Balancing the Books: The Financial Part of a Hobby Farm

Four Seasons of Irrigation: How to Keep Your Sprinkler System in Top Shape All Year Round

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Seasons of Irrigation: How to Keep Your Sprinkler System in Top Shape All Year Round

Automatic sprinkler systems are great, but like everything else in your home, they need a little maintenance to help them stay that way. The good news it that it isn’t a massive undertaking; you simply need to do a few quick tasks at the start of every season to keep your garden irrigation as good as new for years to come. SPRING Spring is when your lawn is at its most enthusiastic, and there’s usually enough rain around that it won’t need a lot of watering. This is the ideal time to give your sprinkler system a full test, though; plug in the control panel and manually turn on your system’s zone’s one by one to give yourself a clear picture of what might be going on. The main things you’ll need to look out for are: Sprinkler heads that aren’t opening because grass has grown over them. These are simple to clean out yourself, once you’ve identified which ones they are. Sprinkler heads that aren’t offering full coverage and have become misaligned. These can be manually repositioned, and/or realigned with a sprinkler head adjustment tool depending on the problem. Sprinkler heads and pipes that aren’t filling or sprinkling at all, and have broken over the winter months. These will often require a professional to fix, but for a trained specialist, it’s usually a very simple and straightforward job. Systemic water pressure problems, resulting in an inadequate flow and coverage. To sort this out, you’ll need to hire a professional – they’ll have the right tools and parts to test your system’s water pressure and adjust it as necessary. Sprinkler systems tend to come with backflow prevention assemblies. These are important for the health and safety of you and your family; without them, the water used to irrigate your lawn could find its way into your home’s water supply. Some areas require that these systems are tested annually, so you’ll need to check with your local authorities to find out if this applies to you. Even if it doesn’t, regular professional testing is recommended. SUMMER Thanks to all your hard work in the spring, during the hot summer months your system should be in perfect working order – but it’s still worth keeping an eye on it as summer progresses. Have a quick look at it on at least a monthly basis, just to make sure that none of your sprinkler heads have become clogged or misaligned. There are several sprinkler maintenance checklists available online that make it quick and easy to see what’s what – this one from is a good place to start. AUTUMN As summer fades into autumn, you’ll probably still want your system running sometimes – but keep an eye on rainfall to ensure you aren’t overusing it. This is also your chance to prevent clogged sprinkler heads before they happen, by keeping your lawn as free of fallen leaves as you can. WINTER Before the real cold weather hits, it’s important to get your sprinkler system ready for the chill. If you live in an area where temperatures ever fall below freezing, it’s vital that you get all the water out of your system’s pipes before the first frost – and the only way to ensure that happens is to have all the...

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Why Consider a Constructed Wetland on Your Property?

Posted by on Jan 14, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Consider a Constructed Wetland on Your Property?

A constructed wetland is a type of wetland that is created or manmade for cleaning and filtering the environment around it. A property owner can create a constructed wetland by introducing a water feature and certain plants that are effective at this filtering; it can be as large or as small as you’d like and can offer many advantages over other types of filters. Note a few reasons to consider a constructed wetland on your property. 1. It typically doesn’t need maintenance If you’re concerned about hazardous runoff or other such contaminants on your property, you might install a type of filtering system that includes actual filters, pipes for directing water, pumps, and the like. However, these things need maintenance, as you need to clean or replace the filter, repair holes and damage to pipes, and maintain any type of pump. With a constructed wetland, you can design and plant the area and then only give it a sporadic check to make sure plants are healthy. 2. It treats a variety of contaminants Trying to treat a number of contaminants with artificial chemicals can be a challenge because different chemicals and additives are often needed for various types of bacteria and damaging elements in soil. For instance, you may need to add lime to soil that is very acidic, but this can be damaging to soil that is very alkaline and dry. With a constructed wetland, various harmful elements will be filtered naturally without having to worry about adding or adjusting different chemicals for different materials in the soil. 3. More convenient and less expensive installation To install a constructed wetland, you may only need a simple building permit for your property, whereas installing filtration systems may mean choosing materials that are up to certain building codes along with those permits. These items and accessories can also be very expensive, whereas a constructed wetland can be no more expensive than sand and certain plants. You also don’t need to worry about the cost of operating a pump to get underground moisture through the wetland, as the roots of the plants act as a natural attraction for this moisture. Note too that your neighbors are less likely to object to a constructed wetland, as it will simply look like a large pond or water feature. Adding a filtration system with pumps and pipes can mean an eyesore in your neighborhood and a problem with neighbors that you could otherwise avoid with a constructed...

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Testing the Waters – Keeping Your Pool Water in Perfect Health

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you have a home swimming pool you want to have confidence that the water is hygienic and safe. Testing the water and being aware of what constitutes a healthy swimming pool ensures this. Common factors that can lead to corruption of a healthy chemical balance in your pool can often be avoided.  Be mindful of these and you may be able to dodge them, or at least address them, before they spoil your swimming fun. Take the Test  Remember to test your pool water at least once a week. Frequency should increase during times when pool is in regular use. This can be done with a DIY kit or by taking a water sample to your local pool shop (or to Agrifood Technology). The chemical balance of you pool is vital to both swimmers health in addition to preservation and maintenance of pool equipment. The pH Level  The pH level of the water—how acidic or basic it is—will need to be kept within an acceptable range. An ongoing imbalance in the pH of your pool water will result in unhealthy and potentially corrosive water. An acceptable pH level for your pool water is said to be between 7.4 and 7.6. A reading below 7 indicates water that is too acidic and can irritate the eyes. If the reading is above 8 it’s indicative of alkalinity of the water and can result in skin irritations. The water pH must be correct to precipitate the function and utilization of the chlorine. Chlorine  The maintenance of healthy active chlorine levels in the pool is essential. This applies in both chlorinated and salt water pools. Chlorine acts as disinfectant and can be corrupted or compromised by several factors including: Activity in the pool and the number of users – Body oils, perspiration, body care products, sunscreens and cosmetics all de-stabilize your pool water’s chemical levels. The more people in the pool the less stable the chemical balance of the water. Animals in the pool – A standard size dog is equivalent, in debris and germ impact, to the increased load that three humans would create in your pool water. Think twice before you indulge Fido in dog paddle. Leaf litter and vegetation from pool surrounds – Vegetation and garden chemicals can introduce phosphates into your pool, which in turn can encourage algae. Efficiency and frequency of filtration system cycles – The pump and filtration system clears the pool water of debris. The longer the filtration cycle runs the less chlorine is needed to maintain pool water hygiene. The more efficient pumps and filters are the cleaner your pools will be. Excessive rain – Prolonged rain will result in a dilution of chlorine levels and lead to the promotion of algae and bacteria in your pool. A shock treatment  may be required to kill any existing bacteria following a period of heavy rain. Extreme heat – Chlorine is destroyed by the intense ultraviolet rays. Warm weather requires a more diligent testing and correcting of pool water. Hot weather will increase the number of people using your pool and the frequency of use. This weather therefore tends to lead to a decrease in chlorine in the pool water and a simultaneous rise in bacteria, encouraged as a result of sun lotion and body oils being introduced into the water by swimmers. Knowing the above factors can wreak havoc on the healthy balance of your...

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4 Reasons to Always Have a Professional Drill or Dig For a Home’s Well

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you want to have a well on your home’s property you might try to drill it on your own, but this can be a shortsighted mistake. Even if you’re accustomed to doing work around your home’s property and have researched how to drill or dig a residential well, consider why you always want to have a professional handle this work for you. 1. You may hit a variety of materials while drilling As you’re drilling or digging you may hit anything from solid rock to soft and sandy soil. Each of these types of soil will require different drilling tools and techniques. Trying to force your way through rock can damage your equipment and not removing moisture from very damp soil can allow it to simply seep through your dig. A professional will not only understand the best methods for each type of soil but will also have the tools and equipment needed to dig properly. 2. The walls of your dig need to be properly braced If you don’t properly brace the walls of your dig you can see it collapse which is not only dangerous but also time-consuming. Depending on the extent of the collapse of your dig, you may need to actually start all over again. As with digging itself, the method used to brace your walls will depend on the materials you hit. Dense rock won’t need as much bracing but sandy soil and moist soil will need stronger bracing. A professional excavator will understand how to keep the walls braced as he or she digs so that the dig itself is protected as it progresses. 3. Your well may need to be pumped as its dug Pumping your well as you dig it can allow for easier construction, but the ground shouldn’t be pumped so much that it becomes dry. A professional will know how to pump the well as it’s dug while still preserving its integrity. He or she will also typically have a hydrovac on hand, which actually vacuums soil rather than digs it so that the moisture is collected with it. 4. A professional will know how deep to drill You need a deep well to provide adequate water supplies but if it’s too deep, the walls may be vulnerable to collapsing. A professional excavator, like Milne Water Drilling, can ensure that the well is dug the proper depth so that it’s safe while still providing an adequate supply of...

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