Keep indoor plants out of full sun
By Debby Looney, gardening expert
I was sitting in the dining room looking out at the garden through sheets of rain, when something caught my eye; a dead plant.
I shifted my focus, looked around me, and observed quite a few plants close to the point of no return! Indoor plants are easy to forget about, especially when the weather is fine. It is hard to believe but several spider plants, an orchid and a Saintpaulia ended up on a certain compost heap this week.
Houseplants do not need a huge amount of care during the summer months, but there are a few things we must not forget! For example, the most obvious is watering. This is the main growing season for houseplants, so watering is essential as is adding some fertiliser. I use specific feeds for my plants, as the balance of nutrients needed can vary hugely depending on the type. As you can imagine, a large, leafy plant will have different requirements to, say, a cactus, or a gerbera. Most plants prefer to dry out slightly between watering, though not as much as I had let them dry out.
Most indoor plants prefer to be out of full sun as they scorch easily. In particular, leafy plants are susceptible to this. Cacti and succulents are ideal for south facing windows during the summer months. Move any leafy plants to a spot away from south facing windows where they can enjoy a more stable temperature and a slightly shaded light.
Often when plants are under stress, both indoors or outdoors, they become prone to disease, a bit like ourselves. For example, plants which dry out frequently are a prime target for whitefly. They often go unnoticed until there is an infestation, at which point you will see woolly cocoon like clusters, as well as clouds of tiny white flies. Blackfly and greenfly are also common pests indoors. The best course of action, after prevention, is to spray the plant at regular intervals with a pesticide. As it is indoors, I would strongly recommend the use of organic spray, or even soapy water. Alternatively, use a pesticide which can be watered onto the soil, such as ‘bugclear ultra’, as this will have a systemic effect.
This time of year is also suitable for repotting your houseplants, if not done in spring, as they will still get a few months of benefit and strong growth. I mix my own compost as I generally have quite a few to repot. I mix four parts good quality compost, one part sharp sand, one part perlite and one part vermiculite by volume. When repotting cacti and succulents I reduce the compost to two parts, and when repotting orchids, I substitute the vermiculite and perlite with two parts fine bark mulch. I never use homemade compost, as I find there are a lot of insects and ‘other creatures' in it which is fine used outdoors, but I don’t want to invite too much wildlife inside! It is possible to sterilise homemade compost by steaming it, but this is quite an operation, one which I have never undertaken. Alternatively, there are specialist composts available for every type of houseplant. When repotting, use a pot which is about two sizes bigger, unless the plant is a very vigorous one.
Benefit-In-Kind tax rules overturned for company cars
By John Healy of Healy Insurances Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following a backlash from drivers whose Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) taxes increased substantially […]
By John Healy of Healy Insurances
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following a backlash from drivers whose Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) taxes increased substantially in January.
While the move to a CO2 based Benefit-In-Kind system, which incentivises the use of Electric Vehicles and lower emission cars, a significant number of employees with vehicles in the typical emissions range experienced large increases in their income tax liabilities since the start of 2023.
To address the issue, the Finance Minister has introduced a relief of €10,000 to be applied to the Original Market Value (OMV) of cars in Category A-D in order to reduce the amount of Benefit-In-Kind payable (this is not applicable to cars in Category E).
In effect, this means that, for the purposes of calculating BIK liability, employers may reduce the OMV by €10,000. This treatment will also apply to all vans and electric vehicles. For electric vehicles, the OMV deduction of €10,000 will be in addition to the existing relief of €35,000 that is currently available for EVs, meaning that the total relief for 2023 will be €45,000.
The upper limit in the highest mileage band is amended by way of a 4,000km reduction, so that the highest mileage band is now entered into at 48,001km.
These temporary measures will be retrospectively applied from 1 January 2023 and will remain in place until 31 December 2023. It is proposed to introduce the measures at Committee Stage of the Finance Bill 2023.
From an insurance perspective, if a vehicle is owned by a company then the motor policy in place must be in the company name and have full business use cover known as Class 2 cover. It is customary that the policy is on an open driving basis, usually aged 25 to 70. The cost for a company owned car policy can be higher than privately owned vehicles.
Reduce the stress of downsizing
By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY It is widely accepted that moving house is one of THE most stressful life events one will experience, but does it really need […]
By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY
It is widely accepted that moving house is one of THE most stressful life events one will experience, but does it really need to be?
Embrace the change and look forward to new beginnings.
One particular cohort of home movers are those downsizing from their larger family homes, perhaps to a more manageable property with little/less maintenance. Here we look at potential ways of reducing the stress involved when downsizing:
Start the process as early as possible. Putting it off will add to the stress and result in a rushed job that is maybe not thorough enough. You only want to bring items you LOVE, NEED, USE and have SPACE for to your new property. Use this time as an opportunity to declutter – be ruthless. This is a fantastic opportunity to put some organisation into your life. Perhaps declutter prior to placing your existing home on the market – it may well add value to your home.
Don’t underestimate how much of a reduction is required pre-move. If the new property you are moving to is 50% smaller, then a quick estimate is that 50% of items in your current home need to be rehoused elsewhere.
Have an exit plan for the items leaving your home. Where are your local charity shops, do they offer a collection service? Is a skip required? A carefully planned exit strategy will make the move a lot more seemless. Have detailed measurements of your new home so you know which larger furniture items will/will not fit in your new property.
Take your time and do not try to do multiple areas simultaneously. Perhaps take it room by room and set yourself realistic targets.
Most importantly don’t panic. Allow yourself sufficient time, have a well-planned system in place and do not be reluctant to ask for help. Involving family members and relatives in the move will make the whole process a lot easier.
Benefit-In-Kind tax rules overturned for company cars
By John Healy of Healy Insurances Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following...
Reduce the stress of downsizing
By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY It is widely accepted that moving house is one of THE most stressful...
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