A Brief History of Gardening

You probably take gardening for granted, since everyone gardens or knows someone who does. However, did you ever think about how gardening got started and how it developed into the vegetable and flower gardens we have today? Here is a brief history of gardening down through the centuries.

Ancient Gardening

The oldest known type of gardening is called forest gardening. This refers to an ancient type of food gardening. As food producing vines and trees were discovered, they began to be cultivated in groups to gain easy access to food. Eventually, these evolved into more elaborate ornamental gardens kept for the wealthiest members of society.

Gardening in the Middle Ages

Ornamental gardening started dying off a bit during the Middle Ages. Most gardens were designed to grow herbs and other plants for medicine after the fall of the Roman Empire. Many of these gardens were maintained around churchyards. Monasteries had gardens to supply both the infirmary and the kitchen.

Later on, some Europeans began to cultivate gardens both for food and for beauty. It was at this time that lawns of grass were planted and raised flowerbeds were used to decorate the surrounding land.

Many gardens began to develop around a central focal point with hedges and plants being built around the middle monument or sculpture.

Elizabethan Cottage Gardens

During this period, it was popular to grow fruit and herb cottage gardens. Since so many were killed off during the Black Death scourge, land was more plentiful and even the poorest laborer could have a little cottage garden. Workers would keep a little plot of land to put their chickens and pigs and grow some food.

Informal 18th Century Gardens

Gardens eventually started to take on a more natural and informal look as time went on. The walls and hedges gave way to rolling hills and no strict edging and borders. English gardens of this period often contained a body of water surrounded by some trees, flowers, and other herbs or food producing plants.

Later it became fashionable to try to stuff as many flowers as possible into a tiny space. These plots termed as “gardenesque” styles eventually began to include rock gardens also

Gardening has evolved and changed considerably down through the centuries. At times, there was a very formal and architectural nature to gardens, while other times the layout was more free-form and meandering. Sometimes the gardens were strictly for producing food, and other times they were solely ornamental and for bringing pleasure to the observer.

As you can see, gardening has been popular among humans for almost all recorded time. Although the particular styles and methods have changed down through the years, the basics remain the same. People want to have a source of plants near where they live for convenience. Many times this is in order to have easier access to food, but sometimes it’s simply to have a beautiful spot near the home to walk and enjoy the sights and smells of nature.

Home Improvement

3 Tips for Forming Friendships on Ham Radio

In many respects, ham radio is the original social media outlet. Long before Internet access was commonplace, countless individuals communicated and formed lasting friendships via ham radio. Although the Worldwide Web now fulfills this purpose for many people, ham radio maintains a solid following in the U.S. and abroad. Whether you’re looking to meet new people or simply have a pleasant conversation, ham radio can provide you with the means to do it – provided, of course, you adhere to certain rules. Novice ham operators who are eager to start making friends will be well-served by the following tips.

1. Communicate Clearly

Making friends via ham radio can be difficult if other operators can’t understand what you’re saying. With this in mind, make sure to equip your console with a powerful antenna and high-quality directional couplers. Not only will this help make your communications clearer, it will extend your range, enabling you to connect with more operators. Having an expansive range is particularly important for operators who live in secluded areas. In the interest of clear communication, you’ll also need to speak clearly, properly enunciate and hold your mic about an inch away from your mouth.

2. Avoid Dominating Conversations

As is the case when meeting new people in real life, it’s important that you avoid dominating conversations with other operators. This is particularly important in the case of group conversations. Because of fluctuating frequencies and signal interferences, carrying on an extended conversation with multiple operators is difficult enough with one person constantly trying to make his or her voice heard. If other operators feel that they’re unable to get a word in when speaking to you, don’t expect to form many friendships.

3. Eliminate Hiss on Your End

As any seasoned operator can confirm, nobody relishes speaking to someone who produces excessive hiss. In addition to making it difficult to communicate, loud hissing can be very hard on one’s ears. Fortunately, hiss is fairly easy to minimize. In many cases, a good antenna and mic can go a long way in reducing the amount of hiss an operator gives off.

The Internet is now an integral part of our lives. However, that doesn’t mean ham radio has entered obsolescence. While it may not be as popular as it once was, ham radio provides operators with abundant opportunities for meeting new people and forming lasting friendships. As long as the tips discussed above are adhered to, new operators can make friends with other hammers in a timely manner.


Are You Lucky Enough To Have A Green Thumb?

Gardening is one of the oldest pastimes in the world. The healing nature of growing plants was recognized in ancient times. From the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the cultivated plots among date palms in the parched desert, ancient people have been enjoying the literal fruits of their labors in gardens for thousands of years.

Today, gardening provides beauty and the opportunity to both profit from from fruits and vegetables and the prospect of enjoying the calm surroundings that are part of modern gardens. The joy of caring for growing plants is one of the simple pleasures of modern life.

For those who wish to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables the size of the area that is available for cultivation should be no barrier to putting food on the table. Even a window ledge can provide enough sunlight to grow herbs that will increase the enjoyment of any meal.

Aside from saving money and growing your own vegetables for the table, you can also use he vegetables you grow to provide the basis for nutritious and delicious energy drinks. Simply blend a mixture of root vegetables such as carrots and mix with other organically grown produce such as melon or even cucumber and you have the basic ingredients for a healthy and refreshing vegetable based power drink.

If you have access to a back or front yard with some space you can also plant fast growing fruit trees such as apple, which provide not only delicious juices, but also the raw ingredients for fruit salads or even a snack straight off the branch.

If you make the decision to start cultivating your own fruit and vegetables a bit of research can prevent a lot of heartache. Visit your local garden center and obtain the advice of an expert on which fruit or vegetable types are best suited for the climate in your area. You may have to change over to hardier varieties if your winters are particularly harsh or your summers blazing hot.

The advice that you receive will also help you cope with the almost inevitable insect infestations that can plague the gardens of even the most careful gardener. These experts will let you in on some secrets about the natural insect repellents that you can use to keep your fruit free from chemicals and preserve their natural flavors.

For those gardeners who want to simply enjoy the beauty of flowering plants or shrubs there is an almost limitless choice. However, make sure that the ornamental plants that you will be cultivating are suitable for your lifestyle. If you have young children or pets that spend time in the garden make sure that the plants you are growing are not toxic or harmful in other ways. Plants such as thorny bushes or cacti should also be avoided.

Planting and caring for your garden, no matter the size is one of the most rewarding hobbies for those who love nature. A bonus is that the pastime can be enjoyed by the whole family. Good wholesome fun in the open air, away from the distractions of video games or the stresses of modern life.


Tips For Choosing Plants For Your Garden

Walking through the garden center of your local store, it is easy to get caught up in all the beautiful colors and textures of the plants. With so many choices available, you might fall into the trap of buying plants on impulse. Instead of thinking about how they fit into your garden design, you start filling your cart with any plants that catch your eye. Then, when you get them home you realize that there is no place in your garden that is well-suited to the types, sizes or styles of plants that you bought.

To avoid this problem, it is best to be prepared before you head to the nursery. Instead of just winging it, you should take the time to consider the growing conditions in your yard. Is your soil densely-packed or filled with sand? Do you have a lot of shade, or does your yard get sun most of the day? Pay attention for several days, taking notes about soil type, sun exposure and moisture levels for each of the areas you plan to plant.

If you really want your garden to flourish, you should also consider testing your soil. Most county extension offices offer soil testing for a small fee. Understanding the overall pH of your soil can help you determine which types of plants are best. Keep in mind that it is possible to alter the pH of the soil by adding certain amendments. However, it is almost always smarter to choose plants that grow well in the soil you already have.

When you go to the garden center or nursery, take your notes with you. Instead of picking and choosing flowers solely based on color and appearance, pay attention to which types of plants will thrive in your unique growing conditions. After all, there is no point in buying a beautiful plant only to have it die once you plant it because it can’t tolerate the conditions in your yard.

Once you get your plants home, it is time to arrange them. Before you start digging and placing them in the soil, it is a good idea to play around with different arrangements. With the plants still in their pots, experiment with different planting arrangements. Try grouping several plants in small clusters, or spreading them out in even rows. Pay special attention to the height of each plant when it reaches full maturity. Taller plants should go in the back of your flower beds, while shorter plants should go up front. Once you have an arrangement you like, you can go ahead and put the plants in the ground.

Taking the time to understand the growing conditions throughout your yard and garden can help you choose plants that will flourish. Rather than wasting money on flowers that are poorly suited to your location, you can focus on buying plants that are guaranteed to thrive. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can have a show-stopping garden that will add beauty and depth to the outside of your home.

Home Improvement

Few Tips on House Renovation

Untіl recently, bоrrоwіng money for a new kitchen, second-story addition, оr оthеr home іmрrоvеmеnt meant gоіng to the bаnk, ѕееіng a loan оffісеr, аnd hoping fоr thе bеѕt. Tоdау, hоwеvеr, you have mаnу mоrе орtіоnѕ to hеlр fіnаnсе hоmе іmрrоvеmеntѕ. A mоrtgаgе brоkеr, for еxаmрlе, can оffеr mоrе thаn 200 dіffеrеnt lоаn рrоgrаmѕ. And brokers аrе just оnе оf the mаnу lenders еаgеr tо рut tоgеthеr a loan thаt fіtѕ уоur situation—even if уоur сrеdіt hіѕtоrу іѕ lеѕѕ than реrfесt. Visit to get all the options!


Paying fоr Renovations Through Rеfіnаnсіng
Thаt mеаnѕ you might bе able tо bоrrоw mоrе mоnеу thаn you think. But wіth ѕо mаnу competing lеndеrѕ, loan options, and terms, іt also means ѕhорріng for home rеmоdеl loans саn bе аѕ сhаllеngіng аѕ hоuѕе hunting. Yоu can ѕkір аll the соnfuѕіоn and land оn thе rіght lеndіng program bу:

Knowing hоw muсh mоnеу you nееd аnd rоughlу hоw much you саn gеt frоm thе ѕtаrt
Nаrrоwіng thе mуrіаd loan орtіоnѕ down tо the оnеѕ that mаtсh your nееdѕ and fіnаnсеѕ
Cоnсеntrаtіng оn thе lеndеrѕ that аrе lіkеlіеѕt tо рrоvіdе thе tуре оf lоаn you wаnt.
Hоw Muсh Cаn You Borrow?
Whеthеr уоu hіrе a contractor or tаkе оn thе wоrk yourself, bеgіn wіth an ассurаtе еѕtіmаtе оf what the рrоjесt wіll соѕt.

Lеndеrѕ will insist on a specific figure before they wоrk with you. If you’re hіrіng a соntrасtоr, ѕtаrt wіth a firm bid, brоkеn down into labor аnd materials. Thеn add оn 10 percent fоr surprises. On work уоu’ll do уоurѕеlf, соmріlе a dеtаіlеd mаtеrіаlѕ list with ԛuаntіtіеѕ, соѕtѕ, and an ассurаtе tоtаl. Inсludе permit fееѕ аnd еԛuірmеnt rental. Then add a cushion of 20 tо 30 реrсеnt tо be ѕаfе.

Onсе уоu know how muсh уоu need to fіnаnсе уоur home іmрrоvеmеnt рrоjесt, hоw much wіll уоu gеt? Dеѕріtе thе promises аnd hуре lenders make іn thеіr аdѕ аnd promotional mаtеrіаlѕ, hоw muсh уоu can bоrrоw hіngеѕ оn your сrеdіt rаtіng, thе lоаn-tо-vаluе rаtіо, аnd your іnсоmе. Thеѕе fасtоrѕ also hеlр determine the іntеrеѕt rate, the lеngth оf thе lоаn, аnd whеthеr you’ll pay points.

Yоur credit rating. Thе bеѕt rаtеѕ and tеrmѕ go to homeowners wіth an A rаtіng—nо lаtе payments іn the last 12 months and nо mаxеd-оut credit cards. Onе оr two lаtе рауmеntѕ or оvеrdrаwn сrеdіt саrdѕ probably wоn’t knосk уоu оut оf thе game, but уоu mіght еnd uр wіth a hіghеr іntеrеѕt rate аnd a ѕmаllеr lоаn.