Gardening With Kids in Winter – Two Projects

For those of us who love to garden with our kids, winter can be a long, gray period of waiting for the soil to warm up. Most of us put thoughts of gardening aside, with the occasional sigh of anticipation when a new seed catalog comes in the mail. Following are a just a couple of the many projects you can do with your kids to extend your and your kids’ connection to the garden year-round.

Forcing Branches

Forcing is the process of causing branches or bulbs to bloom at a time that is not natural to them. Maybe you and your kids forced some amaryllis or paperwhite bulbs over the holidays. You can speed up the process of new life in the garden by cutting some branches of flowering shrubs or trees to coax into bloom inside.

Any woody, deciduous (not evergreen) shrub or tree that flowers in early spring can be forced. Pussy willows, forsythia, and dogwood are wonderful candidates for early forcing. Later in the spring you can try fruit blossoms like apple, cherry, pear, crabapple, or plum. The trees need at least 6-8 weeks after leaf drop to form new flower buds. The closer it is to normal flowering time, the quicker and more uniform the blossoms will be. Expect 1-4 weeks before blossoms open.

Prune the branches you want, and be sure to get them into fresh, warm water in under 20 minutes. After that time, cells will start to close and won’t absorb water as readily. Don’t smash the ends with a hammer, rather make a nice clean cut. Put floral preservative into the water, or use one of these homemade recipes: 1 pint of lemon-lime soda to 3 pints of water, plus ¼ tsp of bleach, adding an extra ¼ every 4 days. OR, 2 Tbl lemon juice, 1 Tbl sugar, and ½ tsp bleach to a quart of water. Change the water and preservative at least weekly.

Keep the branches in a cool, moist environment as the buds are developing. A garage, basement, or porch is a good place to keep them, and you may want to put a large plastic bag over the branches to keep moisture in. At least once a week, it’s a good idea to give them a nice shower with a misting bottle to keep humidity up.

When you see the buds start to swell and little pieces of the bud casing start to come off, it’s time to arrange and display your branches. The cooler, moister, and darker you can keep them, the longer your blossoms will last. I like to force pear blossoms for Easter and hang little wooden Easter ornaments on the branches for a dramatic Easter tree.

It is soothing to gardener and non-gardener alike, to behold that miracle of spring indoors when it is still cold and gray outside.

Fun with Garden Catalogs

Many gardening families will be inundated with gardening catalogs right about now. They can be a balm to the gardener’s soul, paging through the glossy photos of sunny promise. They are also a wonderful tool for getting the youngsters stoked about gardening in the spring.

Look through the catalogs together and discuss what you’d like to grow this year and why. The pictures may inspire memories of last year’s garden, positive and not-so-positive (i.e. “Remember our ‘giant pumpkins’ that turned out smaller than the regular ones?”)

When you’re all through with your catalogs, turn them over to your little ones for them to have their way with. You can make gorgeous collages with the vibrant images of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Themes might include: “My favorite vegetables,” “My favorite color,” “Weird-looking plants,” “Plants I’d like to grow,” or “Plants I’ve grown.” You can find veggies, fruits and flowers that are all orange, all red, or all purple, or that have similar shapes.

The older child may even want to plot out her garden for the coming year using actual pictures of the plants she is planning to use. The youngest child may simply may want to practice his scissor and glue skills. What a great way to recycle and end up with a colorful, optimistic reminder of the season of bounty yet to come!

Happy “gardening.” Spring will come; it always does!

How to Recycle Plastic Sitting in Your Chair – Poly Wood Furniture

Today everybody is talking about the green choice. What does it mean? Do looking for ways to conserve electricity, buying recycled plastic elements like poly wood furniture or being more resourceful with heating our homes, means sacrificing our convenience?

Being environmental friendly does not mean we are going to lose our comfortable life, it means being conscious of our renewable resources. For the last couple of years poly wood furniture brought us a new option to furnish your home with truly green furniture.

Those how were looking for patio furniture that allows the freedom to enjoy the outdoors without the laboring to keep your outdoor patio furniture looking new. Poly wood furniture promises not to rust, splinter, fade or rot because they are made from recycled milk jugs and the other plastic materials.

Plastic deterioration as we all know takes decades so recycling plastic will reduce the amount of plastic landfills. This is what makes poly lumber good quality because that same quality has now offered furniture that will last a lifetime and then some. Poly wood furniture is so strong what gives you the option to keep adding more furniture to your collection without having no need to replace rotting pieces.

Furniture that is made from

recycled plastic does not need sanding, staining or sealing, they remain nice looking and in a good shape for years.

They are made from plastic fastened with stainless steel hardware. It gives poly wood furniture the durability to stand up to mother natures harshest of any kind of weather, tropical sun, pounding rain or bad winters.

In the last years, poly wood furniture came in different colors. It is available in universal colors as well as any colors to accent any outdoor environment from your deck, patio, poolside or backyard. You can find recycled plastic furniture in tables, chairs, benches, traditional rockers, benches as well as the famous classic Adirondack style of furniture.

Poly wood furniture comes mostly assembled With just a few easy instructions and few minutes of your time you can assemble any type of the recycled plastic furniture. You can build by yourself a durable, handsome, long-lasting piece of furniture.

If you are looking for a “green” alternative to outfit your backyard atmosphere, or you are just looking for some accents to make your outdoor more inviting you have come to the right place.

This revolutionary product will give you the peace of mind truly enjoys life knowing that you helped the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling plastic and on the same time you will be pleased with the promising features and craftsmanship.

Tips To Get Beautiful New Flooring For Your Home

You may not realize how much of a difference a particular type of flooring makes in a house or even just a room. Different types of flooring’s impact the look and feel of a room. If you are new to this process of choosing and buying flooring, then you may need a few tips. Home stores offer umpteen flooring options, which may confuse a first-time buyer. But you just need to have a clear mind and know what you want.

First of all, you need to decide on your living room. For this area you can choose between hardwood flooring or carpeting. This decision will depend upon the kind of traffic in your living room and whether you have pets and kids. Choose the one which is suited more to your daily routine and depending on the maintenance that each one needs. The color and design of the floor should depend on the interior colors of the room. It is advisable to choose a more neutral palette so that it blends in easily even if you want a change the paint, furniture or drapes.

If you want a more cost-effective option, then you could even go for laminate flooring. This is an economical and versatile option. It can be used in living rooms, bedrooms or the kitchen. They are easy to maintain and durable for all kinds of use. Laminate flooring can withstand the heat and take a fair amount of traffic while looking great.

Another option that is popular amongst homeowners is vinyl flooring. Some areas of the home are prone to spills and moisture, so vinyl flooring is the best choice for entryways, kitchens and bathrooms. It is considered the most durable and is also considerably easy to maintain.

Another option is discount tile flooring like cool ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles. Tiles are available in practically every color and design and can match any room’s interior. People use it more in kitchens, bathrooms, balconies and porticos. But they can be used anywhere. Some like tile in the living room with an area rug, for example.

These are the main options available to you. What you choose will finally depend on a few factors. The first is obviously your own taste and preference. The next is how much maintenance each requires and whether it is suited for your kind of lifestyle. If you do not have the time to maintain floors, then choose an option which requires least care. The next factor is your budget and the cost of each option. If you are ready to splurge then you can go in for the expensive hardwood options or marble tiles. If you want a more economical deal, then you still have many options like laminate or vinyl. You will enjoy your flooring for many years to come if you choose thoughtfully.

The Benefits of Electric Floor Heat

Electric floor heat systems are used to warm up the entire floor in your living room or office room with electric mechanisms. With these heating systems, you can enjoy the comfort of warm floors even in bone chilling winter season when there is snow all around.

Most of these electric floor-heating systems provide soothing comfort and consistent even heat for your floor. The floor can be of any type or shape, such as tile, stone, laminate, and engineered wood floors without cold spots. Most of these heating systems are easy to install, energy efficient, and can be controlled using a variety of programmable and non-programmable thermostat options.

We all know that radiant floor heating has been around for many years. Over a period, they have been improved drastically when it comes to efficiency and working mechanism along with other safety and user-friendly features.

Actually, the principle is very simple behind every radiant electric floor heating systems. The floor radiates heat to your feet, warming you all over. Most familiar are hydronic systems that heat your entire house.

They produce wonderful heat, but they require a messy web of plastic tubing, water heaters or boilers, pumps along with other equipments and machinery. This makes hydronic systems expensive and complicated to install.

A simpler, less expensive alternative for just a single room is electric floor heat systems. They are easy to install and inspect. Due to their simple mechanism, you can install it in your home with far less trouble and expense than you might expect.

If we see closely these electric floor heat systems, you will notice that almost every unit in electric radiant system consists of thin heating cables, like the wires in an electric blanket, installed under ceramic tile. It is because of these thin wires that they do not raise the level of the flooring unnecessarily much. That results in a great option for remodeling.

Most of these electric radiant systems can be installed easily where warm floors are appreciated, including bathrooms, mudrooms, and kitchens. As their own thermostat controls them, so they do not replace your main heating unit rather they augment it.

There can be many other parts depending upon the type, make and size of your electric floor heating system. For example a carbon heater which is virtually unseen. It is made to measure panels are thermostatically controlled. That is done to warm the floor surface up to a maximum of 85ºF/26.5ºC. Because of the technologically advanced mechanism, the carbon radiant floor heating is energy efficient and provides a safe, even distribution of floor heat.

Similarly, other part of any popular electric floor heating system is an insulation board, which will save your hard-earned money when used in conjunction with radiant floor heating by acting as a very efficient thermal barrier. They reflect the radiant heat upwards instead of allowing the heat to be absorbed by the concrete. That results in a lot of time, energy and money.

Other important parts are thermostats, which are being used in almost every heating mechanism or method. These fully programmable thermostats save you heating costs by turning your heaters on only when you need a heated floor. Actually, an electric radiant heat sensor fitted under the tiles controls your radiant heating.