Mini-Cactus Plants

The cactus family includes a huge variety of succulent plants which change color and size. Some develop into tall columns, reaching around 50 feet high, while some are only a couple inches high and well-suited for growing in pots. All these mini-cacti generally create brightly coloured flowers and take on interesting shapes. You can buy mini-cacti already potted in tiny containers; with appropriate care they can develop indoors while adding color and interest to your room.

Light Requirements

Since mini-cacti are succulents and create colorful blossoms, they require about four hours of direct sunlight each day. A good indoor place is in 4 feet of a south- or east-facing window. Mini-cacti need sunlight exposure evenly, so rotate periodically to make sure that the entire plant receives sunlight. You can tell if the plant receives too much sun by taking notice of its color. Rather than green, the cacti appear white or yellow. Should you have to move a cactus in a high-light area to lower light, do it gradually.

Water

Mini-cacti need well-drained dirt and enjoy other succulents, they don’t need as much water as other plant varieties. Careful observation will be able to help you figure out a watering program for your own mini-cactus. As a rule of thumb, add water once the top half-inch of soil feels dry. When watering, moisten the soil thoroughly, letting it soak up the water, and if it does so rapidly, add more water until it comes from the drainage holes. Many cacti have to be watered once a week.

Fertilizer

Mini-cacti are not heavy feeders, so that they require little fertilization. During active development, it is possible to feed the plants using a low-nitrogen 5-10-10 fertilizer every two or three months. Feeding using a time-released fertilizer is also an option, but only feed the mini-cactus after during spring. You should never fertilize un-rooted or newly re-potted plants.

Winter Care of Mini-Cacti

Mini-cacti go through a dormant period in winter. In this period the cactus requires little or no water. The plant does well using a watering every few weeks. You don’t have to fertilize the cactus because little development occurs during that time. During active growth, cacti require an indoor temperature between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. During the period, place cacti in a room with a temperature between 45 and 55 degrees.

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What's Perennial in Reference to Flowers?

Perennials are defined as plants that live for more than two years. Flowering perennials have a peak bloom period once the flowers are most plentiful. During the non-bloom season, some soft-stemmed perennials go dormant. Certain varieties of perennials are grown for cut-flower production. Some are selected for their fragrant foliage and flowers. Regardless of the reason behind growing perennials, they are a gorgeous, cost-effective accession to the backyard.

Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials are plants using non-woody or delicate stems. Through the fall lots of these plants start to go dormant and frequently require pruning into the ground. Even though flowering has discontinued, the origins are keeping up energy to send up new growth in the spring, saving you time and money by not having to replant the garden each year. Some herbaceous perennials will develop woody stems and not go dormant due to the mild winter weather.

Perennial Flowering

With each year of development, perennials will show more growth both below and above ground. Above ground this means that you can anticipate more blooms and color each year. Below ground you can anticipate the origins to be established and require less water and fertilization. To encourage maximum flowering, pruning and dividing perennials is frequently required. Flowering can be inhibited if there are excess weeds competing for nutrients and water in the ground.

Blooming Period

Flowering perennials have a peak bloom period which varies from species to species. To have continuous color in your perennial flower garden, then be aware of each plant’s bloom period and pick a number of plants to stagger the flowering. A well-planned perennial garden can have flowers during the growing season.

Other Flowering Perennials

Technically, trees, trees and shrubs could be considered perennials as well. Several species in these groups have a thriving period and a few expertise dormancy during the winter as herbaceous perennials do. But vines, trees and shrubs have woody stems and even much different growth habits and maintenance requirements compared to herbaceous perennials. Although, by definition, perennials reside more than two years, the life expectancy past that will differ from species to species. This should be taken into account when planning your garden.

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Topiary Planting Instructions

Topiary refers to the clipping of shrubs or trees into shapes. These can be simple geometrical types, such as cones or balls, or energetic animal shapes or faces. The custom of topiary dates from the Renaissance, however, the Victorians renewed interest in the art and expanded its domain from estates of the affluent to the cottage garden. Today’s gardener can plant a acceptable cutting and, over many decades, clip it into a design or purchase an established topiary.

First Decisions

Selecting a design has to come first, because this will affect the choice of the plant. For example, spirals work best on junipers (Juniperus) or spruce (Picea). Normally, small-leafed, woody evergreens with dense leaf can withstand the intense pruning necessary for topiary. Recommended shrubs include boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), privet (Ligustrum), holly (Ilex) and rosemary (Rosmarinus). All of these have varieties that thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10a. If you aspire to turn a tree into a mushroom or lollipop shape, where the trunk serves as stick or stem, it is necessary that the trunk be straight with no kinks. Good species to plant are the olive oil (Olea europea) or Chinese banyan (Ficus microcarpa), as well as varieties approved for USDA zones 8 to 10. If you’re beginning with a small plant and training it, support the main stem to keep it straight and remove any competition from an early phase.

Starting from Scratch

Once you opt for the tree or tree for your topiary and purchase a cutting, plant, water and fertilize it based on the nursery’s directions for that species. The plant has to be at least 4 feet tall prior to pruning starts. Topiary sculpting is a very long, slow process; trim plants frequently, but just a little at a time. Shaping a spiral takes six to eight decades. To cut the first spiral pattern in a juniper, begin at the foundation and choose three turns together with the shears, moving upwards to the right. If forming a ball in boxwood, clip the shirt into a dome shape and keep rounding the mass in subsequent decades. Keep moving, never dwell too long in 1 spot. Before starting any cutting, place a cloth on the ground around the plant to catch the clippings.

Beginning with a Purchased Topiary

After bringing your topiary home, either plant it in the ground or transplant it into a permanent container. Care for it as you would the identical plant in the natural condition. Glazed ceramic or plastic pots are suggested over unglazed terra cotta, which dries out more quickly. By purchasing a topiary which was years in the making, you’re accepting responsibility to keep it. After the established pattern, trim every couple weeks during the growing season, removing just a bit at a time so you will have no regrets.

Topiary Warnings and Alternatives

A Florida company of landscape managers cautions about badly pruning trees, where 60 to 70 percent of the canopy is eliminated in the course of creating a topiary. They say such therapy dramatically lowers the trees’ lifespans. Shrubs are hardier and tolerate pruning better. As options, the group suggests two other topiary techniques which are simpler on plants. In the first, grow a bush inside a wire frame. As the branches extend beyond the framework, clip them, little by little. The other technique applies a wire frame filled with moss. A fast-growing vine, such as creeping fig (Ficus pumila), suitable for USDA zones 8b through 11, is planted outside the frame and permitted to cover it.

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The Ideal Distance Between Indeterminate Tomato Plants

Short, compact varieties of tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) grow to a certain height and blossom and bear tomatoes in a short harvest period. Tall, sprawling tomato plants — called indeterminates — continue to grow, flower and bear tomatoes until they are killed by the first fall frost. Normally, these larger tomato plants are supported by stakes or wire cages.

Transplant Basics

You can grow indeterminate tomato plants from seed or purchase transplants from a nursery, a frequent practice in areas with a short growing period. The seedlings need to be 6 to 8 inches tall until you plant them on your garden. After being watered thoroughly, they are best planted at least 2 inches deeper than they were at the grass. Planting tomato seedlings in the late day prevents them from losing water from drying soil. How far apart you plant them depends on whether you plan to support them using wire racks, staking them, or allowing them to sprawl on the ground.

Spacing Caged Indeterminate Tomatoes

Growing indeterminate tomatoes in acylinder or rectangular wire cages enables the plants to develop naturally and spares you the chore of having to occasionally tie the plant to a stake. You can purchase ready-make tomato cages from most garden supply centers or make one yourself by bending wire fencing or even concrete reinforcing wire to your cylinder. A supporting cage should have openings of 6 inches between the wires so that you may reach into harvest tomatoes. Indeterminate tomato plants require a cage that’s out of 18 to 36 inches wide and 6 ft tall. If you use a cage to back up your plants, allow 24 to 30 inches of space between plants and 30 to 42 inches between rows.

Spacing Staked Indeterminate Spaces

Indeterminate plants backed by bets also require 24 to 30 inches of space between plants and 30 to 42 inches between rows. Sturdy wooden stakes, 6 ft long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches broad are pressured 1 foot into the soil from 4 to 6 inches apart from the indeterminate tomato plant. As the tomato plant grows, gardeners use twine or strips of fabric to tie the tomatoes to the stake every 10 inches.

Spacing Indeterminate Tomatoes that Sprawl

Indeterminate tomatoes can be permitted sprawl out on the ground rather than being staked or caged. However, this more frequently done with determinate tomatoes because the larger indeterminate plants develop in a snarl making the tomatoes difficult to harvest. Tomatoes lying around the soil is an an invitation to decay; placing landscape fabric or mulch around the ground may help guard them. If you allow them to sprawl, plant them 3 to 4 ft apart using 4 to 5 feet between rows.

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Tips about Organic Pesticides for Vegetable Gardens

Vegetable gardeners must contend with pests ranging from grubs, weeds, insects like aphids and leaf-chewing beetles, slugs and mildew spores. Problems with these insects may be minimized by employing smart gardening practices such harvest rotating crops, carefully choosing vegetable varieties resistant to local pests, practicing good sanitation by eliminating weeds and mulches and implementing naturally derived organic pesticides when required.

Greatest Use

Unlike synthetic pesticides, organic pesticides have been made using botanical and mineral-based origins. Although both kinds can be toxic, organic pesticides break down a lot more quickly than conventional chemical products. However, because of this toxicity, even organic pesticides should be utilized as part of the integrated pest-management program only after other vegetable garden cultural strategies fail. When organic pesticides have been required, broad-based application may not be necessary; frequently spot treatment of affected crops is effective. It is helpful to keep records whenever an organic pesticide is used and whether the treatment successfully controlled the issue.

Groups Available

Commercial organic pesticides may be bought to manage common vegetable garden insects. Bacillus thuringiensis, commonly referred to as Bt, is a bacterial agent used to control insect issues. Other biopesticides include insecticidal soaps and horticultural oilsthat can be utilized to manage aphid infestations. Additional organic goods to fight pest insects comprise diatomaceous earth, pyrethrums, rotenone and neem. Organic vegetable gardeners seeking to avoid issues with fungal disease turn to goods containing copper, hydrogen peroxide or sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, shouldn’t be overused, however, since it may result in a buildup of sodium in the soil. Besides its insecticidal properties, neem oil in high concentrations — 70 percent — may curb issues with powdery mildew. Iron phosphate is offered in pellet form as an organic pesticide used to kill slugs and snailsthat prey on leafy vegetables.

Make at Home

Organic pesticides may also be economically made at home from typical kitchen and household items. As an instance, organic insecticide may be created utilizing chopped onions, garlic and chili peppers that are then mixed with warm soapy water. The mixture should stand immediately before winding and using. Another make-at-home organic pesticide uses liquid dishwashing soap combined with vegetable oil and water. Recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this organic insecticide is effective against whitefly, spider mites and aphids and may be used on vegetable crops such as carrots, cucumbers, eggplants and peppers. Talcum powder is utilized to visually control insects like flea beetle and corn ear worm; however, it must be reapplied after every rain to continue being effective. Weeds can be managed using an organic herbicide made of salt blended with vinegar that’s brushed straight on weeds. Homemade pesticides may also be dangerous if not used correctly, so tag bottles appropriately and store away from children and pets.

Latest Information

Because the record of organically approved pesticides is ever-changing, before using any new product, vegetable gardeners can consult the National Organic Program, that defines organic standards, and also the Organic Materials Review Institute, which provides lists of approved and disqualified pesticides for use in organic gardens.

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How to Overseed With Centipede Grass

Centipede grass functions for several lawns in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 10, due to its relative simplicity of maintenance. With basic fertilization and water, centipede grass can spread and grow. In case your centipede grass lawn is looking unfinished and patchy, you can overseed it to help fill it out into quicker, even though it often fills itself in above time by spreading runners. You can also sprinkle centipede grass seeds in the fall with an annual ryegrass. The ryegrass remains green through the winter, then the centipede grass seeds germinate in the spring.

Mow your yard down to 1 1/2 inches tall to allow the sun to get to the seeds. Do this over a few weeks if your grass is tall; only cut off the very best one-third of the sword at one time. Bag the clippings as you mow, whenever possible.

Water your yard for at least 30 minutes to soften the top layer of dirt.

Rake the thatch layer and dirt with a steel garden rake to loosen it about the current centipede grass. Do your best not to rake so hard that you pull up the existing grass, though you are likely to displace some runners which haven’t taken firm root and they ought to root themselves again following seeding.

Add seed to a seed spreader and wander back and forth across your yard to disperse the seed, going from one side to the other in straight lines. Cover the yard, then turn at the border of the yard and return over it, making lines perpendicular to the first place. Spread about one-half pound of seed per 1,000 square feet of lawn, unless the yard is heavily patched. If so, use up to 1 pound of seed per 1,000 square foot.

Rake over the yard another time to cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt and thatch.

Water the grass thoroughly, soaking it until the soil feels moist at least 1 inch under the surface; analyze this by sticking your finger in the dirt and ensuring it feels moist.

Expand the bagged grass clippings evenly over the seeded area to function as mixers and also help protect the seeds from blowing away in the end; centipede grass seeds are small, so that they could blow away easily.

Water the grass with one-half inch of water daily until the seeds germinate, which can take around three weeks. Watering over one-half inch can make existing centipede grass more susceptible to infection, so check the watering amount by placing a wide-mouth jar on the yard with a mark one-half inch up from the bottom. Turn off the sprinkler once the water in the jar attains the mark each day.

Cut back to watering twice weekly after seedlings emerge.

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How to Change an Old Shower Faucet

Walk through the plumbing section of your regional home center, and you’ll see a wide variety of shower faucets. These faucets come in three basic styles: single-handled units which control the water flow and temperature using one control, two-handled units which have separate controls to the cold and hot water, and three-handled units with handles to control warm, cold and divert the water in the bathtub faucet to the showerhead. If you want to change a vintage shower faucet, the simplest method is to opt for a new tap of exactly the same style as the present unit.

Switch off the water supply to the home in the water meter or principal shut-off valve.

Slip a small flathead screwdriver between one of the old faucet handles and the trim cap at the end of the handle, and pop off the trim cap. Repeat with another faucet handle(s).

Insert a Phillips screwdriver to the screw inside the faucet handle. Hold the handle securely with one hand, and rotate the screw counterclockwise to remove the screw and tighten the handle. Pull the handle off of the faucet mount. Eliminate another faucet handles in precisely the same fashion.

Slip the flathead screwdriver behind the edge of one of the escutcheons, which protect the hole in the wall behind the handle mounts, and gently pry the escutcheon away in the wall. Eliminate another escutcheons in an identical manner.

Locate the retaining nut on one of the faucet posts located just inside the hole that was covered by the escutcheon. Loosen and remove the nut using an adjustable wrench. Then grasp the tip of the faucet handle mount using a pair of slip-jaw pliers and pull on the faucet post straight out from the pipes in the wall.

Insert a new faucet post in the new faucet kit in precisely the same location from the wall. Secure the post by threading a brand new retaining nut on the post and tightening it with the adjustable wrench. Then remove and replace the remaining articles in comparable manner.

Mount the new escutcheons above the faucet posts, followed by the new handles. Tighten the handles using the manage mounting screws with a Phillips screwdriver, then put the new trim caps above the handles.

Turn on the water shutoff valve, and then analyze the operation of the new bathtub faucet.

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Which to Do First When Buying the Kitchen: The Countertops or New Appliances?

Remodeling jobs modernize the texture of a house more than an updated kitchen. New appliances and countertops are each cook’s dream but a small preparation will be in order to ensure results. With a variety of countertop materials from which to choose and today’s new appliance styles, installing the elements in the order is essential.

The Kitchen Plan

Countertop design usually revolves round the appliance specifications. If you’re going to install any specialty type of appliances, like a range that is wider or narrower than the 30 inches, a drop-in cook top or a off-size refrigerator, you’ll need the blower measurements. If you’re not revising the cabinet configuration, however, the appliances should match the size of the appliances that are present.

Countertop Factors

Countertop’s type you select determines how it’s installed. When the countertop is laminate and in good shape, you can install new laminate right on top. If you want a strong composite-type countertop, a poured concrete top, the whole existing top must come off, revealing the cabinet bases. The new countertop base should be built to the specs. By way of instance, once you’re installing post-form countertops they break on the cabinet base. Granite slabs might require a foundation layer of plywood, though concrete plank might be required by a ceramic tile manufacturer as a base.

Appliances and Fixtures

The dishwasher inserts below the counter so it doesn’t alter the countertop arrangement. The same holds true for a trash compactor and other appliances. You might need to accommodate the edge of the countertop adjacent to the refrigerator so it doesn’t extend in the space allocated to the refrigerator if the refrigerator is a tight fit. Check local codes to ascertain the type of exhaust port required for your cooktop and microwave when you’re going with a cabinet configuration. Cooktops with vents that are built in right behind the appliance might require adapting the countertop backsplash to fit.

Countertops Go On First

The countertop must be set up, before you’re able to drop in slip or a selection in an dishwasher. Using a paper template of this countertop configuration, for example, placement of appliances and fixtures, such as the sink, will help you identify problems before you install the countertop. In some type of countertops, in advance , framed block workouts that represent the sink and range are built such as poured cement. When measuring for block workouts or cutouts, don’t measure the true appliance, then use the”rough in” dimensions provided by the appliance, or sink, manufacturer. Countertop materials are generally pricey so the old carpenter adage,”measure twice,cut once” holds true.

Appliances: The End Touch

Place and plumb the sink prior to installing the dishwasher, which depends on linking to the sink’s water supply and drain lines. If your slide-in range, dishwasher or refrigerator appears out-of-whack initially, don’t fret. The legs below these appliances are individually adjustable so that you may raise or lower each corner till the appliances are plumb and level.

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How to Remodel a Bathroom in a Slab House

Essential elements for consideration in remodeling a bathroom in a house built on a slab foundation would be the place of the bathtub, toilet and sinks. The reason is that the drain processes are typically embedded in the concrete. The very best and least expensive alternative is to redo the flooring, the walls and the fixtures, but leave the fixtures right where they’re. Wise homeowners develop a set up and a budget before beginning.

Fixture Location

With the help of a professional contractor, you are able to relocate the drain processes for the bathtub, toilet and sinks if you must when remodeling a bathroom, but it demands the removal of the fixtures, existing plumbing and the concrete. Plumbers are often called upon to relocate these drain processes on toilet remodel occupations and also have the experience to achieve that. They typically use jackhammers and other tools to split the concrete enough to move the drain systems to new locations. New concrete must be pumped after moving the pipes.

Building Code Requirements

Besides the place of the fixtures in the bathroom, local building codes need access in specific dimensions for a bathroom, bathtub and sink, as well as the way the door opens to the space. For example, doors cannot open to block access to any one of these fixtures, as they should ideally open against a blank wall. Before beginning a bathroom-remodeling project, reach from your regional building authority for your own code and obtain conditions.

Floor Plan Draft

Draft a floor plan to scale on graph paper prior to remodeling your bathroom. This enables you to identify any problems that may arise as well as ensuring your fixtures, plumbing and electrical sockets are designed to meet code requirements. It’s much easier — and less expensive — to make changes on paper than it is in a three-dimensional area.

Create a Budget

Dependent on the ground plan to your remodeled bathroom, create a budget and stick to it. Don’t forget to include the cost of new fixtures, flooring, materials and supplies as well as the labor to complete the project. If you have experience with pipes, fixture installation, tiling and such, you can save a lot of money by doing the work yourself.

Contractor Hiring

If you’re planning to employ a contractor to finish the work, select at least three to five contractors with upgraded, validated state-issued contractor’s licenses. Most states permit you to check contractor licenses on the web. Verify contractors chosen have the needed general liability insurance prior to requesting bids from them. Ensure the bids includes equipment, materials, labor and fixtures. You can often save money if you buy the fixtures and provides yourself.

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DIY Wall Mounted King-Size Headboard

King-size headboards are not that difficult to create yourself once you mount them to the wall. An Oriental rug or older quilt can double as a headboard when attached behind the bed. Measure the width of this king-size bed, for example, frame that holds it, then matching the width dimensions to the do-it-yourself headboard you make. The height of the headboard is a matter of preference, however maintaining it relative to the magnitude of the bed and the room gives a balanced look.

DIY Tufted Headboard

Collect the equipment to create your very own tufted headboard. Including the fabric yardage to cover front and back of the headboard, medium density fiberboard or plywood, a power drill, a staple gun, polyester or fiber batting, high-resolution button cord as well as also the buttons — which you cover yourself. Draw out the design to scale on graph paper first; plug in the places of the buttons to create the tufts. Transfer the design to the cut board; drill holes for the buttons, and cover the backing using the batting, stapling it set up. Mark the locations for the buttons on the fabric and staple it to the board. Cover the buttons together with fabric and thread them through the holes, tying them away on the rear. Mount the board using hardware that will not pull out from the wall, like screws into studs, anchor or toggle bolts.

Door Headboard

An old door at least 80 inches tall, cut each end to match the width of this king-size bed and repurposed as a headboard, usually only prices the time it takes to cut and mount it — unless you choose to paint it. It is possible to distress it, paint it or hang it since it came off its hinges to get a vintage look. When you mount the fence, fasten it during the studs behind the drywall so it does not come down to you as you are sleeping.

Ceiling Mounted Drapes

Attach a curtain pole to the ceiling in a U-shape round the bed’s measurements with hardware that will not pull out. Hang drapes on the other side of the bed and on the sides. Catch the side drapes about two-thirds of this way from the ceiling, and pull them back to the wall where you fasten them together with tiebacks. This headboard works especially well once you lease and do not want to mar the wall. When you move, then simply remove the curtain poles; stain the drywall and repaint.

Rustic Chic

After measuring the dimensions of the bed’s width, repurpose old wood cut into equal lengths and then fasten it to the wall horizontally behind the bed. You may also add molding or wood trim around the edges for a finished look. Or stagger the planks after cutting them to shorter lengths, allowing each board end in the middle of the one below it. Lightly sand to get rid of rough wood, and then paint, stain or leave raw, based on the room’s decor. You could also stencil or paint a design on the headboard after it’s installed.

Barn Door

Add vertical planks on the other side of the bed to meet its width, securing them to the wall using anchor bolts, screws into studs or tap bolts so that they do not pull loose. Cut horizontal and diagonal bits, securing them to the boards already on the wall in the barn door design of your choice. Lightly sand the boards to avoid getting splinters in pillows.

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