Container Gardening Basics For Success

Container Gardening is becoming more and more popular as the population of cities and suburbs increases. Your "garden" is movable and so it is easier to manage pests and garden environments. It also brings the time that you need to tend to your plants because you can place them where they are easier for you to reach. This is especially good for people who are handicapped but still want a garden.

There are some things that are necessary in order to have a successful container garden.

First, you must have a container. You can find them in almost every size, shape and they can be made of many different materials. And, they can be very inexpensive, especially when you create them from "found" objects. You must make sure that the container that you choose has adequate drainage.

Make sure that your container is appropriate for your plant's full-grown size. You do not want to have to keep changing pots as your garden grows.

Soil is the next thing you have to have for your garden. I'm sorry, but you can not go outside and dig up some dirt. It will be much too heavy and will probably contain lots of bugs and pests that you do not need. The soil must be of good quality to keep your plants healthy and growing well. Buy potting mix that drains well but still is able to retain adequate moisture. The mix should not be so light that it will not hold the plant and root system in the container without propping the plant up.

You can mix your own potting soil by using one part compost; one part perlite and one part garden loam. Be sure that you inspect the loam for pests before using it.

Choose plants that do not have very large root systems. Those plants will soon get too large for the pot that you have planted them in, even to the point of breaking it. As I mentioned before, not sizing the plant to the pot (or the pot to the plant), can cause plants to be spindly and root-bound.

Tomatoes are a good choice for a new gardener because they are easy to grow and have a strong, but small, root system. Other vegetables that are appropriate are peppers, lettuce, spinach, radishes and eggplant.

Herbs are also an excellent choice for container gardens. Herb gardens do not require much space and they are extremely easy to grow, even for the novice gardener. Like most plants, they do require adequate drain to grow them successfully.

Some people use container gardens as decorating accents as well as growing vegetables for the dinner table. Choosing containers that fit with the style of the area you want them in terms of its ambiance. You might even want to use them in a specific area inside your home. Sunrooms come to mind as a great place to grow plants. Do make sure there is adequate sun and shade for your plants.

Fractions and Rational Numbers – What is the Difference?

Most of us go through years of school math courses and still are confused about some basic things. For example: Why can not you divide by zero? Why is .999 … equal to 1, and not a bit less?

There are loads of these kinds of questions, that would not be a cause of frustration at all, if they were taught reasonably and clearly.

Unfortunately most of these things are supposed to be covered in elementary school, and most elementary school teachers do not have a good understanding of basic math concepts. Instead they are supposedly to teach just a collection of "skills."

One of the simplest concepts that is usually left inadequately explained is the difference between fractions and rational numbers. Let's see if we can clear it up now.

A fraction is a number that expresses part of a whole as a quotient of integers (where the denominator is not zero).

A rational number is a number that can be expressed as a quotient of integers (where the denominator is not zero), or as a repeating or terminating decimal. Every fraction fits the first part of that definition. Therefore, every fraction is a rational number.

But even though every fraction is a rational number, not every rational number is a fraction.

Why? Consider this:

Every integer (all the whole numbers, including zero, and their negatives ….- 3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 …) is a rational number , because it can be expressed as a quotient of integers, as in the case of 4 = 8/2 or 1 = 3/3 or -3 = 3 / -1 and so on. So integers such as 4 or 1 can be expressed as the quotient of integers.

But an integer is not a fraction . 4 is an integer, but it is not a fraction. 4 is not expressed as the quotient of integers. The difference here is in the wording.

A fraction is a number that expresses part of a whole. An integer does not express a part. It only expresses a whole number.

A rational number is a number that can be expressed as a quotient of integers, or as part of a whole, but fraction is a number that is (must be) expressed as a quotient of integers, or as part of a whole – there is a difference. The difference is subtle, but it is real.

There are slightly different variations of the definition of a fraction, including, "A fraction is the ratio of two whole numbers, or to put it simply, one whole number divided by another whole number."

That definition also shows that an integer is not a fraction, because an integer is not a ratio. It can be expressed as a ratio, but it is not a ratio in itself; it can be divided by another whole number, but it i s not being divided.

In a nutshell, the fractions are a subset of the rational numbers. The rational numbers contain the integers, and fragments do not.

How to Talk to Your Spouse Who Says You Work Too Much

Strong marriages and relationships require attention from both partners. This balance of attention to spouse versus earning a living or furthering your career can be difficult to find. And, once you have found a balance that works in your relationship, things change and you have to find the balance again.

Why do some people overwork? The Overworking Spouse may be under considerable stress on the job, or may have a boss that demands long hours. Or maybe there are layoffs coming up and the less productive workers are the first to go. Maybe one partner has to work long hours just to support the family. On the other hand, the overworking spouse may be strongly identifying with career advancement to the exclusion of the marriage. Of course, we should be involved in work that is worthwhile, fulfilling and financially rewarding but over focus can put the marriage at risk.

What can happen when you put your work/career first? Your spouse may be feeling emotionally disconnected from you and lonely. There may be a buildup of resentment which can lead to anger and finally bitterness-towards you. This situation often leads to unhappiness and discord for the entire family.

As a psychologist who has worked for 20 years counseling couples in my therapy practice in North St. Paul, MN, I met with Amy and Josh with just this complaint. Amy was complaining that she was overburdened because Josh worked too much and left her with the responsibilities of home, children, and her own 40-hour job. He knew she was right but he felt defensive when she tried to tell him how to manage his work schedule. He’d started complaining that when wasn’t very affectionate lately and always blamed her disinterest in their physical intimacy on fatigue. He asked to meet with me individually after Amy had had a session to talk about her “side”of the problem. He was appreciative that she was not as naggy as she had been in the past, but he still felt blamed and criticized.

When Josh and I met, we talked of the reasons that he was spending so much time at work. The usual reasons people overwork is that they are feeling under considerable stress on the job, or may have a boss that demands long hours. Or maybe there are layoffs coming up and the less productive works are the first to go. Maybe one partner has to work long hours just to support the family. On the hand, the overworking spouse may be strongly identifying with career advancement to the exclusion of the marriage.

Drs. John and Julie Gottman, in their book 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, suggest the following questions:

1.What does your work mean to you?

2.What pleasure or satisfaction does work bring to you?

3.What need does working fulfill in your life?

4.Does your work related to some personal legacy you would like to contribute to the world?

In a discussion with Josh, he pointed out that he was trying to make headway in his career now, while he was still young and had the energy. He knew his wife was doing a good job parenting their two small children (3 years and 9 months) so he wanted to focus on earning good money for his family. At first, he couldn’t understand why Amy was complaining so much because he was doing all this work for her and their children. He felt it was his responsibility. He wanted to provide his children with a fund for their education.

I suggested he consider the questions listed above. He said that his work is very satisfying in that he felt very confident and capable at work. He also wanted to meet his father’s expectations who had had a successful career. His older two brothers had moved from job to job and he knew his father was disappointed that they had difficulty supporting their families.

It was important for Josh to understand the underlying reasons for his excessive hours at work. He did not have a demanding boss and he was in no threat of a layoff. He just wanted to do the right thing. He had not thought of himself as having value over and above that of a worker and wage earner. He resigned himself to have a discussion with Amy. He said he would try to listen carefully about what Amy was longing for when she complained to him. I suggested he try to imagine the experiences she wanted to have with him and not to focus on her criticisms.

When Amy and Josh came for the next couple’s session, they wanted to further discuss the overworking situation. (They no longer saw the problem as residing inside one of them but as a problem the two of them need to figure out.) Any was able to explain to him what she missed when he work so much. He came to get a sense that his contribution to their family was not solely a financial responsibility. He heard her tell him he was also loved, appreciated, and needed as a friend, confidant and co-parent. She especially enjoyed his easy humor with their children and felt he was the only one who would be able to provide that.

This was a difficult issue for this couple and it was not resolved quickly. They were able to discuss their needs and wants in a different way when they addressed the questions about the underlying reasons for their positions.

Does Body Jewelry Make You Take Extra Risks?

Body jewelry is usually associated with body piercing. There are lots of styles available ranging from cute and sexy to exotic and tribal. The places that can be pierced and the type of jewelry worn are naturally endless. It seems that when a person moves beyond a traditional or conservative earlobe piercing that other people tend to think that this non-traditional self expression is a sign of rebellion. However, is the presence of body jewelry an indication that the person is willing to take extra risks?

That is a question that parents of teens battle with as their kids approach them for permission to get a piercing. They fear that piercing such as a belly piercing, nose piercing or tongue piercing may be an indication that their teen is rebelling against their own parental values.

This is true in some cases; however, many teens simply say that the desire to wear different types of body jewelry is merely a form of personal preference and expression. Not a rebellion against their parents, just a sign that they want to have their own look even if they will keep their parents value system.

What risks youth may encounter in their quest to wear body jewelry is trying to do the piercing by themselves with a needle and a prayer. This is often not the best road to travel. The risks for infection are far greater than the risks of not gaining permission from your parents. Many teens see self piercing as the only alternative when their parents "just do not get it."

Does this mean that parents should open the gates and permit their kids to wear any type of body jewelry that they desire? Will this lead their kids to continue that push into getting permission for other behavior such as under-age drinking, smoking, or drugs? In other words, is body piercing the "gateway drug" for a rebel youth?

Probably not. But that is what many parent fear when their teens ask them about body jewelry. Youth often believe that nothing bad can happen to them. They are young, resilient and can handle anything including the risks of a self-piercing. As a parent you have the ability to less some of the risks that youth will consider. Most experts would agree that by educating yourself about body piercing and by understanding your child's motives and desires for this trend, a solution can be formed that will keep harmony in the house and enhance the relationship with your teen.