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Thursday, July 31, 2008

10 Things To Consider When Growing Vegetables Indoors

I'm starting to look into growing food indoors, since we don't have a very long growing season in Vancouver. Here are some of the points to consider that I've been reading about:

1) stock up on seeds while they're available (by mid summer, many stores no longer have seeds in stock, since most people have already started their gardens)

2) be aware of temperature and light requirements of your crop (leafy plants are happier with cool temps, whereas fruit bearing plants like tomatoes require a warmer environment)

3) never use garden soil indoors because of the pests and diseases it can contain

4) supplemental feeding will be required (because of the extra watering and misting you'll need to do to maintain humidity, the nutrients in the soil will become depleted more rapidly)

5) pollination, normally done by the bees, will have to be done manually

6) maintain humidity by misting the plants regularly

7) don't keep plants right beside a cold window

8) you can grow crops from kitchen scraps - i.e. garlic and onion are two examples (I've grown potato plants in my backyard garden from pieces of store bought potatoes that have "eyes")

9) never bring outdoor plants in, or you'll bring the aphids and other pests in as well

10) you can use reflective surfaces around plants (i.e. foil, white painted surfaces) to increase light exposure

Some sources:,7518,s1-5-19-1490,00.html

Sunday, July 20, 2008

10 Tips For Caring For Your Digital Camera

Much of this is common sense, but it was all a good refresher for me:

1. Avoid extreme temperatures: keep your camera out of excessive heat or cold

2. Keep your camera dry (cover with a plastic bag with a hole cut for the end of the lens when shooting in the rain - I've done this, and although it's a bit awkward, it works)

3. Don't discard the silica gel packet the camera came with - keep it in the camera case to combat condensation

4. Remove batteries for extended storage to prevent corrosion

5. Keep your camera in its case when not in use to protect against dust or impact

6. Keep your camera away from any form of magnets - they can damage the circuitry

7. Avoid contact with oily substances, and never use harsh abrasive cleaners on your camera

8. Always keep the lens cap on when you're not shooting. All it takes is one bump to cause a permanent scratch, and the fewer fingerprints you have to wipe off, the less exposure the lens has to scratchy cleaning products or cloths

9. Never use alcohol solutions or eyeglass cleaner on your lens - only use cleaner specifically meant for a camera lens

10. If your camera has gotten wet, remove the batteries and let air dry for 24 hours, then contact an authorized service centre if still necessary

One more:

11. Don't store your camera somewhere high where it can fall, or if you do, secure it to something so that it can't. This may sound silly, but it's the reason a friend of mine lost her Nikon to the repair shop for a few weeks. She left the camera on the kitchen counter, and when her son opened the cutlery drawer it got caught in the strap and knocked it to the floor. Oops.


Monday, July 14, 2008

10 Reasons To Floss

This is another "light a fire under my own you-know-what" post. After reading about the reasons listed below, I think I'm going to try and get back into the habit of daily flossing:

1. flossing prevents cavities from starting between teeth, where the toothbrush can't always clean
2. it prevents gingivitis (gum disease)
3. prevents against heart disease
4. prevents against periodontal disease (disease of the bones and structures supporting the teeth)
5. prevents halitosis
6. lengthens lifespan by increasing overall health. If teeth are not flossed, harmful bacteria can remain and eventually end up in the bloodstream, causing other problems:
7. stroke
8. diabetes
9. low birth weight babies preterm babies
10. bacterial pneumonia

There are more, but you get the idea. Our mouth is full of bacteria, and sometimes brushing and the presence of saliva aren't enough to keep it under control.

More sources:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

10 Ways To Boost Your Immune System

This is a well covered topic, but it's useful enough to bear repeating. Here are some ways to boost your immune system:

1) Proper nutrition: eat at least some raw fruits and vegetables daily

2) Fresh garlic, echinacea, vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics can all help

3) Cut back on refined sugar

4) Reduce consumption of alcohol

5) Get adequate sleep

6) Maintain a healthy weight

7) Hot foods such as chili peppers, onions, radishes can help as well (they contain mucolytics, which helps to liquefy mucus, easing cold symptoms and speeding recovery)

8) Exercise (this has many benefits, including stimulating the circulation of lymph fluid)

9) Drink enough water

10) Reduce caffeine intake

There's a lot of info on this topic, so here's a few more:

11) Add fresh lemon to your diet (it restores acid-alkali balance)

12) Don't over-clean your environment (exposure to mild germs keeps your immune system fit)

13) Don't smoke

14) Avoid antibiotics whenever possible

Some sources:

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