Make war on weeds:
Get a head start on spring with terrariums – Story, Page 3
– Aaron Brown’s column, Page 6
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Green thumb, square foot Square Foot Gardening method cuts way back on the drudgery, increases the fun By John Crook For HomeStyle
I woke up this morning with “write garden column” at the top of my “to do” list. A bit later, just as the sun was rising, I looked out the window to the sight of a pair of ducks swooping out of the sky and landing with a splash on the formerly still surface of our backyard pond. That’s our first pair of mallards this year- a sure sign of spring. “What a beautiful spring morning to write a garden column” I thought as I looked out across my almost snow-free yard. But first I had to run to John Crook work to set up for our garden seminar. As people began arriving for the seminar, so did a spring snowstorm. Despite the storm, the seminar filled to overflowing. As eager participants shook the snow off their coats before entering the building, I overheard one lady say, “It takes a lot of faith to garden in Idaho!” It’s true. Gardening does take a lot of faith. But of course, life takes a lot of faith. And for me at least, gardening reminds me of how incredible this
Photos courtesy Photobucket The Square Foot Gardening method was developed by Mel Bartholomew of Eden, Utah, and uses three key components: the box, made of four-by-four foot wood frames lined with weed fabric; a special planting mix, and a grid of wood lath dividing the growing area into squarefoot planting areas.
Realtors are more optimistic about the Idaho Falls housing market. “We’re seeing an increase in sales now that the weather is getting better,” said Jacqueline Kennedy, Greater Idaho Falls Association of Realtors president. “Some incentives are helping out.” Kennedy said first-time home buyers can get an $8,000 tax credit. It can be pocketed or used as part of the down payment on the property. “And, they don’t have to close until June,” she said. “There’s also a $6,500
credit for home-owners who are upgrading and have been in their current location for three to five years.” That credit also applies to people buying a second or vacation home. “Getting financing has been tough but the credit score requirement has recently been lowered,” Kennedy said. “FHA has reduced the qualifying score from 620 down to 580. That will make a loan more accessible to a lot of people.” The January statistics for 2009 showed 153 total units sold in the first quar➢ See REAL ESTATE, Page 2
Seminars on Square Foot Gardening will be offered at Town & Country Gardens on March 27 and April 10 at 1 p.m. Find the complete schedule on the web at www.tcgardens.com/seminars.c fm.
world is, with its amazing intricacy and harmony, beauty and abundance that provide so well for us … despite the occasional March snowstorm. Nevertheless, I hope the sun is shining again as you read this. Last month I briefly mentioned “Square Foot Gardening”, a method of raised-bed gardening developed and promoted by Mel Bartholomew of Eden, Utah. The best resource for more information is his book, “All New Square Foot Gardening – Grow More in Less Space”. But let me take just a moment and see if I can help you understand what Square Foot Gardening is and why thousands across the country and around the ➢ See GARDEN, Page 3
Attract more buyers by removing the clutter
Home sales here improving with better weather By Desirai Schild
By Desirai Schild For HomeStyle
With government incentives and greater loan accessibility, springtime is bringing renewed interest in new and existing home sales.
There are some things sellers can do to make their homes more attractive to buyers, according to real estate experts. “Remove the clutter,” said Jacqueline Kennedy, Greater Idaho Falls Assn. of Realtors president. “Houses will appear much tidier, larger and more attractive if all the extra items are removed. Keep it simple.” That doesn’t, however, mean bare. “If properties are empty, I often furnish them to help the potential
➢ See DE-CLUTTER, Page 2
REAL ESTATE From Page 1 ter. The median price was $152,450, Kennedy said. The number sold so far in 2010 is 141, slightly down from last year. Kennedy said she was not aware of any special promotions by housing developers or realtors to increase sales at this time. “A lot of people would love to have our market,” said Mike Hicks, one of the owners of Re/MaxHomestead Realty. “Many areas, where there was a great deal of property speculation, have seen property values decline much more than the ones here. Our property values are sitting at about where they were in 2000 and 2003.” The average sale price for a home in Bonneville County in 2003 was $121,186, Hicks said. The 2004 price was $135,872. The 2009 price was $164,593, he said. “So, obviously, our housing market is doing
pretty well,” he said. “If people look at the numbers they can see things aren’t as bleak as some believe.” The inventory of homes under $125,000 is up. There are currently 284 homes in that range. Last year, there were 170. “Inventory in the $200,000 plus range is down right now down a good solid 35 percent,” Hicks said. “I think the people who used to put their houses on the market just to see if they would sell are not doing that now.” On Feb. 26, 2010, there were 589 properties on the market in Idaho Falls and 347 in Bonneville County for a total of 936 properties. Last February, there were 907 total properties offered. This year, there are 152 properties offered for $100,000 or less. There were 85 last year at this time. The $100,000 to $125,000 properties also are up from 85 last year to 132 this year. The inventory of properties priced from $125,000 to $150,000 are
down from 133 last year to 126 this year. Those in the $175,000 to $200,000 range have increased from 108 to 111. However, houses priced in the markets above that are all down significantly in inventory. Properties also appear to be selling a bit sooner than in recent years, Hicks said. Homes priced below $100,000 were on the market for an average of 98.2 days in 2006, 94.46 days in 2009 and 92.94 days so far this year. In fact, all the houses, except those priced from $175,000 to $200,000 are selling in fewer days than any time since 2006. The houses in that price range are selling in 99.08 days in 2010 as compared to 98.43 in 2006. However, that price range of property sold in an average of 97.62 days in 2009, Hicks said. “You can see there is a lot of activity on our real estate market here,” Hicks said. “It’s not stagnant at all. If houses are priced fairly, they move. It is a buyer’s market and it’s a great time to buy.”
Assist 2 Sell trades lower commissions for higher volume By Desirai Schild For HomeStyle
Assist 2 Sell-The Realty Team, makes up in volume what it sacrifices in commissions. “We are a full service brokerage with discounted brokerage fees,” said Jeff Struchen, broker. “We pay the same dues but our structure and business model are different.” Struchen said the Assist 2 Sell franchise has been around since the 1980s and he has been involved in the Idaho Falls operation for the past seven years. He said the business has always been successful but it is a concept whose time has really come in the current market. “The theory of ‘you get what you pay for’ does not hold true in this case,” he said. “There is nothing that states what percentage a commission should be. All commissions are negotiable. Most realtors charge around six percent.”
DE-CLUTTER From Page 1 buyers visualize what the home would look like with their belongings,” Kennedy said. “Sometimes, buyers can’t visualize how their own furniture, their own bed, would fit into a space if there is nothing there to compare it to.” Having properties “move-in ready” is a must. Buyers are no longer looking for fixer-uppers. “Today’s buyers take the path of least resistance,” said Mike Hicks, one of the owners of RE/Max-Homestead Reality. “That means the outside of the home should be in good repair, clean and attractive when the property is displayed.”
Struchen said the maximum commission in his office is four and one half percent. It’s often less because the people on his team end up selling properties within the office. He said he and his co-workers are able to do this because of volume. “I have an agent in my office that made more than 90 percent of the realtors in this area last year,” he said. “Our realtors get more experience because they do multiple transactions every month.” They are quick to get properties seen and sold, Struchen said. “We offer virtual tours, flyers, yard signs, an automated marketing system and a place in HomeSeeker’s Magazine,” he said. “We have a property on the market within 24 hours of signing, have a web presence in 48 hours and have an average of about 15 percent less time on the Multiple Listing System.”
A tidy inside is equally important. “The home should be well-maintained,” Hicks said. “Maintenance of all the systems in the house should be up to date. It’s not necessary to replace a lot of things if they are working well, but everything must be clean. People are spending all their money to get into a home, so they can’t afford to fix things right after they move in.” The price of the house reflects updates what are the necessities for a sale. “Houses priced over $300,000 must have granite counters,” Hicks said. “Houses priced under that need to be clean and have everything in good working order. This is definitely a buyer’s market so sellers must be as competitive as possible.”
Black & Decker buyout OK’d
2 ❖ HOMESTYLE ◆ March 2010
TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Shareholders approved a nearly $3.5 billion stock buyout Friday, clearing the final hurdle for Stanley Works to acquire Black & Decker. The two formed a new company called Stanley Black & Decker, and became the nation’s largest toolmaker, at the end of business on Friday. The new Stanley Black & Decker will retain headquarters in New Britain, Conn., where Stanley Works is headquartered. Meanwhile, the company’s power tool division will remain headquartered in Towson, Md., where Black & Decker operates. Under the agreement, first announced in November, Black & Decker shareholders received stock valued at $57.57 for each share. Based on the company’s 60.2 million shares outstanding July 24, the deal was worth $3.46 billion. Stanley shareholders own about 50.5 percent of the combined company, while Black & Decker shareholders hold the rest. Black & Decker has 22,100 workers while
Stanley Works has 18,200. The companies hope their combination will produce at least $350 million in cost savings within three years, in part through an unspecified number of job cuts, and increase earnings per share by $1 within three years. Earlier Friday, European regulators approved the deal and the Stanley Works’ board of directors approved six board members of Black & Decker to join the new company’s board. Black & Decker’s current CEO Nolan D. Archibald will become chairman of the board after the acquisition. Some outside observers questioned that move, along with Archibald’s pay package, because of a business relationship between him and an independent board member. Some estimates put Archibald’s pay package at nearly $90 million over three years. The two are involved in a real estate venture in Utah. The company said neither’s actions related to the merger were influenced by that relationship.
Bring spring indoors with a terrarium
Terrariums can jump-start spring and provide kids with hours of indoor enjoyment.
GARDEN From Page 1 world are utilizing this gardening method. Square foot gardening is a method of intensive gardening utilizing raised beds and a grid system to maximize production. Many people have had great success with this method, especially if they have limited space or poor soil. There are three basic components at the heart of the system: 1. The Box. Build or buy 4’ x 4’ boxes out of 2 x 8” lumber. Line the bottom with weed fabric. This gives you a space to put your planting mix. And it looks nice and tidy. 2. The Mix. Create a planting mix of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 blended compost. Don’t try to skimp on this one. And DON’T use garden dirt! 3. The Grid. Divide the box into 16 squares with wood lath or venetian blinds. It’s not a square foot garden if you don’t use the grids. The idea is to keep every square foot in maximum production throughout the season. Although the initial startup costs are higher, the long-term costs are very reasonable compared to traditional gardening methods, and you will enjoy the following advantages: Existing soil doesn’t
matter. You don’t use existing soil. You will build your own planting mix that is perfect for growing vegetables and flowers. No more rocks, clay, and alkaline soil. Requires 80 percent less space. No more space wasted between rows. Every square inch of space is producing luscious vegetables. Takes 90 percent less water. No more watering the weeds between the rows. And the planting mix holds moisture much better than most soils. Uses 95 percent less seeds. Plant only as many seeds as you want plants. No fertilizers. Your planting mix contains all the nutrients necessary to grow beautiful plants year after year. No weeds. Well, almost no weeds. And what few show up can easily be pulled because the soil is so loose and wonderful. No thinning. Seeds aren’t as cheap as they used to be. Why plant seeds only to thin them out later? All hard work removed. No more roto-tilling or double digging. No more weeding. No more thinning. All the fun, with none of the drudgery. Great family project. Everyone can get involved and have responsibilities to take care of the garden. Even young children can be assigned one square foot. Kids learn to love gardening. You’ll be amazed
Garden center managers complete course
Two local nursery manages recently graduated from Garden Center University, a “mini MBA” course in garden center management, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rex Andersen, chief financial officer of Town & Country Gardens, and store manager Drew French graduated from the two-year commitment that included travel to Kentucky, California, North Carolina, Minnesota and Florida to see how other profitable garden centers operate. “It was an amazing
opportunity to meet the leaders of other garden centers and share in their knowledge, and then take the things we learned and implement them into the day to day operation of our garden center.” French said. Town & Country Gardens is an award winning, locally owned, full service garden center with locations in Idaho Falls and Pocatello. They have been serving east Idaho gardeners with “climate tested” plants and personal customer service since 1964.
It’s that time of year again. The occasional warm day reminds us spring is very close. A great way to get excited for spring and bring green plants indoors is by planting a terrarium. A terrarium is an enclosed glass container filled with plants and soil that creates a mini-ecosystem. Moisture will condense on the glass, then rain back down into the soil so they will only need watering every few weeks. Begin by choosing any enclosed container with a lid, such as a jar, vessel, or conservatory. Then select plants that stay small and compact with similar light and moisture requirements. You’ll want to leave room for the plants to grow. You can add plants that may become too large; they’ll just need an occasional pruning. Now it’s time to plant. at the enthusiasm they will have for this fun way to garden. 5 times the harvest. This is Mel’s claim, and it may be exaggerated a little, especially in our shorter season. But without question you get far more production per “square foot” than with traditional row gardens. Makes gardening FUN again. If you’ve lost your enthusiasm for gardening (or never had it in the first place) try this method out. It really does put the fun back into gardening. For more information about Square Foot Gardening there will be two more seminars at Town & Country Gardens on March 27 and April 10 at 1 p.m. Seminars on various other gardening topics are held at 10 each Saturday morning at Town & Country Gardens in both Idaho Falls and Pocatello. Find the complete schedule on the web at www.tcgardens.com/seminars.cfm. John Crook is owner of Town & Country Gardens in Pocatello and Idaho Falls, 5800 S. Yellowstone Highway, 522-5247. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. For local gardening tips or to sign up for John’s weekly email “The Gardener’s Edge” visit www.tcgardens.com.
Ready To Take Action?
Begin by adding a small layer of pebbles to create a reservoir for water, this helps prevent soggy soil. It should be about 1/2” deep. Then, add a very thin layer of activated charcoal to barely cover the rocks. This helps keep the terrarium fresh. Now it’s time to add potting mix. A general purpose potting mix will work for an enclosed container. These layers should take up 1/3 of the container. Then, add plants and even decorative twigs, moss, or figurines. After it’s all planted, water gently, without overwatering and leave the lid off for a couple days. This will help even out the moisture level. It’s important to not overwater because you won’t be able to take water back out. Condensation should appear inside on the walls of the container but not the top. If it does form on the top, remove the lid for
a day or two. And, once the condensation disappears from the sides, it’s time to gently water again. Place it in a room with bright light, but not direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can make it too hot and essentially cook the plants. Remove any fallen leaves to prevent fungus from growing. Feed the plants with a houseplant food about once a month. Terrariums are fun to create and a great way to bring the outdoors inside. They are also a great activity for kids. They can learn about plants and have the responsibility of caring for it. For more information on planting one, see your local garden center or florist. Aaron Brown is a local garden consultant at Eagle Rock Nursery. For more information, contact him there, 1850 Rollandet Idaho Falls, or by phone 529.3305.
More product recalls: coil nailers, voltage detectors Associated Press The following recalls have been announced: ■ About 65,000 coil nailers in the United States and Canada. The products, which are used to nail drywall, wood or other materials, were recalled after 37 reports of nails ejecting sideways. Among those reports were 15 injuries, primarily around the eyes, including five reports of partial blindness. The coil nailers could have a faulty feeder that can allow the sideways ejection, posing an injury hazard to the user or bystanders. The products, made in Japan by Hitachi Koki Co. Ltd., have model number NV83A2. They were sold at Lowe’s, Home Depot, other home improvement and building supply stores and
online at Amazon.com nationwide from November 2002 through March 2006. Details: by phone at 800-706-7337; on the Web at http://www.cpsc.gov or http://tinyurl.com/yfguo m7. ■ About 33,000 Fluke VoltAlert voltage detectors, manufactured in China by Fluke Corp. of Everett, Wash., because they can fail to indicate voltage. This poses a risk of serious electrical shocks or thermal burns. No incidents have been reported. They were sold by industrial distributors and electrical wholesalers around the country between September 2009 and February 2010. Details: by phone at 888-983-5853; on the Web at http://www.cpsc.gov.
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March 2010 ◆ HOMESTYLE ❖ 3
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Housekeeping primers for novices, male or female By JENNIFER FORKER Associated Press
It’s no secret that men and women sometimes take different approaches to housecleaning. After I married my husband, I found him cleaning the toilet by disassembling it first. His father? Family lore says Grandpa John once cleaned the kitchen floors by moving the table and chairs into another room, filling a bucket with scalding, sudsy water and throwing it on the linoleum floor — mimicking how he mopped barracks floors during Army basic training in the early 1960s. “It was clean, it was fast, it was efficient and it got the job done,” said Grandpa John Clarke, 73, of West Warwick, R.I. “It’s not how I do it anymore. Now we hire a cleaning lady.” Two books have hit bookstores to help the housekeeping-challenged. One is clearly female-oriented, promising to impart the wisdom of grandmothers. The other? Grandpa John would agree with its logic: Teach men shortcuts and encourage speed. “How To Get Things Really Flat” (The Experiment, 2009) not only tries to help men understand the art of ironing, as the title indicates, but author Andrew Martin hopes to liberate women by emboldening men: Yes, you can do the
Cleaning the house for spring, step by step Spring-cleaning tips, adapted from Erin Bried’s “How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew” (Ballantine Books, 2009): ■ Step 1: Schedule the spring cleaning (to get into the proper mindset). Have all of the proper supplies on hand and set aside plenty of time. ■ Step 2: Make a checklist, room by room, of what needs to be cleaned. In each room, dust every surface, wipe down dirty walls and doors, vacuum and/or mop, steam clean rugs if necessary, wash light fixtures, remove and clean drapes or blinds, beat cushions, rugs, pillows and mats (outside), and clean windows inside and out. ■ Step 3: Room-by-room specialty tasks: Kitchen: Wipe out fridge, defrost and wipe out freezer, clean oven, organize pantry and drawers. Bedroom: Flip and rotate mattress, change bedding, wash pillows (if washable), swap out winter clothes for summer clothes (donate anything no longer worn). Bathroom: Besides the usual cleaning of toilet, shower, sink and counter, clean out the medicine cabinet and drawers. Home office: Remove books from shelves and dust; wipe down computers; organize important papers. ■ Step 4: Prioritize tasks. If you have helpers, delegate tasks. If not, make sure you can finish what you start to avoid bigger messes. – By The Associated Press
not difficult to learn (how to do certain chores) so why not learn it? Men are perverse in not learning
dishes (and the laundry). He does this with humor and bluntness. “My argument is it’s
it,” Martin said in an interview from his London home. “They spend hundreds of hours of their lives arguing with their wives. And I say why not find something better, more original to fight about?” “How to Sew on a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew” (Ballantine Books, 2009) takes a similar tack for women untrained in the household arts. The book idea started with a pie gone wrong, said author Erin Bried of Brooklyn, N.Y. She tried to bake a strawberry-rhubarb pie for friends and learned – after serving it – that she’d used Swiss chard stems instead of rhubarb. The greens gave the pie a decidedly grassy – and inedible – taste. “It was so embarrassing, I decided to write a book about it,” said Bried. These two authors researched their books in similar fashions: by interviewing those they deemed “experts.” Martin spoke with the women in his life, particularly his wife, and a few obscure scientist types. Bried searched out other people’s grandmothers. Ten of these women share their ideas on thriftiness and entertaining, housecleaning and, yes, even how to sew on a button. Bried, a senior staff writer at Self magazine, says her book is for folks
seeking more self sufficiency. “We are in tough economic times, and we’re all looking for different ways to save time and save money and make life simpler,” said Bried. “If you know how to hem your own pants you can make the decision to do it.” Martin, the author of seven novels, says the trick in getting men to do housework is to teach them shortcuts, which are more than speedy – they’re “manly.” He tells men to use the vacuum attachment to dust – or to dust with both hands – and to work fast, against the clock. Making it a contest – that’s manly – will get the job done. Martin warns women to start their men off slowly with chores that show noticeable results. That’s why men like to mow, he said. “You can see where you’ve been,” Martin said. “You can see you’re achieving something.” The same can hold true for ironing and vacuuming. “There is something about vacuuming,” said Martin. “It’s more manly. It’s noisy. It’s violent. People have to shut up for it.” Martin even has a favorite vacuum attachment. “I say the best attachment is the narrow one,” he said. “That is the most violent.”
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March 2010 ◆ HOMESTYLE ❖ 5
By Aaron Brown
LAWN & GARDEN
Win the war against weeds Aaron Brown
block can be used. This discourages weed growth and helps prevent many weeds. Once flowerbeds and vegetable gardens are planted, adding a 2-inch layer of bark mulch soil pep will discourage most weeds from growing. And, it also helps retain moisture and will help improve soil. Once your flowers are planted or your seeds are up and growing, you can also use a product like Preen or Treflan granules to prevent weed seeds from sprouting. Always read and follow the instructions on the label. If you have a hardto-kill weed, adding more weed killer than recommended won’t help. Sometimes it makes the product less effective.
When you spray weeds, the chemical must be absorbed through the leaves. If the leaves are dirty, it’s harder for weed killers to work. So, it’s always a good idea to wash them off with a hose before you apply weed killer. I always recommend using a surfactant Spreader Sticker. This is an additive you mix in with a weed killer. It essentially acts like glue. It breaks surface tension, allowing the product to cover more leaf surface and also helps it stick better. If you use Spreader Sticker, you’ll get better results. Finally, make sure to apply when the wind isn’t blowing. There are three different ways weed killers work. First, there are products that are nonselective, that means they will kill anything that is actively growing. Then, there are products called broadleaf weed killers. Essentially, they kill dandelions and anything that
Earth Day 2010 Contests Grades
K-3 - Poster Contest
Posters received will be used for advertising Earth Day Celebration in local businesses. • Posters must use an Earth Day Theme. • The poster must be on a 12" x 18" piece of poster board or drawing paper.
- Quilt Block Contest
Quilt blocks will be sewn into an Idaho Falls Earth Day Quilt and displayed at the 2010 Idaho Falls Earth Day Celebration. • Quilt blocks will be provided by the Earth Day Committee and may be requested by contacting Alana Jensen, Stoller Corp. (email@example.com or 525-9358). Only blocks supplied by the Earth Day Committee will be made into Earth Day quilts for display at the Celebration. • All entries will become property of Idaho Falls Earth Day Committee and will not be returned. Quilt blocks will be joined into an Idaho Falls Earth Day Quilt and displayed at the 2010 Idaho Falls Earth Day Celebration.
- Essay Contest
Winning essays will be published through NIE • Each entry must address one of the topics found in the contest rules at www.ifearthday.com • Entries must not exceed 350 words.
Earth Day Recyclable Art Sculpture Contest Idaho Falls Earth Day Celebration will host a recyclable art sculpture contest to raise awareness among students and their communities about the need for recycling and what materials are recyclable locally. • Contest entries should be planned around the theme “Rethink Recycling” and use only recyclable materials for creating the art. All entries will be displayed during the Earth Day event and a Peoples’ Choice Award will be presented to the sculpture receiving the greatest number of visitor’s votes. • If your class or school would like to participle in this contest, please contact Alana Jensen at 520-8079 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Check out www.kid-at-art.com/htdoc/matchtmp.html for ideas.
Earth Day Photography Contest
test Photo Con
The theme for this year’s contest is Enjoying Nature. Each entry must include a photo take by the photographer that depicts the theme, accompanied by a descriptive essay of 100 or fewer words. Three $25 prizes will be awarded in each category. Contest entries will be displayed at the 2010 Idaho Falls Earth day Celebration • Youth Division - Ages 5-12 • Teen Division - Ages 13-19 • Adult Division - Ages 20 and over
6 ❖ HOMESTYLE ◆ March 2010
has a leaf that isn’t like a blade of grass. The third type will kill grass but not anything with broad leaves. Non-selective weed killers will kill your lawn, flowers, vegetables, trees, and shrubs, if the product comes in contact with the leaves. These products are great to use in alleyways, driveways, and selective use in the landscape. It’s also a great product for hard-to-control weeds and grasses in your vegetable garden before you plant. The most common non-selective weed killers contain the active ingredient Glysophate. They’re commonly known as Round Up or Killzall, to name a couple. There are a few reasons I prefer Killzall. First of all, it’s less expensive. When you calculate the number of gallons each products makes, you’ll find that Killzall is nearly half the cost. The savings can be greater with a larger bottle. Killzall also contains twice the surfactant, the stuff that helps it stick better. Broadleaf weed killers are typically used in the lawn for dandelions and other common weeds. You can even find lawn fertilizers combined with these weed killers. Many of these products need to be applied when weeds are actively growing and temperatures are warm. There is a great weed killer called Weed Free Zone that can be applied in cooler temperatures, this time of the year. Finally, grass killers are great for grass growing near vegetable gardens, landscapes, and even in the raspberry patch. The product that works the best is Hi Yield Grass Killer. You can even use this to kill grass around irises and select perennial flowers. When using grass killer, add Horticultural Oil instead of a surfactant to help it work better. The weed everyone seems to have a problem with is quackgrass. Quackgrass spreads by its roots, or rhizomes. This
means that when you try to pull it, the roots break apart and new shoots will grow. If you keep pulling, it won’t go away. If it’s growing in your lawn or vegetable garden, a spring spot treatment of Killzall or Grass killer will help control it. It will take many applications to completely control it. Fertilizing your grass will also help choke it out. People commonly confuse quackgrass with crabgrass. Crabgrass is a totally different weed that spreads by seed, not roots. Therefore, it takes a completely different product to kill it. Crabgrass killers are heavily advertised because it’s a big problem in many parts of the country. However, it’s only occasionally found in lawns in our area. Crabgrass controls or preventers may not stop quackgrass. Some other common weeds that need to be controlled in the spring are thistles, puncture vine (goat heads), and purslane. Weed Free Zone is extremely effective against these weeds. Dandelions can be controlled with Weed Out granules with lawn fertilizer in Mid-May. Or, if you have a lot of them, you may want to spray with the Weed Free Zone. Finally, there is a weed called annual bluegrass that plagues many lawns in our area. It shows up in the heat of summer as large patches of lighter green grass. Small seed heads also form and it regrows from seed. This time of spring is the time to control it. Apply All Seasons pre-emergent weed preventer to stop them from growing later in the summer. Consult with local nursery professionals to learn more about weed control. Aaron Brown is a local garden consultant at Eagle Rock Nursery. For more information, contact him there, 1850 Rollandet Idaho Falls, or by phone 529.3305.
Cooking Quality Kitchen Equipment Rush’s Kitchen Supply Co. 820NIE0409
Six weeds commonly found in eastern Idaho: (top L to R) Quackgrass, Dandelion, Puncturevine or Goats Head; (bottom row) Purslane, Thistle and Annual Bluegrass.
Fine Art of
Deadline for entries is April 12
Contestants for all grade categories can submit essays by e-mail to email@example.com or by dropping projects and essays off at the Stoller Office at 120 Technology Drive, Idaho Falls, ID 82302 Contest winners will be announced in April. One $25 prize will be awarded to an entrant in each grade. Every prize winner’s classroom will also receive a $25 prize. Questions:Alana Jensen 525-9358 • firstname.lastname@example.org Prize sponsor: S.M.Stoller
Local Earth Day Celebration is April 24th from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mark your calendars and come join in the festivities! More details at:
Photos courtesy Aaron Brown
Better Tools, Better Cooking
5345 Lindsay Blvd. • Idaho Falls • 523-4818
Someone once said “A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place.” I disagree. There isn’t anything appealing about most weeds. There are many types of weeds found in our area. Some of them are easy to control or can be eradicated by just pulling them. Others are very tough to kill, and need to be sprayed with weed killers. Weed barriers are very effective at controlling weeds. For landscaped areas under trees and shrubs, you can use a weed barrier fabric. Plastic sheeting should never be used. Look for a fabric that is rated to last more than 20 years. Also, make sure to get one that is woven, so the water and air can get through, but it can’t be torn. Remove weeds and level the ground before installing a fabric. Small weeds may grow above the fabric, but they’ll be easy to pull. In the vegetable garden, biodegradable paper weed
YOUR DREAM HOME
Compact floor plan makes maximum use of space room will make family meals quick and easy. The split-bedroom plan separates the master suite from the two secondary bedrooms for maximum privacy. The master suite features its own bath and walk-in closet, while the two other bedrooms share a hall bath. A patio provides a pleasing setting to enjoy a glass of lemonade. DD-1100-B DETAILS: Bedrooms: 3 Baths: 2 Main floor: 1,118 sq. ft. Total Living Area: 1,118 sq. ft. Garage: 409 sq. ft. Exterior Wall Framing: 2x4 Foundation Options: Crawlspace Full Basement Slab Price Code: A ORDER THE HOUSE PLAN To receive the Study Plan for this home, order by phone, online, or
DO IT YOURSELF CLASSES
The Home Depot, 2075 S. Holmes Ave., Idaho Falls, 83404. Phone: (208) 542-2520.
Interior Painting – This workshop will show you interior painting techniques and how to protect those places you don’t want to paint. Date: Sat., March 20 and Sat., March 27. Time: 1011 a.m. Tiling Floors and Walls – Grab a chair at this workshop and you’ll walk away with the skills to plan and complete a successful tile project. Date: Sat., March 20 and Sat., March 27. Time: 11 a.m. noon. Installing Door Hardware – Home security hinges on a reliable lock. We’ll show you the latest in locksets and deadbolts that you can install yourself. Rekey a lock? You can do it now without calling a locksmith. Date: Sat., March 20 and Sat., March 27. Time: 1-2 p.m.
Spring Home Improvement Fair The Home Depot – Visit with vendors for cabinets, windows, doors and flooring. See our new line of eco-friendly Puresque carpet. Register for door prizes. Saturday April 17th at 10 a.m. Call 5422520 to reserve your spot.
Lowe’s of Idaho Falls, 925 E. 17th St., Idaho Falls, ID 83404. Phone: (208) 542-9030 Build and Grow Kid’s Clinic – From project basics to give your child the opportunity to say “I built it”, our Build and Grow kid’s clinics are a great way to help build confidence! Bring the kids into any Lowe’s store and build a FREE wooden project. Each participant also receives a free apron, goggles, a project themed patch, and a certification of merit upon completion of their project. Kaleidoscope: It’s a classic toy that we all grew up with! Bring your child in this week and they can build this cool Kaleidoscope!
LAWN & GARDEN
OPEN W NO
Come in and see why Apple Athletic Club is Everyone’s Choice for a Healthy Future
Just think, you can exercise, relax in the spa, swim laps, shoot a few hoops or maybe grab a latte…
All night long!
– Learn how to design and plant a pot or basket that will add color to your world all season long. Discover new varieties of flowers that have recently become available that will make your planters distinctively different and beautiful. Date: April 17. Time: 10 a.m.
COOKING & HOME ARTS The Prepared Pantry, 2 N. Landmark Lane, Rigby, Idaho 83422. Phone: 1-866-745-7892 or 208-7457892. Directions: Between Idaho Falls and Rigby. ? mile east of Hwy 20 on County Line Road. (The big brown building with the copper roof).
The Prepared Pantry in Rigby offers cooking, baking, and decorating classes that are fun for young and old. Learn to paint cookies, make pannekoeken, egg rolls, aebleskiver and more. These classes are free but reservations are requested. Call 745-7892 for reservations or more information.
Filled Sweet Rolls – Date:
5800 S. Yellowstone, Idaho Falls, ID. Phone: 522-5247
Frosted English Scones – Date:
on Saturdays at both stores. Bring a friend! Cost is $3 per
Plan No.:———————— ———————————— ———————————— Name:————————— ———————————— ———————————— Address:———————— ———————————— City:—————————— State:———— Zip:————
Porch Pots and Hanging Baskets
Town & Country Gardens, 2010 Spring Gardening Seminars – Classes are held
Mail to: House of the Week 901 N. 3rd St., Suite 216 Minneapolis, MN 55401
person per class or $4 per couple, payable at the door. Seating is limited so plan to arrive early. Fruit Trees – Harvest delicious fruit from your own backyard. Variety selection, harvesting, winter protection and pest control will all be discussed. Date: March 20 Time: 10 a.m. Perennial Flowers – Learn how to create an ever changing perennial garden that will give you color all season long. Exciting new varieties for sun and for shade will be discussed. Date: Mar. 27. Time: 10 a.m. Berries and Small Fruits – Enjoy delicious fruit from your own yard. Strawberries, raspberries, grapes, and other small fruits will be discussed, including variety selection, planting, and care. Date: April 3. Time: 10 a.m. Roses – Enjoy beautiful roses in your garden despite our harsh climate. Discover the secrets of variety selection, feeding, pruning, pest control, and winter protection. Learn why “hardy shrub roses” are becoming so popular today. Date: Apr. 10. Time: 10 a.m.
by mail. By phone: Call (866) 772-1013. Reference the plan number. Online: Go to www.houseoftheweek.com and type the plan No. into the field labeled “Enter Plan No.” The downloadable study plans are available for $10. By mail: Clip and complete this form. Include a check or money order for $10 payable to House of the Week. Minnesota residents, add sales tax.
March 20. Time: 11 a.m.
Call today for details
March 27. Time: 11 a.m.
Brownie Pops – Date: March 3 Time: 11 a.m. Focaccia – Date: April 10. Time: 11 a.m.
For The Associated Press
This affordable onestory home, Plan DD1100-B by Home Plans LLC, has an efficient floor plan that maximizes its compact square footage. The floor plan covers 1,100 square feet of living space. High ceilings in the shared living areas and in the master suite give the illusion of even more space. An elegant columned porch with arched windows greets visitors and welcomes you home every day. Plenty of room is available here to sit and watch the day go by. The front entry opens directly into the good-size living room. A vaulted ceiling soars above, while a fireplace flanked by decorative plant shelves serves as the room’s comforting focal point. The tiled dining room and Ushaped kitchen nearby share a vaulted ceiling. Easy access to the dining
March 2010 ◆ HOMESTYLE ❖ 7
By Van Ashton
Smart Grid pilot project comes to I.F. Power
The electric utility industry in the Northwest is continually looking for ways to improve the delivery of electricity to its customers, and also how customers can use this energy efficiently and economically. Idaho Falls Power has participated in these efforts for 28 years, and is committed to educating its customers on products and services available to help them keep electricity usage and costs down. Late last fall, the Department of Energy selected a Pacific Northwest team, including Idaho Falls Power, to conduct a regional smart grid demonstration project designed to expand upon existing electric infrastructure and test new smart grid technology. The project participants are currently working to put programs together at the respective utilities, and plan to begin installing equipment and technology later this year. The Smart Grid, as it is
called, is a system that uses a variety of existing technologies to improve power delivery and use through intelligent, twoway communication. This can include everything from substation automation to interactive appliances in homes. Generators of electricity, suppliers and consumers are all part of the equation. For the utility, developing technology can provide more detailed usage information from the enduse customer to enable more efficient use of generation, transmission and distribution facilities, as well as better billing structures. For the customer, it can help them monitor and manage their energy usage to keep costs down. Equipment can also be
installed to automatically respond to emergencies or periods of high wholesale market prices. Idaho Falls Power will be looking for customers to volunteer to participate in the five-year pilot program. A segment of customers will be recruited to participate in a passive response test and another segment to participate in an active response test. Data will be collected from each of these groups over a two-year period and evaluated for costeffectiveness. Those measures that are well-received and effective may be offered as permanent programs to all customers. The passive response test will provide customers with a monitor inside the home that will provide information on the amount of energy being used and associated costs. The customers will be free to take any steps they choose to limit or reduce the amount of their energy usage in order to save money on their elec-
Customers will always have the option of whether or not they wish to participate in any future program offerings. tric bill. The active response test will look for customers willing to have equipment installed that will lower thermostat settings for short periods during peak demand hours, or shut off water heaters during off-peak hours, to determine the amount of savings that can be achieved from these measures. The effect on customer comfort and convenience has been minimal in other tests. IFP wants to see how it will work for, and be received by customers here. Again, energy savings data will be collected and evaluated, along with customer acceptance. Savings and other benefits from
these measures have been previously demonstrated to be significant for the utility. This translates into lower rates for customers. If customer acceptance is favorable, they may also be offered as permanent programs with financial incentives for participation. Customers will always have the option of whether or not they wish to participate in any future program offerings. Programs will not be mandated, but offered as additional services. The goal is to allow customers more options to be more proactive in choosing how to manage their household electricity consumption. Look for more information on participation opportunities in the near future. Ashton is the Customer Service Manager for Idaho Falls Power. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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DELIVERY AVAILABLE (SEE STORE FOR DETAILS)
8 ❖ HOMESTYLE ◆ March 2010
466 E. Anderson • Idaho Falls • 523-5567 • 800-709-1017 525 N. 2nd E. • Rexburg • 356-0063 • 800-769-1013 #30 Riverside Plaza • Blackfoot • 782-3437 222 W. Cedar • Pocatello • 233-2702 • 800-769-1018