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How to Make Garden Watering Easier

How to Make Garden Watering Easier

    I love gardening. I carefully make my plans, prepare the soil, plant the seeds or plants, provide them with mulch and support and the right amount of light.

    That’s usually when my forgetfulness kicks in and I forget to water, turning my once-lush dream into crispy stalks of brown.

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    I decided last summer that there had to be a way to make watering easier. It turns out there is.

    Directional Sprinklers

    Sprinklers are the devices that send water through the air onto your garden beds. They can cover large areas at a time, but with the wrong timing or direction, can waste water by evaporation or by watering non-garden items. Recent innovations in sprinklers have made it easier to cut down on the improper direction problem.

    Oscillating sprinklers send a vertical arc of water back and forth over an area. These can be adjusted, though, to send a partial arc, eliminating wasted water. These sprinklers are excellent for covering regularly shaped (rectangular) areas.

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    Pulsating sprinklers cover a horizontal arc. They can be adjusted to run any part of the arc up to a complete revolution. These sprinklers are best for areas that can be covered by a “wedge” of water.

    “Noodle” sprinklers are covered with “noodles” that can be aimed in different directions to cover odd-shaped areas. These are great for covering irregularly shaped beds or different areas with a non-watered area in between.

    Pattern sprinklers can be set to different watering patterns. They send water into the air like an oscillating sprinkler, but don’t have the back-and-forth motion. The watering pattern is pre-set into the sprinkler so it will not need adjustment like the noodles, and makes watering different-shaped beds very quick to set up.

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    Soaker and Mist Hoses

    Soaker hoses provide dripping water to the roots of the plant in a steady drip. The hose can be flexed around the plants themselves, allowing you to cut down on wasted water. The soaker hose can also be left on longer than necessary without turning your garden into a swamp. The down side to these hoses is that they only water the area right underneath them, and are not very good at getting large beds wet. The upside is that there is very little evaporation, and they are excellent for watering specific plants.

    Misting Hoses have small holes throughout to provide a misting spray all along the length of the hose. This allows more area coverage than a soaker hose, while still allowing for flexibility in where the water goes. The mist from these hoses is very prone to evaporation on hot days.

    Plant Water Spikes

    These plastic spikes attach to 2-liter bottles and slowly deliver water to the root of the plant. While not the most attractive item in the world, these devices have saved my front porch plants from frying in the southern sun. These spikes can even be made at home: attach a plugged stiff tube with small holes drilled in it to a 2-liter bottle and push it into the soil.

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    There are glass equivalents of these devices made for inside plants, and while they are much prettier, I have found that they do not weather well. Not to mention picking broken glass out of the soil is extremely difficult.

    Self-Watering Pots

    Most pots come with drainage holes and bases; these holes are strictly for drainage, though, and will not absorb excess water back into the pot without some sort of wicking. Self watering pots use a tube to pour water into a reservoir, which is then brought up into the soil through a wicking grid. There are commercial versions of these pots available, and many instructions on how to make them on the web. I use these pots for my blueberry bushes on my deck, and the plants are always lush during even the hottest days.

    Hose Timers

    Even with all of the options to help me water above, I still had a problem remembering to turn the water OFF. Host timers are the solution. Sitting between the faucet and the hose, they allow water for a given amount of time and then shut it off. I turn them on before my morning walk, and I forget about them until the next day. I no longer have to dread my neighbor coming over to let me know that the garden and yard were under water.

    There are both digital and analog versions of these timers. The analog versions work very much like kitchen timers that you turn past the time to “wind up” and then set the time. The digital versions are much more precise, but require batteries for power.

    Do you have any watering tips? Share below.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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