How to use cling wrap?

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Plastic Wrap Garden Ideas – Learn How To Use Cling Film In The Garden

You probably already use plastic wrap to keep cooked food fresh in the refrigerator, but did you realize you can use plastic wrap in gardening? The same moisture-sealing qualities that make it work for keeping in food odors make it possible to start gardening with plastic wrap. If you’d like a few DIY garden plastic wrap ideas, read on. We’ll tell you how to use cling film in the garden to help your plants grow.

How to Use Cling Film in the Garden

That plastic wrap you use in the kitchen, sometimes called cling film, is very useful in the garden. That’s because it holds in moisture and also heat. Think about a greenhouse. Its plastic or glass walls hold in the heat and allow you to grow plants inside that would have a struggle to thrive outdoors.

Tomatoes are a great example. They grow best in a warm, protected environment. A cool climate, frequent wind or too little sunshine can make it hard to grow these heat-loving plants, but tomatoes usually grow well in a protected greenhouse. Plastic wrap in gardening can do something similar.

Plastic Wrap Garden Ideas

Gardening with plastic wrap can mimic some of the effects of a greenhouse. You just need to know how to use cling film in the garden to accomplish this.

One way to give a tomato a private greenhouse is to wrap the clingy paper around the bottom part of the tomato plant’s cage. First, anchor the plastic wrap around one of the vertical bars of the cage, then wrap around and around until the lower two horizontal rungs are covered. When you use this DIY garden plastic wrap trick, you create a greenhouse effect. The wrap holds in the warmth and protects the plant from the wind.

If you prefer, you can create a mini-greenhouse from an entire raised bed. Use two-foot bamboo poles placed a few feet apart all the way around the bed. Run several layers of plastic wrap around the poles, then run more plastic wrap across to create a roof. Since plastic wrap sticks to itself, you don’t need to use staples or tape.

Creating a mini-greenhouse is cool, but it isn’t the only DIY garden plastic wrap fix you can use. When you are germinating seeds, topping the planter with plastic wrap holds in the moisture the plant requires. Seeds are sensitive to overwatering, which can dislodge seedlings. But too little water can also damage them. One of the best plastic wrap garden ideas is to stretch plastic wrap over the surface of the seed planting pot to maintain high moisture. Remove it regularly to check the moisture levels.


4 Year | 6 Mil | Diffused Greenhouse Film

LUMINANCE® has been specially engineered to give you the results you need from a highly diffused greenhouse film.

Benefits

  • Lowers greenhouse temperature by as much as 9°F when compared to standard film.
  • Produces higher-yielding plants with stronger than normal root systems.
  • Less demand for watering.
  • Diffused greenhouse film inhibits fungus spore development for healthier plants.
  • Inhibits insect propagation.
  • Provides comfortable working conditions during harvest season.
  • Greenhouse plastic film prolongs the growing season.
  • Allows for an earlier harvest-up to three weeks earlier harvests have been recorded.
  • Higher crop yields and higher first quality crop yields-there have been noted increases of 30%-40% in total crop yields, with a higher percentage in first quality crop yield of up to 85% for some crops.
  • Guarantees harvesting days-LUMINANCE® greenhouse poly film provides a cover from the weather to ensure rain won’t delay harvesting.
  • Diffused light reaches plants from many different angles, helping prevent the plants from getting scorched.
  • Par light transmission remains the same.
  • This greenhouse plastic cover is beneficial for raspberries and blackberries.

Ideal For

  • Tomatoes
  • Herbs
  • Flowers
  • Nursery Stock
  • Strawberries
  • Potted Plants
  • Blackberries
  • Chilis
  • Redcurrants
  • Eggplants (Aubergines)
  • Blackcurrants
  • Raspberries
  • Peppers
  • High Value Salad Crops
  • Cherries
  • High Value Vegetable Crops
  • Plums
  • Zucchini (Courgette)
  • Melons

Get the Most out of Your Light Diffusing Film
• Reduce or eliminate overspray with pesticides containing chlorine, bromine, fluorine, or sulfur.
• Do not use foggers or smoke generators with any chemical containing chlorine, bromine, fluorine or sulfur.
• Avoid direct contact with PVC products in general, and especially PVC pipe or plasticized PVC tape.
• Avoid direct contact with oil-based paints or products containing petroleum distillate, e.g. wood preservatives.
• Do not substitute white paint for shade compounds designed for greenhouse film. Latex house paint may contain fungicides containing sulfur, halogens, etc. If repeated or prolonged contact with any of the above is unavoidable due to required cultural practices, reduced film life may be inevitable. The greater the contact, the more affect it will have on the greenhouse plastic film.
Diffusion reduces shadows and allows the plants to receive a more even distribution of light during the day. Although the intensity of light at any one point in time may be lower under a diffused film, the total light transmission is excellent and the plants may actually utilize more PAR light through the course of a day, with less stress. This is due to the more even distribution of light at crop level. By eliminating shadows and spreading available energy more evenly on the leaf surface, there is less stress on the top canopy of the plant and more photosynthesis occurring in the lower canopy.
The appearance of diffused greenhouse film is considerably different than standard polyethylene film. This is due to the diffusion (scattering) of light through the greenhouse plastic film. Plants utilize diffuse and parallel light, while our eyes “see” mostly parallel light. This causes a diffused greenhouse film to look dark and hazy compared to a “clear” film, even though the total light transmission remains the same.
Our Greenhouse Films are bee compatible. This feature provides an environment where natural bee pollination can occur in greenhouse vegetable crops. Pollination of greenhouse vegetable crops is more efficient with bee compatible films than with mechanical pollination. Bee compatible greenhouse films allow more of the UV spectrum to pass through the film. The visible light spectrum for bees extends into the violet and ultraviolet (UV) light region between 350–400 nanometers. This range of light is invisible to the human eye, but by allowing transmission of some of this UV light, the greenhouse will be a more comfortable environment for bees to navigate. Expected greenhouse film life and typical properties of the film are not compromised with the addition of bee compatibility.

Working out while wrapped in plastic — good for weight loss?

Dear Reader,

Body suits, body wraps, plastic wrap, or any other formulated fashion that promotes perspiration does not lead to increased fat burning or fat loss. Perspiring profusely will cause you to lose a little water weight quickly, but this weight loss will not last and is not the same as losing body fat. In addtion, suits that make you sweat can be unhealthy. Rubber “sweat” suits were banned by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) after the deaths of three wrestlers in 1997. The athletes were attempting to lose weight by wearing these suits while exercising in hot weather. Many additional reports of similar close calls were reported after this news broke.

Body suits cause you to sweat like a moose in heat on a hot Texas prairie, but they don’t allow the sweat to dry. Evaporation is important because it cools the body. As a result, wearing a body suit raises your body temperature, possibly to unsafe levels. This danger is compounded by changes in blood chemistry. A portion of perspiration originates from blood fluids. As you sweat more, blood volume is reduced, which limits the flow of oxygen to working muscles and organs. A two percent drop in body weight through fluid loss can produce significant changes in your body’s response to exercise. Continued fluid loss may lead to weakness, dizziness, mental confusion, and even coma and death. That’s why fluid replacement before, during, and after physical activity is essential.

For all exercise, dressing for success means wearing clothes that let your body breathe. It’s probably best to wear clothes made of cotton, or polyester that pulls away from the skin.

Although the scale may register a weight loss from using this fad, a loss of body fluid does not reflect a loss of fat tissue. In addition, this weight loss will only be temporary and will return shortly after you have re-hydrated. As always, stick with a well-rounded diet and moderate exercise for optimal health.

Alice!

Why Wrapping Your Stomach in Plastic Wrap to Lose Weight Is a Really Bad Idea

Wrapping your stomach in plastic wrap to lose weight is not only ineffective, it’s also potentially dangerous. Here’s what you should know, plus tips on how to lose that belly fat for real.

Alongside fat burners and waist trainers, wrapping your stomach in plastic wrap is one of those not-so-scientific methods that’s rumored to help you lose weight fast and with minimal effort.

However, while binding your stomach (or any part of your body) in plastic during exercise will definitely cause you to sweat, it won’t increase your calorie burn or boost fat loss. Plus, it can lead to dangerous conditions like dehydration 1.

While quick-fix weight-loss methods are certainly appealing, they won’t help you keep the weight off for long. Instead, introduce some healthy exercise and eating habits that are sustainable for you long-term — your body will thank you!

Read more: 10 of the Most Common Weight-Loss Mistakes

The Dangers of Excessive Sweating

Not only is excessive sweating unhelpful when it comes to weight loss, but it can lead to dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in, meaning your body doesn’t have enough water to carry out its normal functions 1. This condition can compromise your body’s ability to cool itself, affecting your capacity to perform physically, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It can also cause fatigue, dizziness and confusion, and can lead to more serious complications, such as:

  • kidney problems
  • seizures
  • life-threatening heatstroke

Safe (and Effective!) Weight-Loss Practices

For safe and long-term fat loss, stick to the basics: diet and exercise. While quick-fix techniques may sound more appealing, they will often set you back and leave you feeling discouraged. Instead, give your body the healthy treatment it deserves and spend at least 75 minutes each week performing aerobic exercise, recommends the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 4. And don’t neglect strength training; try to spend at least two days a week in the weight room.

Alongside exercise, a healthy diet and safe, sustainable calorie deficit is necessary for fat loss. Use a calorie counter, such as MyPlate, to help you determine how many calories you need to consume. Typically, cutting out 500 to 1,000 calories each day is considered safe, according to the Mayo Clinic 15. A pound of fat consists of 3,500 calories, so with a deficit of 500 calories per day, you can expect to lose a pound per week.

As far as the substance of your meals, choose foods that are high in nutrients and high in fiber. Protein-rich foods like chicken, fish and eggs will also help ward off hunger, according to Harvard Health 7.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Fat Loss

How Does Plastic Wrap Cling?

How does plastic wrap work, and why does it cling to some surfaces well but not others?

The ideal plastic wrap adheres to all sorts of containers, including glass, metal, and hard plastic. The trick for manufacturers is to engineer the plastic so that it attaches well to what the consumer wants it to attach to.

Clair Hicks, professor of food science at the University of Kentucky, says that “back in the late ’80s and ’90s plastic wrap was so clingy that you first had to work hard to find the edge on the roll. Then when you successfully ripped off a piece it would immediately fold back on itself, so it was really hard to work with.” Eventually, consumers dictated the evolution of plastic wraps, using their dollars to purchase those that had less aggressive cling, and manufacturers developed formulas that made their products easier to handle.

Plastic wraps are generally made from a vinyl or polyvinylchloride molecular configuration, which gives the material its “clingy” characteristic. Plasticizers add stretchiness. The level of clinginess depends on a mix of factors, for example the electrical charge the wrap carries, plus the charge the container carries.

“Glass, as well as some plastics, has a net negative charge on its surface, so a wrap that has an opposite charge is going to cling quite well to these surfaces,” says Hicks, though of course it’s unlikely that you would know what charge your container carries. A plastic wrap that carries the same charge as the container will not adhere as well.

Plastic films can also be hydrophobic (meaning they repel water) or hydrophilic (they attract water). Hydrophobic wrap is better at stretching across the tops of bowls and wrapping deli meats.

Hicks thinks that Saran wrap is your best bet for cling. It’s also one of the most expensive brands on the market, probably in large part due to the barrier film included in its formula, according to Hicks. Barrier film keeps the smells from leaking out of a wrapped product.

CHOW’s Nagging Question column appears every Friday.

The Beginner’s No-Fail Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors

Exactly as the title says — this is an easy, no-fail guide to starting seeds indoors.

You don’t need to read any gardening books first. You don’t need any fancy equipment. You just need your seeds (these are the best garden seed catalogs that I recommend ordering from) and a few basic supplies to get started.

Whether you have a dedicated vegetable bed in your backyard, or a cluster of containers on your patio, it all starts out the same way.

Growing seedlings indoors is ideal if you want to get a head start on the season, or if the weather is still too hot or too cold to put anything in the ground.

This simple step-by-step will take you from seed to seedling with a minimum of fuss. Just the stuff you need to know, and none that you don’t. (But if you’re the really-need-to-know type, I’ve added footnotes at the end to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing.)

Step 1: Gather your seed starting supplies.

  • Seeds
  • Seed starting pots or cell trays
  • Seed starting mix (homemade or store-bought)
  • Seed tray with humidity dome (often called a 1020 plant tray or propagation tray, or use any DIY drainage tray with plastic wrap)
  • Spray bottle or squirt bottle filled with water

If you’ve already made your recycled newspaper pots, you’re all set. If you’ll be using other seed starting pots or cell trays, make sure they’re clean.1

You can also repurpose household items into seed starting containers, like egg cartons, Dixie cups, and yogurt cups. Just wash them out and poke a few drainage holes in the bottom.

Step 2: Fill your pots or trays with seed starting mix.

Dump your seed starting mix into a large tub or bucket, pour in a generous amount of water, and stir it up with your hands or a trowel.

As the seed starting mix starts to absorb the moisture, add more water as needed. (This will take several minutes, as true seed starting mix is slow to absorb.) You want the mix to be uniformly damp, like wet sand.

Fill your seedling pots with this pre-moistened seed starting mix.2

Step 3: Sow your seeds.

Place two to four seeds on the surface of the seed starting mix, and gently press the seeds down so they’re nestled in nicely.

If your seeds are very small, like basil or mustard, you can leave them uncovered.3

If your seeds are larger (like beans or peas) or they require darkness to germinate (check the instructions on the seed packets), cover them with a layer of vermiculite or seed starting mix equal to their height, usually 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch.

Step 4: Label your newly planted seeds.

Label each pot. Trust me, you will never remember what you planted where, as most seedlings look the same at birth.

At this early stage, cheap plastic plant markers work very well and stay out of the way, so save your big and beautiful metal plant markers for the garden.

Step 5: Keep your seeds moist and warm.

Mist your seeds with water.4

Assemble your pots in a seed tray (or reuse a disposable aluminum roasting pan, a baking pan, even that plastic clamshell that your salad greens came in) and cover with a humidity dome (or just plain old plastic wrap).5

If your dome has vents, keep them open to help with air circulation during the sprouting period.

Now, you need to add heat. Since sunlight is not essential at this point, your seed trays can be placed wherever it’s warmest in your house, such as an attic, bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen.6

If your seedling pots stay covered in a warm nook, the low humidity will keep your seeds happy until they sprout. High humidity will make them sad. Only spritz the seeds with more water if the mix feels dry to the touch.7

Within a couple of days to a couple of weeks, seedlings will start to emerge. Some of them will look like they’re wearing little seed hats.

Germination (the process of a seed sprouting) is highly variable, so don’t stress if it feels like it’s taking forever to happen. In most cases, seeds will sprout within three weeks (after that, try starting a new round of seeds).

Step 6: Give your new seedlings light.

At this stage, the newly sprouted seedlings need light. Remove the humidity dome or plastic wrap, and move the seedlings to the sunniest spot in your house (preferably a south-facing window).

Continue to keep the mix moist, but not overly wet.

Step 7: Moving day! Transplant the strongest seedlings when they’re ready.

After your seedlings develop their first “true set” of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted.8

If more than one seed sprouted, choose the strongest one and pinch or snip off the others. You can even keep all of them, but be careful separating the roots if the seedlings are close together.

Transplant the seedling into a larger container filled with potting mix. Hold it by the cotyledons (the first leaves that appear) and try not to manhandle the tiny roots.

At this stage, you can lightly drench the potting mix using a diluted solution of compost tea or all-purpose fertilizer. Keep it simple, keep it organic, and don’t obsess too much over the nutrients.9

Give the seedling plenty of sunlight each day (at least 12 to 16 hours is ideal for most vegetable seedlings) to avoid the “leggy” look. (Learn how to fix leggy seedlings if this is happening to you.)10

Step 8: Harden off those seedlings.

To get your seedling prepped for a good life outside, you can start to harden off the seedling11 by moving it outside under diffused light for a few hours and bringing it back inside each night.

Over the next week, move it from diffused sun to partial sun to full sun, and for longer periods of time, until it’s finally kept outside all night.

Step 9: Transplant your seedlings outdoors.

After the hardening off period, you can transplant your seedling to its final destination, whether straight into your garden or into a larger container.

And then, in a couple of months, you can enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your loving labor!

Starting Seeds in Coffee Filters (or Paper Towels)

Whether you’re trying to start tricky seeds with long germination times, or find out if your old seeds are still viable, the coffee filter (or baggie) method is a quick and simple way to start many seeds at once in a small space.

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Starting Seeds in Eggshells… Cute and Yes, Even Practical

Save those cracked eggshells, upcycle your egg carton, and bookmark this indoor gardening DIY for a rainy day. Starting seeds in eggshells is a fun and easy project that kids will delight in helping with!

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Soaking Seeds to Speed Germination

If you’ve had trouble with seeds not sprouting, soaking them in water before you sow them can greatly increase their chances of germinating. This method works well with legumes, beets, squash, and other thick-shelled seeds.

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How Long Do Seeds Really Last? (Plus, a Cheat Sheet on Seed Storage Life)

How old is too old? All seeds have a shelf life, but their longevity depends on the quality and condition when you bought or saved them, and how they’ve been stored since. Find out whether you should keep or toss your seed stash.

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Footnotes for indoor seed starting

1 This seems obvious, but laziness gets the best of us. Clean pots are key and help keep damping off at bay (an untreatable fungal disease that causes seedlings to suddenly keel over and die at the soil line).

Discard or thoroughly wash any pots that previously housed diseased plants. Avoid using leftover soil from the nursery container you brought home, as it might harbor weed seeds and bad bacteria.

If you have a healthy garden, you can skip washing your pots and simply dump out the dirt from your pots before using again.

I’ve put countless seed trays and humidity domes to the test over the years, and found these trays and domes to be the thickest and strongest on the market — they don’t bend, flex, or crack as easily as other brands, and can be reused for many seasons.

2 It’s easier to start with pre-moistened mix, as peat-based mixes are harder to wet down uniformly if they dry out in pots. Although peat has a very high water-holding capacity once it’s wet, it actually repels water when it’s dry. Go figure.

If you’re not using homemade seed starting mix, this is a reputable brand that I like.

3 For certain varieties of plants, light will often speed up germination (the process of a plant sprouting from a seed).

4 The moisture will help the seeds shed their protective coating and eventually sprout.

5 This creates a greenhouse effect to keep your seeds moist and warm, the key to germination. Most annual vegetables germinate best in temperatures of 75°F to 90°F. A few, such as radish, will germinate at lower temperatures.

Seeds will sometimes sprout in less than ideal temperatures, but the germination period will be longer.

6 I like to put my seed trays next to my wall heater. Some gardening guides suggest placing your tray on top of a refrigerator, but most appliances these days are energy-efficient and do not give off much heat.

7 Too much water will make the seeds rot. If your makeshift greenhouse is looking a bit too wet inside, remove the cover or plastic wrap for a few hours during the warmest part of the day to allow air circulation. Mold is no good for seeds, either.

8 The true leaves are actually the second set of leaves that appear; the first leaves that initially unfurl are not leaves at all, but cotyledons. These leaf-life structures are part of the embryo of the seed, and supply food to the seedling until its true leaves begin the process of photosynthesis.

9 I like to use home-brewed compost tea or liquid sea kelp. No fertilizer is fine, too, especially if you start with good soil. I have grown healthy vegetables with no fertilizer through a whole season, and could barely keep up with the harvests.

10 It sounds sexy, but it makes your seedling tall and weak as it channels its energy into straining for sunlight. I also like to gently run my hands across the top of my seedling to simulate a breeze; this slows down initial growth and strengthens the stem. A few brushes a day is all it needs.

11 Hardening off is the process in which you gradually acclimate the seedling to its future environment outdoors… getting it acquainted with the breeze, the birds, and the bees.

Project sources

Bootstrap Farmer Multi-Color Extra Strength Seedling Trays | Bootstrap Farmer Extra Strength 1020 Trays | Bootstrap Farmer 32-Cell Seedling Starter Tray with Inserts | Bootstrap Farmer Humidity Dome | Bootstrap Farmer 32-Cell Seed Starter Kit with Inserts | Koram Seed Starter Trays with Lid and Base | Behrens Galvanized Steel Pail | Black Gold Seedling Mix | Hoffman Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss | Hoffman Horticultural Vermiculite | Hoffman Horticultural Perlite | Kinglake 4-Inch Plastic Plant Marker | Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent Garden Marker

What to know after your seeds germinate

  • From Seed to Seedling: An Anatomy Lesson
  • Why Do Multiple Seedlings Sprout From a Beet Seed?
  • What is Damping Off Disease?
  • Leggy Seedlings: What Causes Them and How to Correct Them
  • How to Harden Off Your Seedlings
  • Why I Don’t Wash My Plant Pots (and You Don’t Need to Either)

This post updated from an article that originally appeared on March 19, 2011.

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