Weeds, weeds and more weeds! That’s how I used to view my lawn until I came across a few simple steps to help me along the way. I must be honest, when I first set about treating my lawn as described below, I didn’t hold out much hope. After all, I’d tried pretty much everything I could think of, and nothing seemed to work.

let that Blade of Grass Bloom!

You might find this first tip to a better lawn a little odd, I know I did. I mean surely having short grass promotes growth, and a stronger blade in general right? Wrong! It turns out that you should allow those blades to get their heads in the sun because that’s where they get the majority of their nutrition. So, when it comes to mowing your lawn it should always be done at the correct height. As a general rule of thumb during fall and early spring, the blades should be about 2 to 3” in length. This does change depending on the type of grass you have, but never go below 1.5”.

Finding the Right Lawnmower

There is a certain science in finding the right lawnmower, and I’m sure I still don’t have it knocked. The only thing I will say is it’s not worth just going on price, brand or how many bells and whistles it comes with. Of course, you should take into account the amount of noise a certain model will produce, especially if you live in a built-up area (you don’t want the neighbors shouting at you). You should also think about how thick your grass (or weeds) is right now. Different models of lawnmower are usually designed to deal with certain thicknesses. If you want to know more about choosing the right lawnmower, I suggest you take a look at best lawnmowers because they have tons of information.

Fertilizer “Shmertilizer”!

Yup, it’s true. If you’re anything like I was you’re always down at the local garden center buying that precious lawn fertilizer that professes to make your garden grow. What can I say, I’ve always been a sucker for the pictures of the perfect lawn on the packaging! It turns out that this stuff does very little for the grass – why? I hear you ask. Well, as I mentioned grass gets it’s “food” from sunlight – not fertilizer! Its worth knowing that when you pop this so-called “miracle” grow on your lawn, it’s promptly eaten by all the little bugs that live in the soil. By the time your grass gets to have a go, it’s not even food! All it does is allow the plant to create more cells for the purpose of photosynthesis (something it’s quite capable of doing with the aid of sunlight).

set the Clippings Free

We’re obsessed with leaving our lawns free of clippings these days. That’s why mowers with collection boxes are so popular, but by doing this you’re probably not doing your grass any favors. If you leave the clippings to rot back into the soil, you’ll be providing it with much needed nutrients which the grass can feed on. This is one tip I stick by religiously because it saves me time emptying the collection box, and I save on the dreaded manufactured fertilizer. Plus, I’m helping the environment. Do bear in mind though, that your clippings will only provide about a third of the amount of food your lawn needs. So, the odd bag of fertilizer around early fall and when the frost has just arrived isn’t bad idea.

set the Clippings Free

Lastly, make sure you have a sharp blade at all times when mowing. The last thing you need is for the grass to be ripped up from the soil by its roots. Oh, and don’t over water (a mistake many of us make). Just to give you an idea, most grasses only need between 1 to 1.5” of water each week. Having a water collector will help you decide if the skies have opened up enough. If they haven’t, you will need to add some but be careful not to overdo it. Follow the tips above, and I’ll bet your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood!

Convection OvenA convection oven offers faster and even cooking, it’s a great cooking appliance to produce juicier results with more nutritional value. This type of oven is almost the same as your regular oven, the only difference is that it comes with one specific feature, i.e. the built-in fan.

That fan can help circulate the hot air within the unit to achieve even cooking, and because of that it needs major adjustment to your cooking style. This is especially true with times and temperatures.
Thus, if you have recipes designed for conventional ovens, you must adjust some of its items so they can adapt to convection cooking.

How to adjust cooking style?

There are ways to turn your recipe for conventional ovens into something that can be prepared using a convection oven. Generally, you need to reduce its cooking temperature by 15 degrees Celsius or 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and you also need to reduce the recipe’s cooking time by 25%.

This means that if you want to bake, say cookies, and it calls for 375 degrees Fahrenheit temperature for 12 minutes, then you need to cook it under temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit in 9 to 10 minutes. Or you may reduce its temperature to 330 for 12 minutes.

To be sure, you need to refer to the conversions found in the owner’s manual of your convection oven.

Tips

It’s a good idea to check your meal 10 minutes before the cooking time is up. In this way, you can avoid having overcooked meal. You also need to read your owner’s manual that comes with the appliance to better understand how to cook food with this unit.

It takes time to get used to cooking your meals with this appliance. You will need to experiment a lot before you can discover the right temperature and time for a certain recipe.

How to cook or bake ham in a convection oven?

This will depend on the type of ham you’re cooking. Generally, baked ham that weighs 6 pounds can be cooked in 70 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Or you can lower the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the ham for 1 ½ hours.

Cooking meatloaf weighing 1.5 pounds with convection oven is the same as baking ham (refer above). The same temperature but the cooking time is different. You’ll need to reduce it to 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.

Installing a garbage disposal is one of the easiest ways to eliminate or reduce food waste in your kitchen, it can get rid of leftover potato peels and other types of food waste quickly and efficiently. This appliance will grind the food waste that you put in and the fine particles produced will be flushed out of the unit and go through your house's septic system.

Tips when installing garbage disposal

When you opt to install it on your own, you must have plumbing and mechanical skills. The time it takes for you to complete it could go from 1 hour to 2 hours. However, if you only need to replace your old unit, it’ll only take about 30 minutes to an hour.

The installation time may also depend on your drain line, so before you purchase a garbage disposal, make sure that the unit fits in your drainage system.

Since this appliance needs electricity, you need to have a power outlet under the sink. If you don’t have one, you must install one. But check with the local authority first. Some places don’t allow this unit to be installed because of a very limited sewer capacity.

Before installing it, make sure that you have read and understood the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re not confident about installing it by yourself, you should consider hiring a professional to the job for you. That way, problems can be prevented. If you decide to do the job, check this page at Down the Sink for a more elaborate explanation.

Taking care of your unit

Avoid running hot water into the unit when it’s in use. Before you switch it on, you have to run cold water into it. Running cold water into this appliance during and after operation is necessary.

Don’t put fibrous materials into your standard disposer as these materials require a premium unit to grind them. Keep in mind that standard garbage disposals can only handle regular amount of food waste, like peels of fruit and vegetables.

Freshen up your disposal using a cleaner or deodorizer, but you must only use the product recommended by your unit’s manufacturer.
Also avoid reaching into the unit when it’s in use. That is, if you don’t want your hands to get injured.

Anti-jamming

A garbage disposal is prone to jamming. If you don’t like that, you must choose a model that comes with an anti-jamming feature that creates a trouble-free operation. Some models have senses that can automatically reverse motor direction if there are pending food jams.

Water SoftenerA water softener system allows you and your family to obtain clean and soft water, but make sure that you choose a manufacturer that can assign you a professional who can work with you to identify the right unit for your house.

How this system works?

The water that comes from your faucet is usually hard water, it contains calcium and magnesium. When you install this system, the hard water will pass through the system’s softening resin bed. As it passes through, the hard ions will be replaced with soft ones. As a result, the water that goes through your faucet will only be softened water.

The resin bed of this system can be filled with hardness ions, so it must be cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning it up is easy as you only need to apply some salt to restore the resin’s clean state.

Do you really need it?

A softer water prolongs the life of your water heater. Keep in mind that water heater can accumulate scales over time when there are hard ions that pass through, however, when you have water softener at home, scale build-up can be prevented.

Not only that, it also protects your plumbing system in your house as it can get rid of sediments. Because the scale buildup is significantly reduced, tubs and showers become easier to clean. Then, the clothes that you wash using softened water will also become softer and cleaner. Your dishes will also have less spotting.

What water softener to purchase?

There are several brands that offer this type of system, so make sure that you make a comparison shopping before making an actual purchase. It’s a great idea to obtain a unit that can be customized according to your needs. In this way, you’ll have softer water as you desired.

You can also get a water softener that comes with a smart technology. With it, it can learn how your family water usage patterns are so you don’t need to adjust it every now and then to fulfil your needs. Then, opt for a unit that can monitor each time you need a salt refill.