Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

Houseplants Clean Indoor Air Pollution Home Top Plants   Leave a comment

The NASA studies on indoor pollution done in 1989 recommends 15 to 18 plants in 6 to 8-inch- diameter containers to clean the air in an average 1,800 square foot house. That’s roughly one plant per 100 square feet of floor space.

Most of the plants that remove pollutants, scientists found, come from tropical forests where they only get light filtered through the branches of taller trees. Their leaf composition lets them photosynthesize and move air efficiently in low light conditions of the average home.

Soil and roots also remove air-borne pollution. Bacteria and fungi in soil use pollutants as a food source to feed plant roots. If you remove lower leaves on plants to expose as much soil as possible, even more toxins are absorbed to feed plants. Don’t use the picked leaves to make a salad or compost them! Dispose of the leaves safely.

Common houseplants are the most efficient, NASA found. Some of my favorites like sansevieria, Lady palm and heartleaf philodendron are on the space agency’s top plants list. My hanging basket of philodendron crawls and snakes all over the windows, to the ceiling, in the sunroom. It verges on being a weed, but a weed that does an excellent job in keeping that room fresh.

Take a look at NASA Top 15 Plant List below. Add a few to your collection or buy a dozen to get started, knowing you are cleaning house sustainably. How green is that?

English ivy

Spider plant

Spathiphyllum (Peace lily)

Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen)

Bamboo, Lady or Reed palms

Sansevieria (Snake plant)

Heartleaf philodendron

Selloum or tree philodendron

Elephant ear philodendron

Golden pothos

Dracaena marginata (red-edged)

Cornstalk dracaena (also called Magic bamboo)

‘Janet Craig’ dracaena

Dracaena ‘Warneckii’

Ficus Benjamin (weeping fig)

via Houseplants Clean Indoor Air Pollution Home Top Plants.

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Posted January 27, 2011 by dmacc502 in environment, gardening

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How to grow blueberries in pots – Telegraph   Leave a comment

I made it. As the name implies, a selection of...
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Blueberries may look cute, plump and innocent, but they cost a filthy amount about 3p each in my local fruit shop and if you read the small print, most of the year round they are flown in from alarmingly distant places, such as Chile, Peru and planet Zog.As my older sister and her husband are both running for the Green Party in this election and have mostly given up flying to save on carbon emissions, our household consumption of blueberries feels a bit, well Sarah Palinesque.The problem is, we really like them. So when I looked into starting some “edible containers” on my roof terrace sadly, containers in which you grow fruit and vegetables, not chocolate-flavoured planters, I was struck by how often blueberries were recommended.Apart from needing moisture-retaining ericaceous acid soil and regular watering, they got great write-ups as reasonably low-maintenance shrubs which can produce “bags of fruit”.The only hitch I could see was that they prefer to be planted in late autumn and early winter when dormant – but a quick chat with my local nursery reassured me that for pots, I could just about get away with planting them now.

via How to grow blueberries in pots – Telegraph.

Posted January 19, 2011 by dmacc502 in environment, gardening

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How to make perfect chicken soup | Life and style | The Guardian   Leave a comment

Homemade chicken soup

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Felicity’s perfect chicken soup. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Serves 6

1kg chicken wings or drumsticks or a mixture, plus a leftover chicken carcass if you happen to have one

2 sticks of celery, chopped

2 onions, chopped

3 carrots, 2 roughly chopped, one peeled and more finely chopped and kept separate

3 leeks, 2 roughly chopped, 1 more finely chopped and kept separate

Small bunch of parsley, separated into stalks and leaves

750ml chicken stock, cold

200g barley, cooked (pearl or wholegrain)

1. Put the chicken in a large pan and just cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off the scum from the top – this is important, as it will give the finished soup a greasy, unpleasant flavour.

2. Add the celery, onions (if they’re clean, there’s no need to peel these), the roughly chopped carrots and leeks, the parsley stalks and the stock. Season with pepper. Simmer gently for about 2 hours.

3. Strain the soup through a fine sieve – you can pick the meat off the bones to add to the soup if you wish, although it may be rather tough. Return the soup to the pan, add the remaining finely chopped carrot and leek and cook for 10 minutes until these are soft.

4. Stir through the cooked barley, season to taste, and serve with the chopped parsley leaves on top.

via How to make perfect chicken soup | Life and style | The Guardian.

Posted January 13, 2011 by dmacc502 in family, gardening, Uncategorized

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Living with a lawn-free garden – The West Australian   Leave a comment

Living with a lawn-free garden – The West Australian.

via Living with a lawn-free garden – The West Australian.

With water restrictions getting ever tougher, the dream of a lush lawn all year round is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.

Replacing at least part of your lawn can reduce both your water bill and your maintenance to-do list, according to landscape designer Patrick Johnson, of Allure Landscapes.

“Mowing every two weeks is not all that needs to be done on a lawn – you also have to edge, brushcut, fertilise and weed every fortnight for that perfect lawn look,” Mr Johnson said.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other low-maintenance and water-wise options when it comes to ground-covers.

Here are some options for a low-maintenance, lawn-free garden.


Replacing turf with ground-covering plants and native grasses can save a lot of water and maintenance while also adding colour and texture, according to Bunnings national landscape buyer Trent Emmins.

“Choose warm-season grasses, as they will survive best in summer, and ensure you have 10cm of good top soil and a quality lawn aerator to promote root growth,” he said.

Waldecks group retail manager Hilton Blake said using plants would also help retain the cooling effect of lawn and feature pots, water bowls and other plants could also be added.

On the downside, Mr Johnson said these kinds of plants could not always handle heavy traffic or full sun.

BEST FOR: A lush feel.


A well-constructed deck was a low-maintenance choice, said Paul Oorschot, director of WA Timber Decking.

However, it was critical to get the position right and Mr Oorschot advised against areas that would interfere with reticulation or get a full watering from sprinklers.

“Full sun exposure should also be avoided unless you are planning to cover it with a pergola or other shade structure,” he said.

Mr Emmins said there were many DIY decking options available, although some ongoing maintenance with timber oil was required.

To ensure longevity, Mr Oorschot recommended choosing a durable, termite-resistant hardwood such as jarrah, merbau, spotted gum or blackbutt


Posted November 22, 2010 by dmacc502 in environment, gardening

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