Set up your own #terrace #vegetable #garden

how-to-grow-a-terrace-vegetable-garden_1Have you, inspired by what Jyotika did in 36 Vayadhinile, wanted a terrace veggie garden of your own? It’s a good idea, actually, to grow everyday spices and herbs, so that you have them at hand — fresh — whenever needed. But if you’re among the many who don’t know how to go about setting up this garden, read on…

Choose the right space
Go to the terrace, take a good look. Judge the play of the sun throughout the day. And then, select a place that is shady, but at the same time, gets direct sunlight for some part of the day. You’ve to ensure that the plants get at least five hours of sunlight daily. But mind you, herbs are delicate leaves, so be careful that the sunlight is not so strong that the leaves get scorched by the heat.

Get this…
The state government, as part of its environment and green cover initiatives, provides coir peats that come in plastic bags, which means you can grow the veggies in them, without having to bother about spending on pots. To begin with, wet the peats, place them on a sheet in the terrace. Keep watering them regularly, and in about a week, you’ll see what looked like a small brick would’ve expanded to look like debris, and filled the bag. Now, to plant the seeds…

Prepare the soil

Get some soil and natural manure from any nursery, and mix it well with the peats. If you want to keep it organic, add cow dung or goat dung manure to the mix. Leave this mix aside for a few days. Meanwhile, when you peel veggies, etc, do not throw away the skin. Instead, create your own compost with these vegetable skins and waste veggies in another pot in the terrace, and add them to this mix. After about a week, this mix is ready for plantation. Get the seeds of whatever you want to grow (tomatoes, chillies, coriander, basil and herbs are good choices). Sprinkle a few seeds over the mix, slightly dab them in with your hand, and leave it be for a couple of days. Watch them grow.

Pick the right veggies

To start with, try out just one or two vegetables, and then go in for more veggies. Tomatoes, chillies and keerai (spinach) are easy to grow, so start with them. Sometimes you might need to net out the seeds and the saplings as they grow, to keep pesky sparrows and other birds from feasting on them.

Watering is the key factor

Water the plants regularly, as and when needed. Excess water often causes damage and decay to plant roots, and it also washes away the nutrients of the soil. Also, post every heavy rainfall, remember to add manure to the soil.

2 #Facebook #comments a day may improve #mental well-being. What’s your #count?

Just two Facebook comments a day over a month from close friends can improve a person’s feelings of well-being and satisfaction with life just as much as getting married or having a baby.

If you like that girl’s photo, might as well also post a comment on it because you may just make her really happy.

A new study has claimed that just two Facebook comments a day over a month from close friends can improve a person’s feelings of well-being and satisfaction with life just as much as getting married or having a baby.

However, passively reading posts or one-click feedback such as “likes” do not have these positive effects.

“We’re not talking about anything that’s particularly labour-intensive. This can be a comment that’s just a sentence or two,” said Moira Burke, a research scientist at Facebook.

“The important thing is that someone such as a close friend takes the time to personalise it,” said Burke, who earned a PhD at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the US.

“The content may be uplifting, and the mere act of communication reminds recipients of the meaningful relationships in their lives,” she added.

However, passively reading posts or one-click feedback such as “likes” do not have these positive effects.

Sixty comments from close friends in a month were linked to increases in users’ psychological well-being as large as those associated with major life events, the study found.

The findings run counter to many previous studies based on user surveys, which have shown that time spent on social media is linked to greater likelihood of loneliness and depression.

“You’re left to wonder – is it that unhappy people are using social media, or is social media affecting happiness?” said Robert Kraut, a professor at CMU.

The new study resolved this “chicken-or-egg” dilemma by using Facebook logs to examine counts of participants’ actual Facebook activity over a period of months.

In addition to being more accurate than relying on people’s recollections of their online activity via commonly used surveys, this enabled researchers to distinguish between types of activity – posting, passive reading, comments, likes, etc – and whether the interactions were with people whom the users cared about or with lesser acquaintances.

“It turns out that when you talk with a little more depth on Facebook to people you already like, you feel better,” Kraut said.

“This suggests that people who are feeling down may indeed spend more time on social media, but they choose to do so because they’ve learned it makes them feel better,” Burke said.

The study was based on 1,910 Facebook users from 91 countries. Each agreed to take a monthly survey for three months and to have their responses joined with de-identified counts of their Facebook behaviour from the month before each survey.

By considering mood and behaviour over time, the study showed that Facebook interactions with friends predicted improvements in such measures of well-being as satisfaction with life, happiness, loneliness and depression.

The research method allowed them to rule out possibilities that happier people simply use Facebook more or that well-being predicts changes in how people use the medium.

The study appears in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

Ensure you have a #smart, #eco-#friendly #home

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If you are planning to renovate your haven or getting a new house built, consider going green with eco-friendly material and interiors made with natural materials.

Here are latest trends in home architecture as shared by Dikshu C Kukreja, Managing Director and Principal Architect, CP Kukreja Architects:

Healthy homes:

Architects are increasingly focusing on designing homes that promote a sense of well-being and keep stress and anxieties of daily life away. Environment-friendly building materials are being used to make healthier residences, with lush green landscaped terraces or shaded balconies for climate control.

Many of these materials play an active role in lighting, ventilation, air-quality and can even check diseases like asthma, cough and cold and eye irritation.

Green interiors:

Interior design for homes has finally moved beyond industry-manufactured building materials with a growing adoption of all-natural materials. Plants are now considered as living building material that can improve indoor oxygen levels and clean the air naturally, preventing many diseases.

Flowering plants are used to add to the shades and hues thereby alleviating the quality of interior design. Plants can also be used as natural bio-climatic controls as they help in shading thereby checking excess glare and heat in summer, as well as intelligently controlling the humidity of interior environment in dry regions.

Modular and smart interiors:

The modern architecture focuses on space economy in interior design through various tools. Sofa-cum-beds, vanity units that dissolve into walls facilitate maximum use of space. Walls that dissolve to make rooms larger is another thing that people can opt for, considering the constraint of home sizes.

It is better to use ready-made furniture as opposed to getting it made. You can see the end product and immediately get what you see. Modular kitchens, cabinets and wardrobes are in trend for they make it easier to organise things.

Smart intelligent homes: The newest trend is automated homes that seamlessly integrate security systems, electrical appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners and televisions, centrally or remotely controlled from multiple devices — either fixed or mobiles.

With technology being an indispensable part of people’s lives, smart homes also help you save on electricity bills.

Less #exercise during #puberty puts #teenagers at #risk of #obesity

The study result suggests that teenagers exercise less during puberty. This exercise drop is particularly stark in girls, whose activity level drops by around a third between the ages of seven and 16.

If you are worried sick about your teenager’s weight, here’s the reason. When young teenagers reach puberty, both girls and boys tend to experience a rapid drop in the number of calories they burn, finds a new study.

The research, that also explains the dramatic rise in childhood obesity in puberty, found that 15-year-olds use 400 to 500 fewer calories while at rest per day compared to when they were 10-years-old — a fall of around a quarter.

This was particularly surprising as it is a period of rapid growth, and growth uses lots of calories, the researchers said. However, by the age of 16, their calorie expenditure begins to climb once again.

In addition, the study also found that teenagers exercise less during puberty, adding to the calorie excess that underlies obesity. This exercise drop is particularly stark in girls, whose activity level drops by around a third between the ages of seven and 16.

“When we looked for an explanation for the rising obesity in adolescence, we were surprised to find a dramatic and unexpected drop in the number of calories burned while at rest during puberty,” said Terry Wilkin, Professor at the University of Exeter in Britain.

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “Child obesity and associated diabetes are both among the greatest health challenges of our time. Our findings can explain why puberty why teenagers gain excess weight in puberty, and it could help target strategies accordingly,” Wilkin added, in the paper published The International Journal of Obesity.

During the 12-year-long study, between 2000 and 2012, the research team analysed data gathered from nearly 350 school children in Britain. The children were assessed every six months between the ages of five and 16, during which blood samples were given to assess metabolic health and measurements of size, body composition, metabolic rate and physical activity taken. Of this set, 279 children gave data that made them eligible for the latest study.

Burning calories uses up a fixed amount of oxygen. The children rested in a sealed canopy and their oxygen consumption was measured over a period of time, to enable researchers to calculate their calorie use from the amount of oxygen consumed.