Thursday, 27 March 2014

Encourage Gardening for Kids

Partner with nature to work magic with your fingers. Gardening is one outdoor activity that always springs a lot of surprises as it is fun and educational. You don’t have to achieve horticultural perfection every time you garden. Just enjoy it as a hobby and encourage kids to explore the priceless bounty of nature’s treasure chest. You can see the anticipation of children in gardening as they pull out vegetables from an edible garden; bite a carrot or see them create colorful bouquets of their handpicked flowers from the garden bed. Whether it’s discovering a new germinating seed, watering plants or making mud, there is a magnetic attraction between children and the garden.

There are fond memories associated with gardening as many people relate to invaluable time spent with their parents or grandparents who encouraged them to become a friend of the soil. They were the ones who inculcated the habit of playing outdoors and explore nature around them. Planting and play go hand in hand for children of all ages. Even a toddler can be taught proper garden etiquette, such as where to walk in the garden, water plants and pick produce. They also learn the consequences of good hard labor especially when they do weeding, cultivating and watering. Apart from that, they also learn to be patient and wait for nature to take its own course.

You need to keep the children area of your garden plain and simple. It should be of a manageable size, about 6 by 10 feet. Begin planting seeds of a few varieties and assign tasks to your children depending on their age and interests. They also learn that the path to better nutrition and health lies just outside their front door. This helps them respect the produce as they realize that the fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables come from a natural source out of their own labor. Gardening also offers fresh air and exercise, something that you can’t get indoors. It also promotes therapeutic effects and improves gross motor skills.

Gardening brings about positive experiences and memories in a child’s mind without much effort. It sustains their curiosity and interest to explore things that they are not familiar with. For example, kids learn that earthworms are not harmful creatures but are actually friends for their garden, as they fertilize, aerate and enrich the soil with nutrients. They also learn the importance of planting and cultivating organic produce which are free from toxic chemicals. All who partake in gardening would have had individual experiences that taught them a lot about nature. They also learn from their mistakes and celebrate wonder all around their own little gardening world. A seed in garden promises of what is to come in the future, which is of course the biggest lesson to be learnt by the young and old alike.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Top Houseplants to Grow Indoors

Did you know that houseplants improve the quality of air we breathe indoors? A recent NASA research found that plants absorb the air pollutants to the soil and purify the air we breathe. There are different varieties of plants that are capable of removing certain volatile chemicals and substances from the air. They create an aesthetically pleasing living environment and also provide clean, fresh air to breathe. There is also 50-60 percent less airborne bacteria and molds found in rooms that have plants. The origin of having houseplants comes from the Tropical Rainforests, which have evolved over millions of years ago. During the process of evolution, these plants culture microbes in and around their roots— this helps them degrade complex organic structures found in rainforest debris and leaves.

People tend to suffer from chronic respiratory infections because of the presence of polluted indoor air. That is because the air found indoors is approximately ten times more polluted than the air outside. According to the EPA, indoor air is ranked among the top 5 owing to health hazards.  The most common type of indoor pollutants found indoors is formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, chloroform, acetone, ammonia, trichloroethylene, etc. All these substances are found in everyday household items like paints, adhesives, varnishes, nail polish removers, cosmetics, paper towels, cleaning products, gas stoves, carpets, drapes, upholstery and so on. So if you have a houseplant, you live in a pollution free zone! Here are a few plants and their uses for you to pick the right one for your space.

Lavender – A naturally de-stressing plant that produces natural oil to help in calming and relaxing your mind. If you have problems sleeping at night, you can put a pot of lavender on your bedside table which will help give you a comfortable sleep. The natural oil emitted by this plant’s linalyl esters creates a wonderful, soothing smell.

Geranium – A joyful and happy home is what every family desires. This plant with tiny flowers of warm, deep colors create a sense of joy for the people around. They aid in keeping our senses happy and alive.

Rosemary – This plant has medicinal properties useful for healing minor ailments of the body like fungi infections, muscle pains and digestive problems. What’s more, it is used as a cooking herb to flavor various types of dishes like gravies, roasts, soups and stews.

Orchids – This plant is a natural air-purifier that cleans up the air present inside the home. The plants come with different colors which relax the mind and are also used as flower centerpieces in living and dining areas to be admired by all.

Hydrangeas – This plant emits a scent that soothes the senses and brings a soft, calming effect to the mind. They are simply irresistible owing to their adorable flowers which exemplify and highlight their simplicity and lightness.