Top Five Tap Tips: How to Make the Most of Bathroom Taps

A central room in any home, your bathroom can have a much bigger impact on your life than you realize. From giving you a peaceful oasis in which to relax in to acting as a practical room with plenty of functionality, how your bathroom is set up is highly important.

While baths and showers are commonly focused on, smaller features such as bathroom taps can have a profound influence. Bathroom taps highlight the exceptional variety found in these important accessories, offering a winning combination of style and quality in every single product.

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If you’re looking for new ways to use your taps to benefit your home then here are our top five tap tips.

  1. Position carefully

The position of taps may not seem like an area where you have much choice, but this is inaccurate. Whether you go for single mixer taps that bring hot and cold water together in one spout or stick with the more traditional option of dual taps is up to you so think carefully and choose your position wisely.

  1. Know your style

From the modern to the contemporary, bathroom taps fall into all style categories. To ensure that your taps work for you choose ones which match the style of your home and, most importantly, your bathroom. If you want something that looks at home in either case then go for a universal single lever tap with curved profile. 

  1. Adjust the flow

As well as looking good, taps can also save you money by reducing water wastage. To do this, the Energy Saving Trust recommends you choose taps with a low flow rate or aerators.

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  1. Match bath with basin

The key to an attractive bathroom is uniformity of style so make sure your bathroom taps match! This means choosing the correct units for baths and basins from the same range and considering how they’ll look alongside shower controls.

  1. Keep it clean

Once you’ve chosen (and fitted) your preferred taps the next step is to keep them looking their best. This means knowing how to clean taps properly and ensuring that any relevant maintenance is carried out.

Wiping them with a dry cloth to remove moisture immediately after use should prevent limescale build-up and dulling on a day-to-day basis but you can also add extra shine to chrome taps with mild cleaners or even white toothpaste!

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How To Be The Greenest Parent Around

As a parent you want to instil all the best possible values into your kids. The importance of sharing, the importance of gentleness and kindness, the importance of respecting your elders, the importance of cherishing and looking after the world around you. A love of the natural world is something that a lot of us would like to see in our children – a respect for our beautiful green planet and an interest in learning to take care of it. Luckily there are things you can do to encourage this love.

Go For Locally Sourced Food

Brown Fish Fillet on White Ceramic Plate

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Locally sourced food is fresh and delicious and it’s also great for the environment because it hasn’t travelled over vast distances to reach you. Of course not all food can be sourced locally, like tropical fruits, but whenever possible, go for local options in the grocery store. You should also try to go for organic free range meat – this is a lot kinder to the animals and it’ll also be a lot more pure for your body as well. You should also remember that you need to stop buying bottled water. Sure it’s convenient but it’s bad for the environment in pretty much every way, from the huge transportation costs to the wasted plastic bottles, so you should purchase a water filter and use that instead.

Stop Wasting Water

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We’ve all done it: we stand by the sink brushing our teeth and staring idly into space as the faucet runs. We spend too long in the shower, we use too much water when we’re washing up dishes. It’s extremely easy to waste water in general! Make sure that you cut down on this – leave post-its around to remind yourself to get out of the shower in good time and keep the water off wherever possible.

Use Natural Cleaning Products

The importance of using natural cleaning products can’t be underestimated. The truth is that in this day and age there is simply no need to keep a lot of dangerous chemicals in your home – and that applies even more when you have kids. You don’t want to have to worry about your babies ingesting anything harmful so why not go for non toxic cleaning products made from natural substances? Look online to find the best natural cleaners from companies that sell non toxic products like Jessica Alba’s Honest ranges, to cleaning solutions that you can use in your own home – did you know that you can use vinegar to unblock sinks and baking soda to clean up stains? There are a lot of natural cleaning solutions out there – put down the bleach and get researching. You know those chemicals give you a headache anyway! You’ll also find that using natural detergents will be the best possible thing for sensitive baby skin.

Lower Your Energy Bills

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The importance of lowering your energy bills is two fold. Firstly, we all know that it’s great for your wallet, meaning that you can treat yourself at the end of the month – but we also should remember that it’s also great for the environment. Fossil fuels are being used up at a pace that’s far more rapid than they’re being created and as such we need to start using sustainable sources of energy. If your house isn’t equipped with solar panels, watermills or wind turbines then your only real solution is to cut down on your energy use. Simply, you should make sure that you turn off lights when you leave the room and that you don’t leave your electronic equipment on standby. You should also make sure that you change your lightbulbs to LED ones, which last for much longer and use considerably less energy. Ensure that your house is properly insulated to keep the heat in, thus lowering your heating bills, and put rugs down on your wooden or tiled floors, to prevent still more heat from being lost. If you can feel a draught then why not make a draught excluder?

Turn Your Home Green

Free Variety Of Plotted Plants In A Greenhouse Stock Photo

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No, we don’t mean that you have to paint all your walls green – although admittedly it’s a very peaceful and natural colour that your whole family would enjoy, so you could probably consider it. Rather, you should try to be as green at home as you possibly can. When you’re redecorating, use non toxic paints and paste, and make sure that you use sustainable materials wherever possible – if you’re redecorating a baby’s room, for example, go for a felt mobile instead of a plastic one. It’ll be just as pretty and it’ll be a whole lot better for good old Planet Earth. Go for good quality furniture made from recyclable materials that will last you for a long time instead of the homeware equivalent of disposable fashion, and remember that there’s no better home decoration than plants. Not only do they look extremely pretty, but they also produce oxygen and improve your home’s atmosphere. They’ll provide your kids with an example of having something to learn to look after, and they’ll bring a little piece of nature inside. You could go for a small herb garden on your kitchen windowsill – it’ll look good, smell fragrant and gorgeous, and you’ll feel incredible when you can use homegrown herbs in your cooking.

Lead By Example

Probably the most important parenting tip of them all is to lead by example. You probably already know this all too well – if you’ve ever let a single curse word slip past your lips in front of your kids after stubbing your toe then you’re probably aware that they pick up on everything way too quickly sometimes! If your kids see you recycling and walking instead of driving and respecting the natural world then they’ll learn to do the same thing and you’ll end up with an environmentally conscious family that you’re incredibly proud of. Take your kids hiking with your dog, send them on treasure hunts in your back yard and teach them to be gentle with insects like snails and spiders (even if you’re scared of them!). That way they’ll grow up with a real appreciation of this beautiful world that we’re lucky enough to live in.

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Why A Good Bed Is The Secret To Health In The Home

There’s a lot of things that we know are harmful to our families – bad food won’t help with health or weight. A lack of exercise is going to zap their energy and turn us all into couch potatoes. Too much screen-time can result in headaches. We know all of that.

While a ninja blender can cut up your fruit for a smoothy and a treadmill can get us running – there’s one piece of furniture that might be overlooked in our pursuit of health in the home.

It’s the bed. There are plenty of health benefits to owning a good bed, and on the flipside, a lack of sleep or interrupted sleep could be disastrous for the health of you and your family. BedTimes Magazine took a look at the benefits of a new bed:

“Through our research, we found that new bedding improved sleep quality by 62% and sleep comfort by 70.8%, and reduced back pain by 55.3% and back stiffness by 50.7% over a four–week period. We also found that lower back pain was much more prominent for those sleeping on cheaper beds and older beds. But regardless of their personal bedding systems, participants experienced immediate reduction in pain and stiffness and improvement of sleep comfort and quality when sleeping on new mattresses. The reduction in pain and improvement in sleep became more prominent over time, and participants improved regardless of age, weight, height or body–mass index. Moreover, when participants were assigned to high and low pain groups based on initial evaluation, both groups experienced a significant reduction in pain when sleeping on new mattresses. Even those who reported minor problems sleeping showed significant improvements in sleep quality and comfort—at levels similar to those who were poor sleepers.”

[Photo courtesy of Jennifer C./flickr.com]

They did the hard work, so we don’t have to, and it’s clear that new bedding or a new bed entirely is going to have immediate benefits to our health as well as our sleeping habits.

What do we look for in a good bed then? Firstly – it needs to be solid and stable. Your mattress needs a good support so it can support you! A creaky and shaky bed isn’t going to help, and you may feel like you’re napping on a sinking ship! As for the perfect bed? It doesn’t exist – you simply need the right one for you. A good mattress goes a long way, and this is the Best Memory Foam Mattress – a good mattress is going to gift you an hour of sleep that a lesser mattress will take away. Most mattress types have their cons as well, so try to get a mattress that you can try out as everyone is different.

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Of course, you need pillows that keep your neck and head in line with your body for comfort and some breathable bedding is a good idea. A number of sets for different temperatures will help.

A good bed – it could do wonders for your health and for your bedroom!

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Downsize Your Home: Upgrade Your Life

Bigger doesn’t always equate to better. When we’re starting out, there’s a temptation to strive for a bigger house, a bigger car, and lots of stuff. But if the trend to downsize is anything to go by, all of this doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. People are finding that living simpler lives, and getting more out of less, is the way to go.

What Do You Want?

You have a big house, a decent car, and all the latest technologies. But how do you feel when you go to bed at night and when you wake up first thing in the morning? Do you sleep well and get up raring to go, ready to greet the day? Or do you struggle to get to sleep, keep waking up, and feel sick when the alarm clock starts beeping? Many people identify with the latter. They work hard, striving for something they think they want but then when they achieve their goals, it doesn’t bring them happiness or fulfillment. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is likely to be that they strive for what they think they want, without addressing how they want to feel. This is one reason many people have so-called mid-life crises. They get to a point in their life and realize that this is not what they envisaged, and not how they expected to feel.

Free Boy Crouching and Resting Head on Hands and Knees Between Shelf of Plush Toys Stock Photo

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What Does Downsizing Mean?

We have all seen the articles where people have downsized their lives to such an extent that they are able to live in a tiny one-room house out in the wilderness. While this is fine, of course, it is an extreme example. For most people downsizing just means freeing their lives from unnecessary clutter, living a simpler existence, and feeling freer and happier. It doesn’t necessarily equate to a frugal life, though saving money is one of the benefits.

Downsizing means different things to different people. For some it might be selling their home through a listing agent and moving to a smaller place. For others, it may just mean filtering their belongings, creating more space, and updating their attitude to purchasing.

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What Are The Benefits Of Downsizing?

There are many benefits of downsizing. For example:

  • Reducing unnecessary costs and having more disposable income
  • Reducing the time spent cleaning and maintaining your home
  • Refocusing your energy and attention on the things that count
  • Feeling less encumbered and therefore less stressed
  • Feeling freer to do things you enjoy doing

Concentrate On Experiences Rather Than Things

Many people find that spending their money on experiences, rather than things, is a happier and more purposeful way of living. So, rather than having the latest cell phone, tablet, TV, and Blu-Ray player, they invest in holidays, time out with family, hobbies, and interests.

The important point about downsizing is that it forces you to take stock of your life and readdress the things that are important. To downsize you go through a process of removing what is unnecessary and potentially harmful, and focus on what makes you happy.

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Dust Ruffles – The Perfect Bed Complement

When you select a mattress, you must find the right kind of base or structure for the bed that creates the look you desire. Dust ruffles are suitable for creating a neat, finished look for your bed. Modern styles, such as platform bases or pedestal supports, are great for foam mattresses.

Black and Grey Bedspread on Bed and Pillow

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Common bedding sets often include standard dust ruffles that complement the bedspread, sheets and pillows alike. Often, the pattern matches your curtains or other bedroom accessories. Pairing the bed dust ruffle with a box spring set up is easy; just place the ruffle fabric against the box spring and place a foam mattress over the top. This creates a traditional look that also employs the latest in comfort innovations. Bed skirts may also work with your platform or pedestal bed. Ruffle accents are also available, and these accents snap or zip into place. The lip of the platform base does not get in the way, and you have an attractive finish for any bed. Some inexpensive bases used with foam construction mattresses can be hidden with an over-sized bedspread.

Trying to find bedroom items that all coordinate with each other is a hard task to accomplish for any type of bedroom. However, innovations in both beds and the bedding that dresses them can solve even your most difficult decorating dilemma. Chose a comfortable bed with the kind of mattress that gives you a restful sleep, and make sure all your bedding accessories are suitable for the size and dimensions of your bed.

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Moving Home? Take The Stress Out With This Advice

Anyone who has ever moved home will know that it can be a surprisingly stressful experience. No matter how many times you might have done it previously, it is always stressful and there is always a real difficulty in keeping the stress at bay. However, there are certain things you can do to ensure that the experience is much less stressful than it might seem like it has to be. As long as you are following these simple steps, you should find that the whole experience is much easier to go along with and enjoy. Let’s take a look at some of the essential advice which could make all the difference.

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Organise Early

Usually, the stress of such situations is merely the result of not planning ahead enough. When you fail to plan ahead, it means that you have to make a lot more decisions on the spot, and this can quickly lead to stress building up on the day itself. To avoid this, the solution is clear: simply get yourself organised as early as you can, so as to avoid such an occurrence happening. It’s true that there is plenty to do on the day, but if you organise as much as you can prior to it, then you are helping yourself out in a big way. This means plan what you will do on the day, what order you will do things in, and go down to the smallest detail you can manage on that. This really makes a huge difference.

Get Professional Help

Very few people can carry out such an event as moving day without any help at all. At the very least, you should try to enlist the help of your friends and family. But more than that, you might want to think about the kind of professional help that you could use. Chances are, you could benefit from some kind of help of this nature – so make sure that you go out of your way to find the best moving quotes that you can, ideally long before the big day itself. With this kind of help on your side, the whole experience should be considerably easier – and definitely much less stressful.

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Pack Logically

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are moving is that they fail to pack in any logical way. The truth is, the way in which you pack your belongings makes a huge difference to how effectively the day pans out, so make sure that you pack in a way that really makes sense. Keep all like items together, and remember to clearly mark anything that is fragile or has specific needs. This way, everyone who might be helping on the day is sure to know what they are doing much more readily. With a logical packing system under way, you will find that you feel much more in control of the whole day. Your stress levels will be remarkably lower than they would be otherwise, and before you know it you will be relaxing in your new home.

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DIY Home Decor For The Tentative Decorator

Want your home to look beautiful, but don’t have the funds to hire professional decorators? No need to fear, there’s plenty you can do yourself without breaking the bank! Here are a few points to bear in mind if you’re new to decorating and want to have a go.

Colours and Theme

Before diving in with your decorating, spend some time beforehand on the planning stages. This helps to keep everything looking cohesive, and you will get the best result at the end. Scour blogs and Pinterest for rooms you like the look of, picking out different colours, design features and other elements that catch your attention. Have an idea of the kind of colours and the overall look you want to achieve at the end, this saves you purchasing things that don’t look right and wasting your money. Opting for all neutral walls is your best bet if you are unsure. They will make the room look light, bright and airy and you can bring in colour with home accessories. Paint ceilings and woodwork such as skirting boards and doors in a brilliant white for a super fresh and clean look.

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Painting

It’s always advisable to try out a few paint samples on the walls before investing in a big tin. The colour of the walls underneath and the light in the room will affect how it looks once it’s dry so don’t just take a chance. Once you’ve chosen a colour to get a few samples in different shades and paint them onto the wall so you can see which looks best. Start by ‘cutting in’ which is going around all of the edges of the room neatly with a paintbrush, and do the rest with a roller which is quick, easy and gives a smooth finish. Be sure to cover your flooring with old sheets or painters dust sheets to protect it, take your time and do a second or even a third coat if it needs it. Be sure to let each layer fully dry before moving onto the next.

Wallpaper

Adding some wallpaper to the feature wall in your room is a good way to bring in personality, and is good for those who are new to decorating since it’s a smaller area than a whole room. If you’ve never wallpapered before watch a tutorial online first. Follow the techniques carefully, and ideally have another pair of hands to help you. If you’re unsure, you could use repositionable wallpaper, that way if you make a mistake it’s easy to correct. And if you’re renting it’s easy to remove at the end of your tenancy. If you’ve painted the other walls in a light, neutral colour the wallpaper is where you can be a bit bolder. You could go for a bright or bold colour, a statement design or just keep it subtle if that’s more your style.

Do you do much decorating yourself at home, or do you usually call in the professionals?

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Just a Few Examples of Eco-Friendly Construction Ideas

With billions of people now living on the planet and that number expected to continue increasing, our natural resources are becoming scarcer and it is more important than ever before that we change the way we live so that we can build a greener economy and preserve this amazing planet for future generations. From simple everyday acts, such as recycling or avoiding the use of plastic bags at the grocery store, to making major adjustments to construction plans in order to ensure that buildings are more eco-friendly, there are a variety of ways to live a greener life and contribute to a healthier planet.

Below are just a few of the many ways in which you can make your home greener from the inside out. Some of these are relatively inexpensive while others require a bit of an investment, but each one is more than worth your time and money for the great benefits they provide to both people and planet Earth.

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Non-Toxic Paints

Typical interior and exterior paints contain a host of harmful toxins that actually continue to leak out into the air in and around your home for many years after the paint is applied. That is why many paint brands are now offering lines of eco-friendly paints that do not contain the same toxic chemicals and do not release the fumes either. These are not only healthier for the environment, they are also healthier for you and your family, including your pets. Without worrying about inhaling these toxic compounds, you can rest assured that your indoor air quality is safer for everyone.

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Properly Insulated Windows

Replacing your old windows with newer ones that are designed to keep the temperature just right, you can avoid drafts in the winter that require you to turn your heater up higher and you can also prevent heat from coming into your home in the middle of the summer, forcing you to turn your air conditioner up another notch. By lowering your heater and air conditioner, you will not only save money on your energy bill, you will also be conserving energy as well and you won’t be contributing to harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

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Earth-Friendly Flooring

When it comes to flooring, there are many options available that are environmentally friendly. If you prefer carpets and rugs, you can purchase those made from recycle materials or those that do not contain harmful chemicals. Or if you prefer wood floors, choose those made from renewable resources, such as bamboo.

Eco-Friendly Building Materials

From long-lasting building materials to those that come from recycled parts, you can construct a durable and comfortable home in a much more eco-friendly fashion these days. If you are in the construction business or you bought a plot of land onto which you want build your dream home, working with a surveyor Christchurch who can properly assess the land and help you develop your construction plans will also ensure that you can work with someone who will build you an eco-friendly home.

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The Three Things To Do When Your Heating Fails You

There are a lot of things in our homes that we simply take for granted. This could be the access to clean, fresh water, or even the fact that we have a stable roof over our heads. But one thing that nearly every household doesn’t ever appreciate until it’s gone is the heating system. Most homes have some kind of central heating system, and usually it is gas-powered by a furnace or boiler. This type of system only became widespread across the world in the 1960s, as prior to that many residential properties had to find other ways of heating their homes. But now, we are all used to having a reliable heating system available to us at the flick of a switch. So, what do we do when it fails us?

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Don’t panic

If your heating fails you at a particularly desperate time – such as in the middle of winter or when you are expecting guests to come round – it can be pretty annoying. When it happens, many of us tend to go into panic mode and take any measure we can to get it sorted as soon as possible. But before you do anything drastic, stop and think for a second. You may want to try your hand at fixing the issue yourself, but remember it is always better to wait for a professional to deal with it if there is any aspect of the system you are not sure of. Some things – such as re-pressurizing your boiler – are fairly straightforward, but for anything else, always call an expert.

Find a replacement

Just like any other household appliance, boilers have a shelf life. When you move into a new property (whether you are a renter or whether you have bought it) always ask to see a copy of the home’s gas certificates, as this will include all information about the current heating system. Typically, any boiler that is more than 20 years old probably isn’t going to be all that energy-efficient any longer. Therefore, you should consider replacing it with a newer model, and getting an engineer to fit it for you. You can find a whole range of different heaters to suit your needs online at Harsterheating.com/services/residential/heating-systems/, or on similar professional sites.

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Keep warm in the meantime

It may take a few days for your heating system to get fixed, or for a new one to be installed. During this time you may just have to put up with being cold – but there are things you can do to make this time a little bit easier for both you and your family. Bring down lots of blankets from bedrooms and any that are hiding in draws and all snuggle up on the couch together. Body heat is severely underrated when it comes to keeping yourself warm! If you can, get hold of an electric heater too to spread some warm air around until your system is back on. Not having any heating in your home can be a pain, but it doesn’t mean you need to suffer without it.

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The Novice’s Guide To Keeping The Garden Healthy

The garden is, for most people, one of the most important parts of the house. It is certainly often the most beautiful, and knowing how to tend to it properly can be something of an art form. Keeping the garden aesthetically pleasing and relaxing to be in is one thing, but it is quite another to keep the place as healthy as it can be, and this usually takes considerably more understanding. It definitely takes more work, and perhaps that accounts for the amount of gardens that suffer terribly from not being cared for properly. Don’t let your garden become one of those – take a stand today and learn how to keep it healthy for longer. Take the following tips as a starting point.

Green Leaf Plant With Fruit

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Watch Out For Pests

One of the most important things for you to do is to watch out for any pests that might be lingering around. No matter what kind of plants you do or do not have in your garden, pests are always going to be a potential issue. Therefore, learning how to spot them and deal with them is going to prove to be vital if you are dedicated to keeping your garden as healthy as it can be. Some of the more obvious signs of pests can be that your plants are being nibbled, or even that they look diseased. It is also worth getting to know the different bugs that abound in your part of the world; some will be friendly, and even useful to the gardener, and other will be a nuisance. Learning this is one of the most important steps you can take to looking after your garden more effectively.

Keep The Lawn Trimmed

There are a number of reasons why you might want to ensure you keep the lawn trimmed, some of them aesthetic and others related to the health of the garden. Above all, it is a good idea to mow the lawn every six weeks or so, no matter what time of year it might be, as this helps the all-round health of the garden to no end. This is one of those tasks where the quality of the tools being used really helps, so make sure you have a decent lawn mower before you get started. You might even want to take a look at some lawn mower reviews before you start, to ensure that you have the best one for your particular garden. With a well-kept lawn, often the rest of a garden seems to just fall into place.

Green Push Lawn Mower

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Check Plants Before Buying

Whenever you purchase plants to add to your garden, it is really in your interest to check them thoroughly before buying them, and definitely before planting them with your other plants. This is because they could be carrying any number of unpleasant diseases, diseases which could swiftly wipe out the majority of your garden. Check the roots, first and foremost, as this is one of the easiest ways to tell whether a plant is diseased or not.

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