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How to Prepare Stripped Exterior Wood for Painting

One of the most essential measures in any exterior painting job is the preparation of this surface. Eliminating old dirt, debris and paint is vital for getting a top-notch finish. Once the outside wood surface is stripped, nevertheless, the preparations aren’t complete. There are still several steps required in preparing a stripped wood surface for painting. Although it isn’t a difficult job, it is one that demands patience and a little extra time to guarantee the wood will stay beautiful for several years to come.

Fill a bucket with a mix of one part bleach to 3 parts water.

Wipe the stripped timber with the bleach mix using a rag or nylon brush to remove any mould or mildew from the timber surface. Be sure to safeguard your hands by wearing gloves.

Rinse the wood thoroughly using a hose with a spray attachment and then let it dry.

Fill any surface holes or cracks with wood putty and let it dry for 30 minutes.

Sand the key surfaces of the timber with a power orbital sander in 3 phases. Start with coarse-grit sand paper, to eliminate leftover paint, divots, wood stain, splinters, rough spots and/or rot. Then sand it again with medium-grit sand paper as an intermediate phase, and deliver the wood to a smooth finish by sanding with fine-grit sand newspaper.

Sand the corners, edges, and other awkward and difficult to attain spaces with an oscillating tool. Use exactly the very same phases with the tool’s coarse (60-grit), medium (120-grit) and nice (240-grit) sand paper)

Apply an oil-based primer into the entire stripped wood surface utilizing a natural-bristle paintbrush.

Allow the primer to dry as recommended on the package directions. Usually primer should cure overnight.

Paint the wood surface as desired.

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How Long Does Potting Soil Last?

Potting soil provides plants the necessary nutrients, structure and moisture retention for appropriate growth. Age and improper storage Expand potting soil. The useful life of potting soil depends on whether it is currently being used. Unused potting soil lasts approximately six months before it degrades in quality, while used potting soil should be replaced every year or two.

Potting Soil Storage

Potting soil stores best when kept in a lidded container away from heat sources and high humidity. Close the surface of this original bag and fasten it, then put it at a galvanized can or plastic bin. The storage container should be kept out of this rain and direct sun to limit bacterial growth in the soil.

Potting Soil Rejuvenation

Potting soil can take on another life if thoroughly cleaned and amended after use. Pick through the soil to remove any roots or other plant debris. Run water through the soil to leach out the extra salts, then combine it with fresh compost in a 1-to-1 ratio. A light dusting of gypsum and lime as well as roughly 1 tablespoon of general purpose fertilizer should then be added to each 1 gallon of soil.

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Perennials That Bloom That the First Year

Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus), that develops in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, might be a popular perennial flower, but just like most other perennials, the crops do not reliably bloom the first year following planting from seed. If you do not have the patience to wait three or two years on your perennials to bloom but do not wish to spend a lot of money on 2- or plants, then choose perennials that bloom the first year.

Bulbs, Corms and Rhizomes

Bulbs, corms and rhizomes are storage units capable of producing an whole plant which blooms. Bulbs like tulips (Tulipia), daffodils (Narcissus) and Asiatic lilies (Lilium spp. Oriental types) need a chilling period — a definite number of hours between 32 degrees and 45 degrees Fahrenheit — to blossom. If you reside in mild-winter regions like USDA zones 8 although 10, chill the bulbs in the fridge for 10 to 16 weeks. Other flowers, such as gladiolus (Gladiolus), are not sturdy under USDA zone 7 and need to be raised for winter. Day lilies (Hemerocallis), USDA zones 3 through 10, do not need any particular treatment to benefit you with flower after flower.

Perennials Planted From Seed That Bloom in Spring

Verbascum (Mullein) has clusters of pink flowers on spikes flourishing in spring. The blossom blooms again in autumn and goes dormant. It is a short-lived perennial, residing about three years in USDA zones 5 through 9. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are perennials in USDA zones 9 through 11 but do not withstand heat. They won’t endure in a coastal site that is cooler but could through a summer in a interior place. But they do with abandon reseed themselves. The plants grow from 12 inches high for its dwarf types to kinds that are 36 inches high for its rocket. Coreopis (Coreopsis) has yellow, daisylike flowers that bloom profusely in late spring in USDA zones 4 through 9.

Perennials Planted From Seed That Bloom in Summer

Blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) does well in USDA zones 3 through 8. The flower is bright yellow, with darker gold rings on the petals or red, including a striped blanket. Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) blooms bright reddish in USDA zones 3 through 10. Verbena (Verbena) spreads with flowers held over the plant in purple, pink and red. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9.

Drought-Tolerant Plants

Black-eyed Susan (Rudebekia) thrives in USDA zones 4 through 9. It is often found in the Midwest growing rampant. It is drought- and heat-tolerant, with petals around a center. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has horizontal heads of many smaller flowers in pink, yellow, red or white. The bush is gray-green with finely cut leaves. It develops in USDA zones 3. Salvia (Salvia x superba) “Violet Queen,” with its dark blue spikes of flowers, grows in USDA zones 4 through 9.

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How can the Purple Coneflower Pollinate?

Purple coneflower plants (Echinacea purpurea) create purple daisylike blooms on 3 1/2-foot stems. The petals of these impressive flowers fold backward, making a dark cone of deep orange at the center. When grown in sunlight for six to eight hours a day in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0 purple, coneflowers bloom from midsummer until fall. These hardy perennials thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Pollination occurs when flying insects visit the flowers and carry the pollen to new flowers.

Cross-Pollination

Purple coneflowers contain both male and female components. The male section of the bloom, the stamen, creates pollen, while the female portion, the pistil, is a receptor to the pollen. For seeds to form, the coneflower has to be pollinated via cross-pollination — which means the pollen from 1 flower has to be pulled on the pistil of a flower on a different plant.

Insects

Long-tongued mammals and mammals are the principal pollinators for your purple coneflower. As they visit the flower to sip nectar, the sticky pollen collects on their bodies and legs. This begins the first step in cross-pollination.

Pollination

Insects that have seen the coneflower soon visit the flowers on neighboring coneflower plants. When this happens the pollen on their bodies and legs is broken to the new flower. Since the female portion of the flower, the pistil, is tacky, the pollen now sticks into the pistil.

Seed Development

The pollinated flower now begins the process of creating seeds so that it can continue its life cycle. If the pollen is from exactly the same variety of coneflower, the resulting seeds will create flowers identical to the parent plants. If you’re growing several varieties of coneflowers, nevertheless, the seeds produced may create new plants distinct from the parent plants.

Considerations

If you want to save the seeds from your coneflowers for replanting the following year, do not plant more than 1 variety of coneflower in the same location. If you simply want to enjoy your coneflowers and depart the seeds for the birds, then it does not matter if other varieties are increased near your coneflowers. Cross-pollination between varieties does not impact the overall look of the blooms on your own coneflower plants.

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Molds to Make Yard Fountains

Water fountains add beauty and motion to your lawn or garden. While pre-made fountains are available for purchase, you could also utilize concrete molds to throw your fountain in the home. There are several different mold types available and depending on the form of fountain you want, you may be able to produce your own mould yourself. All molds should allow room for your pump and water heater to ensure appropriate fountain work.

Fountain Molds

Fountain molds permit you to cast your fountains from concrete in various sizes, shapes and fountain styles. Molds typically come in two bits, though more bits might be used for particularly elaborate heaters, to make sure that no details are damaged while removing the mould. Some molds feature intricate designs on their internal surface, creating fountain pieces using a significant amount of detail. Molds typically call for a spray-on or liquid release agent to keep the concrete from sticking to them, but family goods such as cooking spray or margarine could be used if necessary.

Mold Materials

There are several different materials that are used to make fountain moulds. Commercial molds can be made from metal, various forms of plastic, rubber or other materials. Homemade molds may include some of these very same materials and may also be made from styrofoam, extruded foam insulation, sheet metal and even wood or heavy cardboard. Different materials affect the water content of the concrete in various ways, resulting in important gaps in concrete drying period between moulds that absorb moisture and moulds that are water-resistant. Irrespective of the mould material used, care ought to be taken to fill the mould completely and to tap or shake it to remove any air bubbles that can cause holes or surface voids in the finished product.

Sand Molding

It’s likely to make a copy of an current fountain using a technique known as sandcasting or mud molding. The existing fountain bits are pressed to damp sand and carefully removed, leaving an impression in the mud that matches the size, shape and basic design of the existing bits. Wet concrete is then added to the belief and permitted to set until dry, recreating the original layout. The new concrete slice is then removed from the sand. Plastic wrap can be placed on the mud before the impression was designed to make a smoother concrete layer, though this might increase drying period.

Assembling a Fountain

Even single-piece fountains produced from moulds require some assembly to install the pump and any other hardware used by the fountain. Larger flats typically require the assembly of several bits and might need mortar or alternative materials to hold the individual pieces together. Fountains have to be constructed in the bottom up, together with the fountain piping and pump put in place early. Once constructed, the mortar must have sufficient time to dry prior to filling the fountain and also begin the pump, to stop the water out of weakening the fountain’s joints.

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Removing a Vanity With Pipes in the ground

Bathroom vanities may be plumbed in 2 ways: The plumbing for the water and waste might be found from the wall behind the vanity and come through the back, or it might be found from the ground and come through the base of the cabinet. While it may seem more difficult to get rid of a vanity with the plumbing coming up in the underside, it actually detaches quite similarly to a vanity plumbed from the back. Both need detaching the pipes that hold the tap and sink set up.

Shut off the water to the bathroom. Depending on the magnitude of the holes cut at the base of the old vanity, you might have to take the valves away from the pipes to remove the vanity. Do not rely on shutting off the water beneath the sink, since this could still lead to water flowing up through the ground.

Disconnect the “U”-shaped part of the waste pipe where it spreads to the sink. Use a basin wrench to turn the connection counterclockwise until it comes loose. Place a bucket or bowl beneath the pipe and then disconnect the end of the “U” that leads down to the base of the vanity. This bend is full of water; drain it to the bucket as you take it outside.

Disconnect the water supply lines that lead to the tap in the pipes coming up through the base of the vanity. Loosen the nuts that hold them in position by means of a basin wrench and twist them until they are free.

Examine the base of the vanity. Have a look at the magnitude of the holes cut at the vanity to adapt the waste pipe and the water supply lines. If the holes are big enough to accommodate the pipes and the valves, then no action is needed. If the holes are too small to accommodate the valves, then use the basin wrench to detach the valves. Place a plumbing cap above each of the supply lines to keep debris out of the pipes as you work.

Detach the vanity top in the walls about it by running a utility knife around the perimeter to decrease the sealer holding it in place. Detach the vanity top in the vanity itself by running the knife in the link between the top and the cabinet, until the shirt is free. Lift it in the vanity.

Look carefully at the back of the vanity where it meets the wall. It might have been screwed to the wall at the top back, beneath the vanity top. Unscrew the vanity in the wall and get an assistant to help you lift the vanity straight up until it’s off the pipes, then transfer it away from the wall.

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The way to Prune a Lenten Rose

Undemanding, simple care Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) is among the few perennials recognized to bloom cheerily through the dead of the winter. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, Lenten rose can endure harsh conditions in zone 3 with decent snow cover. As this plant remains evergreen through the year, rough weather leaves leaf tattered and unsightly from spring. You may enjoy its beauty more should you remove leaf that obstructs your view of the beautiful flowers and vibrant fresh greenery that appear in winter.

Use clean, sharp shears to prune old, ratty leaf from this Lenten rose plant in later winter and early spring, from late January through April. As bloom spikes emerge in the middle of this plant, older fronds tend to droop unattractively outward. Cut all of the tough, leathery aged vegetation back to young emerging growth at ground level to replenish the beautiful plant. This will expose the fresh young fronds and shy developing flowers. Lenten roses dislike overcrowding. Judicious pruning relieves the condition and helps prevent spring pests and diseases.

Clip Lenten rose blooms freely just as they begin to open to accent and revel in fresh indoor winter arrangements during the season. These beauties may last as long as fourteen days since cut flowers.

Deadhead Lenten climbed frequently during the flowering period, which lasts until May in some areas. Clip the blossom stalks back to ground level when flowers fade along with the seed pods within them swell and become evident. This will maintain your plant looking tidy and stop it from generously seeding the area.

Prune out unattractive, damaged or tattered fronds because they might occur during the year. Snip back stray or too long stems to maintain Lenten rose looking clean.

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How to Grow Chayote as a Houseplant

Chayote (Sechium edule) is a tender perennial climber often grown as an annual. The plant creates 3- to 8-inch-long edible fruit. The fruit is green to yellow-green and contains a massive seed surrounded by meaty flesh. Outdoors the plant is hardy only to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 7 days, but it is possible to grow the plant inside a 5-gallon container.

Plant the whole chayote fruit in a 5-gallon, 24-inch-deep container which contains a moist soil mix of equal parts peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. Make sure the fruit is buried 4 to 6 inches deep and slanted with sprouted end down and the stem finish level with the soil. Place only 1 plant; when grown outdoors, these plants need 10 feet between them.

Place the chayote container in an area with full sun, which indoors would be an area within 2 feet of a southern- or south-facing window or a windowsill that receives ample sunlight. Place the plant container in a light or white room if possible, as this reflects the sunlight. Chayote plants need full sunlight for best fruit production. You can tell if the plant is getting too much or too little sunlight by detecting the plant growth. Spindly or pale green foliage is a sign of not enough sunlight, and scorched or burnt leaves is a sign or too much direct light.

Water chayote plants when the soil feels dry. Use your finger to feel that the soil. If the soil does not feel moist, it is time to water. Chayote plants need regular water, so never enable the soil to dry out. To raise the humidity for this tropical plant, then place the pot on a bed of moist marbles. Feed the chayote plant utilizing a liquid fertilizer or compost tea every fourteen days.

Provide a trellis to support the chayote plant because it rises. The plant is a climber, so put a trellis or other support in the container after putting the chayote.

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How to Plant Bare Root Strawberries in Hanging Baskets

When you have limited space, a desire to get a beautiful hanging plant or a love for strawberries, then some hanging basket of strawberries may be for you. Inexpensive, bare root strawberries planted in hanging baskets will likely create green foliage, dainty white flowers and ruby red fruit. The health of the plant will improve as a result of the increased air circulation and the elimination of ground pests. The hanging basket you choose should complement your landscaping, have good drainage and be at least 12 inches in diameter

Place the hanging basket in front of you on a level surface. Pour the potting mix into the basket lining until the ground is 1/2 inch below the rim.

Dig three to four evenly spaced holes on the surface of the ground, 6 inches deep. The guideline is three to four plants each 12 inches, so if your planter is larger, you can plant over four.

Pour 6 inches of water to a small container. Place the bottom of the package the strawberries came in to the container and let it soak for 15 minutes.

Eliminate the package from the container and then wrap your hand around the middle. Remove the packaging material and separate the main package into individual strawberry plants.

Trim the origins of the strawberries to 6 inches using a pair of gardening shears. When the roots are shorter than 6 inches, then you don’t need to trim them.

Pick up one strawberry plant, then spread its roots out slightly and place the plant to the middle of the very first hole before the crown of the plant is even with the surface of the dirt. The crown of the plant is the point where the root system meets the stems, leaves and runners.

Gently transfer the displaced soil around the plant. Push the soil down to the edges until the crust remains upright. Repeat till you’ve planted all the strawberries.

Water the ground till it is slightly moist. Move the basket into a shaded place for a few days before moving it to its permanent place.

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How to Refinish Hardwood Floors With Wax

Hardwood floors are exposed to tear and wear from foot traffic through the last few years and require some form of protective coating to help the color and wood stay in good shape. While chemical sealers are generally more common, there are organic alternatives like wax which offer the same level of safety. When the time comes to refinish your hardwood flooring, look at a wax finish instead of a compound sealer for a greater level of sustainability.

Removal of Old Finishes

The very first step to refinishing a floor is that the removal of the old end. When working against a compound finish, like polyurethane, a large disc sander is the best option to sand off the top layer of finish. An 80 to 100 grit pad does the trick. If the floor has an existing wax finish, there are a number of chemical agents available to help strip the wax from the top of the surface. You do not need a sander to remove an existing wax finish. Instead, follow manufacturer guidelines for removal and application, which usually involve a mop, rags and some elbow grease.

To Stain or Not to Stain

Once the original finish was taken away, you have a choice: to restain the floor as-is, or to sand it back to the original wood color and restain in another color. This doesn’t have anything to do with the structural integrity of the floor. Rather, this is purely a visual component that’s based on individual preference. If the ground cutting is in good shape and has just faded slightly through the years, look at applying a new coat of stain to bring new life to the floor. Otherwise, sanding it back to the wood beneath the stain layer is the sole option to change the color.

Floor Preparation

If you choose to refinish the floor in a very different color, the flooring has to be sanded. The first 80 to 100 grit pad used to sand off the top coat of compound finish also functions to remove the upper layer of stain from wood. Once you arrive at the color of the wood beneath, the flooring has to be polished to prep it for a new stain. Progressively finer grits of sandpaper achieve the smoothed surface you desire. Typically, just a couple of additional moves with finer grits on the sanding frame are needed, but if you would like a greater shine to your flooring, smooth it down with additional. These finer grits do not remove much of the wood surface, they only smooth and polish instead of sanding down through. After finished, use your stain as desired to get the look you desire.

Wax Application

Wax application is a multistep process, as one layer of wax doesn’t supply a decent coating for the floor. Manufacturer guidelines vary for particular application procedures, but the rule of thumb is that you use the wax in thin layers, which harden as the wax dries. For optimum results, use back and forth strokes at an angle to the joints of the hardwood planking. This better suits the joints between the wood with wax, which also helps dampen sounds sometimes caused by walking creaking planks. When you are finished, look at putting a buffing pad on the sander and buffing the floor to achieve a greater level of wax and wax.

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