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Home & GGardenn FALL

SEPTEMBER 2020

A special supplement to The Mitchell Republic

Fall Vegetables

Winterizing Yards

Firewood Storage


Fall Home & Garden

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September 2020

What’s Inside:

Home & GGarden FALL

Home Insulation.......................................................................... 3

Fall Vegetables............................................................................ 4 Shade Trees................................................................................. 5

Winterizing Yards........................................................................ 6 Firewood Storage......................................................................... 8

Safer Home.................................................................................. 9 Prepare Garden..........................................................................10

Pallet Projects........................................................................... 11

Layout Credits:

Cover and page design: Jen Phillips • Section editor: Luke Hagen Contributors: Mitchell Republic Staff

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Enjoying a cripe fall morning with a delicious cup of coffee. Shutterstock Photo


Fall Home & Garden 3

September 2020

Types of home insulation and where to install them Metro Creative When thinking about renovating their homes, homeowners may imagine changing wall colors, expanding room sizes or upgrading appliances and fixtures. However, unless people take inventory of the less glamourous components of the home, such as structure, plumbing, heating and cooling, and insulation, other improvements may be for naught. A home insulation project certainly doesn’t offer the wow factor of a kitchen remodel, but insulation serves a vital function in the house that helps keep people comfortable and reduces energy consumption. Insulation is typically placed in areas where air escapes, such as between the stud cavities inside the walls and in the attic, and serves to slow and reduce heat transfer. The U.S. Department of Energy says between 50 and 70 percent of the energy used in homes is for heating and cooling. By improving home insulation, homeowners can make their homes

more comfortable, consistent and efficient. In fact, the ENERGY STAR program overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says homeowners stand to save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling costs by adding proper insulation. To do so, homeowners can take a crash course in home insulation and find the products that fit their needs. Blanket batts and rolls Blanket batts and rolls typically are constructed with fiberglass, so proper safety gear, such as a mask and gloves, is needed when handling them. Installing this type of insulation is relatively easy since the materials are designed to fit the standard width between studs, rafters and floor joists. Loose fill Loose fill is usually made of fiberglass or cellulose (recycled paper fiber). It is blown or sprayed into place with pneumatic equipment, according to The Home Depot. Loose fill can be ideal for hard-to-reach areas in attics or inside

wall cavities. It’s good for adding insulation to irregularly shaped areas. Since it requires special equipment, this is a job best left to professionals. Sprayed foam Sprayed foam is just as the name implies, a foam made from polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, cementitious, or other materials that are applied by a spray container. DIYers who need only small applications can use canned products . Large quantities are pressure-sprayed by professionals. Foam board/rigid foam panels Ideal for unfinished walls, such as basement or foundation walls, floors and ceilings, these are boards of polyurethane or polystyrene. Foam boards tend to reduce energy consumption more effectively than other types of insulation. Homeowners considering upgrading their insulation or amending existing insulation should do their homework on the type of insulation that will be most effective for their homes. 

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September 2020

TIPS FOR PLANTING FALL VEGETABLES Picking late- season carrots from the garden. Metro Creative Metro Creative Tending to backyard vegetable gardens can fill many hours of enjoyable downtime in the great outdoors. What’s more, the bounty produced by such gardens provides healthy, fresh foods to gardeners and their loved ones. Although spring and summer are widely seen as the peak of gardening season, the mild

temperatures of autumn can be a prime time for planting vegetables as well. Certain late-season treats like carrots, kale, spinach, and turnips can thrive in fall gardens. Many different foods are quick crops that can go from seed to table in about six weeks. When sown in early fall, these vegetables will be ready to put on the table for mid-October feasts. Beets, green onions, broccoli, and cabbages can be planted in late summer for fall harvest. Gardeners who live in hardiness zones eight through 10 (the southern portion of the United States) can plant fall vegetables as late as December. Many of these plants can tolerate light frost, which may even help sweeten the vegetables. A handful of unique factors need to be taken into consideration when planning fall vegetable gardens. ► The summertime location of the garden may still be adequate, but be sure to choose a location that gets eight full hours of sunlight per day. ► If using an existing garden site, clear out any detritus from summer plants and any weeds

that have sprouted. If you are planting a new garden, remove any turf before tilling the soil. ► Amend the soil with sand, compost, manure fertilizer, and any other nutrients needed depending on the types of vegetables you intend to grow. ► While fall vegetables can be grown successfully from seeds, it may be more timefriendly to work from larger transplants, advises the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. ► Some plants may need a little protection as they grow if temperatures begin to dip. Cover with a blanket, cardboard box or plastic tunnel to insulate. Remember to water according to the vegetables planted and to keep an eye on readiness for vegetables. Turnips, beets, rutabagas, and carrots can be dug out when the roots are plump and crisp. Vegetable gardens need not cease when the last days of summer vanish. Fall produce is delicious and can be easily planted and harvested even after the first frost. 

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Fall Home & Garden 5

Tips when planting shade trees

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Metro Creative eautiful landscaping can add instant curb appeal to a property. But beauty isn’t the only thing that makes idyllic landscaping attractive to homeowners. Some landscaping features, such as shade trees, save homeowners money while adding aesthetic appeal. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that shading is the most costeffective way to reduce solar heat gain in a home. Shading also cuts air conditioning costs, which tend to be expensive in areas with warm, humid climates. In fact, the DOE notes that well-planned landscapes can reduce unshaded homes’ air conditioning costs by anywhere from 15 to 50 percent. When planting shade trees, one of the first decisions homeowners will need to make is which type of tree, deciduous or evergreen, they want to plant. Deciduous trees are those that seasonally shed their

leaves, while evergreens are trees that keep their leaves throughout the year. Deciduous trees can help keep homes cool in the summer by blocking sun, and those same trees can be beneficial in winter after they shed their leaves by letting the sun in and keeping homes warm. But evergreens also can be beneficial in winter by blocking wind, potentially preventing cold air from making its way into a home through cracks in walls or around windows. When planting shade trees, techniques vary depending on which type of tree homeowners ultimately choose to plant. Planting deciduous trees The DOE says that deciduous trees that are between six and eight feet tall when planted will begin shading the windows of a home within a year of being planted. Depending on the species of the plant and the home, those same deciduous trees may begin shading the roof within five to 10 years of being planted. When planting deciduous trees,

homeowners should keep these tips in mind. ► Plant trees to the south of the home. When planted to the south of the home, deciduous trees can screen between 70 and 90 percent of the summer sun while still allowing residents to feel summer breezes. ► Consider sun angles. Homeowners who want to shade their homes from low afternoon sun angles should plant trees with crowns that are lower to the ground on the west side of their homes. ► Cool air before it reaches your home. Shrubs and groundcover plants can be planted to cool air before it reaches a home. Evergreen trees ► Planting evergreens to block wind is known as “windbreaking,” which lowers the wind chill near a home. Wind also can be used to cool a home in summer. But these benefits can only be realized when evergreens are strategically planted.

► Location, location, location: The DOE advises planting evergreen trees to the north and northwest of the home to stop wind. In addition, to get the most bang for your windbreaking buck, the distance between the home and windbreak should be two to five times the height of the mature tree. ► Plant trees on either side of the house. Planting trees on either side of the house will direct cooling winds toward the home in the summer. Shade trees can help homeowners reduce their energy bills, making them valuable and attractive additions to any landscape. 

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Fall Home & Garden

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September 2020

Winterizing lawns, gardens vital for healthier yards come springtime

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By Sam Fosness s the fall season is in full swing and cooler weather sets in, it’s about time to begin winterizing lawns and gardens. Mark Mebius, owner of Mebius Nursery, knows just how critical winterizing lawns and gardens is for the health of the soil and grass. However, Mebius said there are critical steps to follow to effectively winterize lawns and gardens to make for a healthier yard in the spring. With the cooler temperatures and increased precipitation that fall typically brings to the area, Mebius said he’s noticed many people stop irrigating their lawns too early. Mebius cautioned against halting the practice of irrigating lawns in the midst of fall, regardless if more moisture sets in.

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Fall Home & Garden 7

September 2020 Considering the dry year much of southeastern South Dakota has experienced, Mebius said it is imperative to have reliable irrigation systems. That means winterizing irrigation systems is just as important, as it will help reduce the threat of irrigation system pipes from freezing and breaking over the cold winter months. By using an air compressor to blow out any leftover water inside the irrigation system pipes, Mebius said it can eliminate a potential breakage from freezing water. “Once this weather breaks, getting a hold of an air compressor to winterize their irrigation system so that things don’t freeze and break,” Mebius said. While it can be challenging to determine when the last mowing of the year will be before the thick of winter sets in, lowering the mower blade is another vital step for winterizing a lawn. Mebus suggested dropping the mower down to about a half-inch, which he said helps remove debris from the lawn before snow blankets the grass. “It also really helps keep the voles out,” Mebius said. Voles are small rodents that commonly live in the soil similar to field mice. As for winterizing the garden, Mebius emphasized spreading a layer of compost across the garden once it is fully harvested before snow begins to fall. After many South Dakota towns saw the wettest year on record in 2019 with some cities getting drenched in over 35 inches of precipitation, it’s been just the opposite for 2020, which Mebius said has stressed lawns out this summer. “We really need some rain, as the yards look terribly stressed out,” Mebius said. “They are pretty much dormant if you’re not watering right now. Go figure, Mitchell had the wettest year on record last year, and now we can’t buy rain.” 

Sam Fosness / Republic

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Fall Home & Garden

September 2020

HOW TO STORE FIREWOOD THE RIGHT WAY A

Metro Creative fireplace is a cozy and warm spot around which a family can gather. The home and real estate resource HomeGuides.com indicates that 60 percent of new homes have a fireplace, which is up from 36 percent in the 1970s. Naturally, fueling a fireplace for the season may require homeowners with wood-burning units to keep an ample supply of wood at the ready. How that wood is stored is important, as properly stored firewood can prevent waste and other issues around the house. Wood that is freshly cut has a water content of 60 percent or more. Yet, for best burning ability, wood should be near 20 percent in water content. Green wood is hard to ignite and will not burn nearly as well or efficiently as seasoned wood. Another concern associated with green wood is that it can contribute more to creosote accumulation in the flue of a fireplace. Creosote is a combustible material that may lead to fires if left unchecked. According to BioAdvanced,” a science-based lawn, garden and home improvement innovator, seasoning wood typically takes six months to a year. Homeowners may opt to purchase seasoned wood that already has sat and dried. Homeowners who have an abundance of firewood have to store it somewhere. Log Splitters Direct suggests choosing a dry, breezy area

of the property that is about 20 feet from the nearest door to the house. This helps avoid hitchhiker pests from coming inside with the wood, such as termites, ants, spiders, and mice. Do not stack the wood flush against a structure. It should be at least a few inches away to allow airflow behind the stack. Stick to organized rows of wood no more than four feet high. Log racks and pallets and posts will keep the wood up and off of the ground where moisture and rotting can develop. Placing the logs in an unorganized pile will impede airflow and cause the wood to rot rather than continue to dry and season even more. Homeowners also should use a cover to protect seasoned firewood from the elements. Position a tarp or plastic sheeting so it blankets the top of the stack and extends a few inches down the sides. Keep the sides mostly exposed to air. Others prefer to stack it in a barn or shed or under an overhang. Green wood is less expensive than seasoned wood. Those who prefer this method should do so in the early spring and let it season over the next several months. Bankrate says that the cost of a cord of wood varies across the country, but in general one can expect to pay between $120 and $180 for a cord of hardwood that is split and seasoned. This price may be higher in mid-winter when demand increases. 

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Metro Creative njuries that occur around the home contribute to millions of medical visits and tens of thousands of fatalities each year. Falls account for the largest percentage of home accidents, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that around 30,000 fallrelated fatalities occur each year in the United States. Many home accidents are entirely preventable when proper caution is exercised. As homeowners prepare for home-improvement projects, improving safety inside and outside the home should be a priority.

Fall Home & Garden 9

ways to make homes safer

Improve lighting One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of falls is to improve lighting around the home. The National Institutes of Health state that adequate lighting is important at entrances to the home, stairways, hallways, and other frequently traversed areas. Make sure lighting fixtures are using the highest wattage light bulb allowed. Artificial lighting sources become even more vital in fall and autumn, when natural light is less abundant in a home. In addition, install lighting outdoors by the front door, over the garage and where garbage pails are stored to facilitate safe passage.

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slick surfaces 2 Eliminate Improving traction

around the house also can minimize falls. Throw rugs and runners can be made more secure with nonslip rubber backings. Bath rugs can reduce slipping on wet surfaces in the bathroom. Also, nonslip mats can be used inside of showers and bathtubs. Use shoe trays to reduce puddling from melting snow or rain runoff in entryways. Mop up spills quickly, and consider the use of matte- or texturedfinished flooring to improve stability underfoot. Promptly remove snow and ice from driveways and walkways. For those who live in cold climates,

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heated concrete can help melt precipitation before it accumulates. Make needed repairs Repair loose floorboards and pull carpet taut if it has started to stretch out. Address cracks outdoors and ensure that patio stones, bricks and pavers are secure and level to reduce tripping hazards. Fix areas of the landscape where water may pool and freeze, creating potential hazards. Declutter all spaces Remove unnecessary items and furniture from rooms to free up more space to get around. Be sure there are no obstructions in walkways, entryways and near doors. Keep staircases

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clear at all times. Invest in assistive devices Handrails, grab bars, nonslip stair treads, and many other devices can make homes safer for people of all ages and abilities. Outfit cabinets and closets with organizers that put frequently used items within easy reach. A sturdy step stool can reduce the risk of injury while reaching for items stored on high shelves. Taking measures to reduce the risk of falling around the home is a worthwhile home improvement project. 

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September 2020

What to do to prepare your garden for winter Metro Creative ardens provide an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In fact, many gardening enthusiasts typically cannot wait for the spring thaw so they can spend the next several months tending to their plants under the warm sun. But a gardener’s work is never truly done, and the work to make gardens stun in the spring actually begins during the preceding fall. Preparing gardens for winter is an important step that can help homeowners ensure their gardens return to full strength in the spring. The tasks necessary to prepare gardens for winter may depend on what homeowners are planting, but the following are some general maintenance suggestions that can keep gardens safe this winter. ► Remove weeds and debris. Weeds and debris are unsightly and detrimental to plant life in spring, but they also can be harmful in the winter. Weeds and debris

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left to linger in gardens through the winter provide overwintering spots for insects and can contribute to disease. So it’s imperative that weeds and debris are removed before the ground hardens in winter. Don’t wait until the ground hardens, as that can make it hard to remove the roots of weeds, adversely affecting the garden as a result. ► Prepare the soil. The Farmer’s Almanac advises homeowners to gently till the soil in their gardens so they can expose any insects before they settle in for the winter. Once garden soil is exposed, add a layer of compost, leaves, aged manure, and, if necessary, lime, gently tilling it into the soil. According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the only accurate way to determine if lawn or garden soil needs lime is to test it. Lime makes soil less acidic and reduces soil pH. Low soil pH makes it hard for certain plants to grow, but acidic soil is ideal when growing blueberries. Test the soil for lime and amend it depending on what

you hope to grow in the spring so it’s ready to thrive when winter ends. ► Remove dead or diseased plants. Dead or diseased plants should not be left in the garden through the winter. These plants can attract insects and are vulnerable to disease, which can make it hard for the garden to thrive in the spring. ► Protect fruit trees. If you have fruit trees, install mouse guards around the base to prevent mice and voles from killing the trees over the winter. If left to their own devices over the winter, mice and voles may eat the bark of fruit trees, killing the trees as a result. The Farmer’s Almanac notes that mouse guards made of fine mesh hardware cloth can effectively protect fruit trees from hungry mice and voles over the winter. A gardener’s work is never done, and the work to create beautiful spring gardens begins in the fall. 

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Fall Home & Garden 11

September 2020

PALLET PROJECTS CAN BE A HANDY HOBBY

Metro Creative In recent years, the trend of upcycling, or transforming unneeded or unwanted materials into new items or products, has become more popular. Unlike recycling, which is taking consumer materials like plastic, paper, metal, and glass and breaking them down so base materials can be remade into new, lower-quality consumer products, upcycling produces items of a higher quality than the original materials. Wood pallet projects are an excellent example of upcycling. Such projects involve taking wood pallets, which tend to be used to stack, move and store stock, and turning them into amazing wood products. Often free for the taking, pallet wood has become a popular building material for do-it-yourselfers. This rustic wood already has an aged look and decorative appeal. Pallets are often made from leftover wood, and using them anew is an eco-friendly endeavor that can add flair to any project. The following are just a handful of pallet project ideas. ► CHRISTMAS TREES: Start thinking ahead to the holiday season. Cut pallet planks into sizes that incrementally get larger and attach to form a triangular Christmas tree shape. Decorate with

es

plastic garbage pails, Pallet Christmas trees in make a pallet kitchen all shapes and sizes. garbage container that Stock Photo has rustic appeal. ► BACKSPLASH: Give a kitchen some rustic appeal with a pallet backsplash. Cut boards into desired lengths and stagger on the wall. Leave the wood raw or seal it for protection against moisture. Pallet wood can be transformed into many different projects, helping do-it-yourselfers stay busy at minimal cost. Go online to search for plans for building an array of pallet projects. 

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Fall Home & Garden

September 2020

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Home & Garden Fall Edition