A Quick Breakdown of Concrete and Concrete Mixing Plants

The history of concrete

Concrete has been around since the time of the Ancient Romans and Egyptians. At the time, there was a variety called Roman concrete, which was made from quicklime, pozzolana, and pumice. Roman concrete is perhaps one of the strongest in the world. Proof of the strength of the material can be found in Ancient Roman architecture still standing today. Back then, the material was made without the use of modern concrete mixing plants. Amazingly, the products have withstood the test of time.

What exactly is concrete made of?

Many people underestimate the science that goes into concrete production. In fact, ask anyone and they probably won’t be able to tell you that there are many different varieties, but that’s taking it one step ahead. Concrete is made out of the combination of the following ingredients: cement, water, aggregates, reinforcements, and

chemical and mineral admixtures.

Most people think that cement and concrete are one in the same. Although the terms can be used interchangeably, they are different things. Cement is a component of concrete, but the same cannot be said of the other.

What are the different varieties of concrete?

Believe it or not, there are many different types of concrete. The more common ones include the following:

– Regular cement – This is the material most people are familiar with. It’s the stuff that comes in sacks or packets and can be bought at hardware stores.

– Pervious concrete

– Stamped concrete – This concrete can be treated while still wet to mimic the look of brick, wood, or cobblestone, among others.

Concrete mixing designs are complex. It is also a fairly versatile material. This is said because the design of concrete can be tailored from project to project. For example, the concrete used for a modern day home will be different from the concrete used for a high rise building. Concrete designs are customised according to the different demands such as strength and weight requirements.

How is concrete made?

Back in the day, concrete was made manually. The same can be said for small projects today. For bigger projects, however, concrete plants are used. Concrete mixing plants are manufacturing plants where concrete ingredients are mixed before being transported to a construction site. There are two types of concrete mixing plants. The first is a ready mix plant, where all ingredients are combined, with the exception of water. The second, known as a central mix plant, combines all ingredients at a central location. The final product of the former is then transported to a construction site.

Employing the use of such is beneficial to a construction site because of two reasons. One, it eliminates the potential risk of waste. It’s important to remember that for projects, an exact amount is made. This is done so that there is no oversupply. The second benefit is that it eliminates inefficiency at the construction site.

Source by Carolyn Loomis

Lucky Plants and Bonsai Trees, Your Home and Business

Looking to grow and decorate lucky trees and lucky plants inside or outside your home or business establishment? Now is the perfect time to narrow down your choices with this quick roundup of the trees and plants that are not only easy to care, but also prized as auspicious in the Chinese feng shui:

Lucky Bamboo Plants.

Symbolic for good luck and success due to their innate resilience, strength, and ability to grow quickly, the lucky bamboo plants attempt to balance the five (5) natural feng shui elements in the home or office, I.e., wood, metal, earth, water, and fire, which are represented, respectively, by the plant itself, glass vase or coin, rocks, water itself, and red ribbon. Lucky bamboo plants can be planted as stalks or grown into beautiful shapes, like a pyramid.

Place your lucky bamboo plant in a glass vase (or ceramic vase with a coin) that is filled with natural river rocks for support and at least an inch of low-chlorinated water and tie a red bow around the glass vase. Feed them with a drop of fertilizer, if you can, to keep their roots healthy. Place lucky bamboo plants in a shady spot in the home or office where you want to invite more blessings for good luck and harmony, such as on the counter of your business place or the living room of your home. In Asia, tying red ribbons on the stalk of the lucky bamboo plant during the Chinese New Year is a common practice and they are put in a special table together with other auspicious objects, like the golden ingot.

Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

The jade plant, also known as the Asian money tree, is considered as the ultimate plant symbol for prosperity in many Asian cultures. It is frequently grown as a bonsai in Asian homes, business places, and gardens due to its ability to grow into a beautifully lush bonsai tree and is used as the model of the jade mini gemstone trees of Asia, or the artificial plant decoration with leaves that are shaped from jade.

The jade plant features ovoid-shaped or coin-shaped succulent leaves in the shades of Jadeite, thus its name as Asian money tree and Jade. As a feng shui cure, it is usually placed in the entryway or the southwest corner of the home, restaurant, or business office to strengthen the energy and flow of money. Jade plants can grow as an indoor or outdoor plant, ideally put in a location where they can get direct sunlight, watered to keep their soil moist, and their leaves regularly freed from dust and dirt. You can also add pebbles on top of their soil to facilitate the drainage of water.

Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)

The Pachira aquatica is famed as the Chinese money tree because of its 5-lobed palmate leaves, which is considered lucky in Asia and associated with the five (5) feng shui elements of water, earth, fire, wood, and metal. It is often distinguished for its braided stem and flourishing leaves that are sometimes made to create a round-shaped canopy and it is widely used as an ornamental plant in Asia, especially business offices and malls, grown as a bonsai, or given out as gifts during the Chinese New Year.

As a native plant to the wetlands and swamps, the money tree thrives well in moist soils and in locations that are sunny with a partial shade. When planting them indoors, place them in a brightly-lit corner and turn them regularly to keep them growing straight and leafing evenly.

Moth Orchid (Phalaeonopsis orchid)

Asians have recently seen the popularity of the Phalaeonopsis orchids, or Moth Orchids, as a decoration in major business establishments, like shopping malls, as Chinese entrepreneurs use them both as a lucky and inspiring Chinese décor for their business. The moth orchid’s flower shape, which is believed to resemble moths in flight, essentially makes for its symbolism for good luck, particularly referencing the same to the characteristics of moths as nocturnal creatures that do not stumble in the dark and that are never afraid to go close to the light.

Moth orchids can be grown in most orchid potting medias, like the bark of trees or charcoal, ideally placed in shady outdoors with low light, and watered just enough to keep their potting media moist. Their flowers can bloom for a week to two (2) months and is prized as one of the most expensive wedding flowers in Asia’s tropical countries.

Peace Lily.

Peace lilies are easily distinguished for their white flowers that resemble an anthurium, and they are prized not only for the way they help to purify the indoor air from toxins, but also as a symbol for good luck and harmony. Peace lilies are an auspicious feng shui plant decoration that is fairly easy to tend, it is best placed on a spot where it can acquire indirect exposure to sunlight, and a pot of peace lily typically yields flowers that bloom for a very long time.

Citrus and Lime Trees

Citrus and lime are considered as symbols for good health, longevity, wealth, and prosperity, and along with the lucky bamboo and money plants, decorating a citrus or lime in the home during the Chinese New Year is said to foster good luck, wealth, and good health to the family and business the whole year. Citrus and lime are frequently grown as a bonsai, or decorated in their artificial form, in the entryway of the home or business places to foster success in every endeavour and the positive flow of money.

How to Choose and Use Plants as Lucky Chinese Décor?

Flowering plants, plants with round or smooth-edged leaves or canopy, and with leaves that are clustered in an auspicious number are commonly considered lucky plant decorations, as well as any plant that is believed to purify the air. Avoid putting spikey and thorny plants on the front of your home – whether inside or outside the fence – as such is said to break the positive flow of wealth and success and aim to arrange plants in pairs to keep the balance of yin and yang within your place.

Most importantly, consider the plants that you would like to care following your capability to care for the same so that you can always keep them healthy and clean, which is exactly what they need to invite the positive flow of chi.

Source by Anne Therese

Sahara Desert-Plants – Crops

Being a desert, many people would not assume the Sahara desert produces a healthy crop of edible plants. Nevertheless, the Sahara desert is home to several species of plants that nourish its residents, and even provide a lucrative business option. The plants in the Sahara are a staple in the day-to-day lives and diets of the Sahara populace. There are five plants in particular that are most frequently cultivated and eaten.

The first of these plants is the orange tree. Most North Americans think of Florida and California when it comes to the orange crop, even though the Sahara desert offers plenty of its own oranges in its dry, hot landscape. The trees grow particularly well along the coast of the Nile and in various other areas in the Sahara that have an oasis.

A heavily used herb in American cuisine is thyme, which thrives naturally in the Sahara, as well as several additional herbs. Thyme in particular is considered food to many of the animals that inhabit the Sahara desert, while the locals cultivate thyme to add flavor to their meals.

Figs are also grown in the Sahara desert. While it may be difficult to picture these soft, tasty fruits growing in desert environments, figs play a significant role in the diet of Sahara residents and have done so for ages.

Another fruit native to Africa and the Sahara desert is the magaria. Magaria are fruit similar in size to the cherry. They are a muted brown color and are typically dried to use in cake batter.

While the olive tree will often make one think of Italian olive groves, this plant is also native to the Sahara desert, growing best in many areas bordering the Nile. It is a very useful and vital plant to the desert’s ecosystem as well as its business structure, as the olive tree is a profitable resource.

The term Sahara desert plants typically brings to mind thoughts of the cacti that also populate the area, or even the unusual gourds that cannot be eaten, but help to heal bites from a scorpion. As far as Sahara residents go, however, the most vital vegetation of the whole area are the plants consumed daily as food.

Source by Steve Charles Habib

How To Kill A Gardenia (An Anti-Gardenia Care Guide)

Gardenia plants are a notoriously fickle and complicated plant to grow in your garden landscape. However the allure of such a beautiful shrub with its sublime fragrance, awe-inspiring blooms and rich green foliage is too much for many of us to bear and we give in… we buy them and we ‘stick’ them in our gardens and then wonder why they flower once, lose their leaves and then ultimately die, leaving us with a very impressive dead shrub in the garden.

So we’ve arrived home with our newly purchased gardenia, but what do we need to do in order to give our new plant a chance of survival or rather what do we need to do in order to guarantee its demise?

Here are my best 5 tips on how to kill a gardenia:

  1. Always plant your gardenia shrub near concrete buildings, foundations or walkways. The chemicals (namely alkalis) held in the concrete leach out over time and collect in the soil. Planting your new gardenia near concrete will ensure that it has a slow lingering death. Although, before dying completely it will reward you with a striking display of yellow leaves which will eventually fall to form a yellow carpet around your ex-gardenia.
  2. Whatever you do don’t test the pH of the soil. Gardenia shrubs flourish in a slightly acidic soil that has a pH value of between 5.0 and 6.5. You shouldn’t test your soils pH and under no circumstances use acidic compost when planting, as this will only lead to you growing a healthy gardenia. By not testing the soils pH and by not planting in a suitable medium you will ensure that your gardenia leaves will eventually turn yellow, fall and the shrub die.
  3. Don’t fertilize your gardenia monthly with acidifying fertilizer like those designed for azalea plants as this will only help your gardenia and prevent the leaves from turning yellow.
  4. To ensure that you kill your gardenia plant swiftly, plant it in a zone that experiences consistent low temperatures. Gardenias grow best in zones which have daytime temperatures between 68 to 74 degrees F. and about 60 degrees F. during the night. Obviously some varieties of gardenias are more temperature tolerant and established plants will survive sudden drops in temperature. Plant a gardenia in a zone that doesn’t experience these sorts temperatures and you’ll be sure to get a black leafed dead gardenia in no time.
  5. Don’t provide your growing gardenia with the right amount of water. The soil should be moist but not soaked. If you over water, your gardenia won’t flower (the buds will drop off before they break) and those glossy green leaves will turn yellow.

By following any one of the above points you are destined to kill your gardenia or seriously impair its chances of survival. By not following the above your gardenia stands an excellent chance of surviving and providing you with many years of pleasure to come.

Source by Tom Mitel

Mother Plants – 7 Tips to Grow Healthy Mother Plants

Mother plants are essential for maintaining a continual propagation system. A strong mother plant is the first step to taking perfect cuttings. Weak cuttings turn into slow and sometimes weak plants. A weak clone is very susceptible to pest and disease problems. The plant is already under going immense stress and an unnoticed infestation can kill it. Here are 7 tips to keep your plants healthy and inevitably take stronger cuttings.

1. Trim off yellowing, brown, dried, wilted, and dead leaves – Dying leaves are a great place for bugs to hang out. Your beloved plants may be wasting energy trying to save dying leaves. Cut your losses and focus the new growth.

2. Use small amounts of nutrients – Salt lock up and over-fertilization are the last thing you want to transfer to clones.

3. Try Mother Plant nutrient formula – I have personally not tried this bio-organic formula, but I have heard it works pretty well. There seems to be a lot of buzz about it in the indoor gardening magazines.

4. Use a big container if you plan to take many clones from a large mother plant – Roots are a vital part of healthy vigorous growth. A dense root zone will allow your mother to recover from cuttings quicker. Bigger roots means bigger plants.

5. Water frequently – Use a drip system or hydroponic method to ensure your mother plant gets as much water as it needs.

6. Do not cut more than 20% of the healthy foliage at a time. Taking too many cuttings at a time can stress your mother plant. The plant should recover, but it may actually slow down growth because of the amount of energy it takes to recover. The plant needs leaves to catch sunlight for photosynthesis.

7. Watch closely for bugs and pests – Use a magnifying glass to check your plants! You never know what you may find. Any small pest infestation on your plant will transfer to your clones and potentially your whole cloning system. If it makes it to the next stage before you notice you may be dealing with a major infestation later on. Preventative pest control is the best pest control.

Source by Max Nelson

Plant-Based Homeoplasmine Properties and Usage

Homeoplasmine is a plant-based, homeopathic remedy in pomade form intended for skin irritations. It is only officially available in France. Homeoplasmine contains extracts of plants as well as an antiseptic. Homeoplasmine ointment is intended to alleviate the irritation of nasal membranes commonly affected by colds and rhinitis. According to Boiron Laboratories (the product manufacturers) it is also effective on scratches, grazes, bruises, and cracks of the skin.

Homeoplasmine was originally created to heal the nasal passages from colds, allergies, and freezing temperatures-which is why it’s highly effective on lips when temperatures drop in harsh climates during winter. Parisians have been using it for decades as it is widely available and effective.

Homeoplasmine has been used by make-up artists during winter fashion shoots and runway shows to treat wind-chapped, windblown, and jetlagged models suffering from skin peeling from the cold. Minutes after application, skin looks hydrated again, radiant, and portrays an image of health. Gwyneth Paltrow’s site Goop.com further indicates Homeoplasmine’s efficacy stating, “Meant for skin irritations, Homeoplasmine is a life-saver when it comes to dry, winter-ravaged skin.”

An effective method of use when doing make-up is to apply Homeoplasmine ointment liberally to red and chapped areas below the nose and on the lips for a few minutes, then wipe off and apply foundation as normally done. Homeoplasmine has a matte finish. According to Style Magazine, “Pretty much every makeup artist, Francophile, and international beauty junkie swears by Homeoplasmine as the go-to for chapped lips and dry patches. Unsurprisingly, it’s as awesome as they say and the aluminum tube is really satisfying to use.”

Further accolades include Stylist.com (UK), which adds, “Another perennial backstage beauty must-have, Homeoplasmine is the insider’s alternative to Vaseline. An emollient that cures chapped and dry skin; it softens lips with a matte velvety finish.”

Homeoplasmine ingredients are Calendula officinalis, Phytolacca officinalis, Bryonia, Benzoin, Boric acid, and Vaselinum album. It is not for children under 30 month’s old, or pro-longed use at any age. It should not be applied to breastfeeding areas. Short-term use is recommended at 1 to 3 times per day to clean skin.

The product is mildly scented with a slight tint, and packaged in an aluminum sealed tube. Plans to sell Homeoplasmine directly to consumers outside of France have not been made public at this time. Reasons for manufacturers limiting their marketing mainly to France are unclear given the product’s simple ingredients list.

Source by Don Holm

Rattan, Bamboo, and Other Plant Fiber As Furniture Material

Furniture with natural material finishing usually will attract some people, not only because of its natural impression but also because of its exclusivity. It becomes more special if the designer creates the unique design furniture, when using natural material like rattan, bamboo, and plant fiber. Cane work (wicker) and the flexibility of rattan style become the art work.

Plant Fiber such as banana fiber often amazes many people. Chair from banana fiber gives unique style, so people are anxious to touch it. Generally people have an opinion that rattan and any other natural material are susceptible to termite and easily broken. But this is the wrong opinion. Manufacturers of wicker furniture have made special preparation of their natural material (rattan, bamboo, plant fiber) before they used it as furniture material. Some processes have been done to make the natural material will have some important properties i.e. weather resistant, durable and anti-termite. Usually plant fiber is using only as finishing touch where wood solid or some metals are used as its frame.

Most popular plant fiber is rattan. To make furniture, we can only use the rattan skin, inside material of rattan, or can be combination both of them. Many kinds of rattan are categorized based on its origin, strength, and diameter size. One of popular rattan is Kalimantan rattan (Kalimantan is one of island in Indonesia). This rattan has 3mm – 6mm diameter, termite resistant, and high water resistant. It is usually used in whole because of its strength and its diameter quite small. But not all kinds of rattan are termite resistant and high water resistant like rattan Kalimantan. That is why if rattan especially rattan inside material is used, it must be protected with anti termite first.

The signal of a termite presence is usually marked with white powder came out from the rattan. Separate this rattan immediately from the good rattan and apply/spray with anti termite.

Beside rattan, bamboo also is quite popular. Betung type bamboo has diameter 10cm – 13cm, most used as platform for sleeping (amben), table, and chair. Recent popular bamboo types are Cendani and Mayan. Cendani bamboo has 1cm – 3cm diameter, while Mayan bamboo has 5cm – 10cm diameter. Even though the diameter of these 2 kinds of bamboo is smaller than Betung bamboo, they have good strength. Mayan and Cemani bamboo are good to be used as rack, cupboard or room divider.

Other plant fiber using for furniture material is from banana plant. Banana fiber is taken from stem of the banana bunch. After dried, banana fibers are twisted and then applied to furniture frame. Same processes usually apply to water hyacinth (enceng gondok) and water pandanus. These kinds of material are better using for interior only, not for exterior. Even though they are using as interior furniture, we have to place them at the area where enough sunlight is able to reach them. They are susceptible to water and moisture. When the condition is wet and moist, these kinds of materials are dilatable and mold can easily grow there. And as a result, color will change and material will decay. If you found these materials are wet, quickly dehydrate them with dryer or dry it in the sun to avoid mold growing.

Source by Kirana R.

Plumeria Flower – Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

This short article on Plumeria Flower tips and tricks is something I wish I ran across a long time ago. I’ve lost some plants which had grown into trees due to my ignorance along with some extra cold weather.

Even though the Plumeria Flower is one of the easiest plants I’ve ever seen grown; it does call for some special attention if you want to get the greatest number of flowers from the plant.

The flowers are by far the primary reason this plant has such a raving fan base. The color combinations are music to the eyes while the fragrance is simply addictive.

Many of us raving plumeria fans got our first dose of our addiction from seeing or receiving a Hawaiian flower lei while in Hawaii.

When I was given my first flower lei I was overcome with its beauty, fragrance, and even its weight! It was truly love at first sight. Perhaps that’s why I choose to keep several of these plants within eyesight of my office even though my property is filled with other plants as well.

So what are the key basic elements to a thriving plumeria plant?

Let’s list them in order importance:

Plant Temperature:

The plumeria is a tropical plant. Even so, it can be grown in Alaska if you’re willing to take a few simple steps:

Maintain the plant in temperatures above freezing at all times. If the plant spends even a couple of hours in temperatures near freezing you will experience plant damage and very possibly lose the entire plant.

People who live in climates that experience freezing temperatures should keep their plants small enough to be moved indoors during the cold months. Your garage or basement are fine because during this dormant period the plant does not need light or water for that matter.

Even though the leaves will drop off the plant during the dormant period, the plant is still alive and well. When the days get longer and the temperatures rise well above freezing the plant can once again go outside and receive water.


The plumeria is a true sun lover. Full sun is best, and six hours a day of good light is pretty much the minimum in order to produce flowers. The shadier the location the fewer flowers you’ll produce as a general rule of thumb.


Using a plant soil mixture that drains well is very important to the overall health of the plant. If the soil does not drain well the roots aren’t happy. A sure sign of too much water or poorly draining soil is soft/spongy branches which can threaten the life of your plant


Many people have the mistaken idea that plumerias need a ton of water.

This is not true and I’ve seen more problems with too much water than not enough. There needs to be a balance between how well the soils drains and how much water you offer the plant. The soil should never remain soggy for long.

When the temperatures get hotter the plant calls for more water.


Plants need a lot of nutrition to produce flowers. This is definitely true for the plumeria. Depending on the nutrients found in your soil mixture you will most likely need to add plant food to generate the quantity of flowers you’re looking for.

One of the secrets to having a plant which generates a lot of flowers is to use a fertilizer that is high in Phosphorus.

Space does not permit us to elaborate at length on how to produce the quality and quantity of flowers you’ll want but does provide a good basic foundation you’ll need to get started. Once the plumeria flower bug has really bitten you’ll then be ready for additional tips and tricks for keeping your plumeria flower plant as happy as possible!

One of the secrets to having a plant which generates a lot of flowers is to use a fertilizer that is high in Phosphorus.

Space does not permit us to elaborate at length on how to produce the quality and quantity of flowers you’ll want but does provide a good basic foundation you’ll need to get started. Once the plumeria flower bug has really bitten you’ll then be ready for additional tips and tricks for keeping your plumeria flower plant as happy as possible!

Source by Donna Diaz

The New Year Brings New Gardening Opportunities in Southern California

While January and winter weather means an end to gardening activities in many parts of the United States, it is prime time to plant in southern California.

Plant fruit trees: A variety of bare root fruit trees are at nurseries ready to be planted in January. Varieties include apricot, blueberries, plum, apple, pear, peach and raspberries trees. Give the trees a boost by adding organic compost planting mix to the soil to increase soil aeration and to keep in moisture.

Add Artichokes: Add artichoke plants to your garden. Plant them 4 feet apart. They start their growing process in winter and begin sprouting artichoke heads in spring. These hardy, perennial vegetables can produce artichokes year after year.

Plant Garlic Cloves: Separate cloves from a garlic bulb. Plant them with the pointy part up the clove up-and about 7 to 8 inches deep. Garlic plants will soon poke their heads from the soil and grow during winter. They can easily withstand cold winter nights. The new garlic bulbs with their juicy cloves will be ready for harvest in late spring or early summer.

Keep Applying Mulch To Cut Down On Weeds: Every rainfall (no matter how infrequent) means more weeds in the garden. Weeds seem to go more quickly than any vegetable or flower plant. To keep weeds under control, make sure you have a several-inch layer of mulch wherever weeds may appear. If weeds are already taking root, remove them before covering the area with mulch.

Plant Wildflowers From Seed: First, rake the flowerbed area. Sprinkle California poppy and other wild flowers and cover gently with soil. Sow more seeds just before a rain to encourage continued flower production in spring.

Move Living Christmas Trees Outside: Living Christmas trees should stay indoors for as little time as possible. Once planted outdoors, pine trees can easily grow 40 to 50 feet tall. Their strong root system, over time, will spread and can easily crack concrete walkways that stand in their way. Make sure you plant your tree in a location that can accommodate such a large tree.

Extending the Life of Poinsettias: Poinsettia flowers will usually remain healthy into March. After March, cut back the stems to no more than eight inches tall. By June, new growth will begin. Keep the plant in indirect, natural sunlight and the soil moderately moist. When the weather warms, bring the plant outside and transplant into a bigger pot. Prune as needed so the plant is bushy. Flowers will begin to grow in October and reach their peak of beauty in November and December.

Purchase A Rain Barrel: Don’t let rainwater roof runoff go to waste. Many cities and counties offer rebates when purchasing rain barrels. These barrels can typically hold 50 gallons of water– water that can be used to irrigate your garden.

Source by Bill Camarillo

Correct Way to Harvest Chives Without Killing the Herb Plant

Wanted to share this tidbit of “harvesting trivia” on chives – garlic and regular.

During HerbFest I’ve noticed when I talk about “cutting chives” there are lots of people who are surprised to learn that chives are not to be cut from the top but the bottom of the plant base.

Let’s say you’re doing a baked potato and only need a smidget of chives so you don’t want to cut the entire stalk down so you snip across the top harvesting only what you are going to use. What you just did was kill the stalk from where you cut to the ground, which is waste and also not good for the plant.

Here’s what you need to do…

  • Cut from the base the number of stalks you need.
  • Now cut from the top of the stalks harvested the amount you need tonight
  • Chop them, but do not chop the remainder of the chive stalk or you release the oils which is what you are after for flavor and fragrance
  • Take the remaining stalks and put in freezer bag and put in freezer
  • Next time you need chives remove stalks from freezer and chop which release oil you had saved in stalk by not cutting up upon original harvest.

This process also encourages the chives to expand their base and you get more chives year after year.

It should also be remembered that chive blossoms are edible flowers but be careful to eat the garlic chive blossom hesitantly as it’s more garlicky than garlic itself!!

Source by Bob G Johnson