organic vegetables.

 

May 31

The Green Movement: 5 Ways to Do Your Part

It’s never too late to join the green movement. Maybe you have been reckless in the past regarding the environment and ecosystem. However, you can change your mindset and make every day a green day.

Some people think that going green takes a lot of time and they doubt their ability to commit. However, this doesn’t involve a drastic lifestyle change. Even if you can’t go green in every aspect of your life, little changes here and there can make a tremendous difference. Stop making excuses and get your family on board. Here are five ways to contribute to a greener planet.

1. Do full loads. Some people routinely run their dishwashers and washing machines when they’re half full. This may keep your cleaning schedule on track, but it doesn’t help your electricity and water bills. Be conscious of how you use energy and work to conserve resources. Wait until you have enough for a full load and use cold water when possible. If you can reduce your washing machine use by two loads a week, and your dishwasher use by one load a week, you’ll use about 4,500 fewer gallons of water each year.

2. Fix leaky faucets. After a while, you may no longer hear or notice a persistent drip that comes from bathroom and kitchen faucets. But this single drip every few seconds can increase your water bill and waste resources. Call a plumber or replace your faucets. Also, keep an open eye for other leaks around the house. One leaky faucet can waste up to 74 gallons of water a day.

3. Recycle. Keep two bins in your kitchen – one for trash and one for recycling. But don’t just recycle your paper and plastic. It’s estimated that Americans throw away more than a billion pounds of electronics, yet most of these items are easily recyclable. The electronic item may not work, but the parts are often good for other uses. Recyclable items include computers, laptops, stereos, televisions and cell phones.

4. Ditch the water bottles. Bottled water is convenient and healthier than tap water. But unfortunately, these plastic bottles don’t help the environment. And if your family doesn’t recycle, the water bottle will end up in a landfill, where it will take 1,000 years to decay. It’s cheaper and eco-friendly to drink from the tap. If you’re concerned about chlorine and other pollutants in your water supply, consider a water filtration system for the home, such as Lifesource Water.

5. Reduce air and heat usage. Most people want to maintain a comfortable temperature in their home. For this reason, some will crank the air condition or heat. Consider other methods to conserve energy. You might plant trees around your property to provide shade and cool your house. Likewise, you might utilize drapes to block a cold draft or the sun’s rays. Opening windows on a breezy day can also cool the house, and if you have a fireplace, lighting a few logs on a winter night can give your heater a break.

Going green and conserving energy isn’t a chore – it’s the responsible choice. Maybe you can’t do a lot. No worries, something is better than nothing. The smallest effort will benefit your wallet and your conscience.

Apr 04

Conserving Electricity in the Summer Months

When the summer months arrive, most people are pulling their air conditioners out of the basement and propping them back into the window for cool air. Air conditioners can truly run up the electricity bill, but they are considered a necessity, especially if you would like to avoid sweating all day and night. However, there are plenty of good ways to still conserve electricity and save money even during the summer months.

Keeping Lights Off Longer

During the summer months, it typically gets darker much later at nigh than it does during the winter months. It is important that you take advantage of these and keep the lights off longer. In most areas, it will not get dark until around 8 PM, sometimes later. If the sun is still shining, why waste your electricity by turning lights on in the home when you can just open up the shades and enjoy the sun.

Spend More Time Outside

Most people admit to spending more time indoors and online or watching television during winter months because it is too cold to really do much of anything. The summer months will provide you with an opportunity to spend more time outside enjoying nature’s beauty and all that it has to offer. Meanwhile, the more time you spend outside, the less time lights, televisions, and computers are on in your home, thus resulting in Energy Savings and lower electricity bills.

Make Easy Meals

Who really wants to spend time slaving over a hot stove when it is already hot outside? Instead, you can conserve energy by preparing quick meals in the microwave or simply having easy meals. Some great easy meal ideas for the summer include sandwiches, which can easily be prepared with bread and lunchmeat without requiring the use of an oven or stove.

Use Your Dishwasher

Most people are shocked to know that they can save on water by using the dishwasher instead of doing the dishes by hand. Once the dishwasher has completely washed the dishes, you can set them out to dry off. With the warm summer breeze flowing through an open kitchen window, those dishes will be dry in no time at all. Avoid washing dishes in the dishwasher until you have enough dirty dishes to fill the entire thing up so that you do not have to use your dishwasher as frequently either.

Hang Your Clothes Outside

If you have a nice private yard, you should hang your clothes outside after you do the wash instead of using the dryer. During winter months, this process does not necessarily work, especially if it is raining, snowing, or simply too cold out. However, in the summertime, those clothes can dry at rapid speed. Most clothes will be able to dry completely within just a few hours. You can reduce the cost of your electric and energy bills by just hanging these clothes out to dry instead of putting the dryer on every time you do your laundry.

By simply making a few changes, you will be able to save on energy and cut down the cost of your monthly bills. You can save by turning things off when you are not using them, unplugging your cell phone chargers, laptops, and other items when they are not being used, and by making a few quick and easy lifestyle changes.

Mar 10

How to Compost: Get Tips on What to Compost & How to Use It

According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals make up to 27 percent of waste when not composted. Composting is an efficient way to manage organic waste and can be used as a fertilizer instead of harsh chemicals to create a lush, healthy lawn that will naturally repel diseases and insects. Learn what to compost, how to compost and how to put it to work for your lawn.

Benefits of composting

Compost is the natural breakdown of organic matter. It reduces waste, restores damaged lawns and is cost effective. Your soil needs nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potash to stay healthy and beautiful. Decomposition of lawn trimmings and food waste can provide these nutrients when worked in to the soil. Using compost on your lawn helps you prepare a new bed for spring planting or protect and nourish the lawn and beds during the winter. And, it means less waste is ending up in landfills!

 What to compost

When you’re thinking about starting a compost pile in your yard, it’s important to know what you can and can’t compost. The following items are OK to include in your compost mixture:

  • Cardboard rolls
  • Clean paper
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Lint
  • Eggshells
  • Fireplace ash
  • Cotton rags
  • Newsprint
  • Grass clippings, leaves, wood chips and plant trimmings
  • Nut shells
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Sawdust
  • Tea bags
  • Animal manure

In time, all these items will break down to provide nutrient-rich soil. However, you don’t want to compost the following because they can damage your healthy plants:

  • Black walnut tree clippings
  • Coal or charcoal ash
  • Yard trimmings treated with pesticides
  • Diseased or insect ridden plants
  • Pet waste (it can contain bacteria or parasites)

You also don’t want to compost fats, greases or oils, dairy products or whole eggs, and meat or fish bones and scraps as the smell can attract rodents and flies. Ideally what you compost should be a mix of green materials like grass clippings, food scraps and manure, and brown materials like dry leaves, wood chips and branches.

How to compost

Now that you know what to compost, you can start with a bin or pile in your yard. Start by adding a few shovels of dirt, organic waste and yard clippings, and of course, a few worms to aid in breaking down your compost pile. You can accelerate the decomposition by grinding, chipping or shredding material and including bulky items like twigs and woodchips that will let air into the pile. You should also turn the pile occasionally to let oxygen in.

Keep your pile moist, either by watering it or exposing it to rain. Organic material may help add moisture but it’s generally not enough. Watering and covering your pile with a tarp will help support the microorganisms breaking down your compost. Air and moisture also help maintain the temperature of your pile which helps it break down without rotting.

What to do with your compost

When the material on the bottom of your compost pile is dark and rich, it’s ready to use. If you’re planting a new flowerbed, lay the compost thickly where you want the bed to be and cover it with a tarp or wood. This kills the grass without harming the soil. It makes it ready for you to use your garden tiller to break up the bed in the spring. Your first few passes with the garden tiller should be shallow. Then you should add more compost and work it into the soil more deeply. For existing flower beds, work it in around the base of plants with a garden spade or rake.

To improve the condition of your lawn, spread a light layer of compost onto the lawn after mowing. Remember to mow high and often with sharp lawn mower blades throughout the warmer months. In the fall, spread compost after reseeding. And, as you prepare for winter, your mower should be on its lowest setting when you mow your lawn for the last time. Spread the same light layer of compost over the lawn and around the base of plants to keep them warm throughout the winter.

Source: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/rrr/composting/
Post sponsored by MTD

Dec 02

How to Finance Greener Housing

Having a greener home is not only better for the environment, but it can save your household a lot of money on energy, water, construction, and even groceries. Finding the initial starting money for a greener home, however, can be tricky. Taking out a second mortgage is expensive, and may not give you the flexibility to make improvements in small steps. Fortunately, there are several ways to finance greener construction.

EPA Funding

The EPA has several programs designed to help individual homeowners improve the “greenness” of their homes. There are thousands of available grants, loan programs, and tax credits that this agency offers to individual home owners as well as to developers who are willing to incorporate some environmental improvements into their designs.

Awards are given for things such as incorporating geothermal heat, installing a recycled water system, and installing solar panels. Opportunities vary by area and other factors, so visit their website to determine which grants, tax credits, or loans you are eligible for.

In general, the grants offered through this program require a homeowner to fill out an application in which they will explain the nature of the improvements. There is a different application for each program.

Some grants are offered directly through certified contractors. This means that you will receive the money as a credit on your bill from the contractor, but you will not have to apply for these grants on your own. The tax credits that are offered are taken as deductions on your federal taxes.

Energy Efficient Mortgages

An Energy Efficient Mortgage or EEM is a type of mortgage that gives a buyer extra purchasing power by calculating in the savings the homeowner will gain through energy efficiency. EEMs can give borrowers the chance to get financing for cost-effective, energy-saving improvements. By factoring in the reduced energy costs, a household is able to stretch their debt-to-income qualifying ratio on a mortgage. This allows borrowers to qualify for a larger mortgage and a more energy-efficient home.

In order to qualify for an EEM, a borrower usually has to have a home energy rater from Energy Star conduct a home energy rating on the property he or she is hoping to purchase or refinance before the mortgage is approved. While these mortgages are usually used to purchase previously certified Energy Star certified homes, they can be used to purchase or refinance any property.

These mortgages are offered through VA programs, FHA programs, and many conventional lenders.

The easiest way to go about qualifying for an EEM is to purchase a home that already has an Energy Star rating. If you want to build from the ground up, however, it is possible for you or your contractor to have an Energy Star inspector visit your property and rate your house.

Regular alternatives

It is also possible to finance an energy-efficient home on your own. Taking out a conventional home equity line of credit will allow a homeowner to improve the energy efficiency of his or her home in small stages.

These loans function in a manner similar to a credit card in that a homeowner can choose how much to borrow of the total line of credit that he or she is offered. This means that a homeowner can withdraw some money, make improvements, and then pay off some of the loan before planning their next project.

This method is ideal for people who want to improve their existing home rather than move.

It’s also possible to take out a traditional construction loan. This type of loan is offered to people who are building a new home. The loan is typically given out in sections as each phase of work on a new house is completed.

Once construction is complete, the loan reverts to a traditional mortgage. By using a construction loan, it is possible to completely control the green features that are built into a home and customize these features to the individuals who are living in the house.

These loans can be combined with the Energy Star mortgages that were previously mentioned once construction is complete and the house is Energy Star certified.

Nov 25

How to Save Money by Comparing Health Insurance Online

Today’s economy makes everyone look for means of saving money wherever possible, even in insurance policies. It is now possible to save money by getting the cheapest health insurance policy available by comparing health insurance online. In fact, by comparing health insurance online, you not only save money but can also get more value for your money.

The first thing you have to do is become physically healthier as health insurance companies determine you premium amount based on various health indicators. So effective proof of a healthy body like a lower body mass index (BMII) which means you are not on the obese side can give you a reduced premium. As you have to provide your BMI while filling online health insurance quote forms, this will help you reduce your health insurance premium amount.

Get financially healthy

It is surprising to learn that you can reduce your health insurance amounts by getting “financially healthy.” Insurance providers have noted a powerful relationship between the economic wellness and physical health of their customers.

In other words, people with a good credit history generally could end up spending less for insurance costs instead of those with a below average or poor credit score. As health insurance companies check your credit score, even if you compare your health insurance online, this will help you save money.

Opt for a higher insurance excess

You can also save money by opting for a higher insurance excess when you fill out your health insurance quote form. This is because like in any insurance policy, the higher your excess amount, the lower your premium amount is.

It might also be better to decide on a fixed fee you plan to spend for your medical services during the year. If you opt for a $40 ‘gap’ payment for your health insurance when you visit your doctor and your doctor charges you $200 for the visit, you will only have to pay $40 for the visit while the insurance company pays the remaining $160.

Make sure you compare health insurance plans from various insurance companies online as they generally have many companies listed with what they offer in a plan. Last, but not least, you have to make sure you thoroughly research each company before you finally choose a health insurance policy. Be wary of those companies that offer the best health insurance plans, but which have a bad reputation for not paying their claims on time. Some deals might actually sound good but they don’t actually offer much when it comes to serious illness (when you need insurance the most).

If you deal with such companies, you only end up spending much more money than necessary. A better option might be to consider companies that charge a bit more for their policies, but have a great reputation in the medical industry. This way you know you at least have insurance coverage for your money’s worth.

To find ways to compare health insurance online, consider visiting a free comparison website such as Choosi.com.au/health-insurance.

 

 

 

Oct 31

Ways to Create an Environmentally-Friendly Bathroom

With the recent drought and high fuel costs, more and more people are becoming aware of their environmental footprint. The decisions made by today’s homeowners will have a profound effect on the future health of the planet. For homeowners contemplating a bathroom makeover, it’s easy to incorporate green features into the project.

Whether the planned project is big or small, environmentally-friendly touches are simple to include. Although green features can have a slightly higher initial cost, adding them will not only decrease utility bills but will also improve indoor air quality.

Substituting an organic cotton shower curtain for the traditional plastic one is a simple improvement that will help both the environment and the air quality in the bathroom. Because most plastics and vinyl are made from petroleum, they contribute to climate change. They also release hazardous chemicals into the air. The familiar new plastic smell is actually volatile organic compounds. These chemicals can irritate the throat and may cause nerve damage.

Adding low flow showerheads and faucets reduce water use and curbs water bills. On average, 45 gallons of water are saved each day by using high-efficiency showerheads and faucets. With their improved designs, high-efficiency models provide superior pressure while still conserving water.

Low-flow toilets are another common addition to the environmentally-friendly bathroom. Replacing a seven gallon toilet with a 1.6 gallon model saves 77 percent of the water with each flush. If the current stool uses 3.5 gallons per flush, the more efficient model uses 54 percent less water. Since toilet flushing accounts for about one-third of the water used in a typical household, replacing the old stool will make a big dent in the monthly water bill. Using less water in the toilet not only conserves water, but also saves energy used at the intake and sewage plants.

Changes in the room’s lighting can save both energy and money. For the homeowner on a tight budget, replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs will save electricity and money. If a full-scale renovation is planned, adding a skylight or window will further decrease energy use. By taking advantage of free sunlight, it’s easy to save on energy bills. Natural light adds a pleasant element to any bathroom, and can make a small room seem bigger.

Depending on the homeowner’s taste, it may be possible to use recycled materials in the bathroom renovation. By reusing materials, items are kept out of the waste stream. Recycling vanities, bath tubs and flooring also eliminates the energy needed for extracting raw materials and manufacturing new items. Since most consumer goods are now produced in Asia, reusing fixtures saves the fuel need to transport goods across the ocean. Vintage cast iron tubs and solid wood vanities are usually better-made than their modern counterparts.

By making a few changes, it’s possible to significantly reduce the environmental impact of a typical bathroom. Conserving water and energy not only saves money, but it is also good for the earth.

Aug 22

An Eco-friendly Oral Hygiene Routine

Not all may be aware that natural products may be used for daily oral hygiene practice. There are so many chemical-based oral cleaning options on the market, not as eco-friendly as other more natural choices available. Eco-friendly dental products are just as healthy for oral hygiene practice and have the added benefit of sustaining the environment.

What does a good oral hygiene routine entail?

A good oral hygiene regimen includes the following practices:

  • Brushing teeth according to recommended cleaning technique on waking, after meals, and before sleep
  • Flossing teeth daily after meals to remove trapped food
  • Using a mouth rinse to wash away plaque and freshen the breath
  • Getting emergency dental care if oral trauma occurs – includes injury to teeth or gums, dental avulsion, persistent tooth pain, infection, abscess, non-healing wound or ulcer and bleeding gums
  • Visiting a dentist for six-monthly dental check-ups
  • Periodically having professional teeth cleaning done by a dental hygienist or dentist

These practices are the same whether an individual chooses eco-friendly or non-green products and services. We can choose a more or less environmentally-sustainable oral hygiene routine through the cleaning agents and dental services we select.

What eco-friendly products may be used for oral hygiene practice?

The choices for a greener oral hygiene routine are quite wide. Here are some options to consider in making your oral hygiene practice more eco-friendly:

  • Choice of tooth brush may be more natural, such as a wooden one with natural bristles, or a recycled tooth brush
  • Consuming foods that are fresh, organic and fair trade
  • Using eco-friendly floss which is biodegradable
  • Selecting a natural mouth wash, such as warm water with baking soda, sea salt and peppermint or tea tree oil; and distilled water with rosemary, mint and anise seeds
  • Using natural remedies for tooth pain and oral discomfort, such as clove oil – a natural anaesthetic
  • Opting for services from a green dentist that uses eco-friendly products and runs an energy efficient and environmentally-friendly practice

The aim of oral hygiene routines is to ensure that: food debris is removed from the mouth; plaque is washed away so that bacteria does not colonise on gums and teeth; and the mouth is healthy, fresh and free of tooth decay. Replacing oral hygiene practice with these greener options keeps the mouth clean and promotes good health.

What are the benefits of an eco-friendly oral hygiene routine?

The advantages of eco-friendly oral hygiene practice are far-reaching, extending from a person’s own natural health, the well-being of others and animals, and the sustainability of the environment.

A sound oral hygiene routine keeps away tooth decay and infection-causing bacteria. Dental enamel is less likely to be eroded, and teeth structure stronger. Gums health improves, preventing potential onset of gum disease that may cause tooth and bone loss. Good oral health enhances overall well-being.

Green dentists offer dental treatments, such as mercury-free porcelain fillings, and more organic choices in teeth restorations and replacements for missing teeth. Alternative dentistry is on the rise, where dentists include homeopathy options such as for treating dental phobia or anxiety.

An eco-friendly approach to dentistry care is holistic, values a sense of community, and gives those involved greater peace of mind. Living a green lifestyle is a way of life and a personal choice.

If you would like to learn more about an eco friendly oral hygiene routine, or just want to get advice on how to improve oral health, visit http://www.liverpoolimplants.co.uk/ for professional and practical advice.

 

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