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Archives for November 4, 2015

EDC challenge helps student entrepreneurs in Island County – Whidbey News

Businesspeople from throughout Island County have volunteered to mentor high school students in the first “student entrepreneur challenge,” sponsored by the county’s Economic Development Foundation, said the challenge’s director, Sami Postma.

“The challenge is intended to give students tools and confidence to succeed,” Postma said. The group hopes to make the challenge an annual event.

So far, nine teams, each with between three and five students, signed up for the competition, she said. Each team is required to write a business plan, recruit investors and sell a product or service for one week.

The team with the highest profit at week’s end will win an in-school scholarship of $250.

Additional prizes include $100 per student for the most creative business and $100 per student for best use of Sno-Isle Libraries resources. The awards will be distributed at a dinner Dec. 11.

Of the nine teams, seven are from Oak Harbor, one from Camano and one from South Whidbey.

Each team will be assigned a mentor. Business ideas so far include selling candy or candles, baking, catering, landscaping, and taking portraits of seniors who can’t afford professional photographs.

Mentors include Chris Anderson from Century 21 Trophy, Oak Harbor; Lisa Bernhardt from the Pacific Northwest Art School, Coupeville; Jeff Ericson from Camano Island Coffee Roasters, Camano; Kimberly Hoctor from the Handbag Consignment Shop, Coupeville; Melissa McCumber from Whidbey Island Bank, Oak Harbor; Ron Nelson from the Economic Development Council, Coupeville; George Saul from Oak Harbor; Connor Tassof from Serendipity Catering, Coupeville; and Traci Winn from Porter Whidbey Insurance, Freeland.

The Economic Develop-ment Council Foundation pursues grants and educational opportunities.

 

Article source: http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/business/340002211.html

My 2.5 Star Trip to Amazon’s Bizarre New Bookstore

Amazon’s new brick and mortar bookstore is wildly banal. The only thing it disrupts is foot traffic heading toward a Restoration Hardware. So why does it exist?

Amazon Books—yes, Amazon named their bookstore Amazon Books—is across the street from a Tommy Bahama, at the entrance to an upscale outdoor shopping mall named University Village. (The mall resembles neither a University nor a village, though it does have very nice landscaping, a place that sells athletic woolens, and a Starbucks at either end.) It opened at 9:30 yesterday morning. When I arrived at eleven there were a dozen people being held outside by a man with a walkie talkie “to prevent overcrowding.” Some in line had heard about the opening on local TV spots. Many took photos in line and again once they were in the store. “Who’s inside?” a woman with three visible bangles asked me. I told her that I did not think any authors were inside, but that the store was opening today. I did not use the phrase Day One, but wondered whether the staff, including presumably Walkie Talkie, had taken a moment before opening that morning to reflect on Amazon’s jargon, including that bit of eschatology. He did seem to have a zeal.

Rumors that Amazon might be moving into the location first surfaced in Shelf Awareness, a bookselling trade newsletter. On Monday Amazon sent out a press release announcing the store would open the following day.

Tuesday morning at 9:30, Amazon Books will open its doors. These aren’t metaphorical doors: these real, wooden doors are the entrance to our new store in Seattle’s University Village. … Amazon Books is a store without walls – there are thousands of books available in store and millions more available at Amazon.com. Walk out of the store with a book; lighten your load and buy it online (Prime customers, of course, won’t pay for shipping); buy an eBook for your Kindle; or add a product to your Amazon Wish List, so someone else can buy it.

The store is physically odd. It betrays inexperience with retail. The stacks are situated too close to one another so that you have to brush past other browsers—Paco Underhill’s famed “butt brush”—and can’t comfortably bend down to see books on lower shelves. The first display tables are too near the doors, which discourages browsing. Above the shelves along the walls are bays of books, spine out, there simply for decoration. They have no bearing on the books below them. Kindles are sold, of course, but also Amazon Fire TV sticks. Quite a bit of real estate is devoted to a line called Amazon Basics which appear to be, for the most part, bluetooth speakers modelled after the ones that Nicki Minaj interacts with in the beginning of her music videos, the kind that look like pink lozenges.

The store assumes familiarity with Amazon.com. This goes beyond understanding whether 4.5 stars is, in fact, a good if oddly precise number of stars. A shelf labelled “Most Wishlisted Cookbooks” faced the line of excited customers outside. Goodreads—a property of Amazon—is mentioned in displays. There is a desk labelled Amazon Answers. Presumably the questions asked of Amazon are answered by a human employee of the store, though it’s unclear if some sort of Delphic process involving candles and chanting occurs.

Crucially, books in the store are priced as they are on Amazon’s site. Discounts are steep, generally in the range of twenty to thirty percent off of list price. Signs to this effect are up throughout the store, alongside price scanners to drive the point home. They are not as cheap, overall, as the remaindered titles—dead stock bought from publishers and resold at a discount by specialty vendors—that populate tables at the entrance to Seattle’s University Book Store just up the hill, but they are new books. Or, they’re what passes for new in the trade. The book I bought—Jane Yolen’s classic Owl Moon—had remnants of an old sticker on the back.

Matching online prices is crucial to the conceit of Amazon Books: the store is not just an overcrowded ex-sushi restaurant with limited selection and a creepily insistent smile in its logo, but a physical extension of the site itself.

Each book in the store is displayed face-out, and no book is displayed more than once. This display method limits the stock that can be carried. Amazon Books stock about five titles per three linear feet of shelving, while most bookstores more than triple that. It may also be meant to mimic the way books are presented on Amazon’s site. This fact, the full visibility of all covers, is noted as a distinction between Amazon Books and traditional stores in the Seattle Times writeup of the location. Of course, all bookstores face out books. Which percentage will be faced out in a store is more a question of philosophy and aesthetics than a sign of a radical new approach. Borders, for instance, was known for having a high percentage of face outs. Also a slow supply chain. RIP, Borders.

Books are not always arranged in a clear manner. On the memoir wall Frederick Douglass abuts Anne Frank, herself next to Ben Carson. Amazon is disrupting the alphabet. RIP, alphabet.

Selection is, of course, limited. Nineteen-Eighty-Four is not present in the store. Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquietude is. RIP, irony, long live a more subtle irony.

Below many books is a small placard—booksellers call them shelf-talkers—giving the book’s average star rating and one of the reviews posted for the book on the site. These blurbs are credited to Amazon account screen names. “Imagine seeing yourself in here” one customer said to another with an identical haircut. Of course these lack the human touch of typical shelf-talkers, but sometimes you have to break a few eggs when you’re taking on those legendarily powerful gatekeepers, indie booksellers writing in unsteady blue ballpoint about books they love.

The staff carried small handheld scanners to help them locate books. I felt a strange thrill when I noted this, I think because it’s a recognizable echo of the devices which direct employees in Amazon’s warehouses where to find the next item they’re meant to ship. When the store did not have a book a customer was looking for—part of the excellent Bone series by Jeff Smith in this instance—the bookseller tapped at the device and then advised her to find it online. “I just thought I’d ask in case you had it in the back somewhere” the customer explained. They did not have it in the back somewhere.

The staff are drawn from within Amazon, from local bookstores, from libraries. Robert Sindelar of Third Place has said that some of his staff were contacted by Amazon recruiters through LinkedIn. Pam Cady, manager of the general books department at University Book Store was contacted as well. Cady received LinkedIn messages and an email. It was very personal in tone, but ended with a simple choice: a button to indicate whether or not she was interested in the offer. “I clicked not interested.”

Amazon Books is paying its booksellers well—wages begin at $18 an hour, with benefits. That’s well above starting rates at most indies; it also comes in ahead of Seattle’s impending $15 minimum wage. The effort Amazon had to exert to recruit these talented booksellers—they were noticeably good at their jobs—and the wages they’ve had to offer, stand in an odd juxtaposition to one of the central ideas of the site. Take the shelf-talkers. Amazon has always asserted that there is value—financial and culturally—to letting readers decide which books are good. Now, not only are they bringing in gatekeepers (the press release uses the word “curator”) to tweak and hone those lists of books, and to present the books in an attractive and reasonably intelligent manner, but they’ve had to pay them well in order to bring them into the Amazon fold. This is, first, one of Amazon’s occasional seemingly accidental acts of decency in their continued expansion, but it is also a hell of a big asterisk on what has been their guiding principle: that books are all made equal and people can choose what they want with little oversight or guidance.

University Book Store—begun by students in 1900—is just up the road from University Village, and while they serve superficially different markets, it’s difficult not to see Amazon’s choice of location as yet another act of aggression toward indie bookstores. Amazon, for all their size, has remained attentive, even covetous, of independent booksellers. They famously built an app to allow customers to scan barcodes in a physical bookstore and buy the book online, at a lower price, instead. That practice—scanning with the Amazon app—is standard operating procedure at the new store. They have a poster walking customers through the steps.

Speaking over her reading-stack-as-topography desk Cady outlined a history of other provocations by her city’s tech giant. Amazon staff have wielded clipboards in sign-up efforts directly outside of at least two of her store’s locations. We speculated about what Amazon might be paying for their University Village lease, and whether it, like the recently cancelled Amazon Payments system, would last a year. The mall where Amazon’s book store is housed was home to a flagship Barnes Noble until five years ago. At least a few of University Book Store’s current booksellers were employees there. BN declined to stay when rent was increased on their space, even with a reduced footprint. It will be extremely difficult for Amazon Books, indeed any bookstore, to be profitable in the location. 

Cady had already visited Amazon Books opening morning, as had some of her staff. They spoke about it with exaggerated grimaces, more dismissive than unnerved. “The selection is not bad,” Cady emphasized. Indeed, the store carries books by some prominent independent publishers—Coffee House Press, Europa Editions, Melville House—and the selection on their front fiction table would not have been out of place at many indie bookstores. The new Kenzaburo Oe was there, as was the new Mary Gaitskill, the new Joy Williams. It was not wildly adventurous but neither was it uninteresting.

The kernel of difference between Amazon’s new store and existing bookstores, according to Amazon, is that their store is stocked using a broader and—the implication is—a more accurate field of data. Take a moment to genuflect if you like. These selections sourced from bestsellers, pre-orders and Goodreads ratings are tweaked by the store’s booksellers. The process offers up some oddities—some books in the fiction section in particular seemed to be from vanity presses. But all in all it’s a good selection. The thing is, independent bookstores have access to lists of bestsellers as well, both in their own store and across independents through analytics subscription programs like Above the Treeline. They also use that data to tweak what they stock. It’s not only not unusual: it’s central to how they do business. If the difference between Amazon Books and indies is whether they use sales data and online recommendations to decide what to stock, there is no difference at all.

This, then, is the biggest oddity. As I walked the perimeter of the store past the Seusses and the Yolens and the Here’s How to Use an Ax to Kill a Bear or Whatever books, the main thing that struck me is that this store is not a disruption of the idea of the bookstore. Certainly selling USB sticks that allow you to stream episodes of Suits in the middle of a store is some kind of disruption, but Amazon is not somehow doing things better. Nothing in the store is an idea original to Amazon, or even one that hasn’t long been the practice of even the least competent bookstores around the world. There are many bookstores that are worse in every aspect than Amazon’s new venture, to be sure, but not because Amazon has somehow solved the bookstore.

Or, that’s not exactly right. Because Amazon has come up with a solution to the bookstore. The secret is to have such power and buy in such quantity that you can dictate your own discounts to publishers. Buy books by the pallet and then, why not, send six of those to your outlet at the mall under the overpass. That surely helps keep the cost of goods down. Most independent bookstores spend between fifty three and fifty-six percent of their total revenue on inventory. Having already demanded far better margins from publishers, Amazon could spend that money elsewhere in a store’s PL: on an exorbitant rent, for instance, on better wages, on deep store-wide discounts. The other solution: as always, be big enough to lose money. Amazon has proven the value of that approach for most of the lifespan of the company. Now they’re just implementing that dictum in a corner lot near an Eddie Bauer and a Free People.

If the store is a test model for a potential fleet of Kindle showrooms, it is not a great success. The Kindle displays are cramped and lost amidst the books that surround them. Nor is this of the scale to be a Chess move in their ongoing battle with Wal-Mart. A more interesting idea is that Amazon could roll out a few stores as locations to display the books Amazon themselves publish—their difficulty in getting Amazon Publishing books onto physical shelves remains a significant obstacle. But that tactic was not in evidence at Amazon Books on Tuesday. If Amazon Publishing books were there, they were not in such a preponderance that I immediately noticed them. It’s tempting, as ever, to chalk this project up to a whim. The store’s director Jennifer Cast is responsible for another whim from Bezos—a 2012 donation of $2.5 million to a nonprofit fighting for marriage equality. Perhaps Cast just wanted to run a bookstore and is extremely persuasive?

Amazon Books—like the surrounding mall—feels like it’s predicated on anxiety. Its very existence may be meant as an answer to anxieties within the company about a persistent inability to overcome the question of ‘discovery,’ both for Amazon Publishing titles and in general—the company remains dependent on consumers finding products they’re interested elsewhere and then buying them, presumably at a discount, from Amazon.com. But other anxieties dictated what the store was allowed to become. The store is aggressively inoffensive. It is nice only insofar as it is bland and has good lighting and they let a customer take his pretty chill dog in. The store is the physical incarnation of a monolithic business of immense wealth that is changing the face of literature itself, but from within it is all very boring, very safe, in an upscale grey palette kind of way.

What is the opposite of disruption? It is, as it turns out, fitting in perfectly beside a Jonathan Adler.

Dustin Kurtz works in independent publishing and lives in Portland, OR. 

Article source: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/123352/my-25-star-trip-amazons-bizarre-new-bookstore

5 Landscaping Ideas For Sellers

Posted by Staff Reporter (media@realtytoday.com) on Oct 05, 2015 07:20 AM EDT


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ALTADENA, CA – MARCH 27: An auction signs stands in a yard of a residence to be sole on Mar 27, 2008 in Altadena, California. Houses are being prepared for an 11-day foreclosure auction of some-more than 1500 southern California homes. Cleaning adult foreclosed properties is full-time work as home foreclosures bang in a arise of a sub-prime loan crises, heading to deserted and run-down properties that conceal adjacent home values and reduce skill taxation revenues. Sub-prime loans make adult 14% of sum mortgages and about 60% of foreclosures. (Photo : David McNew/Getty Images)

When intensity buyers lift adult to your home, they would initial see your house’s exterior, a yard, a trees, and a flowers. If they see wilting flowers and a grass that hasn’t seen a mower in a year, they would expected have a sense that this skill is not good taken caring of. You wouldn’t wish that, right?

So if we consider that landscaping is not as critical as your home interior, we competence wish to consider again. Although it is not as permanent as new roofing, we really would wish to embody it in a selling budget.

Here are 5 landscaping ideas that sellers can use to put their A-game on a quell interest dialect according to Realty Times:

Get absolved of anything dead

Unless we are going for a haunted, deserted thesis for your home, afterwards there is no reason for upheld leaves, trees, and flowers to hang out in your lawn. Get absolved of all them and fill in a space they have left with uninformed flowers, potted plants, or even yard art and now boost your quell appeal.

Cut and weed a grass

If your residence is on a market, afterwards we should make mowing a weekly hobby. Maintaining your grass and creation certain that we get absolved of weeds will make your quell interest intensity customer prepared any time, any day.

Replace or censor leggy bushes

You don’t wish your underbrush to have legs longer than torsos. You can possibly lift them out or reinstate or we can also keep them dark by building plant boxwoods, or carrying tiny bushes, mulch, timber chips, or sand in front of them.

Improve both hardscapes and softscapes

Make your quell interest engaging by adding musical stones, tiles, bricks or petrify to a ethereal hold that flowers, plants and grasses bring. The resisting reduction is certain to emanate that overwhelming outcome for your lawn.

Light a way

Lighting is not usually musical though serves as confidence as well. Make a outward of your residence a site to spy during night with a use of lighting – they don’t even have to be expensive. Install lights adult a trees or have lanterns light a travel approach to beam your approach during night or have flare lights stress a healthy blooms even in dark – all of those are certain to give your quell interest a most indispensable boost and will also save we from tripping on a corridor steps.

© 2015 Realty Today All rights reserved. Do not imitate but permission.

This entrance upheld by a Full-Text RSS use – if this is your calm and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, greatfully review a FAQ during fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Article source: http://www.hillcountrytimes.com/5-landscaping-ideas-for-sellers/

Celebrate with gardening books

The first Saturday of November is National Book Lovers Day. Books of all kinds, in all formats, are grand, but for me nothing beats a printed paperbook when it comes to a “How To” topic like gardening. To help you celebrate National Book Lovers Day, and possibly get a jump on your holiday shopping, here are a baker’s dozen of my picks from among recently published garden books.

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden, by Karen Newcomb (Ten Speed Press, 2015) is a worthy volume. This is an entirely revised and updated version of the guide which can help you “grow tons of organic vegetables in tiny spaces and containers.”  

Foodscaping, by Charlie Nardozzi (Cool Springs Press, 2015) offers ways to add food to your landscape. Since you have to water and care for your landscape, why not have it feed you? 

On that theme, Grow Figs Where You Think you Can’t, by Steven Biggs (No Guff Press, 2012) is a great book. Yes, a few years old, but the self-confessed “Fig Pig” has encouraging words for anyone who wants to grow figs. His writing is easy and lighthearted — the book is just plain fun to read.

So if you have grown all this food, how do you prepare it? You might need a cookbook. The Renee’s Garden Cookbook by Renee Shepherd and Fran Raboff (Shepherd Publishing, 2015) is a outstanding choice, because along with delicious recipes it offers plenty of great growing advice.  

The foundation of any garden is its soil. Our Southwestern soils are a gardener’s nightmare, but two recent books can help you turn your rock-hard soil into something to write home about. The Real Dirt on Composting by Cheryl Wilfong (Heart Path Press, 2015) can help you get started. Building Soil by Elizabeth Murphy (Cool Springs Press, 2015) offers a “down to earth approach” and discusses helpful techniques plus some of the biology of what goes into making great soil, complete with ample color photos.

Traditional Arid Lands Agriculture: Understanding the Past for the Future edited by Scott Ingram and Robert Hunt (University of Arizona Press, 2015) is a scholarly tome with fascinating information invaluable to help us plan a sustainable future around the globe, not just in arid environments.

If you don’t want to fuss with food, but are concerned with allergies, reach for The Allergy Fighting Garden by Thomas Ogren (Ten Speed Press, 2015). Subtitled “Stop asthma and allergies with smart landscaping,” I only wish he would have more fully covered Southwestern plants. Hmm, I guess that will have to be my next book. 

Speaking of “scaping,” Rooted in Design by Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give (Ten Speed Press, 2015) offers some charming tips on creative indoor plantings. Bring the garden inside.

For whimsy in your life, have you tried fairy gardening? Fairy Gardening by Julie Bawden-Davis and Beverly Turner (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013) and Fairy Gardening 101 by Fiona McDonald (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014) are flat-out fun. Both have ample color photographs to help you daydream and create your own little gardens for the fairies to visit.

For the traditionalists, turn to Gnomes: Deluxe Collectors Edition by Wil Huygen, illustrated by Rien Poortvliet (Abrams Press, 2011). I have lost myself for hours in this book. Why would anyone want to passively stare at a screen when these whimsical drawings and magical prose can transport you to another world?

Last but not least, Owls by artist and ornithologist Matt Sewell (Ten Speed Press, 2015) features watercolors that capture the spirit of these lovable birds — ideal for anyone whoo has ever been charmed by owls.  

 (Editor’s Note: On the topic of books, Soule is the author of a number of gardening books. Her latest, “Fruit and Vegetable Gardening in the Southwest” (Cool Springs Press, 2014) is available in area nurseries and botanical gardens. More information at gardeningwithsoule.com and on her Facebook page, Gardening With Soule.)

Article source: http://www.tucsonlocalmedia.com/features/article_dc219300-82af-11e5-b78a-f30d0c25a151.html

How Sean Knibb is Saving the Earth, One Garden at a Time

LA designer-to-the-stars Sean Knibb brings artistry to the sustainable garden.

The hand that greens: Landscape designer Sean Knibb, photographed at his studio, Knibb Design, brings his signature lush sustainability to parched SoCal gardens.

Deep into the fourth year of California’s drought, many Los Angeles homeowners are exploring ways to conserve diminished water resources while still maintaining their lush SoCal landscape. Enter designer Sean Knibb, whom design junkies may know from his decorated spaces at The Line Hotel. In addition to creating high-end residences for A-listers such as Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, and Halle Berry, for 25 years Knibb has designed sustainable landscapes, many of them requiring watering only once a week.

Here Knibb discusses sustainable landscaping for beginners, as well as Flowerboy Project (824 Lincoln Blvd., Venice), his new Venice shop marrying freshly cut flowers, coffee, and design. His first foray into retail, Flowerboy Project is a collaboration with the design-minded couple, Lindsay and Raan Parton, behind the Arts District’s Alchemy Works and features accessories from the LA brands Apolis and Clare Vivier, artwork by photographer Will Adler, and a curated selection of found objects and sculpture.

Your recent Beverly Hills project for Dwight and Bruce Stuart, heirs to the Carnation fortune, requires watering only once a week. Is this doable for budding gardeners?
You do have to be committed. Basically, we’re training the garden to behave the way we want it to behave. It takes about a season. We slowly start to wean the plants off water, just watering enough to keep everything healthy. You could even train your roses to be water-wise. The look of the plants changes—leaf size might shrink, or they might be a little smaller—but they’re green and still flowering.

Your projects don’t look like the typical drought-tolerant gardens. How do you achieve such lushness?
We tend to work within a grass-like palette. My point of view is to create a lush, textural, green garden that is water- and drought-resistant and manageable, not necessarily to create a succulent garden with an Arizona/Nevada desert feel.

What are some of your favorite plants to use?
I like a deconstructed meadow, so I use grasses and add plants like roses, oakleaf hydrangea, and boxwood to make a landscape that looks like a formal garden that was left to grow wild. So you still have these remnants of the clean, cultivated English garden — but it’s gone rogue!

Article source: http://la-confidential-magazine.com/sean-knibb-sustainable-garden

Container gardening: An Autumn landscaping must

With Autumn in full swing, garden lovers are continuing to improve their landscapes in advance of winter. Some are choosing to up their game in the container gardening department, bringing immediate color to their home landscape by placing vibrant colored flowers in pots strategically placed around the home or lining their driveway. They know that before the snow hits they can always move the plants indoors if they want, or place them in more sheltered spots outdoors.

Container gardening is a smart choice if you want to change the landscape on your property fairly frequently throughout the year without having to dig up and replant bulbs or flowers when you do. For those looking for an ideal bright and vivid perennial to keep in the pot year-round there is the Saucy Red Salvia or its sister plant the Saucy Wine Salvia, both from Southern Living Plant Collection. This Autumn I have both housed in one container pot at my North Georgia trial garden, making the most of the two powerful colored flowers. The falling leaves make a good backdrop for the vivid color display, which will undoubtedly continue to entertain with vibrant hue shades on into winter.

Interestingly, these SLPC plants are meant for USDA Planting Zones 9-10; not for Georgia’s Zone 7. And yet they have been faithful to bloom profusely, staunchly proving their mettle in a geographical zone they are not meant to be planted in, let alone thrive. But I find that is happening a lot when it comes to the Southern Living brand: Plants that seem to live and thrive outside their suggested planting zones. And that is why I keep refusing to plant anything in the North Georgia trial garden that is not from Southern Living. I don’t want to have to dig up dead plants or waste my time putting them in the ground or containers if they are not going to live and bring a lot of beauty to the landscape–for a long time. I’ve tried the other flowers; they just don’t deliver as promised.

Fortunately, Southern gardeners can count on me to give them the skinny on the SLPC options, so they don’t have to buy and experiment themselves. So if you are looking for a way to brighten up your dreary winter, this is the perennial for you. And here is where you can buy it.

Article source: http://www.examiner.com/article/container-gardening-an-autumn-landscaping-must

Get Growing: Robyn offers tips for getting your garden ready for the cold

Well, it was a record growing season, and that bittersweet moment of first frost has arrived. Our field was hit pretty hard, and though it was sad to see another season come to a close, most people are ready for a break.

But, before you pack it in for another season, there are a few more things left to do to prepare your garden for winter.

Pick up stakes, irrigation and tools: Before the first snow hits, you’ll want to make sure all of your garden tools are tucked safely away so they don’t get rusty over winter. Take a few moments to close down the garden by picking up any leftover tomato stakes, irrigation, plastic mulch and tools. You want the ground to be ready to be tilled in or dug next spring without having to worry about anything from last year getting into the soil.

Grow a cover crop: Bare soil is actually bad for your garden over winter, so I do not recommend clearing plants and just leaving an empty plot. So, if you have cleared this year’s plants, you can throw a cover crop down of winter rye (you can get this at Weaver’s Hardware, or online at Groworganic.com.) This will grow up until January, go dormant over winter, and then continue growing in March before being tilled in the next spring before you plant the new garden. This makes sure you don’t have an exposed bare-soil garden over winter, and your soil will love all of the benefits of the nitrogen-fixing winter rye.

Save seeds: If you have had a few herbs or vegetables flower and go to seed, now is a great time to save them. Cilantro, basil, and nasturtium seeds are especially easy to preserve; just wait till the seedpod develops on the flower head, harvest and save in a mason jar. You can also just snip flower heads off your favorite plants and save them in paper bags. They will dry out, and you’ll have your own sustainable seed bank next year.

Forage: Depending on where you live, you may not have been hit too hard by frost yet. If that’s the case, now is the time to forage for end-of-season greens, herbs and even tomatoes to stock up before the big freeze sets in. Any tomato or pepper that shows even a blush of color will ripen off the vine, so pick those last veggies and leave them on the counter. In a few days or weeks, you’ll have one last burst of summer, and be glad you did.

Extend the season: If you have a lot of cold-tolerant vegetables such as lettuce, kale, cabbage and radishes, you can add row covers or Agribon to provide a few extra degrees of frost protection, and continue harvesting through December or even January. If you have a cold frame, you can transplant greens into it to help preserve them over the winter. They will go dormant in January, but start growing strong in March, so you’ll have a healthy supply of early spring greens.

Reflect: Before you close up shop, take a few moments to reflect on this past growing year. I like to keep a journal of my favorite varieties, new recipes, and tips that I learned from the year so I have an ongoing record. It’s fun to look back at gardens of the past and remember the lessons you learned, and what new varieties thrived.

Robyn Jasko of Kutztown is the author of “Homesweet Homegrown: How To Grow, Make and Store Food, No Matter Where You Live,” and the creator of the blog GrowIndie at www.growindie.com. Reach her at robyn@goindie.com.

Article source: http://www.readingeagle.com/berks-country/article/get-growing-robyn-offers-tips-for-getting-your-garden-ready-for-the-cold

Capital Gardening Services Ltd – Garden Design and Landscaping Wins High 5 …

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

Edinburgh, UK — (SBWIRE) — 11/03/2015 — Lucky Edinburgh landscaper Andy Shaw and garden designer Chris Wright are certain to turn their mates green with envy after winning a nationwide competition to find the best landscaping and garden design job in Britain, fronted by Melinda Messenger.

Andy Shaw and business partner Chris Wright (MA Landscape Architecture), from Edinburgh, caught the eye of Cowboy Builders presenter Melinda and the Travis Perkins High 5 judges with their beautiful work which showcased an impressive multi-level garden using different materials.

Capital Gardening Services Ltd are experts in garden design in Edinburgh, garden landscaping Edinburgh and garden maintenance Edinburgh. They are fully insured and very professional. With over 30 years commercial experience of Edinburgh garden design, Edinburgh garden landscaping and Edinburgh garden maintenance you can be sure of a professional service.

The first part of the prize was lunch with Melinda at the glamorous Kensington Roof Gardens, as well as winning a luxury city break for two.

Hundreds of entries flooded in from customers across the region keen to give a high five to the people who transformed their outdoor space into something special.

The judges were blown away by a variety of residential and community work which included innovative use of materials, creative paving, beautiful planting and many more that were sent in by entrants.

A total of five regional winners were crowned, from Scotland, Wales, northern, central and southern England.

The 47 year old winner, Andy says: “I love my work and take a lot of pride in it, so to be honoured like this is really special. I’m not sure what’s better – winning the prize or getting to meet Melinda Messenger!”

Melinda Messenger adds: “Travis Perkins wanted to see the best landscaping the country has to offer and the entries we received confirmed the quality of work that’s going on all over the country. Picking the winners was incredibly hard, but Andy’s entry stood out. I really enjoyed meeting him to say ‘well done’ in person – now I need to see if he’s free to come and transform my garden!”

For a free, no obligation consultation please call Capital Gardening Services Ltd on 0131 623 2092 for all your Edinburgh garden design and landscaping enquiries or visit us at http://www.gardening-services-edinburgh.com/

Andy Shaw
Capital Gardening Services Ltd – garden design and landscaping
29 Gillespie Road, EH13 0NW
07717 461 184
andy@landscapers.scot
http://www.gardening-services-edinburgh.com/

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/capital-gardening-services-ltd-garden-design-and-landscaping-wins-high-5-from-tvs-melinda-638094.htm

Article source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2729331