Gardening Under Cover – Protect Your Plants With Cloches

Gardeners have used coverings to protect plants and to extend the growing season for centuries.

These coverings can be as elaborate as heated glass greenhouses, or as simple as a plastic bag supported over a single plant. Temporary shelters are known as cloches, and can be almost any size or shape.

Sheltering your plantings offers protection in four different ways:

  1. Trapping heat with the greenhouse effect. The sun’s rays have radiant energy that becomes heat energy when it strikes the soil under cover. This warmth accelerates the growth of the plants.
  2. Protection from damaging rain. Heavy spring rains can compact the soil surface and wash seeds out of their soil covering. Wet conditions also encourage rot and disease, and can even rot germinating seeds.
  3. Protection from frost. By covering plantings in early spring and late fall, there is less transfer of the heat in the soil to the surrounding nighttime cool air, so plants do not freeze.
  4. Protection from winds. Winds can damage plants by knocking them over or breaking stems. It also chills them. A covering will deflect damaging winds.

Any material that transmits light can be used to make a plant protector. The original cloches (the French word for bell) resembled glass bells, and each one sheltered a single plant.

Today, we have many possibilities – plastic containers with bottoms removed, recycled windows, supported plastic sheets, or commercially made cloches. One of the most efficient and useful cloches can be easily made to cover an entire raised planting bed, thus functioning as a mini greenhouse.

Coverings that you make yourself have three main advantages:

  • They are low cost.
  • They are easy to build and move.
  • They can be made to a desired size.

Here is how to make a lightweight portable cloche that is both economical and reusable:

From sections of 2X2 lumber, make a rectangular frame 4 feet by 6 feet, screwed and braced on the 4 corners. Drill a 1 inch hole in each corner, but not all the way through. Insert two ten foot lengths of three quarter inch PVC pipe into the corner holes, and across diagonally, so they form an arched framework crossing in the center, much like a tent frame.

Now, lay a 6 mil poly sheet over the framework, and staple it snugly along the 6 foot sides first. Then snug it along the other two sides, and staple. You’ll need to fold over the excess at the corners, sort of like how you gift wrap a box. Staple it down, and cover the staples on all four sides with duct tape. Trim off any excess plastic from the bottom.

This lightweight device can be set over a raised bed, over a grouping of plants, or even over a freshly seeded area. You can easily lift it off for watering and weeding, or lift and support one side up for ventilation.

Build this simple cloche, and use your ingenuity to design and create others to fit your needs. With just a little expense and a bit of carpentry skill, you can add months to your gardening pleasure.

Top Dog Trading Courses: Designed To Cover The Gambit of Trading Arenas

In which arena of the markets are you intending to trade? Stock trading? Forex trading? Option trading? Or futures trading? No matter in which of these arenas you are intending to trade, they all have one thing in common. They can all be read using a fundamental training in technical analysis. This is the kind of market training offered and taught in Dr. Barry Burns’ Top Dog Trading Courses.

At this point you might reasonably ask: Well who is Barry Burns and what makes what he has to teach so awfully important? And that would be a fair question to ask and seek to be answered.

Dr. Burns began his study of the markets under the tutelage of his father, Patrick Burns, who amassed independent wealthy through trading while gathering over seventy years of trading experience before his passing in 2005. He furthered his education by reading more than one hundred books on investing and trading, and has spent thousands of dollars on trading courses and educating himself. He’s even hired several professional traders to personally mentor him.

Burns also has a doctorate in hypnotherapy while also being a certified NLP practitioner. He has studied and has experience in the psychology of trading. And if you think that’s not a very helpful quality to have in the highly competitive arena of market trading and the effort to predict which way the markets are heading in order to fashion a winning trade, you need to keep an open mind and continue reading.

Successful experienced traders, no matter what the market, have figured out one thing that unsuccessful novice traders have yet to learn. The art of consistency in trading. And that consistency starts in the trader’s mental approach to trading. While the market itself remains notoriously inconsistent, often behaving differently than most of us expect, there are times when the market sets up in a profitable probability scenario which gives the alert trader an edge. Successful traders make it their job to be consistent in trading these probability scenarios and to trade them each time they appear regardless of their emotions.

It doesn’t much matter in technical trading whether the market is a stock, option, forex, or futures market. What matters are the chart indicators that trigger a specific probability scenario and its impending occurrence. With the right knowledge and trading discipline, almost anyone can be trained to become successful in trading the market.

The only question the aspiring successful trader has to answer then is: Do I have the discipline needed to make this trade and to stick with it according to the rules I follow? Because this is where most unsuccessful traders fail to follow through. They get caught up in the roiling emotion of the trade where more often than not they talk themselves into making a mistake. In order to succeed in trading according to the way Barry Burns teaches, a trader must be trained to be more disciplined than the average trader. This means not abandoning one’s trading rules, no matter how good a trade looks, if it violates the objective you’ve established and the rules you have back-tested.

As important as it may be to learn about and master the technical side of trading the markets, it’s the psychological side that often trips up our best intentions. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is to over trade. But as Barry suggests: “Your job is to be better than other day traders in having the discipline to wait like a cat in the brush until just the right moment (your high probability setup) and then jump on the trade without hesitation.” Training yourself in the psychology of trading takes time and practice. But you are far ahead of the rest of the crowd if you take the time to study and learn this properly than if you hadn’t.

So, whether you are interested in trading stocks, options, the forex, or futures market, the information one learns by undertaking the study of a course like the Top Dog Trading Courses becomes invaluable no matter in what market you have chosen to trade. Successful traders learn to discipline their emotions; they learn to neutralize their emotions during a trade so that their mind remains sharp and centered on what needs to be accomplished. Having this ability is, in many instances, what separates the winners from the losers at the end of the trading day.

eBook Cover Design – Yes, You Can Do it for Free!

It has been statistically shown that eBooks with an attractive cover graphic, outsell those that don’t have a cover graphic. So, if you are creating any kind of written information product, it is imperative that you have a Cover Graphic with it, and let’s face some facts, people like to “see” what they are buying…So, an eBook Cover Graphic gives folks a visualization of your product.

There are two ways to acquire a nice eBook cover graphic:

1) Pay a designer to make you one…This can cost anywhere from $50 to $100+.

2) Design the cover graphic yourself.

Now, I realize that you may NOT want the hassle of learning a piece of software, or you may only produce one information product (eBook)…If that is the case, then paying a designer would be the logical solution. But, for those who have more time than money, or for those who will want to create many information products (and doesn’t want to pay multiple fees to designers), there is a simple & FREE alternative: GIMP

GIMP is a 100% FREE software, and you can find the download link by searching at Google or Yahoo for “GIMP download”…You’ll find many different web sites offering it for free.

GIMP has a very similar user interface as the Adobe PhotoShop software (which costs around $600), and was really the only way to make professional looking eBook covers, until the GIMP software was available.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still prefer Photoshop, as it’s the program I’ve always used and am familiar with. Plus, I’ve already paid for it, so I might as well use it. But, for those who have a limited budget, you can start producing web graphics for just about any purpose: eBooks, banners, Headers, etc…for FREE with the GIMP software.

There is something to be said about making your own graphics:

1) You have FULL control of the outcome: You know how you want your product to be represented, so doing it yourself puts you in complete control of every aspect of your products look, feel, and design.

2) The cost savings will add up VERY quickly: You can change your products graphics at any time, with NO additional fees that you would have to pay a designer. This alone is well worth the time involved with learning a new piece of software.

After downloading and Installing the GIMP software…Below, are the basic steps to making your own eBook cover:

STEP #1
– From the top Menu Bar…click: File, New.
– Width = 500, Height = 750
– Click “OK”

STEP #2
– From the top Menu Bar…click: Layer, New Layer.
– Layer Name = Front
– Width = 250, Height = 350
– Set “Layer Fill Type” = Foreground Color
– Click “OK”
Change color of layer to a “blue”…

STEP #3
– From the top Menu Bar…click: Layer, New Layer.
– Layer Name = Top
– Width = 250, Height = 50
– Set “Layer Fill Type” = Foreground Color
– Click “OK”
– Change color to a Light Gray

STEP #4
– From the top Menu Bar…click: Layer, New Layer.
– Layer Name = Side
– Width = 375, Height = 50
– Set “Layer Fill Type” = Foreground Color
– Click “OK”
Change color to a Yellow

Move the layers around so you can see all Three of them.

STEP #5
– Click “front” layer in Layers box
– Click “text tool”
– Make text box on front layer image
– Type in text, then click close
– Adjust text as needed (size, font, etc).

STEP #6
– Click “side” layer in Layers box
– Click “text tool”
– Make Text box on side layer image
– Type in text, then click close
– Adjust text as needed

STEP #7
– In Layers Box, you can “merge down” by RIGHT clicking the text layers, and then click the “merge down” option. Make sure text is directly above the layer you want to merge with.

STEP #8
– Flip side layer around…by:
– Click on Side layer in Layers box
– Click Layer from top menu bar
– Click Transform Layer
– Click Rotate 90′ Clockwise

STEP #9
– Save File…by:
– Click on File from top menu bar
– Click Save
– Name file…be sure to label with the.xcf extension
– Save in Folder where you’d like it to be saved on YOUR computer

STEP #10
– Add Finished layer
– Click Layer from top menu bar
– Click New Layer
– Name “Finished”
– Width = 250
– Height = 375
– Layer Fill Type = white
– Click OK

STEP #11
– From Top menu bar, click Filters
– Click Map
– Click Map Object
– On new window…change “Plane” to “Box”
– Click on Show Preview Wireframe
– Click on “Orientation” tab…
– Under “Rotation” heading, change X to 15
– Change Y to -20
– Leave Z set to 0
– Click on “Box” tab
– Under “Map images to box faces” heading, change Front to front.
– Change Top to top
– Change Right to side
– Scale X =.50
– Scale Y =.50
– Scale Z =.08
– Click Preview – NOTE: preview dimensions will NOT be to scale.
– Click OK

Finished eBook will appear in Finished Layer.

The above steps are the VERY BASICS of creating an eBook Cover Design with the GIMP software.