Organic mulch is a powerful tool for gardeners. However, it’s not always easy to calculate how much you need to cover your flower beds. Here’s what you need to know.
Why you should use mulch
Mulch is a layer of organic material that covers the soil around trees, shrubs, and flowers. Whether it’s made of cedar, cocoa shells, hemlock or bark, it’s an essential element for beautiful, healthy flowerbeds. Mulch helps:
• Slow down weed germination
• Keep the soil cool
• Preserve soil moisture
• Reduce the number of insects and diseases
• Enrich the soil through decomposing
How much mulch do you need?
Most greenhouses and big-box stores sell mulch in two cubic feet bags. Moreover, horticulturists agree you should lay down at least three inches of mulch.
One cubic foot of mulch covers about four square feet of space to a thickness of three inches. Therefore, a standard bag would cover about eight-square feet of space. To calculate the total square feet to cover, divide it by eight to get the number of bags to buy.
For example, for a garden bed measuring 20 feet by six feet, the calculation would be 20’ x 6’ = 120 square feet to cover; 120 square feet ÷ 8 square feet = 15 bags.
Some nurseries carry mulch in bulk or sell it by the square yard, equivalent to 27 cubic feet. You would probably need about one square yard for an average-sized project: 27 cubic feet ÷ two cubic feet (one bag) = 14 bags; 14 bags x 8 square feet = 112 square feet covered.
Academic success needs… a routine!
The return to school is one of the most difficult times of the year. Indeed, returning to a fixed schedule and a stricter lifestyle can be very arduous and can generate a lot of stress in a family. This doesn’t take into account the numerous small clarifications you will have to make to reassure the little one who’s starting kindergarten and the older child who is dreading the move to high school…
As a parent, it’s crucial to properly prepare for the beginning of the school year to ensure success. An excellent way to find a certain balance at this time of year is to establish a fixed routine. In fact, this will give children a feeling of security and will avoid a lot of useless stress. A routine makes chores more quickly, leaving more time for playing or other activities. To help you establish a routine, you could write it down on paper in the form of a chart and stick it on the fridge, asking the children to actively participate by decorating it and sharing their ideas with you.
Apart from basic chores, here are a few essential components of a back-to-school routine:
- Make lunch the previous evening,
- Choose clothes for the next day,
- Establish a precise time to do homework and another for relaxing,
- Agree on bedtime and establish a ritual to help them to sleep well.
You should also think about what activities will be allowed during the week and which can be included in the routine. Why not agree on a time and duration for watching television or for playing on the computer? You should also set aside time to talk to your children about their day, successes, and fears. For the children who find this more difficult, it’s good to establish a motivational system with rewards linked to concrete successes, like offering stickers or special treats, for example.
As a parent, get into the habit of staying informed of your children’s academic progress. Don’t hesitate to demonstrate your availability to collaborate with teachers, particularly if your children are experiencing certain difficulties. Why not choose a moment in the routine to learn about academic progress or difficulties weekly? This step will help you to watch over your children and stay connected to their needs. Above all, they’ll feel that with this routine, they can count on your presence.
Lastly, it is particularly important to congratulate your children for them to feel involved and important in a routine’s success. A child who starts school with the security and comfort of a well-established routine will have a better chance of academic success throughout the school year. All the best for the new school year!
The 5 most durable fence materials
When building a new fence, you must pick high-quality, durable materials to ensure it lasts for years to come. Choosing poor materials can lead to an ugly, sagging fence that’ll be expensive to repair. Here are some of the most durable fencing materials on the market.
1. Wrought iron. Ornamental iron fences can last hundreds of years if regularly maintained. In fact, some of the wrought-iron latticework found in the French Quarter of New Orleans dates back to the 1700s. However, iron is prone to rust and must be regularly repainted.
2. Brick or masonry. Fences built from brick or concrete can withstand the test of time. However, these materials are pricey and must be installed by professional masons.
3. Aluminum. Lightweight, rust-resistant, and easy to install, aluminum fences are a sure bet for any climate. Aluminum requires little to no maintenance and can be painted to match your home’s exterior.
4. Vinyl. A relative newcomer in fencing material, vinyl can be designed to resemble wood and metal. It doesn’t rot or rust and is resistant to pests. All you need to do is wash it down once a year to keep dirt and debris at bay.
5. Pressure-treated wood. Wood fences are timeless. Fortunately, pressure-treated wood can last many decades with annual upkeep, such as painting and staining.
Consult a fence professional to discuss what type of fencing material is best for your property.
Note-taking methods for college freshmen (and everyone else)
For plenty of incoming freshmen, college is a rude awakening, a place where bad habits are laid bare, and those who make it to class and take good notes are the ones who come out ahead.
To make it to class, just go to bed at a reasonable hour and set an alarm.
To take good notes, try some of the following strategies:
The outline method is one of the most popular and intuitive ways to take notes, with a traditional outline format that most students are familiar with. Place major points furthest to the left (I, II, III), and indent more specific points under each major point (a, b, c).
The Cornell note-taking method is a popular way to organize notes into summaries. Divide your page into three sections, with the left margin reserved for cues, the bottom reserved for summaries, and the bulk of the page left for notes. Write prompts for your notes in the cues section and a summary of your notes at the bottom for quick review. You can divide your sheet yourself or use Cornell templates, which are available in paper and digital format.
The mind map method dispenses with linear notes altogether, with a central concept in the middle of the sheet and the notes written as branches that radiate outwards. Mind maps work well with visual cues (like images and icons); for some learners, are a great way to provide an overview of a topic. They can be created on paper or with digital programs that allow users to link additional files.
4 tips for thrift shopping
Millions of tons of clothing, shoes, and textiles end up in landfills every year, contributing to water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The trend of fast fashion has led to a proliferation of clothing produced and thrown away. One remedy is to shop at thrift stores when you need to buy clothes. Keep these shopping tips in mind to renew your wardrobe with fantastic finds.
1. Sell or donate first. Before buying new ones, get rid of unwanted clothes by bringing them to a consignment store or donating them to a charity thrift shop. You’ll free up valuable closet space and earn a few dollars.
2. Create a list. Look through your wardrobe and decide what you need. It’s best to visit your thrift store with a clear goal in mind. Aimlessly meandering through the aisles wastes time and could entice you to buy items you don’t need.
3. Dress appropriately. Not all second-hand stores have fitting rooms. Therefore, wear something comfortable, so that you can try on clothing over the clothes you’re already wearing. Even if there are dressing rooms, you can avoid waiting in line by trying things on in the aisle.
4. Use a tailor. If you find a shirt or jacket you love but doesn’t fit quite right, don’t let that stop you from buying it. You can always take the item to a tailor and get it fitted properly.
Reusing existing clothing is a way to curb the negative impact of textile manufacturing on the planet, so wear your second-hand clothes with pride.
3 types of home insulation
Insulation protects your residence against both heat and cold, depending on the season. It also creates an acoustic barrier. Whether you’re planning major renovations or constructing a new home, don’t let your insulation become an afterthought. Here are three types of insulation materials to consider for your home.
1. Synthetic. While economical and efficient, this type of insulation is harmful to the environment and isn’t recyclable. It won’t decay naturally and can be flammable. Therefore, it must be installed with fire-resistant materials. Polystyrene and polyurethane are among the most common synthetic insulations.
2. Mineral-based. Made with raw and partially recycled materials, this type of insulation is incombustible and won’t decay. It can, however, attract insects that may nest within your walls. For this reason, you must replace this type of insulation every ten years. Rock wool, fiberglass, and cellular glass are well-known mineral insulators.
3. Natural insulators. Plant-based insulations are recyclable and don’t require much energy to produce. They also help keep your home cooler for longer during the summer months. However, since natural insulators aren’t great at managing humidity, they require careful installation. Cellulose, hemp, and cotton are some of the most popular natural insulators you can use.
Depending on the type of insulation you choose, you may be able to install it with a spray applicator or in pre-cut sections. Moreover, some insulation comes in large rolls or foam cubes. Some methods are more advisable than others, depending on the accessibility and size of the area to be insulated.
Avoid mistakes by relying on a contractor specializing in insulation to handle your installation.
Why it’s important to call an exterminator
Have wasps, ants, cockroaches, mice, or bedbugs taken up residence in your home or business? Instead of dealing with the infestation yourself, hire an exterminator to get rid of the nasty pests. Here are four reasons to call a professional.
• They can intervene effectively. Expert exterminators know exactly which specialized products to use against particularly persistent pests. They’ll prevent you from losing time on trial and error, and you can rest assured your infestation will be swiftly eradicated.
• They can safeguard your health. Many pest control products can be harmful to the health of your family and your pets if misused. Moreover, some pests can transmit diseases to humans. If you try to deal with an infestation yourself, you may accidentally get bitten or expose yourself to contaminated secretions and debris.
• They can help protect the planet. Pest management companies use environmentally friendly solutions, unlike some over-the-counter products.
• They can prevent a recurrence. Applying a pest-control product doesn’t always get rid of the problem. If you want to prevent pests from coming back, it’s crucial to find the source of the issue and make the necessary adjustments. A professional exterminator can provide expert advice to prevent a recurrence.
Lastly, trying to manage a pest infestation yourself is risky. Call an expert to remedy the situation quickly, effectively, and sustainably.
Are you a tenant in a multi-unit building with a pest infestation? Notify your landlord and talk to your neighbors at the first sign of infestation. It may be necessary to search their units to find the source and ensure it’s completely eradicated.