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Archives for May 19, 2014

BOT Reviews Grahn PUD – The Mountain

Pam North, Nederland

grahnThe Nederland Board of Trustees (BOT) met Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m., May 6, after a work session on quarterly financials. Members present were Mayor Joe Gierlach, Mayor pro tem Peter Fiori, Trustees Randy Lee, Kevin Mueller, Charles Wood, Kris Larsen, and Topher Donahue. Also in attendance were Town Administrator Alisha Reis, Town Treasurer Eva Forberger, Town Clerk Michele Martin, Town Attorney Carmen Beery, and Public Works Director Jason Morrison.

Consent Agenda

May 6, 2014 Accounts Payable, Schedules A, B, C and April 18 Regular Meeting Minutes were approved.

Ordinance 730, regarding the Boulder Regional Emergency Telephone Service Authority (BRETSA) 9-1-1 User Surcharge, was approved. Ordinance 730 increases the monthly fee per phone line for 911 emergency services to 75 cents from 50 cents. The funds support enhanced E9-1-1 telephone services, emergency notification systems, computer-aided dispatch (CAD), phone/radio recorders, network infrastructure, and technical training needs.
Ron Mitchell spoke briefly about wishing to talk soon to each of the BOT members regarding another of his parking lots.

RFP Utilities Rate Study

As contained in the 2014 budget, the Town is planning to conduct a formal rate study to review and recommend rates to ensure that water and wastewater rates are equitable, meet water conservation goals, and cover utility plant expenditures, as well as to look at the Plant Investment fees (PIFs) to cover future expansion. Proposals are being solicited, and a committee will meet to evaluate the RFPs and pick the best firm with which to contract.

RFP Housing Needs Assessment

A housing needs assessment for Nederland and its surrounding 10-mile community radius is needed, and five proposals have been received. The project is a partnership with the Boulder County Housing Authority to provide information on both general housing and housing affordability so that the Town might maintain a diverse stock of housing for people of all income levels to adequately support the Nederland community. .

Signs to Promote Motorcycle Parking

Ron Mitchell has requested using sidewalk space to post sandwich board signs to direct motorcyclists to his downtown, privately owned lot at 65 East 1st Street, as he wishes to change the use of his lot to only motorcycle parking during this summer. He is researching and counting the use as part of a study on the effectiveness of such a plan. The lot, which holds about 18-19 cars, will hold about 60 motorcycles.

The Board agreed to his proposal, with the condition that its status be reviewed again in midsummer.

Presentation of Master Infrastructure Plan

Joel Price, project engineer for JVA Inc., presented an overview of the Nederland Master Infrastructure Plan, and answered questions from the Board. The scope of the work includes a comprehensive evaluation of the condition and service level of the Town’s infrastructure, including streets, storm drainage, water, and wastewater systems; consideration of regulatory impacts on any and all infrastructure systems; comprehensive recommendations for a program of short-term (5 years) and long-term (10 years-plus) infrastructure improvements; recommended prioritization of infrastructure improvements; and cost estimates for improvement projects.

Annexation of Arapaho Ranch

A public hearing was continued from March 18 regarding Kayla Evans’ proposed annexation of 17 acres of Arapaho Ranch, known as Aspen Trails. The BOT had taken extensive public comment during the previous public hearing, and in order to allow time for Boulder County to review the application by its Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners, and for the BOT to review additional research, the BOT had continued the first public hearing to their May 6 meeting.

The Town and Boulder County also are awaiting the results of a Housing Needs Assessment, partnered between the Town of Nederland and Boulder County, and need at least the preliminary data from this study to be received before further consideration may take place. After some discussion and public input, the public hearing again has been continued to July 15, 2014.

Robert’s PUD

A final Planned Unit Development Review Application known as Robert’s PUD was reviewed by the Board. The PUD is located at 180 East 3rd Street, 181 and 187 East 2nd St, and 260 East St. The underlying zoning for the area is Neighborhood Commercial (NC). The applicants, Tom and Sally Grahn, plan to position their several lots for sale as residential units over time, replacing their mobile home park and small homes over a 20-year timeframe. The sales will be phased in in order to preserve their income from existing homes on the lots while encouraging redevelopment of the site.

The PUD application has been through several reviews and public hearings at the Planning Commission over the course of about 15 months. The PUD has been deemed generally compatible with adjacent land uses, and consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The Town has the capacity to serve the proposed use with water, sewer, fire and police protection. The number of dwellings permitted by the underlying zoning district is not exceeded by the PUD.

The PUD also utilizes the natural character of the land; includes compatible land uses; provides off-street parking as well as vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle circulation and outdoor recreation; is of overall compatible architectural design; achieves adequate screening, buffering, and aesthetic landscaping; avoids development of areas of potential hazard; and ensures compliance with performance standards.

The Robert’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) and final plat were reviewed and approved with a few suggestions for improving Tom and Sally Grahn’s plan.

Alpine Festival of the Arts denied

A Special Event Application from Steven Wallis for an Alpine Festival of the Arts, a summer arts and crafts fair proposed for August 2-3, 2014, was considered by the Board. Cathy Stiers had submitted several letters from people who had chronicled unpleasant experiences with the promoter’s shows, and some consumer complaints, all of which were considered by the Board. The application was denied 5 to 2 after public input and discussion among the Board members.

NedPeds final design

The NedPeds final design revisions were approved after Conor Merrigan’s presentation. The NedPeds project is moving toward going out to bid. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is completing a final review, and is anticipated to issue an approval for bidding within a couple of weeks, allowing the project to break ground in July.

The redesign to avoid two threatened spruce trees also eliminated the need for relocation of two fences, saving the project some construction costs; and the ecological work provided gives clear direction on work to be done to improve the habitat along the stream. Revisions to the design that had been suggested by the BOT have been completed.

The Board unanimously approved the NedPeds final design, with a contract amendment.

Action plan for SAP

Board members reviewed the action matrix related to the Sustainability Action Plan. Conor Merrigan presented the matrix, the scope of which includes work with the selected engineering firm on the Master Infrastructure Plan (MIP) project to identify sustainable practices related to storm water, water/wastewater, and streets systems; recommendations offered by the MIP engineering team related to infrastructure improvements, phasing, operation, and maintenance, and advice offered to align these with the Town’s sustainability goals; assistance to the MIP engineering team in incorporating Town infrastructure systems in the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System; and coordinate completion of the Sustainability Action Plan.

It also includes a review of the latest draft of the Nederland Comprehensive Plan for opportunities to integrate sustainable practices in land use codes and application review; provision of a final report detailing opportunities for more sustainable operations at the Town, integrating direction from the latest adopted versions of the Comprehensive Plan, Master Infrastructure Plan, and Sustainability Action Plan; and provision of any ideas for funding opportunities to help the Town reach its sustainability goals. Four of these goals already are complete, and three are in process.

The Board was pleased with the plan, commenting that it was a valuable document for future guidance.

The meeting adjourned at 10:58 pm, The next regular meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the Nederland Community Center, 750 Highway 72, Nederland, CO.

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Defiant Bulwell golf club vow to keep fighting

Bosses at the Bulwell-based Nottingham City Golf Club say it is business as usual – despite facing a very challenging period.

Nottingham Golf Centre, which ran with total independence from the golf club, is in the first stages of being put into creditors’ voluntary liquidation.

From 6th May, the club committee took over management of the clubhouse and course in conjunction with Nottingham City Council.

Club secretary Gary Chappell said: “Priority has been given to maintaining the course and machinery.

“To do this, equipment is being borrowed before a more permanent arrangement is put in place.

Security is being upgraded, with all areas constantly monitored by CCTV.

“The club has had no professional or proper golf shop since November 2005 and we are seeking to franchise shop space to give golfers a better service and to purchase playing equipment.,” said Mr Chappell.

Mr Chappell said landscaping of the course was due to be completed by the beginning of September this year.

He added: “The local community can contact me if they have any concerns. We would also like to hear from anyone with ideas of how they can help to get the course back to an acceptable level for all golfers and outlook for the whole community.

“The club will work closely with the contractor to make this happen.

Full membership up to 1st March 2015 will cost £299, including competition and green fees, seven days a week.

For further information call Mr Chappell on 077402 88694.

“Daily tickets can be purchased at £10, £8 and £5, depending on the time of day. More information can be obtained from the clubhouse on 0115 9272767. Also, the website will be kept up to date.

“Club captain Eric Hames, the committee and members would like to thank the City Council for all their support at this difficult time in keeping the club and course open as usual.”

The club course on Bulwell Hall Park was officially opened almost exactly 104 years ago — on 26th May 1910 — with 3,000 people turning up and the world’s four leading golfers of the day taking part.

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Developer wants Golden Gate Shopping Center to be ‘busy again’

It happened rather quickly.

Canadian businessman Mark Gold bought Golden Gate Shopping Center in March and, in six weeks time, subtle changes were visible. The storefronts looked cleaner and “coming soon” signs began to appear in the windows of buildings that had long been vacant.

And then there were the not-so-subtle changes. Like the traveling zoo that set up in the shopping center parking lot last week, complete with a white tiger named Sierra and a camel called Mr. Adair.

Welcome to the new Golden Gate Shopping Center.

Is Greensboro ready for it? Those with a stake in its future sure hope so.

“We would love to see local entrepreneurs (and) business owners give Golden Gate a try,” said Callie Wendt with Essa Commercial Real Estate, the company that handles leasing at the center. “It’s something that is changing a lot right now, so it will look a lot different in the next couple of months. Certainly, we hope to get as much interest as possible.”

The change will include a new name — The Village at Golden Gate. The term village is appropriate, perhaps, because Gold wants to make the center a family destination.

Thus, the traveling zoo and a host of “good surprises” Gold said he has in store for Golden Gate.

“I’m going to make this busy again,” Gold proclaimed last week during a visit to the shopping center.

Busy is something those familiar with Golden Gate say it hasn’t been in years. Wendt, who grew up near the shopping center, said it became a different place over the last several years.

“Definitely, the shopping center had more tenants, particularly when Harris Teeter was around,” Wendt said. “It was somewhere that you would go and see several people from your neighborhood.”

Harris Teeter closed in 2011. Food Lion is leasing that space to keep out competition.

Starbucks also left the center, as did a Hallmark shop, Wendt said.

But she pointed out that several of the remaining tenants — such as Vito’s Italian restaurant, Staples and VIP Nails — have withstood Golden Gate’s challenges.

“Many of the tenants that are currently there have been there for several years or more,” Wendt said.

There’s a reason for that, she said. Golden Gate is a shopping center that accommodates everyone.

By that, she means the shopping center caters to a mix of consumers. Golden Gate is surrounded by affluent Old Irving Park, middle-class neighborhoods and lower-income housing.

The diversity surrounding Golden Gate is one of the things Gold said he liked about the shopping center. He bought it in March from Beachwood, Ohio-based DDR Corp. for $7.1 million.

“It’s in the middle of the action,” Gold said.

Wendt said Golden Gate historically has been home to smaller businesses, as opposed to national retailers, and Gold said he wants to continue that tradition by filling the center with mom-and-pop tenants to complement the anchor stores, Staples and Food Lion.

“I welcome local tenants,” he said.

The Green Bean coffee shop is moving into the old Starbucks location and an antiques shop will open soon.

A hair salon, dollar store and restaurant will also join the shopping center, although Gold would not provide specifics on those businesses.

And while customers are shopping, they might want to swing by the adventure park Gold is planning — or pet an animal or two at the traveling zoo.

The Jungle Safari was at Golden Gate last week and attracted several visitors.

“I do this all over the United States and Canada,” Gold said of his redevelopment style.

Think it’s crazy? Think again.

Shopping centers are getting creative with how they attract customers. The idea that they are solely a place to buy goods “has kind of gone by the wayside,” said Jesse Tron, a spokesman with the International Council of Shopping Centers. Instead, what shopping centers are now trying to do is to give customers an experience.

It all stems from the hit the retail industry took during the recession, Tron said. Not only did people cut back on spending, but some retailers were forced to close their doors altogether.

As a result, Tron said landlords were faced with filling empty stores.

Do they wait for another retailer to occupy that space — or break tradition and go with a different type of tenant?

They broke with tradition.

For example, the Eden Mall in Rockingham County is now part flea market. Burlington’s indoor mall, Holly Hill, also operates as a community center of sorts, hosting events such as car shows.

Wendt said Gold has brought a new perspective to retail’s changing face. Essa Real Estate has gotten positive response from some of his ideas, such as the adventure park, although she acknowledges not everybody will like it.

Wendt said these new concepts are a risk but one she believes is worth taking.

As for Gold, well, he’s just excited. He drove through the center last week pointing out recent upgrades and those yet to come, such as new plants to adorn the outside of the buildings.

“It’s going to be really cool,” he said.

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April showers bring Frankie Flowers

Grimsby Lincoln News

GRIMSBY — Gardeners are a crazy group. They will go to extremes to have the perfect, round and lush tomatoes or a flawless long-stem rose.

“Gardeners are the craziest people in the world,” says Frank Ferragine, aka Frankie Flowers, one of the Canada’s most recognized experts on gardening and weather. “In order to have the perfect rose or perfect tomato, they will go to great lengths.”

In one of Ferragine’s older gardening books he writes of an old wive’s tale that procreating beneath a fruit trees will increase their yields. He has also heard of people urinating around the edges of their gardens to fend off deer.

There is one piece of gardening advice that always brings a smile to the television personality’s face.

“It’s called the bare bum test,” he says, “It’s one of the oldest pieces of advice that always makes me laugh. Soil temperature plays a big role in how plants will respond, seeds ail not germinate until the soil is between 15 and 20 degree. So the test, is that you pull down your pants and sit on the soil, it it’s warm enough to sit, it’s warm enough to plant.”

Ferragine will share these helpful tidbits and others May 23 as the Grimsby Garden Club teams up with the Grimsby Public Library and Grimsby Author Series to present an Evening with Frankie Flowers.

It took going to university for Ferragine to realize he was happy right where he was — running one of his families garden centres. Ferragine is a third generation greenhouse grower and farmer but when it came time to choose a career he decided to go against the grain. He had the vote of his grandfather.

“He told me the family needed a lawyer and I was the first one to go to university,” says Ferragine, who followed that advice, graduating from political science at Yokr University. After graduation, Ferragine took what he thought would be a one-year break before starting law school.

“When I got there, I realized that I really like to be outside and I like the creative aspect of landscaping,” he says. “And plants don’t back, so it’s way better than law.”

As part of an advertising deal, Ferragine began giving gardening advice on the local television station in Barrie. Eventually, that led to part-time weather reporting. Today, Ferragine is one of the country’s most trusted authorities and gardening and weather with gigs on Breakfast Television and CityLine. Ferragine has also written several gardening books and is a regular contributor to both Canadian Living Magazine and Canadian Gardening Magazine.

“My goal is to motivate people to garden,” says Ferragine. “I want to motivate people to get their hands dirty for the first time. I have the ability to convert a non-gardener into a gardener.”

Weather and gardening go hand in hand, says Ferragine. The best advice he can give to new gardeners is to pay attention to light and soil.

“If you pay attention to soil and light, you will generally have a successful garden,” says Ferragine, noting new gardeners should first focus on the type of light they have.

Ferragine also advises newbies not to let a few plant deaths dampen their dreams.

“We all kill plants,” he said. “Don’t get upset.”

While Ferragine has visited Grimsby several times and has close ties to Ed Sobkowich Greenhouses Ltd. He said he was excited to be sharing gardening advice in a “horticulture hotbed” like Grimsby.

Tickets for the May 23 presentation are $15 and are available in advance at the Grimsby Public Library, 25 Adelaide St. Limited tickets will be available at the door. Rosewood Estates Winery will provide the wine for the evening.

The presentation is part of the Grimsby Author Series @ the Library program in conjunction with the Grimsby Garden Club which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Rob Brydon among the celebrities enjoying Stoke …

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Rob Brydon are among the celebrities giving Stoke-on-Trent’s garden the thumbs up at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The city’s entry, ‘Positively Stoke’, was officially unveiled today at London’s horticultural showpiece, allowing celebrities and judges to enjoy the gardens before they open to the public tomorrow.

At last year’s competition, Stoke was awarded a silver medal, but it is hoped this year’s entry will bring back a top prize.

And with glowing praise from some of the country’s most popular celebrities, ‘Positively Stoke’ certainly has a good chance.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, the star of BBC’s Sherlock and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, was particularly taken with the garden’s water feature.

He said: “It is a gorgeous garden. The water just got me, I thought it was a continuous stream of water.”

For the second consecutive year, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has teamed up with experts Bartholomew Landscaping to design the garden.

The garden, which blends nature and enterprise, has been designed to represent Stoke’s transformation into a modernised and dynamic international city.

Highlights of the garden include a stainless steel water-feature and ceramic globes created by local firm Moorcroft Pottery, alongside plenty of trees and flowers.

Welsh comedian Rob Brydon said: “The garden is stunning. I love the way it flows from pink to white representing the heat of geothermal energy.”

Ortis Deley, from the Gadget Show, feels the garden shows off Stoke in a new way.

He said: “The garden looks amazing. The designer broke it down for me and walked me around the pool.

“The thing that was really exciting for me was the water representing Stoke’s geothermal energy source. I’m really interested in that and I had no idea Stoke had this source.

“The garden really puts Stoke in a new light, it is great.”

Gardener Diarmuid Gavin, loved the garden and was shown round it by Molly Bishop and Cory Stone, two Thistley Hough Academy students chosen as the city’s ambassadors.

He said: “This is a really wonderful garden – it is edgy, modern and has a wonderful flow.

“It is great that two students from Stoke have come all the way down to be ambassadors for their city.

“You could tell they were passionate about Stoke from the way they spoke with pride about the garden and showed off the wonderful Moorcroft ceramic globes.”

Vanessa Feltz, also escorted around the garden by Cory, described it as ‘exquisite’.

She said: “I have been having a marvellous lecture from Cory. There is nothing this fellow doesn’t know about the garden and he conducted his tour in the most gentlemanly fashion.

“I have had a belting time. The garden is exquisite and it is really a fly in the face of the fashion this year.

“A lot of the gardens are using very dark colours like purple, but this one uses magentas and pinks. The whole thing is wonderful.

“And the water, which cascades over our heads is truly gorgeous.”

Cory, aged 13, said: “The feature I like to point out the most is the first one people see, which is the pond and the water above our heads.

“The bubbles in it represent the geothermal heat source in our city. It really is an amazing thing to view.”

Molly, also aged 13, from Penkhull, helped to design the spheres in the garden.

And she was also on hand to explain to broadcaster Jeremy Paxman the ideas behind the garden.

She said: “Jeremy Paxman was really nice and interested in hearing all about the garden.

“I want to be involved in garden design when I’m older so it was great to be able to come down to Chelsea. It’s been a brilliant day.”

American actor Nick Nolte – who starred in films including Cape Fear and The Thin Red Line – said: “I saw Molly explaining to Paxman about the garden. She was brilliant, she didn’t give him a chance to get a word in edgeways. The Stoke-on-Trent garden is fantastic.”

Other celebrities spotted getting a glimpse of Stoke’s entry include Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Caroline Quentin, Nick Knowles and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

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Birds and your garden — a new book



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    Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before “Gilligan’s Island” went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

    Birds and your garden — a new book

    Posted by: Jim Williams
    Bird books,
    Birds in the backyard

    Updated: May 18, 2014 – 9:23 PM

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    Birdscaping in the Midwest: A Guide to Gardening with Native Plants to Attract Birds, Mariette Nowak, University of Wisconsin Press, soft cover, 335 pages, index, heavily illustrated, $34.95

    About once a year I receive for review a book purporting to guide birders to a yard/garden/landscape that attracts birds. This book, “Birdscaping in the Midwest,” is the first to deliver fully on the promise, plus more. 

    It covers far more topics than other books I’ve seen, in greater detail, with better text. It has illustrations not only beautiful (check the Tufted Titmouse photo on page 161) but also helpful. It has diagrams that show you not only which plants to use but how to place them in a garden for best effect. There are lists for everything, and sources for everything, the latter including books and websites.

    If the book was a bird it would be a big bird. If it was a flower it would be a gorgeous flower.

    The author, Mariette Nowak, is a professional, leader of a native plant and landscape group and for the Lakeland Audubon Society in Milwaukee. She is a public speaker on landscaping, native plants, and birds. Before retirement she was director of the Wehr Nature Center within the Milwaukee County park system.

    The book offers an education on native plants and birds. It would be interesting even if you have no plans for a garden. However, once you’ve page through it, the urge to make a plan and find a shovel could be strong. 

    Here is the table of contents: 

    Birds and Plants: an ancient collaboration, going native, the case against exotics.

    Gallery of Bird-habitat Gardens: photos.

    Native Habitat for Birds — the basics: getting started, planning and design, site prep and planting.

    Bird-habitat Gardens for Specific Birds: gardens for hummingbirds, prairie birds, migratory birds, winter birds, and birds of the savanna, woodlands, wetlands, and scrublands. Plus birdbaths and water gardens.

    Midwestern Plants that Attract Birds: trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, ferns, grasses, sedges, and rushes.

    Maintaining and Enhancing Your Garden, with information on bird housing and bird feeding, and advice on solving problems should they occur.

    Have you ever bought a packet of assorted wildflower seeds? I have. Bad idea, Ms. Nowak tells us. She writes of tests that have shown the average such packet to contain as much as 30 percent exotic-plant seed (you don’t want these!), and germination rates as low as 40 percent. The author advises buying seed from nurseries that specialize in native plants.

    There is a particular article discussing a Minnesota yard, one cursed with buckthorn. The removal and replacement is clearly and thoroughly discussed. I read this with interest. I’m in the midst of buckthorn removal, given the almost 100 percent viability of every seed in every berry, a project that might last a lifetime.

    The book would be valuable for a gardener who has no pointed interest in birds as well as birders, even those who don’t garden but want to know more about habitat, a key to finding birds. I suspect it would lead either in the direction of the other. There is almost as much information here about birds as there is about plants. This book deserves a place on the shelf next to your favorite bird guide book.

    Editor’s Note: We have made changes to our comment system. You can now post direct replies to comments. Comments are no longer available on articles and blog posts dated before May 1.


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    Tips for high yields in a small or thirsty garden

    How can you get the most yield from a garden where space is limited, and water is too?

    Plant smart, and pay attention to the soil.

    “Your garden is only as good as your soil,” said David Salman, chief horticulturist at High Country Gardens, a Santa Fe, N.M., catalog that specializes in native and low-water plants.

    Find out what nutrients your soil has — and what it’s missing — with a soil test, available through local cooperative extension offices at a nominal fee (home soil-test kits are less reliable, according to the Colorado State University Extension).

    Encourage plant health by fertilizing with natural, organic fertilizers, which include fish emulsion and liquid seaweed, said Salman. Limit the use of chemical fertilizers because they don’t help build the soil.

    “You will have more nutritionally complete vegetables if you have healthy soil,” he promised.

    One trick Salmon recommended, especially for gardeners living in new housing developments, is adding a soil inoculant called mycorrhiza, a beneficial fungi. It’s found naturally in healthy soil, but often needs to be added to a new garden.

    “New gardens in new subdivisions, their soil is scraped off as part of construction,” said Salman. “You need to put beneficial fungi back in.”

    Peas, beans and soybeans could benefit from legume inoculants, which are species-specific (a soybean inoculant cannot be used to improve peas’ growth). Read product labels carefully or ask your gardening center for assistance.

    “Your beans will do OK (without it), but if you really want to crank out the beans, you can do that with the inoculant,” said Salman. “It’s kind of a ‘grandma’s secret’ to growing great beans.”

    Plants that can offer high yields with low watering include leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce and spinach; beans, snow peas and sugar snap peas; and some varieties of cucumbers and squash, he says. Plant vining beans and peas if you have space or can grow them up a fence or trellis; plant bush beans and peas in large pots if space is limited.

    Sarah J. Browning, an extension educator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, suggests planting radishes, carrots, peppers, zucchini and summer squash for summertime bounty. Peppers grow well in dry conditions, said Browning, and root crops such don’t need frequent watering.

    “If you watered them well and then mulched them, I think you could get a crop with fairly small amounts of water input,” she said.

    Plant radishes early in the season or in part shade, and mulch them and other plants to retain moisture and combat weeds.

    Browning recommends the cherry tomato cultivar Sun Gold and the slicers Big Beef and Celebrity as great-tasting high producers. Also look for disease-resistant tomato varieties, which are easier to grow. Browning refers tomato lovers to Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences Extension’s “Tomato Report 2011,” which lists the best varieties in its tomato trials.

    Melissa Ozawa, a features editor for gardening at Martha Stewart Living magazine, recommends growing okra and Swiss chard; both are heat- and drought-tolerant. Melons also can handle less water once established because of their deep root systems, she said.

    Not all vegetables grow well in all regions, so read seed packets, matching days to maturation to your region’s growing season, Salman advised.

    “One of the big problems with horticulture in this country is everyone tries to be one-size-fits-all, and this is just too big of a continent to do that,” he said. “You don’t want to grow a 120-day watermelon in Denver. They can grow those in Texas, but the maturation period in Denver is much shorter.”

    Prolific, water-wise herbs include basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary, said Browning.

    Salman offers space-saving planting tips for herbs: Plant lavender and oregano along the dryer edges of your garden, since they’re the most heat-tolerant, and plant Greek oregano and dill, plus annual herbs such as basil and cilantro, among the root vegetables.

    Try growing perennials such as rosemary, English thyme, tarragon and lavender in your ornamental beds. They don’t require your vegetable garden’s mineral-rich soil, said Salman.

    Drought-tolerant flower varieties include coneflowers, hummingbird mint, salvia and blanket flowers, according to Ozawa. Other cutting-garden winners are cosmos, zinnias, sunflowers and larkspur, says Salman. His favorite late-season bloomer is the Mexican sunflower.

    “If there’s a bee or butterfly in a 10-mile radius, they’ll find that Mexican sunflower,” he said.

    Article source:

    Tips on flower beds and borders

    Oh go on then! You’ve been champing at the bit for weeks now. The daffs are long gone, the tulips are over and you are desperate to plant your summer bedding – the petunias and the tobacco plants, the French marigolds and the… well, just about everything.

    Now I hate to be a wet blanket and put a dampener on things, but do keep an eye on the weather forecast. 

    If any late frosts are threatened, get ready to cover the newly-planted bedding with a layer of fleece. It really will save you a lot of money, as well as preventing your plants from looking as if they have been singed.

    But first to the plants themselves. Buy bushy ones – not tall, spindly ones that are plastered in flowers. Choose plants with a few open blooms so that you can see the colour of the flowers, but with masses of buds that will open and give their all in the garden rather than the nursery or the garden centre.

    Avoid any pots and trays that have dried out – you’ll be able to tell since the compost will have shrunk away from the sides of the pot or tray and the plants may look a bit sad.  

    When you get the plants home give them a good soak before planting – dry root balls are very difficult to re-wet once they are under the soil. Prepare the soil by sprinkling over it a good dusting of blood, bone and fishmeal, and then lightly forking it over to remove any weeds and loosen up the surface.

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    Garden app: A touch of grass: An app for designing your garden? It’s what …

    16:00 EST, 17 May 2014


    16:01 EST, 17 May 2014

    Having finally run out of excuses not to do the garden, I turned to an app, not a person.

    My garden is almost indistinguishable from a council rubbish tip, bar a few near-dead trees, and one frighteningly aggressive fox – who seems to be the garden’s real ‘owner’.

    It’s a big job – and the problem with real, human gardeners is that they’re terribly demanding and expensive.

    You'd think gardening would be the very last hold-out against hi-tech - but smartphones and tablets are actually staging a quiet, and very polite, revolution

    You’d think gardening would be the very last hold-out against hi-tech – but smartphones and tablets are actually staging a quiet, and very polite, revolution

    Garden designers quote prices for which I’d expect the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, whereas iScape and Garden Plan Pro let me try out my own ideas, in 3D, using pictures of my garden, for just £6.99.

    My iPad is no good with a shovel, but when it comes to planning, or reminding me when (and where) to plant bulbs, it’s perfect.

    Turn to my PC, and for a little more outlay, I can buy something very similar to the design software that the ‘creative type’ who rattled off words like ‘pergola’ and ‘gazebo’ as she pitched for the job (in an effort to overcome my natural Scottish reluctance to part with money) would have used herself.

    Garden app

    Garden app

    From weather apps that warn of coming frost to sensor spikes that pair with apps and remind you to bring out the watering can, or warn against over-acid soil… has arrived in the garden. Crochet and origami must be the only non-digital hobbies left

    …technology has arrived in the garden. Crochet and origami must be the only non-digital hobbies left

    Then hardware steps in to help. You’d think gardening would be the very last hold-out against hi-tech – but smartphones and tablets are actually staging a quiet, and very polite, revolution.

    From weather apps that warn of coming frost to sensor spikes that pair with apps and remind you to bring out the watering can, or warn against over-acid soil, technology has arrived in the garden.

    Crochet and origami must be the only non-digital hobbies left.

    Even if you actively loathe gardening, I can’t recommend Garden Plan Pro highly enough.

    It’s designed for idiots (like me), and improved the yearly survival rate of my seedlings from something around the level of a Soviet labour camp to the rate in an ordinary suburb. From one app, that’s good going.




    This app pinpoints your location using GPS, then you plan your plot on a grid pattern (the app gives advice on where, say, broccoli grows best, and what to put next to it). A calendar keeps you busy, with dates to plant bulbs, sow and harvest, and warnings of first frost, all tailored to your location.                           ★★★★★



    £6.99, iPad

    For an instant insight into whether an idea is good or bad, few apps beat this – it lets you take a photo of your garden, render it into 3D, then add in virtual objects, with 1,000 features from ponds to cacti to walls to tinker with. You can save designs and compare and share with friends.   ★★★★



    £50, PC

    This is a consumer spin-off from the 3D software used by the professionals – and if you’re planning a truly epic redesign, you can create a near photoreal version of the garden of your dreams. There are 3,600 plants (with tips on where to plant them), and the app even estimates cost.                  ★★★★★




    Help is finally at hand for those who have whatever the opposite of green fingers is, and kill off their plants. The Koubachi has a sensor that pairs with an app via Wi-Fi, reminding users when to water their plants, and contains a light sensor and a temperature sensor so that the plants don’t go thirsty, or drown.




    Robot mowers don’t come cheap, but then you don’t want cut-price circuits in an autonomous machine that reduces cuttings to dust, and which can climb 24-degree slopes on its own. You have to wire off your lawn with steel wire first, or Miimo will drive into the distance, mowing everything in its path.




    The idea of a home office is lovely, but the reality is more like being under siege from your own family. Micro Pod is the dream: it has underfloor heating, electricity, is clad in Siberian larch and requires no planning permission. Peace at last – but we suggest adding a deadbolt lock, just to be sure.




    Previous generations had to tap at the glass on a barometer, hoping for some vague prophecy about the weather; this has an outdoor sensor and warns of coming ice (so you can protect plants). A window display unit shows you trends in pressure – and predicts if storms, fog or wind are on the way.




    We’ll admit it, there is not a single microchip inside this, nor does it pair with an app, but when it comes to redesigning a garden, no one should be without a flamethrower. The paraffin-fuelled gizmo delivers a blast of flame at 1,000°C, killing all weeds pretty much instantly.

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    Romford Uk,

    18 hours ago

    There are loads of apps for crochet. Do your research

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