Aquaponics is an interesting concept, I never once thought you can grow a garden with fish but the popularity of this method is sky rocketing. But what is Aquaponics and what are the advantages of having one? Those questions can be answered below.

What is Aquaponics?

The definition of Aquaponics is a system of using fish and plants together to produce an Aquaponic Garden. By using The fish waste it provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water. This concept is not new to the eastern civilization as they have been doing it for hundreds of years with rice but the idea is relatively new in the west. This is for people that are looking to grow their own natural vegetables in their backyard or garden. A great alternative!

Benefits of Aquaponics

1. Endless Supply of Organic Vegetables & Fish

First, you will have a vast supply of organic food at your disposal. Some examples of what you can grow in your Aquaponic garden are:

Cucumbers

Tomatoes

Lettuce

Peas

Beans

Broccoli

Various herbs such as basil and parsley and the list goes on…

2. No more annoying pulling out weeds

I swear this is the best part, how many times has someone pulled out weeds breaking your back only to see they are back again days later?

3. You can grow ten times as much using less space than you would with traditional gardening

You get more yield, how great is that? Especially if you have a small yard you will have an ample supply of fresh vegetables more than you would with traditional gardening.

4. It’s practically automated

You don’t need to spend as much time on it as you would with a traditional garden, you just sit back and monitor it and let the fish do all the work for you.

5. You don’t have to worry about fertilizing it

It is always hard to keep the balance when fertilizing your garden in a traditional environment. It can make or break your garden, and then, of course, you have bugs to deal with that invade our traditional plants and are really hard to control. So at that point, many people use pesticides to get rid of the pests which are toxic and harmful to ingest.

6. Easy to build

The materials are easy to find and hardware stores and it is fairly easy to set up and if needed, easy to take down to move around.

7. It’s cost-effective

You will have an abundant supply of vegetables as well as fish that would have cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. You will save a ton of money rather than going to the grocery store.

As you can see there are huge benefits to adding an Aquaponic system as it can produce and yield a mass amount of vegetables and plants for your garden as well as save you a lot of money. There isn’t much effort involved and when it’s fully set up you will have a self-sustainable, chemical-free Aquaponics garden that you and your family can enjoy.

 

Wooden houses are pretty much made for Winter. Think about it: a nice, roaring fire in the fireplace. Snow falling softly outside. A twinkling Christmas tree in the corner. Everyone sipping on hot cocoa and singing carols. It is an image that is deeply engrained in the consciousness of many and for good reason.

But you don’t have to rent a ski cabin to get that feeling. You can find it in your own log cabin, a gorgeous and valuable bit of real estate that is perfect for anyone who wants that serenity and calm all year long.

Wooden houses take a bit more care through the year. So here is what you need to know before you buy your own log cabin, so it will be ready once the weather turns cold.

Take Local Weather Into Account

Not everyone has extreme weather where they live. If your Winters aren’t especially harsh then you can probably get away with minimal preparation and be fine. But if you live in an area that gets very wet or cold you will have to take extra care so you don’t damage the lumber, something that is very easy to do without proper wood treatment.

Heat is another factor, so if you live in a very hot climate make sure you are taking the same precautions every year. The sun can be just as damaging as the damp.

Don’t worry, even extreme weather can’t break down the strength and beauty of wood, as long as you take care of it. With proper intervention a wooden house can be passed down for generations.

Make Sure That Fireplace Works

That roaring fire in the image above? That can be your reality but you have to make sure you fireplace is in tip top order. Any improperly maintained fireplace is, of course, a risk. But in a wooden house you have an additional threat if sparks catch, so don’t skimp out!

Make sure your home is zoned for a fireplace. Keep the chimney cleaned and sweep it every year before the cold months when you are going to be using it most. Put a good dampener on that can be opened and closed easily. That will let you open it for use, but keep it closed when not in use so air doesn’t leap out. It also stops critters like birds, bats, arachnids, insects and small mammals from wandering inside and causing a major headache.

Be Ready To Stain and Seal

A log cabin has to be restained every three to five years to keep the wood in good condition. This is well worth the cost as your home is an investment that is worth a great deal more than what you put into the upkeep.

Failing to restain your house will lead to cracks in the wood, warping and even rot. Replacing logs is expensive and difficult, usually requiring a contractor experienced in woodwork to come and do it for you. The staining, on the other hand, is a DIY job most people can complete on their own. It can run you anywhere between $1500 and $5000 depending on the size of the house and any extensions (such as wooden garages), but for an expense every few years it is relatively low.

Weatherstripping Is Your Best Friend

Even without any gaps in the wood, leaks can happen in log cabins. Like any dwelling there are drafts around windows and doors, or in attics and basements. This can be frustrating for homeowners who want to keep the chill away from their abode, but worry about the high energy costs needed to do it. Some turn to firewood to keep the warmth up, but that does nothing if it is escaping through the cracks.

Weatherstripping is inexpensive and easy to do yourself. You can seal the windows and doors to keep air from leaking and keep that warmth in with your family. Most hardware stores have kits with full instructions and YouTube has great information videos showing the process.

It even helps once Summer comes, keeping that cool air inside!

Extra Insulation Makes For a Cozy Cottage

If you don’t mind a heavier project that takes a bit more time and expertise, you may want to consider adding some extra insulation to your home. Insulation helps to keep from air escaping the way weatherstripping does. It is especially helpful in wooden homes because of drafts pushing through the logs.

The attic is one particular area where extra insulation can completely change the way your house conserves energy. Warm air tends to move upward, so if you have a drafty attic space, even if it is a small crawlspace, it can let out a lot of it. Adding in some insulation will keep it trapped inside from the leakiest part of the house, which keeps it down in the rooms where you and your family live.

Heavy Curtains Make a Big Difference

If insulation isn’t possible, or if you just want an additional tool to keep your house warm, heavy curtains can do the trick. Thick enough to block out the light, these babies also keep heat from going through the window. The heavier the fabric, the better the warm air will remain where it is meant to be, in your house.

You can use a lighter weight curtain if you worry about reinforcing the rods enough to keep something heavier in place. Just make sure you add a layer or two to give the highest possible barrier around your windows.

Keep Those Critters Out

Finally, you have the critter problem. Insects, arachnids, small mammals like rats, mice and even raccoons… these are all possible hazards to your wooden home. Termites can eat right through the wood and other creatures might claw and gnaw in through the lumber.

Be prepared to seal your house every Winter and consider spraying for pests before the first snow hits. That will keep the problem at bay before it ever gets out of hand.

 

So many things are labeled “green” are actually quite far from being truly eco-friendly. The pots and pans labeled ‘green cookware’ are no different. This disguise is so great that many of the pots and pans are painted green and therefore are even labeled “green” or eco-friendly (type eco-friendly pots in a search engine, the results include green colored pots) while the fact is the green paint itself has toxic ingredients unhealthy for the food and the environment in many ways.

What determines the eco-value of a product is, in fact, what is inside it or what it is made up of. To summarize, there are mainly 3-4 aspects that determine a product’s planet-friendly worthiness:

What it’s made of:

The raw material plays an important role in making an eco-friendly product. If the raw material is toxic, the product can never be called green or eco-friendly. In case of cookware, the metals conventionally used to make cookware release many toxic by-products during mining, extraction, processing, and finishing. Acquiring the raw material calls for massive deforestation to create mines and quarries (for ingredients in ceramic cookware) affecting the wildlife and the lives of people living nearby. Can this be eco-friendly? No way!

How is it made?

Even if you choose an eco-friendly raw material, the way of manufacturing may impact the environment if chemicals are used at any stage and if toxic liquid or gaseous wastes are released into the environment. It is important that the manufacturing process neither affects the environment nor the health of people working in it.

How does it work?

Another determining factor is how it cooks? Most non-stick cookware release toxic fumes when heated poisoning the environment. Most metal cookware requires high heat to accomplish anything while cooking. This is because metals heat and cool at the same time and a higher amount of heat is needed to cook the same food as compared to a truly eco-friendly pot (keep reading to find out which one is).

Another aspect that’s also important is what happens at the end of their life cycle: truly green cookware should be fully biodegradable. Treatment of non-biodegradable waste is a challenge the whole world is struggling with and if a product is non-biodegradable it is certainly not eco-friendly.

The only pot that is green in all 4 aspects is cookware made from pure clay:

The raw material is all-natural and non-toxic. It doesn’t affect the environment while it is harvested or processed. In fact, people working with pure clay have reported it has therapeutic effects on their health. So the raw material is truly eco-friendly – CHECK!

Pure clay pots are made without using any chemicals. They are made in an old-fashioned way on a potter’s wheel with skillful hands and that sure isn’t harmful to the environment. This time-honored method of making pots from pure clay makes its manufacturing process absolutely green – CHECK!

When the pots made from this healthy material cook food, they neither leach toxins nor destroy nutrients. On the contrary, they cook food with gentle, far-infrared heat that keeps the nutritional value of food intact. Also, at the end of their useful lifecycle, they can be disposed off anywhere – they will go back to the same earth from where they came from causing no harm to the environment, making them fully biodegradable and thus, eco-friendly – CHECK!

 

If you need to update your current garden furniture or are planning to buy some for next year, here are some great ways you can save some cash while also adding furniture to your porch or patio this summer.

Purchase Garden Fundamentals Out Of Season

Garden furniture is a seasonal business and so buying out of season will usually see lower costs. Buy garden furniture, BBQ’s and grills toward the end of the summer months to save a lot of money. Most retailers offer end of season rebates, so by holding off on those enormous buys, you could grab yourself a fantastic deal.

Separate Your Perennials

Dig out your wide-covering and expansive perennials and separate them from the roots using a spade or fork – doing this will give you a few small plants which you would then be able to give to friends or move to another piece of the garden. Reusing and altering the plants you already have, instead of buying new things will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Put Your Money Into Best Buy Items

The consumer website ‘Which?’ Tests a scope of garden items for you, to ensure that you can spend your money on the right things. However, you don’t need to just listen to internet reviews and you don’t just need to spend loads of money to get decent items. Lawnmowers can range wildly in price: on Amazon, for example, you can find one for £50 or one for £900, but the £50 still has over 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 400 reviews. A small amount of research on your part will yield the best results.

Develop From Seed

Planting seeds as opposed to purchasing more develop plants will spare up loads of money. Often times, a bag of seeds will contain more than if needed, so why not share them, with a friend or loved one who also enjoys horticulture? A bag of 10,000 Poppy Seeds, for example could cost you less than £2.00, whereas a set of three fully-grown Poppy plants can be as much as £20. You don’t need to be a math whizz to see the benefits.

Reuse Your Left Over Fertilizer

Reusing last year’s will not be a terrible plan, but it certainly won’t be the 100% most effective way of helping your plants. So, do you throw it out? Certainly not! Just cut it with a newer bag and use that to get great results without wasting last year’s fertiliser. That is, of course, unless it’s a wet fertiliser or has been exposed to the wet. In which case it will have negative impacts and you should just throw it on your compost pile instead.

Update Your Furniture

To switch up your garden decor, you don’t need to buy a totally new garden furniture set. Instead, check whether you can work with what you have and maybe update it. If your garden set is made out of metal, you can buy shower paint, mainly intended for outdoor furniture, to revitalise the look. If you have porch furniture that is made out of wood, you can recolour it an alternate shading to give it a different look.

Another excellent method to give your garden furniture a second life is by buying new cushions and pads for your porch furniture. It is a great deal less expensive to update just your porch cushions and pillows than it is to get an altogether new set.

Shop At The End Of Summer

Finally, and admittedly similar to buying out of season, be sure to shop just at the close of summer, when shops know the garden furniture will have a sharp decline in purchases. The prices will drop too, as the shops try to get rid of their excess stock and make way for the winter collection., allowing you to swoop in a grab some great deals.