Archives for September 2016

A Guide to Growing your Own Vegetables

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There are few things in life more rewarding than growing your own vegetables. Watching them grow and tending to them is a fantastic project, but the real treat is using them in a meal. Being self-sustainable and eating your own vegetables is something that everybody should try, as they taste much better knowing that they are the product of your hard work. In addition to this, growing your own vegetables is a fantastic way of reducing your grocery bill each week.

If you are considering growing your own vegetables for the upcoming season, this is what you need to know.

What to Grow

There are all kinds of different vegetables that you could grow, but if you are just starting out then you should opt for the easiest to grow. This includes salad greens, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, radishes, green beans and zucchini. If you are looking for more of a challenge and want to grow something a little more interesting and alternative, try your hand at corn on the cob, watermelons, pumpkins and chillies.

Choosing the Right Ground

Where you grow your vegetables will have an enormous impact on the success of the project. By picking the sunniest spot in your garden, it will help you to grow full and disease resistant vegetables and improve the flavour. For vegetables that need shade, you can achieve this with the use of netting or a wattle fence.

What you Need

In order for your vegetables to grow, you will need a few tools and pieces of equipment. It is recommended that you set up a fence to keep out any animals, whilst a polytunnel is an excellent way to protect plants from the wind and cold. For the highest quality, you should shop at specialist such as Premier Polytunnels. In addition to this, you will also need a watering can, a trowel, a stirrup hoe and a garden rake.

Caring for your Vegetables

How you care for your vegetables will depend on what you are growing, with there being plenty of insightful guides online to help you with this. Regardless of what you are growing, you will need to have patience, determination and set aside time each day to tend to the plot of land whether this is getting rid of weeds, cleaning the area or watering the plants.

Once the vegetables begin to grow it will soon become a fun and enjoyable task, but the real reward comes at the end when you can add vegetables that you have grown yourself to a meal.

Tips for Boosting Your Garden Security

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Regardless of where you live, it is always important to take steps to protect your property from outside threats. This is particularly true if you have a large garden, which is why this should be the first line of defence. All homeowners should have a well-fitted and high-quality garden gate, as this will massively improve the safety of both your home and garden.

Keeping Intruders Out

In addition to keeping intruders away from your property, a high-quality garden gate can also keep animals out. This is particularly valuable if you are growing your own vegetables, as this can be a huge problem for many gardeners. With the knowledge that your garden is fully protected from outsiders, it will also give you complete peace of mind. This is especially important when you are away from the house and in the evenings.

Types of Gate

There are many different types of gate to consider, with many even being well designed so that they improve the look and feel of your backyard. Swing gates are the most popular choice, but you could also consider a sliding gate which can look fantastic and also boost the security.

Perhaps most important is the lock or bolt, as this is what will stop intruders. There are many different options, including a touch pad, ornamental lock, dropbolt, magnetic lock, hook gate locks and latch locks. Security spikes are also worthwhile to stop intruders from climbing over the top (you must have a sign to warn people if you have these). For all of this gate hardware, you should visit hardware component stores like Barrier Components.

The Perimeter

These are the key factors to consider when choosing a garden gate. Ideally, the gate should stand around1.2 metres (4 foot) and you will also need a 1.8 metre (6 foot) wall or fence at the back of your house to keep out intruders. You could also consider growing prickly plants or a hedge around the perimeter.

Other Factors

This should ensure that your garden is safe and secure from outside threat. However, you should also never leave items lying around in the garden, including barbeques, furniture, tools and lawnmowers. These should be kept in a locked shed or alternatively covered up. Finally, you can deter burglars by installing lights near windows that are triggered by movement.

Keeping your garden safe and secure will also protect your home. The best way to achieve this is through installing a well-fitted and high-quality gate, whilst these other steps will also ensure that no outsiders will gain access to your backyard.

4 Events You Can Successfully Host in a Gastro Pub

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First coined in 1991, the term ‘gastropub’ commonly referred to a pub and restaurant combo that specialised in a number of traditional British dishes – often served hot. More recently, Gastropubs are considered to be on the higher end of the scale than a simple restaurant with a bar, with many Gastropubs serving their own home cooking alongside a good selection of alcoholic beverages. Gastropubs are a great way of meeting together for a catch-up, a meal and a drink and have been used for a wide range of different events across the country.

Whether you prefer to drink on a night out or you like dinner and a drink, gastropubs provide a great atmosphere for all. Gastropubs also make a good alternative to a restaurant if you want to hire your local establishment for an evening. With many gastropubs taking reservations, we’ll take a look at four examples of events where you can hire out a gastropub.

  1. Corporate Dinner

From welcoming a new member of the team to celebrating a milestone within the business, or just as an annual gathering, businesses have corporate dinners for a wide range of reasons. While at the end of the day you are there to talk business, it is designed to create a more relaxed atmosphere where colleagues and employers can chat a little more openly. It is also a good way of getting to know your colleagues more and works efficiently as a team building exercise for smaller businesses.

In welcoming a new colleague, it is a good way of introducing a new member of the team into the business in an informal setting and also encourages discussion among older colleagues. Businesses that celebrate milestone achievements through corporate dinners will often choose a gastropub as their venue as there will normally be one close by and they take group reservations. It can be done in the evening or during the working day as a special treat for all employees.

  1. Wedding Hire

Why not hire out the whole gastropub as the venue for a wedding? With reasonably priced local food available on the menu and an established bar and lounge area, a gastropub is one of the best places to relax and catch up with friends after a wedding reception. Weddings can be stressful, particularly for the bride and groom as well as close friends, so being able to relax in a traditional and friendly setting is a must.

  1. Christmas Meal

Perhaps you don’t have the time to cook a full Christmas meal on your own this year, or perhaps this year is the time for you to be catching up with friends instead of spending time with the family. Whatever your personal reasons for making reservations for a Christmas meal, a gastropub is a great way of getting a good meal for a good price and with the promise of alcohol right alongside it.

  1. Quiz Night/Charity Night

Not every event has to be a formal dinner. Sometimes a charity night or a local club quiz night can be made that much more interesting by hosting it at a gastropub. People can pay a set amount for their meal with a certain percentage of the money going to a designated charity, or they can eat and drink while trying to answer quiz questions. It makes for a good fun evening with some cracking food to go with it.

Some gastropubs will have their own theme, but many cook and sell local produce and local specialities, making them ideal for any social gathering or event. Some gastropubs will also be able to provide a specific menu for guests with different dietary requirements or allergies, but it is important that you let the staff know beforehand. Not every pub has gluten free or lactose-free recipes available to hand, so always check before you make a reservation.

Article provided by Sara Bryant, an independent content writer working alongside a selection of companies including The William Bray, who were consulted over this post.

Invest in a Safe, Weather-Resistant Trampoline for your Backyard

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If you are looking to install a safe, fun, and weather-resistant trampoline for your kids to enjoy this summer, you should be aware that not all products out there are created equally. The traditional models you may remember playing on as a child put thousands of children in the hospital every year. You may even remember some of those injuries yourself, from slipping through nets and hitting the ground to landing on a thin foam mat between you and a hard metal frame.

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One manufacturer today has developed a frame that is actually located beneath the jumping surface, using composite rods to support the trampoline. One of the most dangerous features of a traditional spring trampoline is the exposed metal ring that encircles the jumping surface. This frame can be the cause of serious injury if a jumper falls onto it head- or bottom-first. New outdoor equipment developed by the manufacturer Springfree Trampoline employs flexible materials to create a support structure that eliminates many common injuries. The hidden frame lies beneath the jumping surface and holds the canvas up from below so that there is no risk of collision. Remember, the best Springfree Trampoline is resistant to UV rays, weatherproof, and has been thoroughly tested and approved — as well as lauded by awards bodies around the world. Try looking for The US Family Choice Award, a sign of a safety-conscious product, before making a purchase.

This new design works by completely re-engineering the trampoline, eliminating the horizontal springs that support the jumping surface. These heavy, metal coils can easily become exposed by sliding mats and they are capable of pinching or crushing extremities. Besides completely eliminating these coils, this design is supplemented by SoftEdge mat that helps prevent jumpers from injuring themselves or others while they play. Their unique safety net, called the FlexiNet, is another feature that improves upon the safety of older trampoline designs. The FlexiNet guides jumpers to fall inwards instead of outwards, protecting them without any risk of falling through or toppling over. It completely surrounds the exterior of the trampoline and it is supported by a set of strong rods that bend outward on impact. The net captures wayward jumpers, preventing them from any injury and guides them safely back.

Trampolines are a fun addition to any backyard but don’t be surprised when the day comes that your child doesn’t seem quite as eager to go out and jump around as they used to. That’s where the tgoma game system comes in – a tablet-based game system which incorporates a variety of games that use the jumper’s movement (through sensory input technology) to play. The app offers games like Fruitant and Alien Stomp for children and teen players, and tgomaFit for teens and adults, although these are only three of many available games.

Thanks to Springfree’s truly inspired series of safer trampolines, you and your family can now enjoy those summer months without worrying about anyone getting hurt. Maybe you’ll even decide to sneak a few jumps in too when no one is looking; the FlexiNet stretches far enough to safely catch a full-grown adult. There’s no reason trampolines can’t be fun for parents too.

Driveways Made To Last

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Natural Granite Gives A Sophisticated Look Yet Is Incredibly Hard Wearing

Granite is the most-hard wearing, but also the most expensive material for a driveway. But reclaimed materials can bring granite into anyone’s budget.

Most of us can see the attraction of granite for construction of a driveway, path or patio. The material is remarkably durable, but this means it is heavy and expensive. Many people think that the cost of purchasing it and the skills and equipment needed to properly construct it make it an impossible dream.

However, an additional benefit of granite’s almost indestructible composition is that reclaimed granite setts are readily available and make an ideal material for driveways, paths and patios.

These are a stylish alternative to block paving and unlike man made products, they actually improve with age. Thus, your new granite driveway will instantly blend in to a mature property and will not stick out like a tagged-on afterthought.

What is Granite?

Granite is a very hard, heavy igneous rock. It is composed of a minimum 20% quartz, with a “grainy” texture, from which the rock derives its name. Its strength and durability have always made it a popular construction material for roads, paths and driveways, but traditionally, these same qualities that make it popular also make it expensive to work with. Its weight and strength mean that transporting and cutting it to given shapes and sizes can be awkward, laborious and time-consuming.

In addition, granite naturally occurs in massive formations, requiring difficult and specialist cutting process to extract it.

All of these factors drive up the cost of buying granite “new,” although for some, its long-term sustainability helps to justify the initial cost. Even acid rain, which can cause permanent damage to other driveway materials, has a negligible impact on granite.

Cobbles and setts

The original “cobble” was a rounded river-washed stone, which later gave way to the larger and more regular rectangular shaped “‘sett.”’

The use of cobbles dates back to Roman times, and they can still be seen in many of Britain’s historic towns and cities.

Reclaimed granite setts have a beautiful natural look, yet retain their almost indestructible durability. They are still used in the streets and alleyways of many historic parts of the UK to this day.

A Granite Driveway

It is hard to imagine a more imposing and spectacular entrance than a driveway of mature reclaimed granite.

Cobbles and setts can also transform open expanses into something really special as pathways, edging and patio materials. In addition to giving a stylish look, they are of course incredibly robust and can be enjoyed by generations to come.

The sizes of reclaimed setts can vary, but as with all natural materials, this lack of uniformity is what can make them special. Variations in the depths can be corrected within the bedding process to ensure a safe and level surface for wheeled or foot traffic. And with some artistic inspiration, variations in length can lead to a superb look, lending charm and character to your driveway, path or patio.

With all of this coming at a fraction of the cost of modern block paving, it is hard to imagine how people could consider anything else!