The Container Vegetable GardenWritten by Vince Apps
If you live in an apartment or town home, you probably think you donít have enough space to grow vegetables. Lack of space is no longer an excuse since many modern vegetable varieties are perfect for growing in containers on a sunny window ledge or patio.
You can grow salad vegetables and herbs in almost any sunny spot and enjoy fresh ingredients all year round. Snipping off a sprig of fresh herbs from window ledge garden in kitchen while you are cooking cannot be bettered.
Here are some tips for perfect container vegetable garden.
Choice of container. The easiest choice is to go to your local garden center or home improvement store and pick any gardening container that takes your fancy. Thereís a wide variety available in plastic, ceramic, wood or clay. Before you pull out your credit card though, take a look around your home and see whatever containers you have lying around. Almost anything that will hold soil can be used for growing, whether it is an old bucket, an empty margarine container or an empty coffee can.
Any container you use must have sufficient drainage holes in bottom. Make additional holes in containers that do not drain quickly after watering. Waterlogged soil will lead to soil-borne diseases and stunted plants. Stand containers in a tray if these are indoors.
Using regular soil is not advisable for container plants, since soil is likely to have plant disease organisms and weed seeds. Soil less potting mixes are lighter, less likely to compact and hold moisture and plant nutrients well. These potting mixes can be purchased from any garden center.
Choice of plants. Almost any herb is suitable for a container vegetable garden. Basil, thyme, mint, parsley, chives and oregano are all good choices. Most salads can also be grown in containers. Consider lettuce, young salad carrots, radishes, and green onions, for smaller containers. Tomatoes, eggplant and peppers do well in a larger container on a sunny patio or balcony. Choose dwarf varieties where these are available.
How to choose an outdoor fireplace for your backyardWritten by Nicole Martins
Making fires outdoors is not just a primordial instinct. Homeowners have campfire bug and it just seems to keep growing. With trend towards creating outdoor living spaces and spending more time outside relaxing or entertaining friends, garden accessories such as an outdoor hearth make backyard experience that much more enjoyable. However, it is important before you shop around for an outdoor fireplace that you check with your local city hall or firehouse to learn about all necessary codes and restrictions.
While choosing between many different outdoor fireplace options may at first seem daunting, there are ways to help make your decision easier. For example, it is good to know that an outdoor hearth can serve not only as a center piece where people enjoy surrounding fire, but it also has a functional role such as providing a source of outdoor heating when in close enough proximity of fireís radiating heat. This is true of both gas and wood burning fires. In addition, features such as an attachable grill grate cooking surface makes it possible to cook outside, another added benefit. Here are some ideas to help you decide what works best for your space.
The easiest to maintain outdoor fireplace
Gas modeled outdoor hearths and fire pits are an excellent choice where a clean burning fire is desired. With gas, either natural or propane, burning more cleanly than wood, you will not have to deal with smoke, sparks, cleaning up ashes or gathering wood logs. Another benefit: you can create an instant fire with click of a button and enjoy a faux wood fire any time of year. This is very appealing to many folks, especially where convenience and low maintenance pits and hearths are valued. Some gas outdoor fire pits fueled by propane gas are designed for portability. In fact, there are fire pit models that include rear tires and pull handles so that you can move pit to destination of your choice including a summer cabin.
The permanent outdoor fireplace
By far most permanent outside hearth is cast iron chiminea. This is an excellent outdoor fireplace choice when a sturdy year round outdoor fireplace presence is desired, such as permanent architecture around patio or pool area. However, as with metals in general, other than aluminum, iron is prone to rusting over its lifetime but maintaining with special paint from time to time and covering with a chiminea cover will help. Another choice for permanence includes cast aluminum chiminea. While not nearly as heavy as cast iron, these outdoor fireplaces will definitely add a sense of year round presence, if desired. One thing to note, metal can get dangerously hot when fireís burning. Itís best to supervise young children when fireplace is in use. You can also use your chiminea for grilling and outdoor fire as a source of heating. (visit http://www.outdoor-fireplaces-and-patio-heaters.com/chiminea.htm)