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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Fertilizer - Understanding the label

Summer is fast approaching and my garden service company is getting ready to fertilize the gardens of my clients. This short guide should help you to better understand which fertilizer to use.

Bags of fertilizer are labelled by the manufacturer and give a basic analysis of the contents. Below is a brief description so that you can easily understand what the bag contains.

 The formula will be in numbers such as 7:1:3 (21) The numbers stand for the ratio of chemicals in the content of the bag followed by the concentration given in percentage. The sequence always remains the same, thus the first number is nitrogen (N). The second is phosphate (P), and the third is always potassium (K). It never changes.

The purpose of nitrogen is that it makes the grass grow green and UP. The purpose of phosphate is that it makes the root system grow DOWN and healthy. And the purpose of potassium is that it makes the grass propagate or grow AROUND. You can apply it this way: If you want the grass to grow UP and green, you want a high first number. If you want to build a hearty root system, you want a high second DOWN number. If you want the grass especially newly established grass-to propagate, you want a high ALL AROUND third number. For example: 3-2-3. You will get some greening, but the roots and propagation will be higher. 3-2-1. will give you lots of greening, some roots, and a little propagation. Fertilizer with a high first number will give the grass a quick shot of green-up.

This type of fertilizer is called "balanced". (Balance refers to the ratio of chemicals in the fertilizer. For example if you look at your lawn, it needs three to five times more nitrogen as phosphorus and twice as much potassium as phosphorus. Thus a 7:1:3 would be ideal, as it would green the grass with a lot of upward growth, only build a little on the root system and a fair amount of sideways propagation.

All fertilizers are numbered in the same way. If you have houseplants, for example, the fertilizer for them will be ranked by number; 6-8-8 (for example)-high in phosphate and potash for roots and plant development; low in greening.

For more information about garden maintenance services, have a look at this page.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Cleaning out non council rubbish from complexes

As part of the services I provide to Sectional Title Developments, Body Corporates, Home Owners Associations, etc. I do quite a lot of inspections on a weekly basis.

What I find in the dustbin area of most complexes, is that there are constantly a build-up of rubbish (non-council). This non-council rubbish is not removed by the local municipality and at the end of the day, it is up to the Body Corporates, etc to have these areas cleaned out.

The quantity of rubbish will influence the final decision on how to have the rubbish removed (also factors such as if the rubbish include building rubble). I often haul small loads away for my clients using a light delivery vehicle, but the larger the quantity, the more expensive this option becomes. That is when hiring a skip becomes an option.

Now you've probably seen skips on a building site or at a commercial property and have never considered it for your own use. Of course if you never generate any significant amounts of waste then it's reasonable to assume that this wouldn't cross your mind. However, when you reside in a complex, the little bit of waste that each resident build up, can become quite a significant quantity when added together.
Furthermore, the Body Corporate, etc. might decide to do some renovations and maintenance, or improve the gardens of the complex, this will also generate quite a bit of waste for which a skip once again becomes a viable option.
Now you need to consider the quantity of waste that needs to be removed and order a skip to fullfill this need. Most of the companies in South Africa that hires out skips, have to different sizes. And there are limitations on what can be dumped in some of them.

The smaller skip is a 3 cubic yard skip. This would be used for smaller quantities, and is usually limited to general waste, thus no building rubble allowed. So how big is this skip? It is about 2 meters by 1,7 meters. This can take just a little more than three loads of a light delivery vehicle or approximately 35 black refuse bags.

The other option would be the 6 cubic yard skip. In this you can dump general waste, building rubble, etc. This skip is about 3,1 meters by 1.9 meters. This can take about 7 loads of a light delivery vehicle, or approximately 7- black refuse bags.

It is wise to discuss the requirements with the skip hire company, because they would be able to advise you on exactly what would be needed. At A&F Complex Management I also advice my clients on what they would need to remove the quantity of waste they do have.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Tip for cleaning a red wine spill

I tried and tested this simple trick to clean and remove spilt red wine from your carpet. The biggest mistake most people make when trying to remove a spill from their carpet is rubbing on the spot with a rag or paper towel. The only thing this will do is to push it further into the carpet, and it may penetrate the fibers down into the dye site. This is a problem, because the majority of carpets used in residential homes are made of nylon.

The problem with red wine, which makes it even trickier is that it contains dye naturally. Blotting the spill (which is what you should usually do on any spill) does not always remove all the red wine. Now what I found as a good way to remove red wine, is to cover the spill with corn starch (which you’ll find at your local supermarket). You need to push the corn starch down into the carpet, all the way to the bottom of the carpet, using your hands or feet.

Now you need to leave it like this for at least 24 hours. During this period, the corn starch will absorb all the red wine. After 24 hours, vacuum the carpet to clean up the corn starch. Most of the time, there will be no permanent stain on your carpet. 

It is important to remember that you need to do this before the spill dries out on your carpet to obtain the best possible result. This trick also works with other types of spills.

Friday, 06 August 2010

Why Wildlife Gardening? « Get in the Garden

I found this interesting blog about wildlife in your garden. By planning before you plant, you can attract animals, birds and insects to your garden.

Why Wildlife Gardening? « Get in the Garden