A Special Publication of The Punxsutawney Spirit and Jefferson County Neighbors
& ÂŠ2014 The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors
arden G guide
Lawn and garden enthusiasts know a handful of items are essential to maintain a healthy landscape. Water, sunshine and the proper nutrients all work in concert to promote a healthy lawn. Although nutritional material is inherent in the soil, many gardeners feel soil must be amended with some sort of fertilizer to give plants a healthy boost. All-natural fertilizers are growing in popularity, and home gardeners have a variety of such products at their disposal. Ambitious homeowners can even create their own all-natural fertilizers from items around the house. Organic fertilizers, or those that are derived from living organisms and not manufacturered through chemicals, can provide sufficient nutrients and minerals to grow healthy plants.
Bone meal In order to store energy and reach maturity, plants need phosphate. This mineral is released over a long period of time from finely ground rock. However, a faster way to supply it to the landscape is through bone meal. Bone meal is a mixture of finely and coarsely ground animal bones that are a waste product from meat-processing plants. Adding bone meal to soil is one of the
most effective ways to increase phosphorous levels. Manure The waste from herbivores (animals that feed on grass), including rabbits, horses and cows, can make super fertilizers. Some gardeners shy away from manure because they believe it to be an odoriferous, dirty product. The best produced manures are allowed to compost for at least nine months and are mixed with hay or straw. They should not produce an offensive odor and will provide plants with a host of nutrients. Never use manures from meat-eating animals, like dogs, cats or humans. Feces can harbor a lot of bacteria, which can be transfered to the garden soil. Fish and seaweed Improving soil nutrients may be as simple as looking to the ocean or other bodies of water. Fish emulsion, a mixture of ground fish and water, is a good nitrogen source. Nitrogen gives plants the energy to grow. Seaweed, which is actually a type of algae, contains the primary nutrients that plants need in order to thrive, including phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. It also serves as a food for natural bacteria that break down nutrients into the soil, making them easier for plants to absorb.
Worms Earthworms are vital to soil health. They burrow and wiggle around in the dirt, helping to aerate the soil. But the castings, or waste, of the worms also provide valuable nutrients to the soil. The castings contain beneficial microorganisms from the worms’ digestive system that help break down organic matter into a form that plant roots can use. Many gardeners participate in vermicomposting, or farming worms in order to use their castings as fertilizer. Compost Compost can also be used as fertilizer. Gardeners can make their own compost from discarded materials. Compost is one of the most widely used soil amendments in vegetable gardens. Yard refuse, fruit and vegetable peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds, and other items can be added to a compost pile. Natural bacteria will slowly break down these materials into a product dubbed “black gold.” Compost can be mixed into soil before planting and used as a dressing after plants have been established. Gardeners can experiment with different ratios of fertilizer to create a mix that enhances the soil. Test the soil to determine which, if any, nutrients the soil is lacking so the fertilizer can be adjusted accordingly.
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Estimate: The anticipated cost of materials and labor for a project. Fixed price contract: A contract with a set price for the work. Flashing: Sheet metal or roll roofing pieces fit to the joint of any roof intersection or projection. Footing: Widened ground base of a foundation to support foundations or piers. Framing: The structural wooden elements of most homes. GFI: A ground fault current interrupter, which is an electrical device used to prevent injury from contact with electrical appliances. Jamb: The exposed upright part on each side of a window frame or door frame. Level: A tool to check for level or plumb surfaces. Permit: A legal authorization to begin a work project. Pitch: The slope of incline on a roof. Rebar: Steel rods that are imbedded in concrete for stability. Shim: A tapered piece of wood used to level and secure a structure. Stud: Vertical parts of framing placed 16 or 24 inches apart. Watt: A measure of the electrical requirement of an appliance.
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Home improvement glossary Understanding the terminology used in the home improvement and construction industries can help homeowners be better informed and involved in projects around their homes. The following are some common industry terms. Aggregate: Crushed rock used in many asphalt applications. Ampacity: The amount of current a wire can safely carry. Asbestos: A fibrous material that was once used widely in building materials but is linked to cancers of the lung and lung cavity. Backfill: Soil or gravel used to fill in against a foundation. Beam: Horizontal framing member designed to carry a load from joists or a roof. Butt joint: Lumber pieces joined at the ends. Casement window: A window with hinges on one of the vertical sides making it swing open like a door. Caulking: Flexible material used to seal a gap between two surfaces. Code: Rules set forth by a government institution to determine fair and safe trade practices. Curing: A process that brings paint or masonry materials to their final, durable form. Drywall: A wall finish made from gypsum plaster encased in a thin cardboard.
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2 - Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014
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Seasonal home maintenance tips that save time and money
Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014 - 3
(StatePoint) – If you’re not careful, basic and seasonal home maintenance can cost you a pretty penny and a lot of time. Take steps to simplify these tasks. Clean and Organize Even if you use a professional cleaning service, you’ll still need some in-between maintenance: • Divide clutter into three groups: junk, charity and undecided. Toss the first, give away the second and store the third until you decide whether it’s worth keeping. • To reduce dirt, use only one entry door into your home and use doormats inside and outside. • Clean the house and each room from the top down. Dust first, vacuum last. Scrub, wipe and polish in straight lines instead of circles. Squeegee windows and mirrors with an initial horizontal stroke across the top, then vertical strokes, wiping the blade after each stroke. • Store basic cleaning supplies in an apron or bucket and carry them with you from task to task. • Change furnace filter and replace vacuum bags monthly. Don’t miss vents when you dust. For more cleaning tips or to book a professional cleaning service to give your home topto-bottom treatment, visit www. MerryMaids.com. Cooling Costs Want to reduce cooling costs? Follow these tips: • Have air conditioning systems professionally inspected and cleaned before the season. • Keep the area around the exterior condensing unit clear of obstructions to ensure adequate airflow. • Clean or replace the air con-
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ditioner filter monthly to save up to 10 percent on your bill. • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for unit maintenance. • If your air conditioning system breaks down, a home warranty can help protect you from unexpected repair costs. It covers the repair or replacement of many of the most common home system component breakdowns regardless of age, and can be purchased any time, not just when a home is bought or sold. Last summer, American Home Shield responded to nearly 700,000 requests for air conditioning repairs during record-breaking heat waves. To learn more about home warranties, visit www.YouTube.com/ TheAHSTeam. Fight Pests Termites cause more than $5 billion in annual damage across the country. Unfortunately, termite destruction can go unnoticed for years and is rarely covered by homeowners insurance. “If you detect a termite swarm, it could mean your house has already suffered dam-
age,” says Paul Curtis, Terminix entomologist. While eliminating termites requires the help of a trained professional, there are ways to make your home less inviting to these wood-destroying pests: • Fix roof and plumbing leaks. • Clean gutters to avoid water accumulation near the foundation. • Don’t pile mulch, firewood or soil against your house, which can hide termite activity and allow easy access into the home. • Prompt treatment and annual inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair. For more information on this year’s termite swarm season or to schedule an inspection, visit www.Terminix.com. For more information on companies that can save you time and money on home maintenance, visit www.ServiceMaster.com. By working smarter, not harder, you can save money and free your weekends to better enjoy your home.
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The right watering will make all the difference in a lush lawn into early afternoon, will likely lead to brown spots indicative of a burned lawn. That’s because the sun will be drawn to the water, bearing down on the lawn and burning the grass as a result. When summer arrives, a lawn is best watered when temperatures are at their most mild. That often translates to early morning or early evening. An added benefit of watering when temperatures are on the mild side is less water will be lost to evaporation during this time, meaning you won’t be wasting water. • Situate sprinklers to conserve water. Homeowners who won’t be hand watering their lawns should make sure their sprinklers are placed properly throughout their property. Situate sprinklers so they aren’t watering driveways, walkways or patios. All of the water should be going to the grass, especially when drought restrictions are in place and the amount of watering the law allows is limited. It’s also important to make sure water from sprinklers isn’t being blocked from reaching the
Fast facts about grass
A lush, green lawn is coveted by many current and would-be homeowners. Not only can a beautiful landscape make a home feel more welcoming, but it also increases the resale value of a property. Frequent watering, proper fertilization, pest management, and mowing are all essential components of lawn maintenance. But there is more to those beautiful blades of grass than just aesthetic appeal. The following are some interesting facts about grass that even the most devoted lawn enthusiasts might be surprised to learn. • Grass is defined as any plant of the family Gramineae, a group of vascular plants that grow across the globe. • There are as many as 10,000 varieties of grass in the world. These range from grass to rice to wheat to bamboo. • Many grasses are annual or perennial herbs with fibrous roots and rhizomes. • Grass can withstand many different climates and has been discovered at the North Pole and at the equator. • Twenty percent of Earth’s vegetation is comprised of grass. • Grasses have been transformed into paper and home decor items. Bamboo, which is a type of grass, is frequently used for flooring because it is durable and sustainable. • Grass is mostly comprised of water, which makes up about 80 percent of grass and 90 percent of grass clippings. • A typical lawn will have about six grass plants per square inch. Some lawns may have millions of grass plants. • The average lawn releases enough oxygen to sustain four families of four.
grass by trees. Homeowners with especially large trees on their property should consider hand watering the grass beneath such trees to ensure these areas receive adequate water. • Lean on mulch. Homeowners tend to fear drought for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that drought can cause a green lawn to turn brown, potentially affecting property value and robbing a landscape of its beauty. But there are ways to help the soil retain moisture when temperatures are especially hot and dry. Mulch around trees, flower beds, gardens and shrubs can help homeowners get the most bang for their watering buck. That’s because mulch retains moisture, even when temperatures are especially hot. This helps foster stronger root growth and healthier landscapes that are less susceptible to disease and insect infestation. • Get to know your lawn. Several variables combine to determine how much water a lawn needs. Understanding these variables helps homeowners understand how much to water their own lawns. Local climate is a variable to consider, as is whether or not a lawn was fertilized (experts typically recommend a lawn be fertilized several times, beginning in the spring and ending in October). Soil type and grass type also help to determine how much water a lawn needs, and homeowners who need to determine the type of soil and grass on their property can consult a local lawn care center or landscaping professional. Proper watering can help a lawn survive the dog days of summer, and it’s up to homeowners to learn the right techniques.
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4 - Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014
Proper watering is essential when trying to restore or maintain a lush green lawn. If watered incorrectly, a lawn can be susceptible to a host of problems, including insect infestation, weak roots and disease. When watering a lawn, especially when temperatures start to soar in the summer, it’s easy to think a lawn needs more water and needs it during those hours of the day when the sun is at its most intense. However, those are two common misconceptions about watering. The following are a handful of tips for homeowners who want to help their lawns endure the summer heat and maintain their lush appeal into the fall. • Water when temperatures are mild. In the summertime, humans typically need water when temperatures are at their most extreme, but that does not mean lawns should be watered when temperatures soar. Water attracts the sun, so watering when temperatures are at their hottest, which is typically around midday and
Get kids excited about gardening Many adults understand the joy of gardening, but gardening can be equally fun for children as well. While some adults may feel that certain children do not have the patience or perseverance to see plants grow from seeds to adulthood, selecting plants that are hardy and sprout quickly may be the key to igniting a love of gardening in children. Choosing seeds that sprout quickly can hold the attention of children who are new to gardening. Many different plants fit this bill. Beans, peas, sunflower seeds, and bell pepper seeds are easy to start and germinate quickly. In addition, many leafy vegetables, such as chard, lettuce, spinach, and mustard, germinate in three to five days. Herbs, such as basil and parsley, also sprout fast. All of these plants are good options for introducing children to gardening, as each provides quick gratification. To further interest children, it is a good idea to plant seeds in a way that allows youngsters to monitor the progress of growth. Use a transparent container, such
as rinsed-out glass jars and canisters, to house the plant. Such containers give kids an unobstructed view of the process, during which children can plot the progress of seed germination and easily spot root and stem development. Once the seedlings grow larger, they can be transplanted into different containers. Many seedlings can sprout with water alone. Children can easily grow new plants from clippings of a mature plant left resting in a shallow cup of water, and seeds may not even need soil to germinate. Kids may have luck sprinkling seeds on a dampened, crumpled-up piece of paper towel. Cotton balls also make a good place to nestle seeds. Either material will hold on to water, keeping the seeds moist until they sprout. Afterward, the seedlings can be carefully moved into a soil-and-compost mix. The paper towel and the cotton balls will decompose and add to the organic matter already in the soil. Edible plants often make good choices for children because kids can reap the re-
wards of their efforts. Herbs can be sprinkled onto food, or fruits and vegetables can be grown in containers and then served at mealtime. Kids can show pride in their accomplishments, especially if they have tangible results on the dinner plate. Children who want to try something different can explore other types of plants. Aquatic plants, or those found at the pet store to grow in aquariums, can be easy to grow. They need little more than a container, fresh water and sunlight. Cacti and other succulents are also fun to explore. These plants are quite hardy in that they can stand up to moderate abuse, such as failure to water frequently enough. The unique appearance of cacti make them interesting focal points for an indoor garden. A love of gardening that’s fostered inside can also be explored outdoors. Set aside a plot of dirt where kids can sow their own seeds and tend to their own gardens. This hobby can help children learn patience and hard work while fostering an appreciation of nature.
(StatePoint) – Impressions count when visitors arrive at your home’s front door. It’s the first and last space they see, and it has the power to make a positive or negative impression. This season, consider an easy, cost-effective home improvement project that can add value to your home and boost curb appeal – updating the main door and entry of your home. Upgrade the Door Start with the basics. Evaluate the look and condition of the front door to determine if it needs to be replaced. A front door should have good energy efficiency features, a snug fit to the frame, and an appealing color. While wood was once the most popular material for doors, homeowners are shifting to alternatives. And for good reason – a secure fiberglass door, such as those from Therma-Tru, can resist
denting and scratching, is easy to maintain, is energy efficient and can help keep your home quiet. Smooth fiberglass finishes are available for painting along with a variety of woodgrain finishes that have the look of wood, but all the benefits of fiberglass. More information on their ENERGY STAR qualified doors can be found at www. ThermaTru.com. Trim the Door Consider transforming a ho-hum home entry into a stylish entryway in less than an hour. With a door surround kit, such as those from Fypon, you can accessorize your entryway in various architectural styles. Available in Craftsman, Colonial, Stone and Empire styles, each kit offers weather-resistant polyurethane pieces that resist rotting, warping, cracking, insects, moisture and peeling. The kits include trim, such as pilasters, crossheads and
keystones, and are a dynamic and quick way to enhance an entry door. As an alternative to a kit, you can order durable pilasters and pediment pieces individually. This allows you to select from dozens of decorative pediment designs to top off your door, such as a sunburst, rams head or peaked cap. For more information, visit www.Fypon.com. Add Some Flair To complete the look of your warm and inviting entryway, don’t forget to stain or paint your door to complement your home’s exterior, as well as select decorative or privacy glass for the doorlites and sidelites. Next step, add some potted plants and a colorful welcome mat and you’ve transformed the look of your home entryway. With a few easy upgrades, you can give your home a fresh new look that will leave a lasting impression.
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Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014 - 5
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Tips to improve your kitchen without renovating it a substantial collection of electric openers, dicers, slicers and spinners. If all these tools help you cook, that’s fabulous. If not, they are simply taking up valuable cabinet, cupboard and countertop space. Take a look at what you have and eliminate anything that’s duplicative, broken or somehow unnecessary. Improve Functionality Re-think your appliances. These days, you don’t need to settle for antiquated appliances that perform just one function. Innovations are making cooktops and ovens more functional and versatile, providing greater opportunities for spatial kitchen layout. For example, you could pair
a gas cooktop with an electric oven or install electric ovens side by side. Consider appliances from such brands as Verona, an Italian manufacturer that applies extensive cooking expertise to built-in ovens, cooktops and ranges. Inspired by classical Italian designs, their hand assembled cooktops and ovens offer a choice of fuel type so you can mix and match radiant, induction and gas heat sources. Information is available at www. VeronaAppliances.com. Flexibility is also being built into today’s appliances. For example, ILVE cooktops come equipped with an exclusive, one-of-a-kind removable griddle that allows for numerous food preparation
options on an all-in-one cooking surface. You can steam, grill, warm and more with the included griddle – eliminating the need for additional spacehogging appliances like steam ovens and warming drawers. This is a great way to be a more flexible cook in a small amount of space. More information on flexible cooktops is available at www.ilveappliances.com. Maximize Storage Creative storage solutions will increase your work area and cabinets, while affording more space to move around. For example, an over-thedoor spice rack can give you more room to prep food. A wall-mounted wine rack that holds both bottles and glasses
A patch of dead grass on an otherwise lush lawn can be a frustrating eyesore for homeowners. Whether lawn care is your passion or just something you do to maintain the value of your home, dead grass can be exasperating. But as unsightly as dead grass can be, addressing it and restoring the dead patches can be somewhat simple. Before you can restore grass, however, you must first identify the source of the problem. Grass often dies because of urine damage, which is typically characterized by a dead spot surrounded by otherwise green grass. Grub infestation might be at fault when dead grass appears, and such an infestation often produces patches of light brown grass that are scattered throughout the lawn. It’s also possible that dead grass is a result of human error. If your lawn was overfertilized, then patches of gray-green grass may appear. Fungal disease is another common culprit behind dead grass, and such disease can manifest itself in different ways. Once you have identified why the grass is dead, which may require the help of a professional, then you can begin to treat your lawn. Urine damage Urine damage is often limited to a particular area of the grass where your family pet routinely relieves itself. Once a particular patch of grass has worn down, the pet may move on to another spot. But if you quickly notice a dead spot due to urine damage, you can train the animal to
urinate elsewhere, limiting the damage it causes. When repairing the grass, dig a hole that’s roughly four inches deep and fill it with fresh soil until it’s level with the soil surrounding the dead patch. Then you can sprinkle seed on top of the freshly laid soil and water the spot.Grass should grow in and stay green so long as you prevent further urine damage. Insect damage Addressing dead spots caused by insect damage can be a little more complicated, and some homeowners may prefer to hire a professional. If you want to handle the problem on your own, apply pesticide to the affected areas so the insects behind the problem are killed. Once the insects are no more, cut the grass, raking the affected area to remove the dead grass and any additional debris. Scatter grass seed over the affected areas and then apply an appropriate fertilizer and water immediately. Professionals may know just the right fertilizer for your lawn, so even if you want to go it alone, visit a local lawn care center to ask for advice about addressing your particular problem. Fertilizer damage Fertilizer damage can also prove difficult to address, as applying fresh seeds too soon can kill any freshly growing seedlings. So grass that has been damaged by overfertilization must first be allowed to fully die. Once that has happened, the grass can be cut and any remaining debris or dead grass can be removed.
Seed can then be scattered, and you can even add some additional soil before laying down an appropriate amount of fertilizer and watering the lawn immediately. If you don’t trust yourself to use fertilizer correctly, then hire a professional to do the job for you. This will cost a little
more, but you likely won’t wake up to more dead patches of grass down the road. Dead grass can be unsightly and turn an otherwise lush lawn into a patchy eyesore. But addressing dead grass can be easy and can quickly restore a lawn to its green grandeur.
The best ways to repair dead grass
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6 - Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014
(StatePoint) – The kitchen is perhaps the most functional room of any home, but often it doesn’t feel large enough or flexible enough. And great cooking starts with a comfortable kitchen. While renovating your kitchen may not always be practical, there are steps you can take to improve it without breaking the bank or your kitchen walls. Here are a few ways to make the most of your kitchen: Evaluate Your Kitchen It’s time to weed out the good, the bad and the ugly. When is the last time you did a thorough inventory of your kitchen gadgets? After several years without an assessment, it’s possible you’ve acquired
Five quick fixes for big improvements (StatePoint) – When it comes to home improvement, you don’t need to do a complete overhaul to make a big impact. A “less is more” approach may serve you better, say experts. “Sometimes quick fixes are the ones you need most,” says Lou Manfredini, host of “HouseSmarts TV” and home improvement contributor on NBC’s “The Today Show.” According to Manfredini, there are five small projects you can do yourself that can make a huge difference in your home: • Clean the Disposal: Your kitchen sink and disposal work hard, but sometimes they can stink. Every few months, eliminate odor and freshen things up by pouring half a cup of general purpose disinfectant cleaner down the drain. Using a small nylon pipe cleaning brush or clean toilet brush, reach in between the sink drain assembly and scrub the sidewalls of the pipe below it, paying special attention to the underside of the rubber flap on the disposal. • Patch in a Snap: Unsightly holes in walls can ruin the look of a room. Luckily, patching those holes doesn’t have to be timeintensive. For holes smaller than a dime, apply wall spackle with a putty knife. For larger holes, you may need to use a self-stick metal patch to cover it, and then apply spackle to smooth it out. “Achieving professional looking results quickly and on-budget requires the right products,” says Manfredini. Use a high-quality wall patch like 3M Patch plus primer spackle and primer in one, now
available in a kit for holes up to three inches wide. It applies smoothly and has a built in primer, so once the wall is dry and sanded, you can paint immediately, cutting the repair time in half. More information can be found at www.3MDIY.com/patch. • Peace and Quiet: Plagued by squeaky wood flooring? Try pouring baby powder over the noisy area. Then, wrap a block of wood in a dish rag and tap the boards down with a hammer to drive the powder between the tongue and groove of the flooring and tighten the nails holding it in place. “It may not work in all instances but I’ve had great success with this process,” says Manfredini. • Accent with Paint: To update a room without investing much time or money, paint one wall an accent color. Half of all paint sold in the US is white, so why not add bold color to your home like blue, red or even tangerine? Prep by lightly sanding the entire surface. Patch any holes and then paint using a paint and primer in one. Two coats will give you the depth of color you want and should take only an afternoon. • Light it up: To save money and help the environment, switch to LED light bulbs. With all the improvements in color, they can now mimic the warm lighting associated with incandescent bulbs, using two-thirds less electricity. You don’t have to spend lots of time or money to spruce up your home this spring. Small projects can go a long way towards make it look great.
Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014 - 7
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Planting a garden can add aesthetic appeal and functionality to a property. Vegetable gardens can transform landscapes while putting healthy and homegrown food on the table. By growing their own fruits and vegetables, homeowners have total control over what foods can be harvested, and they can ensure sustainable, safe practices are used to care for the plants. Veg e t a b l e g a r d e n s c a n be compact or expansive, d e p e n d i n g o n h ow m u c h space is available to cultivate. However, first-time gardeners may want to begin small so they can hone their skills and experiment to see which plants are most likely to thrive in their gardens. Expansion is always a possibility down the road. Choose a location Spend some time examining your landscape. Vegetables generally need ample warmth and sunlight to thrive, so find an area of the yard that gets several hours of direct sunlight per day. A sunny spot is good, but you also want a location with adequate drainage so your garden does not succumb to flooding or fungus during and after heavy downpours. Don’t place the garden too close to rain gutters or near a pool, where splash-out may occur. Select a location that is isolated from pets so the plants are not trampled and cats and dogs do not relieve themselves nearby. Decide what to plant When deciding what to plant, consider what you eat and how much produce the household consumes, then choose vegetables that fit
between you and the weather
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with your diet. Some vegetables, like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and squash, produce throughout the season. Others, such as carrots and corn, produce one crop and then expire. Plan accordingly when you purchase plants or seeds, as you want enough food but not so much that it will go to waste. Choose three to four different vegetables and plant them in the garden. Select varieties that require similar soil conditions, so that you can adjust the pH and mix of the soil accordingly. This will serve as good practice, particularly the first year of your garden. After you have mastered the basics, you can branch out into other produce. Know when to plant Many of the foods grown in vegetable gardens, including tomatoes and peppers, are summer vegetables, which means they reach peak ripeness after the height of the summer season. Pumpkins, brussel sprouts and peas are
planted to be harvested later on. These plants may be put in the ground a little later than others. It is less expensive to start seedlings indoors and then transplant them to a garden when the time comes. Seeds can be started three to four weeks before they would be put outdoors. Many vegetables are planted outside in April or May, but definitely after frost conditions have waned. Read seed packets to know exactly when to plant or consult with the nursery where you purchased established seedlings. You also can visit The Garden Helper at www.thegardenhelper.com/ vegtips to find out when to plant, seed depth and how long it takes plants to reach maturity. Veg e t a b l e g a r d e n s c a n become central components of outdoor home landscapes. Not only do gardens add aesthetic appeal, but also they produce fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoy throughout the season.
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Route 422, 10 miles East of Indiana Phone 724-463-7747 Tree Shopping Center Open Daily: Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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repair & servicing 814-427-2345
8 - Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014
Improve your home and diet with a vegetable garden
Ideas for restoring secondhand furniture
Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014 - 9
Men and women furnish their homes and apartments in various ways. For some, home furnishings are an extension of their personalities, while others prioritize budget over style when furnishing their domiciles. Secondhand furniture has long been used to furnish homes and apartments. While young people working with tight budgets and living in their first apartments might be the most likely to rely on secondhand furniture, such items are not exclusive to recent college graduates and young professionals. Homeowners with a love of antiques or those who simply can’t resist thrift store bargains also are likely to lean on secondhand furniture. Used furnishings range from expensive high•end antiques to bargain bin chairs and couches found in thrift stores or purchased online. Pricey antiques often come fully restored, but that still leaves legions of shoppers who need to bring their secondhand furnishings back to life. The following are a few ways to do just that. • Embrace your inner Picasso. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way toward stylizing secondhand furniture. Items that have been through a lot before making it to your home may benefit from some sanding before receiving a fresh coat of paint. Once items have been sanded, smoothed and cleaned, apply some primer before dusting off your paintbrush. Primer makes it easier for the fresh coat of paint to bond to the furniture, making it less likely that the new coat will chip or crack in the months to come. After applying primer, the painting can commence. Two to three coats should be sufficient to give the item a fresh new look. Allow the item
to dry for several hours before showing it off and putting it to good use. • Upgrade old upholstery. Old chairs and couches tend to have ample wear and tear. But such items are still useful as long as their bones are still sturdy, even if cushions have flattened out and fabric is suffering from tears or stains. Reupholstering old furniture can turn inexpensive but worn down older items into seemingly brand new pieces at a fraction of the cost of new furniture. According to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, the following supplies are necessary to successfully reupholster furniture: • needle-nose pliers • camera or notepaper and pencil • marking pen • scissors • staple gun and staples, 3/8- or 5/16-inch • 1/2-inch batting • upholstery fabric (chairs typically require 5 yards) • straight pins • 5/32-inch welt cord • sewing machine • upholstery-weight thread • tack strips “We’re the store for your floor”
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• fabric glue, optional • upholstery tacks or nailhead trim, optional • black breathable fabric for the underside of furniture Reupholstering furniture can be a tedious process, and one novices might want to leave to the professionals. The cost of reupholstering secondhand furniture bought at a garage sale, thrift store or private seller online is likely still less expensive than buying a new piece, so you might still make out in the long run. If reupholstering proves too expensive but the furniture still has ample and comfortable cushioning, consider employing a slip cover to hide stained or torn upholstery. Slip covers are typically inexpensive, and
they can be purchased in various colors. • Wash away years of wear and tear. Restoring secondhand furniture can sometimes be as easy as washing away years of wear and tear. Old chests of drawers, dressers or armoires might just need a good scrubbing to look as good as new. Before cleaning older furniture, remove the old wax with a stripper bought at a hardware store. Old coats of wax can prevent cleaners from reaching the surface of the furniture, so they must be removed for cleaning products to be effective. When cleaning old furniture, it’s a good idea to solicit advice from antique dealers, who can help you avoid damaging the piece
even further. A small amount of dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water can be used to gently clean old wax off of furniture. When applying such a mixture, be careful to avoid soaking the item or letting the mixture pool on its surface. Work slowly, gradually cleaning small areas one by one and wiping them down with a damp cloth to ensure wax and other residue has vanishedcompletely. Once the item has been thoroughly cleaned and been given ample time to dry, you can apply a new coat of wax. Older furniture can be both practical and chic, and there are many ways to bring such items back to life without breaking the bank.
Spring clean your deck and patio (StatePoint) – It’s the time of year when sprucing up your deck and patio becomes a top weekend priority. Whether you use the space for entertaining or for solitude, you’ll want it clean, comfortable and safe this spring. Take time to dust off your outdoor furniture and wipe down cushions that have been in storage all winter. Inspect flower pots, bird feeders and other outdoor décor to ensure they withstood the cooler months. Replace anything that is damaged. Before setting furniture and décor back, give the surface below a good clean. Whether you’re dealing with cement, brick or wood, the quickest and most thorough way to deep clean and restore surfaces to a likenew condition is with a pressure washer. Knowing how to use one properly is important for a quality job and for your safety. Usage Tips • Different surfaces require different cleaning techniques. Ensure you’re following the instructions for the surface you’re cleaning. • Always read and follow the
operator’s manual and all operating instructions. • High-pressure spray can cut through skin, so never spray people or animals. Wear closedtoed shoes and goggles while pressure washing. • Assume a solid stance and firmly grasp the spray gun with both hands to avoid injury if the gun kicks back before squeezing the spray gun trigger. • Never spray near power lines, service feeds, electrical meters, wiring and windows. • Check the engine oil level each time you use a pressure washer. When changing or adding oil, don’t overfill the engine crankcase. Doing so can cause smoking, hard starting, spark plug fouling and oil saturation of the air filter. Buying Tips Buying a pressure washer for the first time or replacing an old one? Here are some guidelines: • Pressure washers are categorized in groups based upon frequency of use and the types of products and surfaces they are best suited for cleaning. Selecting the right pressure washer for your needs depends
on what you’re going to clean, how often you plan to do so, and how much time you want to spend. Ask yourself these questions before making a purchase. • Look for a versatile pressure washer that can be used for a variety of tasks. For example, the new Briggs & Stratton POWERflow+ pressure washer has both a high pressure and a high flow mode for different spring cleaning chores. Deep clean your patio and driveway in high pressure mode or clean more delicate surfaces and rinse away debris in high flow mode. • Consider going green with a model having reduced environmental impact. If you have an older pressure washer, a newer model could offer lower emissions and better fuel efficiency. • Learn more about pressure washers before making an investment. For a buying guide and instructional videos, visit www.BriggsAndStratton.com. With a deep clean, you can restore and refresh your home’s outdoor spaces and make them a friendly place to relax and have fun.
(StatePoint) – One of the simplest ways to make a big impact on your home’s exterior is with your front door. But if you are tired of the old standards colors, you’re not alone – experts predict bolder trends this year. “Exuberant hues will be popular this year as a way for homeowners to show the world their energy,” says Kate Smith, a color trend forecaster and president of Sensational Color. “For those going for a classic feel, colors that are vibrant, yet at the same time offer comfort, warmth and reliability will reign.” For homeowners looking to express their “colorful selves,” consider selecting a paintable fiberglass door with a smooth finish. For example, those from Therma-Tru Classic-Craft Canvas Collection and Pulse, feature clean lines, crisp angles and attractive glass configuration options, and are ideal for adding personal expression to a home. According to Smith, the top five door colors for the “exuberant homeowner” in 2014 include: • Capri: A tropical blue that wakes up natural woods and neutral surroundings, this hue adds a splash of energy. • Raucous Orange: This color demands attention with its energetic tone and makes the perfect punctuation point for homes with a modern look.
• Dynamo: This flirty violet hue instantly updates traditional color schemes for a trendier home front. • Relic Bronze: A deep, almost brown mustard color, “Relic Bronze” reflects aged beauty. • Quixotic Plum: This sophisticated deep purple is where trendy meets timeless. The top five door colors for those following the more classic trend of comfort, as identified by Smith include: • Georgian Bay: Brighter than dark navy, this step-above reserved blue is a trusted color when it comes to the welcoming message it sends to family and friends. • Show Stopper: Like classic red at dusk, “Show Stopper” adds a touch of mystery to this bright hue. A slight spin on traditional red, this color warmly welcomes people to a home. • Polished Mahogany: The deep, rich shade of brown has a staying power that traverses trends and captures a solid feeling for homeowners. • Classic French Grey: Stepping out of the shadows to stand on its own, this cool, neutral grey will continue to rule the palette in 2014. • Gulfstream: This bright, modern blue has an of-the-moment appeal. At the same time, it still feels rooted in something
familiar and nostalgic for homeowners. Whether you follow new trends or stick to tradition, don’t forget to take your entire home’s exterior into consideration. From roof to door, a “top down” approach can help you pick color combinations that are eye-pleasing and flow naturally to create curb appeal. For tips on picking the perfect colors for your home’s exterior, including the front door, download a free copy of Smith’s e-book at www.thermatru.com. This year, don’t conform or be bored. With a paintable door, you can make fresh updates as often as you like.
759 Shaffer Road, Sigel, PA 15860 Just 10 short minutes from I-80, Exit 78
Restaurant • Gift Shop Ice Cream Parlor 9 & 18 Hole Mini-Golf • Driving Range Wildlife Zoo • Amish Furniture
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10 - Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014
New color trends in home exteriors
Is it time to replace your windows? other problems with the frame itself. These are an indication the window has exceeded its lifespan. Should your evaluation turn up one or more problem areas, and it’s time to replace your windows, do your homework. While price is important, it shouldn’t be a sole decision factor, as functionality is a critical consideration. Look for low-maintenance materials that offer energy efficiency. For example, vinyl is an excellent insulator and many people choose low-maintenance vinyl frames with a Low E glass coating and an Argon or Krypton gas fill. These harmless gasses are denser than air and serve as an excellent thermal barrier. More information about energyefficient glass options is available at www.Simonton.com When the time is right, consider replacing your windows for a home with great long- and short-term returns on investment.
(StatePoint) – Looking to add value to your home and make it more sellable in the future? While little fixes here and there can help a bit – there is one single upgrade that can make a huge impact – a new roof. To get the best return on your investment possible, experts say there are a few things to take into consideration. “A roof that will add to the curb appeal of your home, as well as withstand wear and tear, is always an instant winner with potential homebuyers,” says Sharon Sigman, an experienced realtor who manages a team of 30 real estate agents. With 28 years of home-selling success under her belt, Sigman has a deep understanding of what types of exterior products help “sell” a home that’s on the market. With that in mind, she is offering insider insights into what to look for in a roof: Durablity Think back on the past several years. What trials has your current roof faced? Protect your home by opting for roofing that’s resistant to the natural disasters and everyday weather to which your home is most susceptible. With an impact- and fireresistant roof that’s virtually maintenance-free, you won’t need to fret when you watch the weather report. Pair those features with a long-term warranty and you even may be eligible for a significant rate break on your insurance premium.
Curb Appeal When it comes to form vs. function, form often wins out when it comes to potential homebuyers. After all, the power of first impressions cannot be overstated and a roof is one of the first things people see when they look at your home. Luckily, a high-quality roof can also make a big visual impact. You may only be accustomed to wood or slate roofing. But there are alternatives to natural products that offer the same authentic look without the problematic associated maintenance. For example, DaVinci Roofscapes manufactures awardwinning synthetic slate and shake roofing that replicates hand-split real cedar shakes and natural slate. Each composite roof shingle is lightweight, impervious to freeze and thaw
cycles, impact resistant, virtually maintenance-free, color fade resistant, and rated Class A for fire retardance, wind resistance to 110 miles per hour, and is backed by a 50-year limited warranty. More information can be found at www.DaVinciRoofscapes.com. Energy Efficiency By seeking out an ENERGY STAR qualified synthetic roofing material, you can improve your entire home’s energy efficiency, as well as reduce the carbon footprint of your home. Look for eco-friendly roof tiling designed to reflect sunlight and heat away from your home and reduce your cooling load. For a home upgrade with a major return on investment, consider taking advantage of the season and give your roof a fresh makeover.
How your roof can save you money
Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014 - 11
Fremer Greenhouse 355 Cyphert Rd. Brockway, Pa 15824
Flowers Veggies & Herbs Baskets, Pots & Planters
114 Universal Drive Punxsutawney, PA 15767
ALL CONCRETE WORK:
which can lead to reduced energy efficiency. • Check every window for adequate weatherstripping and caulking around the units, which help eliminate air infiltration and ensure a weather tight, secure seal. • Look for “burnt out” or faded areas on your furnishings and carpeting. This could indicate that harmful, damaging UV rays are entering your home through windows and glass doors. You may want to consider more energy efficient options containing Low E, which is a special glass coating designed to reduce heat transfer. • If your windows no longer open or close easily, or if they need to be propped open, it could mean key components within the units are damaged or need adjustment. It could also mean the unit needs to be replaced entirely. • If you have wood windows, look carefully at the frames for signs of rotting, warped wood or
D’S LAW A N H
(StatePoint) – Looking for a home improvement project that is both a short- and long-term investment? One easy upgrade that can help you save money on your energy bills today, as well as increase your home’s value in the future, is to replace your windows. But how do you know it’s time to give your current windows the boot? An annual performance check is good practice, say experts. “Virtually every building component in a home needs to be replaced at some point, and windows are no exception,” says Matt Minerd of Simonton Windows, a leading vinyl window and patio door manufacturer. With that in mind, Minerd is offering some do-it-yourself tips to discover how well your current windows and patio doors are functioning: • Examine the inside of your windows and patio doors for hot and cold “drafty” spots or areas. This indicates air infiltration,
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2 - Home & Garden Guide, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, April 2014
248 N. Findley Street, Punxsutawney 814-938-4510