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Home Remodeling

Keep Your Appliances and Your Wallet Healthy: Small Appliance Care Tips

Here are some tips for your small appliances in the kitchen and laundry as well as a few tips and tricks on cleaning.
Do you rely on coffee in the morning to get you going? I sure do, and if the coffee maker broke down I’d probably go look for a 24 hour convenience store so I could have my 6am charge. We tend to take our appliances for granted until they break. However, a coffee maker just declines gradually until we wonder why it takes so long to brew, or the coffee tastes bitter. You guessed it – it’s time to clean it! What happens is that the sediment and scale build up in the lines, vents, and tank. To get rid of this build-up, run the coffee maker through a cycle with a vinegar solution comprised of one part white vinegar and two parts water. Now turn off the unit and let it sit for 30 minutes. Next, empty the solution down the drain or put it in a spray bottle and use it as a cleaner in the first round of some of your dirtier jobs (vinegar is a terrific cleaner, and gentle on the environment). Now run two cycles of water through the machine. Wipe the outside with the vinegar water solution and dry. You’ll think you have a brand new coffee maker. Some sources say to do this every week – but unless you’re running a boarding house, every few months should do it.
What else can you clean with vinegar? The possibilities are endless, given vinegar’s acidic and naturally antibacterial cleaning power and it’s relative chemical safety. In fact, those of you who know how to keep your air conditioner’s condensate line unclogged with bleach – switch to vinegar and it works just as well, and is much more environmentally friendly. All of the HVAC (heating and cooling) techs I have spoken to have now gone to vinegar, saying it is not as rough on the equipment.
Is your steam iron slowing down? Fill the water chamber with equal parts of white distilled vinegar and water. Set it upright on a safe surface and let it steam for 5 minutes. Let the iron cool. Now refill the iron and shake it in an old towel. Next time you fire it up, make sure you iron an old cloth for a few minutes to exit the rest of any remaining vinegar before moving on to your clothes.
To see hundreds of other uses for vinegar, just type “cleaning with vinegar” into your favorite internet search engine, and see the endless advice that comes up.
Luckily, most of our kitchen appliances keep going with no maintenance or help on our part. So keeping them clean is probably the most we need to do, along with following safety tips. One of the things most us resist is reading the manual that came with the device. “No time!” we exclaim, but then wonder why the device is not doing what we want it to do. Then we actually waste more time looking for the manual than it would take to have read it in the first place. So, do yourself a favor, grit your teeth and READ the first few pages of that manual, and then put it in a drawer or box with ALL the other manuals. Admit it – I will – all the manuals are NOT in one drawer, they are scattered all over the house – in the strangest of places, like the bills drawer or the magazine drawer, or the tools drawer; the garage, the attic, even in the car. If we all start now, we might be organized by Christmas 2050.…

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Kitchen Remodel

Grow A Healthy Organic Garden With These Tips

In the world of gardening, there are plenty of great resources available to both new and experienced gardeners alike. There are many classes, e-guides, books, videos, magazines, and other resources available. This set of tips contains some of the best advice for helping a good gardener become a great gardener.

When winter arrives, transfer some plants into the house to save them. You might want to transplant your most valuable varieties. Dig carefully around their roots and place them into a pot.

Grow some wheat grass or cat grass next to the plants your cat seems to prefer. Try putting mothballs or citrus on your soil to wards pets away.

When you’re picking vegetables from your garden, choose to harvest them when they are at the peak of ripeness for the best flavor and the most nutrition. It is best to pick vegetables and fruits in the early morning, because they are still full of moisture and nutrients. With only a few exceptions, anything that you’re not going to use right away can then be preserved by chilling in the refrigerator.

If you can’t get mulch for your soil, use wet newspapers. Damp newspapers around the base of your plants will help hold moisture in the ground and protect your plants’ root systems from heat and sunlight. Newspaper is biodegradable, so it will eventually degrade and actually add more nutrients to your soil.

Be careful not to over-water your garden. Giving your plants too much water can actually kill them faster than not giving them enough water. Soil that has too much water in it prevents root systems from growing properly. It can even cause your plants to rot from the bottom up.

Consider getting a soil analysis report for the dirt in your garden. This procedure is relatively inexpensive and can tell you the type of nutrients you should add to your soil in order to have a more productive garden. A local farm supply or co-op can look through the report and guide you on what to buy.

To make your own miniature greenhouse, simply cover a pot with an old plastic bag. This will mimic the humid environment that allows plants inside a greenhouse to thrive. If you’d also like to protect your plant from the weather, build a dome out of a sturdy plastic and place it atop the plant.

To help your tomato plants grow strong stems, blow a fan on them for 15 minutes a day. Exposure to wind is essential to a stem’s development, and giving the plant some extra time to blow in the breeze will only make it stronger. Try using a small, portable fan on a low or medium setting.

After reading these tips, you can begin to understand what it takes to become a great gardener. There is a lot of information to learn and you need to know how to apply it. With this in mind, you can refine your own strategies and goals to help you grow and maintain beautiful gardens.…

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House Improvements

Growing Healthy: Organic Gardening Tips And Advice

Whether it is basic lawn care or meticulous focus on a flower collection, everyone wants to have an appealing lawn and garden. This desire is often not fulfilled, not because of a lack of effort, but because certain small things can be overlooked. A few special tips for your home garden can make sure you get what you want.

Save seeds from the garden for a new crop next time. Not only are seeds expensive, but why even bother with going to the store when they can be obtained from the previous crop. The convenience from having a steady supply on hand is also a plus. Use vegetables that are harvested when fully ripe such as melons, tomatoes, beans and squash for best results.

To cut down on the time you spend pruning and pulling weeds, make sure that all the tools you use are sharpened and cleaned. A dull or dirty tool will make basic gardening tasks much more challenging, and can significantly increase the work you have to put into your garden. Caring for your tools regularly is more than worth the effort it takes.

Don’t plant your seedlings or young plants too deeply. The top of a root ball of a large shrub or tree seedling should be just above the soil level, and then covered up with mulch to protect it. This allows the roots to breathe and keeps the tree or shrub healthy.

If you do not have a lot of square footage for gardening, try using trellises or posts in your garden. Allowing certain vegetables to grow up a trellis or post rather than spreading out along the ground will allow you to grow more per square foot. You can do this with tomatoes, peas, and climbing beans.

Take the time to plant your roses properly and you’ll enjoy greater success down the road. Dig a hole larger enough to easily accommodate the roots and enrich it with organic matter. Build a mound of soil in the hole and drape the roots over it. Fill half way and water to remove any air bubble, then finish filling the hole.

Choose certain plants for shady areas. All plants need light to survive, but not all of them require bright sunshine. Woodland natives, for example, are happiest when given a little protection from the sun’s rays. Be generous when enriching the soil if the plants are under a canopy of trees, as they are competing for the food supply with the big guys! Ajuga, anemone, foxglove, cyclamen, hosta, viola and allium all enjoy a shady area.

Mini roses are very popular and are low maintenance. They come in many bright colors and offer a variety of interesting flower shapes. However, if you want to add a rose to your garden for the fragrance, then a mini-rose may not be a good choice because they produce little to no fragrance. If fragrance is your preference, try a larger, hybrid rose for the most intense fragrance.

The perfect lawn or garden takes a lot of hard work, time, and devotion. Even with these, though, many gardens can fall short of your goals. By following the tips given here, you can make sure that doesn’t happen, and that your lawn or garden is as good in real life as it is in your head.…