Growing fresh vegetables and herbs in your own backyard can hold a lot of appeal to many but not everyone has the luxury of a large backyard to start one. If you’re home has a yard with limited space don’t give up your garden dreams just yet! Below are some tips on how to start your own small vegetable garden whether you have a postage stamp lawn or none at all!

Start with research – No matter what the square footage you are working with is it is important to do some research first. You will want to create a list of the types of vegetables and herbs you are hoping to grow. You will then want to find out how much light they require, which season they produce during and if there are any plants they do not do well next to. Other things to consider are how deep and wide the roots grow. When you only have so much space to work with you want to maximize every inch. If one plant takes up a quarter of your garden while another can share that same space with several other plants you will want to weigh out how badly you want that particular plant. Choosing “dwarf” or “compact” varieties of plants will also help you make the most any small garden.

Small land – With some careful planning and thoughtful placement you can get just as much or more from your small garden than those with larger plots of land. It’s all in the details. One technique you will want to favor is the vertical growing method. Essentially you place the taller growing plants in the back and the shorter growing ones in the front so that they are not deprived of sunlight behind your taller plants. Use a garden planner tool to your advantage to pre-plan your garden and how you will fit the different varieties of plants on your small plot. You may also want to consider using the succession planting method. When a plant has stopped producing you remove it and plant seeds for a new crop whose growing season is upcoming. This will allow you to truly maximize your limited space.

Patio – Creating a container garden will be your best friend when you are lacking land to plant vegetables in. When choosing pots ensure that they have drainage holes on the bottom and keep in in mind that the larger the pot the better. A larger pot helps the soil retain moisture and maintain an even temperature. If your container is large enough you may even be able to get away with planting an upward growing plant with some under growing varieties.

Window boxes – If you don’t have enough space in your backyard or a patio to dedicate to a garden you still have options. Window boxes can offer more than just space for perennial flowers they are also perfect for growing herbs and salad greens in. Planting several herb varieties per box will provide you with a homegrown spice rack at your fingertips!

While it may seem that gardening is impossible without a large plot of land almost anyone, no matter the space of their home can grow a garden. With a little research and a willingness to get your hands dirty, you too can have home grown produce!

Choosing the right lighting for your home not only enhances it visually, but can also make it a safer and more secure place to live.

While an interior decorator or electrician can offer you additional suggestions about upgrading your home’s lighting efficiency and appearance, here are a few helpful lighting tips and ideas to consider.

  • Dimmer switches can be a highly desirable feature to include in most rooms in your house. You only use them on an as-needed basis, and they’re great for reducing eye strain, creating a more relaxing environment, and conserving electricity. Although dimmer switches are relatively easy to install, hiring a reasonably priced electrician is good insurance against getting an electrical shock or doing it incorrectly.
  • Flood lights strategically placed in different areas of your property can help keep away trespassers, burglars, and vandals. Motion-activated security lights are especially effective at deterring crime and sending intruders on their way. While lighting alone does not comprise a fail-proof home security system, it is one of several methods that, when used together, can keep your home, property, and family safe.
  • Adequate outside lighting helps prevent family members and visitors from falling, tripping, and getting injured on your property when approaching your home at night. This is especially important for those who are elderly or vision impaired.
  • Outdoor lighting can also be effectively used for decorative purposes on porches, patios, backyard decks, and walkways.

Light Bulb Facts

If you’re wondering why old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs are becoming harder to find on store shelves, it’s because of two things:

  1. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007: It was enacted to for several reasons, including eliminating wasteful energy products from the market, helping the United States become more energy independent, and reducing harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants. Although some consumers prefer the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb, it’s interesting to know that they’re only 10% efficient. What that means, says the EPA, is that 90% of the electricity it uses is lost to heat.
  2. Consumers want to save money on energy consumption. Here’s what the EPA says on the subject: “Because lighting accounts for approximately 12% of the average household’s energy bill, more efficient options will help consumers save money on their utility bills.”

Those more efficient options include compact fluorescent lights (CFL), light emitting diode bulbs (LED), and halogen bulbs. Although energy efficient lights can be somewhat more expensive initially, they last longer and typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. That’s the word from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Based on figures from the EPA, consumers can also save money by using Energy Star-qualified LED bulbs, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

With its economical features and versatile uses in and around the house, there are a lot of benefits to be had from choosing the right lighting.

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