How To Keep Your Plants Alive When You’re on Vacation

If you have a home full of plants, it can be hard to have friends reliably take care of them while you’re gone. Plus, what if no one is available to come by every day to give your plants the specific care they need? Here are a few hacks that will keep your plants happy and healthy while you take time away.

How to water your plants while you’re on vacation

The biggest concern people have when leaving their plants alone is regular watering; and if you have a huge family of varying plants, they’ll need to be cared for differently. Thankfully, you can outfit different watering systems for your plants’ needs.

Use a wine bottle to water your plants

For larger plants that require regular watering, the wine bottle option is a great choice. Grab an empty twist-off wine bottle, then poke a hole in the metal cap and fill the bottle with water. Screw the (now pierced) cap back on top. Turn the wine bottle cap-side down into your potted plant and position it deep enough that the bottle will stand up on its own. The water will slowly release over time, feeding your plant while you’re away.

Put plants in a bathtub or kiddie pool as a water reservoir

If you have several tropical plants and perhaps not enough wine bottles, you can give your plants the hydration they need in the bathtub. Garden writer Barbara Pleasant told House Beautiful the best way to care for multiple indoor plants while on vacation is to fill your bathtub with one to two inches of water. Remove any saucers from the bottom of the plants’ pots and place each plant in the tub together. The plants will soak up the water through the drainage hole, drinking as needed while you’re away. The same process works using a kiddie pool for your outdoor plants.

Group plants together by type

Rearrange your plants by type before you head out on your trip. Succulents and cacti should be together with other plants that won’t need any attention while you are gone. Water those before you leave, and they’ll be all set. Keep the more tropical plants together so they can feed off of each other’s moisture and warmth.

How to regulate your plants airflow when you’re gone

The next concern for your plants is oxygen and airflow. (I am not one to leave my windows open when I know I’ll be away for an extended period of time.) There are ways to give your plant the humid or dry environment they need when you can’t regulate the temperature day by day.

Make a temporary greenhouse

Put a plastic container over small plants that love humidity. The plastic container will create a mini greenhouse, allowing the cycle of water and humidity to be maintained while you’re gone. This also works with a plastic bag as a small terrarium.

Move plants away from windows until you get back

Grouping your plants together is the easiest way you can control the airflow and temperature for your plants while you’re gone. The tropical plants go in your tub, and the succulents drying out in a corner as they like. But you’ll want to make sure all plants are away from any variables that could change the temperature at a moment’s notice. Keep plants away from air vents, sunny windows, and heaters. Without you there to move them around, these things could dry out your more sensitive plants faster than you think.

Adjust the heat or AC before you leave plants alone

This step might boost your utility bill for the time you’re gone, not to mention it’s not the most environmentally friendly, but if needed, your plants will thank you for spending a little extra cash on them by adjusting your heat or AC to control the temperature while you’re gone. This could mean coming home to a higher electric bill, but your plants have a better chance of being alive when you get back home.

By: Aisha Jordan

Source: How to Keep Your Plants Alive When You’re on Vacation

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The Old Chokecherry Tree (and Raw Apricot Cheesecake) — Discover

Montana-based blogger Kristin shows how a single post can be more than one thing — in this case, a lovely musing on seasonal change, a collection of gorgeous photography, and a vegan cheesecake recipe.

via The Old Chokecherry Tree (and Raw Apricot Cheesecake) — Discover

 

 

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Engineering, Bioplastics Firms Debut ‘Cutting Edge’ Algae Removal Process – Ryan Dailey

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Florida’s problem with algal blooms has taken center stage, and efforts to mitigate it are in high demand. A partnership between two engineering and bioplastics companies aims to bring a new type of solution to the market. One Florida county is already trying it out.

Lee County isn’t the only in Florida, or even in the U.S., with an algal bloom problem. Captains for Clean Water co-founder Daniel Andrews has been keeping an eye on the situation locally.

“What we see now is an ongoing red tide bloom. All these nutrients that are coming from the water from Lake Okeechobee, the cyanobacteria bloom, from the on-the-ground perspective, it appears to be compounding and making it significantly worse. What we’re seeing is collapse,” Andrews told WGCU’s Julie Glenn. “And what we need is solutions, long-term solutions, that will allow this estuary an opportunity to recover.”

Lee County is one of the first to use a system of algae removal developed by global engineering firm AECOM, recently named by Bloomberg as the world’s largest. With about $700,000 in funding from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, the county is contracting with AECOM.

Dan Levy, the firm’s vice president, says the technology has been in the works for some time.

“A lot of effort has been put forward on the academia side, on research and studying it. What we’re trying to do now is bringing it to the field,” Levy said. “And that led us to the development of these semi-permanent systems that could be put into these areas that have nutrient-impacted lakes – eutrophic lakes, where we have an excessive amount of nutrients – to go in there and do something that we consider to be short time. Meaning (in) six months, a few years, and we can reduce enough of the nutrients to restore the lake back to its healthier state.”

AECOM has already done work in North Fort Myers and in Cape Coral’s Nautilus Canal.

As Levy explains, the process removes the rich element of algae cells from what’s called the phototropic zone.

“As we pull the water out from this phototrophic zone, it’s going to go into a containment system that has micro-bubbles on the bottom,” Levy said. “So as the water’s there, we’re going to be adding a polymer to it that will allow it to bind up the algae cells. And this microbubble system on the bottom will create essentially a lift to allow these now foreign particles to float up to the top.”

And that, according to Levy, is when the algae can be removed.

“We’re then able to essentially skim off that top layer, and the remaining water is then filtered and returned back,” Levy said.

The recovered algae biomass is put into a storage unit. Then, the question facing Levy and others is, what to do with the algae once it’s extracted? For that, he turned to a company called Bloom, which has been turning algae into biofoam for use in products like shoes and surf board mats.

For Ryan Hunt, Bloom’s Chief Technology Officer, this is the culmination of years of research.

“I co-founded Algix, which is the parent company of Bloom, in 2010. And that was spun off out of research I was doing at the University of Georgia,” Hunt said. “And so, our goal was using algae to treat wastewater and absorb nitrates and phosphates from the water and Co2 from the air –or Co2 dissolved from the water – and convert those pollutants, those nutrients into something of value.”

It was something of an accident, Hunt says, that he discovered algae is well suited to be converted to biofoam.

“Before I started doing this, I was actually making small, little samples that were 100 percent blue-green algae, like spirulina, and was compressing them, applying heat, and making little compressed bars. And those bars essentially exhibited some thermoplastic-like qualities,” Hunt said.

Levy says that conversion process has additional environmental advantages.

“Foam product in the footwear industry – they use a lot of petrochemicals. So every time, and everybody that wears sneakers that have a foam product- that is made with petrochemicals,” Levy said. “So part of our plan and part of our vision is to say- lets reduce the petrochemicals. And we’ve found — and Bloom really has pioneered that — the ability to reduce the amount of petrochemicals in foam, by substituting it with algae.”

And the resulting biofoam doesn’t have the toxic properties that some algae species carry, according to Hunt.

“Detectable levels of microcystin are far below even the Oregon limit for eating algae,” Hunt said. “So theoretically, if you wanted to you could actually eat the shoe and still be in compliance with the Oregon law, but I don’t recommend doing that.”

A spokesman for Lee County says it is currently “working on the best way to quantify” the project’s results. Because algae mitigation efforts in Lee County are being expedited due to severity, the algae harvested from those waterways will not be given to Bloom to convert to biofoam. But, the companies plan to work together on future projects.

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