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A Green Gardening Tip To Grow Vegetables Earlier Using Bottle Beds}

A green gardening tip to grow vegetables earlier using Bottle Beds


John Yeoman

You may have heard of the proprietary Wall oWater , a plastic insulating blanket filled with water. Set it around your organic vegetables and it can bring them on weeks earlier than usual. It works! But heres a green gardening tip to grow organic vegetables more quickly – and its free.

Simply truss wine bottles together to make the frame of a round or rectangular tub. Fill the bottles with water – no need to cork them. Add compost to the frame and set out your plants.

The water in the bottles will absorb heat by day and radiate it into the soil by night, even if the sky is cloudy, so warming the roots. You will get much earlier plants, just as if you grew them in a traditional hot bed heated by rotting manure.

To turn the BottleBed into an even more efficient hot bed (without manure), simply push canes inside the frame and drape them with clear plastic to make a cloche. (One source of translucent plastic might be the sleeves with which dry cleaning shops protect clothes.)

Using a BottleBed cloche I was able to ripen tomatoes as early as late May, outdoors, in a temperate climate (zone 6) where outdoor tomatoes dont usually ripen before late August.

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A hidden virtue

A hidden virtue of the BottleBed is that it impels you to haunt pubs and restaurants to beg their empty wine bottles or, reluctantly, to buy a furtive case of wine for the good of your garden.

Of course, you can keep a BottleBed in place year after year. But beware: winter frosts may crack thin glass bottles that are filled with water. (Champagne bottles seem curiously immune to frost.) Broken glass makes your lettuces all too crunchy.

Solution: use large plastic milk or cola bottles, instead. A friend in Nepal e-mailed me that she was using BottleBeds to grow earlier crops in the Himalayas. I advised her: Use plastic cola bottles, not glass! She said: Sadly, we now have plenty of plastic empties at the summit of Everest.

Filled with water, plastic bottles survive the hardest frost and last for years. They’re easier to lace together and they stand more sturdily than wine bottles. As it’s the mass of water that conserves heat, not the containers, those big two-litre water-filled jugs are even more efficient insulators than glass bottles. Nor does it matter if the bottles are clear or dark.

It doubles as a conventional cold frame

In winter, you can dig the soil out of the frame and the frame stays rigid enough for use as a conventional cold frame, topped with corrugated plastic or an old window. Next summer, fill it with compost and grow early plants in it. And so on, year after year.

Coloured wine bottles can be very decorative. But to disguise the ugliness of plastic bottles, surround them with hessian sacking or carpet offcuts or, best of all, cover them with hydrotufa.

This is a composite of cement, sand, peat moss and perlite or vermiculite which bond together to make a material like imitation stone. Other porous durable ingredients can be used too, provided one third of the mix is Portland cement. To make hydrotufa, mix together equal parts of dry pre-mixed Portland cement and sand, peat moss and perlite or vermiculite. Add just enough water so the mass is malleable without being runny.

Wait ten minutes so the chemicals in the cement can work. Then pat the hydrotufa around the bottles so they form a stone-like wall. With practice, you can mould the damp hydrotufa into very ornamental shapes or patterned surfaces. You can also colour it with dyes or, of course, paint it.

Beware: hydrotufa is porous. Plants will root into it. And its not very strong, so dont try lifting a hydrotufa tub filled with heavy soil.

A BottleBed made from plastic milk or cola bottles, and disguised with hydrotufa, can be a thing of beauty. It will reliably bring on plants much earlier in the season than usual. Best of all, it’s free

Dr John Yeoman PhD is founder of the centre for natural gardening ideas, the Gardening Guild. For a free big 6000-word ebook Lazy Secrets for Natural Gardening Success, go to:

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A green gardening tip to grow vegetables earlier using Bottle Beds}


How To Make The Most Out Of Your Budget When Dealing With Interior Decorating

How To Make The Most Out Of Your Budget When Dealing With Interior Decorating


Ronald Todd

You can transform the look of your home without too much effort when you re-design it\’s interior. Changing paint colors, window treatments, and lights will make a room look better. Keep reading for the best ideas in interior design.

Proper lighting is crucial in spaces like the bathroom and kitchen. Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be the smallest rooms in a home. Inadequate lighting can make these rooms look even smaller. Proper lighting sources in any room is the right thing to do. The kitchen and bathrooms of your home will feel larger if they are adequately lit.

If you are designing your home from the ground up, many designers advocate sticking with a single type of flooring on each floor. Either use the same flooring throughout, or choose flooring that compliments the other rooms. This is very effective at achieving an excellent flow throughout your rooms. In addition, it makes your space seem bigger.

For some great ideas about interior design, watch shows on Home and Garden Network. There is a wealth of information that you can find on television, including specific tips and ideas that you can use on your own project in the future.

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Slip covers are beneficial if you have children filtering through a particular room. Slip covers protect furniture and give you different style options. Try to use the pattern that fits your style and personality.

Art in your home should be at eye level to give off the best type of effect. Hanging your art too low or high can really disrupt the look of a room, and can even give the appearance of a smaller room.

Before you start decorating a room, make sure you think about the room\’s purpose. Think about how you will use this room: Will you be the only one there, or do you plan on entertaining guests frequently? Your living room needs to accommodate your family and friends, whereas your bedroom is only for you and your partner.

A cheap way to brighten a room and have a bit of fun is to paint or decorate some plain clay flower pots that you can use for both live or fake plants. Have you kids help and use them for plants or to hold other objects.

You can always make a room feel much more spacious by taking its ceiling out. This option is best-suited for homes that have attics or other underutilized spaces. Raising the ceiling opens up the room and allows for more natural light distribution.

When going for a spacious and airy feel, it is best to choose decorative elements that feature light, creamy colors. This can help if you\’re decorating a cramped apartment or room. Use the correct color to create a larger sense of space in your small room.

For a rural home like a cottage in the woods, you can produce a rustic effect by using sturdy wood furniture. An old picnic table, for instance, would make a great dining table. Use lumber that is unfinished to build bunk beds. Cut foam rubber pieces to merge the bunks together and create the platform for your resting space.

All of the furniture in the living room does not need to face the television. A conversational setting using chairs within the same space can be a nice alternative use of space. You can always use this space to read or have a conversation with a friend.

If you are looking to design your home to match your personal style, do it yourself. This doesn\’t mean that you could not ask help from others. You must try to work with the designer instead of him doing all the work. You will find that being there through the process makes it that much more rewarding.

Think about the feel you want your surroundings to have. If you want a home that feels bright and full of energy, powerful or softer and inviting, there are easy ways to make that happen. Paying special attention to furnishings and light fixtures will jump-start the process. Keep these tips in mind so you can design your home any way you want it.

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