How Land Is Used In The UK

The UK is known throughout the world as a country with vast expanses of natural countryside and rural pastimes. There are around 60 million acres of land across Britain, which traditionally has been owned by a very small percentage of the population.

In more recent years, however, investors have begun to see land as more of an investment opportunity. As the need for new homes increases and people regularly seek out new outdoors leisure activities, land becomes more of a financial asset.

Owners can receive a very high return on investment if they have a desirable piece of land, particularly if the land can be developed upon with planning permission. Here are some of the main ways in which land is used in the UK today:

Farming and Agriculture 

While traditional British farming has struggled over the past decade, a number of new trends are emerging that could see farmers looking to buy more land in the future.

Many farm owners are showing an interest in expanding their farms to offer other services to the public such as horse riding and camping. There is also an increase in the amount of specialist farms that need new land to be developed upon – ostrich and llama farms are sprouting up across the UK.

Leisure and Sports

There are many hobbies that are perfect for the outdoors. Horse riding, walking and cycling are all popular outdoor pursuits, while more adventurous activities such as archery or quad biking are becoming increasingly in demand.

Wooded areas are more frequently being bought for paintballing, which is now one of the most popular alternative activities for people celebrating birthdays or stag parties.

A lot of land in the UK is also used as caravan and camping sites. Locations near the sea or other tourist spots have a particularly high volume of campsites and often make a lot of money during the summer.

Commercial 

One of the most common uses for land in the UK is for the development of new homes or offices. Land for this purpose can be very expensive to buy, but because of the ever-increasing need for new houses, owning building land can be incredibly profitable.

Some investors choose to look for land for sale that does not currently have planning permission on it. This land may be relatively useless for development now, but land investors are presuming that the demand in future years will mean that local councils will be forced to make the land available for development. Because of the much lower price of this land, owners of this land could find themselves with enormous returns on investment.

As well as homes and business space, a lot of land in the UK is currently being bought for the use of eco-friendly energy supply such as wind farms. This type of land will also become more and more desirable as time passes due to the ever increasing pressure on the public, governments and pretty much everyone else to become a more environmentally friendly nation.

Growing Fresh Air Inside Your Home

If you’ve been thinking about “going green” you are not alone. People all over the world are working toward doing their part to help the environment. The good news is that there are many benefits that come with being green and eco-friendly. One is cleaner air, which is very important.

We’re going to take a look at just how important clean air is in your home as well as give you two different ways you can filter the air – technology and nature. By the time you’re done reading, you should have a very good idea of ways you can clean up the air you breathe.

Is Clean Air in Your Home Important?

You can go a while without food or water if needed, but one thing your life depends on at all times is oxygen in the air. The problem in the modern world is that a lot of pollutants exist in the air we breathe. If you have a newer, air tight home this may be a bigger problem than you think.

Even older homes have problems with air quality. The problem is that when you breathe in these irritants you’re not getting enough oxygen as you could or should with clean, fresh air. As you might imagine, this can cause quite a few problems.

Using Technology to Clean Your Air

If you don’t want the hassle and maintenance of living plants, many different filtration systems exist that will help you keep the air fresher in your home. Here are some of the options you’re going to have.

  • Air Filters – These are typically smaller units that use some type of filter to clean the air around it. HEPA filters are recommended to remove more pollutants from the air as it is cycled through the machine.
  • Air Purifiers – These are usually larger machines that may use more than a single filter or mechanism to purify the air. Because of their size, they are generally able to filter and freshen more air. Again, HEPA filters are recommended.

Whether you go small or large is going to depend on the size of the room or house you’re trying to purify. Cost is another factor, but many companies offer sales and discounts where you can pick up high-quality equipment at really reasonable prices. Having a professional install your air purifier is a good idea in some cases.

Air Filtration with Natural Plants

If you have pets or toddlers in your home, you should check each of these plants for the toxicity to animals or children before you add them to the mix. With that aside, here are some great ideas for plants that will help filter the air in your home.

  • Areca Palm produces quite a bit of oxygen during the day. Each person in your household should have four plants about shoulder height.
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, on the other hand, produces oxygen during the night, which makes it a great choice for the bedroom. You should have around seven waist high plants for each person breathing the air in your home.
  • Money Plant removes formaldehyde and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from the air you breathe in your home – or at the office.

The three plants listed above are not the only ones that will help filter your air, but they are the most common ones people tend to use. Remember that the size of the plant is important if you want to make sure you’re actually filtering and clearing the air of pollutants.

A few other plants you might consider are the purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternataa), english ivy (Hedera Helix), the asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus) and the purple heart plant (Tradescantia pallida).

Grow Fresh Air in Your Home?

Whether you go with technology or nature, in the modern world you want to seriously consider putting some system in place so that you can breathe the freshest air possible when you’re in your home. Thanks to science and modern technology, a lot of different options are available for filtering the air in your house – or any other enclosed space where you spend a lot of time.

If you’re interested in growing fresh air in your home, now is one of the best times to do something. No matter which way you lean – natural or mechanical – making sure you have a way to filter the air in your house is more important now than ever before. The sooner you act, the quicker you’ll be able to reap the benefits of breathing fresh air.

Could Urban Farming Save the Environment?

Many people think so and they are having a good go at it too!

What is urban farming?  Urban farming is simply an area of urban land which is suitable to house animals or grow vegetation. Mostly the vegetation is grown in hydroponics unless the urban farmers change the soil themselves every few weeks, non-hydroponic urban farming is becoming very popular especially with people living in tower flats using their roofs as gardens.

The reason why urban farming is causing waves is that it’s changing the views on what organic farming is and what it could be in the future.

Bringing Added Purpose Back To The Cities

It means that places we thought had no real use and are at present eyesores could actually serve a purpose again with minimal financial investment. The only thing needed is humans, animals, plants and some attention.

But now the ball has got rolling and scientists are gaining interest. Their focus is aimed at micro-crops and they have found that these micro-crops hold more nutrients than their larger counterparts, but only take a fraction of the space needed.

Now some cities are devising ways in which well-structured flats could serve as urban farms instead of being knocked down, they are also introducing sheep and goat mowing instead of using the regular lawn mowers. This means that the council landscapers are able to tackle the more difficult jobs while the goats and sheep take care of the grass.

The goat and sheep poo will go into city compost along with some of the vegetation they won’t eat to serve as compost for the rooftop gardens. Maybe one day cities will be able to provide restaurants and shops with their produce right from the rooftops themselves but for now urban farming in the city is a small but utopic movement.

Chickens, The Farmers Of The Future

Let’s take our view out of the city and into the outskirts and towns. With more land comes more potential. So we know where the goats and sheep will be munching. On the sports field, village parks and maybe even some resident’s gardens, the possibilities are of many.

We haven’t talked about birds in the cities especially the beloved chicken, because as everyone knows they make a lot of noise and they do have a habit of taking flight for a few seconds and no one wants to be shovelling dead chickens from pavements. But in towns chickens can be used as efficient mini farmers themselves.

Chickens love to scratch and peck around, in some places there can be quite hard soil and for the older members of our population it can be frustrating when their bodies just can’t do the job. Why not hire chickens to dig it up for you? Sounds crazy but it has been put to task and in many urban farming plots in Australia the chickens have done just that and more.

A farmer creates temporary “chicken tunnels” which only allows chickens access to the ground that needs dug up. So while the chickens run about peck and dig the ground is getting evenly levelled and turned up. What’s best about it is the only thing it costs is time.

The fencing can be unlinked and neatly rolled back ready for use on the next garden.  So there you have it, chickens are no longer a dinner plate special but our own little brigade of diggers. Not only can they dig but they can be trained to target out slugs that are a natural bane of all farmers. This would eliminate a lot of need for slug pellets which are frequently consumed by other wildlife which can lead to the detriment of essential fauna.

Top 4 Common Misconceptions About Mulch

It’s supposed to be one of your best friends in the garden, so piling it on makes sense. If a little works well, why not spread it on thick? You naturally assume that it’s good for everything from the trees to the flower beds. Mulch plays a part in keeping your yard healthy, but it has its limits. Here are four common misconceptions about its importance to your landscape.

1. Mulch isn’t a fertilizer. The most common types of mulch are a mix of organic and inorganic materials. While a reasonable application in the garden discourages weeds, it’s not a substitute for the kind of nutrients your garden needs.

Its consistency makes it prone to packing when repeatedly applied over the course of a growing season, and this leads to fungal problems that can damage your plants. A mulch that’s completely organic is beneficial to your flower beds, but don’t expect it to do the same job as a good fertilizer.

2. Mulch doesn’t keep your plants warm. That blanket of material that you pack around the tree trunks and spread in the garden doesn’t have any insulating value. It does present a hazard to your plants because a thick layer traps moisture and creates a winter home for pests and disease.

The colder months are hard on your flower beds, but a heavy mulch application only increases the chance of root rot. A good rule of green thumb is to never let the mulch touch your plants or the base of trees. They need room to breathe, especially during the winter.

3. Mulch won’t guarantee that your garden retains moisture. Its density works against you when you assume that you’re adding a protective layer to your flower beds. The mulch looks nice and wet after regular watering or a good rain, but it keeps moisture from penetrating deep into the soil.

Your plants will develop new feeder roots that grow up into the wet layer above ground. Without a healthy underground system, flowers and shrubs loose the anchors that give them natural stability. Heavy mulching around trees actually sheds water away from their bases and leaves the soil directly under them dry.

4. Mulch isn’t meant to decorate the yard. Wood mulches have become popular because they come in a variety of colors that brighten up the landscape. However, this material is high in carbon, and it pulls nitrogen out of your soil.

Wood mulch lasts longer than its traditional cousin, but that just gives it more time to steal nutrients from your garden bed. However, this type of mulch is ideal for starving weeds around sidewalks and driveways. Enjoy the color, but use it sparingly unless you want to smother a problem plant.

Do a little groundwork before you decide on the best choices for your landscape. Talk with your nurseryman so you can play matchmaker between the right mulch and your garden. Most importantly, take it easy because a little mulch goes a long way towards beautiful gardens and healthy trees.

Tips for Growing Your First Vegetable Patch

If you want to give gardening a try for the first time, growing vegetables is a great way to ease yourself in. There are so many benefits to growing your own veg: you save money on food shopping and it is more environmentally friendly.

You’ll find that your food tastes far fresher than anything you’d buy in a supermarket and you can be assured that the foods have not been treated. If you’re a parent, you’ll find that your children have a new found appreciation for vegetables when they have grown them from a seed.

Where to grow your vegetables

First things first, you need to pick a patch in your garden for your vegetables to grow. All plants require sunshine so pick the sunniest spot in your garden. You’ll find that vegetables grown with plenty of sunshine are stronger and more resistant to disease.

What’s more, certain vegetables actually taste far nicer when grown in the sun. Carrots, chillies, onions and tomatoes have a sweeter taste when grown in the sun. When growing salad and strawberries, you may need a bit of shade which can be easily creating with some netting.

What type of soil is suitable to grow vegetables?

The soil in your garden is likely to be suitable for growing vegetables, unless it is extremely thin, shallow or full of stones. If your soil is too thin or full of stones, grow your vegetables in a flower pot or build a flower bed.

How do I keep pests away from my vegetable garden?

It is important to keep snails and slugs away from your vegetable plot. Keep your plot neat and free from weeds to prevent slugs and snails from hiding away. Keep the grass around your vegetable plot well-trimmed. If you have long grass next to your vegetable plot, slugs and snails could hide away and get onto your plot during the night.

To keep slugs and snails away, keep a path between your vegetable patch and the sides. This will leave slugs and snails exposed which encourages birds to pick them up. It also makes it easy for you to identify them and move them away.

How do I protect my vegetable garden from weeds?

To grow a successful vegetable garden, you need to keep your vegetable plot weed free. If you don’t maintain weeds, your vegetables will be swamped by weeds. As you’re planning on eating your crops, you don’t want to add too many chemicals so you can rip out all weeds and their roots as you go.

If you find weeds with extremely deep roots, keep that part of soil covered up with card and top it with 2 inches of compost. This stops weeds from re-growing without using chemicals.

Sometimes you will need to use chemicals, particularly if you’re limited on time. If you’re limited on time, look for a chemical containing systematic glyphosate because this will kill the weed without spoiling your crops in the future.

Tips for Growing Your First Garden

Starting your own garden is great a way to save money. It also provides you with delicious, homegrown fruits and vegetables that in most cases far exceed the grocery store produce. And growing your own garden is fun too. It gives you an excuse to spend time outdoors and in the sun. It’s also a lot easier than you may think. If you plan right, you can have fresh vegetables all year long!

The benefits of growing your own garden are plentiful, just like your crop of healthy, organic vegetables will be. Here are five easy tips to growing your own garden:

Decide what to grow

While planning your first garden, try to start small. A smaller garden is easier to control and manage. When you plant more than you need, you end up wasting food and feeling overwhelmed by your garden. Consider how much your family will eat and plant accordingly. It’s best to start small and to expand a little every year.

Size of your garden

The size of your garden will be determined by the amount of available space and the time you wish to commit to the project. For example, a 10 x 10-foot space will be suitable for a starter garden. It will produce a steady supply of fruits and vegetables for your whole family. Your garden will require a minimum of five hours of direct sunlight per day, so find a place with adequate sunlight.

Test soil before digging

Before you begin digging your garden, test the soil. Check the drainage by soaking the soil with a hose. Wait a day and then dig up a handful of soil. Squeeze the soil, if water streams out you will want to add compost or organic matter to improve the drainage. Next, loosen up the soil either by hand or till. Once the soil has loosened you can spread out compost and work it into the soil. When you’re done, rake the surface and water thoroughly. Then allow the bed to rest for five days before you plant.

Caring for your garden

Vegetables require a steady supply of moisture. About an inch of water per week will suffice. Keep in mind that raised beds drain faster and may require more frequent watering than non-raised. Also, try to weed your garden regularly because weeds tend to steal water and nutrients from your fruits and vegetables. Finally, consider applying a packaged vegetable fertilizer as recommended in the directions.

Harvesting time

After all your hard work, it’s time enjoy the fruits of your labor! Different vegetables can harvest in various stages. For example, leaf lettuce can be picked as young as you would like. The same goes for summer squash and cucumbers, which can be harvested when the fruit is only a few inches long. A good rule of thumb is that if it looks good enough to eat, it probably is. With most vegetables, the more you pick, the more the plant will produce in the future.

How to Eat in a Healthy and Affordable Way

There are many health advocates who recommend a variety of different foods that will promote your health such as sushi, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, and low-carb diets.

While these are considered to be healthier food options by many nutritionists they often come with a higher price tag. There are many ways to eat healthy on a budget and some basic ways to improve your diet in a healthy ad cost-conscious way will be the focus of this article.

Protein

Lean cuts of meat and fish are often expensive and a big drain on your budget. Try substituting these expensive cuts of meat and fish with alternatives at least a few times a week.

Alternatives such as beans and lentils provide the same amounts of protein as more expensive meats at a fraction of the cost. Beans and other types of legumes are considered to be healthier in some ways than many mats as they contain lots of fiber and do not have the cholesterol levels that many meets have.

Tofu is another meat substitute that has virtually no flavor but can absorb the flavor of the sauce that it is cooked in. Tofu contains a significant amount of protein and comes in many shapes and textures.

Some people avoid tofu because of its slimy consistency. But a trip to a Chinese market will reveal that there are many forms of tofu that you may not be familiar with including tofu skins and puffy tofu balls. These have varying textures that work well in many dishes.

Fruits and Vegetables

You may be aware of the importance of eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet but may be hesitant to do so regularly due to the cost involved with buying expensive produce.

The key to buying tasty and affordable produce involves knowing and buying what is in season. Purchasing berries out of season can be very expensive but doing so when they are in season yields lower food costs but also tastier fruit.

Better yet, you can grow your own vegetables and fruits to lower your costs and obtain healthier food options. Living in an apartment is no excuse. Container farming can be done on your windowsill and yield many healthy foods that can be added to your foods regularly to enhance both health and flavor.

If you are in a windowless apartment, then simply use a bean sprouter. A bean sprouter needs no light and just a little water. Bean sprouters are cheap and reusable and the seeds cost close to nothing. Further, they are quite healthy and can be added to any meal.

Avoiding the Expensive Solutions

While some expensive healthy foods are good treats from time to time such as fresh fish, others are overpriced gimmicks that should be avoided. Examples include organic foods that are grown in a similar manner to other fruits and vegetables, concentrated plant extracts, and vitamins. Be cognizant of the health benefits and costs of these items when purchasing.

Conclusion

Health and budget are not mutually exclusive terms. You can eat a healthy diet regularly on a limited budget. Try incorporating the aforementioned ideas or find your own solutions to eat healthier at more affordable prices.

Don’t Let Your Farm Sheds Get Blown Away

Agricultural farms belong to the list of major sources of sustenance for all humans. In Australia, farming is a significant economic sector. In the manufacturing of goods, especially food products, farms of different types are pivotal in primary production. To put it simply, we’ll starve without farms.

Proper maintenance of produce, grains, livestock and farm equipment is highly significant in maintaining constant and better flow of production. People who have been in the industry for long know the value of sustaining the functional capacity and endurance of farm equipment. To do so, they make sure to put up a strong and stable storage facility that can stand through time and harsh weathers.

Building and maintaining sturdy farm sheds is one structural investment farm owners should take into account. However, nature’s harsh onslaughts, like storms harboring fast, strong winds can jeopardize the safety and stability of farm sheds. Other than making sure farm and other industrial sheds are built with durable materials, it is still a must to take extra precautionary and protective measures to protect these sheds from nature’s assault that can come unpredicted.

  1. Survey the area of your farm especially the space directly surrounding your farm shed. Make an ocular site inspection and evaluate the area for possible modifications to make it safer during storms.
  2. If there are loose and weak branches of trees near your farm shed, then have them trimmed so they won’t fall onto the shed. If possible, eliminate trees that could fall on the shed during a storm. Keep the areas directly surrounding your shed free from any destructive objects that might hit it hard in the onset of strong winds. Aside from causing structural damage, falling trees and debris also cause human fatalities.
  3. Instead of using rock or gravel landscaping material in your yard, replace them with shredded bark instead. Shredded barks are more lightweight and won’t cause damage when blown around by strong winds.
  4. Although humans have no control over the force and direction of severe winds, damage can somehow be minimized by making sure that all openings of farm buildings and industrial sheds are securely closed. The strong force of the wind is doubled when it has easy passage inside the farm sheds. Outside, the wind puts pressure or lifting force on the structure. Inside, the wind can break the walls and roof off.
  5. Watch out for important weather updates from radio and TV stations. The more information you have and the sooner you get it, the better you will be able to prepare and protect your property from the harsh forces of nature.
  6. Once some parts of your farm shed gets damaged or hang loose, have it fixed immediately– a dented roof or loose window parts may be viewed as minor imperfections, but when the strong winds come they can cause serious damages. When the strong winds hit them before you had time to do the fixing, they can totally break apart and affect the whole industrial shed especially the equipment inside it.

How to Take Care of Your Garden the Eco-Friendly Way

Many people have gardens in their homes or, if they live in an urban area, within the confines of a community plot. There are a lot of benefits to having a garden including yielding your own food, feeling connected to the living creatures and plants that you grow, as well as a significant feeling of accomplishment for successfully cultivating your own ecosystem!

While most people have good intentions to be environmentally sustainable with their gardens, there are some small tips that you may be overlooking that can make your garden even more ecologically friendly.

Compost

Instead of fertilizer or chemical products that are synthetically created in laboratories, it is much more eco friendly to utilize composting techniques.

Composting is when one collects the organic waste such as fruit peels, vegetables that weren’t eaten as well as compostable paper, tea bags, etc, and then decomposing them together to create organic compost fertilizer. Composting is a big and upcoming trend so there are many resources available online on how to begin composting.

Permaculture

Permaculture is a technique used increasingly by home owners and small scale farmers. Permaculture focuses on designing a garden so that every part of the garden has multiple uses.

Thus, if one has a chicken coop, they need an incubator to keep the eggs warm. The permaculture approach would utilize the incubator for another source of heat, possibly to keep the temperature of a green room stable as well.

This basic theory can be used in multiple ways and the possibilities are rather endless. For example, another permaculture project could be harvesting rainwater and using it to water crops instead of using more water.

Some permaculturists like to use natural building applications, where the mimic the ecosystem of the animals that live in the area naturally and build a garden that works off of the symbiotic relationships of the creatures.

Even more ideas for permaculture are waste management techniques where waste is utilized as a part of the ecosystem and used to benefit the garden itself. This can range from using recycled materials as building resources, or introducing various bacteria or fungi that break down waste and transform it into nutrition for the soil.

Pesticides

Pesticides can be harmful for the environment. From runoff into the local water supply to just tampering with the local ecology, pesticides are a hotly debated and increasingly frowned upon method of protecting your garden from bugs and other harmful creatures.

Instead of pesticides, there are natural alternatives to protecting your yields. One option is to identify which natural bugs in your area combat the bugs that are eating your garden and then promoting their growth in your grow area. The other option involves using some old but proven traditions.

Panchakavya is an indian method of promoting growth in plants while protecting them from the harmful effects of bugs and bacteria. Made from three or four derivatives of cow’s milk (which is sacred in India), panchakavya is seeing a recent resurgence in urban farming and home gardens for its effectiveness.

Although these techniques require some time to learn and adapt, green gardening will have many benefits. By applying them you can make sure you use less chemicals and waste less energy so your garden will not just provide you with fresh produce but it will be cheaper to upkeep. Achieve it either by using modern techniques or ancient knowledge, you will do some good for your budget and the environment at the same time.

5 Autumn Tips for New Gardeners

Whether it’s your first autumn as a gardener or your fifth, there’s no denying that the season can be difficult. Many gardeners feel lost after the summer, and the temptation to pack up for winter can be great — but really, there’s no need.

As with any season, during the Autumn there are all kinds of fantastic changes taking place, and a gardener with a close eye can take advantage of those changes to make their garden even more glorious than before, during even the drabbest of weathers. You can make the most of this glorious season with these five top tips:

1. Cuttings

Autumn through to early spring is the time for hardwood cuttings. The tougher, mature-looking growth is what you’re after, so cut the branch here and trim off the softer, greener part. The cuttings should be about the thickness of a pencil for the very best results.

2. Compost

What with the leaves starting to fall, now is the perfect time to start a compost pile. Grass cuttings, leaves, and leftover food can all be added to the pile.

Turn the pile every now and then using a garden fork, and you’ll have a fresh, nutrient-rich pile of compost in no time. Compost is great for growing everything from flowers to vegetables, so having a good stockpile of it is worthwhile.

3. Wildlife

Earthworms mean that your soil is fertile, and having them around increases the nutrient level in your soil. If you can’t see any worms, you might want to lay down some organic matter (such as manure or compost) to attract them into your garden.

It might be worth investing in a bird-feeder, stocked with a variety of seeds to attract various different species— yes, they probably will eat some of the worms, but on the other hand, they’ll also get rid of those pesky snails! Besides, when the trees are bare and your garden’s looking quite barren, birds make everything seem brighter.

4. Lawns

Give your lawn a good feed before winter with some slow-release fertilizer. This should keep your grass loaded with nutrients and carbohydrates well into the winter.

If you’ve already applied weed killer to your lawn, now’s a good time to make sure it’s worked. You may need to use more or change brand if it hasn’t, but make sure you go for a selective herbicide — any non-selective type will wipe out theweeds and the lawn.

5. Tools

It’s not uncommon for gardeners to take great care of their gardens but still neglect their tools. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you — autumn is the perfect time to clear out your shed, throw away any out-of-date products, replace blunt blades and treat wooden handles. If you need new tools, you can purchase them from your local garden centre, or any number of online retailers.

Following all these tips will ensure that you have a thoroughly productive autumn that will see your garden in great condition when the winter eventually rolls around.