The Ultimate Indoor Gardening Cheat Sheet: Guest Post by Emma – Fixtures and Flowers

It’s a scientific fact that plants breathe life into the atmosphere. Without plants or trees to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen the human race would have no source of clean air. The world would be forced to breathe recycled or artificially produced oxygen.

The more plants there is then, the less pollution there is. Cities with more trees have healthier populations than those that only have a park or two. This premise applies to individual homes as well. A household would greatly benefit from having more plants inside the residence.

The size of the home is irrelevant, what matters is that there are plants indoors to help clean the air. Other than a natural air purifying system, indoor plants can also produce fresh herbs, vegetables and even fruits. Starting an indoor garden is not all that difficult. Take a look at this ultimate indoor gardening cheat sheet to make it easy…

The Ultimate Indoor Gardening Cheat Sheet: Guest Post by Emma - Fixtures and Flowers

Planting in Soil using containers

The style of using pots and decorative planting containers is the classic method for indoor gardening. It is also one of the most popular and convenient ways to start an indoor garden. The containers can be made of any material, ceramic, metal, plastic or even stone.

There is a timeless beauty in using free-standing containers. They bring a touch of nature indoors and brighten any room as well. They are also easy to handle because one can move them around the house with ease. There are a few things to keep in mind before starting an indoor garden using containers.

Sun spot

Choose an area in the house that takes inadequate sunlight. Proper sunlight is essential for a plant to reach its full potential. As long as the spot gets at least four to six hours of daylight then that should be enough.

Position the plants in that sun spot and decorate around it. Setting the plants in sun-filled setting will be easier than having to move the pot or container outside for it to get some sun.

Soil

Choose the kind of plants that are suitable to be grown indoors. Different types of soil fit the needs of specific plants. Research the type of soil required for the plants before starting an indoor garden. Each kind of plant needs a particular kind of soil.

Preparing the right soil for potted plants is crucial to keep them healthy. For most plants, a store-bought potting mix is an excellent soil base to start with. Then mix that with some compost, and that will create the perfect soil to nurture indoor plants.

Succulents would need a gritty mix that drains well. This is one of those cases where crushed gravel would be the perfect top dressing. Don’t forget to add homemade fertilisers to give your plants more nutrients.

Water

All plant life needs water on a regular basis. That is their primary form of sustenance. Plants absorb water and carbon dioxide to jumpstart photosynthesis.

Water the potted plants using a watering can. Water them early in the morning so that they have the whole day to absorb the water through their roots.

Hydroponics

Indoor gardening has gone through many innovations over the years, and hydroponics is one of them. Hydroponics is a soilless growing system that substitutes soil with an inert media. The purpose of the inert media is to hold the plant upright. It is the base of the plant which suspends it over the water.

Water culture

This is often used in the most basic hydroponics systems. To grow plants in water culture, first put each plant in a container or a growing tray filled with inert medium.

Then immerse the plant containers in an even bigger container filled with nutrient solution. For best results, use an air pump to create bubbles in the nutrient solution to help with aeration.

Nutrient film

This technique foregoes the use on any inert media and suspends the plants right over the nutrient solution. Holes are drilled through PVC tubes to house the plants, and their roots are allowed to grow at the bottom directly immersed in the nutrient solution. It is also advised to use an air pump when using this method to promote root aeration.

Drip system

Instead of the plants being suspended over the nutrient solution. This hydroponic growing technique circulates the nutrient solution throughout the growing media. A water pump continuously pumps the nutrient growing solution.

Aquaponics

This indoor growing technique would be perfect for people that own and love their aquariums. Instead of suspending the plants over a container with a nutrient solution this technique uses the nutrient from fish waste and feeds it directly to the plants.

The plants are set on top of a growing media which is then placed atop the fish tank. The microorganisms in the growing media would then break down the fish waste into proper nutrients for the plants. The plants would then absorb these nutrients.

The microorganisms found in the growing media would technically clean the water of any waste. Aquaponics is an efficient solution to the disposal of fish waste and cost-effective as well because it forgoes the need for the nutrient solution.

Aeroponics

Aeroponics is another new growing technique that can be used for indoor gardening. Here, the plants are housed in containers that do not have any soil and isn’t immersed in any nutrient solution. The containers are there to support the plant and provide access when water is sprayed.

The lower half of the container is filled with small holes or grills which allow the grower to spray water or nutrient solution directly on the roots. This is the same growing technique used by astronauts and is gaining popularity all over the world.

Conclusion

There are several paths to start practising indoor gardening. Choose the technique that best suits your personality. Consider all the factors, pros and cons of each growing technique. No matter what method is used the end results will be the same. Cleaner oxygen, fresh vegetable, fruits and a healthier lifestyle.

Author Bio

Author picture - Emma - Fixtures and Flowers

Emma is a part-time property developer, part-time home improvements and gardening blogger at Fixtures and Flowers, and full time Mum. Given her background, Emma has a lot of advice, tips and tricks that she loves sharing on her blog.

Young Minds: #HelloYellow and I Did It… (10k) My Way!

Last month, I wrote about doing a 10k ‘virtual’ race for the charity Young Minds. I thought I should write a quick update post (it’s a little late, but anyway) to say that I completed it!

10k Your Way Young Minds Virtual Race

I took it slow, due to my current fitness levels and a lack of sleep (thanks for that, Squiggle!) but I did walk/ run/ walk for the majority of it, so I did still put the effort in! I did most of it on my own, Squiggle having considered doing it too but decided it would be too much for her, but a friend came to join me for the last few km (partly for moral support, for her own exercise and also because I was out alone at night!) At this point I slowed right down to chat and time on the clock quickly added up. But I did it, and that is all that matters!

Selfie of Katie (Living Life Our Way) during the 10k

I would like to say a huge thanks to those who sponsored me, I appreciate it. At the moment, my fundraising page is still open, so it is not too late if you haven’t done so already! Alternatively you can donate direct to Young Minds at anytime.

#HelloYellow Campaign

Today is also Young Minds #HelloYellow campaign as part of World Mental Health Day. I started the day by making a donation to Young Minds for t-shirt sales, as promised. I am very grateful to those that bought them, thank you!

Screenshot of donation confirmation to Young Minds

You can donate securely online through their website at youngminds.org.uk/donate

Or donate via text by texting YMHY00 £5 to 70070

#HelloYellow hair tie looking up at yellow leaves

We went for a walk in nature and spotted lots of Autumn yellows. I don’t have anything yellow to wear (and try to avoid buying stuff I won’t wear often!) but I made sure I wore a yellow hair tie in support of Young Minds #HelloYellow campaign today!

#HelloYellow hair tie selfie in nature, autumn colours

Keep talking about mental health. Not just today, but everyday. Check on those around you. And remember to really listen too.

It’s ok not to be ok. You are not alone. xx

The Importance of Playing Outside: Play More with Sudocrem (Giveaway)

My readers already know how much I value spending time outside; my blog features heavily on outdoors and nature. So I was somewhat surprised, and saddened to be honest, to read that new research reveals that 1 in 9 British children have not visited a beach, park or forest in a year, and on average a British child only spends 4 hours a week playing in the great outdoors.

Squiggle outdoors in nature in the rain

Many kids are so disconnected from nature that over half of those surveyed admitted that they had never climbed a tree, a staggering 89% didn’t know what a buttercup was and 77% couldn’t identify a sunflower. The survey, carried out by Sudocrem, also asked 200 children between the ages of 4 to 8 years old to identify some of the creepy crawlies in Britain. It revealed that 89% of children were unable to recognise a butterfly, 51% didn’t know what a bumblebee looks like and 29% didn’t realise that bees make honey. These results are truly shocking!

The Importance of Playing Outside: Play More with Sudocrem (Giveaway)

There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors in nature; both physical and mental. This is why Sudocrem set up the award-winning Play More campaign, an initiative designed to encourage parents and children to get back in touch with nature.

According to children’s TV presenter and Play More ambassador Chris Packham, parents should be encouraging their children to explore the natural environment around them. “I was very fortunate when I was a child because I was encouraged to interact with the outdoors – looking under rocks and searching under logs and hedges to find creepy crawlies. If you just open your eyes, you’ll see that there is an incredible natural world out there waiting to be discovered.”

Chris Packham holding a Play More box

Vote For Your Local Nursery

As part of the campaign, Sudocrem are offering nurseries around the UK the chance to win support for playground regeneration or a mural, which will be painted by award-winning artist, Joy Pirkle. They have so far helped hundreds of UK nurseries improve their outdoor area. If you think you know a nursery that deserves to win, you can nominate them on the ‘Play More’ section here.

*All nurseries must be based in the UK and nominations close on 31.08.2018. For full Terms and Conditions, please visit www.sudocrem.co.uk/social-hub

Giveaway!

I’m also working with Sudocrem on their Play More campaign, giving away an adventure kit worth £40, which has been carefully put together to encourage children to play outside. The kit includes:

– Play More t-shirt

– Play More sun hat

– Bug Pot

– Frisbee

– Butterfly Net

– Magnifying glass

– Trowel or fork

Contents of Play More giveaway kit as listed

To be in with a chance of winning this fab prize, simply enter my rafflecopter giveaway below. Open to UK residents only. Ends 05/08/18. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Sudocrem.

Keeping Things Simple: A-Z of 30 Days Wild

K is for…

Keeping things simple.

A - Z of 30 Days Wild

One of the things I most love about 30 Days Wild is that it isn’t about expensive days out and organising extravagent activities; it is about celebrating the simple everyday things, slowing ourselves down and stopping to appreciate the small things. It is about reconnecting with nature, and our natural environment. Being, not just doing.

I love how 30 Days Wild achieves so much in so many ways. It helps us to shift our mindset; supporting both of our physical and mental health. As well as fostering a desire to nurture and protect wildlife, and our planet.

Squiggle in the garden. Tree. Blue sky.

On that note, I am not going to rush myself to finish my A-Z by the end of the month. For me, that would contradict the whole purpose of the challenge. There would be little point in stressing over getting that done when I could be outside, watching the birds and observing the insects. Playing with Squiggle. Chilling in the sun. Enjoying just being in the moment.

I love 30 Days Wild. The A-Z will continue, in my own time. It’ll be done when it’s done. And that’s ok with me.

Stay Wild folks. I hope you have loved 30 Days Wild as much as we did. xx

Hedgehogs, Insects, Identification and Jumping in Puddles! (A-Z of 30 Days Wild)

H is for…
Hedgehogs! We were so excited the one and only time we have ever spotted a hedgehog in our garden!

I is for…
Insects. We really enjoy studying insects, observing them and finding out more about them. We have completed many activities around this topic!

Identification
I is also for identifying the various flora and fauna we come across. Squiggle really engaged with her environment and was keen to know more…

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#30DaysWild – Day 27: Identification Challenge 💚🌿🍃💚 . . . 1. Bluebell seed heads- When the flowers die, green seed pods are formed. By July these will be dry and brown and full of small black seeds. The seeds may take 5 years to develop into a mature flowering bulb. 2. Sheep's sorrel (rumex)- This is edible with a sharp lemon taste. 3. Statchys- Nicknamed lamb's ears because it is soft and furry. My daughter loved the feel of these, and bees love them! 4. Red leaved cherry tree- I don't know if these are edible or not! 🍒 5. These red 'eggs' are caused by parasites (mites?) inside the field maple leaf so the leaf reacts by producing a growth. 6. Blackberry brambles- I look forward to some foraging when they fruit, yummy! 7. Gorse bush- The seed heads explode when ripe so that the seeds spread widely. It also has yellow flowers that smell like coconuts! 8. Chicken of the wood- This edible fungus tastes like chicken, hence the name. 9. Cow parsley- Short lived but very common, it can be found spreading wildly along roadsides, meadows, woods and other places in early summer. . . . Huge thanks to members of 30 Days Wild group and other people who helped me to identify and shared information with me 🌿😊💚 . . . Any mistakes please let me know!

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J is for…
Jumping in puddles!
Squiggle loves puddle jumping!

And even better when they are really muddy puddles!!!

A-Z of 30 Days Wild. Image of red insect
How are your wild adventures going?

Garden, Growing, Grounding… A-Z of 30 Days Wild

G is for…

A-Z of 30 days wild

Garden

We spend alot of time in our garden. We help to encourage wildlife and nature into it, then take the time to enjoy it! During 30 Days Wild, we did many simple activities in our garden that embraces the whole concept of 30 Days Wild. You don’t have to just go on adventures to appreciate wildlife and nature; you do that anywhere!

Growing

We also use our garden for growing our own food. This is something we loved doing as part of 30 Days Wild, and generally too!

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#30DaysWild – Day 6: Grow Your Own

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Grounding

Grounding is such a simple but effective act – walking barefoot on the ground – and one Squiggle does regularly. I really should do it more often too!

F is for… Fungi! A-Z of 30 Days Wild

F is for…

Fungi!

We have quite a fascination with fungi in our family. I am not really sure why; it just seems pretty cool! I dedicated a whole post to fungi facts previously and am including it in my highlights because we always get so excited when we spot some!

Here are a couple of awesome fungi photos we have taken on our 30 Days Wild adventures and beyond…

Fungi image. #30DaysWild highlights. A-Z of 30 Days Wild.

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See the beauty in the little things… 💛

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Fungi images. 30 Days Wild highlights

Damselflies, Daisies, Dandelions… and Early Starts: A-Z of 30 Days Wild

D is for…

Damselflies! We loved watching damselflies in our garden, and when one got too close to our paddling pool we were more than glad to rescue it! Read about that here.

Dandelion image. A-Z of #30dayswild

D is also for daisies and dandelions. We love these simple garden wild flowers. (They are not weeds!) I have enjoyed taking photos of them, Squiggle loves blowing the ‘fluff flowers’ and we had fun making daisy chains as part of 30 Days Wild too. Here are some of my favourite photos…

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What do you wish for? 💚

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#perspective 🌼

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Take a closer look around you…

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E is for…

Early starts! Whilst I am not a morning, Squiggle and I loved watching the sunrise and then headed to the beach for a relaxing Sunday morning. Wonderful!

Birds and Bees… and Click Beetles! (A-Z of 30 Days Wild)

B is for….

Bee image. A-Z of 30 Days Wild

Birds and bees!

We have both loved bird watching and listening to bird sounds as part of 30 Days Wild; this is an annual favourite for me personally! It is amazing when you stay so still and silent, and just really tune into just the birds, how many different ones you will hear! Especially if you catch the right times of day, but really anytime, if you listen closely enough, there are so many different bird voices even in a city. I love just listening. But I also love watching them too!

We did some research on bees, and loved observing a bee close-up; we gave it some sugar water then carefully relocated it after this video clip…

C is for…

Click beetles! We found one in our cloakroom. It was such a fasciniting little thing; such a clever defense mechanism. Insects are amazing!

Which are your favourite activities so far?

Brighten Up Walls With Some Wallsauce!

Do you rooms look a little dull? Are you trying to find a fun way to brighten up your walls? Or even trying to find new ways to improve your wellbeing? Whether you are designing the ideal child’s bedroom, creating a tranquil bedroom environment, decorating your cosy home office space, or perhaps even making a sensory therapy room – Wallsauce wallpaper murals might well be your perfect solution!

Brighten up walls with Wallsauce

Their beautiful murals will help you to create the perfect environment, whatever look you are trying to achieve. There are over a million designs to choose from; including fine art, fun kids murals, funky patterns and stunning scenes. You can also upload your own photography too!

I spent ages browsing their website just for fun, mentally redesigning every room in our home! There are so many amazing images to choose from. Here are some of my favourites…

Landscape Theme

The collection of landscape theme wallpapers are just so stunning, I literally couldn’t find a single one I wouldn’t love on my wall! Check out the waterfalls, they are particularly gorgeous. The Iceland photos grabbed my attention especially; they are literally the images I have in my head when I am practising visualisation and meditating. Simply beautiful. Here are just a few of the landscape choices available…

Yosemite landscape wallpaper by Wallsauce

Sunset jetty beach wall mural by Wallsauce

River sunset wallpaper by Wallsauce

Beach Scenes

I have written before how important I feel being around water is for our mental health; a concept known as Blue Mind. Therefore I adore the beach scenes and I think they would be fantastic for bringing an air of relaxation to any room in the home. I can imagine sitting in our lounge feeling like we are actually sat on the beach!

Windswept beach mural by Wallsauce

Tropical beach wall mural by Wallsauce

Forest and Tree Wallpaper Murals

Of course I definitely couldn’t go without mentioning this theme! I love the idea of bringing the sights of our natural environment into our home, and these tree images are so serene. They would be lovely in an office space, or in the bedroom – it would feel like camping every night! This birch tree scene is my absolute favourite…

Birch forest sunlight wallpaper

Kids Murals

There are loads of kids murals to choose from. No matter what your child’s interests, no doubt you can pick out the perfect decor for their room. I spotted a fab flamingo design that my flamingo-mad friend’s daughter would love for example! The fairytale scenes are fabulous for catching a young child’s imagination. Or maybe choose a map of the world for some educational value. Squiggle would have loved this arctic ocean scene when she was little…

Arctic puzzle kids wallpaper mural

Fairytale mural in a nursery

World map wallpaper mural

Sensory Room Ideas

If you are creating a sensory room in your home, some of these wallpaper murals would be brilliant for it. Obviously it would depend on the child and what you are trying to achieve – for example, whether it is a low visual chillout area to avoid overstimulation, or a highly stimulating, high sensory input for a sensory seeker – but there are some super funky designs and some nice calm ones too. I love this blue wallpaper if you are looking for something that is simple but not entirely plain…

Blue wallpaper

Whatever look you are going for, in any room, these Wallsauce wallpaper murals will jazz up the space and make designing your home much easier – and way more fun!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. However, I have expressed my honest opinions about these designs!