Home and Garden

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Lawn tractors getting bigger than lawns

With ever-smaller yard sizes, high gas prices and fears of global warming, Americans are ready for earth-friendly push mowers, right?Dream on. Sales of lawn tractors are growing healthily, along with the size and power of the machines themselves.Most noticeably this spring, the venerable John ...

Seiwald’s garden: A piece of paradise

You'll recall that it rained Friday night and much of Saturday morning, but just as the sun broke through, I found myself standing in Rick Seiwald's spacious yard northeast of Perry and south of Oskaloosa. The centerpiece of Seiwald's little corner of paradise is a 5,000-square-foot vegetable ...

Cold snap damages asparagus

Last week's freezing overnight temperatures were a sorrowful development for many of us who planned to be picking asparagus instead of turning our furnaces back on. In the interests of perspective, though, I have to concede that an early-April freeze is much more inconvenient for the asparagus ...

Specialty gardens popular

One of the nicest things about gardens is the diversity. No matter your passion, a garden can be built around it. Known as specialty gardens, these gardens are designed to capture and showcase the particular fondness of the gardener.Of all the specialty gardens, water gardens are among the most ...

Many plants vulnerable to changes in temperature

The recent cold temperatures were a grim reminder that winter still has powerful influence over our weather and our landscapes. Luckily, most of the emerging plant material seemed to have survived quite nicely. Nevertheless, with the chance of more cool nights still ahead, here is what you can ...

Annual pruning helps renew shrubs

Warmer air and sunny skies spur that primal urge to get out and play in the garden. Pruning shrubs is a good place to start. Most need annual pruning and are forgiving of mistakes.Shrubs generally lack permanent trunks; instead, they constantly grow new stems near ground level to eventually ...

His and her gardens provide compromise

I've often envied people who can garden with the person they live with. In my household, we've had my garden and my husband's garden since shortly after I threw myself into vegetable gardening with obsessive-compulsive abandon.Even though my husband's interest in growing fresh produce piqued my ...

‘Celebrate power of gardening’

New Market, Va. ? Ask landscape designer Nicole Kistler of Seattle about the power of gardening and she'll tell you how it can give new hope and purpose to cancer patients and others dealing with stress.Rachel Tschida believes healing gardens play a major role in erasing the psychological scars ...

Herbicides necessary to control weeds early

The weather has finally turned nice and many gardeners have been out planting vegetables. Unfortunately, radish, lettuce and broccoli plants are not the only things growing. This time of year, many weed seeds are starting to germinate and grow as well. Though mulches and hoeing are usually all ...

Plan, motivation sets tone for garden season

Planning is one of the best tips for creating a great garden. For some gardeners, this involves studying the angle of the sun to maximize the sun's effect. To others, it simply means carefully planting tall flowers at the back of the flower bed and short flowers at the front.No matter what your ...

Gardeners should avoid outdoor temptations

This may be the most frustrating time of the year for vegetable gardeners. When temperatures spike into the 70s and the sun begins to feel warm on your face, it seems like time to be working in the garden.Even more enticing is the smell of rained-on soil after a spring shower. It's almost as if ...

Summer vacation

As you make plans for your summer vacation, don't forget your houseplants. They will be happy with a vacation a few feet away, outside the back door.Houseplants thrive outdoors in the summer because of their tropical origins. Heat and humidity are very much to their liking. They respond by ...

Pests need to be eliminated early

Children's stories often relate the adventures of furry rabbits or frolicsome mice with human-like qualities. They "speak" to each other, get "married" and raise their babies. Their lives are much like ours. And their homes are our homes. These storybook creatures go about daily life within the ...

Treatment necessary to counter ants

For many of us, our homes are safe, warm and perfect for raising families. Unfortunately, many pests have realized this as well.As we move into spring, pests, such as ants, may become a problem. They are actively looking for food or a new place to nest -- a search that could find your home. So, ...

Sunlight, moisture help bulbs stay alive

Many gardeners can't bear to discard bulbs after they have been forced to blossom in winter. That is the usual recommendation for what to do with these plants because they cannot be forced to bloom again.Spring-flowering bulbs are so easy to bring into flower their first time because their ...

Owners should consider buying plenty of insurance

Do owners of an in-ground swimming pool need extra liability insurance? If so, how much, and what are some options? I've had an umbrella policy for years, but now teenage drivers in the family are making that costly. Are there ways to insure against the liability of only the pool?It's probably ...

Farmers pool produce to meet needs of growing customer base

For the past 10 years, a collective of diehard vegetable gardeners has been pooling their harvests to provide paid subscribers with a weekly bag of organically grown produce.The Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance, which serves about 300 customers in the Lawrence and Kansas City areas each ...

Victorian garden goes organic

Audley End, England ? A subtle bend in a high red brick wall holds a clue to the ingenuity built into the kitchen garden at one of Britain's great stately homes."See that? It's deliberate," says head gardener Mike Thurlow. "The Victorians built it that way to trap the sun -- that part of the ...

Makeshift greenhouses satisfy cravings

Winter has been long, cold and dry this season. Coupled with the uncertainties in our world, I crave for things familiar, serene and safe. I long for my shady, green garden, soon to be alive with my favorite plants. I look forward to the excitement of newly discovered plants.So, with March ...

Mowing height can influence spring grass

My itchy, watery eyes and runny nose mean spring has arrived. Soon it will be time to fire up the lawn mower and the trimmer. This time of year, I always hear discussions about two basic lawn care practices: "How low should I mow?" and "should I fertilize my lawn now?" Both practices can have ...