Feb 28, 14
My approach to watering plants is similar to wrapping Christmas presents: there’s no such thing as too much. When my mom would send me out to water her garden, each plant looked as if it had had its own torrential downpour. There were massive puddles, and the water would take a good 30 minutes to soak into the soil. I mean, it’s summertime in Texas; surely these things need three gallons of water each, right? Not quite. In fact, over-watering your plants can be as detrimental as under-watering.
So how do you keep from over-watering your plants? We’ll throw some tips your way to maintain that perfect balance of moisture.
Too Much = Certain Death
While “certain death” may seem a bit extreme, it isn’t far from the truth when it comes to watering your plants. So what actually happens when your plants have too much water?
- The soil becomes saturated
- Saturated soil prevents the plant from drawing much-needed oxygen
- The roots begin to decay, also referred to as “root rot”
- Your plant is more susceptible to fungal diseases
Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Phytophthora are the culprits behind root rot. While root rot is difficult to reverse once it has set in, Hygrozyme, an enzyme that breaks down old root mass and stimulates new root growth, can certainly help. Not only does Hygrozyme eat dead roots that provide protein for your plants, it also helps prevent disease and helps plants absorb more nutrients from the soil.
Time to Water?
Interestingly enough, the signs of over-watering your plants resemble the signs of a lack of water. When there is too much water, the leaves will wilt and droop, turn yellow, and will fall off the plant. So how do you know when your plants need water? Well, there are a few ways.
The Finger Test
The simplest way to find out if your plants need water is to put your finger in the soil at the base of the plant, up to your second knuckle. If there’s soil stuck to your finger, your plants don’t need water. However, if your finger is relatively clean, it’s time to water.
The Dig Test
A little more complicated and requiring a tad more effort is the dig test. The point here is to determine how long it takes the water to soak the soil. Before you start watering, check the moisture level about 6 to 12 inches below the surface. Start watering and take note of the time. After a few minutes (depending on the flow rate), shut the water off and check the moisture level again. If the soil is saturated, then you’ll know just how long to water your plants without overdoing it.
Luster Leaf LL01880 Rapitest
If you’re a little leery about sticking your fingers in soil, try a moisture meter. Often not requiring batteries, these simple, yet effective tools and test the moisture levels of your soil, taking the guesswork out of watering.
Watering Tips for Potted Plants
That Catnip you have growing in your kitchen windowsill can also fall victim to over-watering. Below are some tips to practice with your potted plants.
- Make sure to moisten the entire root ball when watering. This can be tricky because as the root ball dries, it pulls away from the edges, and as it’s moistened, it expands. In order to accomplish this, fill the space between the surface of the soil and the rim of the pot with water. Let the water soak in, and repeat. This should sufficiently moisten the root ball.
- Make sure the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot drains properly. If not, this will cause the saturation mentioned earlier. If necessary, expand the holes with a knife.
- If you have containers underneath your pots to catch the water, empty those out when the plant is done draining. Otherwise, the root ball will absorb too much water from the container and the roots will drown.
- Forget to water your plant for a few days? No worries. It’s ok to submerge your potted plants in water for a bit. Use the kitchen sink, or a bucket. Leave them in there for an hour or so, remove them, and then let the excess water drain.
*A good rule of thumb is to give your plants an inch of supplemental water whenever nature isn’t feeling too generous with the rain.
Were there any watering tips we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below or holler at us on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!
Feb 27, 14
As the developments in LED technology continue to grow, so does the need for affordable, energy-efficient lighting. Wanting to provide LED lighting that is both high-quality and low-cost, Internet retailer,1000Bulbs.com is now offering 4-foot retrofit T8 LED bulbs at low prices from trusted brands including ETi, Green Creative, PlusRite, Precision Lighting, and SunSun Lighting.
While many consumers expect LED lamps to cost upwards of $30, 1000Bulbs.com is offering T8 LED bulbs for low prices ranging from $19.99 to $29.99. With rated lifetimes of up to 50,000 hours, these T8 LED tubes will drastically cut maintenance costs by eliminating the need for frequent lamp replacement. In addition to being long-lasting, the T8 LED tubes will maintain their quality of light. Customers can expect to see no more than 25 percent lumen degradation over the course of the rated lifetime of a T8 LED sold by 1000Bulbs.com.
T8 LED Bulbs
Not only will these T8 LED tubes significantly reduce maintenance costs, they will also help save money on energy bills. While a T8 fluorescent tube consumes about 32 watts of energy, T8 LED tubes cut that amount by almost half, using only 18 watts of energy. Not only do LEDs operate on less energy, they also produce half the heat for the same amount of light as fluorescent equivalents. As light fixtures produce less heat, home and business owners will be spending less on the heating and air-conditioning portion of their energy bill.
The minimal energy consumption, low cost, and long rated life of these T8 LEDs means that consumers will quickly see a return on their investment. According to the 1000Bulbs.com Energy Savings Calculator, customers can expect to make up the cost of an 18-watt T8 LED lamp in approximately 28 months and save up to $77 in maintenance and energy costs over the life of the lamp.
Available in color temperatures ranging from warm white (3000K) to stark white (5000K), these T8 LEDs are able to provide the same color temperatures as fluorescent T8 lamps. LED T8 tubes cannot be directly installed and do not require a ballast in order to operate. This eliminates ballast compatibility issues as well as maintenance costs that come from running off direct line voltage. In the near future, 1000Bulbs.com will offer 2-foot and 4-foot T8 LED tubes that can be directly installed, providing quicker installation without the need for a licensed electrician.
About 1000Bulbs.com: 1000Bulbs.com is an award-winning Internet-based lighting retailer. The company offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry.
Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus or LinkedIn!
Feb 26, 14
As technologically-advanced inhabitants of modern earth, it’s easy for us to take light for granted. However, light and the way we use it can profoundly affect our lives in ways that often go unseen, affecting our perceptions of ourselves, our surroundings, works of art, and our outlooks. Below are some insightful observations regarding the nature of light by some of the world’s most accredited actors, writers, and designers.
Lighting has an important effect on aesthetics. Proper lighting can greatly enhance (or greatly detract) from a person’s physical appearance or the atmosphere of a room.
“There is one fundamental fact about lighting: Where there is no light, there is no beauty.”
– Billy Baldwin, Actor
“I find great lighting and a squint of the eyes makes anyone look better.”
– Cat Deeley, Actress/Singer/Model
“I love lamps. I can’t stand overhead lighting. I have to have everything on a dimmer.”
– Kate Spade, Designer
Lighting can also affect our moods and senses of well-being. The right amount of lighting can make an ordinary place seem almost magical.
“The quality of the light around us has a profound effect on our well-being that should not be underestimated.”
– Thomas Fuchs, Designer
“A room is like a stage. If you see it without lighting, it can be the coldest place in the world.”
– Paul Lynde, Actor/Comedian
“I’m a firm believer that lighting affects mood, and twinkly lights on strings bring something magical to occasions ranging from concerts to weddings, though I’m fond of using them as year-round home decor. There’s a reason why they’re sometimes called fairy lights. When the night is right, there aren’t any strings at all.”
– Erin Morgenstern, Writer
We also underestimate the effect that lighting has on the way we feel about our favorite movies. Consider the contrast between the bright, colorful beauty of the ocean in Finding Nemo to the dimly lit, dreary settings of the latter (and more sinister) Harry Potter movies.
“Lighting is vital. Without that they’ve got nothing. And, of course, color and texture. When they showed me a little piece of Finding Nemo, I said this has got to be the biggest hit.”
– Joe Grant, Writer
“So much of movie acting is in the lighting, and in loving your characters. I try to know them, and with that intimacy comes love. And now, I love Voldemort.”
– Ralph Fiennes, Actor
Most importantly, lighting is all about perception. That’s why we often use lighting metaphors to describe a positive or negative outlook on life.
“Freedom is just Chaos with better lighting.”
– Alan Dean Foster, Writer
“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting.”
– Susan Cain, Writer
How do you feel about lighting? How does it affect, shape, or inspire you? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Pinterest.
Feb 24, 14
Do you ever find yourself looking for ways to give your space a modern lighting makeover? We’ve got the perfect solution: LED tape light. Due to its thin profile, LED tape light is a discrete lighting option for unexpected and hard-to-reach areas that could never be lit otherwise. Adding to its versatility, tape light comes in a variety of colors, is dimmable, and can be trimmed to fit any space. So, where are some good places to install it? Below are some areas where LED tape light will add a modern element to your overall lighting scheme.
If you have stairs in your home, you know how jarring it can be to turn on a bright stairway light in the middle of the night just so you don’t trip and fall. Instead of flipping the switch to turn on that downstairs foyer or hallway light, use LED tape light for more subtle illumination that won’t completely take you out of your drowsy, just-woke-up state. Place warm white tape light underneath the upper edges of each stair (pictured to the right) or on the underside of the railing for hidden down lighting. To give the tape light a clean look, you can use LED tape light extrusions to conceal the tape light itself.
There are certain places in your home that are dark and hard to reach, such as above and under kitchen cabinets and in ceiling coves. LED tape light can turn these seemingly useless spaces into the perfect place for sleek accent lighting. Installed above your cabinets, tape light will provide stylish up lighting and give new life to boring wall space. High-output LED tape light installed in a ceiling cove can pull double-duty as both overhead and accent lighting in your living room.
Display Cabinets and Shelving
LED tape light is also a great option for lighting enclosed areas such as display cabinets, shelving units, and closets. The picture to the left shows a perfect example of how tape light can transform a few shelves on your wall into an eye-catching feature among your home’s décor. Because LED tape light uses very little energy and has very low heat output, you won’t have to worry about it being hazardous inside a closed display cabinet or in a small closet shelf. Plus, your tape light can be hardwired to a wall switch using an LED driver, so that it works independently from your overhead lighting.
One of the more fun options for LED tape light is using it to outline an object with light or provide backlighting. We’ve mentioned in previous blog posts how tape light is great for backlighting televisions because your eyes are less likely to strain in the dark. Well, the same could be said about other electronic devices like your computer. Even though regular tape light would work, USB LED tape light is a much more convenient option. Just like standard tape light, this USB tape comes in many different lengths and colors, including RGB color-changing. All you have to do is plug in the cable into your computer’s USB port. Backlighting isn’t just for electronic devices either – it can be used behind mirrors as well to give them a unique halo effect.
For those of you who really want to make a contemporary statement with LED tape light, you can use it to create glowing silhouettes around or under unexpected pieces of furniture such as a bathroom vanity (pictured to the right), the underside of a bar or kitchen counter top, a pool table, or even underneath your bed frame. Installing tape light underneath furniture creates a warm glow that provides modern, low-profile accent lighting. Much like stairway lighting, LED tape light used as furniture accents gives you a way to achieve low lighting during the night with an added element of safety.
What are some creative ways that you’ve used LED tape light? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Pinterest.