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D2 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D3
A can of paint is all it takes for a brand new look
By Shelby Lindrud firstname.lastname@example.org ith a bit of paint – and imagination – an old piece of furniture can be transformed into a fresh new designer piece. Reusing, refurbishing and repurposing furniture and other items has become one of the top home decor styles in the country, with entire stores devoted to the practice. One such store is Distressed Treasures of New London, where co-owners and sisters Tammy Parker and Deb West not only sell their own creations, but teach others how to do it themselves. “We took our passion for redoing furniture and home decor and turned it into a business,” Parker said. “We loved the idea of taking something old and giving it new life, turn it into something modern.” Parker and West started refurbishing furniture for themselves and family about five years ago and the popularity of the style has only grown. “You can take something bland in your house and make it a stand out,” West said. The first step is to find the piece of furniture or object that needs a fresh look. “Almost everybody has something in their house. Even a brass lamp can be painted,” West said. Parker said a lot of pieces they redo are decades old, maybe even family heirlooms, but are no longer
in style. But, instead of throwing the piece away, refurbishing can give it another life while keeping some of its history intact. “The younger generation want to have some history to it,” Parker said. “A lot of people want to recycle, keeping things instead of throwing it away.” The right piece can also be found in thrift stores, or at garage sales and antique fairs. Parker and West also purchase from auctions. “Wherever we can rummage and find stuff at,” Parker said. When you are ready to paint, the type of paint is important. At Distressed Treasures they recommend Annie Sloan, a brand of chalk paint. It is called chalk paint because of the matte finish it has. However other paint can be used, just make sure to read the instructions on how to prep the piece. Parker said in this region neutral colors are very popular, as is nautical. However, with dozens of different colors to use – the only limit is a person’s creativity. “It is fun to be able to experiment with colors,” Parker said. One new trend is a layered paint look, where one color peaks through a second layer of a different color. One tip the sisters give those trying to paint for the first time is – pick a smaller piece. “Lot of people will pick a really big project,” Parker said, but starting small gives you a chance to get a feel
Erica Dischino / Tribune
Repurposed furniture pieces are for sale April 6 at Distressed Treasures in New London. Co-owners Deb West and Tammy Parker paint recycled pieces of furniture themselves. for the process. It can be daunting to start painting, but Parker and West tell people not to worry and just have fun. “They are always afraid until they do the first piece,” West said. “You can’t screw it up, you don’t have to be crafty.” If for some reason you don’t like the finished product, all it takes is a new can of paint. “You can always change it,” Parker
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said. For those who might need a little push or encouragement to start painting or creating individual pieces, Distressed Treasures offers classes ranging from furniture painting to sign making and even macrame. “People who take our classes tend to come back,” Parker said.
PAINT: Page D4
D4 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
PAINT From Page D3
Distressed Treasures will also do custom work for those who want the look of repurposed furniture but perhaps don’t have the time to complete a project.
The refurbishment movement can also mean changing the use of an item. A dresser can be turned into an entertainment center by removing drawers and adding shelves. Or an old barn door can become a one-of-akind headboard. Old ladders are very popular, either to be used as an art piece or to be used to display quilts and blankets. “They are usually unique,” West said. Refurbishing and repurposing can save a lot of green, both environmentally and financially. It keeps older furniture and items out of the landfill, furniture that can be much better quality than what people today can buy in the store,
Parker said. “We would rather it be redone than take it to the dump,” Parker said. Taking a brush to an entertainment center or kitchen cabinets can also save thousands of dollars. A kitchen redo can cost upward of $40,000, or you can have a fresh new look for the cost of a few cans of paint. “You can make it look awesome,” West said. One of the reasons Parker and West think repurposing has stuck around is because people want more of a say in how their homes look, to personalize it to their tastes. It also goes with people being more aware of what goes in their environment. People are also making their own lotions and candles made from ingredients found in nature. “People are getting into making their own. People like things more pure,” Parker said. And in the end there is nothing like the feeling of putting your finished product in a place of pride in your home and getting to show it off. “People like to take that pride, that they did that,” Parker said.
Erica Dischino / Tribune
Cans of paint used for repurposing furniture sit behind models with the paint color samples on them at Distressed Treasures in New London.
Erica Dischino / Tribune
Deb West, left, and Tammy Parker, co-owners of Distressed Treasures, pose for a photo April 6 at their store in New London.
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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D5
Tips for growing healthy tomatoes By Lavonne Swart and Sue Morris Master Gardeners Just in time for spring the Minnesota Horticultural Society magazine, “Northern Gardener” comes out with more information on growing tomatoes. The information was called new and some of it was new and very informative. The authors were Joey and Holly Baird who live in Wisconsin and grow over 100 varieties of tomatoes. Their first statement was to not plant tomatoes until the soil where the roots will be is 55 degrees. If planted any earlier, they will just sit there and not grow, so use a garden or meat thermometer before planting. Use cornmeal to prevent early blight. Early blight is a fungus that overwinters in the soil and infects tomatoes at the bottom leaves, turning them yellow as they begin to wither near the bottom and moving up the plant. They suggest placing a handful of whole grain cornmeal spread around the transplant. This stops the splashing and is 80 to 90 percent effective. If stems and leaves are removed to 6 or 8 inches above the soil, it becomes 100 percent effective. They plan to include corn gluten meal this coming year as it is a weed and feed. This meal stops germination of seed and contains a small amount of fertilizer. The best fertilizer is a 5-5-5, and most in the market are higher than that. Too much nitrogen causes lush leaves and less fruit. The Bairds use a Minnesota product called Sutane, made from turkey droppings and pine bark making an organic blend that is 4-6-4. They also plant their transplants about 2 feet apart in rows and stake them at the same time. The Bairds call this staking the Florida method. It involves a stake at both ends of the row with twine going around both sides of these plants. As the tomatoes grow, more twine is added and sometimes lightly tied to the plant. It also keeps them off the soil and works well for vining plants as well as the tall ones. The Tomato Horn Worm seems to
be their biggest pest. They are hard to see and can do much damage as they grow. They encourage birds to help by moving bird feeders close by. Evidently their eyes are better than ours. This ends the new information as found in “Northern Gardener” Joey and Holly Baird. Now we’ll add some information we’ve come across in the past. When growing tomatoes in pots, plant only one plant in the container. If planting peppers or egg plants you can grow more plants in these containers. Another hint is to pick the first fruit when nearly ripe. It encourages the plant to continue to produce more fruit.
Several years ago the topic for the evening at the Kandiyohi County Horticulture Society was bees. The speaker was a man from Litchfield. He was very interesting
and informative. When thinking of this meeting, several things come to mind. Bees all have their jobs to do and do them well. Some are the worker bees, some searchers, some door keepers. They crawl out of the hive onto the ground where the dead bee becomes food for ants. The Master Gardener site has more information which we’d like to pass along. Bees start the winter in the bottom of the hive and move up after they have eaten the honey. This honey that was left after harvest keeps them alive and warm. By now they have probably eaten through the middle box and are in the top of the hive. After that they are at the top of the hive and very little honey is left. And our weather outside will leave us with only a few flowers for honey to feed themselves and the new bees they are raising to replace themselves. That means now beekeepers do a reversal, which means putting the top hive on the bottom and cleaning
thoroughly the pile of dead bees that have been accumulating. These bees are older bees that have died. Bees also need to be fed a substitute pollen and sugar syrup mix until flowers start blooming in earnest. Once flowers are blooming the bees will use the preferred pollen – this poor mix will keep them alive but is better than starving. This is a perilous time for bees
TOMATOES: Page D6
Bees have an important job to do
D6 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
From Page D5
as they are more active when the weather warms and this is the time of year they brood and is when they are raising new bees. The queen does not lay eggs during the winter as the cold and care required would be too hard and young bees require a warmer temperature than adult bees. These bees will expand the colonies and expand the population from its winter low. It takes about 3 weeks for the eggs to hatch. Fellow master gardeners Theresa Rooney and Jo Ann Sabin are frequent writers on our list-serve. We appreciate their knowledge and would like to pass on their thoughts on this topic. Did you know that honey bees are the only bees that live as a group all year long? That is why they are the only bee that makes and stores excess honey, because they need food they can eat all winter. We call honey bees superorganism because, even though each little bee lives only four to six weeks, the colony continues to live a multitude of years. This is because the queen lays eggs and the bees raise the brood all spring and summer, shutting down the brood machine as winter approaches. During the winter they hunker down in a big ball, eating their stored honey and keeping each other warm, and especially keeping the queen warm so she can start laying eggs again as spring approaches. When you hear about bees dying they are referring to whole colony (the superorganism that lived year after year) dying after a year or two. It used to be that only 15 percent of the colony died each year. Now the mortality rate in some areas is 40 to 80 percent. Minnesota’s rate is higher than the national average because of our brutal and unpredictable weather. Because more people are becoming interested in bees and because many are replacements, the price for a starter package of a queen and several pounds of worker bees has risen from $35 to $120. Again we thank these gals as well as others for the wonderful information we receive as we pass on this last bit
of information. Native solitary bees (all 400 plus kinds in Minnesota) all die in fall, but the female native bees have laid eggs and these bees emerge in spring. The only exception is Bumblebees, the other “social” bee. Unlike honey bees, all the bees die in the winter, except the newly mated queens who find a sheltered place to hibernate. Because she is hibernating, she needs no honey. Therefore they do not make and store honey either. The queen wakes up in the spring and starts a new colony. And remember bees like feeding on dandelions. They are one of the first “flowers” to bloom in the spring, so when someone mentions them in your lawn, simply say you are looking out for the bees. The same goes for the white clover in lawns.
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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D7
Playing catch-up Late spring can still result in successful growing season T
his spring hasn’t exactly been a gardener’s dream come true. A snowblower and jackhammer were required to plant potatoes on Good Friday. Any tulips brave enough to peek above ground saw their snowy shadow and swiftly returned from whence they came.
KINZLER Growing Together
There’s no need to panic, though. Weather patterns change, and a seemingly late spring can be quickly overcome if consistent warm weather gets our yards and gardens back on track. But what if upcoming days don’t warm sufficiently to compensate for past weeks of lingering cold? We can work with Mother Nature to normalize the upcoming growing season. Here’s how:
Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service
Although spring is late, we can work with Mother Nature for a successful growing season. Lawns aren’t usually harmed by a delayed spring, although extended snowcover can leave grass more matted than usual. Rake lawns thoroughly after they’ve dried enough to kneel without leaving a wet spot on the jeans. As snow disappears, watch for the meandering winter trails left by voles on the lawn’s surface. Grass will usually recover after raking damaged areas.
• Rather than force-feeding lawns
by applying fertilizer too early, university research consistently recommends waiting until grass is well-growing and ready for nutrition with Memorial Day being the target date. Established trees and shrubs will probably be fine, as the consistent
GROWING: Page D8
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D8 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
GROWING From Page D7
cool weather with generous snowcover is less damaging than yo-yoing between too-warm and too-cold. As snow disappears and temperature outlooks moderate, remove winter’s protective mulch from roses and perennial flowers. Cut back tops of perennials and ornamental grasses before basal growth begins. Prune roses. Fertilize perennials, roses and young trees and shrubs in May with a well-balanced, all purpose granular fertilizer with an analysis such as 10-10-10. Extra nutrition will stimulate increased growth and vigor. Extended winter reminds us that it’s wise to let spring arrive without rushing our gardening efforts. The prime 10-day gardening window for much of the region is May 15 to 25, to install
annual flowers, plant vegetables and pot up containers.
• A major concern of a late spring is cold soil, which can have a
noticeable effect on vegetable gardening. Monitoring soil temperature will be important.
• Crops requiring warm soil will
languish if planted too early in cold ground, before soil temperature
reaches 55 to 60 degrees, including tomato, pepper, eggplant, sweetcorn, melons, squash and
• Dave Wallis / Forum News Service file photo
Clear plastic warms the soil for speedier tomato growth.
pumpkin. Delay planting until soil temperature has warmed to the required threshold and when air temperature frost is less likely. Cool season vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, radish, onion, pea, parsnip, carrot, broccoli and cabbage grow fine when soil temperatures are 40 to 45 degrees. Garden soil warmth can be enhanced by rototilling or cultivating as soon as soil is workable. Soil can be warmed dramatically by laying down clear plastic mulch over the soil several weeks before the anticipated planting date of tomatoes, peppers and melons. Weight the edges of four-foot plastic squares with soil. When planting, cut an x-shaped slit in the plastic, install transplants and seal the opening with soil. Plastic can be left in place until fall. Monitor soil temperatures at the 2-inch depth and apply crabgrass preventer to lawns just before soil reaches 50 to 55 degrees. If applied
Carrie Snyder / Forum News Service file photo
This rototiller has been gardens for 55 years.
too early the product can lose effectiveness. Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, worked as an NDSU Extension horticulturist and owned Kinzler’s Greenhouse in Fargo. Readers can reach him at email@example.com. He also blogs at http://growingtogether. areavoices.com.
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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D9
You can’t fool me M
y wife and I both enjoy gardening. She is more into the flowers and shrubs where I like to raise vegetables. It is not a good thing when we go to the greenhouses together. Along with the flowers she “needs” she usually finds some interesting vegetables I should plant. I am not saying this is a bad thing, because I am just as guilty as WALTER she is. I find all the SCOTT vegetables I need, plus a few others that look interesting, and go help her find flowers she did not know she needed. The greenhouse owners love to see us drive up. Not only do we buy much more than necessary, we buy them too early. I have always been one of the opinion, if you have veggies, they need to be planted. This line of
thinking rarely turns out well. On a random weekend in April, one of us will say to the other, “we should go to the greenhouse, just to see what they have.” Much to our surprise, they have all sorts of things we cannot live without. For our use, we need three or four tomato plants. Since they have interesting varieties, I buy four plants of at least three varieties. My wife will always find one more type we need, so we have 16 or more tomato plants. We do the same thing with peppers. There are so many different kinds, a person feels obligated to try several. I usually do not remember from one year to the next which variety of which vegetable was the best and need to buy it again. I do remember though not to buy Carolina Reaper or Ghost Peppers. They are too hot to have any use at all. My wife, being a woman, reads
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the planting directions on her flowers and waits patiently until the proper time to plant. I, being a guy, think of directions on vegetables as something for people who do not know what they are doing. The sooner I get things in the ground, the sooner we will have tomato sandwiches and stuffed peppers. While my wife might wait two or three weeks before she puts the delicate little flower plants out to face the world, I wait five or 10 minutes. It toughens up a tomato plant and makes it hardy to face the rigors of chilly nights. It also makes them dead to get frozen. A few weeks later, when I am sure all chances of frost are passed, we go make the same mistake of buying too many tomato and pepper plants to replace the ones that died. I know the greenhouses count on me, and many others, to buy their
vegetables twice. This year, I will not be fooled. It is not because I have suddenly developed patience or learned from prior mistakes. The fact of the matter is even I am wise enough to know, a person cannot plant greenhouse plants if you need to scrape the snow off the garden first. That is the way it has been this year. I just start to get that uncontrollable urge to plant stuff when it snows again. It might be a costly year for greenhouses as I will most likely wait until the ground is warm and the sun is shining. I will not be fooled into thinking two warm days in a row means spring is here to stay. It is possible though, at the rate we are going this year, my little plants might get frozen off in June and I will still have to replant. Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Drakesville, Iowa
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D10 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
Engage kids’ love of nature through bird feeding Ditch their devices and get them outdoors
Is it difficult to pry your kids away from their electronic devices to get them outdoors? From tots to teens, today’s kids love their electronics. After all, where could you find anything to compete with the bright sights and sounds of their favorite video game? The answer may be no farther than your backyard and the brightly colored songbirds visiting during warm weather. Interacting with nature helps kids in many ways, from helping them understand science concepts and care for the environment, to lifelong physical and mental health benefits. One of the easiest, most enjoyable ways for children to interact with nature is to feed wild birds right in their backyard. “Feeding birds, planting gardens, anything you do with children that’s nature-oriented helps them understand their connection to the natural world,” says Elaine Cole, president of Cole’s Wild Bird Products. Cole learned her own love of wild birds by feeding them with her father, company founder and birding expert, Richard Cole. Cole’s offers some tips to help engage kids’ love of nature through bird feeding: Get kids off the couch, ditch their devices and introduce them to their backyard. Tell children what type of location is best for a birdfeeder then let them hunt for the spot. Choose a location where a feeder can be seen from indoors (so they can enjoy watching their feathered friends), yet is safe from predators. Let math and critical thinking
skills come into play by measuring the distance from the door to the feeder and from the feeder to the nearest shrubs where predators could hide and trees where birds can shelter. Take the opportunity to teach the importance of good nutrition — for the child and the bird. Explain how good nutrition helps living creatures stay healthy and energized. Help them understand the nutritional value of food they eat by explaining what birds like to eat and how birds need a healthy diet of nutritious food options like a wild bird feed to support their health and well-being. Help kids understand wild birds have food preferences just as they do. Talk about how some birds like to eat bugs, grubs and worms, while others prefer berries and some like seed. The feeder you choose will influence the kind of birds that visit. Many types of birds will visit a bowl feeder, and its open shape makes it quick and easy for kids to fill with any type of feed and clean. Giving children the task of filling and cleaning feeders can teach them responsibility and basic life skills, plus they’ll take ownership of the feeder and nurturing backyard birds. You can also use bird feeding to help kids understand concepts of
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finance, including spending their money wisely. Try an experiment with them; buy a bag of cheap birdseed, fill the feeder and watch what happens. Fewer birds will visit and a mound of waste — the filler in cheap feed — will pile up under the feeder. Then replace the cheap feed with a seed mix and observe results. Kids will see plenty more birds visiting and less waste under the feeder. The experiment can help teach kids that not everything low priced is a good deal. Ultimately, feeding wild birds should be fun for families. Here’s some types of bird feed that should appeal to children’s interests: Suet — While today’s high energy suet comes in different, convenient forms, like Nutberry Suet, and Suet Kibbles, kids will love the idea of serving up a big hunk of fat, in the form of a suet cake. Kids can stick it directly on tree bark and
branches, which they’ll find fun.
• Seeds — Many songbirds prefer
seeds. Serving high-quality seed, like black oil sunflower can help attract songbirds. Learn more about seed mixes and birds who love them. Dried mealworms — The early bird may get the worm, but birds, such as bluebirds, flickers and nuthatches, prefer a tasty treat like dried mealworms. Kids will get a kick out of filling up feeders with something yucky-looking for their feathered friends. “My dad got me hooked on bird feeding by challenging me to identify as many birds at the feeder as possible,” Cole says. “I did the same thing with my kids. My dad recently gave my 10-year-old daughter, a birding journal. She loves to identify all the birds she knows and anything interesting about them.” “Kids taking part in attracting birds to their backyard is great fun; they’ll love getting out of the house, taking charge of their new feathered friends and they’ll learn a lot of good lessons through the process.” - Cole’s Wild Bird Products
West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D11
Darling DIYs make the backyard an extension of the home
By Alexandra Floersch Forum News Service When updating a house, many homeowners decide to update the kitchen, swap out furniture, change bedding and keep up with trends in paint color and wall decor. But if the home is a canvas, many residents forget to paint the edges – their outdoor space. Paula Otto and Mary Sue Ohlhauser, owners of Burlap Boutique in south Fargo, say backyards are an important part of the home. “To me, my backyard is my place to escape because I’m too busy to get any place else,” Otto says, laughing at the thought. “Mine is an extension of our home,” Ohlhauser adds, “almost like another huge room that we want to entertain
with.” While decorating and furnishing outdoor spaces may seem like a daunting task, Otto says it doesn’t have to be. The avid DIYer of five years says homeowners can repurpose pieces they already have. “One thing – when you talk about decorating – that it took me a long time to figure out is that I can do whatever I want in my own home,” Ohlhauser says. That mindset has inspired the two women to create their own unique pieces rather than buying them. Otto and Ohlhauser shared these tips for DIY home projects to make the outdoor space around the home more inviting.
DIY: Page D12
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D12 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
DIY From Page D11
Making old new again
The list for what to repurpose is endless: old lockers, doors, chairs and church pews; a potting bench made from scraps and shelving constructed between two old ladders; furniture made of reclaimed wood. “We sell a lot of chairs for outside or porches,” Ohlhauser says. With a coat of paint, an old chair can turn into new decor. “If they’re shoddy, you just set a planter on it.” Mixing modern and contemporary with rustic, antique style isn’t against the rules. “You don’t have to go spend a hundred dollars on a beautiful ceramic pot. (Flowers) look really nice in an old galvanized bucket, too,” Otto says. Sometimes you need to be clever. A farmhouse table, painted with outdoor paint, is a great alternative to a picnic table for outdoor space. The solid structure also withstands blustery Fargo winds. “It weathers so well. It wears with the sun and everything. It just ages more with the elements,” Otto says.
Tools and techniques
Colored chalk paint. “On 90 percent of projects that we do, we are using chalk paint,” Otto says. And it’s not just the typical black paint most think of; today, chalk paint comes in many colors. She says one of the benefits is that’s “easier to distress than a regular latex paint.” The paint also seems to cover more thoroughly. “If you have imperfections in your wood and on your surface, the chalk
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paint tends to fill in those surfaces more so you don’t have to do so much priming,” Otto says. In fact, Ohlhauser says using chalk paint sometimes feels like you’re cheating. For raw furniture, the women use chalk paint to cover the bottom, like the legs of a chair or table, and then stain or coat the top with polyurethane. For a more rustic look, Otto has the perfect technique: paint wash. “You just don’t layer your paint on so heavy. I water it down,” she says. Wax vs. polyurethane. Whether you use wax or polyurethane to finish something depends on how you use the product. “If it’s something that’s going to have a lot of wear and tear, as far as tabletops and things like that, I prefer to use a poly acrylic coat,” Otto says. “Wax is fine, but if you have it in a place where it’s getting a lot of sunlight, that wax eventually wears off and you need to wax that piece again.” Various power tools. For DIY projects, a power sander is a musthave tool, Otto says, because it makes distressing furniture a breeze. For most projects, a miter or chop saw, skill saw or reciprocating saw are required, as well as a power drill. DIYers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if they’re not comfortable using those tools.
Try and try again
With any outdoor DIY projects, don’t fret. “It’s only paint, you can always change it.” Otto says. Giving the project time is always key. “It doesn’t always turn out the way you envision it’s going to be. You gotta be patient,” Otto says.
Pinterest has given birth to the DIY generation. With millions of ideas at their fingertips, homeowners are able to get inspired, find instructions and craft their own projects to fit their taste and style. One big trend in DIY is using old wooden pallets for virtually anything from a barbecue side table to a coffee table. Try your hand at this pallet outdoor bar (inspired by 1001pallets.com and awortheyread. com) Materials • 2 wooden pallets (can often be obtained for free from grocery or big-box stores) • 3 countertop patio pavers • Paint or stain (optional) • Cement glue Directions 1. With both hollow sides facing inward – creating a cubby-like space in between – match the pallets back-to-back. 2. Using zip ties, secure the pallets together, tying the inside boards in several places. 3. Paint or stain the pallet to your desired color. 4. Use cement glue to attach
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the three paving stones to the top, side by side. (You can also substitute the pavers with a wood top.) Note: Depending on the stability of the bar, you may want to brace it against the home or secure it to a fence with zip ties. You can add eye hooks for hanging grill tools. Using a hand saw, you can also remove pieces of the pallet to create cubbies to hold wine bottles or other outdoor necessities.
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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D13
Organic doesn’t mean safe
By Jeff Rugg Creators Syndicate Q: I have a friend who says he has switched to a non-chemical approach to lawn care. He says he went fully organic because it is safer. He wants me to switch, but I am not sure that I should. A: First, we need to remember that the word “organic” is not
synonymous with the word “safe.” The attempt of organic gardening and lawn care practices is to be safe, of course, but certain products may not be safe if not used properly. Safety depends partially on the product and the user’s ability to use it properly. The dosage greatly affects the safety of any product. In a gallon-for-gallon matchup, some organic products are more toxic to humans and pets than some synthetic chemical products. What some organically minded people are trying to say is that some synthetic chemical products are artificial substitutes that don’t work well within the ecological system. They are typically used to treat symptoms, such as killing a weed
in a lawn rather than treating the cause of the weed’s ability to grow in the first place. People want to use organic products (chemicals) that are an intrinsic part of the sustainable living system where they are applied. There are benefits to using an organic lawn care system. Notice I said “system” and not “product.” Problems are diagnosed not just for what they are but why they are. By looking into the history and conditions that caused the problem, it is often possible to bypass the short-term synthetic product use for a long-term sustainable change in the local environment that reduces or eliminates the problem. For instance, in many established lawns, a weed problem can be taken care of with changes to the soil, sunlight or moisture levels. Weeds tend to indicate that there is something wrong with one of the environmental conditions that weaken the grass to a point where weeds can grow. Fixing that condition can allow the grass to grow better than the weeds. A landscape that is based on a living organic soil won’t use or need
synthetic fertilizers that can kill microorganisms. Adding compost to a lawn on a regular basis helps supply nutrients and beneficial microorganisms. A soil full of organic matter acts like a sponge by holding more water until the plants need it without becoming too waterlogged when they don’t. This organic soil will need less additional water, and the water that does run off won’t be contaminated with synthetic products. Applying water deeply to a thick soil will allow the grass to grow a large, healthy root system. Mow the grass at the correct height, and leave the clippings on the lawn, where they will add to the organic matter and supply approximately half of the lawn’s fertilizer requirements. Grass plants in even the best caredfor lawns eventually mature and expire. Mowing prevents the lawn from reseeding itself, so regular overseeding or sprigging adds new young, vigorous plants to the lawn. Begin following these tips, and then pick up “The Organic Lawn Care Manual” by Paul Tukey to get the complete guide to organic lawn care. Email questions to Jeff Rugg at email@example.com.
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D14 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
Will Braeburn apple seedling survive? By Don Kinzler
Q: When my daughter was a
toddler, we placed a Braeburn apple seed in a window to see if it would grow. I honestly thought this little experiment would last only a few days. Fast forward 10 years and we now have a 3-foot-tall Braeburn apple tree in our house that we’d like to plant outside. Is that possible in Fargo? — Kay Beckermann, Fargo A: First of all, congratulations on growing an apple tree indoors for 10 years from a seed. Now the challenge will be to plant it outdoors, as will be necessary. Braeburn apples are considered winter-hardy in Zone 5 and southward, so Fargo’s Zone 4 is not in its normal adaptive range. Because apples don’t grow true from seed, your seedling isn’t pure Braeburn, but is a hybrid having Braeburn as the mother and unknown
pollen carried by bees as the father. There’s a remote possibility that wherever the apple fruit from which you collected the seed was grown, that pollen from a hardier variety might have been carried onto the mother flower by bees, adding hardier genes to the seed that grew into your seedling. To give your seedling the best possible opportunity to thrive, given its borderline parentage, choose a sheltered microclimate in a protected location in the yard, in an area that attracts deep snowcover. Wrap the trunk each fall, and perhaps add a foot or two of mulch such as straw over the root zone. Good luck, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the success of your young tree. Q: When is the best time to apply crabgrass killer? We still have snow on the ground, but we want to get rid
of that grass. — Nadine Froderman, Reading, Minn. A: Crabgrass is an annual weedy grass that sprouts from seed each spring. Its germination is triggered by soil temperature, and the most common method of control is to apply a crabgrass preventer-type product before soil reaches the germination threshold, which is 55 to 60 degrees in the top several inches of soil. To be effective, crabgrass preventer is best applied before the soil temperature reaches 50 to 55 degrees, but not too early, as the product can lose potency over time. Q: What’s your opinion on growing berries in pots? I saw a website promoting four types that could be grown in containers: Jelly Bean Blueberry, Baby Cakes Blackberry, Shortcake Raspberry and Seascape Strawberry. — Faye Waloch, Gwinner, N.D. A: The varieties listed are short-growing types, that are being
promoted for growing in containers equivalent to 5-gallon buckets in size. With proper care, quality potting mix, fertilizing regularly and growing in full sun, these types can bear fruit in containers on decks and patios the first season if all goes well. However, it’s very difficult to get such plants to survive winter in containers, because pots left above ground are subject to temperatures more extreme than in-ground plants. If one wanted to try, the preferred way is to sink pot-and-all into a garden or flowerbed in autumn for temporary wintering. Of the four fruit types mentioned, strawberries are perhaps the most successful for container growing. If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. All questions will be answered, and those with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city and state for appropriate advice.
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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D15
Modern Masterpieces New designs become tomorrow’s classics
By Christine Brun Creators Syndicate In the home furnishing world, you pay dearly for a known designer’s name just like when you buy haute couture. Would you consider paying $7,000 for one dining chair? Women pay thousands for one designer handbag, but you would need six chairs for the table, and the total would be a showstopper. I have worked with people on modest budgets who admire classic modern design and are willing to splurge on one exotic piece. Those buyers who can afford the highticket furniture items still shy away from spending too much. It is because they don’t want to commit. A dual-career power couple may not be confident about how long they will live in any one place and fear becoming bored with specific pieces. In other instances, buyers have been there, done that; they find they have evolved by the time they’re decorating their second or third home, and may not be swayed by labels. It is noteworthy that there are ways to introduce and own one or two special items with a moderate budget. First, research Design Within Reach. This is a furniture vender that features just fewer than 200 designers of worldwide fame and offers a wide range of price points. For example, you can purchase an
Eames Molded Wood Side Chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller for a range of $720 to $990 depending on the finish. The Min Bed designed by Luciano Bertoncini sells for between $695 and $1,200. Where can prices go from there? Hold on to your wallet, because the Parallel Wide Bed designed by Jeffrey Bernett, Nicholas Dodziuk and Piotr Woronkowicz ranges in price from $5,200 to $9,000. Next, visit the furniture section of the New York City Museum of Modern Art Design Store online. Don’t be put off by the fear that everything will be too costly, and do a little snooping. You can find a Painted Oak Stool for $85, or the classic three-tier Componibili storage system for $190 in red, black or white. This was designed by Italian architect Anna Castelli Ferreri, and the piece celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017.
There are new designs that may become tomorrow’s classics in every genre from outdoor furnishings, to lighting, to accessories. The Roland Mid-Century-Styled Piano came to my attention recently, and it, too, is available at the online MoMA Design Store. This piano is elegant and petite at 55 inches wide, just a little over 13 inches deep and 30 13/16 inches tall. Handcrafted in Japan from all-natural wood, it is a collaboration between Roland Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments, and Japanese furniture designer Karimoku. This piano is
slim and ergonomically contoured, and it can slip into a small, refined interior like a piece of classic furniture. If you are on a very tight budget, do not forget to peruse any local consignment stores for excellent buys. Furnishings on the secondhand market are generally priced at half of retail cost. Then, they get marked down as time passes and they sit on the floor. Each consignment vendor has its own discount schedule, but one I visit in my community only keeps something on the floor for three months. You can find classic name brands in this way, as well as artwork and accessory items. Do not be shocked at the prices for designer brands in the secondhand market because classic items retain value. Do your homework so that you can recognize a name like Baker, McGuire or Knoll. Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of “Small Space Living.” Send questions and comments to her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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D16 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D17
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D18 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
4 reasons for putting the right plant in the right place Spring planting season is in full swing, and as you spruce up your outdoor spaces, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute shares a few important reasons for putting the right plant in the right place. It’s more than selecting full-sun or fullshade varieties of foliage. By choosing the right plants for your climate and lifestyle, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful green space your entire family will enjoy.
Know your climate zone
Do you have long, hot summers? Are you in an arid region or a wet one? Understanding your environment will help you select climate-appropriate plants that will thrive with minimal input from you. Check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to learn which plants, grasses, shrubs and trees are most likely to succeed in your location.
Understand your lifestyle needs
Your grass, flowering plants and trees expand the living space of your home. Without our living landscapes, our backyards, patios, fire pits and pool areas would be hotter and less enjoyable overall. Determine how you use your yard, and then plant accordingly. Do you need a shade tree to sit under during hot summer days? Do you travel a lot in the summer, or will you be home to care for your plants? Do you need a grassy area for your kids and pets to play?
more likely to withstand pet traffic. When pets are in the picture, you’ll want to keep resilient plants and flowers in heavily-trafficked areas of your yard and save the delicate varieties for raised planters on your porch or patio. Finally, know which plants are dangerous to your pets by downloading the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.
Plant for pollinators & wildlife
Your living landscapes aren’t only for your enjoyment. They are also
vital to pollinators (bees, butterflies and birds) and other backyard wildlife who rely on the certain plants in your backyard ecosystem for food and shelter. Planting nectar and pollen-rich flowers that are appropriate for your climate (see #1) will help nourish pollinators. Let a pile of grass clippings decompose on your lawn (rather than bagging) to shelter insects, worms and other backyard critters. Dead tree branches can create nooks for butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife. -Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
Plant for pets
Speaking of pets, you’ll want to keep their needs in mind when you’re mapping out your planting plans. Consider planting a hardy grass like buffalo or Bermuda, which is
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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, April 26, 2018 D19
D20 Thursday, April 26, 2018 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.
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Published on April 26, 2018