Organic Gardening – Watermelons Are a Summertime Favorite

Sweet, succulent watermelon grown in your own home garden are a summertime favorite. There is nothing better than there sweet, cool, refreshing and delicious taste on a hot summer day. This warm climate crop thrills with the growing growing seasons in warm climates, but there are varieties for cooler areas that will preform just fine and as tasty.

When planting, choose a location that will get full sunlight and with a good air circulation. They can grow in many different types of soil, but prefer a good healthy soil structure that is light, loose, fertile and well drained. Working in a generous amount of compost, composted manure or composed leaves into the soil will greatly benefit the soils structure for your watermelons to thrive. A soil that keeps moisture well is very important when growing watermelons, they like a steady supply of water.

Sow seeds directly into the garden once all dangers of frost have passed, soak the seeds for a half hour before planting in compost tea will help the seeds germinate. Plant on hills with 4 seeds per hill and space the hills 8 to 10 feet apart for vine type or 3 to 4 feet apart for bush type. Once the seeds have germinated remove 2 of the seedlings leaving the 2 best plants.

Watermelons are heavy feeders and need a steady supply of water, giving them a feeding of compost tea every two weeks will add the nutrients needed for your plants to thrive. Do not overdue it with nitrogen, especially once the flowers form.

Harvesting your watermelons can be a tricky task. There are three methods that can be used in figuring out if a watermelon is ripe. Look, listen and feel are what it takes to check for ripeness in a watermelon.

First sign is visual, the underside of the fruit that rests on the ground will turn a gold color or yellow straw color. Next look for the curly tendril that is attached to the vine closest to the fruit, it will be dry and brittle when a watermelon is ripe.

Second is the thump test, tap the watermelon with your knuckles and it should make a hollow sound when ripe. This method will take some practice, but once you get the feel for it you will most likely you this method the most.

Third is feel, if you run your fingers around the center of the watermelon you should feel ridges on the rind when it is ripe. This is done around the center and not from end to end or from stem to blossom. A watermelon that is not mature will be smooth.

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Fast Food, Slow Death?

The all too familiar story: no time to cook, kids are late for soccer practice and McDonald's is on the way. Since it will not take more than a few minutes to shoot through the drive through we'll do the fast food stop. Or all too familiar story number 2: lunch hour at work and I need to pick up my dry cleaning, fill a prescription, and take the car to get gas and find time to eat. Sure enough Taco Bell is on the way and they have a drive through as well. These real life situations play out for all of us, millions of us, everyday. Since time has become one of our most precious commodities the sacrifice we make is often in our diet.

And yet it does not need to be this way. By following a few healthy practices you can still go to your favorite fast food chain and, 30 years from now, live to tell about it. The key is knowing what to select from the menu and balancing that meal with the rest of the day's food intake.

Choose Your Menu Items With Care

Choose a main dish item that is low in fat. As an example, when faced with the choice of a bacon cheeseburger or a regular hamburger, the regular hamburger wins every time. In the battle of the regular hamburger or the grilled chicken breast sandwich the chicken wins hands down. Why? Here's an example:

Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich has 360 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 0 trans fat. Compare that to the Wendy's Big Bacon Classic which has 580 calories, 29 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of trans fat. Put either choice with a medium fry and you have added another 440 calories and another 21 grams of fat. Choose, instead, the Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Chive and you add 320 calories and 4 grams of fat – a better choice indeed.

Choose side salads and salad bar vegetables as these provide extra vitamins and add dietary fiber. In addition they fill you up without adding lots of extra calories. Be sure to use low fat or non-fat dressing or better yet, a simple vinaigrette dressing. More dietary fiber can be found in the choice of whole wheat or whole grain buns and rolls.

If your sweet tooth kicks in have fresh fruit or frozen yogurt. Or go for the reduced fat ice cream versus the shake. Again an example, this time from McDonald's: 16 oz. Triple Thick Vanilla Shake has 550 calories and 13 grams of fat. The Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone has 150 calories and only 3.5 grams of fat. Granted the lower calories alternative is not as decadent but it also will not clog your arteries by increasing your cholesterol intake and it will satisfy the sugar craving.

Watch Your Portion Size

Portion control is also a key element to successful fast food dining. Although many restaurants have discontinued the super size trend, most portions are simply more than we need to consume. These large portions look like real value when viewed in the monetary sense but when measured by way of their contribution to weight gain and its complications they are simply not worth it.

Choose the smallest size possible especially if you are having hamburgers or fried foods.

Share large or high items with someone else.

Eat half your order and take the rest home. Yes, I know we are provided to clean our plates because there are children starving in China. At least that's what many mothers over the years have been heard to say. The fact is being a member of the Clean Plate Club will also get you entry into the Fat Club, the High Cholesterol Club, and if your really fortify the Heart Disease Club.

Remember These 3 Key Points

1. Reduce total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
2. Increase intake of whole grains
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fast food is one of the great innovations of the 20th century. Here in the 21st century we need to manage how we take advantage of its limitless access. To do so will maintain a balance between food as satisfying fuel that keeps our human engine running and toxic waste that will eventually lead to shorten life spans.

New Year Gifts – Innovative and Different

What things come to your mind while thinking of the right New Year gift? It can be a show-piece, or any similar item. We can think of something different also – say a photo-book, a personalized mug, or a simple T-Shirt.

Create canvas print

A nice photo, printed on canvas and framed as per your choice, is the right option for a nice New Year Gift for the occasion. A gemstone will not be as precious as a canvas print of the favorite photograph. In case your friend stays far away then you can send a roled-out print. The rolled-out print has extra one-inch white space to use while framing. Someone close expect something personal and what's better than mounted and ready to hang – canvas-printed photograph. The frames are made out of high-quality wood which is best to hang and portray. It will definitely bring a sweet smile on the other person's face all year through.

Create nice photo-book

How about the memorable events of your life printed in a photo book. You may take lots of time to create one but the other person will really understand your feelings and efforts put together. A nice photobook is treasured till the time of death. It is indeed the most special New Year gift for the most loved person. Some photo-sharing sites help create memoirs out of your memories and photobook is one of them.

Personalized mugs

Get a nice photo printed on the mug and place the order as per your choice. The photo sharing site will print that photo and create a nice magic mug as New Year Gift to your kid.

Name Calendars

This is the most special New Year Gift. One can choose among the various photographs to be printed for different months on the calendar. Put the names to be printed on each page of the calendar. These names may be of different person or for the same. The income will be worth adoring and worth a million dollar gift for the closest person on earth. In fact, you can simply place the calendar on the work-desk of the person concerned-for a beautiful surprise.

These are some of those personalized New Year gifts which are meant to strengthen your relationship, friendship and whatever relation you are in.

But I Don’t Feel Like Working Out!

Do most people actually feel like exercising? Think about it. Who do you know actually loves to work-out as often as they can? Probably not many because if most people felt that way there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic.

As I write this, even I’m putting off the inevitable. I have to work-out. I’m a Personal Trainer. Shouldn’t I be counting down the seconds until I get to hurt and sweat to the classic rock channel and my dumbbells? Nope. I have spent the last hour or so lollygagging around the couple of sites I tend to frequent, posting a few status updates and commenting “great pic” here and there while working up the motivation to get moving! I have a holiday party to attend tonight and I can promise you…the food will probably be pretty good. So how can I take my love of fabulous cuisine and my obvious Sunday morning laziness and somehow use this combo to get me up off the sofa and into the work-out room? Well I’ll tell ya….

I’ve been fat and I’ve been fit and I promise you that fit feels better! I just typed a paragraph or so about my own vulnerabilities above to let you know that I relate to your lack of desire to exercise. We aren’t that different from each other. I live in the same fast world with the same fast food and email vs. snail mail and instant gratification benefits as everyone else. The only problem with this is that permanent and healthy weight-loss and weight-management take time, perseverance and yep, hard work.

I know what happens when we put important tasks off. They either never get done or if they eventually do, there is usually a hefty late penalty. It’s no different with our bodies. To develop and keep a fit physique, consistency is the key. To stay consistent, we have to change our minds.

The truth is that the next hour or so WILL go by regardless of what I choose to do within that time. The last hour is over and I chose to sit on the computer. Now even though I really did more productive things other than post silly stuff online, the fact remains that there is still a work-out to be done. I will have calories to burn off for later. I have a metabolism to speed up for the indulgences I will partake in tonight. I can choose to sit here for the rest of the afternoon and not get my strength training session in and I probably still won’t put on any significant weight from tonight’s foods. The reason for this is that while most often I would prefer not to work-out, I do it anyway because I ALWAYS feel a sense of pride, joy and power by the end of that hour of exercise than I would feel by not doing it. I feel AMAZING when I finish an exercise session. Did it happen overnight? NO! I had to make myself continue to experience it for a good long time until I realized the power behind a regular fitness routine. The result is a faster metabolism which burns my calories for me while I do nothing at all. In real estate, they would call this cash flow from a rental property. The investing, rehabs and negotiations are done yet the pay goes on. Brilliant!

Think about where you are right now. Do you have any regrets over the things you didn’t do? Have you noticed any negative circumstances in your life that could have been kept small and insignificant if only you had tackled them sooner? What about any goals you would have accomplished had you acted sooner (or at all)? When you take a moment and honestly think about any of these regrets, are you convinced that if you only had the chance to make a different decision you would have done it and then you would have everything you’ve ever wanted by now? How much would you give to change the outcome of any of the scenarios I just mentioned?

It’s been 2 hours since my last paragraph. In that time, I worked-out AND prepared all the vegetables needed for my few days worth of healthy salads. I’ll be honest here. I absolutely didn’t feel like doing ANY of that. It’s time consuming and labor intensive as far as I’m concerned. Given that thought process, here’s another one which is equally true. I just finished my work-out and prepared my lean and nutrient dense post exercise replenishment not just for today, but for the next several days to come. It was labor intensive, but I FEEL AMAZING! The hard work is done and I’ll reap the benefits of 2 hours worth of work for the next few days! The technical term for this is delayed gratification. Let’s say it together. DELAYED GRATIFICATION. It’s a way of life we don’t experience much of these days and I believe it’s why our bodies suffer from malnutrition and limited physical capabilities.

You see, most of us don’t feel like doing a lot of the things we need to do and I’m no different. The only way to experience the other side of this particular coin is to just do it. Whatever it is. With exercise, the more often you muster up the strength to get it done, the more you’ll understand the rewards. Don’t get me wrong, you still may want to put it off, however, you’ll have a valid sense of what you’re missing out on if you do. You’ll get how powerful it feels to spend that hour or so doing what you’ll feel proud of rather than nothing at all, which you could easily regret much longer than a measly hour, possibly the rest of your life. This way of thinking creates pride and a healthy self-esteem. It also helps to abolish any feelings of restriction since when we take care of ourselves the majority of the time, we can enjoy our indulgences without guilt.

Well, now that I’ve done the hard work, I’m gonna relax. As I had mentioned earlier, it’s Sunday. The only day of the week that I don’t have to be something to someone. The day that’s reserved all for me. Rather than spending all of it vegging, I gave myself the best gift I could….peace of mind from good work well done. I took that hour, doubled it and now I feel free!

So what about you? What did you get from this?

Wishing you a lifetime of smart choices and self-pride!