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Garden Variety: Start planting vegetables now to get fall harvest crop

Radishes, turnips, spinach, lettuce, kale, arugula, mustard and other greens can be planted from now until about mid-September in the Lawrence area for an easy and delicious fall crop. Find a space that is in the sun for at least half the day — full sun all day is best. If you live in an ...

Garden Variety: Repair broken garden tools, avoid costly replacement

The crack of a shovel handle is a disheartening sound, usually heard when the digging is hard and a shovel is being used to pry rather than dig. As long as the damage is to the wooden handle rather than the blade of the shovel, that handle can generally be replaced for a fraction of the price ...

Indoor greenhouses make growing plants easy

You don’t need a green thumb to grow vegetables indoors. On the contrary, there are plenty of indoor greenhouses that take the work out of growing plants, from the amount of water they get to the right dosage of light. One of these indoor greenhouses — or automated growing systems, as ...

Fix-It Chick: Repoint damaged mortar joints to save brick, stone structures

A fresh coat of paint on your home’s front door can enhance both the mood and the value of the property. Step 1: Consider the surrounding area and adjacent colors when choosing a color for the door. A front door should complement the design of the house while expressing the mood of its ...

Garden Variety: Native grasses are low-maintenance landscape options

Little bluestem, prairie dropseed, Indian grass and other native ornamental grasses are good options for the Kansas landscape because of their drought tolerance, resistance to pests and overall low maintenance requirements. Most varieties are blooming now or will be in the next few weeks. ...

Garden Variety: Master Gardener program accepting trainees

The Douglas County Extension Master Gardener program is seeking applicants for another class of trained volunteers to join the 200-member organization. Gardening experience is unnecessary, but applicants should have an interest in gardening and sharing what they learn with others in the ...

Fix-It Chick: Repoint damaged mortar joints to save brick, stone structures

Avoid costly damage to brick or stone structures by repointing loose, cracked or crumbling mortar. Step 1: Use a cold chisel and a hammer to clean out the mortar joint to be repaired. Place the chisel next to the brick or stone and angle it toward the center of the joint before striking it ...

Garden Variety: Even in droughts, watering should be deep yet infrequent

Plants wilt when they need water, but they also wilt when they have too much. The former is more likely in the Lawrence area right now, especially with recent high temperatures and the ongoing severe drought in much of northeast Kansas. But, despite the heat and drought, if you are dragging the ...

Fix-It Chick: Replace wax ring around toilet bowl if water, smell starts to seep

If water is seeping out from beneath the toilet bowl or there is a faint smell of sewer gas in the bathroom, it is definitely time to replace the toilet bowl wax ring. Step 1: Remove the tank lid and place it in a safe spot. Lay a few towels on the floor to set the toilet on once it has been ...

Garden Variety: Stinkbugs damage plants, remain pesky for gardeners

Stinkbugs are dime-sized, shield-shaped, green and brown insects that damage fruits, vegetables and other desirable plants when they feed on them. The insects are prevalent in gardens right now in northeastern Kansas and will be around until freezing temperatures arrive. Damage to fruits, ...

Fix-It Chick: Save money on watering garden by installing rain barrel

Keeping a garden watered can be expensive. Assuming it will rain at some point in time, installing a rain barrel is a great way to save money. For every inch of rainfall, a roof collects approximately .56 inches of rain per square foot of surface area. That means a 1,000-square-foot roof can ...

Garden Variety: Use caution when attempting to trap Japanese beetles

Since Japanese beetles have finally established a significant population in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri, many gardeners are looking for options to control the voracious pests. Traps are an increasingly popular option, but research has shown that their scented lures can sometimes ...

Fix-It Chick: Choose the right electrical tape for various situations

With so many different types of electrical tape on the market today, it is sometimes difficult to know which one to choose. A little insight about the various options may help with the decision-making process. • Black vinyl electrical tape is the most common and least expensive electrical ...

Fix-It Chick: How to install micro-watering system

Drip irrigation and micro-watering systems can reduce water usage by up to 70 percent. Installing a watering system is an easy way to save water, money and time, while improving the overall health and productivity of your plants. Step 1: Lay out a plan. It is best to start small and add to ...

Garden Variety: Kansas State’s horticulture center in Haysville closing

Kansas State University’s John C. Pair Horticultural Center in Haysville is set to close later this year to meet budget demands of the university. The Center, founded in 1970, is a 120-acre facility that primarily conducts research on trees and shrubs, houses field trials for horticultural ...

Fix-It Chick: Let air in, keep bugs out by repairing window screens

Give your window screens a summertime tuneup to let the cool air in and keep the bugs out. Step 1: Examine the window screen to make sure that the edges of the screen secured in place by the spline or wood trim. Repair gaps by removing the frame from the window and reattaching the existing ...

Garden Variety: Iris collector donates plants to nonprofit for fundraiser

Longtime Douglas County resident and Master Gardener Carole Mitchell recently donated her iris collection to the Lawrence-based nonprofit Sunrise Project, to be sold as a fundraiser for the organization. More than 200 varieties of irises will be available at the sale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ...

Garden Variety: Celebrate National Pollinator Week with friendly gardens

Kansas and at least 44 other states are celebrating National Pollinator Week next week, June 18-24, by proclamation of their governors. The event is organized by the non-profit organization Pollinator Partnership and is described by the group as a week to celebrate bees, birds, butterflies, ...

Fix-It Chick: Install flush mount fixture

Update to a recessed-light look without the hassle of actually installing a recessed light by replacing an existing light fixture with a new LED flush mount fixture. Step 1: Forget about wattage and focus on the degree of Kelvin and lumens for the new fixture. 2800 K emulates the yellow of an ...

Fix-it Chick: Mitigate carpenter bee damage to homes, other wood structures

Carpenter bees are harmless creatures, except for their habit of boring half-inch-wide tunnels into exposed wood on homes and other structures. Carpenter bees look like bumblebees, but with shiny, black bottoms. They are most active in April and May, when they emerge from overwintering to mate ...