Archive for February, 2008

Maintain the Moisture Level in Soil: Drip Irrigation Techniques

Friday, February 29th, 2008

In agriculture, water is almost everything because nothing can live without it. And for keeping and sustaining the vegetations and plants to grow steadily, right kind of water supply or irrigation method need to be adopted. There are varieties of irrigation systems for effective watering task.

Always prefer those irrigation systems which make the use of water as little as possible. Not because water is precious and one can not get it wasted, but because only the proper amount of water distribution benefits your plantation. Too much water uptake can harm them and too little watering also can bring malnutrition.

There is flood irrigation which is quite old and out-of-date method which offers irregular water supply. On the contrary there are modern techniques and systems developed for watering purpose like sprinkler systems and oft-recommended drip irrigation systems.

Sprinkler systems facilitate you offering water to your plants and vegetation from the top through hose or tubing. But this mode of sprinkling has some drawbacks. As the water gets sprayed, it gets slightly evaporated in the air and does not reach the roots of the plants. Besides this, it can unnecessarily and inappropriately make the soil soaked.

What is Chervil?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Chervil is an annual herb growing up to 70 cm (2 ft 4 in). It is native to the Caucasus and western Asia and was used for seasoning food by the ancient Romans, who during their military campaigns introduced it to many European countries including the British Isles.

The leaves are a very delicate flavouring characteristic chiefly of the French cuisine. Because its aroma, reminiscent of a mixture of anise and parsley, evaporates readily, it should be added to hot dishes during the last stage of cooking, but best of all it should be used fresh.

Chervil combined with parsley, tarragon and chives make a fines herbes mixture used in omelettes. It is also used to flavour vegetables, meats (chiefly mutton), roast chicken and grilled fish. Chervil soup made of beef bouillon, cream and egg yolks was very popular at one time. On hot summer days chervil provides welcome variety when mixed with cream cheese or simply sprinkled on bread and butter. The leaves can be steeped in white wine vinegar to make a delicious salad dressing.

Termite FAQs

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

How much do you know about termites? Here are a few commonly asked questions and answers.

Q: How many types of termites are there? A: Over 2600 species have been identified by experts. Of those only 55 live in the U.S. Homeowners only have to worry about 2 types: subterranean termites and drywood termites.

Q: How are those 2 types of termites different? A: Termites, like ants, are social insects, and like ants, they live in colonies. The different types of termites build their nests in different locations. Subterranean termites depend on moisture in the earth to survive, so they build underground nests and tunnel through the earth feed on homes nearby. Drywood termites, get their moisture from sources in and around the property they’re feeding on, so they nest inside the structures themselves.

Q: How will I know if my property has termites? And, if so, what kind? A: Subterranean termites may be detected when they swarm, typically in the spring, when some termites leave their nests to start more colonies. Subterranean termites may also be detected when their mud tubes are seen on walls or foundations. Both types of termites may leave weak, broken, or blistered wood. Drywood termites can leave wings or piles of what looks like sawdust on floors and windowsills.

Soil pH for Growing Herbs

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

The demands of a single family can vary enormously over a number of years. Where they are likely to be in the same home for sonic time it is important that the garden plan is flexible enough to reflect these changing needs. A young couple might use the garden mainly for sunbathing or entertaining and would want a simple layout which is easy to look after.

The topsoil is the essential layer for plant growth. Its texture and composition generally depend upon the parent rock from which it has very gradually been formed, by the interaction of water, climate and vegetation. Weathering agents such as frost, rain and sun break the rock down over thousands of years to form the basic mineral structure of the soil. Plants grow on the rock debris and myriads of microorganisms work on the dead roots and fallen leaves to decay them, producing the essential organic constituent of the topsoil, known as humus.

In some parts of the world however the soil bears no relation to the rock beneath it because it has been carried to its place by a natural force: the material pushed along by a glacier, for example, forms a type of soil known as boulder clay, and the silt washed down by rivers builds up into alluvial soils.

Formal Gardnes

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Formal gardens were entirely swept away by the designers of the landscape school and superb parkland layouts created in their place. Far from the mastery of nature, this was an attempt to improve and idealize her and for the next hundred years anything small was considered unworthy.

The main historical contribution of Germany has been a numerical one- in the sixteenth century there were more gardens in Germany than in any other country in Europe-and a certain exaggeration of the elements in any style they adopted. The French formal style of gardening also flourished in the sandy soil of Holland, on a smaller and less sophisticated scale but with more emphasis on hedges, fantastic topiary and decorative planting. Their box-edged formal beds were tilled with tulips in the spring, brought hack from the Middle East. The Dutch were responsible, through their trading and through their rise as a colonial power, for the introduction of much imported plant material- from China, America, South Africa and many other countries. They introduced the lilac, the pelargonium and the chrysanthemum into Europe and popularized tulips and many other bulbs.

Quince

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

The quince is a tree-like shrub growing to a height of 2-7 m. The shoots and buds are felted, older branches are glabrous. The whitish flowers have a, felted calyx and appear in May after the leaves. The unripe fruits are also felted, becoming smooth and turning lemon yellow when they ripen in October; these have a pleasant scent and are terminated by large, pointed sepals.

This shrub is widespread throughout most of Europe, its range extending northward to the 68th parallel and south-east to Asia Minor. In central Europe it is most plentiful in warm, wine- growing areas, where it forms dense thickets on dry, sunny banks. It has a richly branching root system and puts out root suckers freely, for which reason it is used to strengthen rocky banks and in the afforestation of barren slopes in karst areas. It is a widespread hedgerow plant as well. It occurs at elevations up to 600-700 rn. Its thick, spiny branches provide a good shelter for small birds. The fruit is used for medicinal purposes and to make wine and dyes.

Gooseberry Shrub

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

The Oregon grape is a shrub of suckering habit, 1-1.5 in tall. It is a native of North America, where it grows in damp forests from California northward to British Columbia.

The pinnate leaves, measuring about 20 cm, are a glossy dark green, turning shades of copper and bronze in winter. The yellow flowers, borne in clustered racemes, appear in April. The bluish berries containing 3-5 seeds ripen in August and are edible. They are also used in preserves and to colour wines.

Deutzia is a shrub of upright habit with numerous branches 1.5-2.5 m high. Young shoots arc covered with star-shaped hairs, older branches with brownish, bark that peels off in bands. The buds are small, ovate, pointed. The whitish flowers are borne in 6-12 cm long clusters on the tips of lateral twigs and bloom in June. The roundish, 6 mm capsules ripen and split in October.

In the vicinity of housing developments and cemeteries it can he found growing semi-naturalized in hedgerows and woods. In parks it is planted as an evergreen ground cover and to form low evergreen hedges; it is also planted for game cover. The mountain currant is a thornless shrub of upright habit growing to a height of 1-2.5 in. The stems are yellow-brown with bark that tends to crack. The buds are longish ovate, pointed and coloured light brown. The flowers appear in May.

Brick Stencils: Faux Painting Made Easy

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

One of the easiest faux painting finishes is faux brickwork. It can add interest to a dull flat wall or drab concrete surface, either in the home or in the garden or patio area. The great thing about it is that reusable stencils, easily available from many retailers, make the job really quick and easy, even for beginners.

The Charm of Faux Brick

A brickwork finish can add color and texture to a boring surface. As an interior finish it can add warmth, as well as adding a stylish and modern touch that goes well with many styles of dcor. Outdoors, on patios and paths, brickwork can be an attractive feature, adding interest to a garden or outdoor living space.

Using brick stencils is useful if you want to extend existing brickwork without the effort, expense and mess of actual construction. (And you may not be able to find bricks that match.) Brick stenciling is also an alternative to restoring existing brickwork. Brickwork that has been damaged or previously painted is notoriously difficult to restore but can be rejuvenated with clever use of paint.

Brick Stencils – Pluses and Minuses

Common Juniper

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

The common juniper is a branching, evergreen, coniferous shrub from 9 to 12 m (30 to 40 ft) tall. The needles are arranged in whorls of three and are usually 1 to 2 cm long and 1 to 2 mm wide. The juniper is a dioecious species, i.e. individual shrubs bear only male, or only female flowers.

Nowadays, due apparently to intensive forestry practices, extensive use of pesticides and fungicides, and last but not least environmental pollution, the orange milk-cup is hard to find and in all probability the day is not far off when it will become extinct. Unless we learn to cultivate it before then, we shall be deprived forever of its inimitable flavour and aroma, which is even more powerful when pickled in vinegar. It is not suitable for drying.

Fresh or pickled mushrooms give a delicious spicy flavour to vegetable dishes, potato soup, goulash and other stewed meats as well as to omelettes. Pickled mushrooms are served as a side-dish together with roast meats and risottos. Orange milk-cup can also be used to make an excellent ketchup. Orange milk-cup generally grows in groups in young, moist spruce woods at higher altitudes. The caps of young mushrooms curve under, spreading as they develop until, in the adult form, they are funnel-shaped. They can be identified by the spicy aroma and bright orange milk that oozes from the wound when a piece is broken off.

Peppermint Herb

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Nutmeg is an evergreen tree growing up to 15 m (50 ft) high. Like clove it is a native of the Molucca Islands and the history of this culinary herb is very similar, except that it reached Europe at an even later date – not until the 16th century. For this we can be grateful to the Arabian navigators of that day who not only knew how to sail safely across the Arabian Sea but also had the necessary commercial contacts in India and the Far East.

The price of nutmeg was exorbitantly high and remained so until the 19th century, when, thanks to Christopher Smith, botanist and member of the East India Company, nutmeg began to be raised elsewhere and not only in the spice islands, as the Moluccas were called.

The whole caps previously immersed in water are used for seasoning. Properly dried mushrooms can easily be ground to a powder, which can be stored. Fairy ring champignon is used like other mushrooms ,to flavour soups, sauces and meat dishes as well as in pickled vegetable relishes.