Different soil types and what you can grow in them

A good gardener will know exactly what soil they have in their garden and pots, and which plants like the different types – because if they don’t, they risk disaster at worst or poor growth at best.

It’s important to know the different soil types and what you can grow in them, because your soil provides food, water, aeration and structure to your plants.

Those soils may look similar, they might even sometimes feel similar, but their characteristics can vary enormously, based on the size and texture of the particles and the chemical composition. There is more information on this at agrarianorganics.com/

The smallest elements are found in clay soil; at least a quarter of the composition will be built up of particles less than 0.002mm in size, which can be both a bonus and a hindrance.Anyone who has ever owned a clay pot will know how compacted and cracked the material can become. As the Royal Horticultural Society says: “Clay soils are easily compacted when trodden on while wet and they bake hard in summer, often cracking noticeably. These soils often test the gardener to the limits, but when managed properly with cultivation can be very rewarding to work with.”

Treat your soil by working in some organic matter before planting, and then go for it – trees such as Japanese Maple, crab apple and magnolia; shrubs including hydrangea, roses and lilac; and perennials like foxglove, bluebells, and peonies, can all thrive in clay. The next type of soil to consider is silt, which comprises particles up to 0.05mm and is very similar to clay soil in that it can be fertile, but again can be compacted easily into ruin.

The other extreme is sandy soil, which feels…sandy. Light and loose, it’s easy to identify with its coarse, gritty nature, and easy to work.But because the particles are bigger, rain and water can soon slip through the gaps and drain away what little nutrients are contained within, so again it is worth treatment with organic material to compensate.

Lavender and buddleia shrubs will benefit from sandy soil, as will various herbs such as rosemary and thyme, and wallflowers.The other element of your soil to consider is its pH value, which signifies whether the soil is acidic or alkali, or somewhere in-between. Plants which like high acidic qualities will not like alkaline, and vice versa.

Sandy soils are often acidic, while ‘chalky’ soils which often contain white lumps of visible stone are alkaline. Clay, perhaps unfortunately, can be either.

Kits exist to test the pH values of soil, but a quick way of telling is to take soil mixed with a little water into a muddy consistency, and pour vinegar over the top. If the mixture fizzes, it’s alkaline. Alternatively add a little baking soda, as if that fizzes the soil is acidic.

There is little point in trying to change the acidic make-up of your soil, so stick with the type, and if necessary grow your plants in large containers using compost.

Your soil may be a mix of several quantities and qualities of the different types such as in loam, a blend of clay, silt and sand which is regarded as a ‘gardener’s best friend’. But remember the consistencies and percentages of the various soils may change across just a few feet.

So touch and appearance may help you identify your material – but experience will help your success rate as well.

Reasons to savour that bean

Reasons to savour that bean

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Most of the things we enjoy eating and drinking often turn out to be not that good for us. In the past, coffee has often had negative associations with things like caffeine dependence, for example. However, for anyone who likes a few cups of coffee during the day, there’s good news. Coffee may actually be good for your health!

Recent research has shown that drinking a cup of coffee will provide you with more antioxidants than a cup of green tea – and for those of us who can’t stand drinking bitter green tea that will make welcome reading. According to researchers at the Harvard Public School of Health, the antioxidants in coffee can actually help to improve your frame of mind as they release happy hormones like serotonin into your bloodstream. So much so that the researchers estimated men and women drinking more than two cups of coffee a day were 50% less likely to think about suicide than those that didn’t.

And there’s also been research that suggests that drinking coffee can help to reduce your chances of developing liver cirrhosis, something that is usually caused by drinking too much alcohol. That’s not to say, of course, that you can drink to excess and guarantee that you’ll neutralise the effects of alcohol on your liver. Everything in moderation, as the old saying goes.

So, if you’re drinking more coffee for the benefit of your health, it’s a great idea to widen the choice of blends that you drink at home. Caffe Cagliari now sells alternatives to Nespresso capsules which can be used in a Nespresso machine.

And next time anyone suggests that you drink too much coffee you can tell them just a couple of the reasons why drinking coffee might in fact be doing you good.

Is Infertility Clinic Right for You?

If you are unable to get pregnant, you are not alone. According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10.9 percent of American women, or 6.7 million women, aged 15 to 44 have trouble getting or staying pregnant. If you have a strong desire to have a child, infertility can have serious psychological and emotional consequences, and it can undermine your ability to live a normal life. While there is no sure way to reverse infertility, there are a number of things that you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant, and one of them is to visit an infertility clinic.

Understanding Infertility

Infertility is clinically defined as the inability to get pregnant after attempting for one year. Women who manage to get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be regarded as infertile. Pregnancy results from a process that involves a number of steps. First of all, an egg must be released from a woman’s ovaries. Then, the egg has to travel to the womb through a fallopian tube, and it must be joined with and fertilized by a man’s sperm along the way. Finally, the fertilized egg has to be attached to the inside of the womb. Infertility can occur if any of these steps fail.

Infertility does not always result from a woman’s problem; it can also be caused by a certain problem in a man. There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of infertility, and these include age, smoking, excessive alcohol use, drugs, stress, poor diet, health problems, medicines and others. An increasing number of American women are trying to get pregnant in their 30s or 40s, and about one out of three couples in which the woman is older than 35 experience fertility problems.

When Should Women with Fertility Problems Start Calling Their Doctors?

Most medical experts advise women to try to get pregnant for at least one year before consulting their doctors. Women aged 35 and above should visit their doctors after they have tried for six months. A woman’s chances of conceiving can be significantly reduced every year after she reaches 30. Women are advised to talk to their doctors before they try to get pregnant.

The Benefits of Visiting an Infertility Clinic

An infertility clinic provides specialized services for people who have difficulty getting pregnant. It can help you find out the causes of your fertility problems and provide the necessary treatment and support to improve your chances of conceiving. The services offered can vary significantly from one clinic to another, but some of the services that are typically available at an infertility clinic include fertility testing, diagnosis of fertility problems, infertility counseling and infertility treatments such as ovulation induction, in vitro fertilization and surgical fertility procedures.

If you are planning to visit an infertility clinic, it is advisable that you choose one that has a high success rate. Click here to learn how to choose the right infertility clinic.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Hire an In-Home Personal Trainer

While some people enjoy exercising and can motivate themselves to follow a fitness program faithfully, others may need someone to guide and motivate them to achieve their fitness goals. It is a good idea to engage the service of an in-home personal trainer if you are new to exercising or have a busy lifestyle. Here is a look at how hiring an in-home personal trainer can be beneficial to you. 

Saves Time

In-home personal training eliminates the need to spend time packing a bag, traveling to the gym and finding a parking spot. This is especially important if you have trouble finding time to exercise. An in-home personal trainer will arrive at your home at the scheduled time, and you can focus on exercising during the allotted time. Once the session is over, you can rest or do other things in the comfort of your own home. In-home personal training also gives you the flexibility to plan your own workout schedule. Click here for more information about in-home personal training.

Little or No Equipment Needed

In-home personal training usually involves exercise techniques that can be performed with little or no equipment. If you have your own equipment, your trainer may ask you to use it during your workouts. If you don’t, he or she will most likely bring everything that is needed for an effective workout. Most personal trainers know how to help you achieve the best results without expensive equipment.

Comfort and Privacy

If your body is not as good-looking as you want it to be, you may feel self-conscious when you are exercising in a public gym. This can make you feel uncomfortable and affect your exercise performance. If you hire an in-home personal trainer, you will have the privacy and peace of mind you need to concentrate on working out. Not only can you work out without an audience; you can also control the temperature and music to suit your personal preferences.

Personal Attention

Personal training in a gym or recreational center is usually standardized, and it is not catered to individual needs and goals. By hiring an in-home personal trainer, you will get one-on-one attention and a fitness program that is specially tailored for you. It will help you overcome your limitations and achieve your fitness goals more quickly.

Accountability

If you enroll in a fitness program at a gym, there is a greater likelihood that you will skip your workout when you are not in the mood to exercise. A personal trainer who shows up at your door can help you stick to your exercise program more faithfully. Scheduled appointments will help you stay on track toward your goals and your trainer will keep you motivated throughout your fitness journey.

While in-home personal training offers a lot of benefits, it may not be the best fitness solution for everyone. It is advisable that you consult a fitness expert to find out whether or not it is the right option for you. Click here to learn more about the benefits of in-home personal training.

Stand Up Paddleboarding: Learn the Basics

Paddleboarding is a water sport in which participants kneel on a paddleboard and move themselves across the water using their hands. Related to it is stand up paddleboarding (SUP) which, as the name implies, is done standing up. SUP also makes use of handheld paddles. It can be done on rivers, lakes, and along the coast. The paddleboard is similar to a surfboard but is wider, allowing for a comfortable stance and greater stability while gliding across the water.

Stand up paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing sports because it is easy to learn, adaptable for all skill levels and ages, and can be done on different bodies of water, from calm lakes and rivers to the sea with raging waves. You can do SUP whether you want to relax while taking in a scenic view, or want to work up a good sweat while tone your muscles. If you’re itching to take up a new hobby, SUP is definitely the sport to try. Here are some of the basics to get you started!

Gear

You will only need three major things: a stand up paddleboard, a paddle, and a personal flotation device, or PFD. The size of the paddleboard will depend on your weight and skill level. As a beginner, it would be better to rent out boards offered by surf schools first, until you get the hang of it and progress to the more challenging (narrower) size. Paddles also vary in length; choose one that is around eight to ten inches taller than you. Stand up paddleboards are classified by the U.S. Coast Guard as vessels, so PFDs are a must.

As for clothing, shorts, a shirt, or bathing suit will do for hot to mild climates, while a wetsuit or drysuit is recommended for cool conditions. You can wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare. Last but certainly not the least, apply sunscreen!

Starting out

Beginners can start out in shallow, calm water. Some may find it easy to kneel on the board first to get a feel of how it floats and to test their balance. Position yourself just behind the board’s center point. The tail of the board shouldn’t dig into the water and the nose shouldn’t be pointing up, either. Adjust your position until the board is flat on the water; you can keep your hands on either side to stabilize the paddleboard.

When you have found your balance and feel comfortable on the board, try standing up one foot at a time. Place your feet at the exact part where your knees were. Take your time and keep practicing, and don’t be afraid to get back up if you fall.

Proper form

Maintaining the proper form on the board will help you keep your balance as you move along. Keep your feet apart and parallel to each other, and remember to stay at the center between the edges of the board. Don’t lock your knees—keep them slightly bent, and straighten your back. Use your hips to balance yourself on the board. Avoid slouching and staring at your feet—keep your chin up, your shoulders level, and your gaze on the horizon.

Basic strokes

If you’re paddling on the left side of the board, your left hand should be lower on the paddle shaft, while your right hand is on the top of the grip. Turn the paddle until the elbow or angle of the paddle is facing away from you. Keeping your arms straight, twist your torso as you paddle; use your abdominal muscles to move your upper body into the paddling motion. With your top hand, push down on the grip until the blade goes all the way under the surface of the water. Pull the paddle back towards your ankle and out of the water, and repeat! Start with short strokes and practice switching sides (reverse hand positions).

Now that you’ve got the basics of stand up paddleboarding, there’s nothing else stopping you from trying it out for real. Have fun!

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