Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Popcorn machines

We’ve finally got our little home theatre done. Now we can stay home instead of going out to the movies. Our home theatre has all the latest equipments like overhead projector, surround sound and reclining seats. All we need are popcorn machines so we can have all the pop corns we want while we watch our favourite movies. No more lining up in a queue at the cinemas or putting up with noisy kids in the theatres.

Growing apples

Apples are not hard to grow – if your climate is suited to them – and modern apple breeders have made things even easier for you by producing slimline ‘Ballerina’ apples and new grafted dwarf types for smaller spaces.

Cool climates suit apples, and for some varieties (such as the famous Cox’s Orange Pippin), the cooler the better, especially here in Australia, where even our coldest winters are mild by European standards. So, anywhere in the mountains, Tassie, Victoria or frosty inland areas are suitable. Cooler, elevated and inland areas of Sydney and the NSW South Coast are worth a try, but don’t expect marvellous crops every year.

Name tags

Our little circle of friends has grown from a measly five ten years ago to about fifty these days. Every month we would have a gathering to share our experiences and to just chill out. It’s getting to a point where we’re getting hard remembering everybody’s names. We may have to get name tags for everyone! A simple name written on a sticky tape that’s stuck on your left chest may be all we need for our next meeting.

Growing feverfew

Feverfew is a lovely perennial herb that has white, daisy-like flowers with yellow centers and soft, light green serrated leaves. Plants grow from 9 to 24 inches high and produce single or double flowers for most of the summer and early fall. Feverfew is useful for planting between stones or pavers on walkways and paths. In addition to its attractive appearance, it possesses many significant medicinal properties.

Feverfew will grow in almost any soil. It should be started from seeds sown directly in the ground in spring or from cuttings taken in the summer. Plans will self-sow and flowers should be removed as needed to focus energy on leaf production. Feverfew is considered a short-lived perennial, so plant in succession to maintain a supply of new plants. Let a few seed heads remain in the garden in early fall and you may get new seedlings the following spring. Feverfew also grows well in containers.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Auto tracker

Back in the days when gps or auto tracker wasn’t around we had to rely on our street directories to get around. It was good because we learn to navigate around the streets and we built up a sense of directions in all of us old timer drivers.

Sadly it’s a totally different story nowadays. With gps or auto tracker in almost every car the young drivers wouldn’t know how to navigate their way around town should something happen to their trackers. They are too reliable on them for their own good. It’s a bit like driving auto or manual cars; the other generations had to learn to drive with manual cars so by the time we got our licenses we were driving manual cars of all sizes. Nowadays the younger generation gets to choose what car they drive in; manual or the more popular auto transmission cars. So now we’ve created a generation of young drivers who claim to be able to drive as long as the car is not manual transmission!

So getting back to the auto tracker, I admit I do have one in my car but I only need it when I’m in unfamiliar territories like a new city or in the outer suburbs. Most of the time I rely on my experience or the old trusty street directories.

Growing cosmos

Cosmos are adaptable to almost any kind of soil, but they do need moisture to germinate. In dry, hot climates, Shepherd recommends placing a shade cloth over the bed until the seedlings begin to sprout. This happens roughly five to 10 days after planting.

Cosmos blooms continuously until the first frost. With its distinguished forms and vibrant colors, it's no wonder why so many gardeners are over the moon for cosmos, even those with small yards.

While compact Cosmos sulphureus are great for containers, Cosmos bipinnatus reaches six feet or higher with a tendency to topple over. Fortunately, Shepherd has a way to keep them from drooping. She has created a low-maintenance cosmos support system from garden netting attached to wood stakes. These stakes secure to notched metal posts that stretch over the entire bed. As the plants grow, the netting practically disappears.

Briggs and stratton

Okay I must admit I’m no handyman when it comes to mechanical repairs. So when my 10 year old briggs and stratton lawn mower broke down the other week I had to take it down to the local repair shop. I though it was going to cost me a bomb but I was quite surprised that it was quite reasonable. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to charge me too much because then it’d be cheaper for me to go buy a new one. After the repair it was like a brand new mower that is going to last me another 10 years or more.

Growing beetroots

Beetroot should not be sowed until after the last frost. Sowing can be brought forward a few weeks if you use a poly tunnel or cloche. Soak your beetroot seeds for a few hours before sowing. Each seed cluster actually contains one to four seeds. You can sow the seeds in seedling pots and then transplant the seedlings into the final growing position but some find higher success rates if sowing directly into the soil.

If sowing in rows then leave around 30cm between rows. Sow the seeds at around 1 inch depth and cover with soil. Sow seed clusters around 5cm apart.

After sowing make sure the soil remains damp until the seeds have germinated and you can see the emerging seedlings.

Beetroot can also be grown in containers. Fill a pot 30cm in diameter with potting compost and sow about 6 seed clusters at 2.5cm depth. Thin the seed cluster seedlings as described above.

Car insurance

So after that horrific quote from my insurance company I’ve decided to ditch them and went hunting for a better deal for my car insurance. There are many insurers out there in the market and all wanting your business so you can afford to shop around and get the best deal available. Plus because I’ve been a good driver all my driving life coupled with no claimants I should be able to get a real steal.

Growing watermelon

Growing watermelons requires lots of space, lots of sun, lots of water and lots of nutrients. Watermelons do not cope well with extreme heat or the humid, soggy conditions of our wet season/summer. Fungal diseases and bugs will wipe them out in no time. Watermelons are grown from seed. You may be tempted to use seed out of a melon you bought, but don't waste your time. It is almost guaranteed to be a hybrid. Watermelon seed germinates easily and quickly, within a few days. Watermelon plants outgrow the seedling stage very quickly, and they don't like transplanting. You don't save much time and you end up with a weaker plant.

Insurance quote

I received my car insurance quote last week. I nearly fell off my seat! I’ve been a loyal customer with my insurance company for as long as I can remember and instead of rewarding me they slug me with a gigantic premium! Whatever happens to loyalty nowadays? If this is how they want to play the game then they better prepare for me to away to a better deal and believe you me, there are plenty out there.

Growing turnips

Turnip prefer full sun with a soil pH of 6.5. Turnip are moderate feeders; require a deep, loose cultivated soil with medium water retention. Apply generously, compost and well rotted manure prior to planting. Turnips benefit from regular feedings with a compost tea or fertilizer with higher amounts of phosphorous and potassium for good root development. Boron is a key trace element for the prevention of Brown Heart (water core). (Boron may also be applied separately as a spray 4-6 weeks after planting).

Sow turnip thinly ¼-½” deep. Space young turnip plants to 4-6” apart in rows 24-30” apart. Sow turnip seed as early as the soil can be worked to mature crop for early market. For the main storage crop, plant turnips in late June or early July, so that roots can develop in the warmer weather. Late plantings are less susceptible to turnip root maggot damage.

Barcode scanner

It started out as a small humble stall selling home grown vegetables. That was 10 years ago but look at it now; its 2 shops joined together to form one huge fruits and veggies store! I’m talking about the little stall by the supermarket where I used to go shopping in my old neighbourhood. I’ve moved away from the area but last week I went down there and I couldn’t believe my eyes; the owner has turned the old stall into a giant store with all the whiz bangs like POS machines with barcode scanner. I am most impressed, what would it become in another 10 years?

Growing swedes

Swedes prefer a medium soil which contains lots of nutrients although they will be happy growing in most soil types. They are unfortunately prone to club root so make sure the soil is not too acidic. Acid soils encourage club root. The ideal pH for swedes is somewhere between 7.0 and 7.4. If the soil is short of nutrients then add some well-rotted manure a month or so prior to sowing seed. If manure is not available then add a long lasting fertiliser such as bonemeal or similar.

Swedes don't like being waterlogged. If your soil is not free draining then either dig in some well-rotted compost or grow them on a ridge so that the water drains away.

Wireless routers

I hate cables, back in the days when everything is connected via cables I have messy cables running all around the house making the place a messy sight and dangerous. Thank goodness for Wi-Fi! Now I can have a cable free home and still be able to network all my PCs and media players together, thanks to wireless routers. I wonder what’s in store for us in the near future?

Growing radishes

The radish is essentially a cool-season crop. It grows best in the spring and autumn and will tolerate light winter frosts. The high temperatures of summer cause the plant to develop small tops, and roots rapidly become pithy and strongly pungent after reaching maturity. For this reason producing quality radishes during midsummer can be difficult.

Radishes do best on the lighter, sandy, well-drained soils. This allows for even root development and ease of washing after harvest. Liberal applications of animal manure are normally used for growing radishes. Apply a good quality fowl manure at the rate of 15 t/ha (1.5 kg/m2) two to three weeks before planting. Prior to sowing, broadcast 100 g/m2 of 5:5:5 N:P:K fertiliser. This ensures that the young seedlings have a ready supply of major elements immediately after germination. This is important for radishes, as they have such a short growing period.

Radishes will tolerate slightly acid soil, but the pH should not be allowed to fall below 5.5. To avoid using excessive fertiliser, apply fertiliser according to a soil analysis.

Beads for jewelry making

During our trip to Kuching, Malaysia a few years back we found ourselves in a maze of old shops that sell all sorts of colourful stuff like those beads for jewelry making which Terese found really delightful. Might I add she couldn’t get enough of them and have to settle for less than what she really wanted because we wouldn’t be able to take them all back with us. As for me I just enjoyed strolling along the old shops, it was quite an eye opener.

Growing onions

In general, plant onions in autumn – early spring 10-15 cm apart in well drained soil. Plant in a different place each year, preferably on a 5 year rotation around the garden or the patch. Onions like a limed soil, so if you haven’t limed the area in the last year or so, sprinkle around some dolomite or garden lime. If you sow onions from seed they should come up within 2-3 weeks. Seed germinates readily between 2 and 27 deg C. Be careful not to overwater!

It’s best to not fertilise onions at planting, rather to plant them in soil that was fertilised for the last vegie crop. Too much manure or blood and bone in the soil can encourage maggots and rot, not very yummy! It’s ok to add some wood ash or potash though.

If this doesn’t happen, too much fertiliser can result in loose and soft bulbs which won’t keep for very long. Salad onions, like white Spanish, are grown to eat fresh rather than store so a bit more fertiliser is OK for them.

Growing garden cress

Garden Cress seeds will germinate in as soon as 2 days and as far out as 6, in order you’ll be able to see they develop quickly. Backyard cress likes the soil’s neutral pH to be as close to impartial (7.zero) as possible. Check your soil with a home testing package, out there from any garden or home middle for just a couple of dollars. Follow the directions that come with the kit to lift or decrease your soil’s pH degree as needed.

It likes full solar so pick a spot that receives probably the most sunlight and if you have an indoor herb backyard, make sure you pick a window sill that receives daylight very first thing in the morning. As for watering, garden cress doesn’t need much. Just preserve the soil moist with moderate watering and you may be ok.

Adidas response

I had a sneak peek into my son’s letter to Santa the other day. He wants some fancy shoes, something calls addidas response? I’m an old dad so what do I know about fancy shoes right? What ever happens to plain old runners or sneakers? Nowadays there are too many types of footwear it’s never easy to stay on top of them all. I hope Santa does!

Growing cabbages

Cabbages do best in a reasonably firm soil, so leave it for several months between digging and planting. Like all brassica varieties dig in plenty of well rotted manure or compost in the autumn - don't dig in the manure close to planting time. If the soil is acid then apply lime during the preparation, acid soil discourages growth and encourages that dreaded affliction of brassicas, club root... aim at pH 6.5 - 7.0.

Cover the bed with sifted mature compost if you have some - the bed may be small enough to purchase a bag or two from your garden centre, especially if you're just beginning your adventure in growing cabbage, you might not have the organic matter to compost.


Its that time of the year when I tend to let go a bit and go overboard with all the yummy food we serve during the festive season. Which is all good except by mid January I’ll be packing on a whole lot more weight than my ideal weight. That’s when my all reliable Lipofuze comes to rescue me, it never fails every year.

Growing chives

Chives will grow in almost all soils, the ideal one being well-dug with the addition of well-rotted compost or organic material. Work in a handful or two of bonemeal per square metre (yard). Chives are not greedy feeders, so it is not necessary to feed throughout the year if the soil has been prepared as described.

Full sun or partial shade suit them equally well, and although they are fairly tolerant of drought, don't plant them in very dry places. Chives are perennial evergreen plants, and keep their leaves in most winters. In colder winters, the leaves may die back completely, but don't despair - their roots are still alive and they will begin new growth next spring.

Urban clothes

I got a call from a friend who wanted my help in setting up her market stall on the weekends. She’ll be selling clothing mainly jeans, t-shirts and urban clothes. Mainly clothes she gets from factory seconds and she likes me to help her in the first couple of weeks. I’m happy to help, it’ll give me an excuse to get out there early each morning to meet new people and the fresh air will do me good.

Growing brussel sprouts

Brussels are a cool weather crop that grow best at around 60-65 deg F. They will grow well in temperatures up to 75 deg F. Warm temperatures will cause the sprouts to open up and lose their firmness. Warm weather also causes the flavour of the sprout to be more intense.

Brussel Sprouts have a shallow root system and so care must be taken not to damage the roots when maintaining the soil and weeds. A nitrogen fertiliser should be applied to the soil every 3 weeks through the growing season. Brussel Sprouts need a large amount of water but do not like standing water. Lighter soils will require more frequent waterings than heavier soils. Ensure to water the crop adequately during the growing season as the plants require water for growth and sprout development. Removing the growing tip of the plant about a month before the harvesting date will result in greater yields as the plant will divert energy from leaf growth into developing the Brussel Sprouts.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Custom laptops

When buying a desktop computer we can customize the configuration of the computer according to our budget and choice. A faster cpu here, more memory, better graphic card..the choices are endless. Pity there’s not the case when buying laptops because I’m yet to find custom laptops selling anywhere. You can probably have a choice of cpu, memory and hard disk space. Then you’re stuck with it because you won’t be able to change these components in the future.

Growing chillies

Chillies are grown in full sun, but in Adelaide the climate is very harsh, and the sun can be fierce. Growing them under trees, in the shade house and even in a glasshouse has proved to be successful. Chillies are shallow-rooted plants and when they are grown in a container their roots will remain warmer in winter than if they were grown in the ground. There are likely to be more failures through dieback and death of the plants in the ground than in pots, which have the other advantage of being able to be easily moved to another location if they are not happy in the one where they are growing. A 20 cm pot is adequate for growing most chilli plants. They are very hardy and even have the ability to recover from leaf drop as a result of drying out. They can be pruned back in winter and will re-shoot with fresh new growth. For economical use of space, it is possible to grow three different varieties in one larger 30 cm pot. Containers with a water-well in the bottom will only need to be watered about once a month.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Term life insurance rate

Some insurance are useless; they’re money wasters that don’t have any benefit for you. But there are some insurance that are a must for any family like term life insurance. We all think nothing bad will ever happen to us when we have all the good things in life but it doesn’t take much for our lives to turn and if it does we can rest easy that we have something to fall back on. So find the best term life insurance rate that suits your family and live your life to the fullest.

Growing blueberries

Growing blueberries of your own will give you one of the most delicious tasting fruits around and will be far superior to the commercially grown types. These have probably been picked too early, to arrive in the supermarkets hopefully almost ripe, but by then they have probably lost most of their vitamin C & E values for which they are noted. The fruit is also renowned for containing fructose, fiber, and antioxidants, which researchers say is a great health benefit. So with this in mind, why not grow your own.

Containers can be used very successfully for growing blueberries and this is a good option if you cannot provide the right type of soil in your garden beds. The Dwarf Northsky Blueberry is a great choice for container growing with an attractive compact mounding habit. Another option is using raised garden beds where again you can add the specific type of soil required for growing blueberries. Gurney’s Blueberry Food is made from plant and animal by-products and enhanced with minerals and natural trace elements to help maintain acid pH.

Mens ties

I have a few clients that I think I should get some Christmas presents for. Problem is I don’t know what to get them. The accountant said alcohol is out because I wouldn’t be able to claim them so maybe food hampers? Or mens ties for the guys and flowers for the ladies? This is a dilemma, I think they’d prefer alcohol but that’s going to be a problem.

Growing pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is not a culinary herb, but it is worth growing for several other reasons. Mainly, it is one of the best natural insect repellents, and it smells better than many commercial insect repellents. It is a durable plant which will survive periods of neglect.

Plant pennyroyal in a dedicated spot in the garden. Pennyroyal is an aggressive spreading herb which sends shoots out from its roots from which new plants pop up. It takes over its surrounding space, so plant in dedicated beds or grow it in pots. If growing in pots, choose at least an 8-inch pot. Grow pennyroyal in full sun or partial shade. Pennyroyal is adaptable to many light conditions, but does not thrive in full shade.