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Garden Variety: Homegrown potatoes take cooking to another level

Potatoes are easy to grow in northeast Kansas and can be planted as soon as soil is workable in mid-March. Many gardeners plant potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day out of superstition and tradition, and the date is generally a good time frame to keep in mind even with minor variations in weather ...

Garden Variety: Cultivate herbs to improve cooking, garden aromas

Basil, oregano, thyme and a variety of other herbs are easy to grow, are a fun way to get kids interested in gardening, add flavor to cooking and add good scents to the garden and home. In northeast Kansas, perennial herbs can be planted as soon as the ground has thawed (and dried out enough to ...

Homes: Couple begin with a blank sheet of paper and end up with their dream house

When Brad and Cailan Silva open their green front door at 1616 Massachusetts St., first-time visitors are surprised. Stepping through the door, they enter not the house but an outdoor living space, which isn't visible from the street. Another door inside the secluded area takes them into the ...

Garden Variety: Healthy soil composition key for healthy plants

Building and maintaining healthy soil is one of the most important steps in growing healthy gardens, landscapes and lawns and is often overlooked or considered as an afterthought. And, the best time to build and improve soil is prior to planting, making this late winter-early spring season the ...

Go, See, Do: Lawrence Home Show, seed library and more

At this weekend's Lawrence Home Show, you can fight off the winter blues by getting some ideas for spring landscaping and home improvement projects. For homeowners of all ages, the show will be full of inspiration for all kinds of projects, from the front yard to the back door, said Bobbie ...

Garden Variety: Build a home for feathered friends

Birdhouses are a suitable source of shelter for some bird species to build their nests and raise their young. Building a birdhouse is a fun, simple woodworking project for children and adults, especially as spring approaches. Start with a kit or a plan, find a suitable location, and install the ...

Garden Variety: Winter upkeep key for health of berries

Pruning raspberry and blackberry plants improves fruit yield and quality, makes fruit more accessible for harvest, maintains size of plantings and reduces pest problems. Late winter is an ideal and important time to prune these plants in Kansas. Raspberry and blackberry plants are referred to ...

Garden Variety: Harsh winters not always an effective pest control

The idea of extreme cold temperatures reducing the population of Japanese beetles, bagworms and other insect pests is one that makes many Midwestern gardeners tolerate the cold a little easier. But, how much does winter really affect these insects and others? The answer depends on how and where ...

Homes: Couple renovates old Lawrence home for a mix of historic, modern

Renovating a rundown home in a historic part of town allowed for a young couple in Lawrence to mix the old with the new. Lindsey and Kyle Weiland purchased their home at 1327 New Hampshire St. in January 2014 with plans to gut the interior and rebuild it to their liking. Kyle, who is a general ...

Garden Variety: Ice cubes can be used to water some orchids

Tropical orchids are well-known for their long-lasting blooms and beauty, but they can also be a challenge to maintain. Because they are tropical plants, they can only be grown indoors in Kansas and are especially finicky about water, light and growing media (potting mix). Several years ago a ...

Garden Variety: Quick, easy methods to propagate popular houseplants

Indoor plants, or houseplants as they are often called, will soon respond to longer day length and return to a period of active growth. This period of active growth is a good time to propagate plants if you wish to do so and usually begins around mid-February. Although it’s a little early to ...

Garden Variety: Old wives’ tales have no place in the garden

Old wives’ tales, myths and misconceptions perpetuate in the garden world thanks to self-proclaimed experts, clever marketers, and well-meaning friends, family and neighbors. Sorting out bad information from good is a challenge at times, especially with regional and seasonal variations. Start ...

Garden Variety: New resolutions to set for yardwork

The arrival of the new year is a good time to set goals and make a plan for yard and garden tasks for the year. Maybe you have new trees to plant, old trees that desperately need pruning, a landscape bed ready for renovation, or this will finally be the year to start a vegetable garden. ...

Garden Variety: Gardeners can avoid headaches by marking plants to start season

Have you ever looked at a plant in your landscape or garden and wished you had labeled it when you planted it? Or perhaps you know they are tomato plants, but have forgotten which varieties are which? Many gardeners share your plight. Labeling plants as they are planted can prevent forgotten ...

Garden Variety: Getting started feeding birds during cold months

Feeding birds is a fun way to benefit wildlife and attract these creatures to your yard for your viewing pleasure. Winter is an especially good time to get started by feeding the cardinals, chickadees, titmice, finches, juncos, woodpeckers and other species that are year-round or winter ...

Garden Variety: Try growing mushrooms at home this winter

Home mushroom growing kits can be a fun way to get fresh mushrooms, teach children about fungi and satisfy the desire to garden in the cold winter months. Mushroom kits are fairly easy to find right now as a novelty gift item, or they are widely available online. When deciding what types of ...

Garden Variety: How to take care of houseplants

Plants kept in homes, offices and other indoor locales brighten the space, clean the air and generally make the people around them feel better. Indoor plants can be especially welcoming in the short, dreary days of winter. Satisfaction with them depends a lot on the health of the plant, though, ...

Homes: Well-known holiday house holds 45 years of Christmas memories

People keep asking when Donna Osness and her husband are going to sell the house. But for her five children, nine grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, the Osness home on University Drive is the heart of the holiday season. “Of our grandchildren, I don’t think any of them have spent ...

Garden Variety: Spruce up your home with winter greenery

Greenery and winter-flowering plants are a great way to spruce up your home (literally) over the cold and bleak winter season and to add cheer for the holidays. The options can be overwhelming, though, and results short-lived if plant material is mistreated. The difference is in the details. ...

Garden Variety: Repeated use of salt-based ice melt can hurt plants

The Lawrence area has already experienced two winter precipitation events this year that have warranted the use of de-icers to keep roads and sidewalks safe for travelers. Although necessary in many instances, de-icers can be detrimental to plants, especially when used repeatedly over the ...