Tradies and small business owners appear to be the biggest winners as many flock to the shops to take advantage of the generous tax write-offs announced as part of the 2015 Federal Budget. Sales are already soaring as operators buy up big to replace old or damaged plant and equipment, computers, work vehicles, tools and more.

INSTANT ASSET WRITE-OFFS

On Budget night, the Government announced that for the next two years small businesses with an annual turnover of up to $2 million would receive tax deductions of up to $20,000 for each and every item purchased. This basically means that taxpayers can bring forward deductions where they wouldnt otherwise have been able to, thus helping with cash flow.

Ideas of what you can buy include:

Plant and equipment

Tradesmen tools and machinery

Sheds and storage

Work vehicles

Office or shop furnishing and fittings

IT hardware and licensed software

Other crucial tax deductions

The instant asset write-offs are just one among several other tax cuts to benefit those of us running a business, such as:

The small business tax rate is to be reduced from 30% to 28.5% from June 30.

Fast-tracked depreciation of assets that will allow businesses to write off $10,000 a year.
Employers will be able to access to subsidies of up to $10,000 for hiring both older and young workers.

Assets valued at $20,000 and more can continue to be placed in the small business simplified depreciation pool and depreciated at 15% in the first year and 30% thereafter.

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL

No truer words were spoken, especially when it comes to business and tax. Whats important is not to rush out and buy before checking with your accountant. If youre not making a profit, then a tax deduction however generous wont help you. If you were planning on purchasing these assets anyway, then the Governments instant asset tax deduction can improve your bottom line together with the other tax cuts and subsidies.

If you are in a position to upgrade any of your plant and equipment, then National Plant & Equipment has an incredible range of quality, reliable and well-maintained used plant for sale. Whether it be dozers, dump trucks, excavators or service vehicles, you can contact our team on 1300 794 448 and grow your fleet today.

How to Buy the Best Window Shutters

The kind of a window treatment you give to your home is to be highly considered as part of the interior design. When you match the window shutters with the color of the house, you will find that it makes the house more appealing. In order to go along with the same kind of an interior, consider checking on the color as well as the pattern of the window treatment you buy. In choosing the ideal kind of shutters for your home then consider some of the given factors.

You must know the kind of shutters that will work best for you if readymade or the custom made. Quite a number of the readymade shutters are readily found in the market and therefore it is very easy to find them. It is always advisable to go for the custom made type. A choice is to be made concerning the fabric to be used. In many cases using these readymade materials will not always measure up to the kind of shutters you want them to be. Consider finding someone who has the skills required and the zeal to create a good design for you according to your taste and wants.

The fabric to be used is a very significant thing in the house. It is important to choose a long lasting material that does not need to be changed constantly due to wear and tear. You should consider matching up the window and the room theme of the area you want to fit the treatment in.

The type of fabric you choose will also determine the amount of privacy you will need in the room. You will find that a light material gives little privacy in the room. The lighting of a room is also affected by the kind of a fabric that makes it. In such a case the very heavy materials tend to give in little amounts of light while their counterparts give so much light out.

The budget to be used should be well considered when buying the gutters.When it comes to buying the shutters consider the amount of money you have purposed to spent it it. The money to be spent is a decision that should be among the first things to know way before the search begins. There are a number of shutters in the market with varied amounts of money to be bought for depending on the types and fabrics which can really be confusing to someone who has not planned the budget they would intend to use. This will act as a guide to the kind of material you will need to use. Due to the huge variety in the market, the money will help you determine what you need.

Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor space using the compositional elements of vegetation, landform, water and structures such as walls, seating, lighting, steps etc. The U.S.A. is a large country with varied geographical resources presenting opportunities to landscape architects to improvise with and accommodate these resources. Even though there is minimal threat to natural habitats the growing urbanization and moving population is encouraging construction and designing of neighborhood parks or playgrounds. These are relatively small but of intensive use for education, health and recreation purposes.

The first American professional landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead Sr. was responsible for construction of the new Central Park (NY) in 1857. The project was resumed after the Civil War along with new ones in Brooklyn, N.Y.; New Britain, Connecticut; San Francisco, California; Chicago, Illinois and across America. With the success of these ventures and the growing popularity of constructed park cemeteries, the landscape gardener was beginning to be referred to as a landscape architect. Schools and colleges across the country pitched in, offering professional degrees in landscape architecture to budding landscape architects. Landscape architecture is now recognized by the International Labor Organization and is represented by the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA).

The landscape architect is not a lonely figure. They have the backing of professional associations and a wide spectrum of projects ranging from roads, reservoirs, river reclamation, forests, housing development projects, industrial estates, rapid urbanization and other projects. If one is thinking of becoming a landscape architect, one needs to have a creative flair and appreciation for nature in all its forms. Along with this is needed an analytical mind to design, manage, preserve and rehabilitate cities into functional and aesthetically pleasing entities. Whether working for a firm or being self-employed, the increasing demand for designed outdoor spaces is turning landscape architecture into a challenging profession.

Succulents are perfect plants for xeriscape gardens and are easy to root and grow. Once you learn how easy it is to propagate succulent plants, it’s a great way to expand your plant collection – and it’s free! You can use this planting technique with succulent plants from the Crassula family like Jade (C. ovata), Spoon Jade or Gollum Fingers (C. Portulacea, Rosary Plant (C. Rupestris), and Crassula tetragona. This propagation technique also works on other cactus and succulent plants like Aloe Vera, Echeveria, Aeonium and Baby Jade (Portulacaria afra).

Planting Succulent Cuttings: Start with a cutting about 4 – 6 inches long. Bury about half the stalk in soil. This will give you deep roots and helps the plant withstand drought better. Trim off the last few leaves to make a bare stalk if you need to. The leaves can be planted too; bury about half the leaf, cut side down. Most succulent plants and shrubs will form roots on the joints in their stalks.

Watering Succulent Plant Cuttings: Water every 2-3 days so the soil is moist (like a squeezed sponge). After a month, cut back to monthly watering. The leaves will probably shrivel a bit as the plant forms roots. The plant is living off the stored energy in its leaves. This is normal. You may also lose a few leaves, which is also normal. Do not use this as an excuse to over water!

Save all your broken parts and leaves. When I am repotting, I always save all my bits and pieces. Tuck them into the soil and leave a little green sticking out. Most parts will take root and grow into an extra plant.

How to Grow Succulent Plants: Succulent plants want heat and light. Outdoors most succulents take full sun to light shade. Some succulents will change colors in the sun and with the seasons. If you see brown, scabby spots, plants are getting too much sun. Aloe plants will turn orange in full sun.

Most succulents and cacti make excellent houseplants. They are already accustomed to a warm, dry environment, but they do need bright light. Indoors, most succulent plants can take sun near a window, or bright light. As a general rule of thumb, if there is enough sunlight for you to read, there is probably enough sun to make your plant happy. Outdoors, Aloe and Haworthia like bright light, but take less sunlight than most succulents. One or two hours of direct sun is usually their limit. They will turn orange if they are getting too much sun. Moving them to more shade will change them back to green.

A very light frost is usually no problem for succulent plants. A hard freeze, however, will freeze them solid. Outdoors, they can survive a frost if they have overhead protection. In freezing winter areas, bring you plants inside and put them in an area with lots of light.

How to Water Succulent Plants and Cacti: Succulents are native to places like South Africa, South America and the arid Southwest. Try to keep that in mind when you are picking a spot for your plants. Succulents and cacti are equipped to store water in their leafs and stalks so that they can survive long periods of drought. Indoors, drench the pot and then allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Outdoors, water them a few times during the hottest days of summer (if they look shriveled), otherwise, leave them alone. The fastest way to kill succulents is to over water them.

This article will lay out the steps and materials you need to build your own misting system to propagate plants.

How to build your own misting system

Here is a list of materials and quantities needed to build a basic misting system. This system is designed to be used outdoors, but should also work fine inside a greenhouse. Your choice of misting nozzles will determine whether your PVC pipe will be suspended above the cuttings, or lay on the ground. This list assumes you are using a digital timer. WARNING: Use extreme caution if using mechanical timers instead of the digital one. The voltage can cause injury or death. If you are not qualified to perform the required wiring, seek the help of a qualified electrician. If using a digital controller, most convert the incoming voltage to a lower voltage, so there is less of a danger, but seek advice from an electrician if needed.
Misting controller(s) (1) (2, if building the mechanically operated system)
110 volt AC to 24 volt AC transformer (1) (will not be needed if using the digital timer)
24 volt AC solenoid (1)
Wire for solenoid (length determined by system builder)
Wire for timers (only if using the mechanical timers)
3/4 PVC pipe (10′ length)
3/4 socket x 3/4 male IPS adapter (1)
3/4 male IPS x female hose adapter (1)
3/4 PVC glue on cap (1)
misting nozzles (4)
Waterproof wire-nuts (2)
9 volt batteries (for digital timers only)
PVC primer and cement
Teflon tape
Misc. electrical fittings (only if building the mechanical system)Step 1
Install the two 3/4 male adapters into the solenoid. Be sure to wrap Teflon tape around all pipe threads to reduce the likelihood of leaks. The 3/4 x female hose adapter should be installed on the inlet side, the 3/4 male IPS x 3/4 socket on the outlet side. Most solenoids have a direction of flow arrow to help you determine which end is the inlet, and which is the outlet. Be sure to not over tighten the fittings, or the solenoid may crack.
Step 2
If building the digital timer system, wire the controller to the solenoid, using the wiring directions that came with the controller. Be absolutely sure the transformer and solenoid are the same voltage. Use the waterproof wire nuts to connect the solenoid to the wire. If building the mechanical system, the timers need to be wired together, then to a transformer. The transformer then gets wired to the solenoid using the wire nuts. Seek the help of a qualified electrician to be sure your mechanically operated system is wired correctly.
Step 3
Prime and cement the 3/4 PVC cap on the end of the PVC pipe. Prime and cement the other end of the pipe into the fitting in the solenoid. Do not get any cement in the solenoid.
Step 4

Does your child’s school have an active working garden?

Research is repeatedly showing how critical school gardens are to your child’s health and overall educational experience. Not only will your child learn science and math… which is great for his/her brain, but your child will also reap the benefits of fresh air, exercise, and exposure to direct sun light! Not to mention, there will be good fruits and veggies to consume!

Here are 5 extraordinary benefits of having a school garden:

1. Help increase Vitamin D levels. With reduced recess and lack of outdoor play, children’s Vitamin D levels are falling across the board. One of the best and free sources of Vitamin D is… the SUN! And Vitamin D is turning out to be a potent cancer fighter. Actively engaging in the school garden for 20 minutes is a great way for your child to get that much needed Vitamin D!

2. Increase the new-age Vitamin “G” – green space. In a recent published article for the National Recreation and Park Association, Dr. Francis Kuo of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “found that children with ADHD who went for 20-minute walks in park settings performed as well on concentration tests afterwards as children who received common ADHD medications.” Outstanding!

3. Seasonal, local, organic and whole (SLOW). There is no denying the research behind SLOW foods and their superior nutritional benefits over packaged, processed, cooked foods. “Studies have shown that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly during transportation. During the trip from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.” Eating fresh from the garden preserves more the vital nutrients, which helps build healthy cells in your child’s body.

4. Children like to eat what they grow! There is nothing quite like putting a seed in the ground, watching those first two leaves sprout up and eventually seeing the results of tender love and care of a plant that grows and blooms. Curiosity is an inherent facet of all children… and they are far more likely to be more curious and taste a fruit of vegetable they helped grow.

5. Gardening is physical exercise! Planting, composting, weeding and watering all take physical effort. With fewer and fewer minutes of playground time and less outdoor activities by children in general, the incorporation of a school garden can extent children’s physical activity during any given school day.

To state the obvious, plants cannot live without water – a protracted dry spell in the summer months can result in serious losses the plants most at risk. Newly planted shrubs and trees, bedding plants, shallow-rooted vegetables and climbers growing close to a house. Even deep rooted well established plants like Roses can suffer, trials have shown that growth is impaired and the flowering season is curtailed if these plants are not watered during a dry summer.

As with all garden plants, the battle against water shortage begins well prior to the dry days of summer. Incorporate adequate organic matter into the soil before planting or sowing, and ensure that the soil is completely moist to a depth of about 9 inches when planting or sowing. Mulch in late spring – you will have now done all of the preparatory work that you possibly can.

Problems:

Soil with an average crop of plants loses about four and a half gallons of water per sq. yd per week in the summer and 2 gallons per week in spring and autumn. This is equivalent to 1 inch of rain water in summer and 1/2 inch in spring or autumn. If there is no rain and you have not watered the ground, this water comes from your soil’s reserve and drying out occurs.

A point is reached when there is not enough water left to support healthy plant growth, and foliage starts to appear dull. Leaf rolling is soon followed by wilting and leaf fall, the final stage is death.

The solution:

The solution is, obviously, to water….. but to do this properly is not as simple as it sounds. Timing, quantity and method all have to be considered. There is, on the other hand, a few general principles.

A plant should never be left until it starts to show visible signs of distress during a prolonged period of drought. Wilting means that you have waited too long, the time to water your plants is when the soil below a couple of inches depth is dry and the foliage looks dull.

Never apply a small quantity of water (less than 1 gallon per sq,yd) and then repeat the watering every few days. This constant soaking of your surface and water-starvation of the lower root zone results in rapid evaporation, surface rooting which can be damaged in hot weather, and germination of weed seeds.

Choose from overall watering and point watering. When you have a substantial area go through and lots of plants of various sizes, then overall watering must be your choice. This involves watering an area instead of restricting the watering to the root zone of every individual plant. Some people use a watering can, but you actually do will want a hose pipe if watering is not to be a prolonged chore.

The usual system is to walk slowly along the borders and around the beds with a hand-held hose fitted with a suitable nozzle. a sprinkler makes the task easier and is necessary for all but the tiniest of lawns.

The better approach to watering vegetables and shrubs are the sprinkler hoses and seep hoses, but they can be expensive. Point watering is used where there is a limited amount of large plants to deal with. The methods used are all designed to limit the water to the immediate zone covered by the roots of every plant.

Water thoroughly when you have decided to water. If you are using a watering can, remove the rose. Hold the spout near the base of the plant and water slowly. If you use a sprinkler water in the evening – never in hot sunshine. With overall watering apply 2 – 4 gallons per sq. yd, using the higher amount during midsummer in sandy soils and with high risk plants.

With point watering use 1 – 4 gallons per plant, depending on the size of shrub or tree. Repeat the watering if there is no rain. There is no easy way to work out the right time to do this repeat watering. Dig down with a trowel and examine the soil at 3 – 4 inches below the surface. If it’s dry, then water. As a general rule watering will probably be required about every 7 days during a period of drought.