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Preparing for Spring

Spring has sprung, but it's not too late to get things going for a full growing season. Organize now and get those motivating juices flowing to start projects for your 2017 garden!

Read More:http://www.countryplacesinc.com/index.php/Rural-Living/spring-gardening-tips.html

 

Get your best planting dates! Use this ALL-SEASONS gardening calendar that stretches from spring through fall planting. It not only tells you when to sow indoors and plant in the ground, but also when to harvest, and is customized to your location based on the nearest weather station.

See more at: http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/monthly-garden-calendar-northeastern-united-states

 

For most homeowner's it's an exciting time to get your home ready. In the winter time, many portions of your home are neglected or aren't used as often because of home owners staying inside their homes. From the interiors of your home to the exterior, getting your home ready for spring will ensure you'll be ready to enjoy the warmer weather once it hits. Space out your maintenance tips and by time spring is here, you will be able to enjoy the season!  

Read more at: http://freshome.com/2011/03/01/how-to-prepare-your-home-for-the-spring-season/

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Gardening Tips

 

Northeast Region

  • Re-pot houseplants so they will grow well during spring and summer.
  • Plant deciduous trees and shrubs as soon as the ground is workable.
  • Prune fruit trees until spring buds swell. Maple and birch should not be pruned until they leaf out. Choose a day above freezing if possible, as it is easier on you as well as on the tree.
  • Dormant spraying for fruit trees should be done before spring growth begins. Choose a calm day when temperatures are above 40 degrees F, and be sure to cover all sides of the branches.
  • Resist the temptation to uncover spring-flowering plants such as daffodils and tulips. Mulch may be loosened, but the shoots will still benefit from protection against cold, drying winds.
  • Be sure that flats and pots used for starting seed are perfectly clean. You can sterilize with a solution of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water.
  • Water newly started seedlings carefully. A pitcher may let the water out too forcefully. A mist sprayer is gentle but can take a long time. Try using a meat basting syringe, which will dispense the water effectively without causing too much soil disruption.
  • Sow peas outdoors, even if it's snowy! The earlier they mature, the sweeter they'll be. Sow them as soon as the soil can be worked, but save some for a later planting as well. Choose a location that gets maximum sun.
  • Spread dark plastic intended for mulch out over the garden site to hasten the warming of the soil. This will provide for earlier and better germination.
  • Keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of pansies, crocuses, and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
  • Start seedlings of annuals in flats -- aster, larkspur, alyssum, snapdragons, and petunias should be started now (or 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date in your area). If summer season is short, zinnias should be started now. They will need to be potted up in individual pots after 4 to 5 weeks.
  • Start some vegetables in flats inside under lights: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and lettuce are good choices. Use moistened seed-starting mix. Fertilize when two sets of leaves have grown.
  • A peck of March dust and a shower in May, Makes the corn green and the fields gay.
  • Start seeds of some herbs in flats indoors, such as basil, parsley, sage, and thyme. Once the seeds germinate, place the plants under grow lights for 14 hours a day (timers make this easy) and keep soil moist.
  • Knowing when to start seeds in time for outdoor planting can be confusing. See packet instructions and also consult our Best Dates to Seed chart at www.Almanac.com/PlantingTable.
  • Ideally, seeds need 70 to 75 degrees F temperatures to germinate, and 60 to 65 degrees F temperatures to grow.
  • Plant seeds in a soil-less growing mix. Soil can cause disease.
  • Prune evergreen and summer-flowering trees and shrubs. Prune spring-flowering shrubs only after they finish blooming.
  • Remove any leaves and debris from your lawn.
  • Remove suckers from fruiting trees.
  • If you have roses, slowly unwrap and remove protective mulch to awaken them.

 

Root Cellar

 

Root Cellar Plans

These unique root cellar plans show you how to build a root cellar for food storage by adapting a new concrete septic tank.
 
By Steve Maxwell
April/May 2014
 
 

Make this root cellar by burying a new concrete septic tank into a hillside.
Illustration by Len Churchill
Slideshow

 

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The cool, moist and dark conditions of a root cellar make it the perfect place to keep many fruits and vegetables crisp and delicious for weeks — even months — of storage. And while there are myriad ways to store vegetables, our innovative root cellar plans show you how to build a root cellar by modifying a new, precast concrete septic tank. By following the plans, you'll cut an entrance, install a door, add a pair of vent pipes and cover the tank with soil to bring an old-fashioned, walk-in cellar into your modern life.

Choose a Concrete Septic Tank

You'll want to buy an unused septic tank for this root cellar design, but look for a deal to avoid paying full price. A percentage of all precast concrete septic tanks end up with small manufacturing defects that prohibit them from being used for sewage treatment. Suppliers sometimes offer discounts on these flawed tanks. As long as the tank is solid and sound, a chipped edge or a patchable hole won't prevent it from being a root cellar. You won’t need the plastic fittings or effluent filter found inside most septic tanks, so ask the supplier to remove these before delivery.

Tank size is another detail you'll need to consider when planning how to build a root cellar from a septic tank. The capacity of septic tanks is measured in gallons, with different models being taller or shorter. While you might be tempted to buy a 1,000- or 1,200-gallon tank because they’re common, you’ll get more food storage space and headroom with a tank that's 1,500 gallons or larger. Standard 1,500-gallon tanks typically measure about 5 1/2 feet wide by 5 1/2 feet tall by 10 feet long, while a 2,500-gallon tank provides more than 6 feet of interior headroom. Don’t choose a low-profile tank because it will be much too short to work in. Prices for new, undamaged 1,500-gallon tanks start at about $1,100, and 2,500-gallon models can be found for as low as $1,600. Discounts for damaged tanks may be as much as 50 percent.

Most septic tanks have an internal partition that must be opened or removed to build from these root cellar plans. Try to find a tank without a partition, or ask your supplier to remove it before delivery. You can also punch through the partition yourself as part of the doorway-cutting process.

Best Sites for Root Cellars

The perfect location for a root cellar is nestled into an existing soil bank in a well-drained location 10 to 20 yards from your house. Ideally, the door should face north to keep out the sun’s heat. You’d be fortunate indeed to have all of these conditions, and most people have to modify their sites. Expect to pay from $50 to $100 per hour for a backhoe and operator to excavate your site for three or four hours.

 

Feed Your Family & Your Wallet

Owning land is having possession of a tangible asset that has a host of benefits, one being the ability to farm.

It may sounds like a lot of unnecessary work to many, but there's a growing movement of people growing their own food. This food-to-table trend is also allowing some to feed their families and sell the excess to others for extra cash.

Farmers markets allow small-yield cultivators the ability to help others, and themselves, by selling everything from fruits and vegetables to herbs, plants and flowers. Consider container gardening if your land isn't well suited to farming.

Even in varying climates, here are some of the most popular choices and easiest to grow.

Vegetables

Green (Bush) Beans - Sow seeds every few weeks to enjoy a continual harvest through the summer.

Beets - You can plant your beets as soon as your soil can be worked in the spring.

Carrots - Plant carrots as soon as the soil can be worked. They thrive in fertile sandy loam.

Cucumbers - Give your cucumber plants generous amounts of organic matter and good fertilization and they will respond with lots of crunchy cucumbers; harvest them regularly to increase production.

Lettuce - Lettuce thrives in cooler weather so plant it in the spring and fall, sowing every few weeks for a continuous harvest.

Snap Peas - Plant your peas so that they can mature as early as your planting schedule allows and sow more seeds when cooler fall days return.

Radishes - Spring radish varieties are often ready in just three weeks and are more mild in flavor—hotter summer soil produces spicier radishes.

Herbs

Basil - Plant basil in rich, moist soil where it can enjoy full sun. Sow your basil every few weeks for continual harvest.

Dill - Plant your dill seeds in warmer temperatures: it thrives in soil around 75 to 80°F.

Cilantro - Plant cilantro early in the season and sow seeds regularly for a continued harvest.

Parsley - Plant parsley in fertile soil with good amounts of organic matter and moisture.

Thyme - Grow thyme in an area that will receive full sunlight.

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