Making an Urban Garden Studio {Guest Post}


There is something calming and welcoming in the tranquillity of a good studio, which goes doubly so for one made into a garden in urban conditions. Having one will allow your work to prosper in peace and quiet if you feel you need to work on your projects. A good, well-lit location is a nice start to your preparations, but you need to consider that most places will not have the right conditions for this type of setup. Focusing on making a spacious studio is a great way of sparking your creative genius, but it will take some doing to make it happen. The following tips will give you a clue how to do it:

  • The first thing you have to ensure you have a great amount of light around the studio, especially if you plan on using it for art purposes or something else. In most modern homes you will need to deal with a number of difficulties in lighting such as awkward windows and worse. When you make a studio of your own, you will be able to deal with this by installing a skylight or something even better to ensure great light levels.
  • If you happen to enjoy working from home, then you can combine this desire with the freedom of a garden studio near your home. Most urban locations don’t really allow that, but if you happen to be blessed with living in a house instead of apartment, then you will be able to use your landscape for it. On the other hand, living in an apartment can help you combine an indoor garden with a studio space, but you will need a rather large room for it to work.
  • You may also work on your studio by checking out potential design solutions online. If you have the choice of building it from the ground up, then you will have a lot more control over what you can do with it. Consider extra storage space, even if you feel you don’t need it right away. This way you will not have to worry about it further down the line as your work expands and grows.
  • You may also consider the added value of adding this type of setup to your home if you decide to sell your home or something similar. Always make sure you keep it clean, whether it means floor cleaning, upholstery cleaning or something similar. Calling a cleaning company once in a while won’t hurt either, as they can deal with things a lot faster than you and with greater efficiency.
  • The greatest thing about modern studios is that they can be made in pretty much a bit more than ten days with the right tools and conditions, especially if you have outside space in your garden. Prefabricated buildings can also be used, but they will not have the same flexibility as something you have worked on yourself or with a contractor to back you up.

Article written and submitted by Ella Andrews.

Organic gardening: how to prepare the soil in spring {Guest Post}

Now that the spring is knocking at your door and you wonder how to revive the atmosphere at home, do not forget about taking a look at your lovely garden. During the winter you may have neglected it for a while, but when spring is approaching, you need to provide some basic procedures, in case you are determined to maintain the garden in an excellent condition.

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You do not need to be a keen gardener to be able to take care of it. Reviving of the garden and preparing the soil for the spring requires your time, however, as long as you are supplied with the right equipment and information ,you will ideally manage with the tasks.
Thanks to this piece of article you will receive valuable information about the effective steps for treating your garden after the end of the winter.

Now, roll up sleeves, read the following lines and do not postpone all those refreshing procedures that are awaiting for you.

As healthy soil tends to be the most important thing for your plants, you need to pay special attention when preparing it. Here are some valuable tips from gardeners in Chelsea:
Test The Soil

If you want to determine the exact materials that are found in the soil, you had better get it tested.
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You can easily find professional services that provide soil test. The test will show the level of magnesium,phosphorus, potassium, and other materials. This procedure is essential for those gardeners who use a lot of organic matter to the soil and who want to receive more details about the consistency of the soil.

Dig deeply

If you want to have the roots grown in steadily, you need to dig deeply when planting your flowers. This means that 6 to 8 inches would be more than enough for ensuring suitable environment for the plants. In case you want to grow carrots or potatoes, do not hesitate to go deeper and to use the so familiar technique that is called hilling – for the purpose you need to gather the good soil around the crops

What to Add
You should enrich your soil with organic substances on a regular basis, unless you want to have your vegetables and fruit suffer from lack of nutrients. Before adding any organic matter first determine what the soil really lacks. Among the most widespread organic amendments that are used are:

·      manure
·      sand
·      lime
·      compost
·      sawdust
·      leafmold

Depending on the condition of the soil, you are free to pick from the following ones. For instance, compost is widely recommended for retaining of the moisture and it supplies the soil with a wide range of nutrients. Sand, on the other hand, contributes for the improvement of the drainage of the soil, which stimulates the root growth. In case you decide to use composted manure, you need to know that it is rich in nitrogen and that it also helps for the moisture retention. One important tip to take into account is never to use fresh manure – it contains a high level of ammonia which would be more than harmful for the plants. Choosing sawdust for your soil will also improve the drainage as well as the texture.

The conclusion that could be made is that you have a wide range of options when you prepare the soil for the upcoming spring. My personal advice is not  to trust everything that you have heard about the treatment of organic soil, but to choose the methods that are most appropriate for your type of soil.

The article was written by Anna W. Aamone

Yummy Food Discoveries {Recipes}

My spring break turned out to be a break from my job, but a full time grad school experience.  Most every day was filled with papers, projects, and more papers.  However, during this time, I decided to engage in a 7-day detox program and take the opportunity to try many new dishes I had collected in Pinterest and on YouTube.

Slow Cooker Peaches 'N Cream Oatmeal

I enjoyed this dish.  However, for the amount of milk they required (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, BTW) I ended up having to add another cup of regular oats to my almost done steel cut oats.  Next time I will reduce the amount of milk required by half.

Slow Cooker Cubed Steak

I like cubed steak, but I detest the toughness and stringiness that you often find.  The crock pot is totally the solution!  The cube steak was fork tender.  Literally.  Because I was looking at two different recipes, I had to make a decision.  Next time I'll fix it.  So, I used cream of chicken and cream of mushroom, along with a pack of Lipton onion mix.  I also sliced up an onion and put in there.  All of the creams were low-sodium.  However, I always season my meat.  Next time I'll half the pack of Lipton onion mix and will not season the meat.  Other than a little extra salt, it was delicious!  Thankfully I served it with wild rice with very little salt.

Salmon Fresh Spring Rolls (the original recipe is for shrimp)

I enjoyed this dish.  It was my first time using rice paper wrappers.  I didn't tear any but as you can see, they aren't wrapped super tight.  I baked a piece of salmon and so my rolls include baked salmon, lettuce, carrots, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and quinoa.  The peanut dipping sauce was yummy.  The recipe for that is also in the link above.

Berbere Bowl w/Sauteed Swiss Chard

Hands down, this dish was sooo good!  I ate it two days in a row and am craving for more.  Because it looked so good in the original video, I immediately purchased the berbere spice from Etsy.  Hadn't heard of this Ethiopian spice, but it was worth the wait.  This dish is vegan and there are not enough words to describe how wonderful it is.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Baked Salmon w/Asparagus and Quinoa

  • Salmon - drizzle lightly with olive oil; season with sea salt, black pepper, and greek seasoning
  • Asparagus - drizzle lightly with olive oil; season with sea salt and black pepper  (Bake both at 375 degrees F for 15 - 20 min)
  • Quinoa - cook according to package directions

Swiss Chard

  • Cut swiss chard into ribbons; cut shallot into slices; heat olive oil in pan; sautee shallots; add swiss chard; saute then as swiss chard wilts, season with sea salt and black pepper; cover and reduce heat until tender; sprinkle with a little lime juice.

Have you tried any delicious recipes lately?