How Much Does it Cost to Maintain an Above Ground Pool
01 Jun

Swimming pools are among the facilities that make a home a more enjoyable place to be. The beauty of life is the presence of better living conditions. Living conditions are defined by the bundle of goods and services one enjoys. A swimming pool is thus considered to contribute to a better life of homeowners and family members.

womanSwimming pools can be of two kinds underground or above ground pools. The homeowner can choose between the two based on the space availability as well as the one’s preferences. After selecting, the owner then makes the necessary arrangements to have the swimming pool in place. It includes buying the materials as well as contracting constructors to have the build.

However, having the pool in place is not enough; it needs to be maintained on a regular basis if it is to continue being of utility to the users. Best above ground pools are well maintained to offer the users maximum satisfaction, as they were new. Several costs are involved in the maintenance of above ground pools. They are incurred during the activities involved in the maintenance of the pool. The activities are explained hereunder.

To begin with, every pool requires skimming. Skimming is the process whereby a skimmer is used to collect and remove debris that might have gotten into the pool in the course of time. A skimmer is a filter made of a fine mesh net. Skimming removes both debris and dead insects which if left in the pool would affect the pool water circulation system, block vacuum filters, leave the pool with unsightly stains, just to mention a few. Skimming is dome regularly after a few days and therefore requires one purchase a skimmer for use in their pool. The cost of a skimmer is approximate $7

The second cost comes in vacuuming. Despite having the pool skimmed regularly, some debris will still find their way and sink into the pool, which cools for vacuuming. For vacuuming to take place, the pool owner needs to purchase a vacuum. Vacuums can be either manual or automatic and their prices differ accordingly. The vacuums range from $20 for the manual ones up to about $200-$600 for the automatic ones.

aquaticTo maintain the desired levels of cleanliness, pool brushing is also essential. It helps in keeping the wall of the pool clean. Based on the type of the wall that your pool has, a different kind of brush will be used for brushing. The brushing should be done about a week before vacuuming can be done so that the particles that are stuck on the wall can be loosened. Depending on the type of brush appropriate for your pool, prices for purchasing the brush will differ.

Pools also require heating, especially during the cold seasons. Consequently, the owner needs to install a heating system for the pool. Various options are available such as the use of the solar heater, electric heaters, gas heaters, source water heaters among others. Heating costs involve the installation costs of the heating systems as well as the cost of running them. They work differently thus have different costs of installation and maintenance. Pool heat can as well be conserved by the use of pool covers that are sold based on their quality.

Pool maintenance also requires that one have access to water for refilling the pool when the water level is below the expected level. Refilling means that an extra cost is added to the owner’s water bill. It is usually done after skimming has been done.

The pool water needs to be of the right PH. Having acidic water can lead to the damage of the walls of the pool, the skin of the swimmer as well as the pool equipment. On the other hand, alkaline water leads to eye and nose burns and, May as well make your skin dry and itchy. A testing kit is purchased for use in testing the PH of the water before the correcting measure can be done. Substances such as soda ash or Muriatic acid are bought to correct the water PH.

Moreover, the pool needs to be cleaned and guarded against unauthorized use. It may require hiring a person to undertake the maintenance chores.

In conclusion, building a pool is not enough; it requires proper maintenance to provide maximum satisfaction. It thus involves regular spending in the attempts to keep it in good condition. People who look forward to owning swimming pools should as well be ready to incur costs in maintenance.



Tips for Growing Squash
27 May


Squashes are greedy feeders and require a deep, moist, fertile soil, so dig in plenty of well-rotted farmyard manure or garden compost in the autumn before planting. Then, a week before the young plants are planted out into their final positions, apply two good handfuls of general fertiliser and take in well.


Squashes are tender plants and will not tolerate frost. Get them off to a good start by sowing in April in individual pots, one seed per pot, filled with multi-purpose or sowing compost. Place in a heated propagator set at 18C (65F) and cover until germinated.


Uncover as they appear and reduce heat to 10-15C (50-60F). Give the plants at much light as feasible depending on type you may want to give each plant a short cane – i.e. for climbing squashes such as cucumbers and melons.


Your plants can be planted out once all frosts are over and they have been hardened off thoroughly for a week to 10 days to acclimatise them to outdoor conditions. Plant on a mound of 50:50 soil and more well-rotted manure or garden compost. Plants grow rapidly and may require regular watering during dry spells, also regular feeding using a high potash tomato feed throughout the season.


The fruit of summer squashes such as ridge cucumbers and courgettes should be ready to harvest in as little as three weeks after planting with marrows and spaghetti squash following closely behind. Winter squashes such as pumpkins. Turk’s turban and butternut squashes can be harvested in September and October and stored for many months.

Pest and Disease Watch

SLUGS & SNAILS: These pests love to nibble at the plants and developing fruit from under the densedecorative squashescanopy of foliage. Use your favourite form of slug control to keep them in check.

STEM ROT: The base of the stalk of most kinds is vulnerable to rotting so keeping this part as dry as possible and abo undamaged is vital. When tying the stems of climbing sorts not to damage the stalks take care.

POWDERY MILDEW: All squashes are vulnerable to this disease and will often suffer attacks late in the season. Plants are especially vulnerable if dry during the summer and should never be allowed to wilt. Maintain watering and remove badly affected leaves promptly and spray with a mixture of 30:70 milk to water as a preventative every 10 days before the first sign of damage.

More information about pest you can find here.


PUMPKIN DILL’S ATLANTIC GIANT: The one to use for that record breaker – but bear in mind the record stands at well over 2000.

COURGETTE ‘ONE BALL’: Distinctive round yellow fruit. Very heavy yielding, and ideal for stuffing.

MARROW ‘TABLE DAINTY’: Small fruits, that are more manageable than some of the large-fruited types.

BUTTERNUT ‘BARBARA BUTTERNUT F1’: Unusual large, striped fruit with a very small seed cavity and tasty, orange flesh.

TOP TIP:  After cutting winter squashes leave them on the surface of the soil for the skins to cure for a few days before moving them under cover.

How to Growing Celeriac & Kale
23 May



Easier to grow than celery, but with a similar taste, this hardy veg deserves to be more widely grown.


‘PRINZ’: Good resistance to bolting.

‘MONARCH’: Award-winning variety with a good flavor.

‘BRILLIANT’: Large, smooth roots. Stores well.


CELERY LEAF MINER: Pick off individual leaves or cover plants with netting.

SLUGS: Use your favourite form of slug control, such as pallets, barriers or traps.

CELERY LEAF SPOT: Spray with Vitas Organic 2 in 1 (fish oils).

CARROT FLY: Consider covering the crop with Enviromesh, Veggiemesh or similar after planting if the post is a problem in your area.


Like it’s cousin celery, celeriac wants a fertile moisture-retentive soil. Pick a spot which has had plenty of well-rotted organic matter dug in during the previous winter.


This crop does need a long season in order to produce nice big ‘bulbs’ (It is really a swollen stem). Sow in Match in cell trays or seed trays filled with fresh multi-purpose compost and place in a heated propagator set at 18C (65F). If started in seed trays prick the seedlings out as soon as they are large enough to handle and move into small pots or cells. Harden off before planting out in late May. Alternatively buy in young plants from specialists.


Plant out your youthful plants 30cm (12in) apart and let 58cm (15in) between rows. Dig Out а appropriate sized hole with a trowel and pop the plant in. Business nicely keeping the crown just above water and the soil surface completely. It really is essential your plants receive loads of water during dry spells right through the growing period to avoid any checks in development which may result in bolting. Keep the rows weed free.


Harvest the ‘roots’ from October onwards when they reach at least 8cm (3in) in diameter. Much of the weight is put on by the roots late in the season and being quite hardy they can be left in the ground to develop until needed. Cover with fleece or straw to protect them from the winter cold or lift, trim off the leaves and stone in boxes of dry peat or sand.




Rich in vitamins K, A and C, this easy to grow vegetable has recently gained almost cult status as something of a superfood.


Kale is less fussy about soil than other brassicas, though it’s always a good idea to dig in well-rotted manure in the winter and add lime if your soil is a little acidic.


Sow kale seeds April-May, though you can start them off in modular cell trays or 7 ½ cm (3in) pots first if you prefer. Sow thinly to a depth of 1cm with 15cm (6in) between drills. When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 5cm (2in) apart.


When the young plants are 12-15cm (5-6in) tall, move them to their final position, 45-60cm (1 ½ , 2ft) apart depending on variety, late June to early August. Apply a general fertiliser soon after planting, water well in dry periods and hoe regularly between plants and rows.


You can choose a loose leaved or curly leaved variety, or why not grow both?

‘DARKIBOR F1‘ : This produces dark leaves, finely curled. A very hardy variety.

‘DWARF GREEN CURLED’: This is a good option for small space gardening. It produces dark leaves in tightly curled frills. Very hardy.

‘NERO Dl TOSCANA‘: This variety originated in Tuscany. Dark, Savoy-like leaves with a peppery taste. Good cooked but also good in salads if picked young.


APHIDS: These feed on the sap of the plant and axcrete honeydew, which then causes a sooty mould. Insect netting will keep these out.

CATERPILLARS: Cabbage white caterpillars are partial to kale so cover your plants with butterfly netting or check leaves regularly and destroy eggs.

CABBAGE WHITEFLY: These are a sap-sucking insect that flies up in a cloud when you touch the plant. Insect netting will help protect kale from this pest.

Growing Potatoes and Spinach
07 May




BLIGHT: This fungal disease, more prevalent in wet end warm summers, I t usually devastating. The leaves will turn brown and spread downwards, ultimately causing the tubers to rot.  A good range of blight-resistant varieties is currently available.

POTATO BLACKLEG: This is another fungal disease which causes stems to turn black end rot. Infected foliage should be removed and burned.

SCAB: The tubers continue to be edible but a bit unsightly. Avert lime.


Potatoes like a sunny position in a fertile soil which has benefited from a good digging in of well-rotted manure in the autumn or winter prior to planting. For Christmas potatoes a ‘maincrop’ (rather than ’first early’ or ’second early’) variety should be planted in the latter half of April end harvested September-October for storing over winter.


Potatoes are grown from ‘seed’ potatoes which can be purchased online or from garden centres. Sow 38cm (15in) apart, in rows 75cm (30in) apart, and in trenches (3-15cm) (5-6in) deep. Be sure to plant with the ’eye’, (small indentations in the potato) facing upwards as best you can.


When the stems are about 23cm (9in) in height earth up the soil around them by drawing soil from between the rows over the haulms (or stems) However, do watch out for late frosts end to cover your plants with horticultural fleece if cold weather is forecast. Frost will blacken the foliage of your plants and seriously set them back. Continue to earth up around your plants until the ridge is about 25cm (10in) high. Water regularly, especially in dry spells to prevent scab forming on your tubers (the potatoes)


It is time to harvest when the foliage has died back on your plants. Dig up your potatoes with a fork or dig deep at a 45″ angle with the intention of lifting the tubers from below rather than slicing through them. Rub off any ground and leave them to dry for several hours. After this, they are able to be stored in paper or hessian sacks.




Rich in Vitamin K (which is good for bones) and iron, spinach is considered something of a wonder veg which is relatively easy to grow.


Spinach really needs a well manured soil rich in organic matter which will therefore retain moisture well.

If your soil is acidic, add lime to increase alkalinity, and add a general fertiliser a couple of weeks before sowing.


Sow winter spinach July-September direct into the place it is to grow. Sow thinly to a depth of 2cm (1in) in rows 30cm (12in) apart.  As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle thin to 7.5cm (3in) – these can be used as baby leaves for salads.


Spinach will take advantage of regular watering, especially during dry weather. Weeding help prevent fungal diseases like downy mildew and will improve breathing around the plants. Give a high nitrogen liquid feed once the plants are established.


Winter spinach can be harvested as a baby leaf at 5cm (2in), as a cut-and-come vegetable at 10cm (4in), or as a whole plant October-January. Depending on how severe the winter is, you may need to cover your plants with a cloche or fleece.