Tabletop and Other Small Space Vegetable Gardens

If you live in the city, or simply can’t find enough “yard” to grow your own vegetables, take a second look. Salad greens, tomatoes and other vegetables grown in your own garden are simply tastier and more nutritious than those you pick up at the grocery store, plus you have the added advantage of knowing they weren’t sprayed with harmful chemicals. There really is no comparison to picking your own vegetables, and minutes later enjoying a salad or stir-fry. There are lots of innovative, space-saving ways you can grow vegetables in your own space no matter the size.
Start With Small Space Vegetables
If you have little space, you obviously won’t be growing rows of corn or squash with sprawling vines or melons. There are, however, plenty of tasty vegetables you can grow just fine, such as tomatoes, baby carrots, salad greens, baby cauliflower, peppers, bush beans, snow peas or cabbage. Shoot for plants that tend to grow vertically or upright and that have shorter growing seasons. Only plant the types of vegetables that you and your family really love, as you won’t want to spend the time on a crop nobody eats. Vegetables which are marketed as “baby,” “dwarf,” “bush,” or “compact,” are all good choices for your small space garden. If you have a nice, sunny windowsill, you can get a jump on spring by planting several varieties of seeds in your window. By the time spring does finally appear, you will already have plants ready to set outside in containers, on a balcony, or in hanging pots.
Container Gardening or Raised Beds
Even if you don’t have soil in your yard to grow vegetables, you can incorporate raised beds, or choose from a wide array of containers for container gardening. Raised beds let you increase the fertility in the soil, and to raise more vegetables in a smaller space. Mulching every fall with leaves will keep the soil healthy for growing. Raised beds can be built with 1″ x 8″ boards, cinder blocks or bricks. Don’t use treated wood for your raised beds as the chemical used to treat the wood can leach into your vegetables.
Container planters come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Terra cotta pots always look great, but tend to dry out quickly, so remember to water often. A new way of growing, although not as aesthetically pleasing as a well-built raised bed or pretty container, is to buy bags of garden soil or potting soil, lay them out where you want to grow, and simply cut holes in the top for individual plants. Grow bags can easily support cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce or French and bush beans. Window boxes both look nice and allow you to grow cherry tomatoes, lettuce, celery, peppers or herbs. The traditional strawberry pot can allow you to grow a crop of strawberries in a small space on your porch or deck. Remember that vegetables need lots of fertilizer when growing in containers, as well as consistent watering …

6 Small Cars Make the Safety Grade

Small cars and safety are not mutually exclusive. At least that is what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found as it tested 13 small cars, recognizing six with its “top safety pick” award. Lest you think that the IIHS award is influenced by the manufacturers you are wrong – the institute is funded by the insurance companies for the purpose of assigning rates based on crashworthiness and other risks.
Top Safety Picks
The winners are the 2012 Ford Focus and Honda Civic, in addition to the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, Lexus CT 200h hybrid, Nissan Juke and Toyota Prius hybrid. The seven other cars rated, but not given the top award were: Dodge Caliber, Honda CR-Z, Honda Insight, Nissan Sentra, Nissan Versa, Scion xD and Suzuki SX4. All 13 models are sold in the compact or subcompact segments, tough areas for automakers to ensure top safety based on each vehicles dimensions and weight.
This is good news for consumers who are concerned that choosing smaller, more fuel efficient cars will come at a sacrifice to safety. The IIHS testing has revealed that consumers can have their cake and eat it too, enjoying high mileage cars and knowing that safety is tops in six models.
The “top safety pick” award was rolled out by the institute in 2006, but is currently tougher than what was originally put together. Those changes include a roof strength test, an electronic fresno oxygen jobs stability control requirement and a higher bar for rear impact protection. Initially, just three small cars made the original list, but now 22 are listed including the original three.
Law of Physics
The law of physics still matters and that is why the IIHS and others advise car shoppers to keep in mind when searching for a new car. That means a midsize Hyundai Sonata has a better chance of withstanding a crash harmful to vehicle occupants than a smaller Hyundai Elantra. Even with all of the latest safety equipment installed such as side impact airbags and stronger roofs, larger and heavier vehicles have an edge.
Still, today’s small cars do come with safety equipment not found in cars just five years ago. Airbags have since been joined by side curtain airbags, electronic stability control and improved manufacturing process development steps safety belts. Some models include or offer active head restraints, side impact avoidance systems and stronger bumpers, giving occupants a better chance of walking away from a crash.…