Categories
Home and Family

A Moving Checklist

MOVING! The very thought of it can send chills down our spine and can cause us to break out into a cold sweat. Experts say that any kind of “change” creates “stress”. Moving, (and especially if we are relocating to a new city or state), represents a huge change and naturally brings a great amount of stress along with it. This can be a double whammy, because stress can lead to a lack of energy and motivation. Many of us tend to procrastinate during stressful periods of our lives. This is one time, though, when we must rise above that. When preparing for a move we need to put the pedal to the metal and get a lot of things done. This checklist contains many suggestions that may seem like “no-brainers”. However, the very act of printing out these simple suggestions and reminders can become a significant security blanket as the dreaded time approaches. Moving and relocating calls for being proactive, grabbing the bull by the horns and actually completing certain chores well in advance of their deadlines. Hopefully this little paper will help you to accomplish that. In this particular article we are leaving out the “big things” such as finding the best moving company, researching your new neighborhood’s transportation, parking, employment, etc. Those are for other articles on another day. Today we are concentrating on the basics of planning and preparation.

Get rid of what you don’t need.

Many of us are “pack rats”. One thing that we can accomplish immediately is going through all of our “stuff” and getting rid of what we don’t need anymore. Moving unwanted clothing and bric-a-bracs from one place of residence to another is a great waste of time and effort. It is surprising how much more in control we feel once we start narrowing down our “inventory” to what we actually need to keep. Getting rid of the unwanted items can be done by having a garage sale long before moving time and then donating the leftovers to the Salvation Army or other charitable groups.

Get all important papers and documents together and secure them.

Since moving is hectic, to say the least, we need to be aware of the exact location of all of our important items. Things that we absolutely must not lose or misplace should certainly be hand carried, not put in a box for the movers:

Address Books, Birth Certificates, Bank Statements, Checks, Credit Cards and Statements, Home Movies, Irreplaceable Memorabilia, Insurance Policies, Marriage Records, Medical and Dental Records, Military Records, Passports, Photos and Photo Albums, Resumes, School Records, Stock Certificates, Tax Returns, Telephone Numbers, Valuables, Vehicle Documents, Wills.

Prepare well in advance for living at your new location.

There are many things that we can do at our new location well in advance of our move that will help smooth out the bumps and grinds of our relocation process when the actual event occurs: Open up new bank accounts. Open up a new Safe Deposit Box. Contact the new area utility companies and arrange for your new services. These can include Cable TV, gas, electric, oil, telephone, water and Internet access. Arrange for new medical providers. If you are moving to a new state, contact the DMV and get forms necessary to re-register your vehicles. Contact your insurance companies and find out if your car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, etc. can be transferred. If not, find an Insurance Broker in your new area and discuss your needs and requirements for new policies. Go to the post office and get a moving kit. Prepare change of address forms for all of your correspondents; credit card companies, other credit accounts, banks, insurance companies, current utility companies for final statements, magazines and other subscriptions, family, friends, and any other persons or businesses that you correspond with on a regular basis.

As the time approaches, get a nice new legal pad.

As moving day approaches and when the moving process actually begins, you don’t want to be hunting for phone numbers in wallets, purses, or address books. Have a nice new legal pad ready with all important phone numbers written clearly and legibly for both your old and new contacts: Banks, Doctors, Emergency contacts, Family members, Friends, Landlords or Real Estate Brokers, Movers, Pharmacies Schools, Storage Facilities, Utilities.

With proper planning and preparation the moving process, though never fun, can at least be sane. With proper planning and preparation the utilities at your present address can be disconnected the day after you move and the utilities at your new address can be connected the day prior to your arrival. With proper planning and preparation you will not be frantically searching for a new doctor or pharmacy, if that unfortunate need arises. With proper planning and preparation you will have all of your important documents at the tip of your fingers at all times. With proper planning and preparation your mail will start arriving the day after you move in to your new abode and your life will endure a minimum of chaos and clutter.

Good luck with your move and good luck in your new home or apartment.

Categories
Garden Design

Top 10 Must-Have Gardening Apps

 No one can deny that a thing of beauty is a pleasure forever. Singing birds and dancing flowers not only inspired Wordsworth to immortalize them in Echoing Green, but also excited him to utter that fields are my study, nature is my book. Flowers not only attract the butterflies but mesmerize the hearts of every onlooker. Nothing pleases me more than sitting in my garden and looking at the waving floral beauty. Whenever I am in my office or at any public place, I never feel lost as gardening apps remain ever with me. Gardening apps are not only a source of visual pleasure for hobbyists, but also a wide range of information for professionals. Here are some of the gardening apps which have impressed me.
IGarden USA
This is a gardening helper. NanoSoft, LLC boast of its versatile capabilities and usefulness in gardening. It covers comprehensive information on flowers, vegetables and herbs which can be grown successfully in various climatic zones of the United States. I am really impressed by its new feature, IGarden USA Cloud, for sharing information. I downloaded IGarden USA from the Apple Store for $4.99.
Backyard Gardening Tips
My office fellow, Robert, is also very interested in gardening. He told me about this application and I found it quite helpful in maintaining and renovating my backyard garden. Backyard Gardening Tips is free.
Urban and Air Plants
Air plants and urban varieties are becoming very popular and giving new trends to plant lovers. For their information, www.ecoterrazs.com has done a very good service by producing an application known as Organic Gardening.
The Gardeners Calendar
This application is very helpful for those who are interested in growing vegetables. It covers seasonal vegetables and provides a lot of information about weather and parasitic effects on various vegetables. If you are a vegetable lover, then go to The Garden Calendar to have this applet for less than $2.
Gardening Manager
It is a gardening guide which has a lot of information about vegetable plantations at home or field level. Several techniques of successful vegetable plantations are discussed in it. If you are a vegetable grower, you do need Gardening Manager.
Garden Diary
For scientific and artful manipulation of your garden, Garden Diary can help you in keeping the record of all gardening work. My neighbor, Andrew, loves this app and says that he feels very assured as Garden Diary rings the bell to remind him of every garden related activity.
Beginner’s Gardening Guide
It is a wonderful gardening applet for beginners, having useful information about many gardening websites. There are several videos which for teaching the gardener how to look after various types of plants. Here, you can download beginner’s Gardening Guide. It is free.
Audio Book – Gardening
It is the most downloaded gardening applet. It provides you with gardening tips and other important information, recorded by experienced botanists and plant growers. Audio Book – Gardening is also free to download.
Expert Gardening Solutions
This gardening applet helps in planning and management of gardening area. Rus Lawson recommends and appreciates it possession. I also got preliminary garden planning information through Expert Gardening Solutions.
Gardening Daily
It is a very good source of gardening news and updates. It tells new stories and presents video tips on comprehensive plantation topics. I think every person interested in gardening must have it. It is worth every penny and can be downloaded by clicking on Gardening Daily.

Miscellaneous Garden Applets
I have also used many other garden applets. Every applet has its own advantages. Garden Tools, Garden and Landscaping, Indoor Gardening Tips, Plant Picks for Small Gardens and Palace Gardens are some of those which have turned my home into a paradise. All these garden apps can be downloaded by clicking on I am a real gardener. More gardening apps
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Home and Family

A Shelter for your Favorite Pet

Everyone would like to have a home where they can feel free and enjoy their life, dog’s aren’t an exception for this. Dogs always would want to have a home for themselves. The dog house has to be well within your credit limit and they can’t be overestimated. Here we will discuss about safe, secure and affordable dog houses. Though these dog houses can be made by ourselves, we would not be able to get a cozy and best place for our dogs. A ready-made one is always a better choice and your dog won’t be deprived of his/her rights.

The house must give the dog the best outdoor protection. It is always better to buy hand built dog houses and preferentially choose Cedar Furniture for your dog house. The cedar furniture gives the best feel for your dog. This can be the greatest accommodation for pet. Always go for genuine cedar wood because duplicated ones may have some defects that would ruin your investments and wouldn’t last long. So you might be in a position to replace it soon .Cedar wood is strong and sturdy and would last for years.

Red Cedar is also cheap when compared to teak and other woods’ that are used to make furniture items.. Always go for perfection since it may save any unwanted expense. The insulated dog houses are always a better choice, they keep the dog cool in summer and warm in winter. These houses have an in-built air-conditioning cum heater system which detects the climatic changes and works accordingly. The next thing to check out is weather and termite resistance. If you opt for cedar wood, they provide excellent weather resistance and can be used without any problem for ages. They also withstand seasonal changes and can be easily furnished to suite your needs. They are also immune to termite and insect attacks and provide a congenial environment for your dogs.

When it comes to the doors go for Poly Vinyl Chloride doors since they are resistant towards ultra violet rays too. This could save your dog from skin diseases and you could provide a healthy neighborhood for your dog. Always check if the dog house has a lifted floor coz lifted floors ensure a dry surface and your dog’s health wouldn’t be affected. Moreover you can save your dog from insects and flies in the garden .Insect bites are the worst infections and treating insect bites is not an easy job. Health always comes first. It doesn’t matter in spending some money to provide better, clean and a safe environment. Better ventilation and lighting also add color to the house, these houses don’t call for exquisite maintenance and you can paint them to make them look beautiful. They are also several vendors who would provide annual maintenance services to your dog house. So a single time investment would suffice. You can also your imagination and add colors to the house .A name plate carrying your doggies name can also be carved on the dog house. This is the best natural environment which you can provide for your cute dog.

Categories
Garden Design

Tips for Planting Peppers

A Compelete Gardening Guide for Planting the Best Peppers

New varieties of peppers are introduced each year, each featuring a different mature color and unique flavor. Peppers make the perfect addition to any garden and are fairly easy to care for as long as you know what it takes to keep them thriving. There’s nothing better than having the choice of any pepper you could possibly imagine, in your backyard. Being able to go outside and cut a few of these ripe babies fresh off the stem is convenient and will make any dish that much better. Pepper gardens are ideal for anyone who loves fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, or making homemade salsa from jalapenos or other peppers of your choice. This quick guide will help you learn what it takes to maintain your own pepper garden. Pretty soon, your friends will be calling you Peter Piper because you’ll have the best peppers in town.
 Planting
Do:
    Tips for Planting Peppers

  • Choose a site with full sun, but consider planting taller plants nearby to provide shade on extremely warm days. Peppers are tropical plants that thrive in the sun, however temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit can scorch your plants, causing the leaves to wilt and fruit to fall off or drop.
  • Make sure the soil drains well. Standing water encourages root rot and will kill your plant.
  • Leave plenty of space between plants. Try to aim for spacing transplants 1 1/2 feet apart in rows at least 2 feet apart. Keep in mind that most hot-pepper cultivars need less room than sweet ones.
  • Use stakes or other gardening tools to support the plants. This is especially important if you start your plant out in a pot or container, as the fruit starts to bloom and weigh the plant down, it becomes common for the plant to tip over on a windy day.
  • Water during dry spells to encourage deep root development and to keep your plants from drying out or becoming scorched. Lack of water will produce bitter tasting peppers. Yuck!
  • Pull any weeds. This will help reduce damage to the roots.
  • Pick any weevils or other pests off your leaves. If pests become a problem consider a natural pest deterrent. Many recipes for these can be found online and made at home using common household ingredients.
Don’t:
  • Plant where tomatoes or eggplants grew previously. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants are all members of the nightshade family and are subject to similar disease.
  • Forget to water.
  • Buy Transplants from a garden center. This is of course, completely optional (I bought transplants from Lowes and they did just great last summer) but you will have more choices and better chances of your plant producing more peppers if you plant from seedlings instead. If you do decide to forego seeds and buy a plant from your local garden center, look for one that has strong stems and dark green leaves. Try to avoid any plant that is wilted, brown, or has holes in the leaves. Also try to avoid plants that already have tiny fruits on them, they won’t produce as well.
Seedlings When it comes to pepper plants, roots are very touchy. The best way to start your pepper garden from seedlings is to plant them indoors in peat pots about 2 months before the last frost date. When sowing seedlings, aim for 3 or 4 seeds a pot. It is crucial to maintain soil temperature and moisture during this period. Soil temperature should be kept at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Always remember to water your seedlings. You want the seedlings to be moist, but not wet. This is extremely important. Keeping your seedlings in sunlight for at least 5 hours a day is also key to growing a healthy, strong, pepper plant. If you are planting your seedlings indoors and do not have a window available, keeping them under a light for at least 12 hours a day should suffice. Once your seedlings grow and are about 3 inches tall, it will be time to thin them. This can be done by leaving the strongest plant in each pot and cutting the others off at soil level. Once your plant is 4 to 6 inches tall it is ready to be transplanted and can be moved outside to your garden.
Transplanting To Garden
When it comes times to transfer your plants to your garden, simply follow the above tips (see planting section). Keep in mind that peppers are very susceptible to transplant “shock”, which can interrupt growth. To avoid shocking your pepper plants, make sure that the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit before transplanting. A good rule of thumb to ensure this temperature and avoid shock is to plant 2 to 3 weeks after the first frost. Planting outside on a cloudy day or during the evening is also ideal, as it will reduce the chances of sun scorch. Providing temporary shade for your plant is also never a bad idea if you just can’t help but plant on a sunny day.
Maintaining Growth & Health
As mentioned before, pepper plants are especially susceptible to root rot, however evenly moist soil is essential to good growth and health. This can be the trickiest part about caring for your pepper plants because you don’t want to water your plants too much and kill them, but it can also be easy to under-water your plants. Since pepper plants thrive in sunny areas, under-watering can be a death trap as well because sun scorch is a very common problem. In order to avoid these types of issues, you can invest in a thick mulch. The good news? Mulch is fairly inexpensive and most places like Lowes carry it and will even have great sales during the summertime, where you can purchase a decent size bag for $2. Other materials that will work are straw or grass clippings. All 3 of these items will help lock in moisture and keep soil temperatures warmer.
Harvesting
Most sweet pepper varieties will become even sweeter as they mature. Watch for change in color to determine when they are ready to harvest. Peppers generally will change from green to bright red, yellow, orange, or sometimes even brown or purple. Mature hot peppers, offer an even greater variety of color and feature the best and spiciest flavor when fully grown. A good rule of thumb is to watch for how dark the pepper gets. The darker the pepper, the hotter and tastier it will be. Earlier in the season it is important to harvest peppers before they ripen. This will help encourage the plant to keep bearing; a mature fruit can signal a plant to stop production. Once you have harvested your fruit a few times early on in the season, your plant should continue bearing fruit and as the season progresses you should have an abundance of mature fruit as long as you follow these tips and tricks. My pepper plant was still bearing fruit in October or November. 2013 was a great year for peppers. I had homemade salsa many times thanks to my jalapeno plant, and many salads with banana peppers, fresh from the garden.
When harvesting your peppers, never pull or pluck your peppers from the plant. Instead cut them. This can be done with pruning sheers. When a frost is predicted, pick all fruit or pull plants up by the roots and hang them in a cool, dry place indoors. This will allow for the fruit to ripen fully.
Preservation
Peppers can be preserved by freezing (without blanching). Hot peppers can be dried.  Done with peppers lets move on to Growing Perfect Tomatoes!
Categories
Home and Family

Adorable Aluminum Patios

Aluminum is widely used and is very popular outdoor patio furniture. Cast Aluminum is very flexible and can be made in to any shape viz., animals, insects and other designs. Value addition can be done on patio furniture by using marble, glass or granites. Aluminum patio furniture can also be painted with different colors.

Aluminum patio outdoor furniture is durable as well as beautiful. The cast aluminum material can withstand any season and is not affected by weather changes. It can even withstand heavy winds. Quality aluminum will not get rust as powder coating on cast aluminum prevents the aluminum patio furniture from rust. Maintaining aluminum patio furniture is not expensive and cleaning of the furniture with detergent and water yearly twice is enough. Scrubber or other thick clearing material should not be used as it will create scratches on the aluminum patio furniture. Aluminum patio furniture is the best choice for its finest material and durability. It is also the most practical choices. Aluminum patio furniture is also versatile. Aluminum patio furniture is not that much expensive but is also elegant.

Aluminum patio chairs and tables are of lightweight and portable. Aluminum patio furniture can withstand rough-handing and dents. The current aluminum patio furniture are guaranteed not to bend or crack. Folding models are also available. As quality aluminum patio furniture contains heavy gauge aluminum and smooth finish. It will not buckle under pressure. New techniques are introduced in patio aluminum furniture

Comfort goes along with aluminum patio furniture and seats are made for comforts. Definitely, aluminum patio furniture is a great investment for all. It will please all eyes. Aluminum makes patio unique Aluminum patio furniture gives piece of mind and good relax after a stressful work. It will also be useful to entertain others, eat out etc.

Old iron patio furniture can be cast away with new technology cash aluminum patio furniture. Cash Aluminum Patio furniture includes dining set, cross weave bar set, bistro set adds sophistication to patio furniture. Tubular aluminum patio furniture is now most popularly used due to its characteristic of light weight portable. Tubular is also elegant and durable.

Cast Aluminum Patio furniture is also made up of upper grade aluminum ingots which contains pure aluminum alloys. Of course, this becomes an ultimate category of aluminum patio furniture. Aluminum Patio Furniture is cheaper compared to wooden patio as crafting of wooden furniture is most expensive. Aluminum Patio Furniture can be decorated with beautiful and colorful upholstery.

Categories
Garden Design

How Does Your Garden Grow? There's an App for That!

There’s almost nothing negative that can come out of the practice of gardening. In the small scale attempt to nurture plant life, we may fail to grow something. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. After running across 50 or so apps around the internet and in the major app stores, I’ve got a list of the best the net has to offer, both in terms of tools for gardeners and sources of knowledge for those just starting out. Unless noted, the apps below are available from the Google Play store free of charge.
#10 Gardener – A garden organizer app, allows the user to input each plant and schedule their harvest time. Has a very nice backup feature to keep the data together. Very simple interface that makes it easy to use, especially for a beginner.
#9 Vegetable Gardening 101 – VG 101 provides a free book on growing a garden for the purpose of supplying your own vegetables. There are ads scrolled at the top of the app but they’re not pesky. Chapters one & two are introductory, there is a great section in chapter 3 on when to plant and harvest the most common vegetables and the book goes on to describe the basics mechanics of starting and maintaining your garden.
#8 A Gardener’s Handbook, Volume 1 – A great app from Blue Tiger, this is another chapter based gardening book, but goes beyond vegetable gardening to wild flowers and landscaping. “The Genesis of Soil” chapter is particularly helpful to read before starting out.
#7 Food Gardening Guide – Very nice highly animated gardening tool. Consists of a general reader on techniques that is split by type of exercise in the top row, with a guide to growing each crop in the bottoms row. The focus is on vegetables and there is an RSS feed available with additional green living topics. Registration is an option for the user, with regular email blasts on gardening related topics.
#6 Organic Gardening – At a price of $1.37, Organic Gardening is a complete book in app form that’s very well organized in eight chapters on the ins and outs of organic practices at home. It feels summarized but is extremely comprehensive.
#5 Hortchat – A horticulturist’s chat room! This is a great app to have even if you’ve already got gardening managers running. Here you can post on your problems to other users, with the whole thing moderated by professional horticulturalists.
#4 Gardening Manual – Similar to the other calendar based apps, this one also provides helpful tips as you add you plantings. The calendar piece piggybacks on the phone’s internal calendar app and allows the users to set their alarms in the same way you would set your wake-up alarms.
#3 Garden Manager – A calendar based garden application, the functionality is that of a combined alarm and social network system. Users are encouraged to take pictures of their flowers over time. Each planting should be added as a separate set of plantings. Each time you add a planting you can set up
your alarms for watering, fertilizing, harvesting, etc.
#2 Gardener’s Lunar Calendar – Makes the point that planting and harvesting can be more powerful when synchronized with the lunar cycle. Each time you open it you will see the lunar calendar with the correct type of plant to set and harvest based on the light and gravity of the moon. Great for getting ideas about your upcoming plantings.
#1 Gardener’s Calendar – At a cost of $1.61 this is a great vegetable grower’s guide. No advertisements and a lot of information on planting techniques and crops as well as timing. Organization is along the lines of the sliding list typical to Android phones. With additional recommendations on when to sow and harvest this is a one stop shop of gardening knowledge. Only wish is that the calendar section were bigger.
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Home and Family

A Pre-Vacation Checklist: Get Your House In Order

Whether you are leaving on a long-awaited vacation, an extended business trip or a weekend getaway, preparing to head out of town can often be both time-consuming and stressful. The last thing you want to do is add to the to-do list. However, taking care of household responsibilities before you leave can make your return home much more relaxing and alleviate stress while on the road. This way, you won’t feel a wave of panic-on the beach or in the boardroom-when you remember that you forgot to feed the dog or pay an important bill.

Here are four tasks you should take care of before leaving home and some time-saving ways to check them off your list.

Make home look like you’ve never left. Whether you’re 100 or 1,000 miles away, your house should appear inhabited as a safety precaution. To do this, purchase low-cost timers that can be programmed to turn on and off radios, televisions and lights. Piles of newspapers next to the front door can be a clear indication that no one is home. Avoid this by holding subscriptions and mail with the postal service (downloadable forms are available online at www.usps.com) or opt to receive bills electronically through bill payment services to permanently reduce clutter.

Take care of business. To avoid missed payments for utilities and other important bills, set up automatic bill pay before you leave. Using a Visa card is an easy, convenient and secure way to pay household bills such as utilities, cable TV and insurance when you’re traveling. This time-saving tool can benefit everyone, especially frequent business travelers who are often away from home. Choose a one-time payment or automatic payments to ensure that your bills are paid on time every month no matter where you are. More information is available online at www.visa.com/billpay.

Prepare your pets and plants. If your four-legged friend isn’t leaving town with you, hiring a pet sitter or making reservations at a kennel will help your pet receive the proper care. To prevent returning home to overgrown landscaping and dead house plants, make arrangements to have your yard cared for in your absence. For short trips, set a timer for your sprinklers and consider placing house plants in shaded outdoor areas near a sprinkler. Or ask a reliable neighbor to feed your pets and water your house plants.

Give yourself a break on energy costs. Before leaving, turn off your water and gas and unplug common appliances such as microwaves and televisions. This will both reduce unnecessary usage and prevent damage caused by energy surges. Consider setting your thermostat 10 degrees lower than the outside temperature or simply turn it off. If you’ll be away for an extended period of time, turn off your pilot light for maximum savings.

From putting lights on timers to setting up automatic bill pay, following these tips can minimize pretravel stress and help make your return home sweet.

Categories
Garden Design

Top 10 Best Gardening Apps for 2014

Winter is finally showing signs of coming to an end, and if you are an avid gardener like me, you know that it’s almost time to set aside the seed catalogs that we’ve drooled over all winter and get ready to dig and plant! The following is my list of the top 10 best gardening apps for 2014. The apps are not in any particular order, and most are free or low cost and are available in the iTunes store. With these apps, all of us gardeners, from novice to expert level, can plan and create our most brilliant and bountiful gardens yet! So, let’s dust off those shovels, rakes, and hoes, it’s time to play in the dirt!

Organic Gardening Planting Planner 2014
The last few years have seen an upsurge in avoiding the use of pesticides and GMO seeds, so there has been a revived interest in organic gardening methods. This free app is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch and allows users to learn about a variety of plants and gardening methods, plan virtual gardens, learn the best sowing, planting and harvest times in their local area. The app’s smart calendar also makes it easy to create to-do-lists as well as make important notes in one’s garden journal.
Garden Time Planner
This free app works with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and is great for the novice that needs help getting their first few gardens started. The app allows users to learn the best times to plant, transplant and harvest popular plants in their local area. The app provides links to helpful how-to gardening videos, as well as automatically creates a to-do list with reminders for common gardening tasks.
GardenMinder
This free app works best for planning raised bed gardens, and has a journal feature as well as allows users to set reminders. The app is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Vegetable Garden Calculator
Are neighbors and co-workers hiding from you because you’ve passed along one to many zucchinis? Do you struggle with knowing how much is too much or too little to plant? This free app is for you then! Compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this app takes away all of the guess work and allows you to easily calculate how many plants you need to grow just the right amount of most popular produce items.
Companion Planting
You know that carrots and peas go great together, both in the garden and on the plate, but what about all those other plants? Are some of them “frenemies?” Yes, believe it or not, there are some plants that are beneficial to one another when they are planted close by, and others are harmful to one another. This 99 cent app helps you to stop sabotaging your efforts and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Garden Compass
Is it a weed? An edible plant? Is that bug helpful or harmful for my plants? What is that stuff growing on my zucchini vines? Even the most knowledgeable gardener eventually encounters a plant, growth or insect that they can’t identify. Now, you can get to the bottom of these mysteries with this free app that’s compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Look through the app’s database, or snap a picture and submit it to a team of horticultural experts who will solve the mystery for you. The app even provides links to plant and seed vendors.
Our Rose Garden
The appearance of most gardens can be instantly improved by the addition of one or more roses. Roses are also beneficial to numerous vegetables and make excellent planting companions for garlic and other bulbs. This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and provides everything you need to know about planting, pruning and even over-wintering roses as well as helpful information and videos about the many rose varieties, as well as how to protect them from disease and pests.
Tomato Match
Who doesn’t love a juicy, ripe tomato picked fresh off the vine? I think what I love the most about this incredibly versatile plant is the fact that it comes in so many varieties. There are the unique flavored, colorful heirloom tomato plants like Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Cherokee Purple, Old Yellow Candystripe and Pink Brandywine as well as newer hybrids that offer a more uniform tomato such as Early Girl, Sweet 100 and Sun Gold. With so many options it can be hard to decide which variety will work best for you given your taste and visual preference as well as needs and local growing conditions, but this free app for the iPad takes all of the painful deliberation out of the equation. This app helps you pick the best tomato and then provides links via Safari to seed vendors for your chosen variety.
Pickin Chicken
Yes, I know chickens are technically livestock, but many gardeners, even urban gardeners, are considering adding a few chickens to their garden. In addition to providing “free” eggs, chickens are a great way to get rid of many common garden pests naturally, and they also produce great, high nitrogen content fertilizer. While many locales have limits to the number of chickens one can own, keeping a couple of feathered pets is allowed in many areas, so make certain to check out your local zoning ordinances. This app is not free, but at just $2.99, it can help you to pick the best variety of chick for your garden space as well as provide helpful information about their care.

Gro Garden
I’ll round out my list with this $2.99 app that is a great way to get your young children involved in gardening through creative play! The app is compatible for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and teaches children about organic gardening, sustainability and how to plant seeds. More Awesome Gardening Apps
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Home and Family

Antique Oriental Rugs

These are the largest antique Oriental rug dealers, importers, providers, online galleries and companies available in the United States.

Krikor Markarian antique rug and carpet gallery (markarianantiquerugs.com): Located in New York City, Krikor Markarian specializes in collectible antique tribal rugs and other woven artefacts from the main Near Eastern and Asian weaving areas. It features 19th century Caucasian rugs, 19th century Persian tribal and village rugs, antique Central Asian weavings and antique Anatolian rugs.

Nalbandian Inc. (www.nalbandian.com/antiques/antiques.htm): is a floor covering company that includes antique Oriental rugs, tapestries and textiles in its collection since 1826. The business started in Ceasaria, (kaisery) Turkey, extending to Erevan, Tehran, Beirut, Paris, Monte Carlo, Aix En Provence, Marseille, Zurich, Boston and Los Angeles. Services also include Restoration and Conservation.

Oriental Rug Mart (demanesrug.com): An Oriental rug company which has been buying, selling, cleaning and repairing Oriental rugs in central Illinois since 1919, in the name of James Demanes & Sons. Their rug emporium is located in the Demanes Galleries building in Peoria, Illinois. Services include Hand wash, repair, restoration, and appraisal.

Pasargad (pasargadcarpets.com): Pasargad is an importer of hand-woven oriental rugs, featuring an extensive line of hand-woven Chinese, Persian-design, and Indian masterpieces in vegetable-dyed wool. It is a family owned business established in 1904, well-known for its in-house restoration and cleaning facilities, with showrooms in New York and Washington D.C.

Antiqueorientalrugs.com: is an online shopping gallery of an Oriental rug business started by Robert T. Mosby since 1969, who deals strictly in handmade, antique oriental rugs and not in mass produced program rugs. The website has a link to Ebay, where a selection of antique rugs is showcased, changing on a weekly basis. The business is located in Sarasota, Florida.

Abraham Moheban & Son Inc. (moheban.com): The Company offers trade, designers and retail clients a choice of antique Persian, Indian, Turkish and European rugs and carpets. Located in New York City, it has an extensive collection of 18th to early 20th century pieces. Services include hand washing, conservation, restoration and insurance valuation.

A.E. Runge Oriental Rugs (rungerugs.com): Located in Yarmouth, Maine, Runge Rugs was started in the 1880s by Edward Runge. Its large inventory of handmade Orientals has been purchased almost entirely from estates and private individuals in New England and Europe dated between date between 1900 and the 1930s. All the products in the store is claimed to be authentic oriental rugs.

Antique Rug Gallery, Inc. (antiqueruggallery.com): This is an online gallery only, which operates in Massachusetts. The Antique Rug Gallery Inc. offers exclusively antique oriental carpets and tribal rugs, and accepts dealers as well as retail customers at wholesale prices. Services include written appraisals, wash and repair.

Antique Textile Gallery (frankames.com): The Company, buyer and seller of antique oriental carpets, Turkmen trappings, tribal rugs, decorative textiles and Kashmir shawls, was founded in Paris 25 years ago and moved to Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 1986. The gallery is also a consultant and appraiser of antique, ancient and decorative textiles. Business is conducted by appointment only.

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Garden Design

Unique Ways to Use Metal Tubs as Outdoor Planters

Unique Ways to Use Metal Tubs as Outdoor Planters

Saving Money on Yard and Garden Displays with Unique Design Ideas

Some of the very best outdoor planters are not made of stone, concrete, terracotta or cast resin. They are made of inexpensive metal, and they are an affordable alternative to flowerpots that can look just as good. With enamel paint and creative methods of arrangement, galvanized containers can look phenomenal. Consider these unique ways to use metal tubs and planters, and create an impressive display of flowers, foliage and more. The contents of the containers will steal the show in your yard or garden.
Begin By Spray Painting the Tubs
It is amazing how color can completely change something plain. Before using metal tubs as outdoor planters, coat them with metal primer and paint for outdoor use. These day you can find spray paint in every color of the rainbow, and some include texture and other unique effects. If desired, you can make cheap galvanized metal look just like stone.
Make a Gorgeous and Impressive Three-Tiered Display
When looking for unique ways to use metal tubs for planting, consider setting up a three-tiered arrangement. Buy containers in graduating sizes, and fill them with rich organic soil. Stack the planters with the largest one on the bottom and the smallest one on top. Plant vinca vines around the edges of the bottom tub and low-growing flowers on the inside. Opt for another low-growing variety for the middle container, and consider a spike for the top.
Thread Metal Buckets onto a Planter Pole
You can create an amazing display with a single metal tub and three metal buckets. Fill a large galvanized container with soil, and drill a hole in the center of the bottom of the first bucket. The hole should be just a little more than one inch in diameter.
Next, push a one-inch diameter metal rod into the center of the soil filled container, and pack the dirt around it. Attach a hose clamp to the metal rod approximately six inches from the top of the soil. The purpose of the hose clamp is to support the bucket. Thread the first bucket onto the rod, and fill it with soil.
Drill a two-inch hole in the center of the second and third bucket. Thread the second one onto the metal rod, and tip it either left or right. Fill it with soil. The first bucket will support it. 
Thread the last bucket onto the rod, and tilt it in the opposite direction. Fill it with soil, and plant petunias in a color of your choice in the buckets and the metal tub. It will look as if waves of flowers are pouring from the buckets and into the container below.