How to Choose Grass Seeds for Lawns

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What type of grass seed would give you the kind of lawn you like best? Generally, a mixture of a few different types of grass seeds makes a better lawn than does seed of an exclusive variety. All varieties have advantages and disadvantages. Some are more drought-resistant and stay green long after other varieties have dried and turned brown in summer. Others are likely to die if cut down too short and therefore should never be used by those who want a "crew-cut" lawn. Still other varieties are quite susceptible to plant diseases. One variety should be planted either alone or only with members of its own family or grasses or it gets crowded out.
Read the label on the package before you purchase any grass seed mixture. And don't let the names of grasses on the label confuse you.

Most grass seed mixes are classified as having seeds of the following:
1. persistent, fine-textured grasses
2. coarse or temporary grasses
3. white clover

The coarse or temporary or "hay" grasses won't give the type of lawn most people like. As the word "temporary" implies, these seeds serve best when a lawn is wanted rapidly to cover the soil for one season until suitable preparations can be made for seeding a permanent lawn. These coarse and temporary grasses include tall fescue, timothy, meadow fescue, and redtop, and the ryegrasses, including Italian rye, domestic rye, perennial rye, and common rye.

Persistent, fine-textured grasses will, as their name indicates, give the kind of permanent, fine-textured lawn home gardeners love to have. The primary varieties are Kentucky bluegrass, red fescue (including Chewings and other varieties), colonial bentgrass, and rough bluegrass (also known as Poa trivialis).

What Grass Mixture is Best for Lawns?

© 2012 Athena Goodlight


How to Find Electrical Contractors

If your home's electrical system calls for an upgrade, it's important that it's done according to the national electrical code (NEC) or your local electrical codes. Naturally, you can cut costs by having your brother-in-law, who got a C in high school shop, to do the work. But in the future, that can come back to bite you. How?
1. If the wiring wasn't up to code and you have a fire, it may affect your insurance settlement.
2. When you choose to sell your home, the home inspector, appraiser, or lender may demand copies of permits, inspections, or work orders.
3. Substandard wiring could prolong a sale, kill a sale, or force you to bring down your asking price—often by more than what it would have cost you to have it done professionally in the first place.
4. Electrical wiring is not something you cut corners on. You and your home's safety are very important.

The first step to finding an electrician or contractor is to go ahead and ask around for referrals, and check with contractors, building inspectors, and Realtors. The goal is to wind up with a short list of three contractors (licensed electricians) who would look at your home and give you a detailed written bid.
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Incidentally, one way to cut costs is to look for a licensed electrician (verify they have a current and active license) who works for a contractor, builder, or even an inspector, and who does jobs on the side for a little extra income. But hiring one of these people does not mean you cut back on the detailed paperwork. Like with any business deal, the paperwork is your only protection.

Irrespective of whom you hire, here is a list of items you need to have in writing:

A detailed written description of the work agreed on. An itemized list of materials that will be used: number and cost of outlets, receptacles, wiring, breaker boxes, and so on. You can also have the electrician supply you a list of materials, which you yourself can then buy. In this manner, you only pay for installation, control the quality and cost of materials, and always know you aren't being overcharged. A start date and completion date on the paperwork.

Don't pay for the job up front. If it's an extensive remodel, you may prefer to set up a payment schedule as certain parts of the job are completed. Lastly, check with your homeowner's insurance agent and make sure you are covered in case the electrician or any helpers are injured inside your property.

As a precaution, always keep in mind that electrical components wear out, malfunction, and are misused. Sadly, the potential for serious injuries or worse is high, so it's crucial to stay of top of problems and rectify them as soon as possible.

More about home electrical info:

© 2012 Athena Goodlight


Where to Get Water for Salt Water Aquariums

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There are two basic ways of supplying your aquarium with water where in the fishes and invertebrates can live. The first way is to utilize natural sea water which you could collect yourself; the second is to use one of the pre-packed marine water mixes available on the market. When you collect your own water, there are certain things to remember. You must get the cleanest water possible, which generally demands traveling by boat out into the ocean and loading your containers there. The containers must be of such material so as not to pollute the water. Metal buckets, for instance, should be avoided. There are numerous types of 5-gallon plastic or glass containers that are great for this purpose. Glass is safer chemically than plastic, but there is the disadvantage of it being fragile; additionally, glass carboys usually have metal caps. New plastic containers must be cured by filling them up with sea water, allowing them stand for a few weeks, and then dumping out the water. This takes out the "newness." A lot of containers don't need this curing, but if you're not sure it's better to be safe and do it this way. You may also check your water source in this manner. After several weeks of storage you could test the water to see what changes have came about. If you end up with a smelly batch of water you should locate a different source. Once your containers are safe for use and the water source is all right, you can start collecting for your aquaria. Collect more water than you require for your present set-up of tanks. It is always good to have adequate water for a complete change in all your tanks. If this isn't practical, enough extra water for a complete change in at least one or two of the tanks is ideal. Should anything go wrong, you can switch the fishes and invertebrates from the foul water into clean water right away. Use common sense in collecting the water. For example, don't draw the water from right next to the motor, exhaust outlets, or other areas where oil or grease may contaminate it.

Because natural sea water bear living organisms, it is best to filter it before storing. This can be done just by pouring it through a clean handkerchief. You will be astonished by the material, living or otherwise, that stays behind in the handkerchief. The living material is largely plankton, which is present in almost all sea water in greater or lesser quantities. A bit of the handkerchief residue placed in a small watch-glass and viewed under a low power microscope is a wonderful sight. There may be larval forms of numerous animals including fishes, crustaceans, echinoderms, worms, as well as eggs of different species or fully grown animals like copepods. Each sample might contain something new and excitingly different. Much of the plankton would die in the water and pollute it if not taken out. If the plankton is bountiful, the water will sooner or later become too foul for the fishes or invertebrates to live in it and will have to be thrown away.

Storage is usually accomplished by placing the containers in a darkened area. This keeps the aquarium plants from reproducing. It is very discouraging to find that your supply of clean water has become green from an algal bloom induced by a high nutrient level (the dead plankton supplying the nutrients) and plenty of light for photosynthesis.

"Natural" sea water has been provided to marine aquarists in the past, but more recently the cost of shipping the filtered water has become prohibitive when likened to the rather safe and easy method of mixing prepackaged salts. The concept of setting up a tank of Red Sea fishes, for instance, using water collected from the Red Sea itself sounds great but is impractical and not even needed.

© 2012 Tip Writer


Basics to Know on Salt Water Aquariums

Maintaining some of the exotic marine creatures that live in the world's oceans in your very own home aquaria has been a dream of several individuals. This dream could have been brought on by seeing these animals on a vacation trip like snorkeling on a reef, on a visit to one of the huge commercial aquariums that have on exhibit tanks of marine fishes or invertebrates, or while looking at the marine tanks in a local pet shop. The feeling is normally enhanced by visits to friends or acquaintances who have already succeeded in setting up beautiful marine aquaria. When the urge to really do something about this dream ultimately becomes strong enough, there is the devouring of book after book on the subject together with visits to the local aquarium shops that sell marine fishes and invertebrates to check out a few of the species that are available and to price some of the gear needed to get one started.

The individual who gets involved with the aquaria hobby isn't necessarily a "graduate" of freshwater fishkeeping, although more often than not, this is often the case. As a matter of fact, some fresh­water aquarists are mainly interested in breeding their fishes and could care less about the marine hobby, where there is little to no chance of spawning success. But with the in­creasing count of successful spawnings in the marine field, even these aquarists are being drawn in to saltwater animals. The best attraction of the marine aquarium, nevertheless, does not seem to be the likelihood of spawning the animals but is a mixture of the beauty of the animals themselves and their interesting habits or behavior. There is still a challenge for those who want to tackle the more difficult species, and for those who have little or no experience there are species that are rather easy to keep. The array of animal life perfect for keeping in home aquaria is so vast there is, beyond any doubt something for everyone.

Are the effort, time, and expense worth it? No one but you can answer that question. Is it conceivable to put a value on the feeling of satisfaction and contentment you get while sitting in front of your own marine aquarium, housing strange and beautiful fishes or invertebrates, watching their antics and proudly showing them off to your friends? Again, you alone can decide on this matter.

© 2012 Tip Writer