Growing your own vegetables is a wonderful thing. You get to choose which seeds to sow, spend time outside, put in some hard work and then reap the rewards all summer and fall. In spite of this, many new gardeners find themselves planting too much or too little of different vegetables. There's much appeal to going to the store to pick out seeds. It almost seems like magic: these little seed packets will turn into baskets full of food, all for just a few dollars. Follow these tips to learn how to grow what you want the first time around so you won't find yourself begging neighbors to take all those extra zucchinis off your hands. What do you like to eat? Experimenting with new recipes is great. And so is the temptation when you see seed packets for an exotic vegetable you've never tried before. But before you dedicate a whole row of your garden to hybrid turnips, think about whether or not you'll really eat all of that. Instead, plant the veggies you and your family love to eat consistently. Before you start planting, think carefully about the amount of space you have in your garden (I usually draw a diagram and label the rows). This is going to involve some necessary research on your part. If you love summer squash, you may think you need a whole row. Squash plants, however, tend to creep outwards vigorously, producing a ton of fruit and also encroaching on other rows if you're not careful. Similarly, you may find that you simply don't have enough room for some vegetables. We all love the first sweet corn of the season, but most of us don't have enough room in our backyard gardens to feasibly grow corn. Plan for next year Once you've tilled the soil, planted the seeds, and taken care of your plants all spring, you may think the only thing left to do is harvest the vegetables. This is a crucial time, however, to think about next year. What did you have too much of? Too little? Did you find that some vegetables simply wouldn't grow in your garden? (I tried twice, with little luck, to plant pole beans but found that they just didn't like my soil.) Take note of these findings for next year. If one part of your garden receives more sunlight, try rotating crops to see if you get different results. Don't worry if your garden isn't perfect the first time around. In fact, it's best to just let go of that image of the perfect garden. Tending a garden isn't another chore to cause stress in your life, it's a simple and relaxing way to get outside more.
For today’s architects and new homebuilders, the amazing advancements in technology and design offer an unprecedented wealth of amenities and efficiency options that can be included in new home construction. Some of the latest innovations are designed to be eco-friendly and save energy and resources, others are added for comfort and convenience, while some are just plain fun. Save time and money with enhancements installed during the building process rather than paying more to have them installed at a later date. The Modern Bathroom An eco-friendly toilet is a stylish compliment to the modern bathroom. Choose from sleekly designed models that feature motion activation seats and lids, deodorizing no-odor charcoal filters, multi-option bidets and heated air dryers. If you want all the “bells and whistles” add a built in foot warmer and moisture-proof speakers to play your favorite melodies or the morning news via a remote wireless mirror docking station. A heated tile bathroom floor offers welcome warmth during cold mid-western winters. Heat elements placed under the tile installation can be controlled by a wireless remote temperature control. Visit your electrical contractors showroom for inspiration and information on additional luxury options including lighted anti-fog mirrors, heated towel racks and digitally controlled aroma therapy essential oil diffusers for shower or tub. How about a flat screen TV for the bathroom that converts to a stylish mirror when not in use? Are you worried about the amount of your family’s water usage? Digital shower controls designed to help conserve water, exhibit a green blinking light when the user exceeds 2 minutes of water consumption and a red light then reminds you that you have used more than your fair share. Safety features include precisely set controls and temperature adjustments to prevent pressure fluctuations of scalding or freezing cold water. Feeling lazy? Draw your bath water with a click of an app on your cell phone or tablet. Electronic water flow meters control temperature and tub water volume. Feel more like a shower? Pamper yourself with multiple pressured massaging shower jets installed to fit your personal height and body frame. After a hard day at the office or a strenuous workout, nothing feels better than relaxing in your own private home sauna or steam room. Let your imagination run wild. If you can dream of a creature comfort that you would like in your personal space, it is likely your architect or building contractor can locate and install appliances, gadgets or gizmos to satisfy your most hedonistic desires. Consider adding a skylight to brighten bathroom space equipped with a solar charged exhaust fan that is automatically activated by humidity or temperature. Home Interior Temperature Controls Traditional thermostats waste energy, cooling and heating your home when no one is home. A wirelessly controlled digital thermostat system controls the home by zones, keeping bedrooms and unused rooms or storage space cooler, while family living space stay toasty warm. The latest technology reminds you to turn down the thermostat before you leave the house. If you forget, no problem, built in automatic features will do it for you based on a preset programmable time schedule. Should you decide to come home early from a business trip or vacation, an app on your cell phone can call ahead and turn on the heat or air conditioning systems. Air Quality Talk to your heating and air conditioning contractor for information about the many different electronic air filtration systems available if your family has problems with dust or seasonal allergies. If dry winter air is a problem, a system wide humidifier will let everyone in the family breathe easier. Laundry Room Amenities The latest technology to change the way we do laundry includes a waterless washing machine that uses recyclable polymer pellets to absorb the soil, grease and grime in the dirtiest of clothing. Because water usage is one of the highest consumptions of energy, eco-conscious homeowners are flocking to include a waterless washing machine in their laundry room installation plans.