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How to create a garden? Here’s what to do

Living in big cities means that we miss the luxury of sitting in our garden and enjoying an evening as life goes by. While we may not have a full-fledged garden, here’s what we can do

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How to make the garden
Source: The Spruce

Just the thought of sitting in the evening with flowers and greenery everywhere is a luxury that few can afford. Gone are the days when there were bungalows with huge gardens with trees and rows of flowers in the flower beds. Well, all is not lost here. If you have a terrace, there is a lot of the outdoors that you can bring to it.

Planting a roof garden is not too expensive and it’s an investment that will help you improve your well-being and health. Here are some benefits that it brings given the stress and anxiety that the present pandemic has brought with it.

Improved mental health

Regular daily contact with nature is very important for mental health. However, many people who are living in cities don’t have the luxury to leave their homes or workplaces to have much needed daily contact with nature. With a roof garden, you can take a coffee break from work and enjoy your break as you work from home.

Better air quality

Roof gardens are known for filtering and absorbing CO2 emissions and releasing oxygen. If you have a garden on the terrace, you are reducing greenhouse emissions and conserving energy.

Effective use of rainfall

Green roofs absorb up to 80% of rainfall and their plants serve as a natural filter for the water that runs off the building.-

Energy efficient

Rooftop gardens are energy efficient because they provide insulation. This means less air conditioning in the summer.

Urban agriculture

Another advantage of roof gardens is that you can grow your own veggies. Fresh veggies plucked from the garden are more nutritious because it’s not processed. It is also environmentally friendly because it has a smaller carbon footprint.

Less noise

Having a roof garden can help absorb the city noises and provide a quiet and peaceful environment.

But the question is how does one go about creating a rooftop garden? There are many options that you can go for. Using hydroponic planters is an effective way to grow plants with water that contains nutrients instead of soil. Many hydroponic planters and kits are available, you can choose what suits you best.

Options

Homemade growing systems can be simple. There are 2 main types: Flood and drain and the reservoir method. The flood and drain method consists of using 15-litre plastic tubs with lids opaque in colour to help keep the light from depleting the nutrients in the water.

Place individual plants into their small plastic planters. Cut holes in the lid of the tub, just the size of the smaller planter and drop the plants into each hole. Use the second tub with a lid as a reservoir. But in this tub cut holes in the side of the tub.

Run your waterline between the two tubs. Placing the reservoir tub level with or above the tub containing your plants, allows the water solution to flow through the waterline from one to the other, flooding or watering the plants.

The second method or reservoir method also uses the 15-litre buckets or tubs. But here, the plants sit in a reservoir filled with a nutrient solution that covers the roots.

But if water is an issue and you don’t want to use these two methods, using good old soil to grow your plants is a tried and tested method. But then comes the issue of choosing what kind of planters to choose? Should it be wood, metal, concrete/stone or plastic? Choose a durable product.

Wood

These tend to be the most durable and weather-resistant. They can be beautifully painted or stained to accent your decor and many have lovely designs made out of the wood itself to add depth and dimension to the planter.

Metal

Have a modern accent to them and add beauty to the roof garden. They are very durable and rugged, but be careful as they may damage your plants when they overheat in the summer.

Concrete or stone

These planters are great for an outdoor garden. They are generally very decorative, durable and resistant to wind.

Plastic

These planters are affordable. They are lightweight and easy to transport or move if needed, due to in-climate weather or to move indoors for winter.

Ceramic

These planters are fragile but very colourful as well as decorative. These tend to be on the heavier side like the stone or concrete pots, but are an appealing addition to any outdoor space.

Things to keep in mind

Creating a roof garden requires a complete transformation of the roof, especially if this is the first venture of its kind. Check the load-bearing capacity of the roof structure and drainage regulations. Climate conditions are also important factors to consider, as temperatures and winds affect plant life, flowers and trees.

Each plant requires different conditions, different temperatures and lightning. If you are incapable of picking the right plants in your roof garden, it is best to leave it in the hands of an experienced professional.

Learn how to utilise the space you have. Many small roof gardens have some truly stunning designs. Gardening is often described as an art form. It’s very easy to add shape to your garden and hide boring lines.

When planning your garden design, start by writing a list of all the things you like. Are you one for barbecues? Do you like to cook with fresh herbs?

Do you need a low maintenance option? Do you prefer dainty flowers or clean-cut modern lines with an organised look? Split your garden into at least two sections to incorporate all of your ideas.

Talk to experts at your local garden centre to find out about any specifics such as when to plant and soil types etc. Alternatively, buy yourself a good gardening book.

You can add a rockery, a waterfall, curved flower beds, and small trees or bushes. Colour is a matter of personal choice but opt for bright colours.

Once the garden is ready, you will need tools for its upkeep. Here’s what you will need.

Hose

A rubber hose is more flexible and less likely to get cuts or splits. But these can be a bit expensive. The length of a hose will also determine the weight (the longer the hose, the heavier it will be.

Pruning shears

These are essential to prune your plants or cut and trim unwanted branches and weeds. They are great to help shape your plants to allow for effective growth. After each use, rinse in water, dry and cover with a protective cover before storing it away in a proper place so that you can find it next time you need it.

Gloves

This is one of the most crucial items to possess. We all know that weeds as well as many plants and flowers have thorns. Gloves will prevent blisters as well as protect your hands from getting scratched.

Getting all of your ideas and plans in place all comes down to imagination. It may be hard work in the beginning but your time and patience will be more than worth the wait. And it all starts with preparing your roof and waterproofing it.

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Lifestyle

What you need to know about Transient Ischaemic Attack

Winter is here. Therefore, it is important to diagnose Transient Ischaemic Attacks. This can help to identify a patient who is at risk for subsequent stroke and prevent the same

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Transient Ischaemic Attack
Source: @Oklahoma Heart Hospital

An episode of stroke in any family is devastating. The sad part is that it can result in premature death and lifelong disability. In India, the incidence rate of stroke is estimated to be 119-145 per lakh. This means that there are 1.44 to 1.64 million cases of strokes annually. Unfortunately, when we do not heed the warning signs of stroke, we end up becoming victims of this devastating episode.

One such sign is a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) or a mini-stroke. The risk of stroke in the first three months after a TIA is 2-17%. About 33% of those with a history of TIA have a major stroke within a year if not treated. Hence, it is important to raise awareness about TIA so we can alert ourselves regarding the subsequent stroke.

TIA cause

When the blood flow to the brain cuts off for a short while (less than 5 minutes) it causes transient neurological symptoms. This is similar to observed in stroke but is rapidly reversible. This is known as TIA. TIA is also referred to as mini-stroke because it is like a miniature version of a full-blown stroke. It causes less damage but it sure needs emergency care without delay.

The difference

When an artery that is supplying blood to the brain gets blocked due to a blood clot, it causes oxygen starvation resulting in TIA. In a TIA, such a temporary clog is generally pushed along and is broken down. The normal flow of blood to the brain returns quickly.

Symptoms of a TIA usually subside within an hour (typically less than 15 minutes) but may last up to 24 hours in some cases. In an ischemic stroke, the brain goes oxygen-deprived for a longer period. This causes more damage and brings long-lasting effects that can be fatal and cause permanent disability or death.

Risk

Apart from the risks that are not under our control like age and family history, generally, women have a higher risk of stroke/TIA than men. Obesity, carotid artery disease, high BP, high cholesterol, Diabetes, and preexisting heart conditions are also found to increase the odds of stroke/TIA. Excess smoking, alcohol consumption, eating foods high in cholesterol, and using drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine and heroin can increase the risk.

Symptoms

We must attempt to remember the term FAST — Face, Arms, Speech, Time. These are seen if a person is having a TIA. These include:

The facial droop may be observed where the eyes or mouth may droop to one side. One may also experience trouble smiling.

Problems related to speech such as slurred, garbled, or difficult to understand. Also, one may find it difficult to gather the right words.

Weakness or numbness of limbs may be experienced.

There might be trouble lifting or holding up the arms.

One may also notice balance and coordination related troubles, blindness or transient blurring of vision, inability to move one side of the body, dizziness, confusion, and difficulties in understanding others.

Changes to make

After knowing about TIA, it is important to make efforts to have a better lifestyle and adopt preventive measures to reduce the risk of experiencing a TIA/stroke. These include:

  • Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke from tobacco.
  • Eating a healthy and nutritious diet that includes a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Having a check on the excessive intake of salt and fats
  • Exercising regularly
  • Keeping away from recreational drugs.
  • Maintaining ideal body weight.

Following the advice of the specialist and or timely treatment plan for heart disease, Diabetes and other health conditions can go a long way in managing TIA. A person can live a healthy life for a long time.

Management

Diagnosis is generally established through a full body physical examination. Neurological tests and various imaging techniques (MRI, Angiography), medications like blood-thinners, anti-cholesterol medications with or without the use of minimally invasive procedures (carotid angioplasty/stenting) and surgical procedures (Carotid endarterectomy) may be advised depending upon the severity of TIA.

When the symptoms of a TIA strike one should get medical help immediately. It must be remembered that there is a lot of uncertainty about whether the blood flow will restore on its own or not. It is impossible to predict if one is having a TIA or stroke because the symptoms are more or less the same. Given the present pandemic, it can lead to blood clots in the vessels supplying the brain. This can subsequently progress to TIA and stroke.

Disclaimer: The article is meant only to create awareness among the people. For any treatment one must always consult a qualified and certified health professional.

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Lifestyle

Top 5 online learning tools for your children

Today, parents re looking for overall development of their child. Let’s look at some of the tools that can help sharpen the child’s mind

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Learning Tools
Source: @Pew Research Center

Technology has really changed the way we learn today. From a face-to-face tutor to a tutor online to offline classes to online, technology is playing a big role in the education sector. It is providing them with various opportunities.

Not only this, the benefits of e-learning are tremendous. For this reason alone, there has been an exponential boost in the use of online learning platforms.

Learning becomes interesting if the learner enjoys the process. There are many learning tools that make this process effective. E-learning platforms enhance children’s education. It helps them to engage with edutainment videos, fun-packed kits, innovative teaching, and several practical co-curricular activities.

These online courses have an attractive design, suitable graphics, animations, clear instructions and easy language that makes learning fun. The companies provide flexibility to the kids. They can learn at their own pace. Kids are rewarded once they compete in quizzes or chapters. This motivates them to study without outside pressure.

Let’s look at a few such companies.

Class Monitor

It is an Indore-based ed-tech start-up. It caters to today’s needs and provides world-class, comfortable home-based learning. This is an interactive way for early learners in India (0-8). Early childhood development is vital for developing socio-emotional skills. The firm offers fun-packed kits that let you play, teach and bond with your children.

The start-up provides effectively-researched early childhood education programmes blended with traditional and modern learning techniques. It focuses on developing your child fundamentally. It focuses on five core areas: Linguistic skills, logical thinking, sensory and motor skills, cognitive skills, and creativity. The firm’s hybrid early childhood programmes connect real-life learning experiences and hands-on activities with an app designed to help strengthen your children’s learning.

Flintoclass

It’s considered to be a market leader in early childhood education. It transforms homes and classrooms into interesting collaborative activity spaces. The company has innovated the early education industry. It follows the e-commerce subscription model. All learning products and tools are intensively researched. The research center works with parents and early childhood teachers to create an ecosystem conducive to realising each child’s true potential.

Kutuki

It is one of the first early learning apps in India. It uses proprietary stories and song-based lessons to appeal to the youngest students. This interactive app aims to change the minds of young people by creating contextual and multilingual content.

This makes it easy for parents and children to identify with. With over 1 lakh-plus user and over 130 kindergarten subscribers, the firm is entering tier I, II, and III with its regional language content.

Kangaroo Kids

It is an online preschool that balances learning and development suitable for children 2 to 6 years old. Its programme aims to help young children develop critical skills in literacy, emotional intelligence, and social and physical development. The goal is to provide children with a safe and well-structured learning environment. This allows them to develop in a fun and exciting way.

They can explore their curiosity and learn at their own pace. Its unique curriculum helps children learn in a friendly environment while giving parents peace of mind.

Ocky Pocky

It is one of the first interactive English learning apps for preschool children. It has been created by Whizkids in India. It uses Artificial Intelligence/natural learning processes to help children meet their English learning needs. It provides feedback and allows children to build an early vocabulary base through voice, video, and vernacular. It is primarily for non-English speaking families.

Remember, a child learns the most in his first five years of age. In the first five years, experiences and relationships stimulate children’s development, creating millions of connections in their brains. A child’s brain develops connections faster in the first five years than at any other time.

It is therefore important to give the child the best that there is so that he has an all-around development. It will help him get the edge that this competitive world needs today.

Disclaimer: There are several other such platforms in the market today. The attempt here is to introduce a few of them and not to be considered as gospel truth.  Parents can choose whatever is best for their children.

 

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Job Portal

Looking to get recruited? Here are 5 newage technologies for recruitment

There are a few companies that are using newer technological advancements that can be used to solve hiring issues.

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Recruitment

The present pandemic has made it tough for everybody looking for a job or for a fresher to get hired. It is just as tough for recruiters looking for the right man for the right job. But there are a few companies that are using newer technological advancements that can be used to solve hiring issues.

It is not just the people who are looking for jobs that find it tough to match their skills with the job. Even recruiters are constantly looking for skilled people to match the job description. Therefore, sourcing and acquiring top talent has always been essential and involves a lot of time and cost for the companies.

However, now, newer technological advancements have made it possible for recruiters in making better hiring decisions and thereby breaking the chain of traditional methods of recruiting. These technological innovations are helping recruiters to plan their hiring processes better and provide the best-fit candidates for the required roles. Several start-ups are using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Analytics to meet the needs of companies.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the most disruptive technologies today. Its potential to evolve and enable innovations is now being leveraged by several industries across the globe, HR is no exception. Integration of AI is aimed at making life easier. This allows HRs to play an increasingly strategic role.

Here are 5 platforms that are leveraging technology to simplify the HR processes.

GetWork

This is a SaaS-based HRTech and EdTech platform. The idea is to democratise job opportunities and empower college placement cells in Tier II and III cities in India. It is a technologically advanced two-way marketplace. It trains students and gives universities access to companies and startups. It connects corporates to over 18,000 placements cells across colleges and private institutes.

Today, there are several challenges. There is also a huge skill gap in students. The challenges faced by talent acquisition and campus recruiters make it tough to hire the right people. GetWork founders managed to recognise the potential of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to build this company as a solution and scale it up through college placement cells.

ReferHire

It was started in 2016. In the last five-six years, it has managed to create a peer-to-peer (P2P) networking platform. It brings together organisations and those seeking new career opportunities on one platform. The Delhi-based firm aims at building transparency and efficiency.

The entire process involves hiring the right candidate. Once the user identifies the companies they are interested in, the firm starts introducing them to peers in those organisations so that they can look out for an opportunity.

iXceed Solutions

This is a talent and workforce solutions services company. It is a service provider to Fortune 500 companies. It primarily focuses on these domains globally: Technology, IT consulting and Engineering Consulting.

The company uses Artificial Intelligence-based recruitment solutions. It creates an in-class experience for both clients and candidates. Its list of clients is impressive and hence those looking for a change in their job or freshers looking to get recruited should at least come here to check out the options. Some of their clients are: Infosys, HCL, Oracle, Mindtree and NIIT.

InCruiter

This was established in 2018. It is an online recruitment platform based on SAAS in the B2B space. It provides an online recruitment marketplace for recruitment agencies and independent recruiters to speed up the hiring process 10 times.

The platform connects specialised recruiters. They have the best track records for matching jobs. Multiple agencies working on a single job with a single point of contact makes hiring fast and efficient. This enables employers to hire accurately. It also saves them cost and time.

The firm helps in finding companies with the best candidates in the shortest time without any hassle of phone calls, emails, invoices, and agreements from multiple vendors.

Instahyre

This is another Delhi-based HR-tech start-up. It is an advanced hiring platform that uses Artificial Intelligence. This means that recruiters can hire top talent effortlessly. Getting the talent and the employer on the same page has never been an easy task.

This is so true in the present scenario of innovation and competition. With revamped technology, it is easy to find a suitable job or suitable candidate. Finding jobs or source talents has become much easier with the help of this firm.

There are several other companies that are in the business of hiring and recruitment. The idea here is to just give a sneak peek into a few of them and not to be considered as a rule of thumb.

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