Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tips to care for indoor plants in the cold winter
Even common houseplants need a little extra help when the temperature outside is chilly. Learn three common problems and how to avoid them.
When the days are short and snow covers the ground, growing plants indoors allow us to be surrounded by cheerful greenery.
But cold winter weather poses issues even for indoor plants. The three most common houseplant care problems are:
• Incorrect watering
• Cold drafts 
• Insect infestation.

Learn a few strategies to help keep these disturbances at bay.
How to water plants in winter:
You may find that you need to water indoor plants more frequently when the weather is extremely cold. When the furnace comes on more frequently, indoor houseplants can dry out rapidly. Watch your plants for signs of wilting. Check the soil every four days by sticking your finger in about an inch.
Water plants deeply, allowing water to run into the drainage saucers. Don't let those saucers remain filled with water longer than a day, though; this can lead to root rot. A plastic turkey baster is the perfect tool for removing excess water from plant saucers.
Turning yellow: If your indoor plants turn yellow, don’t automatically assume it’s due to lack of water. This also can be a sign of overwatering. Check the soil before you reach for the watering can. 
Indoor houseplants: drafts and dormancy
Dodging drafts
Keep your houseplants away from hot and cold drafts. This can be difficult in winter, because plants need the light from windows, and cold seeps through glass. In addition, heating vents are usually below the panes. 
Keeping indoor plants away from the cold glass, and placing them to one side of heating vents, will help create stable temperatures.
Don’t feed the plants 
Remember that most houseplants aren't actively growing during the winter months. Shorter days signal the dormant period for your indoor plant. Withhold fertilizer from the majority of plants until February. 
Chill out
Lower temperatures reinforce winter dormancy. An air temperature between 60 and 70 degrees is ideal for indoor houseplants.
Insects and indoor plant care
Even in winter, your houseplants can attract insects, which may include:
Scale insects: They resemble tiny tan dots, and cluster on stems and the veins of leaves.
Whiteflies: When plants are shaken, these tiny insects flutter off. 
Mealybugs: These invaders resemble little tufts of cotton.
Aphids: This pest forms green, red or black clusters on new growth. 
Plants infested with any of these pests often are sticky. Another common pest:
Fungus gnats: These are the small, black "fruit flies" that drive most people absolutely crazy. However, gnats in houseplants do minimal damage. To control them, you can add a pesticide containing spinosad to the can when watering, and put yellow sticky cards (also known as whitefly traps) around the plants to catch the gnats.
Treat all of these with repeated applications of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil, used according to directions.

By following these general guidelines and giving your houseplants some ongoing attention in the winter, you can enjoy indoor greenery all season. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Minimize idling
Don't let your car idle for more than 30 seconds. Beyond wasting fuel, excessive idling strains cylinders, spark plugs, exhaust systems, and engines, which work best in motion -- not in neutral. The best way to warm up the car? Drive it. If your area regularly drops below 20 degrees, consider installing a block heater, which warms essential components without wasting fuel. It can cost a few hundred dollars, but you'll save gas and reduce emissions by up to 60 percent. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

How to make a natural coffee air freshener
Gather supplies:
coffee beans or grounds (the grounds have a stronger scent)
2 socks
spoon 
elastic band

Open up one of the socks. Stuff the other sock down inside the first. You can stick your hand inside to smooth them out. Now open the top and spoon in the coffee beans/grounds. Once you have put in the desired amount, tie it off with the elastic band. Cut of the top of the sock. Now you can take any sort of ribbon or decoration and tie it around the elastic band. Then set it on top of an air vent and wait for the wonderful aroma of fresh coffee to fill the room! 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Telecommute
See if you can work out an arrangement with your employer that you work from home for some portion of the week. Not only will you save money and gasoline, and you get to work in your pajamas! 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Recycle glass
Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. If it isn't recycled it can take a million years to decompose.