Your Garden Deserves A Haircut Too

Your Garden Deserves A Haircut Too

Nov 24

Your Garden Deserves A Haircut TooDid you forget I need a haircut too?

If only garden plants can talk, you’ve probably heard them tell you this.

I thought of this while I was peering over my neighbor’s backyard garden. A certified green thumb and garden lover, I find it unsettling seeing a poorly maintained garden. I’m even thinking of volunteering to prune their foliage.

For this post, let me remind you how important pruning is (in case some of you don’t know it yet or forgot about it.)

Pruning is necessary not just for keeping the garden look good but also to keep your plants healthy and allow it to grow better. While it may seem counterintuitive, regularly cutting plants back is beneficial for its growth. This makes it important to invest on basic gardening tools, particularly pruning tools. A pole saw can help simplify pruning of tall trees and garden plants – a common problem that beset many garden owners. If you don’t own one yet, you can visit this review site to learn more about the different brands and models of pole saws.

Before you even think about it, pruning is not just randomly cutting parts of a plant. When you prune plants, you have to be careful which parts to cut, which to spare, and when to do it. Some vital things to consider include the desired shape of the plant and how you want it to grow back.

Usually, the extent of pruning depends on the type of plant. For instance, flowering plants only require removing the weak or dead parts. Meanwhile, grass and other shrubberies often need to be cut back to the ground to allow new sprouts to replace the older ones.

I’ve read that pruning actually hurts a plant (as if anyone has felt how it is to become a plant?). Well, it obviously wounds the plant but if done properly it shouldn’t harm the overall health of the plant. On the contrary, it should allow the natural healing process, which enables healthy growth. Have you ever noticed how flowering plants produce more flowers after pruning? The same is true with fruit-bearing trees and most other plants.

Pruning may also be necessary for safety reasons. Some trees can grow very tall interfering with power lines and putting people nearby at risk. Trees can also pose risk to your home, such as possible debris from the tree in case of strong winds.

Usually, pruning is best done during the dormant period of the plant (winter, early spring and fall). But this is not the case for all plants. There are plants, such as shrubs and spring blooming trees, that produce new buds once the old ones fall off. Prune these plants just after flowering. There are also some plants that need to be pruned continuously to keep them healthy.

But what if you pruned at the wrong time? There should be no problem as plants have incredible healing capacity. Pruning, no matter how odd or poorly done, is rarely fatal. Most plants recover but only after some time. To avoid worries, it would help to do some readings before you take out the pruning shears.

3 Easy DIY Garden Watering Systems You Can Do Right Now

3 Easy DIY Garden Watering Systems You Can Do Right Now

Nov 23

Many of you probably don’t know: I’m also into gardening. Yes, you read it right! This soccer fan actually tends to a small home garden. I find it beneficial growing organic vegetables and herbs which is good for one’s health.

3 Easy DIY Garden Watering Systems You Can Do Right NowI was actually planning install an air compressor into my garden’s watering system to increase the water pressure. While looking for an air compressor, I found this site, Air Compressor Judge, helpful as it offers reviews on different models and brands of air compressors. Sadly, I couldn’t seem to find a model that fits my budget, so I decided to go on DIY water systems.

For this post, allow me to share with you some nifty DIY watering systems that won’t hurt your pocket.

Drip Hoses

This is a simple DIY water system that requires cheap materials and can also help you save on your water bills. A drip hose directly brings water to the soil, drop by drop. You can either buy a roll of drip hose or you can also use an old hose. Clean the hose and punch tiny holes at least 2 inches apart. On both ends of the hose, leave 6 inches un-punctured.

Once the hose have tiny holes, attach a hose cap on one end and then the other end towards a supply to the faucet. Turn the water on keeping the pressure low, or else it will spray. Run the hose beneath the plants and then cover with 2 inches of soil. Since it is directly under the foliage, it is protected against evaporation.

Ollas

Ever heard of ollas? These are earthen jars come with wide bellies and thin necks are buried in your garden. It allows you to store water to it. Water slowly seeps through the tiny holes in the ollas’ unglazed walls keeping the soil moistened. At the same time, it also prevents water evaporation or runoff. Over time, the ollas draws water to it, creating an efficient self-watering system. Ollas can capture water from rain or daily precipitate so you don’t need to worry about water run-out.

Self-watering Earth Box Planter

If you have no time to water your garden, you might find this clever project very helpful. The idea is simple: let the soil absorb water slowly from a built-in well. You just have to fill the built-in well but less frequent than what you normally do.

An earth box can be made of any material or size. It just needs to have two basic components the mulch/soil and a water reservoir. Making a DIY self-watering planter may seem complicated but it’s actually simple. You can check some instructional videos on how to make your own earth box with materials that are readily available to you.

These simple DIY projects can unburden you from the task of watering your garden daily. I find it especially helpful for busy urban dwellers.

Best Wood For Making Outdoor Furniture

Best Wood For Making Outdoor Furniture

Sep 17

When it’s autumn, I tend to spend my free time in my garden: tending to the plants, improving the landscaping and seeing to the maintenance of the entire yard including the pool.  For a long time, I’d been thinking of making a multipurpose garden bench, one where you can sit and enjoy the plants and nature or use as a table for keeping things.  So far, I haven’t got around to it. Outdoor seating is very important and gives an excellent finishing touch to a garden or yard and it can be actually done easily.

Whether you place it nearby a meandering path or under your favorite tree, a comfortable and cozy place where you can sit and enjoy your handiwork in the garden is certainly one of the little pleasures you enjoy in your routine life. It also serves to help ease the pressures of the day ahead in the mornings or unwind after a long day at work.

The important part is selecting the wood for the bench.  Garden benches and any other furniture for use in the garden or patio can be designed from a wide variety of materials. But wood is the best material to date, as it exudes beauty and warmth and blends naturally with the surrounding. When you choose the wood, make sure it is weather resistant and durable. It should also be easy to finish. I use an excellent belt sander I bought at this place for getting a good finish.

Here are some varieties to help you choose a right one for your garden:

Acacia

If you are environment conscious and prefer ecofriendly and sustainability measures, acacia wood is an ideal choice. The wood is durable, dense, and readily available and is actually the preferred material for boat building, hence is perfect for outdoors where you need to have furniture that withstands the weather elements.  Sealed acacia wood has a rich and golden brown hue, while unsealed variety is just right for patio or deck furniture, as it is exposed to the dampness from the ground, which can cause it to discolor easily.

Cedar

This is resistant to rot and insects and is an ideal choice, if you are in the habit of rearranging your garden furniture frequently.  It paints and further stains well too. You should have it cleaned and sealed annually; otherwise, it can become quite rough. My neighbor has all his patio furniture made of cedar and uses HITACHI SB8V2 BELTSANDER for the finishing and the furniture look really wonderful.

Cypress

This wood is insect as well as rot resistant, because of the inherent preservative present in the wood. This wood does not need any finish to keep it protected from the elements but an occasional coat of oil would help in keeping the fresh look. Although the wood fades over time, it does not shrink or expand as the seasons change.

Redwood

This is an eco-friendly choice, but the wood is in limited supply. The wood is durable and resistant to elements as well as insects and decay. It does not shrink, warp and is very stable. However, it can be prone to scratches and dents easily, as it is soft. Be sure to seal it, as it can easily stain your clothing, if left without sealing.

My First Longboarding Experience

My First Longboarding Experience

Sep 11

I’ve recently discovered longboarding and I have to admit – it’s an addicting extreme sport. I just couldn’t resist the speed and adventure you get while riding the longboard. While I have seen a number of incredible longboarding videos over the internet (some even featuring female longboarders), I haven’t really tried it until last week.

It was a lazy Sunday morning when a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join him (and his ‘gang’) for a short biking trip to a nearby hill. Since I had nothing to do that day, I immediately said yes.

My friend was with a group of bikers and they are set for an uphill bike trail. I guess it was their usual route because of their familiarity. With clear skies and cool breeze of air, it was a perfect day for biking.

I took out my bike and set off with these cool guys I’ve just met. The paved road was perfect for biking and the scenery was new to me. But unlike my usual route, uphill biking seemed to be more challenging.

I had to force my lower body muscles a bit more for this ride. Most of them were actually surprised that I can keep up with their pace despite my months of lacking bike training. I thought to myself – I have been training Crossfit and have been running almost every day, so biking uphill isn’t really a major challenge.

I didn’t really know where we’re heading except that they told me we’re supposed to rest at a hilltop park. About an hour into our incline ride, we reached the park and alighted. Most of the bikers went to their pre-parked cars to get something. Soon, they were back to the rest area together with their longboards.

I really didn’t really know that those guys where longboarders too, but the adventurous guy inside me was silently shouting in excitement.

I haven’t really tried longboarding but it’s one on my bucket list. So, when they asked me if I wanted to try, I immediately said yes. Since I have had previous experience with skateboarding and surfing, they told me that I wouldn’t have a hard time learning the basics of longboarding.

Soon, I found myself wearing one of the helmets and riding the longboard. It was a 42-inch Loaded Bamboo Vanguard Longboard, much like the ones reviewed on this site: http://longboardmafia.com/. I really didn’t care if it was a beginner’s longboard or not, I am just too excited and wanted to try it pronto!

My friend taught me the basics: balance, maneuvering, controlling speed, stopping the board, and limb coordination. I was too eager to ride the board; in just half an hour, I was already up on my feet and ready for my first ride.

They said the first few stretch of the hill has a moderate incline, just right for a beginner. In no time, I was already freely gliding down the hill. It was a perfect ride. While I may have bruised an arm and leg for carelessly jumping off the longboard (which I should have never done), the adrenaline rush was just so cool!

After a couple more tries, the bikers decided to drive back home. I would really wanted more but since I don’t have my own longboard, I obliged to the group. Anyway, I’ve been searching for a good beginner longboard online and have been reading this site. I guess, I fell in love with the excitement longboard gives!

A Beginner’s Guide to Crossfit

A Beginner’s Guide to Crossfit

Jun 25

Have you noticed how crossfit is everywhere these days? I was delighted to see it popping up in magazines, on commercials, and everywhere online!

There are even crossfit gyms opening up. It’s like those LED light bars that no one heard of until suddenly everyone had them (I bought mine at LightBarReport). I’ve been claiming that crossfit is awesome for a while now, and now I can tell all my friends –“I told you so!”. No, no, but let’s get serious. I love the fact that more and more people have begun sharing my interest, and here I’m going to write a short beginners guide to crossfit at the request of my friend Stephanie (hi Steph!). So here you are – the essentials of crossfit in a short blurb!

What is crossfit?

Crossfit is often advertised as the sport of fitness. It’s a training philosophy that encourages all types of people to improve their health and fitness in a hardcore way. It’s used by a lot of police academies and military programs, and for a good reason. It’s definitely difficult, but definitely worth it!

Who is it for?

Since it’s extremely adaptable, the short answer is that crossfit is for everyone. The programs are the same for everyone, and the scale and intensity can vary greatly, so it can be done by both MMA fighters and elderly people. The only people who crossfit is not well suited for are people who compete in a specific sport, or specialize in a specific activity. Since these people need to focus on a certain part of their muscles or a certain skill, crossfit is just doubling the effort for no positive results.

Is it dangerous?

Not if you do it right. Since in crossfit, exercises are done quickly, it’s easy to give in and do them improperly. If you are not careful about your form or if you don’t have someone guiding you, you might hurt yourself. Crossfit can also be dangerous for people who just don’t know their own limits, or push them too hard. Just make sure you do exercises properly and stop when you feel you’ve had enough, and crossfit will be no more dangerous than a walk in the park.

Can I do it by myself?

If you know a good crossfit regime, it’s perfectly ok to do exercises by yourself. Many gyms post their workouts online for everyone to see, so finding one that suits you shouldn’t be difficult. But bear in mind that it’s always good to have good guidance. A good trainer is like a LED light bar in a night drive – you might not absolutely need one, but it’s good to have one anyway.

One of the points in crossfit is that it’s a team exercise, which means that if done alone, there is no one there to cheer you on. You lack the supportive community and are less likely to stick to the routine and do the amount of work you would have done in a group exercise.

Awesome Hobbies to Follow

Awesome Hobbies to Follow

Jun 17

Now I understand the title here might be a little misleading, since I’ll be compiling a list of some of my favorite hobbies and the fact I think they are awesome doesn’t necessarily mean you will think they are awesome. However, it’s more or less impossible to escape bias, as far as I know. People have their preferences. That said, even if you read through this list and find you dislike the majority of the hobbies I’ll mention, I can more or less guarantee you’ll find at least one which you would enjoy. So, without further ado, here are several awesome hobbies to follow and maybe even try.

As a man, I’m often looking for hobbies that will make me appear more masculine, manlier. While I do that well enough on my own, it helps to create a good first impression when meeting people, you know? I find a great way to do this while showing off how manly I am is to invite folks over for food which I grill myself. Grilling and cooking in general is something every guy should know how to do anyhow, kind of a basic survival skill that people need to understand, regardless of gender, age or other variables. It does help that I’m good at grilling, but like any other hobby on this list, you get better with more practice.

I’ve found one of the best complementary hobbies for grilling is hunting, and that’s something else I do now and then. While it’s true that it’s kind of limited since there are only certain seasons and stretches of time where hunting is even legal to do, that fact doesn’t stop me from getting out and bagging something to bring home, cook up and eat every year or so. It’s a great way to get active too, especially when you consider all the hiking through woods, marshes and other terrain necessary to track game. What could be better than a veal chop? Veal I’ve hunted and butchered myself, thank you very much.

Do you like thrift stores? I love them. Rooting through the junk of people who are probably deceased might seem a bit morbid to some folks, but it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. Being that I love the sound of vinyl and I know how superior it is to CD and DVD quality sound thanks to some studies about compression which I’ve read, I’m kind of a record buying fiend. 33s, 45s and 78s are all fine, though you might need some specialized machines to play the older records. These make great conversation starters and really, lots of people like older music compared to the stuff of today, don’t you agree?

Longboarding is another thing I’ve always enjoyed, as well as another hobby which I know isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have the legs or the balance for it, longboarding could be a huge mistake and a painful one at that. However, since I’m already used to skateboarding thanks to riding when I was younger (which wasn’t so long ago, mind), longboarding feels kind of natural to me, like it’s something I already know how to do. It is too, essentially – there is a board, four wheels and you propel yourself with your feet and so on. Free transportation with an attached workout never hurt anyone.

Sleight of hand is a skill which is useful for more than just entertaining if some of you readers take my meaning. Being good with your hands can be highly beneficial at times, which is why I extoll hobbies that keep the hands busy. I’m thinking of magic like card tricks and the like as I write this, but I know there are other ways to get more in touch with your fingers. Have you ever tried picking a lock? There’s nothing illegal about it if you’re working on a lock of your own. Developing those fine motor skills can be difficult, but these are a couple ways of doing it well while having a good time.

Hobbies which stimulate the mind also have their benefits. Did you really think you would get through a long, written list about hobbies like this without me advising you to read and write more often? People struggle to speak in public; just visit any town hall meeting or other gathering of amateur speakers and this will become quickly apparent if you don’t believe me. Reading and writing both get you working with words, which helps you to understand them better. Knowing the etymology is kind of secondary here to being able to read and speak the words well in my opinion. It’s all beneficial though.

Landscaping is just a glorified way to say gardening if you ask me, but there are differences between the two. I mean, do you think of planting trees when you hear someone say “gardening”? No, you don’t. Things like planting flowers come to mind, not digging two foot deep holes to drop a tree into. However, both of these are good hobbies to pick up. They teach you about the land, how to cultivate it and how to grow things in it. It might not be farming exactly, but developing the skills to create edible plants from soil and seed is right up there with cooking in terms of viability. Everyone should know how to do this.

Sailing is another one of those things people should just learn to do, but unlike cooking or landscaping, the necessity of it is kind of limited to people who regularly interact with the water, rather than people who eat food to live, which includes everyone. There are all kinds of watersports like waterskiing, parasailing, swimming, canoeing and more to enjoy, but at the end of the day knowing how to tie a dozen different knots and set a sail that won’t get ripped to shreds by a strong gust of wind is a useful talent that lends itself to an entertaining hobby – unless you’re the type to get seasick easily, of course.