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& G A R D E N FRIDAY, APRIL 9, 2010







You can protect your produce and the environment with natural pest control (ARA) — Gardening is good on so many levels, from the benefits of exercise in the outdoors and the opportunity to share special time with loved ones to having total control over the healthfulness of the vegetables you put on your family’s plates. But gardening can also be frustrating and futile if you fail to protect your produce from voracious wildlife. No matter how environmentally conscious we strive to be, no one relishes the idea of their lovingly raised produce winding up in the bellies of deer, rabbits, groundhogs, moles, voles and other animals. “Whether your garden is a large backyard plot, a medium-sized raised bed or some simple containers on your balcony or deck, foraging wildlife will be happy to visit and dine there unless you take steps to urge them to go elsewhere,� says James J. Messina of Messina Wildlife Management. Yet environmental awareness is an essential element of good gardening — and one of the reasons why you decided to grow your own fruits and vegetables. You care about what goes into the environment, so your pest control efforts need to be effective but environmentally friendly. So messy, dangerous chemicals that may put your family, pets

garden once the foraging begins.â€? Messina offers some tips for recognizing what animal is causing damage to your garden and landscape: • Deer: A single deer can eat about 12 pounds of foliage in a single day. Examine half-eaten plants closely. If the bite marks have a jagged, rough edge they were likely made by deer, whose lack of incisors mean they have to tear at food sources. • Rabbits: Bunnies will eat vegetables and even damage woody landscape plants. Rabbit damage is usually no higher than 2 1/2 feet above the ground, with sharp cuts at 45-degree angles on plants. • Groundhogs: These burrowers can move a lot of dirt in your backyard. Look for burrow holes The most effective organic pest repellents target the very reasons wildlife love produce and flowers — taste and smell. with mounds of dirt To get the most out of and the environment at traditional chemical repel- Management, make your nearby, and vegetation your organic pest repelrisk are out for you. lents, and will be kinder to produce and flowers taste eaten off at ground level. and smell bad to potential lents, it’s important to “There are a number the animals and environYou may also see gnawpests, yet are inoffensive to correctly identify what of non-chemical ways to ment, too.â€? ing or claw marks on and safe for humans. type of pests might visit The most effective protect your produce from woody vegetation. What’s more, the prodyour garden. “Ideally, you organic pest repellents are pests, including traps and “You can protect your should start using products produce and the environucts won’t harm animals, those that target the very fencing,â€? Messina says. like Deer Stopper deer rereasons wildlife love home- but will simply convince “Most are labor-intensive, ment at the same time,â€? grown produce and flowers them to look elsewhere for pellent or Groundhog Stop- Messina says. “Simply often ineffective and do per before the pests start food based on instinctive — taste and smell. Most little to prevent new pests choose organic products munching on your produce that use the animals’ own taste and scent aversion. animals judge the qualfrom moving in once the They won’t wash off in the and flowers,â€? Messina says. instincts against them, and ity of a food source based current ones move on. “But it may not always be rain and only need to be on taste and smell. Some To effectively drive off you can avoid sharing the easy to know what to spray fruits of your gardening organic pest repellents, like reapplied every 30 days resident pests and deter for before it shows up, and labor with critters without to remain effective. Visit the 100 percent organic, new ones, an organic pest it’s not always easy to iden- compromising your OMRI-certified products repellent can be as effectify who’s dining in your to learn more. from Messina Wildlife tive, if not more so, than ronmental conscience.â€?

Bring on the birds - turn your backyard into an avian oasis (ARA) — Who doesn’t love spring? Flowers bloom, trees bud and bright songbirds return to the area. The renewed resurgence of radiant life may make you want to get in on the action. But if gardening’s not your thing and you just don’t see yourself as the type to go on a long outdoor hike, you can still engage in spring’s revelry and bring beautiful birds to your own backyard. Convincing songbirds and favorites like hummingbirds to visit your yard is as simple as providing them with plentiful sources of food, water and nesting material. Hummingbirds, while not great singers, are among the most intriguing and adorable birds to watch.

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The avian experts at Songbird Essentials, a leading provider of accoutrements and food for outdoor birds of all species, offer a few tips for attracting some popular, picturesque feathered friends to your neighborhood: • Birds need to eat a lot to survive every day. While natural food sources are plentiful in warmer months, they’re just as happy to dine at your backyard buffet. You can attract delightful birds like yellow goldfinches, orioles and hummingbirds with the right mix of food and feeder types. • Start out by overlooking a few dandelions when

you’re weeding your yard. Goldfinches love dandelion seed. They also like company when they eat and will dine in large groups. Look for feeders, like the Three Tube Finch Feeder, that allow 24 or more birds to perch and dine at the same time. The Three Tube Finch Feeder certainly sets the stage for a spectacular show! Hummingbirds, while not great singers, are among the most intriguing and adorable birds to watch. Nearly every region of the U.S. has at least one native species of these tiny, PLEASE SEE AVIAN, PAGE 3

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Open window to remodeling tax credits (ARA) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; As warm weather approaches and the tax credit for energy efficient replacement windows is in full swing, now is the perfect time to consider upgrading your home with new windows to help save on cooling costs in those hot summer months, and to also save on heating costs when winter rolls around again. The tax credit for energy efficient replacement windows and doors, originally introduced in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is set to expire at the end of 2010, which makes this year the best time for homeowners to replace their windows and upgrade the look and feel of their homes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;New windows not only make the home look more beautiful, they can help save energy and money for the homeowners,â&#x20AC;? says Chris Pickering, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem windows. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Homeowners can take advantage of the tax credit to increase the value of their home, plus shave some of the cost off of their monthly power bill.â&#x20AC;? Ply Gem, a leader in the building products industry, offers some tips and guidelines to help homeowners make the most of the energy efficient replacement window tax credit: â&#x20AC;˘ How much money can I get back with the windows tax credit? Homeowners can receive a tax credit worth 30 percent of the purchase price of qualifying energy efficient windows, up to a maximum

AVIAN, FROM PAGE TWO speedy little birds. There are several ways you can tempt them into your yard â&#x20AC;˘ Provide plenty of nectar feeders. Dr. J.B.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hummingbird Feeder is a good choice; it is dishwasher safe and easy to clean, has an extra wide mouth for easy filling and is bee resistant. Bob Sergeant, president of the Hummer Bird Study Group, the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest association dedicated to the study and preservation of hummingbirds, simply says; â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is the best hummingbird feeder ever!â&#x20AC;? Plus, the hummers love it. â&#x20AC;˘ Be sure hummers see red. Plant red open-throat-

Homeowners can receive a tax credit worth up to $1,500 for replacing their old windows with new, energy efficient windows by the end of the year. of $1,500 if purchased and installed by Dec. 31, 2010. To redeem the credit, be sure to save your invoice that shows a breakout of window and installation costs, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels from all windows and doors and the manufacturerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s certificate. â&#x20AC;˘ How do I qualify for the tax credit? The federal government established strict standards for windows to qualify for the tax credit. Replacement windows must have a glass package with a U-Factor rating (the rate at which heat is prevented from escaping) of .30 or lower. Qualifying windows must also possess a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating of .30 or lower. The lower the

ed plants. Or, if planting is not possible, tie a big red bow in your yard near your feeder. â&#x20AC;˘ Let the water flow. Hummingbirds prefer moving water sources like sprinklers, fountains, waterfalls, misters or drippers. Attract hummingbirds by keeping water sources fresh and clean and positioning them near food sources. â&#x20AC;˘ Provide natural nesting material. Hummingbirds wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t nest in birdhouses or nesting boxes, they build their cup-shaped

windowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s SHGC, the less solar heat it transmits. A common indicator of a windowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s energy efficiency is the ENERGY STAR label, which as of 2010 includes more stringent guidelines. Homeowners who purchase windows with the ENERGY STAR label should still check with their contractor to ensure the windows they purchase meet the tax credit guidelines because the tax credit qualifications may vary from ENERGY STAR guidelines in certain locations. Manufacturers like Ply Gem Windows offer glass packages to meet or exceed tax credit qualifications, as well as high-performance styles that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR require-

nests in trees. Encourage nesting by providing materials like Hummer Helper Nesting Material, recommended by the Hummingbird Society of North America. An all-natural product, Hummer Helper comes in an open wire

ments in all climate zones. For added energy efficiency, Ply Gem Windows products are also Green Approved by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center National Green Building Certification. â&#x20AC;˘ What are the benefits of remodeling my home with energy efficient windows? Energy efficient windows that meet the tax qualifications offer more savings than a one-time federal tax credit. The Alliance to Save Energy says that sealing and insulating your house â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including utilizing energy efficient windows â&#x20AC;&#x201D; is a great first step to take when improving your homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s energy efficiency. Proper sealing

frame that allows hummingbirds easy access to natural nesting material.

and insulation can reduce your heating and cooling bill by approximately 20 percent. An energy audit may be available through your local utility or state energy office to help gauge the amount of energy that you are currently using and determine what products would decrease your energy use. Environmental and economic benefits are not the only upsides to remodeling a home. New windows in classic or contemporary designs can also enhance the aesthetic quality of the home and make a more comfortable living space. â&#x20AC;˘ Does the federal tax credit offer any other ways to save money? The remodeling tax credit that expires at the end of

the year offers homeowners several other options to improve their home and quality of life. Central air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers and more are also ways to increase your homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s energy retention capabilities. To further save on energy costs, homeowners can use insulated siding, reduce the amount of water consumption and unplug appliances when not in use. For other ideas on how to increase the energy efficiency of your home, visit Be sure to ask your local dealer or contractor about the window products that meet the current tax credit requirements. To learn more, visit or

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Prep your mower and yard for spring (ARA) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; With weather warming up after the long winter, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to get back outside and start working in the yard again. Before you fire up the mower for the first cut, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to prepare the unit with a few maintenance steps. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t properly winterize your mower last year, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to spend time at the start of the season with your equipment,â&#x20AC;? says Jessica Gardner of MTD Products Inc., a global manufacturer of outdoor power equipment. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This will prevent many common malfunctions, keep it running better, and help prolong the life of the mower.â&#x20AC;? MTD suggests five simple steps to help prepare your mower for its first run of the season: â&#x20AC;˘ Clean the mower deck. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to clean the grass and debris buildup from under the mower deck and on the cutting blades at frequent intervals in order to prevent clogging and to improve cutting performance. Do not use sharp instruments to clean the deck, always

wear safety glasses, and make sure the spark plug wire is removed from the spark plug before performing any maintenance. â&#x20AC;˘ Change the air filter and oil. In order for your mower to run at its optimum level, you must change the oil and air filter once a year. â&#x20AC;˘ Replace or clean spark plugs. Your spark plugs should be replaced when you notice rust forming around them; however itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to clean them on a regular basis. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t replace or clean the spark plugs, the mower will not function properly. â&#x20AC;˘ Sharpen or replace mower blades. In order to get the best cut possible, sharpen or replace the blades. You can use a metal file to sharpen blades, but if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re uncomfortable doing it yourself, take it to your local hardware store. â&#x20AC;˘ Use fresh gas and fuel stabilizer. Old gas can clog the engine, which can cause major system damage to your mower. Be sure to use up or empty gas at the end of the season and start with a fresh tank

stray leaves, twigs and winter debris, so the grass can grow more easily. â&#x20AC;˘ Weed away. Try to spot weeds early, as they grow more vigorously at the beginning of spring. â&#x20AC;˘ Create a planting checklist. Check which flowers grow best in your soil and weather conditions. Make sure the timing is right as most annuals donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tolerate frost well, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also usually best to plant as early as possible to ensure successful growth. â&#x20AC;˘ Repair cracks to fences or pathways. Repair any cracks or damage to your fences or pathways that might have developed during the winter. Also, if your fence needs repaintIf you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t properly winterize your mower last year, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to spend time at the start of ing, do it before the summer heat hits. the season with your equipment. â&#x20AC;˘ Sharpen tools. Make Now that the mower is every 30 days. Always use â&#x20AC;&#x153;Just a simple tune-up sure to sharpen your garready to use, here are a few dening tools because, like a minimum of 87 octane at the beginning of the gas with no more than 10 season can reduce fuel con- more tips to help your green your mower blades, they thumb jump-start into percent ethanol and add sumption by up to 30 perget dull during the course fuel stabilizer to your gas cent and emissions by up to spring: of the year. To sharpen, â&#x20AC;˘ Clean your yard of can at every refill to protect 50 percent,â&#x20AC;? says Gardner. add clean oil, such as debris. After all the snow vegetable oil, to a bucket your mower from probâ&#x20AC;&#x153;These few simple steps lems that can be caused will keep your mower run- has melted and your lawn of sand and stick the sharp is dry, rake your yard to by todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ethanol-blended ning at peak performance end of your tools in and out get rid of the dead growth, of the bucket several times. fuels. season after season.â&#x20AC;?

Make sure your indoor air is healthy this spring (ARA) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; As soon as the temperatures warm up, you open up the doors and windows and let the â&#x20AC;&#x153;freshâ&#x20AC;? air in. You want to get rid of winterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stale, indoor air and replace it with the clean, outdoor air. You also go on a cleaning spree, vacuuming, dusting and getting rid of all the dust bunnies hiding under furniture. With a fresh, clean house, you assume youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be breathing much easier. Think again. Air pollution is a very serious concern indoors. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists poor indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental threats. It also reports indoor air is three to five times more contaminated than outdoor air, on average. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When the house is closed up for winter, pollutants in the air have nowhere to go,â&#x20AC;? says Aaron Marshbanks, board member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then spring rolls around, and the natural thing to do is open up your windows and bring new air into your house. However, this is when allergy season

When the house is closed up for winter, pollutants in the air have nowhere to go. is at its highest, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re welcoming new pollutants into your home and contaminating your air with pollens.â&#x20AC;? These pollutants are then blown through your house five to seven times each day by your heating, ventilation and air conditioning




system. And the spring cleaning youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing? All those dust bunnies are just groupings of millions of little particles of dust, dander and pollen. When broken up, many of the particles go back into the air, circulate around through your house and once again

collect under your sofa. Some tips to keep the air you breathe inside as clean as possible include: â&#x20AC;˘ Install hardwood floors versus carpeting. Carpeting traps particles, and with every step you take across it, those particles are released back into the air.

remove particles circulating through the air. â&#x20AC;˘ Have your heating and cooling system thoroughly cleaned. This is because dust and other air pollutants collect in the vents, and then are picked up by the air stream and blown back into the house. NADCA recommends homeowners take off the cover of an air vent and look down the vent with a mirror and flashlight or a digital camera. If the ducts are covered with dust or debris, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time for a heating and cooling system cleaning. NADCA recommends a thorough duct cleaning, as well as cleaning the evaporator coil and all parts of the system that air touches. Not only will this clean up the air inside your house, but it will also help your system work more efficiently and save you money. A study taken by Pacific Gas and Electric showed that a dirty condenser coil can result in 30 percent higher energy usage.

â&#x20AC;˘ Have carpets professionally cleaned with a truck-mounted system. â&#x20AC;˘ Use natural- or botanical-based cleaners instead of chemicals. To find a qualified heatâ&#x20AC;˘ Regularly change your furnace filter. Most experts ing and cooling system recommend doing this every cleaner in your area, visit two months. This will help


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Renting tools for big jobs cuts costs (ARA) — Current economic conditions have forced many families to re-evaluate their spending habits and cut back in certain areas that are no longer deemed necessities. Dining out, family vacations and the purchase of that new TV are all being postponed until the economy makes it out of the red. But some things, like home improvement projects, can’t be pushed off quite as easily. And while you may not be ready to invest in a whole new set of tools to begin your home improvement project, a trip to your local rental store provides a costeffective solution to help you tackle those jobs that just can’t wait.

is a much more cost-effective solution than buying new or hiring a handyman. Plus, you get the added satisfaction of knowing that you had a hand in sprucing up your home and increasing its value. Stocked with pressure washers to clean off your siding or deck, jackhammers to tear out that uneven front walk and concrete polishers to give your garage floor a distinctive new finish, your nearby rental store is like the ultimate workshop, filled with professional grade tools. Your local rental professionals will make sure you get the right tools for your job, and they will teach you how to properly use the equipment you will need. And no need to worry about storing the tools once you are done with your project; just return them to the rental store and let them handle the storage and maintenance.

Protect your largest investment Your home is your largest investment and no matter what the economic conditions, you don’t want to cut corners on projects around the house. Taking the time to do these projects right the first time will not only ensure the safety and well being of your family, but it will also ensure your financial security for years to come. Investing some energy and money into fixing little problems, like a crack in your home’s foundation, will prevent larger repairs down the road. Even something as unassuming as a clogged drain or leaky faucet can lead to much more costly problems if not addressed properly, and can negatively impact the overall value of your home. Simple “refresher” projects, like a fresh coat of paint or a little landscaping work, will not only make your home feel more warm and inviting, but will also yield a large return on investment when

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Although many home improvement projects appear to be simple, they often require tools that most weekend warriors don’t have just lying around. it comes time to put your house on the market. Other projects, like adding a skylight or fireplace, can make your home more energy efficient and help reduce bills in the long run — and with most family budgets still in survival mode,

projects that can produce long-term savings are a smart investment.

Renting is cost effective Although many home improvement projects appear to be simple,

they often require tools that most weekend warriors don’t have just lying around. This is when it makes sense to enlist the help of your local rental store. And since you will most likely only need the tools or equipment once, renting

Don’t go running all over town to find the tools you need. Save your time and energy and make one stop at your local rental store. To make finding the rental store nearest you even easier, the American Rental Association (ARA) offers, the world’s largest and most comprehensive rental store locator. Here, people planning a home upgrade can find the rental store nearest them, read how-to tips and get ideas and inspiration for their project. Don’t let your biggest investment become your biggest burden. Maximize your investment while cutting your costs with rental.

Spring is in the air, so get your home ready (ARA) — There is nothing more exciting than that first warm day of spring when everyone feels enlivened and refreshed. It’s time to bring the renewed energy inside and give your home the boost it needs after a long and tired winter. Once you’ve set aside time to spruce up your home, make sure you have resourceful products at your disposal like Arm & Hammer baking soda. One box has countless uses for effective, safe, and economical cleaning and deodorizing all around your home. “Using natural ingredients found in your kitchen allows you to turn your home into a clean and fresh living area,”

says lifestyle expert Jill Cordes. “And be creative. Baking soda works on everything from deodorizing carpets and cleaning patio furniture, to polishing jewelry and putting the shine back into your bathroom floor. And even better yet, it is affordable, at about a dollar a box.” Try the following tips from Cordes to have your entire home looking and smelling clean this year:

Start in the kitchen • Grab the baking soda and sprinkle some onto a clean damp sponge or cloth to wipe down stainless steel surfaces like the kitchen sink without

scratching. Rinse thoroughly. • If you wrinkle your nose in disgust every time you open the door to your microwave, it’s definitely time to deodorize. Baking soda on a damp sponge not only helps clean any dried-on food, but also keeps odors at bay. Leave a box of baking soda in the microwave when not in use for continued freshness.

Head to the bathroom • Your shower curtain looks like it has seen better days, but you can give it a much needed refresh with a quick scrub using baking soda directly on a damp

brush. Rinse clean and hang the curtain to dry. • Bathroom floors don’t have to look dingy or splotchy. If you have tile or no-wax floors, mix 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water, mop and rinse clean. Baking soda on a sponge also helps to remove unsightly scuff marks.

Don’t forget the outdoors • You shouldn’t have to drive your car around with the windows open this spring to get rid of odors. Eliminate

unpleasant smells by sprinkling baking soda directly on fabric seats and carpets. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then vacuum. Everyone will love taking rides in your car again. • Bring your patio furniture out of storage and get ready to relax in the sunshine. Take a cloth and wash off all the dirt and grime that gathered during the long winter months with a solution of 1/4 cup of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Rinse everything down and air dry. Using Arm & Hammer baking soda during your

spring house cleaning allows you to save money with a real alternative to harsh chemicals for your furniture, kitchen surfaces, and appliances. For many more tips and methods including hand washing dishes, tackling baked-on grill residue, cleaning toys or even giving your body a little pampering, visit And once your home is clean and fresh (without the smell of winter still lingering), sit down on your sparkling patio furniture to enjoy the spring air.

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Tackle digital housecleaning this spring (ARA) — The warmer months are always a great time to do a little spring cleaning, but don’t ignore the digital gadgets and gizmos you have laying around the house. It’s probably been months since you organized your computer files, or double-checked the batteries in your emergency devices to make sure

everything is ready to go when you need it. So get organized this spring, and make sure you add all your digital devices to the list. Here are some tips for tackling a digital spring cleaning: • Start with your computer, because you might be surprised at how much faster it processes informa-

tion when it’s organized. De-clutter your e-mail inbox by sorting e-mails into folders or deleting messages you don’t need any longer. You might discover communications you forgot to respond to, or work that you put on your “later” list that really

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252-436-9000 250 John Deere Road, Henderson, NC

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Getting a jump start on growing food and flowers this spring with raised garden beds (ARA) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The popularity of urban gardening has exploded over the past couple of years, due in part to increased awareness about food safety, the financial stresses of the economy and a growing desire to be eco-friendly. Some of the most enjoyable, userfriendly gardens, like vegetable and herb gardens or cut-flower gardens, perform exceptionally well in raised beds. Plants tend to perform better in raised beds than in regular beds because there is less soil compaction (since youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not treading between the plants) and they allow for excellent drainage. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been gardening in raised beds for over 30 years, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m convinced theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the best way to grow,â&#x20AC;? says Paul James, HGTVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gardener Guy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the things I like most about raised beds is that they warm up faster in spring and stay warmer longer in the fall, which means a longer growing season and an extended harvest.â&#x20AC;? While raised beds are extremely functional, they can also add style to your yard or garden. The organized appearance of the beds lends a handsome structural element. Quality, durable materials last longer and look better. Western red cedar is a strong choice for building garden beds because it is easy to work with, rot-resistant and ages beautifully, maintaining its shape and strength over the years, even when exposed to extreme weather. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re concerned about the environment, you can take comfort in the fact that it is an authentically sustainable, renewable green building material. Making your own raised garden beds is an easy and fun project â&#x20AC;&#x201D; having a helper will make the job easier. Follow these tips and get growing: â&#x20AC;˘ Plan ahead to keep the bed size manageable. A bed measuring about three feet by six feet is a good size. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll want the bed to be at least a foot high â&#x20AC;&#x201D; if you want it higher, just add another board, but keep in mind that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need to add extra soil. â&#x20AC;˘ Buy the materials youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need: Western red cedar boards (2 x 6 works well), four

While raised beds are extremely functional, they can also add style to your yard or garden. three-foot lengths and four six-foot lengths; Western red cedar posts (4 x 4) for corner supports, cut to 18 inches each; three-inch galvanized screws, about 35 to 40. â&#x20AC;˘ Cut the ends of the 18-inch post lengths to a sharp point with a saw. These pointed ends will go into the soil to support the bed. â&#x20AC;˘ Lay two post lengths down and place two three-foot planks on top of them (to equal 12 inches in height) and line up the edges along the sides and to the top of the posts (the unsharpened end). Pre-drill holes using a bit that is smaller than the screws, then put in the screws. Repeat with the other three-foot boards and 18-inch posts to form the other short end of the bed.

detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Your familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s safety is very important and you rely on these two detectors to alert everyone in a time of emergency. Fire departments across the country recomneeds to get done immediately. Also, run mend replacing batteries in detectors a defragmenting software program for when you change your clock for daylight the hard drive and remove any unwanted saving time. items from your desktop so you can find â&#x20AC;˘ Combine your digital spring cleaning everything quickly and easily. with your regular organization of reâ&#x20AC;˘ Switch out the old batteries in all ceipts, tax records, car repair receipts and your small electronics. Restock your anything else you would file in a cabinet. pantry with batteries to get prepared for Scan in documents you need to keep and power needs that usually come up at a save them to your hard drive as well as momentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s notice. Look for Duracellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s AA to a back-up external memory drive, such and AAA battery packs that now offer as a Duracell flash memory card or USB 20 percent more batteries for the same flash drive. This system allows you to price. Some of the electronic items you can shrink your storage needs while maintainreplace batteries in include your digital ing easy access. camera, remote controls, alarm clocks, With a digitally clean house, you are flashlights, toys and pagers. By changing making your life a little more organized out all the used batteries with fresh ones, while also staying prepared for any techyou can guarantee that these electronic nical emergencies that might arise. So get items you rely on will be ready to go when your cleaning going now, and enjoy your you need them. clutter-free house. Visit www.duracell. â&#x20AC;˘ Change the batteries in your smoke com to learn more.

â&#x20AC;˘ Now youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re ready to add the long sides of the bed. Place one of the short sections you just made on a level surface, with the pointed ends up. Line one of the six-foot boards up so that it is flush with the face of the short end, pre-drill holes and then add the screws to secure it. Repeat with a second six-foot board to equal 12 inches in height. â&#x20AC;˘ Align the second short (three-foot) side of the box with the six-foot board so that the face is flush with the end of the boards. Pre-drill holes and then drill in screws to secure. Finally, add the other two six-foot boards on the opposite side to complete the final side of the bed. â&#x20AC;˘ Flip the box over â&#x20AC;&#x201D; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s now ready to

install. Before you put it in, prep the area youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be using by turning over the soil and then leveling it out as best you can. After youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve installed the box, fill it with a blend of soil and compost that is best for the type of plants youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be growing. This is just one way to build a raised bed garden. You can add more boards to give the bed extra height or length, or put a cap on top of the boards to provide a place to sit as you garden. For more information about Western red cedar and ideas for more do-it-yourself projects, visit the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association online at or call (866) 778-9096.



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Spring Home and Garden - The Daily Dispatch - April 9, 2010