Home Maintenance Contracts, an unnecessary Expense? Saving Tips for you


Tips for saving money on Home Maintenance Contracts


At the time we talked about how we had to consider spending on insurance , as an expense or as an investment in security. Now we are going to analyze the contracts of maintenance of the home .


Sure the service companies or professionals who have done a job at some point have offered us this service. Now, even the bank or the insurer offers it as an extra, but is it really worth hiring?


The classics: gas, light …


Years ago, this service did not usually offer companies directly, or at least not as persistently and generalized as today.

Normally, to encourage their hiring are usually tied to temporary discounts (usually a year) in the maintenance fee itself, in addition to special promotions in gas and electricity rates (either in the fixed or the amount consumed ).



Before entering the service of maintenance, it is important to know that every five years a revision of the installation by the distributor is obligatory and that every year, those that have boiler, should review it; In this case we can choose who to make it with.


The reality is that many people do not make this mandatory review, at least not every year. But one thing is the review and another is the maintenance service. There are several packs in the maintenance service. All of them have in common that cover the displacement of the technician and an annual review. The cost ranges from 5 € to more than 20 € in those packs that include the boiler and even a franchise of 300 € in pieces to spend.


It is important to know that companies do not have their own technicians. What they do is subcontract the service with plumbers next to our home, who in turn offer the same service on their own. The advantage of doing it with the company itself is that we can domicile it with the receipt and pay it in comfortable terms.



If there is a maintenance service par excellence is the one of the caldera, of which everyone remembers with the arrival of the winter. In this case, we have three options. As we said in the previous point, contract it with the gas company, with a third party, or do it with the technical service of the boiler brand itself. Many people opt for this last option because it offers better guarantees despite being the cost somewhat higher than the previous two.



A few years ago, electric utilities started to offer this service. It is very rare that we have a fault in the electrical installation, and it must be appreciated that if the light service is interrupted, even in a stay of the home, most home insurance offers a repair to remedy the service, It is important that you review your policy to avoid duplication. In that case, it does not seem to be highly recommended to hire it for the majority of users.


Air conditioner

Air conditioning repair Complementary to the previous one, many companies offer the service of repair and maintenance of the conditioned air, that would be the summer equivalent to the service of the boilers. Although it is much less frequent that there are failures, because also its useful life is usually much inferior to the average useful life that has a boiler.


White Range Appliances

As a novelty, some companies, and even insurance offer the service of repair of our white appliances (refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, …).


In the case of insurance, sometimes it is offered as an extra for a few euros per year, and may be of interest to those users whose appliances have more years of use and therefore are likely to suffer a breakdown.


The “”handyman”” at home

The last contract that is being offered to individuals is a service of maintenance of “”clutter””, that is, professionals who would come to make small arrangements to our house. If we are not very handsome, or do not want to devote time to it, for a reasonable amount equal we can concentrate those little things in an intervention (a curtain, a faucet, a knob that closes badly, a blind, etc.). It is the latest fashion in insurance as a complement or even you get to bid for free.




As we see, there are many types of maintenance contracts, and in the end we are buying security. For all of them, we can say that normally if we have products with few years of life, maintenance should not be contracted while we have the warranty of the manufacturer in force, because we would be covered with it.


For the rest, it will depend on whether we prefer to pay an annual fee that offers us the peace of mind of being able to call a professional in case of incident (with the risk of spending many years paying without enjoying any service), or conversely, we prefer to search We trust the professional and only pay for the service actually used when we really need it.




The reasons to undertake the design of a garden can be several. Many times they often coincide with the purchase of a home. We can start a brand new house that rises in the middle of a piece of land peeled or full of debris. We will then have the enormous effort (and also the pleasure) to create our garden from scratch.


If we move to a house that already has a garden made maybe it is in poor condition and then it will need a radical reform. Or it may be OK, but some parts or the whole do not please us. Likewise, it is possible that we already have a garden to our liking, but that we have to reduce the time dedicated to maintenance or that we want to add or remove elements such as trees, flowerbeds, a house, pond, orchard, etc.


Whatever the reason and the scale of the changes to be made it is convenient to meditate calmly and integrate them into the general design of the garden before we get to work.


Garden Designing


This prior planning of the garden is necessary to avoid mistakes. Poor design can cause inconvenience and inconvenience to us and our plants, which will have to endure for a long time. Although the concept of good design is very subjective and depends largely on the judge, there are some general rules that should be respected.


At the outset, it will be our own circumstances that mark a number of points to keep in mind:

– The budget is important . The costs of creation and those of the later conservation must be adjusted to our possibilities.
– The time we want to spend in the future. If it is going to need a lot of maintenance we should have enough free time or pay a gardener.
– We will take into account the tastes of those who will use it to make them feel comfortable in it.
– The plants will be chosen according to the zone and the characteristics of the garden: climate, light, soil, exhibition, etc.
– Although we want to do something, we will not do it if it is an obvious mistake within the rules of gardening.






The correct choice of plants is essential when it comes to ensuring that these plants are successfully established. The climate of the area, the temperatures, the exposure, the type of soil, the space available, etc. must be taken into account. The use of native species of the region where we live is a guarantee to obtain good results.


In addition to choosing the right plant for each place you have to make a good choice when buying, buying healthy and strong specimens. If it is possible to see the roots, they should be clear and abundant, but they should not be overgrown or rolled up.

Cables and tubes: Before starting to make holes we must take into account the water, gas, electricity, etc. lines. Which cross the area in which we plan to work.


The hole: It must be two to three times the width and twice as deep as the root ball. So the roots can grow comfortably in a loose and rich soil.


The Manipulate: To avoid damaging the plant we hold it and lift it by the root ball, never by the trunk. It is possible that the plants that come in container have the roots rolled. They must then unwind and separate to extend, grow openly and do not end up forming a ball around the trunk. We must also carefully cut and remove any wrapping that accompanies the root ball, as well as the ropes and wires that are tied to the trunk.


Rooting – Depth is important. The base of the trunk or area where it widens to give rise to the roots must be above the earth. If the tree sinks too much the roots will have problems of oxygenation and will develop worse, being able to drown. And if you plant very close to the surface can lead to problems of temperature and lack of moisture.


Right tree: While someone holds it, we check from different points of view that the tree is straight.


Tutors: Although the plant will strengthen better, with stronger roots, without tutors, these may be necessary as support aids or to prevent the wind from overturning. They usually retire after the first year. The ties must be made of a flexible material, which does not cause chafing.


We fill the gap with care not to damage the roots, but occasionally we ground with the foot to avoid the air pockets. The pressure should be made outwardly, from the trunk to the outside. If we transplant to a very dense or clay soil, we must use part of the same type of soil to fill the hole. If only peat or sandy soil is used the hole will function as a vessel that will retain water by drowning the roots and seriously affecting the plant.


Padding: Consists of covering organic matter in the base of the plant. This layer retains moisture, protects against severe temperatures and slows the invasion of weeds. Leaves, bark, peat, sawdust, etc. can be used. It will only have a thickness of 5 or 10 cm. To prevent decay, you will avoid touching the trunk, clearing an area of ??several centimeters around it.


Watering or Irrigation – Irrigation should be adequate. It should be adjusted according to factors such as weather, land type, drainage, etc. The soil will always be humid, providing enough water in times of drought and watering for it as many times as necessary. But be careful not to overdo it, that the ground does not get soaked, because it can harm the plant. Both can damage the excess as the lack of water , especially during the first year after the transplant.


Follow-up: The experience of the plantation traumatizes and weakens the tree or shrub. It is normal for plants to not grow or develop at first. Most take several years to secure and adapt to their new situation. Further care will facilitate their prompt recovery.


If any pest appears, it must be dealt with immediately. After planting a slight sanitation pruning can be done to remove the damaged parts. Serious prunings will not begin until at least one season has elapsed. If a plant has major problems of adaptation or ends up dying it is advisable to know the causes before replacing it. Finding out the factors that have affected it is essential if we are not to repeat the same mistakes.


Easy and Simple to implement Biological Pest control techniques For Garden and Landscapes


Biological pest control consists of the use of a living organism to control the population of a particular pest. We manipulate nature to select a predator, parasite or disease that is protected and stimulated to attack another living being, making it a real living insecticide. It is of great importance for modern agricultural production.



Advantages of biological control


Biological control methods in the garden are less harmful to health and the environment than the use of pesticides. Its use prevents damage to plants in the short term. There is usually no resistance from pests to biological control. In the long run biological methods are cost-effective. Unlike most insecticides, biological control is usually directed against a particular pest. It does not produce intoxications and will never harm people, animals or beneficial insects. Nor is it a threat to waters or the environment.


Disadvantages of Biological Pest control


Biological Pest control is a more complex, needs more time and planning, as well as more knowledge and experience. For it to work you need to know the biology of the plagues and their enemies. In some cases biological methods are more expensive than chemicals. Its application does not produce results as drastic and immediate as with pesticides. Most predators only attack one particular type of insect, while insecticides can kill a wide variety of insects. This is counterproductive, as they also kill beneficial insects. As they may harm natural predators, we must use insecticides with great care.


Pine processionary
The catarina or ladybug is one of the most effective insects for the biological control of pests.



Beneficial insects with enough character


A beneficial insect is one that can attack some of the pests that damage our plants. The insect friend can devour the harmful immediately, can paralyze it to eat later or deposit eggs to feed their larvae after hatching. For example, sissy or catarina eats aphids, there are wasps that catch caterpillars and feed their larvae with them, and certain small wasps deposit eggs into other insects, the larvae devouring them from within when they are born.



The reasonable use of pesticides


When an unknown insect goes around the garden we must identify it. For this they are the guides, internet or you can consult some expert. We must observe if you eat a plant, if what you eat is another insect, if you only seek shelter or nothing else that passed by. Before the appearance of a harmful insect is necessary to evaluate the fault that causes before spraying with a chemical discharge. Pesticides also pollute and destroy desirable insects, so they will be used with extreme caution and only when necessary. This includes choosing the right insecticide and its use in the right proportion at the right time and place. It is best to look for a pesticide that acts on the pest without eliminating non-harmful insects. It is not at all good to kill all the insects in the garden, pests often recover much faster than their predators. A strong regrowth of harmful insects often follows indiscriminate chemical treatments.


Precautionary measures

– Before moving on to chemical warfare we should consider whether it is possible to catch harmful insects by hand or using traps, baits or sticky strips.
– Do not overpay. Excess nitrogen promotes vegetative growth and stimulates the development of aphids, red spider, etc.
– The garden should be kept clean and healthy by regular pruning and often removing debris, plant debris and weeds that can be hiding and sheltering from pests.
– The cultivation of a varied habitat, with a good diversity of plants, favors the predators of the pests, offering lodging and an alternative feeding, as it happens with the flowers of which they take nectar and pollen.
– The care of beneficial insects, not disturbing them and respecting the places where they nest or winter.
– The use of cultural practices. There are plants that attract certain pests and move them away from others more valued. Then we can fumigate them there or remove the plant-trap with the plague.


Uses of biological control


After identifying the pests in the garden, we will consider possible control measures. These can be cultural, mechanical, biological or chemical, and can be used in an integrated way. We will value our preferences: we will not ignore some biting leaves, how much money we will invest or if we are willing to use a minimum of pesticides, which may be necessary.


Biological control is not a simple, complete or miraculous solution for harmful garden insects. It is a product that is unregulated in many countries, with great differences between the different suppliers and the species that they offer. We need to learn about these companies and also learn about beneficial insects, if they are the species we need, when it is time to free them to survive … Some of those that offer us may not support our climate, they might not Be suitable for living in the garden and you need to know what insects to attack. Thus, the praying mantis is sold as a predatory insect, but only captures prey that crosses its path, ignoring pests such as aphids, thrips or the white fly, so common in the garden. And the ladybirds are great aphid eaters, but when they are released in quantity they are soon dispersed so as not to compete for food. A large number of predatory insects need a good population of harmful insects from which they can feed.


Biological control conveys knowledge, patience and dedication, but in return can bring us many benefits and not less satisfactions.Abona gardener and fertilizes the farmer with the same purpose: that plants grow more and better and that their production, either of flowers Or food, is also increased. For the subscriber we use so-called fertilizers, which can be both organic and inorganic substances, the latter usually chemical.




The best time to plant trees or shrubs is during the vegetative rest, which goes from autumn, when they lose the leaf, until spring, before buds sprout. The cold makes the cup remain inert and allows the development of the roots. However, the specimens that come in containers are much better adapted and can be planted in practically any season.




When we change a plant of place we are forcing it to make a process of adaptation to a different space. In order for it to survive, it must adapt its roots to the new terrain, which will settle in it. This transition will be a great effort and will cost time and energy.

During this period you can suffer a whole series of problems that can endanger your health and development. We can make this experience as traumatic as possible. Planting should be done with care, following a series of tips that will help prevent further complications. To finish assuring the success of the plantation we will continue to take care of the specimen for several seasons.





The first direct effect of a transplant is poor rooting. This can be caused by the roots being so weak or hurt that they fail to secure themselves successfully. Typically, the newly transplanted specimen does not have a very deep or developed root system. This has a negative impact on the contribution of water and nutrients, that is, on food. As a consequence, the plant can not develop in a normal way, in addition to being weaker and therefore more prone to pest and disease. The lack of solid roots can also cause a strong wind to knock the plant down. In order to prevent this, we must ensure that it is as secure as possible in the plantation, and even subject it to support if necessary.


In general, growth is greatly affected by the trauma of transplantation. The decrease in the quality of the feed of the plant leads to a decrease in the production of foliage. They generate stems are shorter and leaves smaller. This becomes very evident during the first year, although it may also manifest itself during the next two or three years.


Another significant damage is the wilting of the vegetation. In deciduous plants the leaves turn yellow and curl. It can also be that leaves take a burned appearance. A color appears that can go from reddish to yellowish at the edges or between the nerves. Those areas eventually end up turning brown and drying. In the conifers the scarcity of water produces a greyish vegetation that when the problem is accentuated turns brown the ends of the branches.




There are plants, like orchids, that are very difficult to die of thirst, but to which only one more watering can kill immediately. As a general rule, indoor plants are watered only when it is noticed that the surface of the earth is somewhat dry. Except those that must have the substrate always wet, to which water will be added before this dryness is manifested. It is best to water with warm water, at room temperature inside the house. And if the water is allowed to stand for at least 24 hours, it will have lost the chlorine and will be much healthier.


The water is slowly added, allowing it to well infiltrate downwards. The pot must never be soaked, leaving behind the water that overflows. To facilitate this you can place the pot on pebbles, so that the excess water remains in the dish. We should never use pots that do not have a hole in the base, this complicates the irrigation a lot and it is quite probable that the plant will end up rotting from excess water.


Bromeliads are watered by adding the warm water directly onto the leaves. Other plants, such as African violet, are irrigated from below, which is achieved by placing the pots in a bowl full of water for about 15 minutes.


A dish under the pot will prevent the water left over from the irrigation to stain the floor or the furniture.


Ambient humidity

In their natural state, on the outside, the plants live in an environment with sufficient humidity. Inside the house the air is much drier, especially when the heating works. Some plants may suffer greatly under these conditions. To correct this lack of moisture, nothing is easier than spraying the leaves with a water spray. More expensive and sophisticated is to put a humidifier in the room.

You can also place a container of water between plants that adds moisture to the environment. For those who need even more moisture it is useful to place the pot on a saucer filled with water and on pebbles, so that the water does not touch the roots directly. Or we can also place the pot inside a rather larger one, filling the gap between them with moist peat.





The FERTILIZER contributes in food that the plant can not get out of its natural environment. For this we use compounds sold in the form of liquid, powder, granules, rods, etc. Some are diluted in water and others are directly mixed with the soil. There are chemicals and others of animal origin, such as guano. Its composition includes the main elements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), in variable percentage. They can also provide certain beneficial microelements for plants, such as magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.


These commercial fertilizers are safe and very easy to use, as long as we follow the manufacturer’s instructions in terms of metering and subscriber frequency accurately. It is important to know that not to overpay the plant will grow better and faster. An excessive subscriber can severely damage it and even kill it. The average frequency of subscribers is usually about once a week in the growth period. In winter, during the rest period, it is spaced up to every two weeks or even interrupted. In any case, it is imperative to follow the instructions on the product label.


Other attentions


To make plants look nice always need some pretty simple care. It is good to clean the leaves from time to time with a damp cloth, something that adects and embellishes, while toning. Climbing plants are provided with adequate support. Normally it is enough to nail a cane in the container and to tie to it the stems. After that, it will suffice to check the fasteners and replace the cane with larger ones as the plant develops. In those plants that show aerial roots it is advisable to cover them with moss. Thus, Adam’s rib will grow much healthier if we place it on a guardian who previously will have rolled moss that we will always keep moist, so that it can secure the roots in him. Damaged, yellow or dry leaves are removed so that they do not have the general appearance of the plant.




The fertilizer improves the richness and fertility of the land. There are two types of fertilizers: organic (such as manure, mulch, guano, etc.) and inorganic, often chemical. Organic fertilizers provide nutrients and lots of bacteria. They do not act so fast, but in the long term they improve the quality of the soil as they favor the creation of humus. Chemical fertilizers are very efficient, convenient to use and act much faster. However, they can kill microbial life and need to be reinstated often. The ideal to achieve a good results is the combination of both.



Organic or Natural Fertilizers


Fertilizers Organic fertilizers provide numerous benefits to plants, such as bacteria and the nutrients they need. They may come from decaying organic debris, such as manure, or are not decomposed like straw or green plant debris. Their effect is not as fast as that of chemical fertilizers, but in the long run they improve the quality and structure of the soil making it softer, spongy and permeable, more fertile in the end.


Dry leaves – Heap of dried leaves ready to be used as a mulch


The contribution of organic fertilizers prevents erosion and improves the structure of the land, making it softer and porous. It favors the circulation of air and water and the retention of humidity, helping to regulate the temperature of the earth, which avoids extremes of cold and heat in winter and summer. Through their slow decomposition, for long periods they provide nutrients such as nitrogen and other useful substances. It favors the creation of humus, decomposed organic matter. They contribute to the development of microorganisms, so useful for plants and the formation of decomposed organic matter or humus.

The contribution of organic fertilizer also delays the fixing of nutrients in the soil, which causes that they can not be taken advantage of by the plants.


The best time for the application of organic fertilizers is before the winter, incorporating them to the ground by means of the plow or a deep cava. They can also be added later, when the danger of frost passes, although it will be less effective. It will then be done with a surface dug and combined with some slow release chemical fertilizer.


The most used organic fertilizers are:


Manure : of animal origin. It must have several years to be well mature and free of weed seeds.

Compost : comes from the recycling of some organic waste. Worms are sometimes used to improve their composition. It does not become as complete in nutrients as manure.

Animal products : such as bone meal, dried blood, hooves and ground horns, etc. They add many useful nutrients to the soil, but are difficult to find and delicate to apply.

Green fertilizer: are plants, such as rapeseed or mustard, which are grown to bury them and provide organic matter to problematic soils such as sandy or limestone.

Quilted vegetables : straw, leaves, etc. Although it is not a fertilizer per se, they act in the long term by being incorporated slowly and improving the retention of moisture and the general quality of the soil. They also protect the roots from frost in winter.


Liquid chemical fertilizer or Inorganic Fertilizers


Chemical or inorganic fertilizers
Inorganic or chemical fertilizers are simpler and more straightforward to use. They contain all the necessary elements and act quickly, contributing to the plants elements that can assimilate directly. Although they have some drawbacks, they can destroy beneficial bacteria that help plants assimilate nutrients and also create some dependence, and the continued contribution of these chemical fertilizers is necessary. Therefore it is advisable to combine its use with that of organic fertilizers.

Certain minerals, such as lime or iron, are also added to correct soil problems such as acidity, alkalinity or lack of trace elements.

Chemical fertilizers can be simple or compound. Single fertilizers contain a single component, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium. The compounds combine various elements. There are also quick-acting and slow-release chemical fertilizers.


Simple Fertilizers

The use of simple fertilizers is indicated in monocultures, of a single species of plant, and is usually applied by professionals or people with experience. Mixing incompatible chemical fertilizers can cause chemical reactions that reduce fertilization and can even damage plants. The amateur gardener will be easier and more practical to use the compound fertilizers already made, according to the needs of your soil and your plants, with the only precaution to follow the instructions of the product.


Composite fertilizers
Composite fertilizers are the most suitable for the amateur gardener, better if they are also combined with the use of organic fertilizers. Compound chemical fertilizers contain the primary elements in different proportions: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). They can also be enriched with microelements such as iron, boron, magnesium, etc. In the packaging of the product there will be three numbers indicating the proportion of each element in the order N – P – K. For example, the numbers 5-7 – 10 tell us that there is a composition of 5% nitrogen, 7% phosphorus And 10% potassium. This fertilizer, rich in potassium, would be the one to stimulate the production of flowers or tomatoes, for example. If what predominates is nitrogen it would be good for the growth of the lawn or the foliage of the plants. With the proportions matched, such as 10 – 10 – 10, it would be a


General purpose fertilizer.

Compost fertilizers can come in liquid or granular form. The liquid fertilizer is more expensive, but it is easier to store and handle if there are not great needs, as when trying to fertilize the pots of a terrace. Granulated fertilizer has better price, comes in bags and sacks of different sizes, and the problem with them is that they last us too long, because in the long run they lose effectiveness. Of course, the smaller the packaging, the more expensive it is.


Granulated fertilizer is sometimes added a product that delays its dissolution, making it a slow release fertilizer. This fertilizer acts slowly and can remain on the ground for months feeding the plants. If the fertilizer is immediately incorporated into the soil it is quick release, its effects are immediately noticeable but also exhausted before and it is necessary to replenish it often.




In the design of the container drainage is the most important. So much that the problems of the plants of interior usually occur by the rotting of the roots. To facilitate drainage, the hole in the bottom of the container is covered with pebbles, which will prevent it from getting stuck with the soil. Then we put a handful of gravel or some sand, with a thickness of up to 3 cm.

If we are determined to use a pot without a hole, we can always plant in it cranes that hardly need irrigation or plants that live in


Wet areas.

When we do the transplant, the clay pots are immersed in water for a few hours to facilitate the accommodation of the plant. If the container has already been used, it should be thoroughly cleaned by removing any remaining soil and roots to prevent disease transmission.


Lastly, it is also important to place a dish under the pot or pot to collect in excess water from the irrigation, avoiding unnecessary stains on floors, carpets or furniture.




We call indoor plants to those we grow inside the house. Also to those who live part of the year on balconies and terraces and are passed inside in the coldest time. There are other plants that can live without problems on the outside but we decided to enjoy them more closely by placing them inside the house.


No plant is born to live in a house. The ones we use for this come mostly from warm areas and we choose them because they are very showy and attractive. Although they are also more delicate to be so far from their natural environment.

That is why we need to provide them with the right environmental conditions. Indoor plants, like all others, have specific needs for light, water, temperature and nutrients. And like any other plant they also need certain cultivation techniques. They are not so delicate and difficult to cultivate as many people think.


When choosing an indoor plant there are several factors to take into account, such as the place where it will go, what space it has, the temperature, the light conditions. It is advisable to consider the size of the plant, if it is hanging, it grows high or it extends in width. And especially the size you will have when you are an adult. It would be a big mistake, for example, to place an Adam’s rib in a small corner where it ends up compressed. For cultivation it should be considered that it has a sufficient pot, the right substrate, a good drainage and that is safe from the harmful currents of air. Irrigation, fertilizer and cleaning should not be neglected.


It is important (and exciting) to know our plants well, knowing what they need, little effort we will always be beautiful and splendid, giving us the sight as much as possible.


A place for each plant


Inside the house there can be a great variety of conditions, as for light, temperature and humidity, that can influence the development of our plants. It is essential to know the needs of each one before deciding their location. Through the windows and skylights enters the light and according to a plant needs more luminosity or penumbra so it is situated with respect to them. Except for cacti and succulent plants, it is seldom convenient for them to receive direct sunlight, especially in summer, when they appear more aggressive and can burn leaves. Air currents and the proximity of heating sources, such as radiators, are also not recommended for almost any species. Some, like the ficus benjamina, suffer a lot when they are moved and are slow to recover after the move. Sudden temperature differences can also be harmful. If the nights are very cold it is advisable to pass inside the terrace the most sensitive plants or to cover them with a plastic.


Besides the flowers, the calatea exhibits some very interesting leaves


The recipient

The container must be large enough for the plant to live and develop in comfort. In medium-sized plants a depth of about 25 cm will be well. The fact that the pot is too large will not make the plant grow faster or faster. The container must be proportioned to the volume of the roots and as the plant grows in size we must perform the transplantation to larger ones.


There are plenty of pots, pots or flower pots in the market in all shapes, sizes, colors and materials. Apart from our aesthetic taste and if it combines well with the sofa, the most vital is that the container can contain the amount of land needed and that has drainage holes, essential if we do not want to end up rotting the plant.


The most recommended containers are those of the whole life, those of clay. In addition to being cheap, they are porous and permeable to air and water. This is especially useful when the substrate is compact, allowing the soil to air and the accumulated moisture to evaporate gradually. However, in hot environments, with direct sun or with very loose substrates can cause excessive drying and have to be always pending irrigation. In this case waterproof containers, such as plastic, metal, ceramic or vitrified, are advisable. By not perspiring, we should never use the latter in very humid environments or with caked earth, because they could cause suffocation of the roots and plant. Plastic sherds also have the dubious and uneconomical advantage of being virtually indestructible and therefore timeless.
An ingenious solution in maintaining a simple container of porous clay inside another more beautiful and decorative metal, for example.


The afelandra is another indoor plant with very attractive leaves


What are the Nutrients the Fertilizers used for Gardening and Landscape should contain ?


The fertilizer consists in adding to the soil substances that increase their fertility. The land in its natural state contains enough of the elements that plants need to feed themselves. Cultivation of some plant species in the same site for a long time causes the exhaustion of certain nutrients. It is when it becomes necessary to reset them through the fertilizer. We fertilize the earth to enrich it and increase its fertility.


The gardener pays the farmer and pays the farmer for the same purpose: that the plants grow more and better and that their production, whether of flowers or food, also increases. For the fertilizer we use so-called fertilizers, which can be both organic and inorganic substances, the latter usually chemical.




Nutrients are the chemicals that plants need for food and development. Some find them in large quantities in the air and in the water, such as Carbon (C), Oxygen (O) and Hydrogen (H). Other important chemical elements, the primary nutrients or macronutrients, are obtained from the soil. When it is cultivated a wear occurs and it is necessary to often replace these substances by the fertilizer.



The macronutrients found in the soil and which are used in large proportion by plants are:


Nitrogen (N) : necessary for the growth of plants. It gives the foliage an intense green tone. Its deficiency produces weak, poorly developed plants with yellowish leaves. It is present in the air, but vegetables only assimilate it from the soil by the roots, except for legumes. Rainwater incorporates into the earth a form of nitrogen (ammoniacal) usable by plants. Phosphorus
(P) : necessary for the root development of young plants and for flowering. The symptoms caused by their lack are not very obvious, occasionally causing red leaves, underdeveloped roots and small fruits. Potassium
(K) : It participates in the general development of plants and especially in flowering.


Calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and Sulfur (S) are also used by plants in a smaller but appreciable amount.


Tents in autumn
Sack of mulch, manure of organic origin


There are also other important elements for plant growth, such as iron (F), chlorine (C), boron (B), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), copper Cu) and Molybdenum (Mo). Other substances do not directly participate in the development of plants, but may be useful: sodium (Na), silicon (Si), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), titanium (Tn), vanadium (Va).


All these elements are usually present naturally in the soil, although sporadic contributions must be made to prevent deficiencies.

Of the second order nutrients, these are the ones that we must often incorporate to the soil of our plants:
Iron : A clear symptom of its lack is the yellowing of the leaves. It is advisable to add it in the form of chelates, especially in acid soils, so that it can be assimilated by the roots.
Calcium : It is not necessary to incorporate it in alkaline soils, where it is already present in good quantity. The regular supply of lime counteracts the acidity of the soil and facilitates the necessary calcium for the plants.

Magnesium : It is sometimes desirable in acid soils.
Sulfur : Usually present on earth. Many chemical fertilizers also incorporate it.
Chlorine : It is also in the soil and is added to some chemical fertilizers.
Boron : Another element that is usually present in the garden soil.


The necessity of these elements changes according to the type of plants, the state of its development, the time, etc. Even so, for each of them to act effectively there must be the adequate amount of the others. It is therefore appropriate that they be present on the earth in a balanced way. Therefore the correct fertilizer is one who adds all these substances in the precise amount.


It is manure of animal origin is one of the fertilizers most used since the antiquity

It is convenient to use fertilizers that carry magnesium, iron, boron and manganese. The amount of iron can be increased more to compensate for the alkalinity of certain soils, especially when there are acidophilic plants.
When a substance is added, after some time, part of it ends up combining with others of the soil in such a way that the plants will not be able to take advantage of it. This is because the roots can only absorb the chemical elements if they are on the ground in a certain way. Because of this, and due to the continuous wear of nutrients that the plants perform, it becomes necessary the regular fertilizer.